Faith in Governance
“Faith in Governance”
By Dr. Betsy Joy B. Tan, Vice President for Academic Affairs
(Delivered during the SU-PERL [Participatory Evidence-Based Research and Learning] Engagement with representatives from local government units on July 9, 2014 in Masbate.)
In the English language, the term ‘Common Sense’ is a brain-teaser that is a human mystery . . . for surrounded as we are with humanity, is there sense when you see a sixty–year–old man with earrings? Or you see your eccentric old neighbor sportinga ponytail or even a Roman-centurion inspired haircut? Do those images of men instyle add up? When you meet these men face to face, do those visuals make sense to you?
In the state of our current affairs in government, President Pnoy’s mantra is nowthe famous line, “Daan na Matuwid”; so allow me to dwell on James 1: 19-27 entitled “Hearing & Doing”. James has given us a collection of practical wisdomand guidance to emphasize the importance of actions along with faith in our Christianity, our attitudes and conduct as we follow through with our president’s “Daan na Matuwid”.
The barangay is the smallest unit of governance in our country. It is then presumed that in such close proximity with each other, every elected or appointed official does not only know his neighbor but also follows the President’s lead in “Daan na Matuwid”.
And . . . are we?
Notice that without mentioning it, James in1:19-27 points to us the difference between listening and hearing – where listening is the call to attention, making ourselves ready to hear; but hearing is different as it is perception by ear, our readiness to gain knowledge in this Knowledge Economy this 21st century! In thePresident’s “Daan na Matuwid” framework of management, it is then not listening but hearing for gainful knowledge that defines the LGU’s leadership!
And so every morning as we read or listen to the news, do we think of thebarangay where we are? For doesn’t it make sense to you that what we are readingabout or listening to is about someone who comes from one of the over forty-two thousand barangays in our country’s seventeen regions as of 2013 – where 550 of those are barangays in Masbate province?
When traffic in our barangay is chaotic, do we hear what the message is to us, the LGU official? Does the chaos make sense to you?
When vendors are spread along the streets enough to obstruct traffic flow – does that image make sense to you? Moreover, because of unhygienic vending especially of food, does it make sense to you that the cost of restoring people’s health comes from the government’s social funds that come from us, the taxpayers?
Today, our country is focused on educational reforms – not only because of ASEAN Integration 2015; but also because our voter literacy has never helped uselect into government positions those who can help us improve our barangays, and eventually, our country.
With free education a constitutional mandate, does it make sense to you then when there are many out-of-school youth in your barangay? When the youth in yourbarangay get access to drugs? Moreover, does it make sense to you that emotional literacy is also on the rise in our country when in a barangay, spouses and children are taken hostage by the heads of their own families?
Everyday, a citizen from a barangay appears in the news, does the President’s “Daan na Matuwid” then make sense to you?
With James 1: 19-27, we pause to discern between listening and hearing; we pauseto reflect for guidance as we continue the mandate of leadership and governance that our fellow citizens in our barangays have expected of us! We also pausetoday to prove to ourselves that after all, ‘common sense’ is alive in the LGUs and in each one of us!
In our society where information explosion has generated for us many pressures and challenges that tend to compromise our beliefs and our actions; where knowledge has become a global force for survival; where WMD or weapons of mass destruction are no longer limited to war and violence but also to disease and natural calamities, there is our faith as Christians that give us constancy, direction, and guidance. Our discernment between listening and hearing is our guide in our leadership roles.
Today then let us allow popular TV personality, Ellen Degeneres, to influence us when she was quoted in the March 2007 issue of Readers Digest to have said: “Be open to learning new lessons even if they contradict the lessons you learned yesterday”.