Sabado, Abril 13, 2013

News feature: William 'Billy' Esposo: A man larger than life itself

Words have the power to cut through even the most impenetrable force. When aired through media, even the most benign-looking words could influence people and change a whole nation. 

Former Philippine Information Agency (PIA) Director-General William “Billy” Macgregor Esposo used the power of words and the influence of media to steer the country to oppose dictatorship, oppression, and communism; and to put a mother figure, a nurturer of an abused country at the helm of government. 

Esposo was instrumental, although not generally known, in the turnaround of a country which was in a dark period of Martial Law during the Marcos regime. 

He was the man behind powerful posters exposing the country’s dire situation, and he was also the brains behind that single yet very potent word “Laban (fight)” which gave hope and firm resolve to the Filipinos to unite against dictatorship. 

Laban denoted with the finger gesture “L” became the battlecry of those who resisted Marcos during the historic EDSA People Power Revolution of 1986. 

Esposo was the figure that prophesied and worked for the instatement of President Corazon Aquino as the country’s champion of democracy, thwarting Ferdinand Marcos after the election and the revolution. 

The passing away of columnist, broadcaster, advertising expert, academician, civil servant, and staunch promoter of democracy Esposo on April 7 brought sadness among those who loved and respected him--- family members, friends, colleagues, media people, government figures, and President Benigno S. Aquino III himself—a close family friend, a political advisor, and a confidante. 

Esposo died of kidney ailment at the Makati Medical Center at age 64. 

During the necrological service on April 10 held at the Sanctuario de San Antonio in Forbes Park the night before his burial, testimonials by close friends and colleagues showed how special and great a man he was. 

Philippine Daily Inquirer columnist Conrado de Quiros recalled how Esposo, despite his recurring illness, was a man of strength and conviction; a man who hungered for life and acted towards his goals. “He was a man who never let his afflictions get in the way of his celebrations, that he was too busy with life to worry about death,” de Quiros said. 

Wilson Tieng, Esposo's colleague at RPN-9 who would later be the network’s chairman and president, attested that Esposo would always give words of encouragement to live a healthy life and to exercise despite the illness both were suffering. Tieng described him as a confidante, a health advisor, and an example whom he looked up to. 

Former Presidential Management Staff chief Elfren Cruz described the courage and unwavering resolve of Esposo in promoting the ideals of democracy, and how he devised media to promote ex-President Cory Aquino as the mother of the country’s democracy. 

Cruz said that he had, “Clear memories of Billy in his younger days when life was full of passion, when courage and conviction were his daily staple, and he had this firm belief that he could truly help shape the future of our country for the greater good of the Filipino people.” He added that till the end of his life, Esposo was an idealist. 

Maria Montelibano, former head of the Radio Television MalacaƱang during the Cory Aquino presidency, said that Esposo, during the country’s difficult times of armed conflicts in the post-Marcos era, “Fueled her own resolve to put responsibility over fear, put performance over panic, and place her fate in the hands of the President (Mrs. Aquino) she served. She attested that Esposo was a person who “could never be bought and compromised.” 

During the funeral mass on the day of Esposo’s burial (April 11), more tributes were given to him mostly by his family members who described him as a selfless, generous, and loving person. 

President Aquino said during the funeral mass, “He always had a great presence, a presence that was a combination of fearlessness, intelligence, professional skill, and a loud, jovial personality which brought him success in almost every field he was involved in: from advertising and marketing, to media and communications, to politics, and to writing.” 

He added, “Billy was one of those talented writers who was always aware of just how much power the written word and media hold. 

This is why he used his columns to render a different kind of public service throughout many years -- in his columns, one finds a reasonable, well-thought out views of the most controversial and relevant issues in the country. His role was that of a concerned citizen, wanting to bring clarity to others, shed light on what was important, and help where he could. He was honest about what he saw, both good and bad.” 

The President also recalled how Esposo who he called “Prophet” urged him to start the change the country needs. 

PNoy, during the funeral ceremonies, also conferred on Esposo the Order of Lakandula Award with the rank “Grand Officer- Maringal na Pinuno” for his invaluable contribution to the restoration of the country’s democracy during the Marcos regime; for providing information and education to the Filipino people during the times of misinformation and propaganda; for the reorientation of the Ministry of Information; and for stopping the spread of communism through participatory democracy; among others. 

Billy Esposo truly was a man of passion and ideals and for this, he was awarded last February 2011 by President Aquino himself the Presidential Legion of Honor Award, Commander Rank, for his contributions during People Power when he helped in the restoration of democracy. 

Esposo’s legacy will always remain in the hearts and minds of the Filipinos. He was an example of a responsible and patriotic media person, a model civil servant. His memories and his fight for democracy will live in the spirit of the country and of the Filipino people. 

Martes, Abril 2, 2013

PIA gears towards performance excellence

Reasserting itself as the country’s primary provider of accurate, relevant, timely, and empowering information to the Filipinos, the Agency took gigantic steps in reviewing and improving its work and management processes. This is with the use of tools that the Agency sees would enhance its overall performance as the government’s main communication and information arm.

