Government initiatives-A A +A
An Independent View
Sunday, January 6, 2013
I AM intrigued by job advertisements. It is interesting to know the types of employees that employers are seeking. The standard of advertisements varies immensely. Some organizations recognize that when they are advertising for job seekers, they are also advertising themselves. For example San Carlos Bioenergy Inc. has had, over the past year or so, job advertisements for professional positions. These advertisements are well laid out and give a favorable impression of the company. On the other hand, Coca-Cola, arguably the most successful marketing organization ever, has job advertisements which are extraordinarily mediocre. How come?
Perhaps surprisingly, the most effective job advertisements currently being seen are those seeking applicants to the Department of Foreign Affairs. Headed "A World-Class Foreign Service," the advertisements show the kind of work a Foreign Service officer may be expected to undertake. Last week’s ads stated: "On Thursday, Henry Bensurto was at the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea to explore dispute settlement mechanisms for the West Philippine Sea." This puts color to a job that we might have thought consisted mainly, if not entirely, on a pedestrian administrative routine.
Congratulations to the DFA and, if appropriate, its advertising agency for mounting a truly effective campaign. The DFA does not seem to be, at least initially, putting obstacles in the way of applicants. No "a degree from a reputable university is required." Those of us who attended doubtful tertiary institutions need not apply would have been the implication. But the DFA merely suggests we visit their web site and take the Foreign Service Officers’ Examinations in Bacolod (and many other cities around the Nation) on 10 March.
According to Assistant Tourism Secretary Benito Bengzon Jr., it takes only 25 minutes for passengers arriving at NAIA to go through the processes of disembarkation from the airplane to clearing immigration and customs to getting a taxi. We hope that the Department of Tourism is not lulled into complacency. It is not just the time taken but the quality of the experience that is important. NAIA is often found in surveys to be the "worst airport in the world." DOT should not fall into the "everything is all right" syndrome. How can we improve matters if we consider that there is nothing to improve? Tourists still have horror stories to tell.
We hope that Sec Jimenez and his DOT colleagues do not consider that their role is exclusively concerned with advertising. The main factor adversely affecting the level of tourism is the hassles and inconveniences that tourists suffer. We can do much to improve matters such as by prosecuting nefarious taxi-drivers who depress the level of both domestic and international tourism.
2013 marks the year in which agriculture Sec. Proceso Alcala predicted, in 2010, that the Philippines would become self-sufficient in rice. We hope he is correct though my crude calculations indicate that we will have to import approximately 2 million tonnes this year. If rice does need to be imported, we trust it will be over-the-counter, based on proper import controls and tariffs.
Part of the challenge is that 2013 marks the year in which, according to NSO projections made in 2009, the population would reach 100 million. The 2010 census failed to count everybody due to some teachers’ unwillingness to brave the summer sun. The result officially stated to be 92.33 million is low.
It is also hoped that Sec Alcala will be able to negate the possibility of former DILG Undersecretary Puno of becoming a USec in the Department of Agriculture. It is regrettable that Puno, not noted for his team-playing skills, is able to lobby for such a senior position. There are many dedicated and capable professional civil servants who spend a lifetime of meritorious service without reaching USec level. Like many of us, PNoy has an apparent weakness of thinking that his friends are consequently professionally capable, whereas the truth may be very different.
The art of government is the organization of idolatry. – George Bernard Shaw, Man and Superman (1903)
Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on January 07, 2013.