Tuesday, September 9, 2008

SURVEY: The 3 Most Respectable Filipinos

Lead Philippines is now conducting a small but serious survey... Lead Philippines asks:

It is amazing how hard it became to answer this question. In the few samples surveyed so far through SMS and e-mail, the results are:
  • 50% did not answer at all
Meanwhile, of those who answered:
  • more than 50% said they "do not have an answer"
  • 20% gave 1 or 2 names each only
  • 15% answered themselves or their family members
  • Only 15% mentioned 3 names each...
The survey has become more of a challenge... Can you suggest the names of 3 of the most respectable Filipinos alive today?

Monday, September 8, 2008

Lead Philippines (?), A Primer

Lead Philippines
Lead Philippines is an initiative still in its early conceptualization stage. It aims to be a popular search for future Filipino Leaders. Lead Philippines is based on the belief that the country needs a new set of leaders, away from traditional politics. Lead Philippines believes that a new breed of Filipino leaders abounds in all regions of the country but these leaders are not given national prominence. Lead Philippines aims to become the platform where these new leaders can express their views, for them to be able to discuss the issues and present their solutions and ideas directly to the people.

The State of the Nation: A Leadership Crisis
Our country today is experiencing a leadership crisis. With all of the scandals that beset the country, correctly or mistakenly, many question the legitimacy of our President. Meanwhile, everyone is feeling hopeless because of the failure to identify an alternative. We now ask ourselves: are there no more leaders the Philippines can produce? We all believe that there is graft and corruption in government that we become impatient when nothing is done about them. Meanwhile, we still, sadly, send Filipinos abroad, to work away from our families. Back home, no amount of good economic data uplifts the situation of the poor who becomes even poorer.

Selection of Leaders
To correct the situation, many are pushing for another People Power movement aimed to unseat the current leaders. However, we realize that in the past, such action does not guarantee a brighter future. We have twice been in that path and our situation did not improve or, some could say, even worsened. Therefore, only a few, even among the youth, heed the call for new street action. The proponents of People Power now ask: Has the Filipino succumb to apathy?

Meanwhile, everyone still look forward to a successful national election, the next of which will be in the year 2010. However, the people have become tired of traditional politics that begins to permeate this early. We all cannot help but notice that giant billboards and announcements from various politicians are now seen everywhere. Lead Philippines does not make judgments on these politicians, but the fact that we know that there will be no real discussions of issues nor solutions and that there will be no debates nor real interviews, we all expect that there will still be the same vote buying mechanism or in some areas intimidation in this elections. For those with money and access to people in control of the process, vote adding/shaving or dag-dag bawas will still be the name of the game. The expectation is that we would all end up with the same breed of leaders, perhaps of different faces but of the same creed, way and means, if not worse.

Lead India
In India, a similar call for a new breed of leaders, was initiated by the Times of India, that country’s largest circulation (and the world's for that matter) English newspaper. The Times of India published ads stating some facts as to where India is right now. India is a land of more than one billion people yet they have not achieved prominence in worldwide affairs, the ads said. Indians felt that they could do more in the world's center-stage. They thought they prosper not because of their leaders but despite their leaders.

What started out as a call for new set of leaders became a popular search much like the American Idol, not for singers but for leaders. Amazingly, they received more than 34,000 nominees or applications from potential leaders which they were able to, even hesitatingly, trim down to 8. Near the end and still similar to the American Idol, people are asked to send their votes through text messaging as to who among the eight deserve to be the winner. Finally a winner was proclaimed - RK Misra, who is now deemed to be one of possible contender in the future for the prime minister's post.

Read more about Lead India on their website: www.lead.timesofindia.com

The Philippine Version
Aware that the “American Idol” and local equivalent talent searches have gained recent popularity in Philippine TV programming, the proponents of Lead Philippines thought that a local version of Lead India is worth a look. The fact that we consider ourselves as the “texting (or Short Messaging Service) capital of the world” also presents an inviting opportunity to create something similar. If Lead Philippines was able to generate, through marketing, enough interests among the people, and if the ratio of respondents in India is taken as an example, we might, perhaps, be able to target at least 1,000 applicants or nominees from all regions of the country. Surely the natural tendency of people to get excited on political debates and the same tendency of capable people to want to help would also contribute to its success. Through Lead Philippines, it is hoped that real issues will be popularly discussed and debated, that capable people will be emboldened to participate, and in the end, the country will have a new pool of leaders to choose from.

Interest in talent Search + Texting Capital of the World + Excitement on Political Debates/ = Issues openly discussed/debated = New set of Leaders to choose from

Still, there are questions remaining: Even if Filipinos are able to identify a new set of leaders, should they participate, and if so will they win, in elections marred by cheating? Lead Philippines cannot answer that question and all the other similar questions. Lead Philippines is an avenue for discussion but it does not have the answers before hand. The new sets of leaders themselves shall be posed those questions, and it is for everyone to understand and stood firm on the answer that they believe.

A Question of Credibility
In order to generate interest, Lead Philippines should be able first to establish its credibility. The people now are wary of movements where hidden agenda will only surface in the end. Many times, the same traditional politicians maneuver actions for their own needs. Therefore, the proponents of Lead Philippines should publicly declare that they are not interested in elective politics themselves, to the point of humiliation in case they change their minds come election time. Also, Lead Philippines should be backed by personalities who have transcended themselves beyond politics. They may come from the churches of all religions, academicians from all schools/universities, and leaders of different institutions, even former politicians, with absolutely nothing at stake in the coming elections. Each of these proponents and named backers shall accept that the Goal – the Search for New Leadership – is more important than each of their Roles in the initiative. It is only through these open minded action can a bold initiative such as Lead Philippines could gain ground.

