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Leadership for Good Governance, Public Policy, and Urban Renewal:

A Case Analysis of Dipolog City Sunset Boulevard

Renewal: A Case Analysis of Dipolog City Sunset Boulevard Student: Paul Anthony Torres Mentor: Prof. Edgardo
Renewal: A Case Analysis of Dipolog City Sunset Boulevard Student: Paul Anthony Torres Mentor: Prof. Edgardo
Renewal: A Case Analysis of Dipolog City Sunset Boulevard Student: Paul Anthony Torres Mentor: Prof. Edgardo
Renewal: A Case Analysis of Dipolog City Sunset Boulevard Student: Paul Anthony Torres Mentor: Prof. Edgardo
Renewal: A Case Analysis of Dipolog City Sunset Boulevard Student: Paul Anthony Torres Mentor: Prof. Edgardo
Renewal: A Case Analysis of Dipolog City Sunset Boulevard Student: Paul Anthony Torres Mentor: Prof. Edgardo
Renewal: A Case Analysis of Dipolog City Sunset Boulevard Student: Paul Anthony Torres Mentor: Prof. Edgardo

Student: Paul Anthony Torres Mentor: Prof. Edgardo H. Pangilinan

I. Background of the Case

Generally, an urban renewal project is a development strategy employed by a city

government to “breathe new life” into decrepit parts of its city in order to revitalize human

activity and boost productivity. It is centered on holistic restructuring (e.g. spatial changes)

of areas intended for commercial, industrial, residential, and many other purposes. On

Image Source: Google Maps
Image Source: Google Maps

2001, the city government of Dipolog

embarked on an urban renewal project

that was later recognized as a Galing

Pook awardee on 2014 to address the

proliferation of shanties on its old fishing

village covered by barangays Miputak

and Central. 1 Over a span of 13 years,

the city government was able to transform the shoreline, dubbed the “longest comfort

room”, into a boulevard that attracted tourism as well as entrepreneurs in the service

industry. Conceived on 1991 as a subset of a master plan (Swingapore 2030) 2 to turn

1 Mary Mae Abellon, Dipolog’s success is a result of our people’s journey to good governance - Mayor Uy, Philippine Information Agency. Retrieved from http://www.pia.gov.ph/mobile/index.php?article=2491429168780

2 Ibid., Dipolog turns 100, celebrating excellence, good governance, Philippine Information Agency. Retrieved from

http://piazampen.blogspot.com/2013/07/dipolog-turns-100-celebrating.html

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Leadership for Good Governance, Public Policy, and Urban Renewal: A Case Analysis of Dipolog City Sunset Boulevard

Dipolog into a city respected like Switzerland and

progressive like Singapore by 2030, the urban

renewal

project

started

as

a

foreshore

development initiative coupled with a construction

of a seawall but later expanded into the Dipolog

Urban Renewal Project, which showcased the

construction of a boulevard and a commercial

Image Source: Google Maps
Image Source: Google Maps

complex over the Miputak-Central area where shanties used to be. 3 The project was a

solution to the multidimensional problem of the city on some 500 households who are

informal settlers living along the shorelines of the said area. Apparently these households

that had no access to proper housing were indiscriminately disposing human waste into

the sea, consequently polluting it and causing damage to the environment. Viewed from

the perspective of disaster risk reduction, the location of the informal settlers was

problematic because it made them vulnerable to storm surges and adverse climatic

conditions. The economic dimension of the problem revolved around the minimum access

of the informal settlers to a decent income because there was very little economic activity

in the area aside from fishing. Consequently, this circumstance forced them to remain as

informal settlers in the area for lack of opportunity to establish habitation elsewhere. It

can be also argued that the indiscriminate disposal of human waste into the sea

exacerbates the poor access to income of the informal settlers since the pollution turned

Swingapore is a combination of the name Switzerland and Singapore.

3 The commercial complex housed the bars and restaurants that operate along the boulevard while ambulant vendors as well as peddlers ply the boulevard to sell food and beverage to the tourists and visitors in the area.

