Category Archives: Social Media Posts

10 Things I Wish To See Happen Out of the CORONA Impeachment

This reflection was written and shared on May 30, 2012 at the height of the impeachment of Chief Justice Renato Corona.

  1. A truly independent judiciary. The next CJ must not be anyone within the circle of PNOY. If the President is bent on doing what is for the common good and constitutional, lawful and fair – he should never be afraid of a neutral and independent judiciary, even a critical judiciary – for the law protects all co-equal departments of government. It is the duty of the judiciary under our constitution to interpret the laws and orders of the two other departments. No matter how good a law or order is – it must be read in consonance with our Constitution and it is the province of the Judiciary. The President must realize that he cannot operate based on FEELINGS (and the dictates of his small elite circle) alone but based on the RULE of LAW. He should not wish that his every edict will be upheld by the SC under the new CJ. Rather – what he should endeavor to do is to make his edicts sound both in law and in aspiration. Our country cannot always operate on aspirations – we must hold our laws sacred – because it is what binds us. We have ways to make our laws better and it does not include trifling with them according to our own personal whims.
  2. A mindset that the SALN is a tool – a means to an end and not the end. Many of us miss the point. Property is among the three liberties guaranteed by all the democratic states in the world. Every person has the right to increase his wealth and property according to what is just and lawful means. The fact of having money is not per se an offense of a public servant, as long as it was earned rightfully. Therefore – the Filipino must be more demanding than just disclosure of SALN and vice versa – its non-disclosure as an offense. A mob cannot curse blindly. If this administration is true to form – it should sign the Freedom of Information Act as priority bill. It should create a transparent process of ensuring that our politicians and public servants do not enrich themselves in public office at our expense and consider SALN as simply a tool. Filing of SALN must be made ONLINE through the most official portal of the Philippine Government – the Official Gazette. It is not necessarily the fault of a public servant who has filed and submitted his SALN for the public to be not interested in it. If the SALN’s are in the OG – and that being a public record – that will spare the public servant from the apathy of the public – who couldn’t even care less about demanding to see their officials SALN. In fact in this country – I have noticed that people look up to politicians who live lavish lives than those who walk among us as common people. Their eyes glitter at the sight of politicians who are able to draw bills from their pockets at a moment’s notice. I have heard many smirks from voters who have asked me for money as I campaigned – whispering – I am a poor politician. We breed the kind of monsters we have but our misplaced praise for wealth rather than other things that really matter – like competence, genius, bravery. No wonder our country is filled with cartoon characters as politicians.
  3. Real economic programs for sustainable growth anchored on global trends and national strengths. This administration has yet to prove that it espouses participatory, inclusive and consultative government – which are pillars of good governance.  International observers have been one in saying that the two years scrimping of public funds almost bled our economy to death. There is a big difference between a self-righteous miser and a wise spender.  The government has mercilessly dislodged useful economic programs of past administrations to make way for its own brand of programs – thinking that they know it all. They have overlooked the fact that private-public partnerships are not novel to the Aquino administration but something which is as old as the first republic of the Philippines. In fact –  the revolutions which paved the way for a country know as the Philippines today is mostly-private sector led. The genius of Rizal and courage of Bonifacio. Where they public servants? No. And yet, the Aquino administration went on to destroy public-private partnerships and programs associated with former President Arroyo. One case in point is destroying –without the benefit of consultation – the Commission on Information and Communications Technology (CICT) – which has served as the catalyst for the last ten years of all sectors in the ICT industry to work together. This is no time for vindictiveness. Our economy now belongs to the ranks of Micronesia and Timor Leste – we cannot tarry any longer.
  4. A significant revision of our rule-making system – to ensure (just like in all other developed countries) – EQUITABLE representation of all islands of the Philippines. Our country’s highest legislative body is run by 24 senators – not truly representative of the whole country. Election of members of the upper house must be by REGION. The country is practically run by Manila.  This system does not at all bridge the islands and engender unity and cooperation.
