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CESOs reaffirm their role in providing ‘stability amidst change’

QUEZON CITY -- Echoing a line straight out of the Career Executive Service’s mission statement – which emphasizes the need “to maintain continuity and stability in the civil service amidst change” – the distinguished speakers in the opening ceremony of the 3rd CES Public Leaders’ Summit (PLS) offered their various takes on what is required to lead in a time of leadership transition and in a highly-volatile governance context.

Organized and hosted by the Career Executive Service Board (CESB) Secretariat around the theme “Leading Change: Focus on the Core”, the 3rd PLS aims to tackle the present-day realities of public governance, and the competencies, mindsets, and values that are necessary to navigate its terrain.

On the heels of President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr.’s first State of the Nation Address (SONA), the PLS was graced by Executive Secretary Victor D. Rodriguez of the Office of the President (OP), who delivered a keynote address that not only expounded on the role of the CES in President Marcos Jr.’s administration, but also expressed the administration’s commitment to ‘careerism’, or the principle of appointing public managers based on merit and fitness and not through political connections.  

Executive Secretary Rodriguez graces the opening of the 3rd PLS pledges President Marcos Jr.’s support to ‘careerism’

Careerism in the Marcos Administration

In a highly applauded line from his keynote address, Executive Secretary Rodriguez pledged before an audience of Career Executive Service Officers (CESOs) that the Marcos administration will “maintain careerism to ensure continuity and stability in governance.”

He contended that, without the work of career executives, President Marcos’ vision, outlined in the SONA just the day before, would be difficult to achieve.

“The President yearns for a decent future for all Filipinos and nothing less,” Rodriguez declared. “You (the CESOs) will set the tone for the outcome of the President’s vision.”

The Executive Secretary likewise asserted that, while CESOs already have what it takes to navigate the VUCAD world, there are certain attributes and skills that public managers must still develop to thrive in the present context, namely: strategic thinking skills, practicing foresight, acting with agility, behaving with integrity, and uniting as one with purpose.

Alluding to the Summit’s theme, he closed out his speech by providing his own definition of the ‘CESO C.O.R.E.’, which to him pertains to ‘Convergence, Ownership, Resilience, and Excellence’ .

The CES as an instrument of change

In his opening message, CES Governing Board member and Development Academy of the Philippines (DAP) President Atty. Engelbert C. Caronan, Jr. harkened back to the very origins of both the CESB and the DAP to argue that the CES was specifically conceived to be an instrument of change and is therefore well-suited to adapt to and survive disruptive and volatile times such as the present.

Caronan maintained that the CES and DAP were products of a time when there was a need to overhaul the bureaucracy to transform it into an effective instrument of change and social engineering. “The philosophical underpinnings of the CES and the DAP goes back to The New Society of  President Ferdinand Marcos Sr.,” he explained.

Caronan further contended that the new Marcos administration’s thrust of ‘rightsizing the bureaucracy’ as outlined in his first SONA dovetails well with his father’s own efforts to rebuild the bureaucracy during his time. “We are again in the throes of a great social reengineering process,” Caronan emphasized.

Opening the Summit

Executive Director Maria Marcy Cosare-Ballesteros formally opened the event by giving a rundown of the day’s proceedings and by elucidating on the theme of the Summit. “Leading change and leading through changing political landscapes are on-the-job realities for every government leader. Championing and managing change rather than being swept by it requires solid grounding and agility,” she explained.

ED Ballesteros also thanked Executive Secretary Rodriguez for gracing the event as the keynote speaker. “Your presence is a symbol of this administration’s commitment to a professional executive level of the bureaucracy. May this be the beginning of greater collaborations between the CESB and the Office of the President, and of better days for the career executive service,” she said.

The 3rd Public Service Leaders’ Summit is the first in-person gathering of CESOs and eligibles since the pandemic. It is held both online on Zoom and at a live event at the Philippine International Convention Center.  Day 1 of the two-day event was hosted by Undersecretary Earl P. Saavedra, CESO I of the Dangerous Drugs Board. (CESO)

Day 1 of the two-day event was hosted by Undersecretary Earl P. Saavedra, CESO I of the Dangerous Drugs Board.
Executive Director Maria Marcy Cosare-Ballesteros

About the Author

Kate Shiene Austria

Information Officer III

Information Officer III under the Creative Production Services Division of the Philippine Information Agency. 

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