Jesse Robredo is set to finish his third term as Mayor of Naga on June 30. With his first three terms from1988-1998 and his succeeding three terms from 2001-2010, he will then have been in power for 18 long years.
As his valedictory address to the People of Naga, he delivered his "2009 State of the City Report" to the City Council on September 1, 2009, dubbed "A city poised for greater things."
"A rock solid City Hall" is one of "Six Key Strengths" he said he was leaving behind. As "latest proof" against "those who are not yet convinced," he cited the World Bank-commissioned international credit rating of Naga by Standard & Poor's. He quoted in part:
"The overall FMA score of <>'Intermediate' for Naga City reflects its moderately developed level of financial reporting and fairly high level of disclosure, adequate performance in annual budgeting and debt management skills which are more sophisticated than most local peers. xxx" (Emphasis ours.)
Thereafter, he proudly concluded:
"Of course, if you have the best city treasury, accounting and assessor in the region; one of the best planning, budgeting and project monitoring systems in Bicol; one of the top nutrition and civil registry units in the entire country; a highly competent management team; a transparent procurement process; and a policy of 'information openness' securely in place, any good mayor would be enough. But our city should always aspire for the best there is."
On its face, the mayor's report appeared convincing given the objective, third-party evaluation by an international rating agency and upon commission by the World Bank.
However, I suggest you get hold of a copy of the entire analysis of Standard & Poor's, which for my part I directly requested from Mayor Jesse in the exercise of our constitutional right to information-and which request he was kind enough to readily comply with.
Given our space limitations, allow me to simply put here the grading system or the numbers for evaluation, that is, what a rating of "intermediate" really means. For that matter, if it makes you the "best."
Dated July 31, 2009, "The Final Management Analysis of Naga Financial Management Assessment, City of Naga, Camarines Sur, Philippines" or "Financial Management Assessment" (FMA) for short, presented by Standard & Poor's states thus (p. 1):
"FMA (Financial Management Assessment) is a comprehensive assessment of the local or regional government's (LRG) financial management sophistication and quality. Standard & Poor's evaluates challenges, strengths, and risks of the entity's financial management systems and practices in the context of global good practices and the local environment. xxx"
0 = Underdeveloped, Evolving or Poor
1 = Basic
2 = Intermediate
3 = Sound
4 = Sophisticated
5 = Advanced"
"Intermediate" is only a score of 2 on a six-level scale of 0 to 5. In short, intermediate is a dismal 50% grade. Is that the "best"? It's not even passing.
Naga, WAKE UP!