Posts Tagged ‘jesse robredo’

1st Jesse Robredo Youth Leadership Camp

November 18, 2012 1 comment


Open letter to every Filipino: An Injustice to Robredo and the Filipino people

June 15, 2011 Leave a comment

Just this week the company Anos Research Manufacturing (ARM), the sole local manufacturer of firetrucks in our country,came out with a full page ad in several major newspapers expressing their disappointment on the alleged decision by DILG Secretary Jesse Robredo to purchase firetrucks from foreign companies. Apparently, for the past several years they haven’t undergone any bidding process and have been the sole supplier of firetrucks that are being purchased by the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) thus, they are now wondering why Robredo suddenly decided to accept other bidders from other countries. I don’t really understand why they are questioning this move by Robredo since there is really nothing wrong given that all government procurement of equipment should really undergo transparent and accountable public bidding wherein different suppliers can take part in. If ARM is very confident about the quality of its product then it should be more than willing to comply with the bidding process and not bring the battle to the level of public opinion which it is doing now.

As for supporting Filipino-made products, I am all for that but if a locally made firetruck is more inferior and more expensive than a foreign made one, does that still mean that I have no choice but to procure the locally made one even if it could mean costing our government millions more or even risking the lives of many because it is of lesser quality? Wouldn’t it be a graver injustice to every Filipino if we have to pay more for a firetruck that we all know is of lesser quality compared to a much better firetruck which would cost less but is made abroad? Given our government’s lack of resources to support the BFP, the millions of pesos that the BFP and the DILG will save through a proper and transparent bidding process could easily be used to procure additional fire prevention equipment that would eventually benefit the general public. I hope that ARM would be professional enough to accept the decision made by the DILG and the BFP and not act like a spoiled brat or sore loser who is trying to gain sympathy by bringing this issue to the court of public opinion.

There is no injustice committed by the DILG to ARM, the only injustice here is how ARM is now trying to tarnish the name of a good, upright leader because he decided against a few vested interests by making the right decision that will ultimately benefit the Filipino people.

Harvey S. Keh

Lead Convenor, Kaya Natin! Movement for Good Governance and Ethical Leadership


What are you hiding, Gov. LRay?

March 9, 2011 Leave a comment

Gov. LRay Villafuerte of Camarines Sur

What are you hiding, Gov.  LRay?
by: Harvey S. Keh 

During his 18 years as mayor of Naga City, current Department of the Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo  was always known as a champion of transparency, accountability and people participation. One just has to visit their city’s official website to see that all financial transactions, biddings and purchases made by the city government are posted for the general public to see and scrutinize.

Aside from this, Robredo also institutionalized the formation of the Naga City People’s Council (NCPC), an organization composed of representatives from different NGOs, business groups and private organizations whose main task is to work with the local government to ensure that proper consultation is always done before major decisions are made.
These best practices in good governance has led to the transformation of Naga as the most progressive city in the Bicol region and has also garnered for the city more than 100 national and international awards. Robredo was also the first local government leader in the Philippines to receive the prestigious Ramon Magsaysay Award for Government Service.
Thus, it was no wonder that during his first few months in office as DILG Secretary, Robredo made it a priority to issue a memorandum circular requiring all local government units to fully disclose their budget and how they are spending it to their constituents. Clearly, this initiative is in line with the campaign promise of President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III to curb graft and corruption through the promotion of transparency and public accountability.
As a show of support for this laudable initiative by the DILG to bring much needed reforms in our local government units, the House of Representatives and the Senate both approved the inclusion of this provision in the General Appropriations Act for the 2011 budget. 

Gov. LRay blocks transparency and full disclosure policy

While different national organizations such as the League of Cities of the Philippines, League of Municipalities of the Philippines, League of Provinces and the Transparency and Accountability Network strongly supported and hailed this move by the DILG, one of Robredo’s long-time political rivals in Camarines Sur, Governor LRay Villafuerte, submitted a petition to the Supreme Court (SC) asking the SC to declare this memorandum as unconstitutional.

Is it unconstitutional to ask our government leaders to tell us how they are spending our hard-earned taxpayers’ money? According to Article 3, Section 7 of the 1987 Philippine Constitution, “The right of the people to information on matters of public concern shall be recognized. Access to official records, and to documents and papers pertaining to official acts, transactions, or decisions, as well as to government research data used as basis for policy development, shall be afforded the citizen, subject to such limitations as may be provided by law.” Wasn’t it no less than the Pres. Aquino who said during his inaugural speech that we are his Bosses? As our government leaders’ boss, I believe that we have the right to demand from them information about where they are spending public funds. For someone who is perceived by some as a dynamic young politician, I am surprised by this move by Gov. Villafuerte to question The DILG’s initiative that aims to make our public officials more accountable to ordinary Filipino citizens. 