The Goal is more important than the Role

- The 17 irrefutable laws of Teamwork, John Maxwell

Next to be considered are the concepts that Lead Philippines should espouse. Lead Philippines should be non-partisan – not for the administration nor for the opposition. Of course, people from both sides will be slighted every time Lead Philippines call an action away from Traditional Politics. To do so shall not be its aim. In fact, Lead Philippines may and shall find from among the administration and the opposition, supporters, backers, even proponents as long as the initial set of credibility conditions above are followed. Lead Philippines should also be open to all groups, religions, creed or leanings as long as those groups believe in peaceful discussion and resolution of issues. Participation from Christians and Muslims (and from all religions) and from all people from all regions should be encouraged. Support by businesses, by individuals, by students, practically by everyone should be sought. It is a movement that crosses boundaries to encompass all the ideals of the entire Philippine nation. It should not be limited only to where the resources are. Lead Philippines should find ways to ensure these philosophies.

The Lead Philippines Program
The grand vision of Lead Philippines is to bring together all citizens of the country to work towards a common goal of looking for a new breed of leaders. It is then hoped that these new set of leaders will tackle the issues head on and somehow in participative or elective fashion shape a better future for the country.

The Lead Philippines proponents will first organize itself to gather support from prominent leaders and groups to establish its credibility. This is the crucial first step, for Lead Philippines cannot prosper without the credibility required. Lead Philippines shall then look for ways to finance the program through donations, even corporate sponsorships. The next step is then to get the awareness of the people on the country’s need for a new set of leaders. This will be done through simultaneous advertising media promotions (on the internet, outdoor, TV, radio, and print) which enjoin everyone to work for the country in whatever capacity. It is hoped that at this time, Lead Philippines already has established its credibility and the people will accept the truths behind the concept.

Next, lead Philippines will start asking the question directly to those who would listen: Why leave when you can lead? It will be an urgent and ardent call for capable people to lead the country if they can. It will be an honest call for participation, invoking nationalism. The call will be sounded in all regions of the country, in all churches, in all schools/universities and establishments, for everyone to think and offer their talents for the country. Organizations will be asked to nominate persons that they know. A panel of Lead Philippines proponents will seek to call on these people, until a few leaders capable of handling national issues would have been selected and would rise up to the challenge. Those who rose up will then be asked the issues and toured around the country, while the issues are tackled one by one. It will then come to a mass media stage where the discussions will be watched and heard nationwide on TV and radio. Eventually, the people will be asked to decide who among those that rose to the challenge has the most reasonable answers and capability to lead the country in the future.

Obviously, many other details of the program should be identified and worked out. For example, we do not want traditional politics to join in the search. The Trapos already has their ways and means of seeping through Philippine society and they do not need another platform to do it. The ways and means by which Lead Philippines will select the nominees should somehow filter the intrusion of the old ways. This is where all the sectors of the society can join in, by suggesting ways on how to improve the process. Still, how to generate all the support and the interest of all sectors of the society is in itself a major question the initiative still has to answer. Lead Philippines shall welcome all ideas from everyone.

Search for Funds
In every endeavor, there are indeed costs involved. Although Lead Philippines believe that there are so many people who wish to help the country and on short notice can contribute their talent and money for the cause, the cost involved may require big corporate donors to chip in. Some sectors will caution that big business might require something in return for their sponsorships. Donors with such requirements should readily be dismissed. An individual donor who will contribute his/her hard earned Peso should have the same importance as a corporate donor who contributes millions worth of support and facilities. Here lies the challenge Lead Philippines will face, how to market the initiative to corporate entities giving them reason to justify their investment but not sacrificing the very core of Lead Philippines' intent.

Lead Philippines has something going for them though. Business is driven by profits and revenues. Also, businesses clamor for a more level playing field. Business would surely want to do away with graft and corruption in government. They want less government intervention and smoother registration processes. Businesses are ready to pay the right taxes as long as everyone does.

Nothing drives profits/revenues for businesses better than the country’s good economic condition. A better economy is always good for business. With economic and other business issues discussed openly and eventually with a wider leadership pool, strategies on better economic governance will soon surface. Meanwhile, business leaders themselves are raring to help the country. Within their ranks may be a pool of future leaders of the country as well. Also, it is not uncommon to find businesses supporting different foundations and initiatives that aim to help the poor and underprivileged. All of these indicate that businesses may be open to the idea of supporting, with their pockets, initiatives such as Lead Philippines.

With the pure aim of Lead Philippines to find a new leadership pool and discuss issues that largely affect businesses as well, and with the added incentive of good advertising and a venue for giving back to society, businesses may be open to support it. Still, credibility of Lead Philippines proponents and leaders will rightfully be scrutinized by business leaders. The importance of establishment of credibility, the crucial first step for Lead Philippines, cannot be overemphasized.

From Here On
As earlier mentioned, Lead Philippines is still in its conceptualization stage. In fact, even the name “Lead Philippines”, is something that can still be worked on. The ideas presented here are just some of the general ideas gathered in the few weeks that this initiative was discussed with a few groups. Obviously, many details as to how to do the smallest things are left out because those details are still open to review and improvement. Lead Philippines could surely benefit from all the opinions and inputs, practically from everyone.

For suggestions, please send an e-mail to: lead(dot)philippines(at)yahoo.com

Or please visit: www.leadphil.blogspot.com