Are we ready to have good leaders?
AS I WRECK THIS CHAIR By William M. Esposo
The Philippine Star 2009-05-07

Because of the nightmares of the last 11 years, people always ask your Chair Wrecker when we will have another good leader. Your Chair Wrecker would always answer them with this: “When will WE deserve to have a good leader?”

By “WE” is not meant to suggest that all Filipinos are incapable of discerning who can be good leaders and differentiate them from plunderers dressed as messiahs. There are enlightened Filipinos who have consistently attempted to promote the right candidates for public office - candidates that can make a positive difference. However, they are outnumbered by those other Filipinos who are easily suckered into electing false messiahs.

A successful democracy is one where the majority of the voters is capable of selecting good leaders and can assert the collective power of the voters in guiding, correcting or ejecting bad leaders. We don’t have that because most of our countrymen are not empowered and suffer from the Information and Education Gaps so often discussed in this column.

In your Chair Wrecker’s website (www.chairwrecker. com) you will note a consistent endorsement since 2006 for public officials who have performed brilliantly as executives of local governments or national agencies to occupy the highest executive office in the land, the presidency.

Since 2006, your Chair Wrecker has suggested that Filipinos should seriously consider exemplary executives like Quezon City Mayor Sonny Belmonte and former Olongapo City Mayor, SBMA (Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority) Chairman and Tourism Secretary (now Senator and Red Cross Chairman) Richard Gordon.

Unfortunately Sonny Belmonte is not even considering a presidential run. Dick Gordon launched last week his Bagumbayan (New Country) Movement which will be transformed as the political party that will carry the Gordon presidential standard in the 2010 elections.

Also, you will find that your Chair Wrecker has consistently advocated that there are two things Filipinos must attain if our country is to move forward as an enlightened, united and strong nation. These two prerequisites for national greatness are:

1. First is we must know our real history so that we can appreciate how we got into this mess we’re in and who brought us to this sorry state.

2. Second is we must reform our values because those values and the lack of the right values are greatly responsible for the problems we’re facing.

More than his proven track record as Olongapo City Mayor, SBMA Chairman, Tourism Secretary and now Senator — it is Dick Gordon’s recognition of the core problems of the Filipino (not knowing his real history and possessing counter-productive values) which convinced your Chair Wrecker that he is the right president to have in 2010.

During the recent Grand Launching and National Convention of the Bagumbayan Movement-Volunteers for a New Philippines at the Manila Hotel, which was attended by about 2,000 delegates from all over the country, Gordon highlighted the importance of knowing our history and values reform.

Gordon said: “It is time to put history back into our politics so that our politics will once again be lofty.”

“We can change our country if only we look at our past and learn from our history. Change has already been proven in this country. Change has been proven by Jose Rizal and Lapu-Lapu,” Gordon added.

If we are to transform our society, Gordon emphasized that genuine change must start from within a person - adding that vision, values and volunteerism are the tools necessary to transform the nation into a New Philippines.

When Gordon was Olongapo City Mayor, he implemented programs that were in line with his vision for transformational politics. He was able to remove the “Sin City” stigma from Olongapo and transformed Olongapo into a “Model City” — thereby prodding other local executives nationwide to copy some of his programs.

As Chairman and Administrator of the SBMA he transformed the former US military facility into an international Freeport, in the process dramatically turning a disaster zone (created by the sudden US pullout) into a magnet for recreational and economic activities.

Gordon became Tourism Secretary in 2003 and created the momentum that attracted two million arrivals — double the anemic arrival level of a mere one million tourists in 2001.

Recently, Dick Gordon successfully pushed poll reform via the amended Automated Elections System Law which would put an end to wholesale vote manipulation.

Gordon brandishes the most impressive track record as an executive among all the touted presidential wannabes. Considering that the biggest task of a great Philippine leader will be to enlighten the nation in order to prepare it for national greatness — Dick Gordon certainly appears to be most qualified for the job.

So now we must wonder — how come Gordon is not leading in the early 2010 presidential polls of the SWS and Pulse Asia? What do those who are leading Gordon in the early polls have to offer? What area of superiority justifies their being more preferred than Gordon as 2010 president?

Inevitably, we must ask ourselves as a people: “Do we really want reform? Do we really want progress? Do we really want good leadership?”

It’s time we searched the deepest recesses of our national soul if we really deserve to have a good leader.

  Previous Columns:

It had to happen on The Ides of March and Holy Week

Suggested guidelines for liability- free Internet posts

Election lawyer: PCOS critics should put up or shut up

All Excited by Pope Francis

A great disservice to P-Noy

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