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Leadership for Good Governance, Public Policy, and Urban Renewal: A Case Analysis of Dipolog City Sunset Boulevard

the shore unfit for fishing. In turn, the lost opportunity for fishing leads to minimal options

for livelihood access. Indeed an innovative measure had to be done by the city

government due to the interrelated issues the surround the situation of the informal

settlers. Of course, the place could not just be demolished. Politically, any move against

the interests of the informal settlers impinged political repercussions on the leader who

would make such a call because the area holds a substantial voting population. Thus, the

intersecting dimensions of the problem demanded a solution that knits together a

coherent intervention that will not leave one dimension taken for granted while at the

same time promoting the interests of the city towards its vision.

Image Source: http://i44.tinypic.com/5ebpco.jpg
Image Source: http://i44.tinypic.com/5ebpco.jpg

The ingenious solution to the problem was to relocate

the informal settlers and develop the foreshore into a

boulevard that would attract health buffs, local and

foreign

tourists,

and

entrepreneurs

into

the

area

consequently kick starting economic activity on the once

sleepy

town

of

Dipolog.

In

taking

the

risk

of

this

unconventional course of action, the city government was able to turn “the longest comfort

room” into a very attractive esplanade that became a centerpiece in the journey of the

city towards Swingapore 2030. As of the moment, the boulevard is a 1.6 kilometer stretch

of developed foreshore equipped with basketball courts, gymnasium, and playground as

well as two commercial buildings in tandem with bars, restaurants, and ambulant vendors.

The sustained infrastructure developments turned the shoreline eyesore before into place

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Leadership for Good Governance, Public Policy, and Urban Renewal: A Case Analysis of Dipolog City Sunset Boulevard

of aesthetic value, undeniably a livable space, as it annually holds the Pagsalabuk

Festival of the city and consequently attract business and vacations into Dipolog.

Although success factors of the project had

been laid out in the supplied text 4 , this paper intends

to put emphasis on leadership geared towards good

governance thereby generating good public policy is

the conditio sine qua non behind the success of the

urban renewal project of Dipolog. In the absence of a

Image Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dipolog_Boulevard
Image Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dipolog_Boulevard

strong and inclusive leadership, the project would have

met its untimely cessation when the informal settlers protested against it and later filed a

case in court. Some members of the media even had negative perceptions of the project.

Undeniably, the biggest hurdle in the project was the relocation of the 500 households

away from the intended project site. Since the relocation was towards the city outskirts,

these families needed support from the government in terms of livelihood, sanitation,

education, and many other basic needs. Further, the construction of the boulevard and

Image Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dipolog_Boulevard
Image Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dipolog_Boulevard

the resettlement shelters of the affected families

are infrastructure projects that required massive

funding, which was unfortunately way beyond the

capabilities of the city government. The funding

had to be source out elsewhere through resource

4 The supplied text identifies leadership, planning, legislative support, investment, and accommodation, mobilization of CSO/NGOs, fail early principle, and good governance as contributing factors to the success of the urban renewal project.

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Leadership for Good Governance, Public Policy, and Urban Renewal: A Case Analysis of Dipolog City Sunset Boulevard

mobilization and linkaging. Relocation obviously needed also the support of local

legislators. The complexity of the project required project management capabilities of the

city government where planning was a key component. In all these circumstances, the

leadership ought to be the integrating energy that would harmonize all the facets and

aspects of the urban renewal project. Without such leadership grounded on good

governance, the city would fail at communicating with stakeholders the significance of the

boulevard and its relation to the overall vision of Swingapore 2030. Fortunately, the city

mayor was able to wield decisive yet inclusive leadership that what resulted was not just

a makeover of the foreshore but also of the city itself. The participative and consultative

character of the leadership of the mayor led to a change in the mindset of the people.

Since the mayor was able to show that planning for the project was inclusive and that the

city government itself was committed in getting the job done for the common good, the

civil society groups, the local media, and non-government organizations of Dipolog

exerted the necessary effort to reach out and convey the message that everybody is

involved in the project and that the affected families will not be left hanging on nothing. In

fact, the local government allocated millions of funds for social services for the

households. This promoted transparency and democratization in the implementation of

the project. Through decisive leadership specifically targeted towards good governance,

the mayor was able to harmonize the resources from other government agencies and

non-government entities and devote them towards the project. The effect was the in-flow

of investment and other resources that secured the success of the project. The illustration

on the next page attempts to clarify the interpretation of the case.

