Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Book Launch: The Kaya Natin! Champions

My own kids can get cynical when it comes to discussions about transparency and good governance. They are old enough to be aware of how dirty and corrupt the systems are in government and even, I daresay, in pockets of the private sector and in the lives of the common Juan. 

Based on the Corruption Index 2010, the Philippines ranked 134 out of 178 countries with a grade of 2.4 out of a perfect 10. We are in that ranking together with countries like Bangladesh, Nigeria and Sierra Leone. Vietnam is even doing better than the Philippines, ranking 116.

So it was quite a delight for me to be invited to the launching of a book by the Kaya Natin! Movement for Good Governance and Ethical Leadership. Called "The Kaya Natin! Champions: Inspiring Stories of Good Governance and Leadership in the Philippines", the book is the first in a series of books that features 10 government leaders who have embodied the values of effective and empowering leadership with integrity.

Harvey Keh, Lead Convener of Kaya Natin! gave the opening remarks, saying that with a rigorous advocacy on good governance, corruption and other transgressions in government can be alleviated.

This book is meant not only for those in government positions. More importantly, it is a way of showing the youth that there are still people in position of power who use this power responsibly and for the public good. Keh says "The objective of this book is to highlight the positive and inspiring stories of political leaders who are doing good for the country, and how this can help bring about empowerment for ordinary Filipinos who also want to make a difference."

Each chapter covers one champion and follows them from their background to their political career and up to their leadership lessons.

In this first volume, the champions being introduced to us are the following: Kaya Natin co-founders Jesse Robredo, Grace Padaca and Ed Panlilio; former mayor Sonia Lorenzo (San Isidro, Nueva Ecija); Sen. Teofisto Guingona III; Rep. Teodoro Baguilat, Jr. (Ifugao); Rep. Bolet Banal (Quezon City); former councilor Mabel Sunga-Acosta (Davao City); Mayor Roque Verzosa, Jr. (Tagudin, Ilocos Sur); and Board Member Shirlyn Macasarte (Cotabato).

Former mayor Sonia Lorenzo (2nd from left) and Rep. Bolet Banal (center)
pose with the Kaya Natin! book's editors and Harvey Keh

With former councilor Mabel Sunga-Acosta of Davao City

Even as the first volume is being launched, I hear the second volume is already in the works. That is great! The more people we feature, the more we can inspire ordinary citizens, the youth and those already in government to take up the advocacy for a broader base of transparency and good governance.

During the launch, we heard from 2 of the champions featured, former mayor Sonia Lorenzo and Rep. Bolet Banal. I bought myself a copy and am looking forward to reading the book itself to read their stories in greater detail as well as the stories of the other champions.

The Kaya Natin! Champions Volume 1 book is available at Fully Booked, the Kaya Natin Office (call 02-990-0928) and the Ateneo de Manila University Press (call 02-426-6001 ext. 4612).

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