cabinet clusters

Towards a Strategic Development Road Map (Update)

The following is a matrix of the Strategies contained in the government’s Philippine Development Plan 2011-16  plotted against the five key results areas under the Cabinet Cluster system of the Aquino Cabinet.

The five themes include: 1) Good Governance and Anti-Corruption, 2) Human Development and Poverty Reduction, 3) Economic Development, 4) Security, Justice and Peace, and 5) Climate Change, Adaptation and Mitigation. This was contained in Executive Order 43: Pursuing our Social Contract with the Filipino People Through the Reorganization of the Cabinet Clusters.

The strategies under each theme were taken from the Philippine Development Plan 2011-16. In some cases, the actual targets were contained in it or some other announcement such as the renewable energy target. Some targets we are actually proposing here based on the intent of the PDP and other statements by the government. Some targets remain ambiguous or require quantification, but at least a measurement indicator is identified here.

This should form the basis for a periodic review of the government’s progress in meeting its official development plan and agenda. In the future, we will be revisiting these targets to hold this government to account. Comments on the construction of the matrix are quite welcome. Feel free to point out things that are missing or need to be revised.

Scorecard of Social Contract and Philippine Development Plan 2011-16 Targets


Good governance targets

I chose to go with the World Bank’s Good Governance indicators because the government has adopted its whole philosophy of economic development from the Washington Consensus. It is only but fitting that it should benchmark itself against the indicators set by this Washington-based institution.

In setting the targets for the nation, I had to benchmark our rating with our East Asian neighbors. For instance under control of corruption, the Philippines and Indonesia were at 27.1 and 28.1 respectively, China and Vietnam were at 36.2 and 36.7, Thailand was at 51, and Malaysia was at 58.1 back in 2009. Hong Kong and Singapore were in the 90s.

It is only but fitting that we try to break into the range of Thailand and Malaysia. So I said we need to be achieving above 50%. I used a similar approach with the other indicators in this area.

Human Development and Poverty Reduction

Most of the targets found here were lifted from the government’s plan. The only target which I had to set on my own was the HDI target. To do this I simply projected the current trend from 2005 to 2010.  The target of reaching a 0.65 value for HDI means we would catch up to where Thailand and Sri Lanka were back in 2010.

All the other targets dealing with poverty reduction, literacy, land reform and distribution, Pantawid Pamilya recipients, housing and reaching the MDG targets were all based on official published documents by the government.

Economic Development

Most of the targets came from official published documents by the government. The only targets where I took the liberty of setting were the fiscal spending targets, but even there I took the policy pronouncements contained in the PDP into account.

For example, the PDP stated that its Medium Term Expenditure goal was to “substantially increase productive expenditures and catch up with the accumulated deficits in these areas.” It also noted that in 2007, the average expenditure on education among our Asian neighbors was 3.9% of GDP. To “catch-up” and make up for our accumulated deficits, we would need to at least match that spending, which is reflected in the target.

Aside from education, the PDP also made mention of our infrastructure spending which is woefully inadequate when compared with that of China, Vietnam, and Thailand which spent upwards of 7, 8 and 14% of GDP over the last decade. The 5% target was based on the World Bank’s recommended level for a middle income country such as ours. In other words, it was a modest but reasonable target in light of our regional peers’ spending.

The targets for achieving higher rankings in the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness and World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business reports are self-explanatory. You can see by reading their most recent editions the countries in whose proximity we would be landing if we achieved the targets.

The consumer welfare and agricultural productivity targets are yet undefined and merit further discussion.

Security, Justice and Peace

The target for achieving political stability was arrived at similar to the other good governance targets already discussed above. The defense modernization target assumes that the government has a revised plan for this and will be working towards achieving 100% of it by the end of its term. Finally, the press freedom strategy and target, I had to personally add given the silence of the PDP on it. I based this on PNoy’s policy pronouncements at an AFP conference call. I further believe the Human Rights Commission should seek to publish official statistics in the area so that we can aim to bring that figure down.

Climate Change, Adaptation and Mitigation

The targets for reducing environmental damage and casualties are yet undefined but flow directly from the strategies outlined in the PDP. The rest of the targets contained here are from official published statements by the government, including the renewable energy target.

Why the Need for a Scorecard?

