Good Governance

Manila Bulletin, January 31, 2008 | Go to article overview

Good Governance


Byline: JESUS P. ESTANISLAO

IT is a sign that a topic has become current once groups of students ask that it becomes the subject for a talk or a lecture. Of late, there have been far too many such requests on the topic of "good governance."

Yet, when they come right down to listening to someone giving a talk or a lecture on governance, chances are high that they equate it with public governance, or worse with the type of administration currently taking charge of our public affairs.

It is useful to start, therefore, by disabusing people - many students included - of the misconception they have about governance being limited to public governance. The coverage of governance is much broader: It can apply to the entire nation or to a more limited, local circumscription within the country such as a province, a city, a town, or even a barangay. It also applies to institutions within the economy or polity. Special mention has to be made of corporations, and of late, corporate governance has come to the foreground of attention and reform action. But among institutions, beyond corporations, governance also applies to schools such as colleges and universities, to families and other professional or social groups, e.g. nurses, architects, accountants, etc. Finally, it also applies to the personal governance of individual persons. This last has to be emphasized, because at this very basic, personal level, governance can be made to deliver breakthrough results; and when it does, the difference it makes can be truly dramatic and influential.

There is also the rather widespread misconception that governance is all about new rules imposed from the top, more information disclosed to the general public, and more work for accountants, lawyers, and compliance officers. To be sure, governance is also about all these. But it is mainly about how everyone is expected to work and operate within more open, much more inter-connected economies and societies. …

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