THE LEADERS THAT WE NEED IN THE PHILIPPINES
It is again election time. Today, one senses a general feeling of disenchantment with a leadership that has not demonstrated even the beginnings of a solution to gnawing social and economic problems. After our experience of dictatorial leadership and three administrations which have squandered one opportunity after another to resolve basic national problems, it is time to restate the requisites of leadership for our time.
The principal requirement of leadership today is a democratic and nationalist vision. The problems of a deteriorating economy, the maldistribution of wealth, mass impoverishment of millions of Filipinos, the dominance of external forces and other ills that have plagued our nation call for a strategic imagination.
The strategic vision must be rooted in the liberation of the Filipinos from the iniquitous relations with external forces which have been formalized through capitulationist agreements like the GATT, Visiting Forces Agreement(VFA) and the Mutual Logistics Support Agreement(MLSA), a real enhancement of economic opportunities for the deprived, and political empowerment for the powerless, and all other policies that will enlarge, not limit or curtail , the space for human freedoms.
Leadership, therefore means discovering the wishes of the people, working with the people to help them concretize goals that correspond to their long-term interests. The previous electorial exercises show that political leaders are still mere performers and people regard them and members of their families as stars in the firmament of entertainment. Thus, political entertainment continues to be the cheapest commodity within the reach of the unpoliticized masses. That is why, perhaps, many in the entertainment industry ran and are running for public office. The sad part of it is that these actors, basketball players, commedians and newscasters–because of their maximum exposure to ordinary people– are perceived as THE alternatives to the well-educated but corrupt politicos. The traditional politicians(trapos) have given a bad image of Philippine politics. Sad to say, a sense of anti-intellectualism pervades in the electoral atmosphere today.
Today, there is more optimism in the local arena of local governments, where young, idealistic and incorruptible leaders are emerging. Side by side with this development are the party-list organizations with their mass-based alternative politics which are emerging as the real fiscalizers in the legislative body. They are introducing party platforms, party principles and bringing out the real issues of the impoverished masses in the halls of the traditionally elite-dominated Philippine political system.
As for the national leaders and candidates in the national elections(presidential, vice presidential, senatorial), many of them still exhibit the same predispositions as those who took the helm in the past. They try to secure their present at the risk of their country’s future. We have yet to see leaders who will dare take risks with their careers and popularity to secure the future of their country and in so doing insure their own future in the memory of their people.
* Article by Roland G Simbulan – For a full professional background of Professor Roland G. Simbulan (Click Here)