It has been nearly three months since the cabinet reorganization was announced, and yet it seems no further developments were made towards fleshing out the social contract in terms of major strategies and targets, which the EO that created it envisioned.

That is the reason why we have taken this bold step towards developing this strategic development road map. Of course, nothing would please us more than to see the government announce something similar. When it does, we will be sure to revise the document to reflect it.

The Propinoy Project began as an attempt to hold the government to account for its electoral promises. Now that the government has officially laid down its official policies and plan for its term, it is but fitting that we assess its future performance against its own targets with objective baselines and independent and reliable sources.

This matrix as detailed as it is cannot capture the complexities at the implementation or operational level. We leave that to the community service organizations who are partnered with various agencies to monitor. At least at the strategic level we can look at this scorecard to assess whether the government is doing the right things (and doing them right!) at the operational level to achieve its strategic goals.

BFFs, NO! Developmental State, YES!

For all its talk of good governance and economic reform, PNoy’s government seems to be struggling at both. It needs a circuit breaker to change its current trajectory.

Last week, two surprise announcements were made. Well perhaps one was a surprise, the other was to be expected, but shocked a lot of people nonetheless. The first had to do with the resignation of Jose “Ping” De Jesus as secretary of the DOTC (Transport and Communications). The second was the less than stellar growth rate recorded in the first quarter of the year of 4.9%.

According to “Mareng Winnie” Monsod, Ping De Jesus her former colleague in Cory Aquino’s cabinet resigned due to his distaste for the shenanigans of his assistant secretary, Virgie Torres, a political appointee and shooting buddy of the Benign One himself. It appears that Mrs Torres who was already on the nose for two scandals involving her alleged abuse of authority was causing interference in the way Sec De Jesus wanted to run things at the department.

What’s more is that the DOJ Sec Leila De Lima, another highly esteemed member of PNoy’s cabinet had recommended suspension for Mrs Torres pending investigation of her latest infringement. What broke the proverbial camel’s back for Sec De Jesus, was PNoy’s decision to just ask Torres to go on leave for awhile, disregarding the DOJ’s recommendation.

A pattern emerges

This case mirrors the treatment of Sec Jesse Robredo, a highly decorated public official. In that instance another shooting buddy of PNoy in the person of Ricardo Puno was appointed undersecretary and was preventing Robredo from running the agency effectively. Despite the Luneta debacle involving Puno, who again was found liable by the DOJ secretary for mishandling the rescue of hostages, PNoy once again came to the aid of his BFF (best friends forever!).

At some point surmises Mareng Winnie, Robredo and De Lima might follow De Jesus and leave the PNoy administration.

It could not happen at a worse time as the economy seems to be slowing as a result of government underspending by a magnitude of 70 billion or three and a half conditional cash transfer programs in the first quarter alone. This according to the nation’s chief statistician NSCB Sec Gen Virola dragged the growth of the economy down from 5.1% supposedly to 4.9% effectively causing the NEDA to rethink its growth forecasts for the year.

Despite the approval given by Congress before the start of the year and the zero based budgeting approach instituted which presumably cleansed the roster of projects of wasteful anomalous spending, the current administration still found itself stumbling at the gate with a review of costings delaying its spend. Senator Ralph Recto a former NEDA director general says, “Use it, or lose it.”

Unfortunately, these two events are just symptomatic of a dysfunctional state and set of institutions that continue to hound the Philippines.

The BFF phenomenon

Ferdie had his cronies. Cory had her kamag-anaks (close relatives or Kamaganak Inc), Eddie had his fellow generals. Erap had his drinking kumpadres, Ate Glo had her husband’s classmates, and Noy has his shooting barkada (update: or Kaibigan Inc as the Inquirer has put it). It’s a BFF phenomenon replicating itself with each successive administration. Despite their rhetorical flourishes, they just can’t help but stick to the same playbook.

What’s the reason for this?

Well it goes to the heart of what institutions are about, which in economic theory is all about reducing transactions costs. Let me break it down for you…

In a nation like the Philippines, where business transactions are lubricated through personal relationships and kinships, using close friends and connections are one way to minimize costs associated with screening and monitoring business contracts, partnerships and joint ventures.

So it is in running a government, the sheer size of it makes it necessary for the one appointing to efficiently select appointees to help him share the burden. So often the shortest possible route to that is appointing BFFs.

