Philippines rich in law but poor in implementation Social Science Policy Analysis Webinar

A recently concluded webinar of the National Research Council of the Philippines cited that Filipinos have the notion of the Philippines “being a country that is "rich in law but poor in implementation.”

“This is due to the government’s somewhat faulty implementation of policy instruments,” said Dr. Francisco A. Magno, a professor of Political Science and Development Studies at the De La Salle University and Member of NRCP Social Sciences Division. f the means of the government to solve problems and accomplish goals, policy instruments are very critical in the policy process. He provided a hypothetical example wherein government-built traffic lights are suddenly put in a place that previously contained none, people will react differently before and after the placement of the said traffic lights. Introducing certain tools and instruments is expected to bring behavior modifications to people—this is in line with the behavioral assumption underlying a policy instrument in which it "attempts to get people to do things that they might not otherwise have done."

Dr. Magno along with Dr. Rizalino Cruz, Associate Professor of Public Administration at the University of the Philippines Diliman, were the featured speakers as leading experts in policy research analysis in this webinar organized by the NRCP Division of Social Sciences-Political Science and Public Administration Section last February 22.

According to Dr. Magno, public policy is defined as “the actions of the government and the intentions that determine those actions.” He emphasized that administrators make policy as implementers by establishing programs, enforcing rules, and adjudicating cases. He also cited a case study from the Republic Act No. 10023, otherwise known as “An Act Authorizing the Issuance of Free Patents to Residential Lands”, during which he presented the step-by-step process from the identification of an issue.

Dr. Rizalino Cruz shared his study on blue carbon ecosystems about mangrove forests and seagrass beds, where it was geared towards understanding the problem and coming up with policy tools to address the said problem. He noted that appreciation of the human behavior is vital in seeing how the public will behave in relation to policies. He also provided practical advice to those that will utilize the public administration perspective: tap experts from different fields, contextualize the policy-making analysis, know the limits of government authority, and appreciate the complexity of human behavior.

The event was concluded through an Open Forum where both speakers shared their further thoughts on the said topic (Anton Santiago, Ledger Clemente).