GOV. JOSIE M. DELA CRUZ
ABOUT

JOSEFINA "JOSIE" MENDOZA DELA CRUZ

She has always been referred to as a MAVERICK public servant. Governor Josie was an extra-ordinary leader. She may have entered through the traditional ways of politics, but she transcended the existing games in the political arena of her time and focused on improving the local government bureaucracy of Bulacan.

Governor Josefina Mendoza-dela Cruz rose thru the ranks, starting-of her political career through.

To my mind, her term may be considered “golden years” of the Provincial Government of Bulacan.

In her 3-term as the first female governor of the Province of Bulacan, she has caused the transformation of public services:

(1) Adopted policies ensuring quality service in governance.

(2) Re-organized the provincial government administration, streamlining and realigning functions, hiring highly qualified and even sending her promising employees to training courses abroad, and improvement of salaries and benefits of employees.

(3) Upgraded efficiency and effectiveness of employee services and re-tooled employees skills through adoption of technology in the workplace. It was during her term when the computerized financial systems were implemented, resulting to remarkable improvement in revenue collection.

(4) Championed participative and inclusive governance by initiating the establishment of various people’s organization as effective platform for consultation. Aside from the establishment of the different councils and cooperatives, Gov. Josie encouraged then outstanding members of the Dangal ng Lipi Awards to harness their expertise and resources and help in the efforts to develop Bulacan by organizing the Dangal ng Bulacan Foundation, Inc.

(5) Adopted business-friendly policies and promoted a thriving investment environment for the province, with specific programs for SME development and investment promotion. Gov. Josie opened doors for both foreign and local investments and pro-actively campaigned for Bulacan products through national and international market intervention programs. Her term saw the mushrooming of shopping malls in the province, as well as the aggressive commercial and industrial development in the City of San Jose del Monte, Sta. Maria, Baliwag, Plaridel, Malolos and Guiguinto. She has caused the establishment of the Bulacan Packaging Center and the Meycauayan Jewelry Industry Training Center to assist local products achieve world-class excellence and the Investment Promotion Unit. Under her term landmark ordinances were passed.

(6) Professionalized the administration of services to the marginalized sector by adopting efficient ‘ayuda’ systems. During her term, cancer patients were provided assistance for complete cycle therapies without the need of queuing in long lines for meager financial assistance. Gov. Josie implemented a system where the poor were able to access assistance with their dignity intact.

Gov. Josie paved the way for upgrading the Bulacan Provincial Hospital to the Bulacan Medical Center and has planned for the eventual offering of Medicine and medical-allied professions in the Bulacan State University. She put health care on top of her priority list in public service.

She also facilitated the relocation of squatters’ colonies in the province through the establishment of well-planned relocation communities.

(7) Her administrative competence and her unmatched dedication to the service of her constituents have deservingly earned for her administration numerous awards and citations for excellence in public service from both private and government bodies.

INTEGRITY, EXCELLENCE AND PROFESSIONALISM TOWARDS A PROGRESSIVE BULACAN

Her vast experience in public service has always been characterized by integrity and a high regard for professionalism. She is clearly a visionary leader who diligently worked for the transformation of the bureaucratic helms of government to more productive provision of responsive service to her constituents. Gov. Josie was one of the few progressive-minded leaders who had the management skills lacking most local government executives during her time. She gradually unchained the shackles of political patronage in running government in order to deliver the quality of public service that Bulakenyos deserved: only the best. Hers was truly Bulacan’s golden era of governance.

 

VIOLETA C. LUNA
President-Emeritus
Bulacan Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Inc.

As Bulacan Governor
(1998-2007)

If there is one very significant realization that the movie Jose Rizal brought to the fore-when it took the nation by storm, and moviedom as well just some weeks ago—it would be that the fire and spirit that sparked the Philippines revolution still live in the hearts of the many Filipinos. From the warm and emotional-fused recognition it received from the public, it becomes apparent that all did not end after the fireworks were unleashed into thin air amidst the hullabaloo and the merry-making on June 12, 1998. That such dogma is what keeps Bulacan province in its rightful destination and always on top of thins. As the newly-elected governor of the historically and culturally-rich province of Bulacan, she emphasizes the fact that history plays a vital role in every endeavor that Bulakeños undertake and it is the very bedrock to which the Bulacan vision is anchored on.

History would recount that Bulacan was the wellspring of some of our country’s noble heroes like Francisco Balagtas (old town of Bigaa), Marcelo H. del Pilar and his nephew, Gregorio H. del Pilar (town of Bulacan). Its once breath-taking scenery of lush greenery and clean rivers provided shelter to some of the most intelligent minds behind the revolution at one time or another, Emilio Aguinaldo’s revolutionary government sought refuge in Biak-na-Bato, in the foothills of Sierra Madre in San Miguel, Bulacan.

