by Mika Ituriaga
As an organization, we envision a better Philippines through leaders who are effective, ethical and empowering, together with an engaged and enlightened citizenry. We Filipinos can only hope for a brighter future if good people in government partner with good citizens in moving our country towards a better direction. But what do we mean when we say that our leaders should be effective, ethical and empowering?
The keywords for an effective leader are: goals, measures, solutions and results. Effective leaders know where he or she started, set attainable goals, think of innovative solution and know how to measure the results. Effective leadership constantly strives for excellence. One inspiring story of being an effective leader is that of our KN Champion Mayor Marivic Belena of San Jose City, Nueva Ecija. Being in the business sector for so many years, she run the city like a corporation to make its services more professional and efficient. One of her various achievements is the enactment and implementation of the anti-red tape ordinance. During her term also, she realized the importance of linking with the business sector for the local economy of their city. Under her watch, Kalasag farmers were enabled to consolidate their onion produce and sell it directly to Jolllibee, giving the farmers a more secure income.
Leadership however, does not stop with excellence. As one of our founders Sec. Jesse M. Robredo said, "Hindi rin sapat na tayo ay mahusay lamang. Hindi lahat ng matino ay mahusay, at lalo namang hindi lahat ng mahusay ay matino, ang dapat ay matino at mahusay upang karapat-dapat tayong pagkatiwalaan ng pera ng bayan.” Being an ethical leader is one of the most important and yet hardest to achieve because it involves a constant battle of doing the right thing for your constituents and setting your personal interests aside. Ethical leaders are guided by the values of trust, respect, integrity, honesty, fairness, equity, justice and compassion. An inspiring story of an ethical leader is that of Congressman Teodoro “Teddy” Baguilat Jr. of Lone District of Ifugao. Bribery for government projects is rampant in our country. Despite pressures, Cong. Teddy refuses to accept “SOPs” or a percentage of money used for government projects. Visitors come to his office offering bribes to let jueteng operate in Ifugao which to he also turned down. He always looked at those alleged for having wronged the government with an open and fair mind.
If a leader is already effective and ethical, why do we still need to empower the people? For the government’s efforts to be sustainable, the people have to be given the inspiration, voice and means to develop themselves so they may be fully able to contribute in developing the nation. An empowering leader has high value for individuals. An empowering leader invests in the people by developing their capabilities. He or she expresses confidence in others ability to be successful, because he knows its impact collectively. The words of Anak Mindanao (AMIN) Party-list Representative Sitti Turabin-Hataman clearly exemplify this kind of leadership. According to her, "Being veiled does not mean we Muslim women are not empowered. Like any other woman, we can be very eloquent and smart.” She pushed for more education and adequate maternal health care for women wearing hijabs. She has also earned the tag “iron ladies” together with Sandra Sema.
For a better Philippines to come, good leaders and citizens are needed. Let us help our country by being effective, ethical and empowering individuals and inspire change by being a light to our spheres of influence.