Fifteen local government and NGO leaders come together to learn about Adaptive Leadership in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Jesse Robredo Institute for Leadership and Good Governance opened its pioneer course on Adaptive Leadership in Times of COVID-19 Crisis last September 9, 2020. Participated by fifteen (15) LGU officials and NGO leaders who are taking initiatives to address the challenges of the COVID crisis, the course is an introduction to Ronald Heifetz’ Adaptive Leadership and its practical application in responding to the pandemic.

For the first session, Mr. Jess Lorenzo introduced the basic concepts of Adaptive Leadership. In order to anchor the discussion and the succeeding sessions of the course, the participants delved into the complexities of community challenges amidst the global pandemic.

The discussion was deepened through the sharing of two women leaders who demonstrated the qualities of an adaptive leader in their crisis response: Mayor Trina Firmalo-Fabic of Odiongan, Romblon and Governor Arlene “Kaka” Bag-ao of the Dinagat Islands. Both leaders underscored the importance of listening to the needs of their constituents in the grassroots; and communicating with them with transparency and accountability to gain their trust and cooperation.

As early as January, the Odiongan LGU, through the leadership of second-term Mayor Trina Firmalo-Fabic, was quick to adopt health protocols and to establish precautionary measures against community transmission. Beyond the mandates of local government leaders, Mayor Trina led innovative measures and employed needs-based approach in their programs to address the multiple challenges brought about by the pandemic, particularly on economic breakdown and food insecurity. The implementation of these initiatives and programs reflected the coordinated action of the whole local government through Mayor Trina’s leadership. She was able to mobilize her people to be more responsive to the needs of their constituents and to sustain their efforts towards the community’s continuous recovery through lasting partnerships.

As newly elected Governor in 2019, Governor Arlene “Kaka” Bag-ao has been challenged by an unexpected problem with the emergence of COVID-19 in the Philippines. Known as a champion of participatory and rights-based governance, she continues to ensure that no Dinagatnon will be left behind. She has been proactive in terms of their response against COVID-19 pandemic. Even when presented with an uncertain environment especially because there were still no reported cases in their municipality early on, she was able to formulate immediate and necessary responses to strengthen their preparedness and preventive measures. She also led the launching of community-based programs to improve the livelihood of their constituents and to help their front liners.

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