The bureaucracy and the policy making process

Posted: April 10, 2010 in Bureaucracy, Philippine politics, Political institutions

The bureaucracy’s role in the policymaking process is an important one since it is in charge of implementing policy.  Since it is also a part of the executive branch of government and is responsible to the incumbent government, it can also assist in policy formulation and monitoring.

However, the Philippine bureaucracy (save for a few pockets of competence such as the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA), and the Departments of Trade and Industry, and Foreign Affairs) is not a neutral and professional actor but rather a weak one.

It is more a private resource of politicians who use it as a resource to reward followers with public sector employment or a source of funds to finance pork barrel projects.  As a result, the bureaucracy is bloated yet inefficient.  Using the typology used in The Politics of Policies (2006), the Philippine bureaucracy is a clientelistic bureaucracy characterized by low autonomy and low capacity.

A process of adverse selection, largely fueled by inferior public sector salaries and political interference, contributes to the poor quality of the bureaucracy. Mafias have entrenched themselves in many regulatory, procurement and project contracting agencies and perpetuates a culture of corruption.  Many other government offices are staffed by relatively unqualified personnel who got employed through politicians’ intercession.

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