  5. Drastic reduction of vote-buying to ensure that we have more statesmen rather than politicians. The media, the church and many civil society organizations have been clamoring against electoral fraud and vote-buying. In fact, so much blame was heaped on the loopholes of the automation of the elections. But as many reformists believe the poll automation was not the problem – the problem is still rampant vote-buying – either in cash or in goods and favor. Politicians and their allies’ bank accounts must be scrutinized during election time not after. Election spending must be curbed. People need to demand more than just money or cheap slogans geared to win the hearts of the “mahihirap”. People need to realize – we are mahirap but not “bobo” hence concrete programs must be presented – for education, health, economy, technology, environment, transportation, food sufficiency, foreign policy, energy, livelihood and skills development, entrepreneurship and many more. Presidential and other national candidates must not just win us with their “picture-perfect” smiles and campaign signs – we should look beyond and demand more.
  6. A truly inquisitive new generation that will demand more programs for their development and not be contented by just lip-service from the government. When I was young – our youthful energy can sway us to a bandwagon of ideologies – thinking that the good society is all about liberty and equality, or about efficiency and community, we are either left, right, left of center, right of center, extreme or centrist – but these forces block our minds to really think as one nation. Wherever we are in the equilibrium of ideologies – we only have one country. Our best asset today (like most of Africa and other countries) is a young population – this does not however end there. Our leaders do not believe with their hearts the potential of every young Filipino. I see no real and concrete incubation and research programs. Despite the ingenuity of the Filipino minds – we are at the tail end of list of countries with inventions and patents. We see government offices shying away from helping Filipino inventors and entrepreneurs. We see no Filipino brand going around the world as made in the Philippines. We see Filipino exporters barely struggling to fight the global market. We see local industries trying to survive against well-subsidized products dumped in to the Philippine market by other countries. The Filipinos are NOT worth dying for – we are worth believing in. Invest in human development – for a start.
  7. Real accountability. The problem with the impeachment is that they convicted a man for doing something that the accusers also do. No more pretenses. Let each one come out in the open – this country will never prosper as long as it operates under a big lie – that the Corona’s jurors and prosecutors want us all to believe – that they come with CLEAN hands. Hypocrisy is more palatable than hearing the sad truths in this country. Officials appease us with their “holiness” in exchange for poor and mediocre performance and programs.
  8. Genuine respect for each department of our democracy. The impeachment has shown how low the legislative can stoop to the wishes of the executive. The theatrical play that we have witnessed showed elected representatives of our country, strutting to and fro in an effort to crush a man with falsified, overstated, manufactured evidence obtained in dubious manner. The pronouncements of Malacanan throughout the impeachment are smacked with obvious over-confidence resulting from the exercise of control over one, supposedly independent body. The supposedly most independent body – the judiciary – is reduced to a mere laughing stock because of public humiliations.  Let the impeachment serve as a lesson in Constitutional Law if we are to still proceed as a true democratic country – let each department respect each one and understands each responsibility not only towards each other but most especially to the Filipino people. One thing that stands out for me is that today, the Congress, both lower and upper house, have approved many meaningful legislations – that as a collegial body representing the voice of the people – believe to be important and necessary for our country. For the President to ignore these bills and insist on simply just his priority bills – is an act that thwarts the will of the People exercised through the legislative.
  9. Respect for the seat of the President of the Republic of the Philippines by the person occupying it. For the President to understand that his every word, his every act is not necessarily done as a personal act or statement. He is the President of the Republic of the Philippines. He must not only earn support but RESPECT. For as people disrespect him – it is almost a show of disrespect to the Republic of the Philippines. As he stands to be the symbol of this country – he must embody competence and professionalism. These are attributes that can be acquired through honest self-evaluation and personal effort. His lack of concern about his words and the words that come out of his mouth does not serve as a good example to aspiring leaders of the future. 
  10.  A Filipino Nation renewed and strengthened to face the future. It is said that we deserve the kind of leaders that we have. It is difficult to cast the first stone – when everyone of us is privy to a system that has not brought us up – but down in the ladder of the nations. The Filipino race is one magnificent race – full of potential, talents, hopes and promises. We need to realize that. We need to see that wherever we are in the world. We deserve more. This is our country. Let no one dictate where we want to go. One person I met last month told me – “maybe God is punishing the Philippines!” I was shocked a bit – but at the end of the day – I realized – God is the inner voice in us that keeps us together as a nation. When Asia rises as predicted 20 years ago from being the “sleeping dragon” to the most powerful continent years – from now – I pray our Country – my Philippines – your Philippines is in the frontline of it all!

