NSCB’s good governance index to guide voters’ choice

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/29 August) — The provincial good governance index (GGI) that provides information on the performance of local chief executives may guide voters in selecting their leaders during elections, a national government official said on Wednesday.

Candido J. Astrologo, Jr., director of the National Statistical Information Center and Subnational Statistics Office of the National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB), issued the pronouncement in a training workshop being conducted here by the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ) from August 28-31.

With the theme “Covering the 2013 Elections: Uncovering Campaign Finance, Local Power, and Governance,” at least 18 journalists from different regions in Mindanao have been participating in the PCIJ training.

Astrologo gave a talk on GGI and its correlation to voters index, entitled “Will Good Governance Ensure Electoral Victory?”

He said the data can be a basis of a local chief executive to consider reelection, although the NSCB has no communication plan to inform the public and government officials on GGI data.

“This is a novel attempt. That’s why we only post the data on our website and let the media make use of it. Anybody can use the GGI,” Astrologo said.

The provincial GGI is the weighted arithmetic average of the economic, political and administrative governance.

He said that based on the data, economic governance index has a significant contribution to the GGI, compared with the political governance index.

The voters’ index of seven out of the top 10 provinces with the highest GGI in 2009 showed that their local chief executives were re-elected.

These top 10 provinces were Benguet of the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR), Batanes of Region 2, Laguna of Region 4-A, Camiguin of Region 10, Kalinga of CAR, Siquijor of Region 8, Rizal of Region 4-A, Ilocos Norte and Ilocos Sur of Region 1, and Ifugao of CAR.

In Mindanao, the top three provinces in the 2009 GGI list were Camiguin, Davao del Sur and Compostela Valley of Davao Region, respectively.

Davao del Sur ranked third among the top three most improved provinces in the 2009 GGI in Mindanao, following Zamboanga Sibugay and Agusan del Norte, the top two, respectively.

Astrologo cited that Davao del Sur had an improved GGI rank from 43 in 2005 to 23 in 2009, noting that its governor, Douglas Cagas, was reelected in 2010.

However, he said the GGI data has limitations on its validity as a measure of governance over a period of time; timeliness of the data; and, appropriateness of the indicators used, among others.

Astrologo said that the GGI is but only one among the factors of voters’ index and that the NSCB has yet to update the data.

Rowena Paraan, secretary general of the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines, described the GGI as “comprehensive” due to its use of international standards and that it is being provided by NSCB, an independent entity.

Recommending the data as a guide to voters, Paraan, who was one of the participants, stressed, however, that one has to understand the GGI very carefully and not interpret it in a “one-plus-one” manner.

Lawyer Luie Tito F. Guia, of the Legal Network for Truthful Elections, a resource person in the PCIJ training, said the correlation of voters’ preference may also be considered by the NSCB in measuring voters’ index.

He said that sometimes, the communication between the politician and voters may influence the election results more than the former’s governance performance. (Lorie Ann A. Cascaro/MindaNews)