Calumpit, a town in the northern part of Bulacan was the scene of the decisive battle of the Philippine-American War where the army, headed by General Antonio Luna staged the historical three-week heroic resistance that paved the way to the beginning of the guerrilla war.

Pandi and San Rafael became cauldrons of insurrectionary activities undertaken by the revolutionaries.

The town of Malolos would forever be a significant part of the Philippines Independence when it served as the fountainhead of the Malolos Congress that eventually established the first constitutional republic in Asia, the Philippines Republic.

Just recently, Bulacan was chosen as the inaugural site of the centennial celebrations as well as the historical swearing-in of the 13th President of the Philippines, President Joseph Estrada, in the Barasoain Church, in the lively and colorful town of Malolos, Bulacan.

So much has changed in this historical haven so the next 100 and so years. Fast forward, the province of Bulacan at present is home 1.8 million Bulakeños. A total of 24 towns and 564 baranggays are sprawled on its immense 262,500-hectare land. Literacy rate in the province is recorded at 98-57% while the unemployment rate is 9.9%.

Since Bulacan is just a few hours drive away hours drive away from the hub of Manila, it is never left behind in terms of road infrastructures as well as telecommunication, power and water supply facilities. Industrial estates also abound in the area.

A leisurely drive along some of the streets in the key towns in Bulacan would prove that it is indeed one of the most progressive and highly developed urbanizing province in the country.

“If we will go by indicators, Bulacan apparently enjoys the honor of being among the top provinces in the Philippines and is third highest in terms of per capita income,” shares Governor Josie dela Cruz.

Bulacan holds the distinction of being an entrepreneurial community where micro finance livelihood is the name of good business. The local government provides support to small-scale businesses and a considerable amount of the province’s income is generated through its active “Cooperatives are the backbone are of Bulacan’s economy” shares the newly elected governor in an afternoon interview with the Graphic.

Consequently, the local government has designed as the Provincial Cooperative Consultant Conference, which is aimed at improving the condition of the cooperatives in Bulacan. Networking in terms of COOP consolidation and federation building is likewise being done to help strengthen market linkages.

For the meantime, the Office of the Governor has three is the cleanliness drive throughout Bulacan. It is noticeable how the province has successfully expunged its so called eyesores. The capitol, which is considered to be a symbol of every Bulakeno, is undergoing rehabilitation.

The obliteration of various squatter colonies is included in this drive as well. They were provided their own decent quarters.

The poor drainage system, which accounts for the easy flooding of some of the streets in Bulacan, is also being addressed.

The second priority of the governor is to upgrade their medical services by making hospitals viable, efficient, and effective and by increasing the competence levels of doctors, nurses and other hospital staff.

“In addition, I put importance on the availability of medicine in hospitals 24 hours a day,” states the young lady governor.

Her third priority is to increase the revenue generation of Bulacan. Following this, the Office of the Governor has moved to fully computerize the capitol, which is almost completed. Real property taxes will be encoded to lessen foul play in its assessment and this will be done initially in 4 pilot municipalities.

In line with this goal is the creation of a Task Force on Revenue Evaluation and Monitoring to study and oversee the implementing and monitoring guidelines.

Presently, the local government is pulling all its resources to come up with a fully computerized system operations, specifically in the capitol. Bulacan aims to the first province to provide a complete network of data for all its municipalities, for faster and more accurate services.

Governor dela Cruz explains that aside from the above-mentioned, her office is deeply concerned with the problems of traffic decongestion, waste management, and flood control in the province. All these however, would require more new heavy infrastructures, therefore, would call for a bigger amount of money.

“We have just concluded our conceptual development plan which address these challenges. We will be working this out with the national government to secure funding for the new roads that we will have to open,” shares the governor.

Just a few months after being elected in the position, the administration of Governor Josie dela Cruz already boasts of a number of accomplishments.

In one hundred days, reforms in the local government have been made and on top of the list is streamlining the bureaucracy. The intransigent lady governor has already retrenched inefficient people in the bureaucracy because her principle is “if you don’t work, you don’t have a place in my administration.”

As a result of this, only the best people will be rendering their services to the local government. The most effective and deserving employees presently, enjoy better salaries and benefits. They are continuously trained and developed through Employees Scholarship Programs here and abroad.

In the field of health services, policy changes were made. Aside from the 24-hour availability of drugs based on the ten leading causes of hospital admission, mother and child wards were increased at the Bulacan Provincial Hospital.

Seven ambulances were incurred from the Philippines Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO). By virtue of Executive Order No. 98-09, an Advisory Council for Hospital Development was established for improved policy directions, to review and monitor hospital operations and recommend solutions to the identified problems.

Renovations are also being done on hospitals.

The delivery of social improved. A Social Services Task Force was created to curb unscrupulous misrepresentations as indigents goes to those who really in need and also to monitor progress of beneficiaries.

