IS THERE A PHILIPPINE PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION?
OR BETTER STILL, FOR WHOM IS PHILIPPINE PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION? 1 Alex Brillantes, Jr. and Maricel Fernandez 2 I Yes, there is a Philippine Public Administration Is there a Philippine public administration? A number of our colleagues asked us why we are asking that question again as we were planning this colloquium. Indeed that question had been asked 20 years ago, and answers have been provided us by eminent scholars of Public Administration such as Raul de Guzman and Onofre Corpuz. After two decades, we think it is worthwhile to revisit the issue and ask our colleagues once again to answer the question, “Is there a Philippine Public Administration?” This time around, we take the question a little further and ask an equally important second question, “If there is a Philippine Public Administration, then for whom does Philippine Public Administration exist?” Among the basic references we have been using in the general introductory course in Public Administration at both the graduate (PA 201) and undergraduate (PA 11) levels are essays by the aforementioned eminent scholars of Philippine Public Administration (Dr de Guzman and Dr Corpuz). These essays were published in a special issue of the Philippine Journal of Public Administration in 3 1986 (PJPA). While de Guzman and Corpuz both assert that there is a Philippine Public Administration, both also suggest that the question be properly contextualized. There is a Philippine Public Administration as far as there is an American, French and Thai public administration. There is a Philippine public administration as far as there are institutions of public administration addressing specific sectoral concerns. There is a Philippine public administration as far as it being a field of study is concerned. There is a Philippine public administration considering the massive role of the bureaucracy in Philippine public administration. There is a Philippine public administration when we consider its major institutions in education, politics and government. Yes we have basic public administration structures and processes. We have an executive branch with the bureaucracy at its core. We have a Philippine legislature. We have a Philippine judiciary. We have Philippine electoral processes and procedures. We have Philippine sub-national institutions and local governments, together with decentralization processes and procedures. It is within this context that we argue that indeed, we have a Philippine public administration characterized by the presence of administrative structures and processes operating within a unique Philippine context. The paper contextualizes the field of public administration by discussing the following: (a) the evolution of the field of public administration suggesting that there are only two major phases (traditional and modern phase); (b) the different fields of public administration; (c) selected major ongoing concerns of public administration in the Philippines (reorganization, decentralization and corruption). The paper also includes a brief discussion of an example of what is now considered as an emerging illustration of a home grown governance paradigm (Gawad Kalinga) as one that illustrates successful cooperation between government, business and civil society in the delivery of basic services, which after all is a core concern of modern public administration and good governance. The paper then ends by raising third order concerns as we address the question, “for whom is public 4 administration.” One has to make an evaluation – and a judgment call – as to whether the discipline of Philippine public administration has indeed responded - or failed to respond - to the unique calls and demands of the times. This will enable us to answer the question posed at the outset, “for whom is A paper presented in the public colloquium on: “Is there a Philippine Public Administration: A Timeless Issue,” held on June 26-27, 2008 at the...
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