The use of personal ties does not always lead to dysfunction. In post-war Japan where the top graduates from the premier law schools were often recruited into the economic bureaucracy, a member of an incoming “cohort” would often rely on school ties to forward his or her career. In fact, companies were wont to recruit graduates from the same universities mainly because of the close connections they had with public servants in these powerful agencies.

Todai Law School, University of Tokyo: has one of the most powerful of school cliques in Japan. Alumni are well-placed in the upper echelons of government, banking and industry.

The term they used for this was gakubatsu or school cliques which are ensconced in the upper echelons not only of government, but banking and industry. Within this batsu, is the Todaibatsu, or the “bastu of all batsus” which refers to alumni of the University of Tokyo Todai Law School, whose education features a heavy dose of public administration, more like political science, and economics.

This mixture of a merit based appointment and school/class based loyalty system enabled these bureaucrats to work cohesively and professionally, which in turn permitted policy to be developed independent of local as well as international pressure or influence, to strengthen economic policy and manage public-private cooperation.

The developmental state model

In his widely celebrated book on the powerful Ministry of Trade and Industry, MITI and the Japanese Miracle, the late Prof Chalmers Johnson outlined how the Japanese bureaucratic model worked

The first element of the model is the existence of a small, inexpensive, but elite bureaucracy staffed by the best managerial talent available in the system…they should be educated in law and economics, but it would be preferrable if they were not professional lawyers or economists, since as a general rule professionals make poor organization men…

The second element of the model is a political system in which the bureaucracy is given sufficient scope to take initiative and operate effectively. This means, concretely, that the legislative and judicial branches of government must be restricted to “safety valve” functions…to intervene in the work of the bureaucracy and to restrain it when it has gone too far…

The third element of the model is the perfection of market-conforming methods of state intervention in the economy. In implementing industrial policy, the state must take care to preserve competition to as high a degree as is compatible with its priorities. This is necessary to avoid the deadening hand of state control and the inevitable inefficiency, loss of incentives, corruption, and bureaucratism that it generates.

The fourth and final element of the model is a pilot organization like MITI. The problem here is to find the mix of powers needed by the pilot agency without either giving it control over so many sectors as to make it all-powerful or so few as to make it ineffective.

What Johnson was describing is basically the East Asian economic model based on the developmental state or the BeST Consensus (BeST stands for Beijing, Seoul and Tokyo). The Commission on Growth and Development in its findings covering the factors that gave rise to rapid and sustainable growth gave a tip of the hat to the fourth element. Its term for this is “reform teams”. According to the report

The business of “feeling for stones” in fast-growing economies was often carried out by highly qualified technocrats in small, dedicated “reform teams”. Singapore had its Economic Development Board, Korea its Economic Planning Board, and Japan its Ministry of Trade and Industry.

Reform teams were not burdened with adminstrative duties, but they were given direct access to the top of the government. Malaysia’s Economic Planning Unit reported directly to the prime minister. Taiwan, China’s…Council for Economic Planning and Development, reported directly to the president. Indeed, several future heads of government sprang from their ranks: the second chairman of the Council later became president of the country.

From this unique position…the reform teams helped coordinate the government’s efforts and overcome administrative opposition and inertia.

Although technocrats unchecked by political forces can fail to balance economic with political and social concerns, political forces unchecked by technocratic knowledge can be disruptive.

In the Philippines, the closest resemblance to a “reform team” is the NEDA which creates the revolving five year medium term plans and screens development projects. The latest roll-out is the Philippine Development Plan 2011-2016.

Unfortunately, while the director general of this agency does sit within cabinet, his stature is often relegated to a planning or “secretariat” function. We also witnessed in the case of Sec Romulo Neri how the clout of the NEDA chief could get superceded by political players and personalities outside of government.

The NEDA in its original design was meant to perform the function that the cabinet cluster under EO#43 sets out to do. Under this over-arching framework, the NEDA’s sole job is to act as secretariat for one of the clusters, on economic development leaving social development, climate change, governance and justice to be handled by other lead agencies.

The Philippine reform experience

If we look at our own track record at performing economic reform, the reform teams have traditionally been held by players close to the president, a Joe Almonte under Mr Ramos or a Joey Salceda under Mrs Arroyo.  Love them or loathe them, the reforming credentials earned by their presidents (whether you agree or disagree with the type of reform is immaterial) can be credited to them and the teams that worked with them.

