How it all began: a bond by the cause

Formally launched in July 2008, Kaya Natin! began with an informal meeting among three progressive and outstanding local government leaders in the Philippines. The Ateneo de Manila University-School of Government through Harvey Keh set up a meeting with Naga City Mayor Jesse Robredo, Isabela Governor Grace Padaca, and Pampanga Governor Ed Panlilio in Club Filipino on June 10, 2008. The three leaders shared best practices and found out that they had common problems where they can support each other on. The meeting was covered by The Philippine Daily Inquirer and published on the front page the following Sunday.


The article elicited hundreds of email reactions from Filipinos all over the world, expressing their approval of the three government officials and offering support and encouragement for their fight against corruption.


Soon after, Mayor Jesse, Gov. Grace, Among Ed, and Harvey met again, this time with Mayor Sonia Lorenzo of San Isidro, Nueva Ecija. Together they discussed what makes a good leader and the steps they can do to encourage good people to run for public office and promote good governance.


Finally, the group decided to establish a movement where Filipinos can help push for electoral reform, people empowerment, and the crusade against all illegal activities. Calling the movement “Kaya Natin!”, the group was launched at the Ateneo de Manila University on July 30, 2008. What happened next was an avalanche of support from the Filipinos, describing the leaders as “Islands of Hope.” By this time, Ifugao Governor Teddy Baguilat had joined the roster of Kaya Natin Leaders. Different schools began inviting them to speak to students about good governance. They were able to share their experiences and the lessons they learned to students from schools and institutions all over Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. These campus and organization tours were eventually dubbed as part of the Kaya Natin! Caravan of Good Governance. It will become Kaya Natin’s first program that is still ongoing.


More than this is the organization's hope that someday soon the Philippines will be run by leaders who are both effective and ethical. The sheer number of invitations and volunteers we get is an indication that Filipinos are hungry for change and good leaders. This may mark the beginning of an empowered citizenry, which will then lead to an informed and wiser electorate.