I have been asked more than twice now whether or not I believe that Duterte is the best candidate we have for president in the up and coming 2016 election. Okay, first, let’s just get something out of the way first. No, I would actually prefer to vote for Gordon even if there are more than a few criticisms leveled against him. I have seen first hand what kind of man and leader he is to the citizens of Olongapo. However, that is only of course my personal opinion and I am sure that supporters of Duterte have also seen merits in their own candidate. Indeed, whether or not Duterte is a good choice for Philippine presidency is not the point of this article but whether or not we will ever be able to select a good leader that can lead us to progress and prosperity.
The thing is, a leader is always necessary for any community to thrive. In any culture, be it the Scandinavians with their “jarls”, the “chiefs” of Native American tribes, the “shogun” of Japan, the “moguls” of India or the “datus” of our ancestors, a good leader is key in the survival of the tribe. Without any authority figure to unite them, it is likely that many civilizations may not have grown to prominence at all. However, note also that it is not a leader that defines a community but the members of the community itself. A leader is more or less the captain of the ship and it falls ultimately to the crew to make sure that the ship travels in the right course and that the ship and all its parts will hold together throughout the voyage.
In one article here by Ilda, she asks if Filipinos need a leader with an iron grip in order to set the country in the right direction. It discusses whether or not violence really is the right solution for problems such as crime and corruption and if the end ultimately justifies the means. While certainly effective at reducing the crime rate, I myself have to wonder that just what is it about common Pinoys that authority figures now need to resort to violence and terror just to get the people to obey the laws. Yes, I am impressed with Davao’s development and of Olongapo’s change to a decent city when it came under the control of the Gordons but is force really necessary for development? Do Pinoys really need to be terrorized into subservience and self-discipline?
Sadly though, if the answer is yes, then I think this country is truly doomed.
A Moral Compass
I think that what we really need as a people is a better moral compass. It is said that “character is who you are in the dark” and I myself am a firm believer in this. It is not what people see you do in public that defines you, it’s what you don’t.
For instance, I see so many politicians pretending to sympathize with our poor farmers and dance in the streets to impress crowds. However, when everything is said and done they ultimately reveal themselves to be the pompous and greedy scoundrels that we all come to hate. Sure, you’re nice to people who you want to like and respect you such as that cute guy or girl over there or the rich people who know you by name but can you be nice to the Average Joe or Jane that you see everyday? Would you bother to be nice to that poor old woman collecting bottles in the alley near your home?
A lot of my friends at GRP and other communities are either atheists or agnostics but one reason I want to hold on to my religion even with them frowning at me is because I believe in personal responsibility. I believe that everything that I do has more effects than I know and that the consequences of my wrong decisions will come back to haunt me. And believe me, with all the things that I’ve done in the past, I have a lot of armed skeletons in the closet who are just dying (pun intended) to get a shot at me.
Even as an atheist or agnostic, you have to think whether or not you can live with yourself after making the wrong choice even when a good option was presented to you. Even without the purview of a god or deity, can you give your enemies the satisfaction of seeing you resort to your worst just to get ahead?
Sadly, it is the lack of a moral compass that has again led to the further detriment of our country. Ferdinand Marcos, while I do acknowledge the improvements he has brought to the Philippines, was too lenient with some figures of authority, allowing them to commit reprehensible acts against the common people. It is the lack of a morally guiding principle that leads cops to hurt common citizens, parents to harm their children and politicians to deprive this country of much needed resources.
As they say: “What we need is not a change of men, but a change in men.”
It doesn’t matter who sits in position whether it is Rodrigo Duterte, Dick Gordon, Jejomar Binay, Mar Roxas, Kris Aquino or Vice Ganda. If we ourselves cannot discipline ourselves into becoming responsible citizens, then there is truly no hope for us as a people. Without a moral compass within the heart of each of us then we are all ultimately lost.
The Role of the Media
Ever notice why I keep bashing the media? Well, you see, I have always believed that it is up to the media to instill a sense of responsibility and accountability in its people. So no, while entertainment is good, it’s not the only thing the media should concern itself with.
I think that if any kind of change should occur in the Filipino people, the media should be the catalyst. Here’s a short list of what I’ve learned through foreign media:
- It was Spider-Man (NOT Robin Padilla) who taught me that doing what is right might be difficult or even painful but must be done anyway because it is RIGHT.
- It was Optimus Prime (NOT Willie Revillame) who taught me the meaning of both fatherhood and leadership.
- It was Star Wars (NOT The Legal Wife) that taught me the power of forgiveness and how liberating it truly is.
- It was Naruto (NOT FPJ) who taught me to make a stand for what I believe in even if it hurts.
- It was Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann (NOT May Bukas Pa) that restored my faith in God and the goodness of humanity.
- It was Deadpool (NOT Kris Aquino) who taught me the wonders of Chimichanga and how good it actually is.
All of the things I mentioned just about sums up the values I learned from the media. Take note also that hardly any local program has ever had anything to teach our people, especially our youths, about having a moral compass. When all we see in our programming are sordid affairs, hollow bravado of pompous men and women slapping each other silly, then I really doubt our people will ever learn for themselves the value of being a disciplined and productive people.
So there, you know how I feel and what I think of the upcoming 2016 presidential election. Ultimately, I don’t think it’s who becomes president that will improve the country; it will be in how we choose to govern ourselves.
This coming 2016, I am hoping and praying that voters will finally hold themselves accountable for their decisions.
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