Last year, PIA jumpstarted its application for two of the most sought after organizational certifications in the country: the Quality Management System (ISO 9001:2008) and the Philippine Quality Awards (PQA). These are two different and separate entities that are used by both public and private organizations to improve their business processes to enhance productivity and market performance.

Technically speaking, the ISO 9001 is a standard used in implementing a compliance and improvement system and assessing conformity in organization-selected operations; while the PQA provides an integrated, results-oriented framework for designing, implementing, and assessing all operations of an organization. Overall, these two are tools that if properly adopted, could improve the overall performance of an organization.

In the case of PIA, it could provide for a more efficient and systematic mechanism for the Agency’s mandate as stipulated in Executive Order 100, the law which created the Agency: “to provide for a free flow of accurate, timely and relevant information; to assist people in decision-making and identification of opportunities to improve their quality of life and to enable citizens to participate meaningfully in the democratic processes.”

A core team of PIA personnel, headed by Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Sonny Coloma and HRDD Head Belina SB. Capul, was tasked to review, document, and assess the Agency’s overall processes in line with the application to ISO and PQA.

Staff Director Belina SB. Capul said that “by participating in both programs, we would see how organized and effective our systems are and how the principles in both ISO and PQA could become become ingrained in our operations on a daily basis.”

SD Capul said that the Agency is ready to put the management and organizational principles to the test by participating in the rigorous application process for ISO and PQA.

Since the application process in the ISO, the Agency has seen changes in some of its systems. Some of these are the observance of the 5-S in the workplace namely:  Seiri (Sort), Seiton (Set in order), Seiso (Shine), Seiketsu (Standardize), and Shitsuke (Sustain).  The 5S Program which is based on the Japanese model in workplace environment defines the steps that are used to make all work spaces efficient and productive, help people share work stations, reduce time looking for needed tools and improve the work environment. ISO focal persons have been regularly visiting the Agency’s different division to check if each division strictly observes the 5S.

Another of the visible changes in the Agency’s processes is the use of a more comprehensive and organized records management tool that would make it easier for each division to track office documents.

PIA’s rest rooms are also seeing renovations using innovative waste and water resource management infrastructure that would help the Agency in lowering its water consumption as well as promote environment-safe waste disposal practices.

For the PQA, the PQA Steering Committee has been reviewing and reevaluating the seven areas that comprise the Agency’s overall functions, namely (1) Leadership, (2) Strategic Planning, (3) Measurement and Analysis of Services, (4) Customers, (5) Workforce, and (6) Operations which should work in harmony and in synergy with one another to get the desired organization (7) Results. PIA, with the appropriate approach and deployment these areas would provide for an integrated approach in delivering its services to its customers—who are identified as the President of the country, and the Executive Department.

This would then lead to a dynamic provision of information service to the true beneficiaries of PIA’s services—the Filipino people.

With the assistance of ISO consultants Conrad Favorito and Anna Marcelo, and PQA consultant Raymond Tan, the Agency would be able to gain external  perspectives on corporate strengths and areas of
improvement for PIA’s processes.

The PIA ISO and PQA teams are working hand in hand for this endeavor which the Agency hopes would pave the way for the realization of the Agency’s quest for excellence.

Gov't agencies forge partnership for litter-free elections

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the National Solid Waste Management Commission (NSWMC) launched today the “Basura Free Elections 2013” at the DENR Social Hall in Quezon City. 

The launch also saw the signing of the Joint Memorandum Circular of the three government agencies-- namely the DENR, the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), and the Commission on Elections (Comelec)-- that will lead in the implementation of the said campaign. 

The Basura Free Elections 2013 is in preparation for the coming midterm election when the volume of solid waste is expected to increase due to the proliferation of campaign materials such as posters, flyers, and other campaign paraphernalia. 

In the past elections, campaign periods have been particularly problematic because of the improper management of trash. Campaign materials were also posted anywhere, even on trees. 

With the joint memorandum, the national government, local government units, the youth sector, and election candidates will be enjoined to work together to ensure that the coming elections will be environment-friendly—adhering to solid waste management practices. 

The project seeks to achieve the following objectives: effective waste reduction through segregation and disposal; sensible use of resources by election candidates; and proper management of campaign materials by political candidates and parties. 

This campaign will also ensure that political parties and candidates will adhere to RA 3571 which prohibits the cutting, destroying or injuring of trees, flowering plants and shrubs or plants of scenic value along public roads, in plazas, parks, school premises or in any other public ground. 

The posting of election materials in plants/trees will be prohibited during the campaign period. 

Comelec Commissioner Lucenito Tagle said that even during elections, Filipinos should be more conscious of their environment; thus, observing cleanliness and proper waste disposal is an imperative. 

To strengthen their commitment and participation, the lead agencies together with other partners such as the MMDA, NSWMC, and PIA,as well as representatives from political parties, party lists, candidates, Sangguniang Kabataan and youth leaders, as well as members of civil society signed the manifesto of commitment. 

The theme for the Basura-Free Elections 2013 campaign is “Kalat Ko, Sisinupin Ko,” and it commits to properly manage solid waste during the election period from January 13 to June 12.