JICA programme coordinator Mamiko Nakada (left) is shown with DAP President and CEO Atty. Engelbert Caronan Jr., ARMM Governor Mujiv Hataman, JICA senior representative Yo Ebisawa, DILG-ARMM Director Khalid Dumagay and DAP Vice President Imelda Caluen during the foundation course on local governance and development.

The recent foundation course on local governance and development for 22 local chief executives of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao is not the first time that the Development Academy of the Philippines, the Japan International Cooperation Agency, the Department of the Interior and Local Government-ARMM and the Regional Government of ARMM have partnered in capacitating ARMM local chief executives and managers.  From 2012 until 2015, various capability-building interventions have been delivered to the ARMM regional government and its public officials and technical staff.

The heads and senior officials of the partner institutions were present when the Knowledge Co-Creation (KCC) Programme kicked off last July 2 with the said course on local governance and development.  The foundation course is the first of four courses under the Leadership Enhancement and Development (LEAD) training component being implemented by the DAP’s Center for Governance.

During the training, ARMM Governor Mujiv Hataman shared his actual experience in leading and governing the ARMM regional government.  He said that the key features of an Islamic leader are servant leadership and being consultative, trustworthy and just.  Moreover, he mentioned that the two accountabilities of an Islamic leader in the ARMM are his obligation to God and his obligation to his people.   He stressed that doing good deeds and good governance should be an Islamic leader’s manifestation of love and devotion to Allah, while his service to his people should be a reciprocation of the trust that they gave local chief executives when they elected these LCEs and gave them the power to lead.

DAP President and CEO, Atty. Engelbert Caronan, Jr.: LCEs can exercise clear judgment if desire to stay in power is removed.

DAP President Atty. Engelbert Caronan Jr., a former local chief executive himself, meanwhile shared his experiences and insights on leadership and politics.  “As politicians, we must be willing to fade away because it is very difficult to govern if you entertain the idea of retaining yourself in power,” he said, stressing that if people prioritize sustaining themselves in power, then their judgment becomes obscured. “It is therefore important to remove that desire from the equation, to help LCEs exercise clear judgment.” Caronan declared.

He added that the program interventions are incredibly important if the LGUs truly want to move forward altogether towards providing the best services to the public and to learn how to lead a knowledge-based organization.

JICA senior representative Yo Ebisawa, on the other hand, thanked the participants, the DILG-ARMM and the DAP team for a successful training intervention.  He expressed appreciation for the enthusiasm that the participants put into the discussions.

JICA Senior Representative Mr. Yo Ebisawa: Take advantage of the program to develop good relationship with your fellow mayors.

Their contributions to the sessions along the action plans that they prepared, Ebisawa said, are ways for the participants to improve their governance style and make effective changes in their respective LGUs.  He added that this KCC programme will also encourage the LCEs to keep the enthusiasm and take the opportunity to get close with fellow mayors to learn, connect and have healthy discussions with each other so they can work together better.