June 25, 2019
IT seems that 2022 is heating up early with about 10 names already being floated in trial balloons, whether publicly or privately. The 10 names cover national and local officials, elected and appointed. Two names will soon be added in the trial balloons depending on some events being completed before December 2020, which is 18 months before May 2022. That would make it a full dozen, with some probably sliding down to vice president if trials are not effective or the needle does not move and gain traction.
Interestingly, it was only during the term of former PGMA that we had both the president and the vice president coming from the same ticket. Unfortunately, the vice president then didn’t have the fire on his belly to make a bid in 2010 and continue what PGMA started. There are several lessons to be learned from this incident about securing a candidate for vice president: Popularity is important and not having any higher ambition is critical, but the VP has to be trained and capacitated.
As the Duterte agenda is completed, there will definitely be some that will not be achieved simply because of time restrictions. One thing is clear, though; we cannot depart from the prevailing economic program. We cannot turn around and set aside the achievements made on enhanced frontline services. We cannot change the infrastructure program. We should be thinking in terms of two terms in selecting a president-vice president so there is predictability, stability and sustainability of policies, program, projects and activities.
As we target an upper middle-class Philippines and bring down poverty from 26 percent to 14 percent by the end of 2022, the infrastructure program known as “Build, Build, Build” will remain pending. The Mindanao agenda will not be completed, and opening up the country via amendments to the Constitution or revising the same to secure a future under federalism will have to be considered. Hence, we should not just look for six years but 12 years. Consequently, we need to seriously look at tandems and tickets consciously instead of risking choosing only a president and hoping 2028 would take care of itself.
Why is Mindanao important? Because it is the food basket of the country; 11 of the top 20 poorest provinces are in Mindanao and the commitment of government on BARMM is a commitment that is generational. Thus, a North-South factor will have to be considered in choosing the ticket. Luzon is 56 percent and Mindanao is 23 percent of total registered voters. Mindanaons for both presidential and vice presidential posts won’t work for the interest of the country. But definitely a candidate for the tandem should be from Mindanao to finish the development of the island and continue the glare of official attention on Mindanao.
The horizon is clear. Continuity is needed to achieve economic momentum. There are things that need tweaking, but the high approval rating of PRRD is given in any of the decision points. The war on illegal drugs is a serious undertaking that needs a whole-of-nation approach and not just government. The same is true with poverty. A continuing urgent task is battling corruption. Institutionalizing “Build, Build, Build” is urgent, so that no administration would make infrastructure development the least of its priorities.
There are two scenarios that should carefully be studied: Should the presidential daughter run immediately after PRRD or in 2028? Pros and cons are being weighed. If she runs immediately after, who will be the vice presidential candidate who can sustain, carry on and finish the infrastructure road map? There are two cabinet ranking secretaries who can ensure what we have started will be completed. One is young and the other has wisdom from being a self-made man. If she follows after PRRD, she would share all the “sins of omission and commission” and will be campaigning based on accomplishments as well as issues against PRRD. Following a father has never been done in presidential history, plus she becomes framed by the politics of the father before she can even decide.
If the presidential daughter decides to earn her spurs as vice president first, who has the positive virtues of PRRD from among the names being mentioned for president? Among the elements of a PRRD leadership brand are decisiveness, political will, compassion and empathy. The four cannot be taught. The first two can be situational, but only a local government chief executive understands decisiveness and political will. Compassion and empathy are ingrained, not learned.
In 1983, Howard Gardner, in his book Frames of Mind, wrote about seven types of multiple intelligences in human beings. Gardner argues that there is a wide range of cognitive abilities, and that strength or weakness in one area or ability does not necessarily correlate to another intelligence. Gardner did not mention leadership in any of his multiple intelligences. However, it is easily recognizable that to be an effective, efficient and productive leader, intelligence is quite naturally required.
As such, there is now growing understanding that there are four kinds of intelligences that directly affect one’s leadership capabilities and methodologies to become a successful leadership practitioner. “A holistic approach to leadership requires knowledge, i.e. intelligence, in these areas: physical (PQ), intellectual (IQ), emotional (EQ) and spiritual (SQ). They are interrelated in that they build on each other as one’s intellectual level increases over time through normal life experiences, academic achievements and professional expertise in our chosen fields.” It has been argued that the order of importance should be SQ, EQ, IQ and PQ. Other quarters even argued that “PQ come before IQ since it is the basic foundation.”
SQ is “the ability to behave with wisdom and compassion, while maintaining inner and outer peace, regardless of the situation.” PQ is personal health and fitness. It is “bodily-kinesthetic intelligence.” The presidency is not an easy job. No one gets out looking young and vibrant. Burn-out is lumped with presidential action.
The country cannot afford another tumultuous presidency. It cannot have a vice president who remains a spare tire for six years. That will be another waste of taxpayers’ money if he or she cannot even assist the ship of state to navigate waves and safely reach shore. Nor can we have a wolf in sheep’s clothing who will, from day 1, plan to oust a duly elected leader. Enough of those days.
We need a 1-2 punch who will work together as a team. A team up that complements each other; one that can read each other because they know one another; a tandem that shares the same vision and mission and that is task-oriented to push the country to a better future for all.
The year 2022 should not be just a campaign for the next president, rather, it should be a campaign for a strong team that can sustain our growth path, control greed, fight corruption, a nuanced approach to battling illegal drugs, nurture a professional bureaucracy and take care of those in the fringes. We need to elect a team that will be good for 12 years so we can finish what remains pending in the Duterte infrastructure and social welfare plans. Free tertiary education and universal healthcare will see full roll-outs by then. Ease of doing business would have taken root. We need to think long-term and get our politics to be less extractive.
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