Running for the Senate in 2013?

Is politics also in play here? As we all know, Gov. Villafuerte has been the governor of Camarines Sur since 2004 thus, this is his last term in office. Is this perhaps his way of trying to gain national exposure for a reported plan to run for the Senate in the 2013 elections?

Before he decides to run for the Senate, it might be good for him to first try to solve the growing poverty situation in his province. According to the latest poverty data presented just last February by the National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB), poverty incidence in Camarines Sur has grown from 36.6% in 2006 to 38.7% in 2009. The province also ranked third among all provinces in the whole country in terms of the total number of poor families with more than 126,000 families! It is surprising that despite all the tourism buzz being generated about Camarines Sur, it still has the highest poverty incidence in the Bicol region.  Perhaps the money that tourism is generating for the province isn’t being used properly by the leaders of the province as can be seen by the Commission on Audit’s report (found below) on the finances of the Camarines Sur Water Sports Complex-CWC.

Anomalies found in official COA Report of Camarines Sur

A check on the official 2009 Commission of Audit (COA) Report on Camarines Sur’s financial statements would show several alleged anomalies. Allow me to quote some of these findings:

a.) Collections in the Sports Center (Camarines Sur Water Sports Complex-CWC) were not turned over to the treasurer/cashier within the period stated under Section 29 of the Manual on New Government Accounting System (NGAS), Volume 1, thus, exposing government funds to possible loss, misuse or misappropriation. Government funds were used in the development and construction of the CWC.

b.) Cash advances to officers and employees amounting to P 23.96 Million remained unliquidated at the end of the year thereby raising doubts on whether the purpose of these cash advances have been served.

c.) Donations amounting to P 132.50 Million were incurred for programs and activities undertaken by the Provincial Social and Services Office (PSSO) without approved program/activity designs and established criteria.

d.) The province paid P 6.71 Million for security services without public bidding, contrary to the provisions of Republic Act (RA) No. 9184, thereby raising doubts on the propriety and economy of this transaction.

e.) The province incurred an overdraft of P 168 Million as of December 31,2009. An overdraft amount means an overspending by the local government that is beyond their total collected funds for the fiscal year. This finding is contrary to the claims of the local government of Camarines Sur that it continues to be profitable.

Are these alleged anomalies the reason why Gov. LRay Villafuerte is hell bent on stopping  the full disclosure policy that is being implemented by the DILG with the support of local government organizations as well as both houses of Congress? What is he hiding? If he is spending his public funds properly then why would he be afraid to show it to the general public?

Public office is a public trust thus, it is incumbent upon our government leaders to show to us how they are spending our public funds. All the things I have stated here aren’t based on hearsay but based on findings by the NSCB and COA. Please explain, Gov. LRay. You owe it to the Filipino people and most especially, your constituents in Camarines Sur.
Comments are welcome at

Robredo deserves post—youth leader

February 15, 2011 Leave a comment

DILG Sec. Jesse Robredo with President Noynoy Aquino


Robredo deserves post—youth leader

Philippine Daily Inquirer
I AM appealing to President Aquino to give his full trust and confidence to Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo by appointing him in a permanent capacity to his post and submitting his name to the Commission on Appointments (CA) for confirmation.In the past six months that Secretary Robredo has been in office, he has been able to live up to the campaign promise of President Aquino: “Kung Walang Corrupt, Walang Mahirap.” Proof of this is his effort to promote greater transparency and public accountability among local government units all over our country by directing them to publish their budgets and expenditures for their constituents to see. As an advocate of genuine people empowerment, he has also helped open up our government to partnerships with various civil society organizations, private sector groups and foundations that are currently helping deliver better basic services to marginalized sectors in our society.

As ex-officio chairman of the National Police Commission, he has also been proactive in cleaning up the ranks of the Philippine National Police by suspending more than 100 rogue cops from service. Regarding the recent spate of car thefts, he has worked well with PNP Chief Gen. Raul Bacalzo in apprehending the suspects behind the murder of car dealer Venson Evangelista. He was able produce concrete results in less than a week, which goes to show how effective he is as a leader.

