The President, Part V: Timeline Architecture, "Oh My God!"

I’ve been working on a more rigorous way to evaluate President Aquino’s job performance. In the first article, I identified seven areas of responsibility:
  1. Presentation
  2. Global engagement
  3. Infrastructure
  4. Health and security
  5. Wealth building
  6. Social cohesion
  7. Timeline architecture
In the second article , thethird article and the fourth article I examined the first six areas of responsibility.
This write-up deals with “Timeline Architecture” or the method of putting measurable goals into a timeframe.
Business planning is different than financial planning. The business plan figures out how the business ought to be run to generate successful financial and non-financial performance.
Public Presentation
The public presentation is horrible. I defy any of you to get on the internet and, in 30 minutes, tell me what the President intends to accomplish during his term, and how he is doing in working toward said goals.
If you follow the track I followed, you’ll first find two official presidential sites:  Both are dead. Patay. History. Last updated in 2010 or so. Here they are, top of the search engine’s results: http://www.op.gov.ph/government/default.aspxand http://www.president.gov.ph/default.aspx
What the hell did I do with that Plan?
This is the pattern of so many Filipino web sites: Good idea, do a web site. Get the initial presentation out there. Discover how hard it is to maintain. Ignore it. Don’t even respond to e-mails. Leave it there to dirty up search engines. But the PRESIDENT’S official site? Wow.
So I figured maybe the President’s face-book page is the place to go. Well, by howdy, it is not a place for substance, but for superficiality. Announcements of deeds done. Inane patter from the adoring hordes.
No plan.
Then it struck me that I had read about the President’s communication team, and sure enough, I dredged up the site: http://www.pcoo.gov.ph/  This is a public relations site, nothing more. And a cluttered, poorly designed, 1950’s kind of patchwork presentation. Every thing on the site is positive. Press releases. Executive orders. Trips here and there. Speeches. I tell you, everything is rosy and peachy keen and hunky dory and fine fine fine.
No plan.
So I re-jigged my search to look specifically for a plan and by gripe-er-oo it was a EUREKA moment. “I found it!
That is, I presume I found it, for it is not signed by the president. There is no preface or announcement or endorsement by him. There is no date on it, so I don’t really know when it was done or if it is a working plan.
It is entitled “Philippine Development Plan: 2011 – 2016 Results Matrices”. It can be found at the following web site: http://www.neda.gov.ph/PDP/rm/pdprm2011-2016.pdf
After an introduction by Cayetano W. Paderanga, Jr., the Director-General and Secretary for Socio-Economic Planning, we read the opening sentence:
“Development results, or simply results, are outputs, outcomes, or impacts of a development intervention.”
Huh? I speak English, but fail to comprehend.
Then there are several laborious pages aimed at saying it is important to use benchmarks to measure and manage performance. And the plan is dynamic, subject to change as results come in and priorities change.
I then went to have a beer to cure my headache.
When I returned, I started going through the detail. That was my “oh My God” moment because there were some good disciplines in the plan. They were just obscured by overabundant words and too much detail.
A Plan is No Good Unless It Is Applied
Some plans get caught up in trying to show everything, and when you are dealing with a national government, there is SO MUCH to try to record.
I worked with Japanese principals of one of California’s largest banks. A large bank, too, is a complex entity. But the Japanese got their plan down to one page. All the high-line measures that the details rolled up to were on that page. Lessons from last year. Top objectives. Measureable goals. Progress checks. Then subordinate departments each took their chunk of that plan, and had their own one-pager. It was a master-work of applied planning and drove the Bank to record growth and profits.
I doubt if this Philippine plan gets much daylight unless there is a simpler, abbreviated edition. No single human being can comprehend it, as it is presented. The amount of work that went into it must have been exhaustive.
The plan has a well-organized set of highline objectives and some excellent benchmark statements. I have no idea how realistic many of the statements are.
Highlight Excerpts
The top five objectives are superb.
  • Government’s Five Major Guideposts
  • Anti-Corruption/Transparent, Accountable and Participatory Governance
  • Poverty Reduction and Empowerment of the Poor and Vulnerable
  • Rapid, Inclusive and Sustained Economic Growth
  • Just and Lasting Peace and the Rule of Law
  • Integrity of the Environment and Climate Change Mitigation and Adaption
Next are 16 pages of measureable goals entitled “Critical Indicators”. They are organized in support of 18 components of the five guideposts. This listing is way too detailed for a top level plan (if you want to know the 2016 target for banana production, it is there). But the 18 components are excellent and some of the measures are very important.  It is so detailed that a lot of measures are still generalized and not measurable.
Here is a sampling I found useful:
  • Reduced fiscal deficit-to-GDP ratio from 3.7 percent to 2.0 percent by 2016.
  • Increased classroom to pupil ratio
    • Primary, from 1:38.95 in 2010 to 1:30 in 2016
    • Secondary, from 1:53.63in 2010 to 1:45 in 2016
  • Increased contraceptive prevalence rate from 51 in 2008 to 63 in 2015 (no target identified for 2016)
This is followed by 51 pages of mind-numbing details.
The details are followed by a strange section entitled “President Aquino’s 16 Point Agenda”, which is political in nature, essentially saying how President Aquino will do better than his predecessor. But it follows similar key headings as does the plan itself. It looks like it was tacked on at the end to reconcile President Aquino’s personal aspirations with what the plan says. So his planning wanks put together the plan, it was so big and complex that it was hopelessly useless, so he just tacked on his promotional piece.
Value of Measurable Goals
Goals drive work. It is that simple.
Take the contraceptive prevalence rate. If that is indeed a goal, why is the President not pushing the RH Bill? It is a key step toward achieving the plan. That leads me to believe this is not a working document. A working plan document would IMPEL the president to act.
Also, the classroom to pupil ratio should bring forth the discussion: how exactly are we going to achieve this without busting the budget, considering we have the conflicting program of increasing the number of years of primary education from 10 to 12?
Stating the goal in a WORKING PLAN ought to provoke innovation, such as greater use of the internet to get kids out of the classroom. I doubt that it does.
What to do
The plan needs to be thinned down and popularized to contain only key measures. Maybe no more than 10. Then USED to guide priorities. Can you imagine a State of the Union address that annually recites sound progress toward seven highline goals? The entire nation would be energized by seeing tangible progress. Get rid of the PR and self-promotion and show that the Philippines knows where it is headed, and is moving forcefully in that direction.
Rating of the President on “Timeline Architecture”
Score it 4.0, with the drawbacks that the plan is not popularly published, is too detailed, and probably is not a working document. With a 50% weighting, add 2.0 points to the President’s overall score.
Comments
6 Responses to “The President, Part V: Timeline Architecture, "Oh My God!"”
  1. Anonymous says:

    From: island jim-e (aka: the cricket)1. Best essay yet (since I signed onto the Blog)!2. I am soooo "burned out" with trying to write letters, e-mails, phone calls of request for whatever…and getting stoned walled by theisland government and industry! 3. I have also looked for a "golden lining"in the "outhouse" we call island government, business, and clergy–to no success! The wolves rule right now! They keep themselvesfull of "huff and puff" (foods of the GODS!).4. I kept looking for any "MASTER PLAN" forour island nation, Luzon, Manila, etc.. butcame up really discouraged! a. The Philippine Development PLAN 2011-16 does not reflect well on this government. To my thinking it does not fullfill a good faith and honest (crisis) needs specific program. This leads me to believe that "too much hot air" is expected to "cook" the books! b. During last weeks CNN interview with the PRES he stated that by 2020 our island nation would be "transformed"! The person who interviewed him did not follow- up with any specific questions as to what the PRES-PLAN was, expected to accomplish, etc…! I respectfully direct your attention to: 1. The metro-manila-greenprint 2030 Plan–if and when you find it or get a copy please let me know…I keep looking! 2. The Metro-Road safety action plan2011-2020 (questionable)! 3. RA-008-02: Formulaton of a NationalTransportation plan (a day late and a dollar short)…! 4. ALL OF THESE SO-CALLED PLANS are justaddressing small parts of the GREAT PUZZLE-THE BIG PICTURE AT ONE TIME ON ONE PAGE (specific issues to be detailed in the body-copy)… ALL OF THESE PLANS NEED TO BE COLLECTED AND INCLUDED IN A MASTER VISION FOR THE ISLANDS PLAN….Otherwise nothing compreshensive will be done and our families will suffer the consequences (while the fat cat developers and rich folks feast on our bones)!ALL of the Plans-herein noted–are not only disapointing but does no credit to addressing and providing a pragmatic set of solutions to the individual (specific) CRISIS that our island families face daily!Note: About 30% of the pollution in Manila iscaused by aircraft–so why not relocate theNAIA to Clark to help clean up the air!About 30$ of the Manila pollution is caused bymotor bikes alone….so why not mandate electric bikes (or no bikes at all)!About 30% of the Manila pollution is caused byfuel (carbon) based vehicles–so why not convert to electric and propane until light rail and heavy rail can address the majorillness of our over-populated city!I still have some hope…hope before I diethat a REAL COMPREHENSIVE PLAN WILL BEPRODUCED AND COMPLETED!

  2. There you go, expecting innovation and common sense. Manila is such a pile of metal and cement, you know? Held together with all those telephone wires. Not only relocate the airport, but develop that entire stretch between Clark and Subic as "New Manila", in a planned way.Oops. Bummer. Forgot, planning means thinking ahead.That is a sin.Rather like family planning I guess.Glad you appreciated the article.

  3. Anonymous says:

    From: Island jim-e rocking chair (aka: the cricket)1. Sooooo sad that even the Manila Mayor 11 point program does not address or refer to any Master Plan or Vision-Dream… I guess his honor has a problem going out on a "lim"… hanging by his "Tolentino"….If anyone can find out how to participate in the Metro-M "greenprint" 2030 formulation, what is the name and contact information… of the steering committee chairman, when do they meet, what is the schedule, time line for submission for phase II funding, etc…please let us/me/we know…!2. I wish…I wish…I wish…that more of the so-called Media members, their collective BOSSES, ANYONE IN OUR ELECTED GOVERNMENT would kindly provide me with a VIP LIST- direct e-mail contacts. As the media apparently have other things to do with their "white space" we could provide a grass roots-civilian led effort to assist in providing a self-help salvation solution! If not now, when…if not us…who…if not here… where? I keep thinking about the saying "if you are up to your A.. in gators…it is hard to drain the swamp! But then again a simple solution would be to administer carbon monoxide which would be painless and allow the "sleepwalkers" a e-z way out!Question: How to obtain a master e-mail contact list ofVIP types to begin a citizen based realistic action program? Organization, Management, goals, action….can still provide a solutions!

  4. Jim, regarding the last paragraph. I think you have to piece it together with a lot of work, and that it is best done by hiring a recent college grad with computer talent. Challenges are to keep it fresh and avoid being declared spam.

  5. brianitus says:

    People still like their steak more than the "sizzle." It's great to know that you finally found something that looks like a plan. Still…

  6. I think the idea of measurable objectives and being a politician are in conflict. One is finite and tangible, the other a weasel who likes to paint pretty pictures no matter the disaster. I was actually impressed with much of the plan content, but it was impractically detailed.

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