New CSC chair bats for 'merci-ful' bureaucracy
by ES Subong
Iloilo City (29 August) -- "I aim to build a civil service that will be full of MERCI," new Civil Service Commission (CSC) Chair Ricardo L. Saludo said as he assumed his post last month.
Saludo said MERCI summarized his vision of what the civil service should be, with the close partnerships among the 1.2 million public service providers, the national and local government units, private sector and civil society.
He said his goal is for the nationwide corps of government employees, from the policemen guarding the country's peace, to the doctor and the teacher caring for the people's bodies and minds and the countless other rank and file public servants, to become more MERCI-ful in the course of six and a-half years that he sits as CSC Chair.
Saludo said MERCI stands for Morale, Efficiency, Responsiveness, Courtesy and Integrity.
To boost Morale, Saludo said, three other M's are needed namely money where increasing government pay is important for the employees to be well-motivated to perform well. The series of salary increases for government workers are made possible through government's tough fiscal reforms.
Another M to lift morale is using media to tell stories of unsung heroes in government, for all those CSC awardees to be fully recognized, as well as the many others who have given their entire lives in service to the people.
The third M is meritocracy, where the CSC is intensifying its advocacy for appointments and promotions based on merit.
For Efficiency, Saludo said there is a need to harness four E's: education, evaluation, exchange and e-government, adding that efficiency also gains from the frank, constructive exchange of information, insights and ideas among government personnel at various levels and between agencies and their constituents and stakeholders.
The CSC Chair also said e-government offers the promise of speedy interaction and service delivery by harnessing information technology for governance by national agencies and local government units.
On the other hand, Responsiveness demands that government workers practices rapid, relevant and realistic appreciation of situations demanding government action, which comes out of respect for the views and sentiments of people they serve.
Saludo said enhancing responsiveness is ratings that would indicate how responses of government agencies, units and personnel impact on their performance grades, hence, part of the ratings should come from the public.
Meanwhile, real courtesy is also needed with the increased interface between the government and the governed. Secretary Saludo said it is not just the warm greeting and smiling manner which are basic in customer relations, but the hallmarks that characterize true respect for the citizens served which are consultation and cooperation.
The 'I' in MERCI is the most challenging and controversial, said Saludo, for there might be illusions that ending decades of corruption will be quick and easy. There are also insinuations where many antigraft crusaders think they have won when their accusations land on front pages and prime time in the media.
Saludo also said that in order to succeed in the quest for MERCI in Philippine bureaucracy, there is a need not only for structural and policy changes but also for inner transformation in both public and private sectors coupled with trust in God.
The Philippine Civil Service will celebrate its 108th Anniversary this September, with month-long activities, starting this Sunday. (PIA 6) [top]