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Leadership for Good Governance, Public Policy, and Urban Renewal: A Case Analysis of Dipolog City Sunset Boulevard

Fig. 1

SWINGAPORE 2030 Urban Renewal Project Good Public Policy Leadership for Good Governance (foundation) Local
SWINGAPORE
2030
Urban Renewal
Project
Good Public
Policy
Leadership for
Good Governance
(foundation)
Local legislators’
support
CSO/NGO
Transformation
of citizens
collaboration
Leadership
for Good
Governance
Horizontal and
Private sector
vertical
engagement
linkaging
(integrator)
Mutual LGU-
Partnership
Stakeholder
with NGAs
support

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Leadership for Good Governance, Public Policy, and Urban Renewal: A Case Analysis of Dipolog City Sunset Boulevard

II. The Policy Issue

Roughly, a policy is a guide for charting a desired course of action in addressing problems

encountered in the development of products or delivery of services. This could mean that

a policy is what backstops a course action when there is a need to provide justification as

to why a particular decision has to be made and proceed with the appropriate course of

action. In relation to this paper, a policy may be seen as a government decision to address

an issue or a problem (i.e. political, social, economic, etc.). 5 Since it is a government

intervention that aims to achieve a solution, it can take the form of a program, an output,

an outcome, or a desired state of affairs. In the context of Dipolog City, the policy was

founded on the choice of the local government to propel the city from economic stagnation

(i.e. being a sleepy town) and ecologically insensitive (“longest comfort room”) towards

becoming a major economic area (like Singapore) while at the same time promoting

environmental protection (like Switzerland) by 2030. To realize that vision, it had to

formulate another policy that engages the problem of shanties along its shoreline in order

to transform the area into a boulevard through an urban renewal project. But it had to do

it in a consultative, participative, and inclusive manner since the vision Swingapore 2030

involved also the transformation of the citizens of the city. Thus Dipolog needed to

formulate a public policy that would serve as the flagship towards this vision of

Swingapore 2030. The policy formulated therefore was to relocate the informal settlers of

the Miputak-Central shoreline. In place of the shanties, a boulevard has to be constructed

5 Thei Geurts, Public Policy Making: The 21st Century Perspective. Retrieved from

http://www.beinformed.com/BeInformed/webdav-resource/binaries/pdf/publications/public-policy-

making.pdf?webdav-id=/Be%20Informed%20Bibliotheek/0000%20WEBDAV/WebDAV%20StatContent.bixml

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Leadership for Good Governance, Public Policy, and Urban Renewal: A Case Analysis of Dipolog City Sunset Boulevard

along the stretch, which would serve also as a seawall. Since the boulevard would

become a public open space, it would therefore attract people towards the place. Thus a

commercial complex had to be established to accommodate entrepreneurs of the service

industry (i.e. small, medium, informal) who intended to set up business in the area. In this

manner, the boulevard and the commercial complex complemented each other. The net

effect was a renewed business atmosphere for the city and an increase in its locally

generated funds. The illustration below may perhaps describe the relationship of the

vision to the policy.

Present Future Past “longest comfort room” Dipolog Sunset Boulevard SWINGAPORE 2030 (lack of policy)
Present
Future
Past
“longest
comfort room”
Dipolog Sunset
Boulevard
SWINGAPORE
2030
(lack of policy)
(flagship policy)
(vision)
Shanties lining
up the old
fishing village
of barangays
An urban
renewal project
generating
tourism into
Dipolog
becomes a
bustling
business
Miputak and
the area and
district and an
Central in the
sleepy town of
reinvigorating
ecologically
business
proactive
Dipolog
activity
community
Fig. 2

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Leadership for Good Governance, Public Policy, and Urban Renewal: A Case Analysis of Dipolog City Sunset Boulevard

The policy of the city to engage in an urban renewal project to transform the Miputak-

Central shoreline into a recreation and business area was the initial solutions to address

the socio-economic and environmental issues involving the informal settlers of the area.

It is worth noting that since the leadership of the city mayor was towards good

governance, the policy involved also relocating the affected households to a resettlement

area coupled with a strong commitment that their socio-economic (e.g. shelter, livelihood,

education, sanitation, logistics, etc.) needs will be looked after by the city government.

