When asked why the 30 ministers of new Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s cabinet were split evenly between male and female, he simply shrugged and said “it’s 2015.” Once he unveiled his cabinet, there was a collective gasp from the international community at just how progressive and all-encompassing these departments happen to be, yet in Trudeau’s mind, this isn’t being progressive so much as this is just how things ought to be.
With that in mind, how ought things be in the Philippines? Well, much better than some of our most beleaguered government departments, such as the DOTC or the DBM. Here are some departments that we could just rip off wholesale from Canada and perhaps actually do some good with.
Closest Philippine Equivalent: Bureau of Immigration (Which, technically, is not a cabinet position.)
While yes, the BOI is functionally equivalent to its Canadian counterpart, there is one very important word in there that the BOI does not sufficiently address: Refugees. This tiny thing makes all the difference, given that the Philippines, as part of the international community, should also be making strides towards a proper procedure for dealing with refugees, especially with the built-in backlash that comes with taking them in.
Closest Philippine Equivalent: Department of Health
When “Sports” was removed from the Department of Education, Culture, and Sports, the emphasis on sports development as a government initiative really fell to the wayside. We also never took note of PWD enough to give them a department that directly addresses their concerns. In the meantime, Philippine sports is almost championed singlehandedly by the likes of MVP.
Closest Philippine Equivalent: None
Ironically, in a country where gender equality is more prominent than in others, this is a government department that is even more important, because any form of remaining gender inequality would indeed be very deep-seated for it to remain even after all the inherent strides our country has already taken to be progressive on that count. For example: our victim-blaming culture and how it relates to, say, catcalling.
Closest Philippine Equivalent: Department of Science and Technology
What makes this position unique is that this ministry is still different from the straight-up “Ministry of Science.” If “Innovation” becomes a focus, then it becomes harder for corporations to just attempt to sweep developments under the rug that might threaten their market dominance.
Closest Philippine Equivalent: None.
When you have to make heart-rending commercials about our soldiers dying and how we should pitch in to help their kids get a proper education right in the middle of our movies, it only goes to show that this country’s military veterans aren’t well-taken care of.
Closest Philippine Equivalent: Department of Public Works and Highways
In a clear-cut absence of urban planning, the fact that the DPWH focuses solely on those functions without considering the communities these infrastructures cater to, simply means that we have a long way to go in understanding how best to serve the public trust. Sometimes, a naming convention really does go a long way.
Closest Philippine Equivalent: Philippine International Development Corporation (Which is both a private entity and more interested in exporting coconuts than actual international development.)
Closest Philippine Equivalent: None
This is a meta-cabinet position that this country needed a loooong time ago, in the age where people still think this government is a pseudo-feudalist government, what with all the patronage politics going on.
What do you think our government can learn from Canada? Share it with us by leaving a comment below!