CITY OF SAN FERNANDO - Representatives of the City Governments of Angeles City and the component City of San Fernando met for the first time on Wednesday to share best good governance practices.

The idea of a twin city development partnership was broached by Angeles City Mayor Edgardo Pamintuan after the elections. He said he wanted to "rebuild" the city following the template of the City of San Fernando, led by Mayor Oscar Rodriguez.

Updates on President Benigno Aquino III's presidency

Rodriguez told Sun.Star Pampanga then that he had asked his close ally and co-advocate at Mabini to set up a meeting with City Administrator Ferdinand Caylao and his counterpart City Administrator Dennis Pamintuan to map out plans.

In less than a month, the two City Governments found themselves discussing and looking at possibilities on pursuing various projects and programs, on top of which is good governance based on the Performance Governance System (PGS) and the Balanced Score Card.

"I admire Mayor Ed Pamintuan for his attitude. If you are serious with governance, you will always try to learn from others," Rodriguez revealed, as he and his "Magsilbi Tamu" team welcomed Pamintuan's "Agyu Tamu" group to the meeting themed "Best Practice Sharing with Angeles City's Team Agyu Tamu."

During the sharing, Rodriguez recognized the primary role of Angeles City in the development of Central Luzon, while Pamintuan cited trans-border issues and concerns that can only be best addressed through cooperation. They saw PGS as an ideal vehicle for organizing a common front based on a strategic agenda.

Pamintuan disclosed that it is ironic that during the lahar days, it was the leaders of the City of San Fernando who sought his guidance, having successfully overcome the disastrous volcanic onslaught with the concept of "Agyu Tamu," where the Angeles City Government and Angeleños literally worked side by side to achieve their aspirations for a city reborn.

"Now, it has come full circle, as we now seek to benchmark City of San Fernando's best in order to bring Angeles back to its glory," said Pamintuan.

He observed that Angeles City has been overtaken by San Fernando in different areas, including investment promotion, revenue collection, and partnership with the public sector.

"But this is only the beginning in our desire to give the best service that the people of Angeles richly deserve," Pamintuan quipped, adding: "Guided by our 'contract' with Angelenos, and inspired with what CSF has achieved, we shall work for a highly motivated City Hall bureaucracy, a strategic partnership with the public sector, and a collaborative alliance of the executive and the legislative branches, Angeles City shall once again be the phoenix that shall rise from the ashes."

Institute for Solidarity in Asia (ISA) Hall of Fame Associate Sonia Soto told the group during the forum that the principles and pathways of PGS include elements that are performance-oriented.

She cited the importance of the scorecard system in keeping track with the actual progress of governance stressing: "What you cannot measure, you cannot manage."

The PGS is a program of management and measurement developed by Harvard Business School professors David Norton and Robert Kaplan.

ISA adopted its key tenets to public governance, and has been inviting agents to participate in its program.

The City of San Fernando accepted the invitation in 2004 and later, for its full institutionalization of the PGS and its effort to influence the governance of other local government units and sectors, ISA conferred the capital city the Maharlika Hall of Fame award.

Supporting Soto's briefing, Office of Strategic Management head Fernando Limbitco expounded on the Roadmap and Scorecard of the city, while Caylao presented the breakthrough results that were achieved.

Partnership

With the desire to share best practices, along with the enthusiasm of the new Angeles City administration to discover tried and tested methodologies of governance, the neighbor-cities decided to initiate their partnership with best practices-sharing.

The councils of the two cities, led by Vice Mayor Edwin Santiago and Angeles City's Vice Mayor Vicky Vega-Cabigting, identified joint initiatives for serious study, including the creation of service roads parallel to the North Luzon Expressway, environmental concerns, and tourism development.

Both august bodies, including the executives, underscored the need for a mutually-advantageous partnership. (Jovi T. De Leon)