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Politics: The Power and Authority Structure in the Concept of Public Service

Updated on April 2, 2011
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Christopher F. Bueno is currently the Dean of the College of Education, University of Northern Philippines, Vigan City.

            The concept of politics relates the historical perspective on the political affairs of Greek city states as conceptualized by the famous works of Aristotle and Plato. However, the contextual development of politics refers so much on the activities of the state and government. Basically, these are the following definitions of politics :

1) It is the governmental administration of the internal and external affairs of the state.

2) It is the art of governing in the political affairs of the state.

3) It is the art of influence with the group of people with common societal goals

4) It is the power to acquire political power and authority

5) It is the ugly game of power by the use of persuasion with motive to stay in public office

6) It is acquired through the majority votes by certain elective government positions.

           The government role in the society is to provide the basic services along education, environment, agriculture, fishery, health and sanitation, peace and order,and other public services in order to improve the quality of the people . This is also the best gauge of the people to elect government officials who they think may deliver the basic services they needed in order to at least improve the quality of life in the community. However, the ability to influence the decision of the voters needs some tangible proofs that the government official has done something in all aspects of development

           The enterprise of politics relates the social engagements, issuances of permits and franchise, the provisions of social services, and the administrative compliance of the government offices. These are the important political roles for government officials to do that provided the positive psycho-social response which may provide the best mechanism of esteem, recognition and appreciation of personhood. The material wealth in politics relies so much on these aforementioned political responsibilities that may uplift the personality of individual.

            Primarily , the government role has a wide range of political and economic and administrative activities other than simply delivering basic services for the common and general welfare in the society. These are wide range of political spectrums that may now shape the interest of the government officials to participate in the private and public development activities in the community. This also shows the tangible proof as genuine public servants whom they are called politicians.

           In politics,the interest and motive to illuminate social facts is the desire to stay in political power as may provide the basic behavioral instinct of human beings to pursue to the goodness of his/her social image. It is assumed that the natural physiological response is more on self-esteem and recognition. It must be noted that the government officials have the control of government resources in the expenditures for social services.Likewise, it is also enhanced by its designation as “honorable” and given the public importance on government activities.

          We now take the condition on the social engagements in the enterprise of politics.These are the public speaking engagements, attendance in various social occasions as part of the social function of the government officials. The politics of public and private engagement is when the government officials are attending social activities such as inauguration of public buildings and commercial establishments. As politicians they have direct participation as resource and guest speakers in varied public fora and other private affairs particularly in giving messages, inspirational talks and etc. These are the social activities including the attendance in business occasions, social enterprises and social engagements.

           In the inauguration of public buildings and other commercial areas, the primary responsibility of the public official is the infrastructure engagement that may symbolize political progress in its territorial jurisdiction. They need to attend the inauguration of any infrastructure developments in the public and private sectors. Likewise, their presence shows the full support on the development projects within its jurisdiction. It is a blueprint of their political performance as a tangible proof as an action-oriented public servant in the society.

           On the other hand, the private sector inauguration shows the full support and commitment for the economic growth and development of the area. The booming commercial establishments provide the sustained support of the government officials as the prime mover of development.

           These are the synthesize summary in the social engagement in the enterprise of politics : (1)The attendance in public and private forum as resource speakers, guest speakers and key note speaker including speaking engagement in philanthropic organizations, sectoral and non-government organizations; (2) The inauguration of public buildings, bridges, roads, markets and malls; (3) The attendance of business occasions and commercial openings and the attendance in weddings, social parties, birthdays, baptism and other occasions.

           In the local government units, other than social engagements in the enterprise of politics the government officials are mandated to issue permits, franchise and other documentary related services for the construction, employment, social services and others. The issuances of related construction permit to check the possible collapse of the building through the submission of the blueprint of the building up to the inspection. There is wide range in the issuance of construction permits such as residential, commercial and industrial areas. While the issuances of business permit to check and monitor the designated areas of the commercial, industrial and corporate offices.

          On the other hand , the provisions of basic social services may relate in the health services in the provision of health care facilities and equipment. This includes the environment and forest management programs, health and sanitation programs through the implementation of waste management program, health inspection services, issuances of permit. In the education services, these are provisions of educational related-services such as the construction of school buildings, instructional material development centers, IT materials and etc. The academic activities including sports and development program, academic activities, informal education and vocational career development program for illiterate adults and youth.

           In the economic services, these are the revenue generating projects, employment activities, and other commercial establishments that may be directed with the control of government officials: (1) The inauguration of the revenue generating enterprise; (2) The internal regulation and participation in the recruitment, promotion and reorganization of the revenue generating projects; (3) The direct involvement in the implementation of the revenue generating enterprise on its external and internal organizational environment.; (4)The direct involvement and participation of the economic activities such as franchise operation, issuance of business permit, other related documents in the operations of the commercial, industrial and corporate enterprise.

           Finally, the administrative communication compliance of government officials reflects the following : (1) The administrative compliance through the signing of government documents on voucher system particularly on government salaries and wages, infrastructure projects, procurement of materials and supplies and other budgetary documents; (2) The conference and closed door meetings with the contractors , businessmen and groups in the negotiations of the pending and approved development projects and procurements in the office; (3) The conference, meeting and signing of Memorandum of Agreements (MOA), Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)) and Government Contracts; and (4) The legislative deliberations and conference with the legislative officials on the political agenda including the signing of legislative protocols for ordinances and resolutions that affect the social and economic services of the people.

           These are the extensive governmental roles, responsibilities and functions of the elected government officials which relate the idea of public service and as public servants. It is not only the delivery of basic social services but a wide range of political power and authority which serve the regular activities of governmental units. However, the intriguing aspect of governmental administration is the notion of “politics” as the ability to persuade and influence the collective group of people within certain territorial jurisdiction of government units.

           In politics, the common notion reflects on “electoral fraud”, “vote buying”, “corruption”, “red tape”, and other negative connotations in the arena of political affairs. The reason behind this negative idea of politics is reflected by the will to win on government position. It is motivated by the hidden agenda that government officials enjoyed wide latitude of public recognition along social engagements, appointment of government personnel, public decision of government projects and so on… Once you are government official the meaning of public service may not be you but the reverse notion will come in to enjoy life at the highest level of self-esteem.


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