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This year’s KAS Partners’ Workshop was highlighted by a dinner forum on February 21 entitled “Challenges Ahead” with Hon. Secretary Bayani Fernando of the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) as guest speaker. Beaming with confidence and armed with a witty sense of humor, Secretary Fernando spoke to the partners of KAS about the current political issues the nation is facing and his presidential aspirations this coming 2010 national elections.
Opening on a light note, Fernando, recipient of the KAS Medal of Excellence Award in 1999, hinted on being the “Next President.” Equipped with 25 years of experience as an engineer, he shared his personal philosophies and beliefs drawing reference from his infamous stint in overhauling and beautifying his home city of Marikina and turning it into one of the cleanest and most organized cities in the country. The Marikina example became an avenue for Secretary Fernando to express his practical views on forming, maintaining and leading a society. Through his life-changing policies in Marikina, he confidently communicated his belief in a kind of social reorientation that builds the community and eventually leading to the political maturity of the people thus serving as the launching point for change, improvement and development.
His tenure as both an engineer and public official carried on as he was appointed MMDA chairman by President Gloria Macapagal- Arroyo. A host of similar and new projects were launched such as the envisioned Metro Gwapo 2010. This clean up campaign in the Metro aims to eradicate what Fermando called, “signs of a decaying community” by 2010. Currently, Fernando has instigated the tipping point of this project dubbed as Metro Gwapito 2008. These campaigns are but necessary products of the government intervention and leadership required to address Manila’s eye sores.
Signifying his early intention for the topmost seat in the country, Secretary Fernando pointed out two important considerations for pursuing the position: his unwavering faith in the capacity and capability of the government as well as his faith in the organization. However, he cited that the major problem of our society is poverty and the primary reason for this is low productivity.
Bolstering his image as an engineer, Fernando emphasized that the country is losing more in failed engineering rather than in corruption. This belief holds the answer to how faulty engineering gave rise to the failure of several Php 900 billion worth government projects by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH). Hence, he underscored the importance of having an engineer as president as the government demands more technical decisions thus the need for an engineer in the position.
In the succeeding open forum, Secretary Fernando addressed the different questions on various topics including agriculture and education. Fernando once again emphasized the importance of productivity and nation building in addressing the country’s woes.
The workshop and forum was attended by notable personalities from various social, business political organizations, the academe, the government and the international community. Some of them were: former Senator Santanina Rasul, Presidential Commission on Good Government Chairman Camilo Sabio, Mr. Ramon Casiple, former Ambassador Raul Goco, Mayor James Gordon of Olongapo City, TACDRUP Chairman Lito Lorenzana, Dr. Sebastian Paust from the Asian Development Bank (ADB), Dr. Günter Dill and Marikina Mayor Marides Fernando.