• The Pasig Review

Are city awards clear manifestations of city-wide change?

From the Desk

Last week, the Local Government of Pasig was awarded by the Department of Health - Metro Manila Center for Health Development for its COVID-19 management efforts. The distinction cited the the city's contribution on improving the critical care utilization rate (number of intensive care units, isolation beds, and ventilators currently in use in different health and medical facilities) of the National Capital Region.

This kind of award has a very clear criterion and reason for such recognition. It gives credit where credit is due. It also celebrates the LGU's hardwork and intensified campaign in fulfilling its duties to the people. With all that has been said, it is clear that results are physically present to prove that the city is indeed winning the fight.

But for the common man, is a multi awarded city enough to be a measurement of success? To some families hoping for a brighter future, or to small businesses, a multi-awarded city connotes easy transactions, a greener pasture and place where there's a promising result to their personal aspirations.

Cities far and wide reap numerous awards and different "seals" that boost morals and pride. Guided by specific areas and key indicators, LGUs try hard to be more sufficient just in time for the rating season. As a result, it becomes a tool to feed egoistic leaders whose claim to fame are senseless pieces of trophies made of glass. Some awards at times gives superficial lenses to a city plagued with immeasurable problems and ills - indicators that are unwanted and intentionally hidden. Some LGU's hide their shortcomings by applying in competitions to bring back esteem or jack-up the falling interests of their people. If awards are the only way to keep an image of good governance and appeal, then it is not helpful but most probably delusional. Pleasing institutions and award-giving bodies is not part of the equation. The only people the government needs to please are the people themselves as reflected by their performance.

Pasig is a different city now. Far from the "ningas cogon" days that assert a short-lived beauty. People are still at their learning curves, training themselves that the traditional mechanisms are now over and wont be back for at least a generous amount of time. The government too is not at the backseat. The local government is at its feet learning from experience and concocting their own ingenuity - their own trademark. Awards do motivate, but a happy populace is still the ambrosia - the opium that inspires assertiveness of ideals and less on the politics of the day.

The local government of Pasig understands the clear and thin line that separates "politicking" and politicizing, but can the system withstand change? The people can. The officials can. But the award is yet to be claimed.

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