Amid 'awful manager' tag, PNoy calls for culture of competence

By RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 20 2014 03:10 PM | Updated as of Mar 20 2014 11:10 PM

MANILA - President Aquino wants to reinforce a "culture of competence and quality" in the country amid criticism that he and his Cabinet are underperformers and awful managers.

"Hindi pwede ang pwede na. Or, in English: good enough is not enough," the President said at the 16th Philippines Quality Award conferment ceremony in Malacañang Palace.

"Today, I invite you all: Let us reinforce the culture of quality and competence that has taken root in the Philippines. If we continue working together--whichever sector we may be in--we can ingrain a culture that shuns mediocrity, and consistently pursues excellence. We can build on our successes as one country, and complete our turnaround into a society of inclusiveness and opportunity," he said.

Aquino ally Senator Sergio Osmeña earlier criticized Aquino and Energy Secretary Jericho Petilla for failing to solve the power crisis in Mindanao. He said Aquino should fire the energy chief.

Malacanang, however, disagreed with Osmena's statements.

In his speech, President Aquino said there are "very few excuses left for substandard work" with the advent of new, scientific discoveries in almost every possible field of expertise.

He urged Filipinos to usher in an era of precision, of heightened standards for every possible product and service.

"As much as these awards are a recognition of your achievements these past few years, they must also provide impetus to do even better. They must challenge you to go above and beyond your proven standards. In the coming weeks, months, and years, you will be tested in different ways--and the way you respond to those challenges will have a drastic effect on the quality of life of our fellow Filipinos."

The Philippine Quality Awards was institutionalized by Republic Act 9013 to encourage and engage public and private organizations and other stakeholders to strive for and attain performance excellence.

This year, the award was given to the following for their commitment to quality management:

- Lyceum of the Philippines University Manila,
- Philippine Association of Colleges and Universities Commission on - Accreditation,
- Zamboanga Polymedic Hospital,
- Department of Science and Technology Region 9, and
- Philippine Information Agency.

Aquino paid tribute to these entities in his speech even as he continued to show off his administration's achievements.

He said the percentage of the population enrolled in PhilHealth has significantly increased. "On top of that, through our efforts, the poorest among our countrymen can simply walk into a government hospital and receive treatment, free of charge. Greater coverage in PhilHealth necessarily means a greater demand for the services of every hospital, be they government-run institutions, or private ones such as Ciudad Medical Zamboanga."

The President said the Department of Education under the leadership of Secretary Armin Luistro has ended the backlogs in classrooms, books, and desks inherited from the previous administrations.

He also said the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program will be giving cash grants to 4.4 million families, with one of the conditions being that they send school-age children to school.

The President amplified his call for competence by recounting his own personal experience. Aquino is a known gun enthusiast.

"As one might naturally assume, in shooting, accuracy is key, and this necessarily entails improving your firearm to increase its utility and optimize its performance. Back then, I had a shotgun, the performance of which I wanted to improve. Having tested the shotguns of my friends, I asked them who helped them fine tune their firearms, and they directed me to an individual, who also happened to be a friend of mine."

"When I finally brought it to him, he proceeded to bring out various-sized socket wrenches, and seemed to be measuring something-looking for the perfect size. I began to wonder: How exactly do you use a socket wrench with a shotgun? At a certain point, he found the right one, and when I thought he was merely aligning this wrench, he suddenly took out a hammer and pounded on my shotgun's magazine tube. The purpose, he said, was to loosen the magazine tube to make it easier to load shells. And, somehow, in his opinion, the best way to do things, or to do that, was by hitting it with a hammer."

"Suffice it to say: I was shocked. We had agreed on what the endpoint would be, but the methodology was far from what I had imagined. Moreover, given that I had to save up for quite a while to purchase that particular shotgun, when he hammered on that fine piece of equipment, I felt a massive depreciation of its value."