Elderly Bulakeños are also provided a center that is called Senior Citizens Center.

In terms of peace and order, Bulacan is still as active in its anti-drug campaign through the KAPANALIG (Kabataang Panlalawigang Nagkakaisa Laban sa Ipinagbabawal na Gamot) which is a seminar for both the parents and their children. The seminar creates awareness on the evils of drugs and ways to fight drug abuse.

Agriculture is still an essential part in the lives of Bulakeños. The local government has released P 10.2 M for projects that were designed for farmers who were severely affected by the El Nino. There is a continuing food-and-mouth disease control in the province. Likewise, a 5-hectare lot was reserved for carabao propagation. For irrigation and farming 7 multi-purpose drying pavements, 21 units of shallow tube wells and 4 open surface pumps were completed and are all fully-operational at present.

With these accomplishments attributed to her administration, Governor Josie dela Cruz still believes that Bulacan has a very long way to go but it definitely is getting there. However, she maintains that the problems, which existed 4 to 5 years ago when she was still vice-governor, are not anymore the very same problems that her administration faces at present.

On her part, the lady governor would like to reinforce her projects in support of women empowerment. “There is a high literacy rate among Bulakeños which means that they are highly-qualified to take on jobs. I would like to believe that my administration is giving them equal access to economic opportunities through credit assistance for their livelihood projects, which we call micro-financing assistance,” continues Governor dela Cruz.

She adds that it makes a whole lot of difference when women are extended economic assistance because when they are helped and supported, their families’ well-being are promoted as well.

Being no non-sense leader who does not leave any store unturned, what else remains to be done for the province of Bulacan when almost everything has already been well-covered and attended to?

Judging from her reaction this question, the answer was just plain and simple. Governor Josie dela Cruz confides that the biggest goal of her administration thus far, is to completely develop the western portion of Bulacan. She believes that with the development of this part, the problem of this part, the problem of traffic decongestion would be effectively solved. “I so doing, we maintain a certain balance in terms of development. I want this to be my legacy to my fellow Bulakeños,” she concludes.

However, this endeavor will call for a master plan that will have to be carefully laid down because such a project will require an enormous amount of money for it to see the light of day. Despite this fact, the governor remains optimistic that this can be done through a thorough master plan and unwavering support from the right entities.

Governor Josie dela Cruz is not a greenhorn in the field of politics. Her experience through the years has taught her what it really takes to be a public servant.

Josie as she was fondly called was born and raised in Lolomboy, Bocaue, Bulacan to parents who were pioneers in the country of importing and exporting of veterinary products. She is the eldest among a broad of 5.

The lady governor is a double degree holder from the Ateneo e Manila University in Quezon City. She finished Bachelor of Science in Management Engineering in 1979 and Bachelor of Arts Major in Psychology in 1980, Cum Laude and Magna cum Laude, respectively.

First Female Postmaster General and
Chief Executive Officer - PHILPOST
(2011 - 2015)

As she effectively transformed the Philippine Postal Corp.’s (PHLPost) into a revenue-generating government-owned agency, its first female postmaster general (PMG) and chief executive officer Ma. Josefina Dela Cruz credits her successful three-term leadership as governor of Bulacan in seeing her through.

It was during this time that she developed her skills in leadership and steeled her determination in facing challenges in public service and economics–the very abilities, which allowed her to steer PHLPost into a brand new direction today.

“There were many challenges at PHLPost when I joined the organization but none that we could not overcome,” said Dela Cruz in a one-on-one with The Manila Times for its weekly CEO Corner.

Her vast experience in public service began at an early age of 21, when she was elected as the youngest councilor of Bocaue in Bulacan, thereafter working her way up elective posts until she became the governor of the province.

Armed with an impressive educational background—graduating Cum Laude in the 1980s from two consecutive degrees, namely Management Engineering and Psychology, at the Ateneo de Manila University—Dela Cruz was considered a valuable asset in her province.

Just the same, much was expected from the achiever when she was appointed to lead the new PHLPost, and she did not disappoint. Her program, “Re-engineering PHLPost,” won the People Management category of the World Mail Awards 2014 in Berlin, Germany on June 18—an achievement she humbly attributes to the employees of PHLPost.

“We owe the all the triumphs and success of the corporation receives to every employee, especially the letter carriers. This only attests that we are heading on the right path. With this award especially we can only go forward and continue to be of service to our fellow Filipinos,” Dela Cruz said.

The World Mail Awards 2014 is the most prestigious award ceremony in the postal sector recognizing excellence and innovation as conducted by Triangle Management Services Limited.

New PHLPost

Celebrating National Stamp Collecting Month this November, PHLPost now has an established structure with better facilities and a modern fleet of delivery vehicles. Its services are no longer defined by stamps, snail mail, and paper-based money order as the agency is now scaling up to express, logistics, electronic remittance, and cross-border e-commerce.

