CITIZEN’S CHARTER

Gingoog City’s Quest for Service Excellence

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No local government unit is perfect. This is a fact. No matter how we, the citizenry, try to put things into proper perspective, there’s always this perplexing room for blunders… for shortcomings… for imperfection. This sad truth, however, should not be a cause for leniency and mediocrity; much less, a justification for inadequate performance. The challenge really is on how to moderate these drawbacks and maximize efficiency and competence in the delivery of public service. This is the challenge directed at local chief executives, local officials, employees and all other stakeholders involved. Needless to say, it is the chief executive who bears the heavier burden and the arduous responsibility in these endeavors.

A local government, spearheaded by the chief executive, should be accountable to its electorate. It should adhere to appropriate safeguards to ensure that it serves the public interest with utmost integrity. A strong local government system can ensure good governance through transparency, accountability, effective participation and equal opportunities for all. Most importantly, this system can ensure development at the grassroots level. Strong local government institutions strengthen democracy, ensure good governance, and at the same time quicken the pace of political and socio-economic development of the entire country.

This collective clamor for excellence is the driving force of the City Government of Gingoog. Empowered by its zealous and no-nonsense leader, former Mayor Ruth L. Guingona (her legacy ably replicated by Mayor Marie L. Guingona), Gingoog is steadily gaining good grounds day in and day out. Mayor Guingona envisions of making the city an epitome of good governance and civil service, worthy of praise and emulation.

“A fully developed and self-sustaining city providing quality public service to the satisfaction of the people of Gingoog”, this is the vision of LGU- Gingoog City.

Why the City Government of Gingoog Embraced the Wisdom of the Citizen’s Charter

The City Government of Gingoog, like any other LGUs in the country, is not spared from the eyes of public scrutiny. The Gingoognons, educated and vigilant, are in constant search for better and quality services from the city government.Citizens-Charter---1

With the enactment of RA 9485 or the Anti-Red Tape Law, the Citizen’s Charter is set up to help promote integrity and accountability and reduce red tape in government services to minimize the chances of graft and corruption.

Thus, The Citizen’s Charter of Gingoog City embarked on the city’s earnest desire to make public service delivery a more transparent and effective process. It allowed a more responsive, efficient, effective and accountable public service.

The Charter, written in short, concise and simple terms, outlined service delivery standards with corresponding steps to follow for a specific government transaction. It also contained the response time to accomplish such transaction. Furthermore, it contained information on how one can get in touch with officials and employees, what to expect by way of services and how to seek remedy if something goes wrong. The charter does not by itself create new legal rights, but is intended to help in enforcing existing rights as mandated under RA 9485.

In sum, the Citizen’s Charter of Gingoog City represents the commitment and contract between the public and the entire workforce of the city government to deliver and submit to necessary sanctions, penalties and impositions in case of violations thereof and the public to benefit timely, effective and efficient public services.

Mandate for an improved efficiency in the delivery of government service

RA 9485, otherwise known as the “Anti-Red Tape Act of 2007”

It is a declared policy of the State to promote integrity, accountability, proper management of public affairs and public property as well as to establish effective practices aimed at the prevention of graft and corruption in government. RA 9485 aimed at improving efficiency in the delivery of government service to the public by reducing bureaucratic red tape, preventing graft and corruption, and providing appropriate penalties.

Administrative Order No. 241

AO 241, signed by then President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, called for the speedy implementation of RA 9485 and its Implementing Rules and Regulations.  In particular, it called for:

  • Streamlining and Posting of Procedures
  • Public Assistance and Complaints Desks and Hotlines
  • Campaign against fixers
  • Institution of a performance evaluation system based on output

CSC Memorandum Circular No. 12 s. 2008

CSC MC No. 12 s. 2008 laid out the implementing rules and regulations of RA 9485

Response of LGU – Gingoog City

With the issuance of RA 9485, re-enforced by the President’s AO no. 241 and CSC’s Memorandum Circular no. 12 s. 2008, the City Government of Gingoog was quick to respond positively to the call for change. With the instruction of Mayor Guingona, all measures (pro-active and reactive) were carefully thought and planned out.

