The yearÂ 2015 has proven to beÂ another good episode of Bohol governance by Gov. Edgar Chatto as she was feted with itsÂ first Seal of Good Local Governance (SGLG) from the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG).
It is perhaps Â a fitting national recognition of the integrity and competence of the Chatto administration halfway to the final stretch of its second term.
Since 2010, the provincial government has Â a first-ever Â number of Â governance and institutional reforms , according to Linda Paredes, organization development and institution building specialist, Bohol Skills Enhancement Center (BOSEC), Inc.
Paredes said these involve procurement, human resource development and management, a functional and independent internal audit, strengthening planning and budgeting linkages, expenditure management, information and communication technology, among others.
The reforms have also introduced and put to best practice road rehabilitation and maintenance skills upgraded to national standards as well as road management that considers social and environmental factors.
Paredes is the top coordinator of the Provincial Road Management Facility (PRMF), a program piloted in Bohol and nine other Philippine provinces with the assistance of the Australian government in partnership with the DILG and concerned provincial LGUs.
â€œThrough all these projects, Gov. Chatto shows his utmost commitment, dedication and accessibility as a leader,â€ Paredes said, recounting further that â€œwe could meet him anytime, including late night and early morning meetings.â€
â€œBy his record of accomplishments, he is considered a transforming leader,â€ former University of the Philippines (UP) President Jose Abueva said of Chatto.
Abueva has worked with Chatto as a member of the governorâ€™s UP Advisory Council, a multi-disciplinary group of Boholano UP professors headed by UP Diliman Chancellor Caesar Saloma.
He has observed during meetings how the governor â€œclearly articulates his concerns, goals, policies, even problems, and how he graciously interacts with us as his advisers and with other Bohol leaders and national officialsâ€ in attendance.
The â€œhumble and consultative styleâ€ of Chatto enables the full participation of all while sharpening his own grasp of the issues and guiding him what best action to take, Abueva said.
At the helm of the countryâ€™s leading university from 1987 to 1993, Abueva said â€œwe all grow in our appreciation of his vision, ideals and goals as a political leader, and in our respect for his leadership.â€
â€œWe then know even more why our governor is so widely respected, admired and honored. I have heard that he is known to deal with his various constituents in the same respectful consultative manner. Local government leaders whom we meet tell us so,â€ he said.
Having known the â€œexemplaryâ€ governor is â€œmy privilege,â€ and Bohol needs â€œmuch moreâ€ the â€œsensitive, progressive, modern and transforming servant leader,â€ said Abueva, who is also a UP political science and public administration professor emeritus.
Abueva said Chattoâ€™s â€œsensitivity to his peers and lowly folk and his good sense of timing are both virtues of a good leader.â€
By Abuevaâ€™s â€œestimate,â€ Chatto is a â€œvery thoughtful servant leader who goes out of his way untiringly to serve.â€
TRUE AND GOOD
A former high school mentor, Fr. Jose Sumampong said Chatto â€œtruly is a good person,â€ an impression shared by Fr. Lito Geangan who attested to the governorâ€™s being â€œtrue to himself and his people.â€
For years, Geangan had worked with Chatto when the governor then served as Balilihan mayor and the priest as municipal secretary and planning officer later.
Geangan could further attest to how the sensitive and hardworking Chatto Â reached out to his constituents down thepuroks.
Paredes recalled how Chatto, as mayor, had earned for his town the Galing Pook Award and enshrined it to the Hall of Fame of the Health and Management Information System (HAMIS) Award of the Department of Health (DOH) withÂ puroksystem as a governance tool.
The system has become the template for Boholâ€™s Countryside Development Program-Purok Power Movement (CDP-PPM), a working advocacy for grassroot welfare which has been regarded as the heart of a thoughtful government.
Easily, Chatto is the â€œFather of the Purok Systemâ€ in Bohol, asserted Paredes who had worked with him in many other capacities when he served as vice governor and First District congressman.
As one of his staff since he was vice governor, Dahlia Abonite could not recall Chatto raising his voice on her whenever she did mistake.Â â€œHe just made me realize to be responsible in my assigned task.â€
Abonite said Chatto would make her feel not just an important worker but also a friend and a family member.
Chattoâ€™s kindness extends to elsewhere Â in the country the Boholanos need help, especially when was congressman, according to Emilia Roslinda, president of the Bohol Association of Non-Government Organizations (BANGON) and executive director of the PROCESS-Bohol Foundation.
He was so accommodating, Roslinda said while recounting the many patients—accompanied by their families—from Bohol who had to stay at the Quezon City house of the Chattos with free food and other needs as they waited for their operation or check-up at the Philippine Heart Center or Kidney Center.
This sterling quality of the man may have not been seen by some people, according to Roslinda who is a former Kabataang Barangay (KB) leader like Chatto.
She cited Chattoâ€™s support to different NGO advocacies so that the strong partnership between the provincial government and civil society has become a trademark of Bohol leadership.
Roslinda wondered why some keep trying to destroy the governor—a leader of â€œbrilliance in both heart and mindâ€—and his shared, selfless servant leadership.
Dr. Jude Doblas, a municipal health officer, said Chatto is devoted to achieving excellence in local governance so that even in cases of disagreement, he could persuade for the common good.
Roslinda observed Chatto to be tirelessly visiting even the most remote areas in the province, valuing warm physical bonding with the common people in neglected or long-forgotten places.
ONE OF A KIND
Paredes has known in Bohol â€œso many dedicated leaders with strong commitment, but Gov. Chatto is one of a kind and may be Â difficult to duplicate.â€
â€œHis passion for Bohol is limitless. I saw him within 30 minutes after the magnitude 7.2 earthquake hit Bohol.Â His hair was dishevelled; he was still obviously shaken just like me but he was already ready to roll up his sleeves to work and never slept for his people,â€ she said.
Paredes thanked the governor â€œfor your service, passion and dedication in making Bohol what it is now.â€
Mission Director Gloria Dino-Steele of the United States Assistance for International Development (USAID) commended the province under Chatto and Vice Gov. Concepcion Lim for the â€œpartnership for growthâ€ which can open more areas for collaboration.
Steele praised the Bohol administration for â€œdoing exactly the right thingâ€ for the province, which she rated as â€œone of the best Iâ€™ve been to.â€
For the year 2016 that is rushing in, Chatto expressed fresher hope for more graces to the Boholanos in their home island-province, all other parts of the country and the world over.Â (Ven rebo Arigo)