Following in that tradition, I formed the view that the person best placed for this role would be Mar Roxas, the president’s failed vice presidential running mate. Although EO#43 has been branded a power play on the part of the opposing faction to “cluster out” the incoming chief of staff, I believe that it has the exact opposite effect. A reforming team requires a strategic “helicopter view” of the world.

Had the E.O. pigeonholed the chief of staff like it has the NEDA chief, the occupant would be unable to move out of this administrative strait jacket. Perhaps the strongest suit of Mar is his being a former DTI secretary, which puts him in good stead with the various industry groups and the economic bureaucracy. Given his skill sets, he should be able to drive a number of key reforms across all five cabinet clusters.

It is reported in today’s Inquirer that his rivals within the office of the Executive Secretary want Mar Roxas to take the DOTC secretaryship supposedly to keep him away from the Palace. Given the shambolic state that the administration currently is in, with its rookie student council style of governance, the presence of a veteran like Roxas might help steady the ship and keep it on course.


If the government of the Benign One ever hopes to dig itself out of the rabbit hole it has dug itself in, now is the time to do it. It will have to show its reformist credentials soon. The paternalistic state was one where BFFs thrived. It was compatible with the misplaced faith in “the Market” to deliver its citizens into the promised land of economic prosperity wherein the state played a diminished role.

As inconsistencies between the outcomes of this model and what it predicts has become apparent, perhaps our leaders will realize that the responsibility for charting our own path lies in our hands and not that of foreign aid donors and advisors. Perhaps this “re-awakened sense” of self-determination is the vision lacking in all our plans.

The Plan: Update


The plot thickens; or does it?

On Wednesday, I wrote a piece on the cabinet re-organization, called The Plan, hailing it is a significant positive development in the administration of the benevolent one.

In today’s Inquirer, Amando Doronila seems to think that it is more of the same, saying that it is a factional maneuver by Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa, Jr, a member of Camp Binay, preempting the entry of rival camp leader Mar Roxas into the cabinet. Doronila opines that

The adoption of the cluster mechanism was no less a coup staged by Ochoa to fortify his position. It was announced amid statements by the President that he intends to appoint former Sen. Manuel A. Roxas II as chief of staff, a new Cabinet position with still unspecified functions and jurisdiction. The EO explicitly situates the ES at the apex of the Cabinet hierarchy, as the overarching “premier” of the President’s official family. There is no mention in the EO about the position of the chief of staff and the place of Roxas in the nomenclature and Cabinet hierarchy. The EO promulgated by Ochoa, presumably with the approval of the President, is an exclusion order that puts Roxas on notice that he has no place in the Cabinet, or a power base (emphasis added).

The basis for Doronila’s conclusion is the provision under Section 5 of the executive order that promulgates the cabinet restructure, which states

The Executive Secretary and the Secretary of the Presidential Management Staff shall attend all Cluster meetings as regular members, in the performance of their general monitoring and oversight functions (emphasis added).

This is where perhaps Doronila’s logic has gone astray. He seems to be reading too much into the above statement. How the ES goes from being an attendee to all cluster meetings to occupying the ‘apex’ of the process is beyond me. Why does he not make anything of the fact that the head of the Presidential Management Staff is also meant to sit in all the meetings?

Naturally, the President has to stay informed over the deliberations by his cabinet officials to stay on top of the situation. It would naturally mean being represented in all of these meetings by the ES, the PMS head and his communications people.

That is not to say that these representatives will be chairing the meetings or directing the process. The EO specifically designates two department agencies within each cluster, one to chair and the other to manage the secretariat.

May I suggest to those who think along similar lines as the mischievous columnist that the reason why the EO is silent over the role of chief of staff is probably because it hasn’t been created yet. A subsequent EO could well and truly clarify that role.

To me, Doronila is deliberately fanning the flames of factionalism by assuming there is some clandestine agenda in the design of the restructure. He seems to be second-guessing the intentions of players at every turn:

This jigsaw puzzle developed as the President made a great show of the eminent entry of Roxas into the Cabinet with a bicycle caravan around Quezon Circle, dressed in the emblematic yellow color of the administration.

