NAPC lucky to have Belmonte on board

January 21, 2020

Congratulations to the National Anti-Poverty Commission on the recent appointment of former National Parks Development Committee (NPDC) executive director Penelope Belmonte as the new deputy director-general of the NAPC.  She will be working with Secretary Noel Felongco.

Belmonte is a rare gem in the field of public service in that she not only has integrity and high competence, but moreseo, she is also a fighter for principled ideas and a stickler for laws, which has gained her unwanted enemies in and out of government.

The NPDC was in total disarray when she took over as its director and in her short stint, she was able to implement so many reforms and put everything in order.

Firstly,  she dismantled an age-old anomaly wherein unscrupulous employes gained from illegal parking collections from trucks and buses who use the Quirino Grandstand area as their private parking space. The money collected, of course, does not go to the city coffers. Belmonte disallowed that altogether.            
Also under her term, Belmonte made Luneta as a top ‘go-to’ place for a huge volume of Filipinos during the holidays and even on ordinary days.

The NPDC was also awarded its ISO 9001:2015 certification through the Worldwide Quality Assurance (WQA) Philippines, an accredited certification body of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), after Belmonte institutionalized the agency’s processes and raised its quality standards via clear and well-crafted quality policies.

Still under Belmonte’s rein, the NPDC was awarded by the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) for upholding the Freedom of Information (FOI).

No less than  PCOO chief Martin Andanar commended the NPDC under the leadership of Belmonte via a certificate of compliance, citing the agency for being fully compliant with the FOI 2018 requirements set forth by the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Harmonization of National Government Performance, Monitoring, Information and Reporting Systems (Task Force Administrative Order (AO) 25, s. 2011).  The NPDC was given such certificate for its full transparency in all its transactions, in compliance with the order of President Duterte to be totally transparent specially when it comes to disbursement of government funds.

The projects and major improvements embarked on by the NPDC to give the parkgoers the ultimate experience when visiting Rizal Park and all other parks under its jurisdiction are also a hard act to follow.

Apart from the acquisition of an E-cart that provided free, much-needed assistance to park visitors who cannot endure the long walk that would enable one to enjoy all the free attractions in the said park such as senior citizens and persons with disabilities (PWDs), she also opened a  Command Center.  This center provided  closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras in almost every other area of the Rizal Park to closely monitor all movements inside the park premises.

Given the numerous high-resolution and high-tech monitors, it became  easier to detect unusual goings-on and even suspicious-looking characters who may be loitering in the park in search of prospective victims, thus averting crimes and ensuring the utmost safety of the park goers.

Belmonte also came up with programs aimed at providing basic needs for the poor, homeless families specially their children. During rainy days, these poor families are automatically given shelter and food in an area within the park and designated for the purpose of serving as temporary shelter for the homeless and abandoned.

I could not enumerate everything she did due to spatial constraints but I would like to state that above all these, she is one government official who continues working up to the wee hours of the morning and even amid heavy rains, without any bodyguard and without media exposure. In fact, I learned of this only from one of her staff.

It is for these reasons alone that I congratulated the NAPC and not Belmonte. The NAPC is fortunate to have someone like Belmonte joining the agency because she is definitely an asset, given her work ethics.

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