“ Since the world began, the sun has been rising and setting with regularity, a certainty we can depend on. Yet no one on this Earth knows how many more days will come. All we really need to know, however, is that each day can be a new opportunity. What we do with it is up to each of us. “ Joseph M. Marshall III

Addressing two people’s forums sponsored by US Pinoys for Noy-Mar, I had to tread with caution because I did not want to offend the community, which include close friends who support orange and green candidates. It was sacred and important for me to continue my good relations with them, even after elections are over.

I spoke more about the progressive capacities of Filipinos, how we were an example to the world in EDSA I, how we showed we are a genteel people who opted for ballots, not bullets to change the nation. This is why I believe that the radical left and radical right will stay in the fringes.

I really did not know much about you then, Mr. President. Only that you are centered on your faith and that you are spiritually-conscious. In the midst of chaos, you went into retreat to seek clarity. After the methodical process you went through on your own, you gained clarity of your own convictions and an appreciation for your own history. You were the heir to democracy -- the reason for which your parents lived and sacrificed their lives. It became clear that you are tasked to continue what they could not accomplish during their lifetimes.

Your father spoke against a muzzled infrastructure that was kept chained to power, and your mother had to work her best to withstand the chaos of seven military coups which aimed to derail our newly found democracy. Her detractors were simply determined, but so was your mother in serving the Filipino people -- the very reason why her husband sacrificed his life.

During the campaign period, your message was garbled. I could not force myself to be enthused about your candidacy. With the advent of Maria Montelibano who knew how to communicate consistently and positively, that changed.

By the time the campaigning intensified, we got word here in the US about your psychiatric report. My circle of friends, who were enthusiastic supporters, started to have second thoughts as to whether they should continue advocating for you.

When ABS-CBN began their slew of presidential debates, it became clear that you were the candidate who should win. Your answers to their questions proved that you were willing to put your own self-interest and ambitions aside, for what you wanted to achieve for our Inang Bayan.

Your campaign became a preview of your governance. Even your classmates blogged about you when you were still in Ateneo. The campaign had a consistent slogan, “ Kung walang corrupt, walang mahirap!" We could debate that, but when credible research studies showed that billions were being siphoned off the treasury and unavailable for public works, for public schools, for health centers, it made sense.

It was not until you had a one-on-one exclusive with Ces Drilon during your proclamation on June 9, 2010 by Congress and the Senate that I became certain that the Philippines will have a renaissance under your leadership.

I noticed how Ces Drilon became more respectful and deferential to you, as the interview progressed. During the campaign, you started elaborating on your views in the third person, making yourself less important than the majority. The last time was when Erap coined the slogan, ‘Erap for Mahirap’, but we know his plunderous record belied that slogan.

Now,your relationship with the nation will unfold and you will be drawn into many conflicts and factions. I thought I'd share some suggestions that might help you through the course of your leadership:

* Use conflict to create greater understanding, and to educate folks around the table as to what we do not need – this is not a debate, but a civil discourse, a debate of perspectives.

* Resolve the struggles of factions for control. If this is happening, as folks are jockeying for positions, it is likely because there is a vacuum of leadership at the top of the agency. Let these factions know you are in charge, but will not step in to do what they need to resolve the factions.

* Do not allow the media to define you. President Obama clearly defines his administration and who he is, and it still does not stop the hostile media from misconstruing his agenda, his purpose and what he has done. Thank God, we have Facebook, Twitter, and various electronic media so the citizenry can actually parse which ones are true or not.

* Keep a direct line to the people, by way of Facebook or an official contact page in your presidential website and going directly to the provinces. Dedicated citizens will give you advice, feedback and send in many ideas. Notice that folks texted and called in 200,000 complaints about the elections. We got those resolved as a nation, and moved on.

* Overcome the fears and defenses that block folks from relating cohesively with one another, for e.g the warring factions in Mindanao – can you provide arbitration, mediation with skilled facilitators and see if their brewing hatred and unresolved issues can be worked on? We do not need ‘mountains of bones’ as one poet wrote about the Ampatuan massacre, but more symphonies of peace-making throughout the nation.

* Release the creativity of the Filipino people, one sector at a time. When you get a sector to own a piece of your Administration’s agenda, then, they become co-owners of your vision, and co-partners in making the country evolve. We must grow as a nation, believing in our endowed strengths and creativity as a people. We must believe that Filipinos are worth dying for and worth living for. We need to collaborate and cooperate to succeed!

* Deepen the passion, the aliveness, the commitment of the Filipino people. When we are alive, we are more involved in projects for nation-building and have a deeper commitment from registering a series of wins. Yes, wins! We cannot afford to be one of the 20 corrupt nations of the world. If Camarines Sur was decaying as one of the languishing provinces to become one of the more advanced provinces by taking care of the poor, we have the innate capacity for a renaissance of all citizens to no longer live as refugees within their own birth nation.

8 to 10 million Filipinos around the world are making a living to help their families in the Philippines, remitting $ 17 billion a year. It shows that we are resilient, able to adapt, and have the willingness to help. We do not only live for ourselves, but for others. We want a nation that we can all be proud of. We want to be your co-partners in the creation of abundance, not just for the elites, not just for the celebrities, but for all citizens!

Let us make our citizens connected to one another -- equal owners to till the lands, protect the forests, navigate the seas and create progress for our country -- equals in the eyes of God! Congratulations and may you have the best, progressive six years of tenure!


Post a Comment