Integrity Determines Freedom
01 June 2012
"Determine the parameters of your morals. Know what are you willing to do and not willing to do, and always hold yourself accountable to your actions. Funds are crucial in campaigns but you still have to be selective on whom to get financial support from. This will reflect your freedom in making decisions even beyond the campaign,"said Bureau of Customs (BoC) Commissioner Ruffy Biazon who talked about Politics of Principle at the workshop. Biazon ran in the 2010 senatorial race. 12 slots were open and he ranked 14th.
The activity was designed to impart new campaign strategies especially on promoting certain advocacies and encouraging public ownership of issues. Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Assistant Secretary Jan Mikael Co emphasized that "effective political communication means elevating discussions to issues that reflect aspirations." Asian Institute of Management Center for Development Management (AIM-CDM) Associate Dean Mike Luz, in his presentation on Developing Issue-Based Campaigns, also stressed the importance of having a clear platform that could be realistically carried out after an election victory. He proudly noted that the 10-point education agenda that he, together with the National Institute for Policy Studies (NIPS), the liberal think tank, crafted for the Aquino
presidential campaign is now being implemented.
The participants were divided into working groups where they translated liberal principles into actual programs on education, health, anti-corruption, poverty and human rights. The proposals mainly focused on enabling access to equal opportunities like basic education and health care, and justice. Aspiring electoral candidates also delivered practice speeches where their messages and even gestures were evaluated by Co and Department of Budget and Management (DBM) speechwriter Francis Capistrano. Case studies of local campaigns was among the highlight of the activity. Representatives Jun Abaya and Bolet Banal acknowledged that the untarnished public service record of their fathers helped boost their campaigns, but their own impeccable profile endeared them to the people even more. Former Isabela Governor Grace Padaca also shared her campaign experience. "The flyers that we produced were thought-out. We answered issues, public and personal, through print and fortunately, people read them. They wanted to know what their options were, and they even kept those flyers in their wallets for years," she said. In 2007, Padaca toppled the dynasty that ruled Isabela for three decades. However, in 2010, she lost the gubernatorial post by a little over 3,000 votes back to a member of the dynasty.
Another central discussion in the workshop was Media and Politics. Senate Media Director Sammy Santos pointed out the dos and don'ts with the media. "Please shun away from 'envelopmental media.' Real journalists do not write stories because of your money," advised Santos. Web 2.0 applications were also underscored. Social media expert Abe Olandres underlined the power of social networking sites, with the Philippines being among the highest ranking facebook (8th) and youtube (6th) users in the world. Production of entertaining yet substantive videos was accentuated as well because people tend to believe more what they see on the screen.
The activity was facilitated by Dutch communications expert Pam Evenhuis. It was organized by the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom (FNF), a German liberal foundation. "Liberalism originated from the intention to protect the individual against the institutions of power. Through activities like this, we hope to develop leaders who will allow people to experience greater freedom," said FNF Country Director Jules Maaten.