The policy ensured that the affected families will not be marginalized but instead become

in actualizing the urban renewal project. In so doing, the boulevard is not just for the

middle class and the affluent but owned instead by the people of Dipolog. This degree of

participation among the citizens was what the mayor wanted to reach as part of its vision.

Swingapore 2030 was not just an investment into the infrastructure of the city but also

into the untapped human potential of Dipolog. Since the boulevard was both an attractor

and a locator for both local and foreign tourism, the human resource of the city must

likewise keep up with the development. The reason for this is that human development is

the starting point of development and ultimately the zenith of said development. The

increase in volume of people pouring in to the city would require an increase also in social

services. This demand likewise attracts the service sector industry which will again

depend on the capability of local human resource. A positive stance towards the people

has also a positive reaction effect towards the government. This therefore becomes an

instrument for legitimation of the government to rally support for the project. This

exemplification of leadership for good governance (inclusive and participative citizen

building) was what enabled the city mayor to become an integrating energy that attracted

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Leadership for Good Governance, Public Policy, and Urban Renewal: A Case Analysis of Dipolog City Sunset Boulevard

support for the urban renewal project. The illustration below describes the subsets of the

policy.

Urban Renewal Fig. 3
Urban
Renewal
Fig. 3
Construction of Boulevard Construction of Commercial Complex Citizen Building
Construction
of Boulevard
Construction of
Commercial Complex
Citizen Building
Ressettlement
Ressettlement

In the formulation of the policy, it can be observed that the city government made an

active intervention to stimulate economic productivity. Usually under the neo-liberalist

attitude that our country has been accustomed to since post-EDSA revolution, the private

sector is left to its own means to boost productivity under the dynamics of the free market.

On the contrary and much to the positive sides of the neo-liberalist approach, the

government is mandated to protect the interests of the people and should thus exercise

necessary interventions when local economy reaches stagnation. This is what the policy

has tried to achieve. It was a very laudable move from the city government. Not only did

it sparked and renewed economic activity but it also did so in a manner that was in

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Leadership for Good Governance, Public Policy, and Urban Renewal: A Case Analysis of Dipolog City Sunset Boulevard

accordance with sustainable development. This proves that environmental protection

does not hinder development. On contrary, it can be through environmental protection

that a city can anchor its development efforts. In all these, it can be seen how leadership

for good governance can harmonize the efforts of different actors in the development of

the project (see Fig. 1). The sincerity, openness towards collaboration, and effective use

of leverage attracted non-government organizations/civil society organizations, national

government agencies, local legislators, private investors, and the people of Dipolog to

work together towards the project. This meant therefore that the stakeholders of the city

supported the project and was even willing to mobilize their resources for the project.

Examples of these are: (1) Chambers of commerce allocating some of their resources to

assist the relocated families, (2) informal settlers voluntarily demolishing their shanties,

and (3) CSO/NGOs launching awareness campaigns and assuring the people that their

voices are heard by the authorities. Even the local media, though some initially opposed,

supported the project after orientation was conducted. Finally, the citizens themselves

have been informed about the reality of the project. Although the reading did not explicitly

mention of consultation dates with the stakeholders, it can be said that the city heard the

voices of the affected stakeholders though intensive community dialogue to clarify to them

the plans of the city. Furthermore, the CSO/NGOs assured the people that their concerns

are being addressed. Undeniably, the affected families had initial negative perceptions of

the project due to lack of communication as to what the project was all about. But when

they understood later the potentials of the project, even members of their families became

part of the unskilled labor that helped create the boulevard. This shift from resistance to

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Leadership for Good Governance, Public Policy, and Urban Renewal: A Case Analysis of Dipolog City Sunset Boulevard

participation is good way of looking how leadership for good governance is a catalyst for

integration between policy and vision. The illustration below may further describe this. Leadership for Good
integration between policy and vision. The illustration below may further describe this.
Leadership for Good Governance
Environmental protection
Inclusive and
participative
approaches to
Allowed the
leadership integrated
Socio-economic intervention
Human capital
efforts from different
sectors of society
towards a common
vision
environment to
render service to the
urban renewal project
(clean sea and air,
good view, ambience
of proximity to
nature)
Inclusive urban
renewal project
improved tax base
which allowed people
to set up
entrepreneurial
Initiative to move
towards Swingapore
2030 entailed change
of attitude in
activities thereby
Fig. 4
increasing their
income
government
employees as well as
to turn its people into
participative citizens

These efforts of the city government to implement people-centered planning and project

management was the catalyst to translate good governance into good public policy. Good

public policy, in turn, becomes a step forward to the realization of a common vision (see

Fig. 1).

