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Making a difference

The House of Representatives Secretariat was led by a truly a patriotic leader and exemplary public manager from February 2008 to July 2016. Atty. Marilyn B. Barua Yap, the first woman to be elected Secretary General of the House of Representatives in its more than 100 year-history is a walking, talking, and living definition of who a public manager-servant is.

In raising the standard of legislative support services in the House of Representatives, Atty. Yap introduced reforms and innovations that were clearly directed towards the core reason for government’s existence – serving the public interest. She consistently worked based on the principle that the House of Representatives is the House of the People and as such, legislative support services that the House Secretariat delivers should always be measured in terms of their value to the Filipino people.

As the reforms and innovations she introduced necessarily required changes that in turn required the officials and staff in the House Secretariat to move out of their comfort zones, she was not always “popular” but no one can argue against the fact that her initiatives were really what is best for the House of Representatives as the House of the Filipino people.

In the years that she served as Secretary General, she was consistently against the “status quo” as she believes that continuous improvement of public services should be the norm. She consistently challenged the officials and staff of the House Secretariat to do better than their last period’s performance.

Hers is the kind of management approach that we need in the Philippine bureaucracy. Our government can only be a genuine government of, for and by the people if public managers are able to define operations of their respective agencies in the context of the value of the same to serving the public interest and are able to create operating systems that are meant to continuously improve the kinds and quality of services delivered to the public.

The House of Representatives, particularly its Secretariat, has been truly privileged to had been led by Secretary General Yap. Perhaps, the most significant of her achievements is her modeling of the passion for and commitment to serving the public interest that every public manager should possess. The absence of such passion and commitment causes the unresponsiveness of the government and thus, the continuous erosion of the people’s trust in it.

On a personal note, I consider myself especially privileged to have been given the opportunity of working with her and learning a lot from her. (Dr. Ramon Ricardo A. Roque, CESOI, Diplomate)