Clearly, he is one of the better-performing Cabinet secretaries of the present administration and we definitely deserve more leaders like him. Thus, I sincerely believe that he deserves nothing less than the full trust and confidence of President Aquino.


director for youth leadership and social entrepreneurship,

Ateneo de Manila University-School of Government,


Good stories, bad stories in 2010

January 1, 2011 Leave a comment

President Benigno Aquino III

Good stories, bad stories in 2010

by: Harvey S. Keh

The Manila Times


As we end the year, we look at some events, both good and bad, that made this year a memorable one for our country. Let us begin with the good stories which is led by the peaceful transition of power that happened in our country last June 30, 2010 when President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino 3rd formally took over from the graft and corruption-plagued Arroyo administration.


Many pundits (myself included) were predicting that the first ever automated elections in our country wouldn’t push through given the many hitches and glitches that the Commission on Elections (Comelec) had to overcome in the months leading up to the elections.


While the elections were still marred by cheating and rampant vote-buying especially in the local level, the fact that we were able to pull through with the automation is an accomplishment in itself. More importantly, doomsday scenarios of declaring a failure of elections didn’t happen and thus, we now have a new administration that has pledged to eradicate corruption as well as uplift the quality of life of every Filipino.


Secondly, this pledge for a more transparent and accountable government has been translated to concrete initiatives at all fronts. Upon assuming office, Department of the Interior and Local Government Seccretary Jesse Robredo issued a memorandum requiring all local government units to publish their budget and expenses for the public to see. The Department of Public Works and Highways which was always known as one of the most corrupt agencies in government has launched a public action center which the public can call to report anomalous infrastructure projects in their areas. For those who do not know yet, the numbers to call are (632) 536-3477 and (632) 302-9196.


In an effort to also raise revenues for social services, the Department of Finance led by Sec. Cesar Purisima has launched the Pera ng Bayan campaign which encourages the general public to report tax evaders, smugglers as well as government employees that are engaged in unscrupulous acts.


Billions of pesos are lost due to the corruption that happens in the Bureau of Customs and the Bureau of Internal Revenue, these billions can easily be used to build more classrooms and provide proper healthcare to the poor. You can help solve this problem by visiting their website at


This is also the first time in more than 11 years that we no longer have a reenacted budget. This now requires all our government agencies to use their financial resources properly by strictly following the approved budget.


We have also seen a more aggressive Department of Justice led by Sec. Leila de Lima who has personally made efforts to ensure that the prosecution against the perpetuators of the tragic Maguindanao massacre moves forward and at a faster pace.


With these trailblazing initiatives by our government, it is no wonder why the trust and approval rating of the Aquino administration continues to be very high. Let us hope that in this coming 2011, the millions who live below the poverty line will begin to already feel the effects of good governance in their lives.


In the area of sports, our country continues to celebrate the exploits of Manny Pacquiao who easily demolished his much heavier opponents, Joshua Clottey and Antonio Margarito this year. In May, Pacquiao went on to become congressman of Saranggani province and continues to push for legislation that will help curb human trafficking in our country.


Football also experienced a renaissance of sorts when our Philippine national team aptly named “Azkals” was able to make it to the AFF Suzuki Cup semi finals against all odds.


Earlier our Street Children football contingent in the pre-World Cup youth games in South Africa manifested impressive strength and skill.


Also in the international scene, The Only Way is Up—a project initiated by Alternative Indigenous Development Foundation Inc. based in Bacolod City won the BBC World Challenge while Filipino teen sensation, Charice Pempengco, earned new raves in the United States as she became a featured guest in the hit TV show, Glee.


While there is much to celebrate, there is still much that needs to be done in our country. One of them is the problem of jueteng and illegal gambling. Despite several pronouncements made by our Philippine National Police that they have jueteng under control already, the reality is jueteng continues to thrive in the provinces especially in Central Luzon and Pangasinan. Sadly, this illegal numbers game was one of the main reasons why our icons of good governance, Among Ed Panlilio and Grace Padaca both lost in the last elections. Unless jueteng and all forms of illegal gambling are curbed by our government, more and more good and upright political leaders will end up losing and we Filipinos may all eventually be at the mercy of gambling lords who would dictate how politics and governance will be run here in our country.


In the realm of justice, the office of the Ombudsman has continued to be a major stumbling block in the Aquino administration’s drive to ensure that corrupt officials of the previous administration are put to jail. Recently, the Ombudsman entered into a plea bargaining agreement with former AFP comptroller General Carlos Garcia despite the fact that our government has very strong evidence that could easily pin him down for plunder. Unless Merceditas Gutierrez, a known staunch ally of the previous administration, is removed and replaced, the present administration will find it hard to prosecute those that have enriched themselves at the expense of public funds.


Finally, last August’s Quirino Grandstand tragedy has opened our eyes to the reality that our law enforcement agencies are still very much lacking in training and equipment. Unless we are able to show the world that we can take care of our tourists, we cannot expect to see our country compete with our neighbors, Thailand and Malaysia in terms of number of visitors per year.