III. The Public Value Innovation

In analyzing the public value innovation of the urban renewal project, the Strategic

Triangle 6 is used as a frame for analysis. The strategic triangle has three areas to analyze

6 Mark Moore and Sanjeev Khagram (2004), "On Creating Public Value: What Business Might Learn from Government about Strategic Management." Corporate Social Responsibility Initiative Working Paper No. 3. Cambridge, MA: John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University.

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Leadership for Good Governance, Public Policy, and Urban Renewal: A Case Analysis of Dipolog City Sunset Boulevard

the creation of public value through innovation. Broadly, necessity is the mother of

innovation. Before 2001, Dipolog was encountering a problem waged on three areas

namely local economy, development of its people, and environmental protection.

Addressing the problem on one front alone run the risk of failure due to its multiple

dimensions (i.e. economic, social, environmental, political, and etc.). A novel process

therefore must be established to address the issue. This was where the public innovation

of the city government came to light. Under the vision of Swingapore 2030, the city

government formulated a flagship policy that integrated all areas of intervention under a

big coordinated effort toward development (See Fig. 2-3). The urban renewal project,

which in turn was the banner program of the policy, consolidated justifications for

developing the city of Dipolog towards the future. The following illustration would perhaps

clarify this claim.

Fig. 5.

Resettlement

(Environment)
(Environment)

Boulevard and

Commercial Complex

(Economy) Citizen building (People)
(Economy)
Citizen building
(People)
Urban Renewal
Urban
Renewal
Complex (Economy) Citizen building (People) Urban Renewal Under the minor policies for the environment, economy, and

Under the minor policies for the environment, economy, and social development, the

city government consolidated and integrated all of them into an urban renewal project

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Leadership for Good Governance, Public Policy, and Urban Renewal: A Case Analysis of Dipolog City Sunset Boulevard

that was perceived to catapult the city in the future. Another way of looking at the

innovation is through the illustration below.

Relocation Construction of Maintain 24/7 Environment informal settlers seawall cleanliness along shoreline
Relocation
Construction of
Maintain 24/7
Environment
informal settlers
seawall
cleanliness
along shoreline
Paradigm shift
Coordinated multi-
organization
support to citizens
Building
among city
People
participative
government
citizens
employees
Construction of
commercial
complex to host
businesses
Active
Construction of
engagement with
Economy
boulevard to
the business
attract tourism
community
Fig. 6

Henceforth, it can be argued that necessity indeed was the mother of innovation. That

perceived necessity (informal settlers and sleep economy) was brought out into action by

the decisive leadership in the city government. Of course, leadership was intended for

good governance. Thus, the city mayor was not just alone in the project but was one with

the people of Dipolog in steering the city towards a sustainable future. Once again, the

illustration on Figure 7 expresses this line of thought.

Sleepy town with informal settlers Necessity that pollute the nearby shoreline Fig. 7
Sleepy
town with
informal
settlers
Necessity
that
pollute the
nearby
shoreline
Fig. 7
Policy processes that integrated environmental and socio-economic Public Innovation intervention in an urban
Policy processes
that integrated
environmental and
socio-economic
Public
Innovation
intervention in an
urban renewal
project that
catapults Dipolog
towards its vision
• Healthy community • Vibrant Public business Value community • Participative citizens
• Healthy
community
• Vibrant
Public
business
Value
community
Participative
citizens
towards its vision • Healthy community • Vibrant Public business Value community • Participative citizens

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Leadership for Good Governance, Public Policy, and Urban Renewal: A Case Analysis of Dipolog City Sunset Boulevard

From the illustration, it can be noted that the public innovation generated a public value.

