A TRIBUTE TO SECRETARY JESSE ROBREDO
by Ms. Chiyo Kanda, Acting Country Director, World Bank Philippines
Co-Convenor, Philippines Development Forum
August 24, 2012, Kalayaan Hall, Malacañang Palace
Honorable Government Officials and Local Chief Executives, Partners from the Development Community and Civil Society, Distinguished Guests, Colleagues and Friends, Ladies and Gentlemen:
As co-chair of the Philippines Development Forum and co-convener of the Working Group on Decentralization and Local Government, we would like to express our deepest sympathies to the family, Atty. Leni and their three daughters, and other relatives and friends of Secretary Jesse Robredo. Also our sincere condolences to the Government of the Philippines and to the millions of Filipinos who have been inspired by the life of a great public servant, Secretary Jesse Robredo.
The World Bank, together with many partners in development, salute you, Secretary Robredo— or Jesse, as you would always want us to call you.
The development community has a long history of partnership in supporting decentralization and local governance reforms in the Philippines. Yet your appointment as head of the Department of Interior and Local Government marked an important shift in the focus and commitment of the government to reforms. At the beginning of your term, you chaired a meeting of the Working Group on Decentralization and Local Government, and how delighted we were to hear the principles of your reform agenda, which you then outlined as: “Empowered and Accountable Local Government Units, Transparent and Effective Local Governance, and Engaged Citizenry.”
You quickly put this agenda into action. The Full Disclosure Policy, the Seal of Good Housekeeping, and the Performance Challenge Fund were just a few of the innovations and reforms that you have successfully implemented in your two short years as the leader of DILG. But your greatest legacy, perhaps, even from the time you were Mayor of Naga City, was your unwavering belief in the genuine participation of the people. And you created the space and mechanisms for civil society to be meaningfully involved in local governments. Last week, just two days before the tragic accident, I had the honor to be with you during the launch of a knowledge partnership in monitoring local public services at the De La Salle University. In your keynote speech, you said: