Tuesday, November 30, 2010


Found a lot of plastic bags. Folded and stored them in a jar for future use. ;-)

Budgets Cebu City LGU Style

The past few weeks has been nothing but series of meetings and presentations. The year is ending and it's budget season once more. The normal way of doing it is plan everything out for next year be it Capital Outlay, Maintenance Expenses and Personal Expenses of course and then include everything you need in next years budget in an Annual Investment Plan.

Since I joined the organization this has not happened yet. Their way of doing it is "skin and bones" budget and then just ask for additional budget in a Supplemental Budget (SB). But before a SB can happen, the City Treasurer has to certify if there is enough surplus to fund the SB of which the Budget Officer will also concurring. If there isn't enough then the other option is go into borrowings.

This year we are already on SB 5 (meaning we are already on our fifth supplemental budget for the year), the biggest ever in the history of the Cebu City. Question still left unanswered is, "Is there enough sources of funds?". Only the treasurer can answer that with the City Accountant will concur by generating financial statements.

But what is more intriguing about this SB is that the largest items in this budget are all ICT related and of which I had not been consulted, ever! This has caught the attention of a lot of the people from the different departments and offices of City Hall. Why? Because all of the budgeted items do not have a breakdown and no clear explanation of how it will be used. City councilors suddenly are questioning the motives of items and that why my department was never consulted in the first place. Then the woman behind it all emerged. It was one of the department managers. She was the culprit behind all of this. Was it Illegal, Unnecessary, Excessive, Extravagant, Unconscionable (IUEEU)?

Final decision? Budgets were cut, some items deleted and control of the technical description of the budgets given back to the department's control.

Lastly, I would like to thank all of the people behind me and who made this possible. She could have gotten away with it. By the grace of god she didn't
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Friday, November 19, 2010

Career or Lovelife...

Been very busy lately. I'll be leaving for Bacolod in the afternoon to see the woman who inspired me to who I am today. (My Mariposa) Just can't wait to see her. ;-) Super excited!

Career can take a toll on relationships and what's making this relationship a bit different from the ordinary is that we are far apart (10 hours apart by Bus, 30 minutes apart by plane) and I'm on a day job and she's on a graveyard shift(Call Center). For some, that's not too far especially if you live in countries like China, Canada or the US but here we have ever changing bus and plane schedules so going to and from place can be a little bit challenging.

The country also is riddled with year round typhoons so that can affect schedules quite much. Airports and seaport are closed when there's a typhoon or a weather disturbance. (Typhoons here are getting nasty year on year by the way) Roads through shorter mountain routes can sometimes be closed during foggy or rainy days so that can also greatly affect travel time.

The only tool that keeping us in touch with each other is technology. We have Skype for chat and sometimes video conferencing (It's free!). We keep ourselves update on Facebook and just recently I'm on Twitter. (I'm still trying to convince her to get into Twitter) and there is the classic e-mails. But nothing can still beat the times when you're there hugging each other.... ;-) hope the plane ride this evening will be smooth (I hate air pockets!)

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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Mandate, mandate, mandate...

What so important about it? Well everything... We're one of the very few Local Government Units (LGU) who have a permanent department for IT with permanent plantillas. Meaning we get to keep our position even when a new set of government official takes there place in our city.

Sustainability is challenging enough at the National Government level and more challening on a local government unit. You see, most of the people working for the LGU have some ties with who sitting on the city council, mayor or vice mayor.

When I started working for Government 5 years ago, the first thing I did was to map out peoples relation to certain people and I had the shock of my life. I have brothers, sisters, husband and wives, cousins, sons and daugthers and worst of all people who had relations with certain officials (you know what I mean). :-)

So how did I do it? Slowly I mapped out a road map on how to deal with these people relationships and be able to pierce through them. Last month, I got the chance to let go five of them. In total as of today, I have gotten rid of 15 or more people already and I not afraid to let go of more for the sake of a flatter and leaner organization. Life is tough when you are working in an environment like this indeed... :-)

Aside from this internal force, you have to keep watch of external forces. Other department heads who manipulate and deceive officials on getting into projects that are ICT related but was never channeled or coordinated with the department. Well guess what, I slap the other department with a copy of the department's mandate and with that, we were able to tame them. I'm expecting more of this exercise but all I can do to protect the interest of the people is this piece of paper in my hands, the department's ordinance. That should be enough to remind them also that the citizen of Cebu City will be up in their armpits when they violate this...:-)

The Malaysian Experience... MAMPU

Yesterdays presentation at Futuregov speaks for how a country was able to put ICT things into the proper perspective. The presentation of the Malaysian Administrative Mordenisation and Management Planning Unit (MAMPU) done by Deputy Director Norhalina Adbul showed us that it only takes political will and administrative powers to make coordination of ICT initiatives possible.

Looking at how they we able to surpass agency differences and difficulty in coordination erased all doubts on why Malaysia is way ahead us. How I wish government agencies would come into the same terms. This clearly justify enough why there is a need for the Department of Information and Communciations Technology (DICT). As most readers do not know, this has been pending at the levels of Congress for quite some time now.

How I wish they promote the ratification soon inorder for us to fix the mess that we are into right now. I strongly believe that Congress should push for the creation of this department.

The presentation showed a glimpse on how Malaysia put their ICT initiative from the different government agencies by allowing the creation of data gateway facilities and interconnectivity. This I believe is very possible in the country despite the natural borders that physically separate the island regions.

Friday, November 12, 2010

On ICT Initiatives on Government

They say "You can bring the horse to the water but you can never force it to drink". I say,"Bring the horse to the water anyway. Sooner or later it will get thirsty and it will drink"... ;-) If they don't like your initiatives, just take the lead and make it really good. Sooner or later they will see your effort and see it is good and then eventually will join the ban... ;-)

The Cebu City GIS Experience

I consider sharing experiences as a way of telling people that they are not alone or they are lucky that they don't have to go through painful mistakes on project implementation and that they can avoid those mistakes and do it right.

Had to wake up early in the morning to travel more than 50Km from Davao City to a fellow LGU called Digos City who has just started their GIS initiatives. For me it was an opportunity to help initiatives like this. And today's meeting I consider it fruitful.

They were at the verge of drastically cutting budgets simple because they had been misinformed about what this thing call GIS is all about.

By the way, for the information of my readers here (if there are any ;-)), GIS stands for Geographic Information Systems. It's about putting spatial information on maps. To make is even simpler, you have map (in digital format of course), your data or information, you have a location and then you tie them together so that you can analyzed it. Since we are already ahead on this with regards to project implementation, I have a lot to share to them.

One simple GIS project I presented to them was Dengue Cases. We plotted incidences of Dengue in a community on a map and then let the computer process the information and come out with result on which areas had the most number of cases. Knowing who has the highest incidence would greatly help us target that specific area for operations and eliminate the guessing game and rationalize service delivery.

As expected, some were happy and some were emotional. In the end, at least I was able to present something decent and very layman for them to evaluate further and reconsider. That was enough to make me happy. In the end, I was able to say my piece.

I was presenting together with Davao City people who also has a long experience in GIS projects. Some project where similar, others unique. Bottom line was, that GIS as explained was a computerized system which serves as a tool to eliminate the guessing game and promote further transparency in governance and improve efficiency in delivery of services.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Politics and e-Governance...

I guess everyone know the lyrics by Billy Joel the song "Honesty". One line goes something like, "Honesty is such a lonely word. Everyone is so untrue. ". I guess I'm just too naive about so many things in this world and that I have to start realizing that Billy Joel is right and that you can never trust anyone but yourself not even the people closest to you (no, not even your dog...LOL).

Funny, I've been in the government for 5 years and I still have yet to learn that trolls and witches exist and that they are real, flesh and blood. That everyone has its own agenda and that I have to trust only my instinct and gut feeling. Trust no one. I should put that in my head.

Even your connections and relationships you shouldn't rely on. If you do, you committed the biggest mistake. You will realize that suddenly you're all alone. Never rely on promises, and words like "I will do something about it" or "Don't worry, we will find a way!". Keyword "we" is actually equivalent to "you" or "good luck".

In a few minutes, I will be in a budget hearing that will come into terms of whether it will make things happen or it will break me (alone with no one but myself). I can't do anything for now but watch on the sideline as the Titans battle it out with the trolls and witches.

Wish me luck... ;-)

Monday, November 8, 2010


I have two important places and events to go to this week and next week. Will be in Davao to present about our experiences on Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Projects and then off to Manila for Futuregov.

It's going to be a busy day for me today. ;-)

Thursday, November 4, 2010

My Twitter Account

You can also follow my active Twitter account by clicking this link -> IT Guy

Please click on to follow.... ;-)