Movement for Good Governance to help voters rate candidates

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The Movement for Good Governance (MGG) is attempting to help Filipino voters evaluate candidates for posts in the May 13 elections with a “simple but effective” scorecard based on three leadership criteria:

effectiveness, empowerment and ethics.

The MGG Scorecard, a first in Philippine politics, was initiated using diverse local and international governance benchmarks from Gawad Galing Pook, the World Bank and the United Nations. It was finalized with the assistance of the People Management Association of the Philippines.

The MGG, a group of Filipino citizens and organizations seeking transparent, participatory and accountable governance, has promoted the use of its scorecard since the 2010 elections. With the coming elections, the group is reminding Filipino voters to evaluate their candidates wisely.

“This scorecard helps Filipinos regardless of social class and background to evaluate candidates in terms of whether they are fit for public office. It enables voters to critically think through all the information, jingles and gimmicks thrown at them by political campaigns,” MGG chairperson Solita Monsod said in a statement posted on the group’s website.

The MGG explained that its scorecard was using three equally vital leadership criteria and simple guide questions. It looks at a candidate’s effectiveness, ability and track record; empowerment, or ability to unite and engage stakeholders to develop and implement policies and programs that meet genuine needs of the populace; and ethics, or the need for integrity and character.

“These three complementary traits are all necessary for our country to be governed as we deserve, and the scorecard allows voters to grade candidates on each criterion using simple guide questions. It also ranks the candidates’ total scores—on a basic 1-to-3 score—to determine who among them meets these traits the best,” said Milwida Guevara, MGG founder and Gawad Haydee Yorac awardee.

The scorecard asks voters to rate each candidate’s performance as an effective, empowering and ethical leader on a scale of 1 to 3. The candidate with the highest score is deemed most deserving of the vote.

It applies the three-pronged test on the candidate: Does the candidate have a solid platform, program and position on important issues, proven work ethic, political will and results, good education, work and leadership experience?

To determine whether the leader is “empowering,” the scorecard asks whether the candidates promote propoor policies and programs; understand, consult and represent the interests of marginalized sectors; and inspire trust, unity and hope.

Clean lifestyle

On screening “ethical” candidates, the scorecard asks whether the candidate, family and party/organization would: demonstrate good moral character and a clean lifestyle; comply with laws, protect public resources and reduce corruption; and have a clean, consistent and transparent public record.

The scorecard may be downloaded from the MGG website following this link http://www.scribd.com/doc/135297489/MGG-2013-Scorecard-English. The group intends to disseminate this to key cities and communities up to Election Day.

The MGG has been holding panel sessions to promote the use of the scorecard. These benchmarking sessions, called “Timbangan,” are about learning the process of evaluating candidates, not about endorsing particular candidates, it said. Mock polls were held after each session.

The MGG said anyone can take the process and apply it to any set of candidates, whether national or local, for any position. “In fact, we encourage people to do so. We are thrilled that a number of people have expressed interest in conducting similar activities in their respective schools/communities/barangays,” the group said.

A benchmarking session was held at the Ateneo de Manila on April 16. A panel of experts led by Monsod, a former socioeconomic planning secretary, evaluated the candidates using the scorecard. She was joined by former finance secretary Roberto de Ocampo, former Commission on Elections commissioner Gus Lagman, former Negros Occidental Gov. Lito Coscolluela, and Joy Aceron, research director of the Ateneo School of Government.

Effect of dynasties

The panel evaluated the candidates based on the MGG’s scorecard that looked at the “effectiveness, empowerment and ethical character” of each of the candidates. They used as a guide a briefing paper on the candidates’ past performance, empowering programs and behavior, as well as how their lives were consistent with the values they professed.

The experts were unanimous that voters should take a stand on the deleterious effects of dynasties on the country’s politics.

“Dynasties have monopolized political power and resources and have deprived other equally competent Filipinos to develop leadership and serve their countries well,” Monsod said.

She added that year after year, the pork barrel—or the priority development assistance fund (PDAF)—of lawmakers who were members of these political dynasties had been spent to perpetuate their power and influence.

De Ocampo lamented that candidates were being marketed as products and not on their demonstrated competence. Coscolluela said he found it difficult to choose candidates using the late senators Jose Diokno and Claro M. Recto as exemplars. Aceron said that candidates who did not respect institutions were not empowering and ethical.

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