Governance covers the processes related to governing, whether the one governing is the government or a publicly listed company or those that belong to the private sector. It can comprise of sets of rules and laws for the people to abide by and a framework to lay out the strategy to achieve its intended goals. An organization with good governance also promotes accountability and transparency to ensure that people remain aligned to the goals set out.
Governance is everywhere. As kids we had to go through admission requirements to get accepted to our university of choice; as newly graduates we had to submit and adhere to the job scope to land in our first job. The list goes on. As we move forward with our lives, one will get used to how companies, institutions and other establishments reflect their way of governing. An executive’s search for a senior role in a company will likely take more time due to the more stringent requirements: background investigation and validation, reference checks, interviews and so on and so forth. Bigger decisions require bigger reviews. Without such, the decision made in the end may be considered wasted effort.
Even in family households, one would expect forms of governance. A young girl may not necessarily be allowed to go out with her friends alone until she has shown some level of maturity and responsibility – the decision of which solely lies on her parents. If she was permitted do so and yet failed to come home on time, the parents are forced to implement some ground rules to ensure that such incident will not happen again. Curfews may be established or the young girl may not be allowed to go out for the time being. The idea is that the lesson would be learned and that no repeat would be made later on.
As Filipinos we are trained to comply on the rules set to us by those that have control over us. They are our parents, our employers and most especially by our government. The irony here is that while compliance is second nature to law abiding citizens, it does not follow that the same applies to the government. Case in point here, as an example, and this is stating it very simply, is the qualifications needed for an individual to run for public office. No credentials are required by law, except that one is obviously a Filipino citizen, age at minimum 35 years old and able to read and write. One can only cringe in disbelief at this misfortune; whatever happened to good governance?
Given that the citizenry is unable to change these rules at this point, the most that we can do is to choose our leaders very wisely, and much of this depends on the education our population has access to. The challenge is with us.
The stark contrast on governance between our government and those in the private sector shows us the level of opportunities available in the former to provide good governance. While technology will play a vital role, the key to this also involves cultural and behavioral shifts so that our country can sustain its growth and competitiveness in the future.
Kay Calpo Lugtu is the COO of Hungry Workhorse, a digital and culture transformation firm; Co-Founder of Caucus, Inc. and Deputy Director of Global Chamber Manila. Her advocacies include data privacy, financial literacy, and nation-building. The author may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or, to the more cautious now, at email@example.com.