The Capability Building on Innovative Leadership for Legislative Staff (CBILLS) Program concluded with a closing ceremony at the Senate last July 26, with Senator JV Ejercito thanking the Development Academy of the Philippines for enabling the members of the Philippine legislative staff to upgrade their competencies through the program.

In his keynote speech as guest of honor, Ejercito thanked the DAP for designing and implementing a customized training program that catered to the hardest-working staffers of the Philippine Senate and House of Representatives.  Being the chief mission leader of the benchmarking study mission and a staunch supporter of the program, he likewise shared his experience as one of the students, attesting to the dedication of the legislative staffers in completing the five-day benchmarking study mission at the National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies in Japan and their resolve to upgrade their competencies to provide better support to the needs of the legislative branch.

Meanwhile, DAP President and CEO Atty. Engelbert C. Caronan Jr. stressed the importance of improving the design and delivery of the CBILLS Program to ensure that: (1) competencies of the legislative staff are addressed despite the limitations that constitutional, institutional and political systems impose on the exercise of legislative functions; (2) gaps between promises and performance are resolved; and (3) necessary skills are honed to make the system work by creating mechanisms for building policy consensus and for bridging the institutional and political divide or differences.  He also encouraged the participants to have a mindset to prepare for a much bigger challenge as they try to help in the vital function of crafting evidence-based legislation.

Speaking of their experience from the program, Atty. Yolanda Doblon, director general of the Legislative Budget Research and Monitoring Office, and Ms. Julieta Apostol, director of the Committee on Appropriations, both acknowledged the importance of this collaboration between Congress and the Academy in upgrading the leadership competencies of the technical legislative staff.

Implemented by the Academy’s Center for Governance, the CBILLS Program ran from April to June, completing three components, namely, Management, Leadership and Technical Skills Upgrading; Lecture Series on Socio-Political and Economic Governance; and a benchmarking study mission, which are all specifically designed to equip the legislative staff with the necessary management and leadership competencies to ensure that they are able to effectively assist in the lawmaking functions of Philippine legislators.

Out of 72 members of the legislative staff reached by the program, 58 inaugural participants completed the program and received their certificates for having completed the requirements.