In Dipolog, the public value came in three flavors. The first form of the value was the

healthy community that thrives together with the natural environment. The other form of

the value was the vibrant business community that pulled the city towards progress.

Finally, the value of active or participative citizenship itself was generated throughout the

process of urban renewal.

Early in the process, the city government already defined the public value that it

wanted to create by embedding it under the vision of Swingapore 2030. Through the

vision, leadership within the city framed it according to the public value that it wanted to

generate through the urban renewal project (i.e. healthy/sustainable community, vibrant

business community, and participative citizenship). To secure legitimacy, the city

government had to show the people that it was leading by example (participative and

inclusive). It made arrangements with local legislators to secure their support of the

project. The city government also communicated with the CSO/NGOs on the nature of

the project so that these organizations could serve as communication conduits to the

affected households of the project. The city government also partnered with these

organizations to help build their community at the relocation sites. The issue of storm

surges and pollution were highlighted as key arguments as to why the urban renewal

project had to be implemented. The business community was also encouraged to take

part in the process. Other government agencies (e.g. Department of Tourism, National

Housing Authority) were also invited to collaborate in the project. Leadership for good

governance of the city government (see Fig. 1), therefore, became the principal

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Leadership for Good Governance, Public Policy, and Urban Renewal: A Case Analysis of Dipolog City Sunset Boulevard

coordinating agent in integrating the resources within its grasp towards a good public

policy and common vision.

In broad strokes, potent lessons on public management can be learned from the

case of Dipolog. As argued earlier, leadership for good governance has a big role in

knitting together an integrated approach towards addressing societal issues. This means

that the leadership is catalyst for participation, collaborative partnership, democratization

of the public sphere and planning process, and the premise of inclusive growth in public

policy making. Hence, it can be seen from the case of Dipolog that effective use of public

policy can elevate basic provisions of services of the government towards creation of

public value. Further, a flagship policy that is aligned with the vision of a municipality is a

strong rallying point to contextualize development principles. In the case of Dipolog, such

a policy came in the form of an urban renewal project. The project might be different for

other municipalities but the point is that a good flagship policy is the thread that allows

local leadership to knit together resources within its grasp towards development. This

policy then generates good public value. These are things that a planner could also apply

to their municipalities.

In the case of Quinapondan, Eastern Samar, the same lessons may also be

applied. Although it is still very early in the process to state that all of the lessons can be

directly applied. Nonetheless, leadership for good governance is perhaps a lesson that

may be commonly applied to all local government units. On the other hand, the creation

of public value can also be applied to the municipality of Quinapondan. Proximate to

nature and relying heavily on agricultural and fishing activities for their livelihood and

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Leadership for Good Governance, Public Policy, and Urban Renewal: A Case Analysis of Dipolog City Sunset Boulevard

sustenance, one of the public values that can be created is perhaps sustainability of these

activities emphasizing on a non-instrumentalist or non-objectifying treatment of the

environment. The public value may be directed also on the paradigm shift of farmers and

fishermen towards a steward-liketreatment of the environment alongside economic and

entrepreneurial activities that depend on the services of the environment. Further, the

municipality can also create a public value that molds its constituents in learning to strike

balance between utilization of the services of the environment and conservation of natural

resources. Quinapondan is a poor fifth class municipality but with strong family ties

amongst its people. To spark economic activity, the public value of trust within

associations and organizations can also be generated by crafting a public policy that

encourages the growth of grass roots organizations that can engage small scale

enterprises managed by associations or cooperatives. With leadership towards good

governance and effective public policy, the local government can likewise attract

investments into the municipality that taps into its potential for rice production as well as

mud crab propagation and fattening. Further the substation for ESAMELCO (Eastern

Samar Electric Cooperative) is located in Quinapondan. For its constituents whose

leanings are not into agricultural production may consider renewable energy production.

The municipality has areas exposed to good sun peak hours that host renewable energy

production through photovoltaic cells. Electricity produced may be used for the local

micro-grid (house to house) or sold to the provincial electric cooperative. These are still

sporadic bursts of what ideas can be applicable to the municipality. But the hope is always

to pick up valuable lessons as the class progresses and apply it for the creation of public

value and distribution of common good in the municipality as it journeys to progress.