“It is common sense to take a method and try it: if it fails, admit it frankly and try another. But above all, try something.”
Taking off from the rousing speech of Franklin Roosevelt and with his big heart to help people, Kristian created his own program to help employees displaced by the lockdown due to Covid-19.
“I felt guilty for continuing to receive my salary as a government worker, while friends in the private sector were no-work no-pay. The imposition of ECQ caught everyone off guard, and many were not prepared financially. Unfortunately, these middle-income wage-earners (earning anywhere between 15,000 to 40,000 a month) weren’t qualified for SAP, CAMP or any other social protection program of government because they were not poor. I thought, we in government who are still earning our salaries could help our counterparts in the private sector by sharing a portion of our income—share it hating kapatid,” he said in an interview.
As of June, Hating Kapatid program was able to raise around 1.8 million pesos, giving aid to 500 families. It tapped around 200 donors, with some donating up to 60,000 pesos.
Growing up witnessing his father flourish as a politician, Kristian dreamed of following suit.
“I did try politics for a while, I did win an election, but lost after. I didn’t go back, I figured that I don’t have to be an elected public official to serve. I found myself from office to office until I found the greatest meaning in public service.”
Kristian is currently assistant secretary for Policy, Legislative Affairs and Freedom of Information under the Presidential Communications Operations Office. As public servant, he shares that the value he espouses the most is addressing inequality.
“I don’t believe in a just world that everything is based on merit, a lot of things are based on luck and randomness. Others were born with a good pair of shoes; others were born a few meters ahead. I’d like to count myself as lucky, and I want to be the luck of another person. We who are lucky should make it a point to try to even things a bit, at least give a fighting chance to others.
In my line of work, inequality is visible in information asymmetry which is the imbalance of information between the public and private, among the private, and among the public. Matagal ko ng napansin yan, even before FOI, when I was still a practicing lawyer. May mga kaso na umaabot sa Korte Suprema just because the other person did not know this particular information and wasn’t able to make a proper decision. A lot of disputes could have been avoided if the other party just knew about this particular information.
So I’m lucky to have been designated as the head of the FOI program, somehow I get to even things up by providing information to the people. You were already born in an unequal world, mas nag-eexpand pa yung inequality because of the information asymmetry so we do what we can to lessen that gap.”
Asked if he ever felt disappointment in his long years of public service, Asec Kris was honest to saying, “Yes, many times.
Sometimes you get discouraged with your colleagues who do not share the same passion and idealism that you have, na iniisip mo, pag nasa public service ka, you’re supposed to fit a particular mode which is to serve the public and then here, you have colleagues who are in it for the wrong reasons.
You just soldier on. For me I try to be flexible and adapt na lang, you cannot change the whole world, you can try pero alam mo yun, may hangganan din. Just do what you can.
We have to believe that there are good people in the bureaucracy. My experience with CESO Community proves that. Have faith and look around, kapag nakahanap ka ng kapareho mo, there is strength in numbers and hopefully, we will be able to turn the tides and have a government that is honest and always looking out for the welfare of the people.”