Development Academy of the Philippines President and CEO Engelbert Caronan, Jr. (on the podium, right) delivers his message  during the opening ceremony of the second run of the  Capability Building on Innovative Leadership for Legislative Staff program last August 29 at the House of Representatives in Quezon City. (Photo by Ped Garcia)

The Development Academy of the Philippines (DAP), through its Center for Governance (CFG), opened the second batch of the Capability Building on Innovative Leadership for Legislative Staff (CBILLS) last August 29 at the House of Representatives (HOR) in Quezon City for some 80 participants from the House of Representatives and the Senate of the Philippines that will be covered by the program categorized under three tracks namely, Emerging Leaders, Middle Managers, and Senior Leaders.

DAP President and CEO Engelbert Caronan, Jr. in his opening remarks, encouraged the participants to renew their appreciation of  their work in the legislature by specifying four of their crucial roles: first, legislative staff serve as an institutional memory by complementing any knowledge management system and contributing to the success of a policy by making sure that it is based or is built upon considerations of earlier policies; second, they serve as the cultural memory of the institution by keeping Congress stable in maintaining its customs and traditions; third, as channels of information, and under information theory they collectively control the flow of information by restricting or expanding those that reach the floor of Congress for deliberation; and last, sociologists consider legislative staff as a community in itself who are closest to the lawmakers and that by default, forms the channels of empathy.

Meanwhile, Leo Leaño, from the HOR Committee on Appropriations, gave his impressions on being a part of the pilot batch of the CBILLS program. He expressed that his experience from the program has reminded him of how important it is to motivate oneself to rethink everything in order to reverse evolution in the context of working in an established system. He likewise shared how the program has brought change to the staff of the Committee on Appropriations, especially on teamwork and collaboration.

Deputy Secretary-General of the HOR Committee Affairs Department Atty. Arlene Dada-Arnaldo and Director Irah Borinaga of the Office of the Senate Secretary both emphasized to the participants the importance of continuing and pursuing improvements, particularly on leadership and policy development, in order to better assist legislators.

HOR Deputy Speaker Loren Legarda, as one of the principal supporter of the CBILLS program, addressed the participants through her inspirational message which was read on her behalf by DAP Senior Vice President Magdalena L. Mendoza.

 “The Filipino people gave you the privilege to lead and manage the government, and I hope that this activity will allow you to discover the leadership that you possess. I hope it fuels two of the most important things that you need in public service: passion and dedication,” said Legarda.

The CBILLS aims to serve as a continuous developmental set of training interventions for legislative staff of the Philippine Congress on Leadership and Management. In 2018, the first batch of participants came from the Office of Senator JV Ejercito Estrada, Legislative Budget Research and Monitoring Office of the Philippine Senate, and the HOR-Committee of Appropriations. Beginning 2019, the program expanded its coverage to include other units and offices of the Philippine Senate and House of Representatives, and to provide more inclusive developmental interventions for the legislative branch’s workforce. – Sheena Carmina Mateo