MERIAM-Webster Dictionary defines coordination as "the process of organizing people or groups so that they work together properly and well." It is also defined as "the process of causing things to be the same or to go together well."
Coordination is something the Philippine government has been trying to do for a long time but continues to fail. It is clear as day the lack of coordination between government units. This has resulted in problems in the implementation of programs and projects, working relationships among government agencies, and even confusion, to name a few.
A clear example is a current issue on the implementation of the drainage and revetment project of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) along the riverbanks in Ma-a, Davao City.
Councilor Pilar Braga last week expressed concern over the project following the cutting down of 150 trees.
"I, however, find it very disheartening to see the project being pursued seemingly without considerations to environmental concerns," she said.
However, DPWH-Davao City engineering office public information officer John Frances Fuentes defended the action saying that they were able to comply the necessary permits from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources for the cutting of the trees.
A day after Braga raised the issue on the trees, Councilor Diosdado Mahipus Jr. has called for a committee hearing to look into the DPWH's river embankment project in Ma-a.
Mahipus, who chairs the council committee on environment and natural resources, said even though DPWH has all the necessary permits, it did not pass the Davao City Infrastructure Monitoring and Advisory Group (IMAG).
Created by Davao City Mayor Sara Z. Duterte-Carpio in 2017 through Executive Order 32, IMAG is "primarily tasked to properly plan, coordinate, implement, and monitor across agencies all government infrastructure development or projects in Davao City."
Mahipus said after a discussion with the City Environment and Natural Resources Office (Cenro), it was discovered that DPWH did not also consult the office before getting a DENR permit.
Fuentes, meanwhile, said the project will push through unless DENR or the court will tell them to stop.
Mahipus and Braga, however, made it also clear that they understood the importance of the project. Though they did not state anything further from what they said during their respective speeches, the two councilors brought to light the issues that the government must also be aware of and sensitive to.
When Braga first expressed concern over the project, she brought to light the issue on the need for government projects to strike a balance between development and environment.
This time, Mahipus brought to light the need for proper coordination among government offices, both local and national.
Maybe, if the project has gone through the IMAG or consulted with Cenro, the cutting of 150 trees may have been avoided or minimized. This may have also allowed DPWH to properly communicate to parties concerned that they will be planting new seedlings after cutting those trees.
For the government to effectively and smoothly implement its different projects and programs, there is a need for proper coordination among all offices and units involved.
Some government offices in the past have shown how proper coordination allowed the realization and successful implementation of different projects. However, much work still needs to be done for the whole government to work like a well-oiled and coordinated machine.