Leaders Alter Beliefs in Governance
22 August 2012
The Philippines grieves the loss of one of its greatest public servants who
died in a plane crash on 18 August 2012. Department
of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Jesse Robredo’s
body was found in the fuselage three days later. He was a liberal stalwart who
reinstituted people’s trust in government by his leadership with integrity.
was supposed to speak at the Strategic Political Communications Workshop
in Tagaytay City on August 15-17, 2012 but he begged off because he was scheduled
to appear before the Commission of Appointments. The participants looked forward
to his talk on Fundraising – Raising Campaign Money without Making Compromises
because they knew that whatever Robredo would say was something that he practiced
himself. Robredo’s “crown jewel” was said to be full disclosure
of expenditures of local governments.
was attended by local politicians and campaign staff. It was emphasized that
while the objective of elections is to win, candidates should remain decent
and honest in their campaigns. Prof. Ronald Holmes of Pulse
Asia, on discussing surveys as a tool said polling generates the opinions.
“Surveys provide leaders and decision-makers a sense of the pulse of the
public, where they stand on a specific issue. It doesn’t mean that you
should always heed what the general opinion is, otherwise you are not a leader,”
said Holmes. “You want to know the people’s preferences so that
you may be able to alter them. By means of addressing the public’s concerns,
their perspective on a certain program can change,” he added.
of the Philippines National College of Public Administration and Governance
(UP-NCPAG) Dean Edna Co shared a result of a study by the Institute
of Philippine Culture (IPC) that characterizes Filipinos as an “election
people.” “The common perception about the ‘masa’ vote
is dumb, unthinking and prone to manipulation. What is revealed to us is the
poor sees elections as an opportunity to bring about change. They never give
up hope,” Co explained. “Failure in the elections should be blamed
at politicians who do not live up to the poor’s expectations as well as
an electoral system that is flawed and offers citizens a paucity of choices,”
she quoted the study.
Vote buying has been a perennial issue during elections. Aspiring candidates
and incumbent politicians were repeatedly reminded to stay away from this practice.
“Integrity means being one with your values system and staying true to
it. In public office, it starts with running an honest campaign,” said
Bureau of Customs Commissioner
Miro Quimbo and Maricar Zamora-Apsay and Iligan Mayor
Lawrence Cruz also presented their campaign strategies in the 2010
elections. “Everything has to be service-driven,” stressed Quimbo.
Zamora-Apsay echoed this when she talked about Serbisyong Maricar or her social
services programs for her province.
Looking back at the things discussed at the workshop, it is incredible how Robredo
possessed all traits and principles that characterize an exceptional leader.
He was influential without being imposing, he respected electoral processes
and did not undermine the poor, most of all, he served his country well –
as he had said in one of his speeches: It is your contribution that really matters
– paying back what you owe the community that nurtured you.
Political Communications Workshop was facilitated by German strategy expert
Rainer Heufers. The participants had a number of working group
sessions to identify their strengths and weaknesses, and to lay out their vision,
goals and objectives as electoral candidates. Other topics included visual communications,
crafting political speeches, do’s and don’ts with media and vote
protection. The activity
was the second of a series organized by the Friedrich Naumann Foundation
for Freedom (FNF), a German liberal foundation. “Let us hope that many
will rise to continue the quest for decency and excellence in government –
following Sec. Jesse,” said FNF Country Director Jules Maaten.
View photo gallery here.