Monthly Archives: July 2019

A Peddler of Hope

The dignity of earning a living comes with a price. Its amount is equivalent to how much are we willing to value ourselves as citizens of our community alongside our economic needs.

Our street vendors live each day precariously with that question in mind – balancing whether they must earn or must follow the law. They are caught in this situation not always because they want to but because it is the closest they can get to earning decently – and seemingly, there is no rule.

We are confronted with the issues surrounding the existence of vendors illegally occupying our streets today with the recent directive of the President for DILG to clear the roads. It is not the elephant in the room – we all talk about these things even in the “kapehan” for years. The real question is – do we have clear solutions in ensuring that we balance rule of law and allowing vendors their share of earning decently.

Chaos happens when leadership forces a community to bend back to accommodate infractions for the sake of humanitarian consideration because it has no plan to create sustainable solutions to help bring dignity back to people who simply wish to earn a decent living. All political play. Sadly, the pawns are our hapless vendors.

These past few months gave me the opportunity to face the problem squarely and I am sad to discover things. The vendors are usually asked to join political activities and rallies. I became aware that some of them were instructed to wear a shirt of a particular color and report early morning at radio stations where political debates will happen. I spent all night worrying about the invectives I will hear from partisan groups pooling outside the stations with no choice but to follow orders.

When the issue about concerned citizens posting pictures of Facebook of garbage from Christmas sales surfaced, the vendors were asked to gather for a meeting in a government facility and told that I was against them and the posting were my doing. They were systematically influenced to hate me even before I can even start to share what I have to offer.

In private meetings, several vendors told me they are tired of being “used” for political interests. The schemes were never ending. How we can get out of a situation where the same vulnerability of a sector is being exploited for political gains – the answer constantly evades me – except for one – a leadership that will not use them but will make them understand their value for their own sake. It is sad to see people exploit other people’s weaknesses, or twist every word and fact to suit their needs.

On several occasions, I was able to discuss things in a calmer, more friendly environment. I still remember that day when I laid down my cards – starting with the need to follow the law.

I told them – I have nothing against them personally. I know poverty very well – what it is like to simply yearn for your next meal. I told them I clearly understand their need to earn a living and I fully support that. I assured them I got there backs as long as they help me build an orderly and lawful community.

I told them all I have are my words which I honor always. Support is not an empty word – for it is fully loaded – starting with seriously rebuilding our markets so it becomes competitive even with the best malls in town. Resources to make this happen will always be there if we carefully and wisely plan.

I told them – there will be no middlemen when they need to reach me. A fully operational vendors desk will be established so I can monitor how new interventions and programs gradually impact on their income brackets. Regular consultation will be held with the objective of making sure that all vendors in the city becomes law-abiding citizens who contribute to ensuring clean and orderly public facilities.

In the course of the discussion, I needed to emphasize that I am not one to embrace or kiss anyone especially in public. That I am awkward in my ways as a politician. I do not smile often or is able to really keep my cool even in situations which require me to be angry or to cry. And I hope they can accept me.

I told them we will build win-win solutions as we go. Their ideas will be primarily considered – they will become indirect policymakers – identifying solutions for themselves without commiting any violation. I offered scholarships and jobs for their children so we can start a new generation that is not dependent solely on vending. I offered them alternative facilities which I plan to actively promote to ensure that consumer traffic is heavy in these facilities. I will create programs to add value to local products and strategies to promote them. In sum, everyone will be part of a vision they can all be proud of.

In one bigger meeting with the vendors, one of them, an elderly woman approached me as I was about to leave. With a hint of tears in her eyes she said, “Day, wala pa gid bala naka-estorya sa amon sang amo sini”. I told her, “Nay, damo pa ta estoryahan.”

My advisers have never failed in reminding me to “court” the vendors because of their sheer number – but I know I am a big headache for any campaign manager. I don’t court for politics sake – I help identify and offer solutions but that is not how politics in the Philippines work.

Today, I am reminded of the many faces of the vendors I have meet in the campaign trail as the DILG and all stakeholders begin the wave of massive clearing of roads around the country. The vendors will be the most affected. I feel sorry for them  and I sincerely wish we create a more sustainable set of solutions for our city regarding their sector – one that will honor their dignity as small entrepreneurs simply trying to make a living without violating any law.   

Local leaders have a mandate to fulfill and needless to say, every citizen has a responsibility to obey. The Local Government Code of the Philippines particularly in Section 16 provides: “Every local government unit shall exercise the powers expressly granted, those necessarily implied therefrom, as well as powers necessary, appropriate, or incidental for its efficient and effective governance, and those which are essential to the promotion of the general welfare. ”

I have reservations in writing these thoughts down as many will not find it palatable. But I think it is my responsibility to make our citizens aware how politics slow us down – how it hinders us from transcending problems we have faced for decades. I am sincerely hoping we can help improve the lives of our vendors and our community in general. And it is sad to see that politics always gets in the way. Hopefully, by sharing these postscripts, in my little way, I can inspire all local government leaders of this country. I am praying for courage and wisdom for all local leaders.

To a certain extent, everyone of us is a vendor. I am a peddler of hope. There is no assurance of earning from this craft – but I do it anyway. Everyone simply has a station in life.

The Monster Named Envy

Reflection Posted on Facebook on July 1, 2018

Sunday Reflection: When I inspire and push young people, my mentees, to achieve as much as their capacity and determination can allow them to achieve – I always fail to mention the sad caveats. Today, I will share based on experience (sad and tear-jerking ones) one warning. In this world, there are people who allow a monster so dangerous to control their minds, and often serve as a basis of their opinion of others – the name is ENVY. A sin. No one is free from this monster. But some just feed it so much, it grows and it destroys people around them. I grew up fighting this monster because it pushes me to despair, seeing how other kids have more than I have. I grew up conditioning myself that there are things I have more than others and I should be thankful for these things. I also conditioned myself to be happy for others, even when oftentimes I feel pained and jealous. I wired my brain to rejoice when people achieve things especially based on merit, and hard-work, and persistence. Sadly, and this I have to share to all my young mentees – when you work hard for something and receive the incidental fruits of your labor, like credentials, honours and positive impressions, there will be those who won’t be comfortable with that. They will always find faults in what you do. Along the way, you will hear your friends telling you – to slow down, don’t be ambitious, don’t do this, don’t do that. There will be those who will tell you – be normal, just be like everyone else, do not assume so much responsibility, do not assert your ideas, maybe short of just shut up. To my mentees, you will face these kind of people – who want you to stop dreaming. And stop achieving. In this world, we always love the underdog – without realising how the achievers feel. Some of us will always be faulted for being headstrong, when others are not. They will always accuse us of being opinionated, boastful, bossy and many words, at times we cannot swallow. I wonder if instead of ideas, guidance, instruction, or advise, we give away money, maybe they will call us philanthropists. In organisations, our ideas are oftentimes quelled because it comes out “strong” – so even if the ideas are good, it’s not good. Sadly, the worst for envy is one which is used as a tool for others who think they can leap ahead by pulling people down. Leaders who think that when they pull down other leaders – they achieve more. To my mentees, there is nothing wrong with being proud about your achievements for as long as you deserve it and work hard for it – own it. And when others pull you down, believing they can speed ahead of you, don’t mind them – you are not trying your best for these people. We only have one life – stay away from people and organisations that are obsessed in trying destroy your accomplishments as a means to accomplish what they need to accomplish. Instead find those who wants to work with you, likes to share their ideas with you as you share ideas with them, honestly want to see you grow and achieve. It’s hard to find these people. But you do not need many in this lifetime.

Generation X

Reflection Posted on Facebook on January 7, 2019

Reflection about Leadership based on generations.

When I was younger, I always enjoy listening to people older than me. I would spend more time in conversations, and well, arguments with elders than my contemporaries.

But opposite this habit, I always loved working with people younger than me. You may say, probably because it is harder to ask an older person to follow my instructions but it is mostly because – young people will always have a counterpart idea, they would always share what’s in their minds to create a collective whole.

These past several years, I have been peculiarly interested in understanding the MILLENIAL MIND. I have constantly conversed with this generation – somehow enough to draw out some observations –

They are very sensitive and intuitive, but they want to see problems in a more positive way or not see it at all.

Their sense of individualism is never eroded by their propensity to share and eventually lose their ideas in the table to create a common concept. This is what I like about the young people. Their sense of ownership is quite advanced. That is why they are able to create tons of original content and material.

Planning and discussion are nothing to them if the concept is not turned to reality. Proof of concept (POC). They are excited to create POCS than spend all their time in the drawing board. They usually start small, iterate through the mistakes, pivot to another strategy – to ultimately produce a POC.

Given these unique qualities of Millenials – I think the future will be a lot better.

This piece is part 1 of my study – if most cities in the Philippines, Bacolod for example, have been run by leaders belonging to the Baby Boomers Generation for decades, how will it transition to eventually being run by Millenials in the future.

And in the forumula: WHERE IS GENERATION X?

I proudly claim ours is the Powerful Digital Migrants generation. We moved from analog to digital, from beepers to mobile phones, from typewriters to computers. It is my proposition that my generation – The GEN-X will be the best generation to cause a successful transition between two widely different generations. And effectively usher old cities to a new future.

Are we LOST generation? Should we let the opportunity for leading our cities pass us by?

#Reflections #Bacolod2019 #WhereIsGenerationX

The Vista of A Leader

Reflection Posted on Facebook on September 28, 2017

Reflection in transit: The Vista of A Leader. A leader’s lenses must be like that of a high-powered camera. One that can clearly see both the micro and macro view of issues and concerns. He must have a very wide vista – vertically to understand the long-term repercussions of his every action, and horizontally to see how these actions affect a wide group or cluster of people, professions, industry and sectors and not just a few, as well as the image and branding of the whole nation or city. He must have the ability to zoom in on the micro as well. How every action will affect every individual citizen or his personal and family safety, his education and self-actualization. Some will see the impact of a leader’s action to the whole community while some will only see how it will impact on their dining table.
A good leader must create a balance between these two views – to avoid sacrificing the good of a few for many and vice versa. Or to weigh the consequences with a full conscience – in times when there is a need to sacrifice. We see leaders today whose lenses are set to panorama only – they see the bigger picture and cannot seem to understand and are without empathy towards individual citizens aspirations. These leaders are wrapped in their own big ideas, without realizing that these ideas do not impact or are not relevant to small communities. They talk in jargon that only they can understand. They treat individual life stories as nothing more but figures to quote. We have many leaders in bureaucracy who are like this – they move from one national program to another – without really looking at building from what has already yielded results for many individuals. They do not care about specific examples and only focus on general data.

On one hand, some leaders only see the micro-view, these are those whose brand of service is dole out. Giving rice to every family instead of ensuring food sufficiency. Reacting to issues on an impulsive level and not putting in place long term solutions. These are those who believe change us possible with only them at the helm. Sadly, if they only have a micro view of everything – their plans has the tendency to be myopic, fleeting, almost self-serving.

The leader with a wide vista sees both the macro and the micro. He is able to carefully analyze how his every step affect the country and one individual or group of individuals. He can lay all the premises and consequences on the table using both views and is able to weigh which action is best to take. He is one who may think a situation that derails his administration of the city or the country or his organization as something orchestrated and designed to derail his efforts, but in taking the macro view – he is able to think passed these suppositions and draw strategies to resolve the problem on a more realistic and long-term level.
Some are born with the vista of a leader but they need to harness it with experience. Any skill when not put to use may wane. Some develop the skill through a long and wide range of experience.

Torta and Laswa

Reflection Posted on Facebook on April 20, 2019

Black Saturday Reflection. Today, I am happy to have shared “laswa” and “torta” with volunteer youth leaders. I took it as an opportunity to again send the message – let not anyone corrupt your young minds and focus on the goal of doing things to improve yourselves and help others. These days, I need to continously debrief young people especially with what is happening around.

It is sad to see the things that are happening. Everyday, friends message me to replace the posters in their houses because someone took it. Supporters message me their spaces are threatened to be closed by people in authority if they do not take down my posters. Even in front of owners of private properties, opponents take down my posters. Using power and threats.

Really, is this what we want to teach our young people – slash posters, destroy opponents using blogs, venerate wrong doings, spread lies, really?

The character assasination is unending. Everyday a troll, a blog, paid, and promoted – destroys my reputation, my character – portraying me as the vilest of all in this city.

The opponent destroy people around me, they destroy private lives. They create stories – obviously new stories that never were heard before. They dig every detail they can weave stories around to bring me down to the gutter with them. Using their ways. Their means. This is the kind politics that kill this city. My dream is to end this kind of politics. In the process, I may get “killed” but that it is the mission I have set out to do.

Everyday, my teams, no matter how small – we find a way to reach as many people – to tell them that we can choose our leaders based on the right metrics – that we can decide base on what we hope our city to become – not out of our fears, political pressure and the welding of power that can create the most beautiful picture out of an ailing city, that wants a fresh start. That yearns to cleanse itself from the old ways that continue to prevail despite obsolesence.

A city not run by its leaders but by private political spinners, welding power even when they have no elective mandate. A city reeling in black propaganda of political operators who do not really care what happens to our citizens after elections. A city filled with paid political experts – who have no vision except to earn – mercenaries waiting for the kill.

Yes, every one plays a role. I do not care what your roles are. My role is to run for mayor and be the new leader of this city. I carry with me the dreams for new politics. New governance. Plain and simple. If my motives are otherwise – believe me there are better avenues than being in this arena – where your name is murdered everyday.

Do your very best to stop me based on your own motives. Or not do anything to help me while I am doing it, also based on your own motives. Life is short. History will always judge us in the end.

I know my motive. I know why I am trying to wake up and walk for miles every day. It is for a city named Bacolod.

Fight for Your Dreams

Reflection posted on Facebook on January 21, 2019

Reflection on a Rainy Monday.

In every stage of our life, there will always be people who will tell us:

It cannot be done.
You cannot do it.
It won’t work.

As a kid, I always had many dreams, to finish school and to help my siblings finish school. But I hear people say – budlay na. Wala sila gane kalan-on. Wala na iloy. Ahay kalouy man.

When I was in college, I had so many dreams, graduate, to pass the bar, to become a lawyer. So I worked to send my self to school. Still I hear naysayers.

When I run as an independent candidate for councilor, I had many dreams, to help thousands of people, to make difference, to create jobs and opportunities, still I hear people say, how can you win without money and machinery.

When the only committees given to me were women and communications, I had a dream to make a big difference in these committees, still I hear people say it cannot be done because these are minor committees. I set a vision to bring ICT jobs to Bacolod, and put Bacolod in the list of Next Wave Cities, still there are naysayers saying it won’t work, it cannot be done.

I am sharing this reflection to inspire others – to PERSEVERE and fight for your DREAMS. With God’s perfect timing – no matter what others say – I declare – IT WILL WORK, IT CAN BE DONE, YOU CAN DO IT.

Disruptive Leadership

Reflection Posted on Facebook on July 11, 2019 10:25 AM

Breakfast Reflection. As more next generation leaders step up to disrupt things, the cavemen of Hobbes inside majority of Filipinos that feared their own shadows as seen against the light from outside of the cave is starting to think.

The era of disruptive leadership dawns.

We will extricate themselves from the thinking that chained us inside the cave – it will never work because it has never been done before.” The fear of the unknown. Of change. Now we see that new ideas are not new, newfound courage makes all the difference.

For decades, we’ve wallowed under leaders that think for us, unfortunately many are shortsighted, worse, dim-witted. But today, I see disruptive minds setting the pace, in all spheres. Minds that are not bound by a “one-size fits all mentality”. Minds that transcend simple “carrot or stick” approach by looking at all sides – converting beneficiaries to become genuine stakeholders.

Disruptive leadership is about active listening and presencing. Understanding more than seeing. Listening more than hearing. A leader that is there – at the present moment, drawing insights from all sides to develop intuitive and responsive strategies.

Disruptive leadership is bold, willing to experiment, with a clear set of alternatives should results be different, but willing to leave the shores to venture to uncharted courses. Open to adapting new solutions to achieve new results.

Disruptive leadership is about maximizing resources – spending every cent with a clear measure of its social impact. It does not do the convenient, but only the necessary. It prepares a thorough and comprehensive plan before jumping to decisions. But it is never debilitated by philosophies and dogmas that oftentimes keep us inside the cave.

Disruptive leadership is fully aware that the power they weld comes from the people and this so-called people are not cavemen, not brutes but thinking human beings. They harness the potential of every member of their community to contribute to growth, (or not to hamper growth by being part of social ills, thus take care of them)

Disruptive leadership embraces innovation. The imperative of understanding technology not for technology sake but to address real life problems, design solutions to actual pain points that hinder development.

We’ve accepted the vicious cycles as norms. Politics is all business – whatever fills the pocket of politicians becomes the project. The dangerous conditioning that when citizens verbalise their aspirations they are against development. The notion that position necessarily comes with intelligence, empathy and vision. We have long comfortably settled inside the caves of our beliefs that nothing can change.

But the Age of Disruption has long began. Soon whether we wish to stay inside the caves or not, the caves will be destroyed. How we will look as cities, as a country, once exposed into the light, will determine our future. The leaders among us will play a key role in leading us into the light.

This is a challenge to new leaders. Do not be afraid of disruption, be the disruption.

#DisruptiveLeadership #DesignTheFuture