In an ostentatious show of unity that failed to mask the factional infighting within the administration over the spoils of office, the President led the bicycle brigade, with Roxas and Ochoa riding along. There was, however, a sour note in that demonstration. Vice President Jejomar Binay, who defeated Roxas in the May election, did not show up. Ochoa is said to be allied with Binay in the cleavage that divides the administration supporters into two main contending factions.

The fact that the soon to be determined role of the chief of staff was not mentioned in the EO is not to say that when the official appointment comes it will not define his role in this process. Even assuming that the chief of staff is not directly involved in the cluster process (for argument’s sake) does not mean that he cannot make a significant contribution to it.

As a strategist, the chief of staff could look at the process as an outsider who is allowed to think outside the box. The cabinet clusters are designed to create strategies and implement them under current constraints. Those constraints include a budget that at the moment is limited by our current tax system and a set of policies that are in the president’s legislative agenda.

Who is to say that someone with a bird’s eye view cannot look at the overall architecture of the strategy and decide that a structural break or re-design needs to happen.

Doronila makes much of the yet undefined organizational and financial clout the chief of staff will or won’t have. A strategist does not require huge resources to perform that role. It only requires a person daring enough to think in an innovative manner. Ideas don’t require huge bureaucracies, in fact, sometimes heft creates a handicap in this department.

So in the final analysis, what are we to make of EO43? More of the same, or a positive development? Over to you…

The Plan

It took them awhile but more than a year on after the 2010 elections, the president’s men have finally come up with an embryo of a plan to translate his slogans into a meaningful and measurable set of actions.

The Executive Order #43 entitled, “Pursuing our Social Contract with the Filipino People through the Reorganization of the Cabinet Clusters” dated Friday the 13th of May 2011 (and tweeted by the Palace yesterday) will probably receive very little attention in the media, but it is a document that starts to define the strategic intent of the president.

The game plan

By its title, you know that it seeks to re-organize the groupings of secretaries called cabinet clusters, but its real purpose is to set up a strategic framework for cabinet deliberations as well as a strategic monitoring and reporting system around five key themes on which the Philippine Development Plan (PDP) the administration’s strategic document has been built.

The idea is that each cabinet cluster will be assigned a theme. The themes correspond to each of the key result areas of the social contract that was the Liberal Party’s platform during the election. They center on the following:

  • Good governance and anti-corruption
  • Human development and poverty reduction
  • Economic development
  • Security, justice and peace, and
  • Climate change, adaptation and mitigation.

The idea is for all departments to “orient their programs, projects, and activities towards the pursuit of these five (5) key result areas” and to “set concrete and measurable targets per program and/or project every year until 2016 leading to the intended outcomes.”

In other words, it seems that the Palace has finally gotten on the ball to convert its plattitudes into a plan for moving the nation forward, something that I have been harping on for the last few weeks needed to be done.

Finally! But why did it take so long?

It gets interesting

The process for converting these thematic key results areas into a cascade of objectives, targets, outcomes and outputs with aligned strategies, programs, projects and budgets is now set to commence. This will presumably be influenced by government’s engagement with the different sectors which should allow for electronic and social media interaction and town-hall type, community cabinet sessions.

Once the elements of the plan have been bedded down, then the administration ought to trumpet the plan to the public and make available successive monitoring reports and scorecards (online possibly). This is where we might start to see how disparate programs hang together within an overall strategic framework.

This should be the start of a more intelligent conversation over what the agenda is or should be and how to define success. My personal experience in this, having worked in a state government that has adopted a strategic plan is that more than just the strategic targets and objectives is the thinking that goes on behind it. This should start to generate new ideas, particularly if a performance management framework is attached to it.

Because a certain amount of risk aversion and “gaming” the system inevitably will occur, it is essential that whoever manages the strategic process is able to challenge the proponents. It would be essential to get someone who can remain “above the fray” in a sense, a “primus inter pares” or “first among equals”. I have my own view as to who this should be.

Hopefully it does not take another year for us to see meat on the bones of this skeletal framework, but it is good to see that finally, bit by bit, things are starting to fall into place.

Feedback and advice

Given their intention to solicit feedback from the public, I cannot let this opportunity slip without offering my 2 cents worth of advice on the plan so far. There are three points, I would like to make.