Citizens-Charter---2The leadership was well aware of the benefits that the Citizen’s Charter has brought to other LGUs (pilot cities and municipalities) and its constituents and desired the same for the City of Gingoog and its people. To manifest its seriousness in effecting change, the City Mayor issued Executive Order No. 4, s. 2009 – an order mandating the establishment of a Citizen’s Charter for the City of Gingoog.

This EO then paved way for the formulation of a Steering Committee and a Task Force for the same purposes. The steering committee was created to serve as the primary advisory body to the Local Chief Executive in the overall direction and supervision of the Citizen’s Charter. In the same manner, the Task Force was created to take lead in the formulation, writing, and packaging of the Citizen’s Charter.

Citizens-Charter---4Various capability enhancement, training and orientation seminar workshops were conducted on August 11-12, 2009 to better acquaint and equip the employees. Reputable and competent Resource Persons from the Civil Service Commission, led by Director Edgar B. Lago and Ms. Lilia Baliguat were invited to facilitate these seminars.

What started out with the Department Heads, Division Chiefs, and Administrative Officers, the same message trickled down to the rank and file employees, including barangay officials, private and public stakeholders. All employees, including Job Order Hirees, are empowered and enjoined to adhere to the new way and innovative endeavors in doing government transactions.

Citizen’s Charter of Gingoog City

The City Government of Gingoog established its own Citizen’s Charter – an official document that communicates, in simple terms, valuable information on the services that it provides to the public. This document described the step-by-step procedures for availing a particular service along with the guaranteed time frame that a client may expect.

The Citizen’s Charter has the following features:

  • LGU’s Vision, Mission, and Performance Pledge
  • Frontline services and its target recipients
  • Step-by-step procedure/s of a particular service
  • Officer and/or employee responsible for each step
  • Maximum duration of transaction
  • Required document/s , with a clear indication of its relevancy
  • Required fees, if necessary
  • Redress and Feedback Mechanism
  • Organizational Structure
  • Directory
  • Profile and History of Gingoog City
  • Relevant Forms (ARTA forms)

Modest Gains

  • Streamlined Procedures – all transactions have been simplified and have provided an expected time frame to ensure prompt delivery of services.Citizens-Charter---5
  • Public Assistance and Complaints Desks and Hotlines – all departments, including sub-offices, of the City Government have instituted permanent Help Desks to allow clients easy access to information and be accommodated accordingly.
  • Posting of Tarpaulins and Signage – each department has its own Frontline Services tarpaulin/s. Tarpaulins were aesthetically designed and strategically placed for the transacting public to see. Appropriate signages were also put in place to provide better guidance and directions.
  • Campaign against fixers – Anti-fixer Campaign posters and tarpaulins were produced and posted at the front doors of all offices.Citizens-Charter---6
  • Institution of a performance evaluation system based on output – Performance Management System – Office Performance Evaluation System (PMS-OPES) was applied to strengthen the old Performance Evaluation System
  • Provision of lounge area for the waiting public
  • Redress Mechanism and Customer Feedback -
  • Client Satisfaction – Of all the modest gains of the LGU, this is undeniably the sweetest. The transacting public can attest to the improvement in the delivery of public service.

Conclusion

The City Government, thru all its officials & employees, is open to improve its delivery of Service Standards by employing the following measures and strategies:

  • Regularly monitor the implementation of ARTA in every office
  • Provide constant mechanism to evaluate and validate service standards.
  • Strengthen the implementation of ARTA
  • Subject all employees and stakeholders to Focal Group discussions

The path to the ultimate is somewhere up yet. The modest laurels that everyone takes pride with are half way through, thanks to the Citizen’s Charter and the collaborative efforts of committed individuals. They have no reasons at this moment in time to sit down with folded hands on a swivel chair. The mountain climb is still in progress. – RUC