Why Making the Right Choice in the 2016 Election is Crucial
The nation needs to prepare early for the 2016 national election. It is a very important election because Filipinos will choose their leader for the next six years and their choice could either make or break the progressive streak that the incumbent administration has started.
Political pundits are in consensus that the Philippines needs another term or two of good governance in order to have a sustainable economic base that will propel it to prosperity.
The countdown to the 2016 Presidential election has begun. VP Binay has officially announced his presidential ambitions, dropped hints on who will be his possible running mates, started building a new party, and courted members for his coalition. Others have kept mum about their intentions. There is no doubt they are also working behind the scenes: organizing, bribing, favor trading, vote-buying, lining up celebrity endorsers and all the fun stuff that Filipino politicians do while waiting to unveil their election machine.
Enough of the Filipino political culture potshots, let us move to something positive like what the incumbent administration has accomplished so far.
The positive political, social and economic progress is earning the Philippines some global respect.
Good news about the Philippines is spreading around the world. The recent Mindanao peace agreement is a positive factor in how the world sees the Philippines. World opinion also lauded its decision of going to the world tribunal about the South Sea dispute with China. Its upgraded credit rating to investment grade based on “’robust economic performance,’ ongoing fiscal and debt consolidation, political stability and improved governance” is already attracting much-needed local and international capital as well as foreign investment inflows. The prepayment of the government’s foreign debt service looks good. The budget deficit for FY2013 is just 1.4% of the GDP. Furthermore, the Philippines has improved its ranking in several global economic indices.
The efforts to clean the government of dirty politics and corrupt officials have not gone unnoticed. Among 177 countries profiled by Transparency International, Philippines went from 105th in 2012 to 94th for 2013. On the scale of 0-100, 0 being corrupt and 100 being clean, the Philippines received a score of 36 as opposed to 32 the previous year. There is no doubt that as the corruption sweep continues, the Philippines’ ranking and scores will continue to ascend.
Whoever replaces President Benigno Aquino III in 2016 has humongous shoes to fill. He or she will have to be able to continue making good policy decisions to hold on to the newfound positive global feedback.
The citizens of the Philippines have the duty and responsibility to choose the best presidential candidate in 2016. Superficial qualities such as personality and celebrity should be shunned. A new yardstick based on morals and principles should be the new norm in voting.
10 Qualities to Look for in a Presidential Candidate
1. Integrity/ Honesty – Does your chosen candidate have a track record of being an honest person? Dishonest leaders had been voted into office before with great costs to the citizenry. Money stolen by a mendacious official is money earmarked for public infrastructures and services the citizens will never receive. A corrupt pilferer of government coffers should not receive any vote.
2. Ability to delegate – Has your pick demonstrated an executive ability to hire, supervise and monitor people? The president has the duty to pick and appoint upstanding people to the Executive Office of the President and the Cabinet. The government is a complex system with a lot of duties and responsibilities to its citizens that is dispensed through its various offices and departments. The President needs the ability to delegate, as he cannot do all the tasks needed to run a country by himself.
3. Confidence/Security– Does he/she exudes confidence and appears secure? A confident and secure leader has no problem believing and engaging others. He/she does not have the need for arrogance or feeling of superiority in order to convey his presence. As they say in the Southern US, “ If you have to tell someone you are a lady, chances are you’re not.” It is je ne sais quoi and someone with confidence and security radiates with it.
4. Communication Skills – Does he/she communicate his/her intentions effectively with people from all walks of life? Communication is done not only by speaking but also by listening. A good leader speaks in clear and concise manner and listens attentively. A good president will need communication skills to keep the citizens up-to date with the government’s performance, successes and failures as well as to find out what his constituents want or need from the government.
5. Sense of Humor / Positive Attitude – Does he/she smile a lot and not take himself/herself seriously? Is he/she able to diffuse a difficult situation by looking at its lighter side? A good-natured leader will often make better decisions, as he/she is not afraid to show his/her humanity in public.
6. Commitment/ Passion – Has he/she shown commitment and passion in her past jobs? Committed and passionate people make highly effective leaders, as they are tenacious and persistent. They will see to it that a goal is met and a vision is realized. Their focus and perseverance often pays off so betting on a committed and passionate candidate will likely yield positive results.
7. Ability to Inspire – Does he/she has achievements that motivate others to emulate? Is he/she sincere and forthright? The ability to inspire is an important quality, as people look up at the president as a role model. “Do what I say but don’t do what I do” will breed societal resistance and sanctimony.
8. Competence – Does he/she has the necessary skills, knowledge and abilities to govern a morally and fiscally insolvent country? A competent president does not need to be an expert in all theories and practices of public administration but he/she needs to be self-motivated and a fast learner.
9. Courage – Is he/she decisive and able to make tough calls when it’s needed? A courageous person is not fearless. He/she just has the ability to face fear, danger, pain, uncertainty, intimidation and other difficulties without warping or caving in. Calm self-assurance raises the level of confidence in one’s decisions.
10. Servanthood/Selflessness – Does he/she put people first as his/her priority? Does he/she eschew personal power and wealth building on the back of the masses? The president is still a public servant who is tasked to look after the well-being of the populace. He/she works for the citizenry and not the other way around.
The world is finally watching the Philippines closely and with great interest. Exercising the right to vote is a privilege as well as a great responsibility, especially in 2016. The future of the Philippines is in the 2016 voters’ court. If they do not drop the ball, the long-awaited tiger economy might be just around the corner.
Please choose wisely and vote responsibly.