Firstly I would like to start with the vision, which states

Our vision is a country with:

A re-awakened sense of right and wrong, through the living examples of our highest leaders;

An organised and widely-shared rapid expansion of our economy through a government dedicated to honing and mobilizing our people’s skills and energies as well as the responsible harnessing of our natural resources;

A collective belief that doing the right thing does not only make sense morally, but translates into economic value as well; and

Public institutions rebuilt on the strong solidarity of our society and its communities.

My reaction to this would be: c’mon, guys, seriously…for real?! Premising the vision on “a re-awakened sense of right and wrong” sounds a bit moralistic, preachy and condescending. I know it was cut and pasted from the LP’s social compact, but the vision has to be more positive, inclusive and expansive; this sounds parochial. Given how the government is trying to steer the debate over reproductive health away from theology, this vision has a whole set of dogmatics painted all over it.

It is time for the administration to pivot away from retribution. This has led them to spend the last year achieving hardly anything…well just two things, really: the Merci impeachment and the GOCC reform bill. Rather than just being a one trick pony since the public is showing signs of discontent, it needs to govern on behalf of the entire nation, not just its flock or peeps. Here’s a newsflash: you’ve won already! It is time to situate good governance (code for going after Arroyo) within a broader policy agenda and reflect this in the vision.

Secondly, it may seem trivial, but the acronym PDP forms the the prefix of the party of the vice president who belongs to one faction within the administration. Is this meant to signal something? It sounds like someone is pulling a prank here. My view is that there needs to be a separate strategic plan as distinct from the medium term development plan anyway.

Perhaps PSP for Philippine Strategic Plan or PSRM for Philippine Strategic Roadmap would be more fitting. And drop the 2010-2016 bit. The strategic plan should envision where we hope the nation to be 20, 30, 40 years from now and look at how to lift our trajectory to get there much sooner with action items for the next five to ten years.

Thirdly (and this is a positive comment for the most part), I think the themes cover most of the bases. I can see how most of our externally committed goals with the UN Millennium Development process to close the gaps on education, health and poverty would slot in nicely under the human development and poverty alleviation theme for instance. The country’s commitments to reduce its carbon footprint and gain funding from the global fund set up by the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change could fit nicely under the climate change, mitigation and adaptation theme.

I can see how the remaining themes could look at our standing in externally published scorecards, like the cost of doing business, global competitiveness report, corruption perception index, impunity index, and others to set up some targets around how we can close the gap or increase our ratings vis-a-vis the ASEAN-5, Developing Asia or some other reference peer group that would be appropriate.

I assume the DILG will use a performance management system with LGUs to reward those that meet their human development and poverty alleviation goals and quarantine their spending of IRAs for certain areas if they fail to do so. I also predict that Industry and Agricultural boards and councils will be used to work out how to achieve higher rates of investment, production and exports to cover the economic development targets.

All this is possible, but it does not quite tackle the problem of making our finances sustainable in the long-run. That has to be a separate process that should run parallel to the strategic plan. I reiterate my recommendation for a sustainable budget commission or SBC to review the tax and spend programs of the government under this plan and to propose ways to re-balance it so that we can afford to meet our targets.

The sorts of things this commission should be able to tell us are

  1. under the present zero based budgeting approach or ZBB adopted by the government, what we can realistically afford to do,
  2. compared to a program based budgeting approach or PBB, how much we really need to hit our targets, and how big a funding gap there is, and
  3. based on the imbalances, what form of tax reform measures would be needed to fill the gap.

My proposal is for the SBC to make its recommendations before the mid-term elections of 2013. By then we would be able to see how well we are travelling with respect to our 2016 targets. If it appears that we are significantly behind on a wide range of objectives, it would bolster the case for significant changes to the tax system that I have made elsewhere. The administration could then present its case at the next election and seek a mandate for a fully costed social contract by saying even with a reasonably honest government, tax collections are still too low.

A positive step

The commencing of a cabinet reorganization, rather than the reshuffle everyone was expecting, is a positive development. It sets the tone as the benign one enters his second year in office. I made known previously that I was not a big fan of the cabinet clusters as a substitute to full cabinet deliberations. Under this set up though, there is an over-arching framework where it sits. This to me is a sign that perhaps the administration is pivoting away from personality based factionalism and moving towards objectives based management.

In the final analysis, what they say is true, those who fail to plan, plan to fail. It took them long enough, but at least now, we know the direction they are heading as far as setting up a process for governing the agenda and seeing it through.