Jesse M. Robredo (1958-2012)
A Legacy of Good Governance
Jesse M. Robredo was the epitome of good governance. He was the Secretary of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) from 2010 until his untimely death on August 18, 2012 when his plane crashed off the coast of Masbate province.
As DILG Secretary, he introduced the Full Disclosure Policy (FDP) that required local government units (LGUs) to post 12 different financial documents in public places. He promoted its policy adoption through the provision of performance-based incentives in the form of awarding the Seal of Good Housekeeping (SGH) and the Performance Challenge Fund (PCF) grantto LGUs that satisfied measures of transparency, accountability, and good planning. Under his leadership, the Local Government Watch Program was established to drive good governance on the demand side by developing citizen feedback mechanisms and civil society capacity to use the disclosed LGU documents. He also strengthened DILG cooperation with the Department of Trade and Industry in streamlining the business permit and licensing system of LGUs in accordance with the Anti-Red Tape Act.
Before he became DILG Secretary, Robredowas mayor of Naga City for six terms. In 1999, Asiaweek Magazine recognized him for transforming Naga into a first-class city. He was responsible for energizing the local bureaucracy, enhancing stakeholder participation, and fostering transparency in governance. During his term, Naga City became a perennial winner of the GalingPook Awards for its innovative LGU programs.As a result, the Award for Continuing Excellence was conferred on Naga City for its achievements along the various GalingPook local governance criteria that includepositive results and impact, promotion of people’s participation and empowerment, transferability and sustainability, and efficiency of program service delivery.
For his exemplary leadership, Robredo received a host of awards, including the Ramon Magsaysay Award for Government Service, the Outstanding Young Persons of the World Award, the Ten Outstanding Young Men of the Philippines, the Konrad Adenauer Medal of Excellence as Most Outstanding City Mayor of the Philippines, and the Dangalng BayanAward of the Civil Service Commission.
He graduated from De La Salle University with dual degrees in Industrial Management Engineering and Mechanical Engineering. He had a Master in Business Administration degree from the University of the Philippines. With the support of an Edward Mason Fellowship, he received a Master in Public Administration degree from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.
The La Salle Institute of Governance (LSIG) was privileged to getRobredo as a partner in many of its knowledge activities, initially when he was Naga City Mayor and later on as DILG Secretary. He was the keynote speaker during the LSIG Forum on Information Technology and Good Governance in 2001, as well as the LSIG Planning Seminar on Research and Capacity Building on Collaborative Governance in 2010.
In one of his last public appearancesbefore his unexpected demise, Robredoreturned to DLSU on August 16, 2012 to deliver a stirring keynote speech titled “Engage to Understand” during the launch of the interim products of theKnowledge Partnerships in Monitoring Public Services to the Poor Project. In his talk, he stressed that LGUs “must show performance and take the straight path at the same time. It is not enough for them to be straight. They also have to be smart.”
Robredo believed that the Knowledge Partnership Project to monitor public services among LGUs is a way to harvest the power of collaboration. He noted that the academe is an untapped resource. In this regard, he challenged scholars “to spearhead the call for transparency and participation. We need you in disseminating the use of financial documents disclosed though the FDP. Use them as a tool to make local chief executives accountable.”