By Dr. Jun A. Ynares
Two years ago, our local government team in Antipolo City got a wonderful surprise. We received the news that our city landed on top of the country’s list of the Most Competitive Component Cities.
I recall that when the news broke out, my friends and colleagues from the local government administration sector flooded my landlines and cellphones with calls and text messages. They wanted to congratulate the City of Antipolo. They were also conveying through me their congratulations to Province of Rizal since the latter also topped the list of the country’s Most Competitive Provinces for the umpteenth time. They wanted to find out how our city managed to pull off the feat.
Those lists are released annually by the country’s National Competitiveness Council. The ranking is based on the overall scores of the various local government units in four categories: Economic dynamism, government efficiency, infrastructure, and resiliency.
The four represent what the council believes are the essential elements of competitiveness – the local government unit’s ability to compete for investments and for the attention and interest of investors.
The province of Rizal has already achieved grand-slam wins and I believe it is now in some kind of a Hall of Fame status. Antipolo City, meanwhile, managed to move up from the No. 6 spot in 2016 to the top of the list in 2017.
“So, what’s the secret?” I’ve been asked that question several times since media carried the news of the accomplishment.
“Is it the cooperation of the various sectors?” my colleagues insist that I share the answer with them.
My answer: “It’s not just cooperation; it’s collaboration.”
What’s the difference between cooperation and collaboration, they insist that I explain my answer further. I’ve obliged some and here’s how I explained it.
There are four levels of non-competitive relationships in a community, I began.
First is “coexistence.” Second, “coordination.” Third, “cooperation.” The fourth and highest is “collaboration.”
When the various components of a locality agree to simply “coexist,” this means they subtly agree to recognize that each other exists, and not to get in each other’s way.
When they agree to “coordinate,” this means they tell each other exactly where they are and to inform each other about their respective directions. This way, they avoid colliding or posing blocks in each other’s path. In the process, they help each other get into their respective destinations easier.
When they agree to cooperate, this means they agree to “coordinate” and – in addition – to provide help to each other as they go to their respective destinations. This way, by cooperating, they help each other go their separate respective ways not just easier, but also faster.
Collaboration is a different mode altogether. This calls for more than just getting out of each other’s way. It requires that everyone go the same way towards the same destination.
Collaboration calls for more than just making the separate journeys easier and faster for each other. It requires the co-laborers to go out of their way to make the shared journey easier, faster, and more meaningful.
To reach the top of the list, Antipolo went the way of collaboration. The city invited the entire community, its partners and stakeholders to share the journey and go out of their way to make it easier, faster, and more meaningful.
To achieve economic dynamism, we asked for the collaboration of our entrepreneur sector, as well as that of the country’s top business conglomerates who have made Antipolo home to their national and global enterprises.
To achieve governance efficiency, we asked for the collaboration of our public service work force, and the national agencies with frontline offices in the city.
To build topnotch infrastructure system, we co-labored with the national government’s infrastructure agencies, and the private utility firms who provide the power and water requirements of the residents and business establishments.
To create resiliency, we engaged the communities, national government agencies, civil society organizations and volunteers in the planning, implementation, and evaluation of various programs and projects that cut across thematic areas of disaster prevention and mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery and rehabilitation, as well as climate change adaptation.
On the local government’s part, it created an atmosphere conducive to the growth of the collaboration. To do this, it tapped the collaboration of security and safety agencies, the public health sector, the academe, and even the religious sector.
The credit to this feat goes to all those who co-labored, who are part of the shared journey.
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