Run for Filipinos. Do not Run for your Parties.

I am praying for a Transformation Bloc – every new leader with strong following and show sincerity in their actions like Isko, Leni, PacMan, and the rest who have new value propositions: come together and forget yourselves first and build a Transformation Agenda under which every Filipino can support you collectively. Here are my initial recommendations for a Philippine Transformation Platform.

1. The Philippines interest will always be of primary concern in all global agreements and relations. The welfare of the Filipinos will be the highest consideration in every national and international policy. No more utang na loob, no more mendicant, self-pity attitude. The Philippines must know its global worth as a country. We stand with every nation in equal footing.

2. Full respect shall be accorded to the right of every local government unit to create its own strategies according to law and to the principle of subsidiarity. Full support and guidance for all local mechanisms to empower provinces, cities and municipalities to self-actualize as independent components of national development. No more competition but collaboration between local and national governments.

3. Embracing digital transformation and data-driven governance in all aspects of society – healthcare, education, business and commerce, science and more. Full adoption of interoperability and open data sharing across all departments of government for the convenience of citizens and the efficient delivery of public services. No more compartmentalized “to each his own approach” – but optimizing whole of nation approach.

It is always hard to detect, prove and correct corruption in the Philippines in the absence of a strong open data governance framework and policy present in high income to high middle to middle income countries. Data-driven integrity frameworks automatically allows citizens to flag fraud and corruption across all government agencies. All government agencies are mandated under the law to publish and share data. In the Philippines, our leaders have no wish establish public trust earned through open governance. That is why we will continue to stay lower middle income country. We are caught in the pointless debates about past events – but never in the institutional debates of empowering citizens to demand integrity in public office earned by developing public trust. Public trust is like a commodity in the Philippines – we trust leaders based on our own opinion. Unstructured data composed of more than 110 Million opinions.

4. Serious adoption of sustainable development, harnessing and harmonizing economic, environmental and social resources. No more greed at the expense of the environment and human survival. Climate change is a very serious issue for many years, but no Philippine president has transcended this issue and designed innovative solutions.

5. Fully invest in the human capital, physical, mental, moral skills. Create and scale skills based (aside from traditional occupation-centric) certification programs to future-proof the work force. Increasing the economic complexity of the country but elevating the knowhow of Filipinos based on international skills metrics. I have so many other suggestions in this area.

It will hurt our country badly to see more traditional politicians taking the lead. We need new breed of politicians who will reject traditional ways. Our political system today is deeply characterized by patronage politics, the kind that is transactional, personality-based, control-driven and opinion- focused. Traditional politics impede the full growth of the Philippines. It is time to cleanse the system.

A true leader does not need to destroy himself in the process of leading others. In fact, he or she must continue to build his or her knowledge and integrity as a leader. For he or she understands that by increasing his or her self-worth and integrity, the collective worth of his or her constituency is increased. Destruction of his or her integrity reflects on the integrity of the whole. This is something that many past and present politicians forget. Because of the wrong notion that the seat that they occupy is their own. We often regard our politicians as mere politicians – to me they are our nation’s leaders who will carve the future for us. In their hands is the power to decisively affect the destiny of this country. It is not an easy task. It takes a lot of enlightenment, personal sacrifice, humility, patience to understand new things and constant discipline.

No more palliative solutions. These are just initial recommendations. I am praying we have leaders who will unite for these goals. Don’t unite for yourselves. Run for Filipinos. Do not run for your parties.

#Reflection

Published by Jocelle Batapa Sigue

ATTY. JOCELLE BATAPA-SIGUE • Named as one of The Outstanding Women in Nation’s Service of the Philippines or TOWNS for 2016 in the field of Information and Communications Technology or ICT • Positions: Past Vice President (2018) and Past President (2010-2012) and Past Trustee (2013-2017) of the National ICT Confederation of the Philippines or NICP • Founder, Former President and Current Executive Director of the Bacolod-Negros Occidental Federation for ICT or BNEFIT • Served for 3 terms as councilor of Bacolod City • Chosen as one of Asia Society Top Ten Philippines 21 Young Leaders in 2009 • Chosen as the Eisenhower Fellow of the Philippines in 2012 • Awarded as Philippine Individual Contributor of the Year during the International ICT Awards given by the Canadian Chamber of Commerce and Industry in the Philippines

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