I've been working on a more rigorous way to evaluate President Aquino's job performance. In the first article, I identified seven areas of responsibility:
- Global engagement
- Health and security
- Wealth building
- Social cohesion
- Timeline architecture
In the second article , the third article and the fourth article I examined the first six areas of responsibility.
This write-up deals with "Timeline Architecture" or the method of putting measurable goals into a timeframe.
Business planning is different than financial planning. The business plan figures out how the business ought to be run to generate successful financial and non-financial performance.
The public presentation is horrible. I defy any of you to get on the internet and, in 30 minutes, tell me what the President intends to accomplish during his term, and how he is doing in working toward said goals.
If you follow the track I followed, you'll first find two official presidential sites: Both are dead. Patay. History. Last updated in 2010 or so. Here they are, top of the search engine's results: http://www.op.gov.ph/government/default.aspx and http://www.president.gov.ph/default.aspx
|What the hell did I do with that Plan?|
This is the pattern of so many Filipino web sites: Good idea, do a web site. Get the initial presentation out there. Discover how hard it is to maintain. Ignore it. Don't even respond to e-mails. Leave it there to dirty up search engines. But the PRESIDENT'S official site? Wow.
So I figured maybe the President's face-book page is the place to go. Well, by howdy, it is not a place for substance, but for superficiality. Announcements of deeds done. Inane patter from the adoring hordes.
Then it struck me that I had read about the President's communication team, and sure enough, I dredged up the site: http://www.pcoo.gov.ph/ This is a public relations site, nothing more. And a cluttered, poorly designed, 1950's kind of patchwork presentation. Every thing on the site is positive. Press releases. Executive orders. Trips here and there. Speeches. I tell you, everything is rosy and peachy keen and hunky dory and fine fine fine.
So I re-jigged my search to look specifically for a plan and by gripe-er-oo it was a EUREKA moment. "I found it!
That is, I presume I found it, for it is not signed by the president. There is no preface or announcement or endorsement by him. There is no date on it, so I don't really know when it was done or if it is a working plan.
It is entitled "Philippine Development Plan: 2011 - 2016 Results Matrices". It can be found at the following web site: http://www.neda.gov.ph/PDP/rm/pdprm2011-2016.pdf
After an introduction by Cayetano W. Paderanga, Jr., the Director-General and Secretary for Socio-Economic Planning, we read the opening sentence:
"Development results, or simply results, are outputs, outcomes, or impacts of a development intervention."
Huh? I speak English, but fail to comprehend.
Then there are several laborious pages aimed at saying it is important to use benchmarks to measure and manage performance. And the plan is dynamic, subject to change as results come in and priorities change.
I then went to have a beer to cure my headache.
When I returned, I started going through the detail. That was my "oh My God" moment because there were some good disciplines in the plan. They were just obscured by overabundant words and too much detail.
A Plan is No Good Unless It Is Applied
Some plans get caught up in trying to show everything, and when you are dealing with a national government, there is SO MUCH to try to record.
I worked with Japanese principals of one of California's largest banks. A large bank, too, is a complex entity. But the Japanese got their plan down to one page. All the high-line measures that the details rolled up to were on that page. Lessons from last year. Top objectives. Measureable goals. Progress checks. Then subordinate departments each took their chunk of that plan, and had their own one-pager. It was a master-work of applied planning and drove the Bank to record growth and profits.
I doubt if this Philippine plan gets much daylight unless there is a simpler, abbreviated edition. No single human being can comprehend it, as it is presented. The amount of work that went into it must have been exhaustive.
The plan has a well-organized set of highline objectives and some excellent benchmark statements. I have no idea how realistic many of the statements are.
The top five objectives are superb.
- Government's Five Major Guideposts
- Anti-Corruption/Transparent, Accountable and Participatory Governance
- Poverty Reduction and Empowerment of the Poor and Vulnerable
- Rapid, Inclusive and Sustained Economic Growth
- Just and Lasting Peace and the Rule of Law
- Integrity of the Environment and Climate Change Mitigation and Adaption
Next are 16 pages of measureable goals entitled "Critical Indicators". They are organized in support of 18 components of the five guideposts. This listing is way too detailed for a top level plan (if you want to know the 2016 target for banana production, it is there). But the 18 components are excellent and some of the measures are very important. It is so detailed that a lot of measures are still generalized and not measurable.
Here is a sampling I found useful:
- Reduced fiscal deficit-to-GDP ratio from 3.7 percent to 2.0 percent by 2016.
- Increased classroom to pupil ratio
- Primary, from 1:38.95 in 2010 to 1:30 in 2016
- Secondary, from 1:53.63in 2010 to 1:45 in 2016
- Increased contraceptive prevalence rate from 51 in 2008 to 63 in 2015 (no target identified for 2016)
This is followed by 51 pages of mind-numbing details.
The details are followed by a strange section entitled "President Aquino's 16 Point Agenda", which is political in nature, essentially saying how President Aquino will do better than his predecessor. But it follows similar key headings as does the plan itself. It looks like it was tacked on at the end to reconcile President Aquino's personal aspirations with what the plan says. So his planning wanks put together the plan, it was so big and complex that it was hopelessly useless, so he just tacked on his promotional piece.
Value of Measurable Goals
Goals drive work. It is that simple.
Take the contraceptive prevalence rate. If that is indeed a goal, why is the President not pushing the RH Bill? It is a key step toward achieving the plan. That leads me to believe this is not a working document. A working plan document would IMPEL the president to act.
Also, the classroom to pupil ratio should bring forth the discussion: how exactly are we going to achieve this without busting the budget, considering we have the conflicting program of increasing the number of years of primary education from 10 to 12?
Stating the goal in a WORKING PLAN ought to provoke innovation, such as greater use of the internet to get kids out of the classroom. I doubt that it does.
What to do
The plan needs to be thinned down and popularized to contain only key measures. Maybe no more than 10. Then USED to guide priorities. Can you imagine a State of the Union address that annually recites sound progress toward seven highline goals? The entire nation would be energized by seeing tangible progress. Get rid of the PR and self-promotion and show that the Philippines knows where it is headed, and is moving forcefully in that direction.
Rating of the President on "Timeline Architecture"
Score it 4.0, with the drawbacks that the plan is not popularly published, is too detailed, and probably is not a working document. With a 50% weighting, add 2.0 points to the President's overall score.