Though many aspects of our lives have been halted by the pandemic, learning is one thing that knows no limits. Last August 21, 2020, the learning of governance lessons from the past continued as the Institute for Solidarity in Asia (ISA) hosted its first ever online book launch for the latest work of the man behind the governance organization — Dr. Jesus P. Estanislao.
Entitled “Governance of the Philippines: The U.S. Colonial Period 1898-1946”, this book is the second installment of the governance trilogy of Dr. Estanislao. The first volume of said trilogy focused on governance of the Philippines from the time of the Spanish occupation. This time around, Dr. Estanislao draws lessons from our historical ties as a colony of the United States, intending to leverage on facts that can help us better navigate the path towards our Dream Philippines.
The event was moderated by ISA Trustee Ms. Mary Jane Ortega and featured a panel of speakers, namely, Dr. Paul Dumol, Associate Professor from the University of Asia and the Pacific, and ISA Trustees Amb. Jose Cuisia Jr. and Mr. Rex Drilon II. This roster of panelists was also joined by Dr. John Mesquida, Faculty Member of the History Department of the University of Asia and the Pacific, who gave a note of endorsement about the book.
Reflecting on his latest work, Dr. Estanislao highlighted some realizations he gained as he developed this particular volume. In his Author’s Note, Dr. Estanislao underscored the importance of not only revisiting the past but also drawing lessons from it to guide the work of the present to build a Dream Philippines.
“A key amount of governance is that we focus not on the here and now, nor on the day-to-day headlines and key personalities. Rather, governance demands that our attention be trained on a much longer horizon, during which game-changing priorities are actually and actively pursued. That pursuit is sustained until transformative, genuine changes of a radical nature are actually delivered,” expressed Dr. Estanislao.
Following the Author’s Note, the invited speakers began to share their thoughts on Dr. Estanislao’s book.
Dr. Dumol pointed out the book’s pondering about the essence of independence and of a Filipino emerging as a political leader back then. The resulting outcome, in his view, was less than ideal as “the luster of independence was dimmed by reducing it to a mere transfer of power.”
Meanwhile, Amb. Cuisia noted how the book painted a good picture of one of the legacies of the Americans in the Philippines—the public school system.
Afterwards, Mr. Drilon shared some personal reflections on his and Dr. Estanislao’s shared advocacy pursuits, one of which was ISA. Recognizing that the enabler of societal change lies in the individual and his/her values, Mr. Drilon emphasized the need for governance to cover the different aspects that form and call for the practice of one’s values: family, school, and government or enterprises.
Finally, Dr. Mesquida reflected on his past encounter with Dr. Estanislao from when the author was just starting the research for this trilogy. Dr. Mesquida then expressed his note of praise for Dr. Estanislao, saying that the latter “had done something that only someone with his experience can do”. Dr. Mesquida ends by saying that he hopes many elected public servants would read this book, as it contained practical lessons necessary for public governance.