Building Trust and Promoting Accountability: Jesse Robredo and Naga City, Philippines, 1988-1998

Full Publication 
Abstract 
When Jesse Robredo became mayor of Naga City in 1988, he faced a population disenchanted with the corrupt and closeted manner in which previous city administrations functioned. The once-thriving Philippine city was broke. Despite Naga’s landlocked location in one of the most impoverished regions of the country, Robredo had a plan to revitalize the city. He first focused on closing the budget deficit and answered citizens’ demands to crack down on illegal activities that had benefited previous administrations. Next, to promote transparency and accountability in government, he took steps to increase citizen participation in government functions.  By the end of his nine years as mayor—term limits prevented him from running again—Robredo had closed the budget gap, and Naga had gained international recognition as a model of effective and transparent local government.  
 

Michael Scharff drafted this case study on the basis of interviews conducted in Naga City and Manila, Philippines, in March 2011.  Case published July 2011.

Associated Interview(s):  Jesse Robredo

Keywords 
citizen participation
accountability
revenues
deficit reduction
Patronage
corruption
Focus Area(s): 
Building a Reform Team and Staff
Containing Patronage Pressures
Countering Criminal Economies
Getting the News Out/Managing Expectations
City Management
Critical Tasks: 
Building citizen support
Municipal centers of government
Overcoming corruption
Revenue generation
Core Challenge: 
Credibility (trust)
Country of Reform: 
Philippines
Type: 
Case Studies
Author: 
Michael Scharff