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Seal of Good Education Governance validates Moreno admin’s gains

WHEN I learned that Cagayan de Oro City Hall under Mayor Oscar Moreno’s administration won the Seal of Good Education Governance from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Synergeia Foundation Inc. and PLDT/Smart for the second time, I had to get some notes from City Hall sources to complement my own observations about this latest accolade to the city.

And my assessment, limited and flawed it may be, is that Mayor Moreno has done more than what his predecessor, the late mayor Vicente Emano, did as far as providing access to quality education to the greater number of city residents especially the poor in his three terms of office are concerned.

Yes, Moreno is serving the first of his last three years in office but he was able to build more classrooms, raised the literacy rate of schoolchildren to near universal status from 80 to 90 plus percent and will soon leave to his predecessor, whoever he or she may be, the task to oversee completion of the proposed City Library project.

The City Library project will make learning and research more affordable and convenient and enjoyable for more students especially those in public schools who have little to zero access to quality education materials and I personally have high hopes that it will be built and achieve just what it is intended to do so.

But more than the classrooms and providing facilities and materials for schoolchildren, the city government under Moreno’s administration had been cited by the prime movers of the Seal of Good Education Governance for innovations in expanding membership and encouraging proactive participation in the Local School Board which decides and crafts policies on a local government’s education programs.

To be more specific, the Moreno administration had been credited for ‘consensus-building’ or mobilizing stakeholder sentiment and support for his education policies and programs.

And based on what I get from City Hall sources, this consensus-building reflects Mayor Moreno’s work style or in this case, governance style that had been influenced in part by his private sector career, namely in his stint at Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) which is among the country’s leading banks.

One of the mayor’s qualities based on my observation and input from said City Hall sources is his ability and willingness to delegate responsibility to key point persons that will carry out and oversee implementation of his programs and policies.

Some of Moreno’s key point persons include Acting City Administrator Teddy Sabuga-a, who served with him during his days in Congress and at the Capitol in Misamis Oriental.

Sabuga-a and the other key point persons had been effective so far to the point that they had attracted attention from the opposition Padayon Pilipino party whose alliance with the Centrist Democratic Party (CDP) fueled their attacks on the mayor’s people including a former colleague, City Information Officer Maricel Casino-Rivera.

The election victories of Moreno and his allies in the 19th City Council was an emphatic exclamation mark by Cagayan de Oro City’s voters that soundly refuted and demolished whatever election propaganda garbage thrown their way by the Padayon Pilipino opposition bloc led by mayoral aspirant Pompee La Vina and his regurgitated lineup of candidates.

And the mayor’s reelection in turn validated what his administration’s education programs and policies did for the city’s schoolchildren that had resulted in near zero dropout rate and a 90 percent plus literacy rate.

When the private sector itself especially organizations with established reputations and credibility recognize and cite a local government’s performance especially those groups that work to improve education and the general quality of life of the country’s local governments, then Cagayan de Oro City Hall’s latest accolade—namely the Seal of Good Education Governance—more than counts for something.

And this accolade and recognition is yet another achievement that the mayor’s critics particularly those with designs and ambition to become the next Cagayan de Oro City mayor regardless of their failed, tainted records or their involvement in controversies and irregularities, something to chew on, ponder and whine about (For questions and comments email me at susanap.dennis@yahoo.com)

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