Good governance is key to eradicating poverty
As member states of the United Nations (UN) strive to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDG), Senator Richard J. Gordon (Ind.) said that good governance is needed to eradicate poverty that is being experienced in many parts of the world, including the Philippines.
Gordon made the statement during the MDG Leaders' Forum last Tuesday at the Asian Institute of Management Conference Center in Makati City, where one of the main issues discussed is the first of eight MDGs, which is to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger.
"Poverty is an absence of choice. We must provide development especially in the countryside so people have choices rather than hoping that they will get the turn of the dice by flocking to cities and going abroad. But without good governance, we will not be able to make anything happen in this country," he said.
Gordon explained that part of good governance is motivating the people to improve themselves and be part of nation-building.
"I've always said that what this country needs is not just a change OF men, but a change IN men. None of us here can change our country unless we are able to motivate our people. There must be transformational leadership. The job of a leader is to uplift the level of development of the people, the level of their lives, and the character of the people," he said.
Gordon also stressed that good governance is setting goals for the country to achieve--that is, to develop what he calls HEAT IT (Health, Education, Agriculture, Tourism, and Information Technology), and to go on with the fight against war, corruption, and disasters.
The senator explained that the government should improve the education system by ensuring that schools have better teachers, better learning environment, and sufficient facilities for students; and upgrade student health care by providing the needed manpower such as dentists, doctors and nurses.
In agriculture, he said that "we have to be smarter, plant where we must, in areas that are safe from typhoons" so that we can produce more rice and crops and be able to feed ourselves rather than relying on importation.
Gordon, who is author of the Tourism Act of 2009, also said that tourism should be continuously developed as it is one of the industries that provide a lot of job opportunities for the people. He added that the information and communications technology industry (ICT) is also another sector that needs to be further developed to enable the country to get the lion's share in the global ICT market.
"We should promote all these things, and at the same time we have to get smarter against weather, make sure that we have a disaster risk reduction program and other related programs; we have to address our problem with the insurgents and solve the conflict with our Muslim brothers; and finally, we have to attack corruption at its core," the senator stressed.
"We have a great country but many of our people find their future in foreign shores. It is time to find our future in our own native Filipinas. We've got to have focus--focus on creating jobs, promotions, and we have to make sure that our government is focused, fast, friendly, flexible and always forward-looking," he added.