12 February 2008

Politics and Power Play

I received a lot of SMS and e-mail letters asking if I was the one who called the late night talk show forum during the weekend. I was surprised that even at that late hour so many people are still awake and listening to talk shows even if its on the TeleRadyo. Of course, a lot of people knew me to be outspoken on a lot of issues, but they never expected me to be airing my views on a radio show!

But I thought, why not? This whole ZTE-NBN issue has reached such unimaginable proportion that it is only wise for every concerned citizen to know, understand and be involved in this major issue affecting the Philippines right now.

So yes, I was the one who called the TeleRadyo show.
And these some of the salient points I needed to raise which prompted me to call:

1. “Moderate your Greed”
Is there really such as thing as “moderate greed”? Any intention governed by greed is the worst possible outcome for any project whether it is in government, private or even personal ones. I have done feasibility studies for projects and a lot of those governed by greed and power can only succeed up to a point. Anybody who benefited from overpricing ANYTHING will eventually be affected. Which may probably be the reason why the economy is on an abnormal growth.

2. Permissible vs. Forbidden
An individual who holds a position of authority over ANY project that benefits the community (whether government or private initiative) should exercise that power to control, monitor and ensure that no cheating and greed lies in its implementation. It is never “permissible” to allow small-time cheats. An unethical and criminal act is always “forbidden”.

3. Patriotism is not a Compromise
When people say that they love to serve the country and chose NOT to be involved in its governance is a simple “cop-out”. Governance is not limited to public officials. To not do anything when one see corruption and evil when you have the authority to stop it will only allow such acts to continue. A person of authority who refuses to take action is equally responsible.

The show's hosts asked this question: "What should you do?"

And I said, "just say no"
No to greed.
No to sloppy work.
No to weak authority and poor expertise.

It is not easy but conviction is a powerful weapon.
It is never too late for people to own this power and use it. When the power to rise above apathy has only made you unpopular, ridiculed, and stripped of position and authority, then you will finally realize your true self-worth and real power as a person.

Good leaders and individuals do not sought popularity. They demand a lot of inner work and solitude to be fulfilled and be relevant not only to themselves but also to their communities. A fulfilled person does need another individual to validate his worth but it is in working with and for others that he realizes the real meaning of power.

And while politics has been mistakenly referred to as “politicking” and power-grabbing, only the inane can really distort its true meaning. Politics after all is the art of governance. And not just for our community leaders but also its constituents. Corrupt leaders are by-products of an apathetic community. The people-power of EDSA in 1986 may took longer than it should but it was a community who finally found the voice and resolve to demand effective and sustainable community development. That it did not happen says a lot about our inability to demand effective leadership, quality service and sustainable development programs.

My experience working as a volunteer consultant in a government agency has taught me that our government needed all the help and expertise of everybody. We all have something to contribute and we should all try to do that whenever possible. One need not be a public official or consultant to help in the community. I still get consulted for some projects. And I don’t get paid in most, if not in all of these consultative work. I have simplified my needs to be able to contribute my share in community-building.

Meanwhile, consultants like Romulo Neri and Jun Lozada should not be disheartened by anomalies, ineffective and weak leadership. For this is where that their expertise are badly needed. And it is during moments like these when we need to pull together as a nation. Jun Lozada has finally awakened from the nightmare of a weak government while some of us has opted to rise above it. Lozada’s triumph and resolve will inspire silent fighters among us. In time, the sleeping giant housed in a small island that is the Philippines will finally awaken and realize its rich natural reserves and beautiful land houses only happy and creative people fueled by passion and courage. It may sound romantic and idealistic but it is the Philippines true picture, no matter if it looks distorted in our veiled eyes for now.

Politics is a lot of creative, intelligent work.
And the road is long and less traveled
but it is always worth the trip.