Moreover, Dela Cruz is proud of the financial turnaround of PHLPost, having been able to remit dividends to the National Government for the first time. PHLPost earned P110 million in the first seven months of operation under the leadership of Dela Cruz who took office in July 2011.

Dela Cruz recalled, “When I came here, PHLPost had only P5 million in its coffers. That was not even enough for the one month salaries of 11,000 employees. Worse, it had P266 million loses accumulated in the past years.”

Admittedly, Dela Cruz found the situation difficult, but after her factual assessment of the organization’s situation, she determinedly gathered available resources and manpower to improve PHLPost’s operations.

Among her early triumphs was to convince Department of Justice Secretary Leila De Lima to avail of their postal services for 2012 worth P5.6 million. Dela Cruz also persuaded other private companies to sign on for PHLPost’s courier services among them BDO and PLDT, and Philhealth and SSS.

“We are no longer limited to being a stamp company. We are now also a logistics company that can deliver cash and parcels door to door,” she said.

Dela Cruz was also able to implement new systems that resulted to favorable changes that continue to take place at PHLPost.

“If there’s one legacy I want to leave in this organization, it would be how I was able to uplift the situation of its employees who are now enjoying the fruits of those innovations,” she related.

These innovations comprise of the following:

Rationalization plan. After her strategic review of the company, 3,301 employees who volunteered to retire reduced PHLPost’s manpower, enabled the organization to prioritize its corporate budget.

“From 11,000 employees around the country, we were reduced to about 9,000,” Dela Cruz said. The savings resulting from the rationalization planenabled the Post to offer better compensation packages for employees, who previously received one of the lowest salaries in the industry. PHLPost salaries increased from 13 percent to 30 percent.”

Employee empowerment. Today PHLPost provides employees a world of opportunities, including participating in local and international trainings and conferences.

Employees are also encouraged to pursue higher degree of education or specialized courses through an Educational Assistance Program. With these, they are afforded chances to rediscover their sense of mission by conducting team-building activities, workshops and various wellness activities.

Performance management system. Employees’ performances are now planned, monitored, evaluated, and rewarded. With the Strategic Performance Management System (SPMS), corporate targets are translated to individual targets, providing every unit and employee a clear direction of what needs to be accomplish.

Open communication. Various means of communication between the management and employees are now in place. Dela Cruz takes time to travel all over the Philippines to carry out face-to-face interaction with postmasters and letter carriers so that corporate thrusts are communicated clearly and employees’ sentiments are addressed properly.

There are also corporate performance assessment and action planning every quarter, gathering of birthday celebrants every month, corporate publications every month, the PHLPost Text Alert, and use of other social media.

Better facilities and modern equipment. Dela Cruz also prioritized addressing the problem of fully depreciated vehicles, outdated machines and equipment, and manual processes over since July 2011.

With the three-year Refleeting Program, postal employees now drive new and rebranded vehicles in the transport of mails, with targets to add on 483 more vehicles by 2017.

Information technology. From traditional snail mails, PHLPost has taken a big leap to networked digital postage meter machines with initial implementation involving about 222 machines. The computerization of business processes is also ongoing.

An in-house IT department is busy developing various systems like the Financial Management Information System, Funds Management System, Personnel Management Information System, and of course the Pinoy e-mail (e-commerce platform).

Moreover, PHLPost has used IT to introduce stamps to the Filipinos in a new dimension through its “Selfie” Booth producing personalized stamps.

Added services. Besides mail delivery, PHLPost has transitioned to express delivery and moving bulk shipments like election paraphernalia and relief goods through its logistic services. Paper-based money order also no longer defines PHLPost payment services as it has migrated to electronic money transfer, bills payment, collections and payout services.

Partnerships

In collaboration with the Department of Social Welfare and Development and Land Bank of the Philippines, PHLPost was able to implement payout for the poorest families under the Conditional Cash Transfer Program, even to the remotest areas in the Philippines.

It also partnered with the Department of Health in delivering medicines to the rural health units, as well as with the Commission on Election in the delivery of election paraphernalia.

The Philippines’ Outsourced Collection Industry also became an ally for PHLPost in providing bills payment and collection services. In 2012, it sealed an alliance with DHL for international express delivery services for destinations not serviceable by its in-house express mail service.

With all her achievements as postmaster, Dela Cruz said still has a greater vision for the corporation if she is given the chance to prove its worth to the public.

“I know my purpose here,” she added.

Asked whether she thinks about going back to politics, she smiled and admitted, “To be honest, I am now happy with what I am doing here. I am very grateful to those employees who fully cooperate with me to bring back to life this very office they have been serving for many years.”

Source: Manila Times