Indeed, it was a memorable year for our country as we continue to move forward against all odds. The challenge that we all face in 2011 is how much we, as ordinary Filipinos, are willing to do to help our country especially the poor and the powerless. As we have seen for several decades now, government alone will not be able to solve the myriad of problems that face us. It is only through our own collective efforts that we will be able to rise once again to become the best in Asia.


Comments are welcome at

Matataas na grado

October 20, 2010 Leave a comment

Justice Secretary Leila de Lima

Matataas na grado

ni: Harvey S. Keh, Abante

Tuwang-tuwa ang grupo naming Kaya Natin! sa balitang lumabas noong isang araw na ayon sa isang survey na ginawa ng StratPolls ay isa ang aming kasamahang si Dept. of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Sec. Jesse Robredo sa mga pinakamahusay na miyembro ng gabinete ni Pangulong Noynoy Aquino. Ayon sa survey na ginanap matapos ang unang 100 araw ni PNoy, si Dept. of Justice (DOJ) Sec. Leila De Lima ang nakakuha ng pinakamataas na grado mula sa taumbayan habang si Robredo naman ang pumangalawa na sinundan naman ni Dept. of Education (DepEd) Sec. Armin Luistro.

Sa tingin ko ay maganda naman talaga ang naging trabaho nilang tatlo sa unang 100 araw ng administrasyong Aquino. Matatandaan nating si De Lima ang siyang namuno sa imbestigasyon sa naka­raang August 23 hostage crisis na ikinamatay ng 8 taga-Hong Kong. Si Robredo naman ang siyang nag-utos sa lahat ng mga lokal na pamahalaan na ilathala ang kanilang mga pondo at gastusin upang maipakita sa kanilang mga mamamayan kung paano nito ginagastos ang kani-kanilang mga pondo. Mainam ang ganitong hakbang sapagkat kapag alam ng tao kung saan napupunta ang pondo, siguradong mababawasan o tuluyan nang masusugpo ang korapsyon sa ating pamahalaan.

Maayos din ang ipinakita ni Luistro lalung-lalo na sa kanyang mga programang naglalayong ayusin ang kalidad ng mga libro sa ating mga pampublikong paaralan. Matatandaan natin na noong nakaraang mga taon, ang daming mali-maling impormasyon ang nakita sa mga librong ginagamit ng ating mga kabataan at dahil dito ay hindi kataka-taka ang patuloy na paghina ng kalidad ng edukasyon sa ating bayan. Sana nga ay maayos na ito ni Luistro upang hindi naman lumaking mangmang ang ating mga kabataan. Congratulations kina De Lima, Robredo at Luistro! Keep up the good work!
Siguradong mataas na grado rin ang matatanggap ngayon ng ahensya ng Pagasa sa pamumuno ni Dept. of Science and Technology (DOST) Usec. Graciano Yumul. Na ging maayos ngayon ang ginawang pagbabantay at pagbibigay impormasyon ng Pagasa sa taumbayan patungkol na rin sa malakas na bagyong si Juan. Dahil sa patuloy na pagpapaalala sa ating lahat patungkol sa pwedeng maging epekto ng bagyong si Juan ay nakapaghanda ng maayos ang ating mga kababayan na maaaring masalanta nito. Hindi ito kagaya noong nakaraang ilang taon kung saan parating naging palpak ang Pagasa sa kanilang mga paalala at dahil dito ay ang daming buhay ang nawala. Sana ay maging tuluy-tuloy rin ang maayos na pamamalakad diyan sa Pagasa sapagkat alam naman nating lahat na hindi si Juan ang magiging huling malakas na bagyong siguradong dadalaw sa ating bayan.

Congratulations kay Usec. Yumul at sa mga taga-Pagasa! Mabuhay po kayong lahat!
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Have coffee and chat with Kaya Natin’s DILG Sec. Jesse Robredo

October 13, 2010 Leave a comment

Got a question to ask about people empowerment in your city or municipality?
Wondering how Naga City became Bicol’s premier city?
Want to know the programs of the DILG for local governments?

by: Kaya Natin! Co-Founder and DILG Sec. Jesse Robredo

WHEN: Wednesday, October 27, 2010, 6:00-8:00pm
WHERE: Gayuma Ni Maria Restaurant, Maginhawa St. (V. Luna Extension), Sikatuna Village, Quezon City

P1000/person, inclusive of coffee and snacks
15% Discount for groups of three or more
50% Discount to students with valid ID

Call  Inday at (02) 434 1458 or email to inquire and reserve seats.

Hurry! Limited slots available!