Ways to Love Yourself

1. Love your time. Don’t let anyone waste it. Respect your time and do not allow anyone to disrespect it. Consider every minute of your time as every minute of your life. Use it wisely.

2. Love your struggles. You’re not going to be perfect, but do not let anyone belittle all your efforts to be a better person. Every struggle is a journey which represents a piece of what you are today. If you cannot love and accept each part of you, how then can you love and accept your wholeness? Love the hardships that you invested in everything you have achieved, regardless of how small or big others may think it to be. Love the difficulties you experienced to develop your skills and abilities no matter how simple or complex. They don’t know what you have set to accomplish. You know better.

3.Love your scars. They represent your victories. Not necessarily flaws. Because every wound is a medal you’ve earned for a battle that was supposed to strike you down but you are still standing. No matter how ugly they are, be thankful – not everyone will experience the growth that your pain has brought you.

4. Love your enemies. They remind you that you are just human and you are alive. Some of them remind you of things you shouldn’t have done and so don’t do it anymore. Some of them remind you of things you have done whether others like it or not. In short, enemies remind you of good and bad decisions. But the best part is you own these decisions and the life that was given to you. Be happy you have made many decisions in your life. Your enemies will continously pull you down. Let them. Concentrate on your own journey of lifting others.

5. Love where you are. A point in time, a place, a status, whatever and whoever you are – you are still here in the present. This present is the tomorrow that people who are no longer here dreamt of yesterday. This present is important. Be present in every minute of your life. Love others by loving yourself first.

Valentines Day is also about loving yourself. 💖♥️❤️Happy Valentines Day Friends!

#ValentinesDay2021#Reflection#Shareables

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

A Young Leader’s Letter

A young man’s letter was among the many things that brought me that quiet but heartwarming feeling of accomplishing a difficult mission. The letter captured the messages of other young people during the whole journey. What inspires me the most is the thought that the next generation of leaders are growing steadily – and many of them, most of who I am acquainted carry the perspective of hope. I am sharing this letter with the writer’s permission in the hope of inspiring the next generation of leaders to carry on with the fight. My generation may have fell short of setting a strong and clear direction for our communities but through our small acts and examples – we hope to continue guide and encourage those who are next in line. I pray we find enlightenment in this letter.

May 18, 2019

“It doesn’t take a hundred years to do this, it takes political courage…” – Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez (The courage to change)

Mayor Jocelle!

A well fought electoral campaign! Going beyond the result of the election, One Bacolod is an achievement not only in terms of the bravery in engaging an elitist and traditional election but also for opening up the space for a campaign that is volunteer and advocacy driven. If ever we are serious in pushing for governance that is accountable, participatory and transparent, we need to do away with money politics/campaign.

When you decided to run and face a giant, you actually did us a favor by giving us the option for an alternative candidate. I have taken part in your campaign not out of personal interest/advantage or even to make money but out of an advocacy for good governance and I believe that you are the better alternative candidate.

Defeat is never ours but rather an accumulative experience and strength which is a prerequisite for our eventual victory for a politics and governance that the people deserves.

Your bravery and leadership is an inspiration. Never will I forget the time when you had a consultation meeting with the fisherfolk leaders from different barangays here in Bacolod, I was amazed on how you authentically listened to their concerns and laid out a 10 point agenda for them. It was specific, sustainable, and comprehensive and also the first time I heard from a local candidate to have that much potential of a program for the sector. If only you were given the chance to have it implemented.

This is not the end but only the beginning of a much longer struggle for a governance that is people-centered. Ako mangin padayon nga kabahin sa ini nga adbokasiya.

Padayon kita Mayor Jocelle!

Griderick Alila Brgy. Kagawad Brgy. 29

Griderick Alila’s handwritten letter which I received five days after the May 13 elections. This is intentionally blurred to keep the privacy of his signature and penmanship.

I requested from and was given permission by Griderick to feature his letter in this site. He is a young kagawad in one of our barangays in Bacolod. During the campaign, I have received many messages coming from citizens of Bacolod, mostly young people. The messages were as inspiring as Griderick’s letter.

Indeed, the series of consultations I have with various fisherfolks community in the 13 coastal barangays out of 61 barangays in Bacolod yielded a much clearer picture in my mind about the concerns of the sector. I am proud of the 10-Point Agenda which I was able to cull out from the conversations and given the unique opportunity to validate these policiy directions and programs I wanted to implement. I will share the agenda in due time but at the moment, I really wish to put the spotlight on Griderick’s message.

I am posting this to remind me always that there are young leaders who understand what needs to be done and are continously doing these things despite all the difficulties. Patronage and money politics will be difficult to eradicate in this country, but the mission continues. I am grateful and inspired by young leaders like Griderick who appear unassuming but firm in their convictions. I am also inspired by the clarity and purity of his thoughts. If our young leaders today in the barangays understand the pathways to good governance, this country will rise once more in full transformation.

The Voices from The Hill

If no one is listening, then we should raise our voices higher.

If no one seems to care, then we should care a little further.

If no one is standing, then we should stand for others.

We are born proud of our breed. We are not called people on the hill for nothing. We know who we are and what we are capable of.

And although many of us have slept on our rights for several decades, we are now awake.

Our young people are awake. Their fathers and mothers are awake. Our working brothers and sisters are awake.

They are tired of believeing in colorful promises that leave us empty-handed. Tired of listening to a litany of achievements that does not resonate with reality. Tired of momentary festivities that does not secure a sustainable future for our families. Tired of the same old lines and the same old ideas that are repeatedly use to insult our judgment.

The city on the hill yearns for a leadership achored on vision where every one can be part of. A change they can believe in. A change they can work for.

The voices of change are growing louder in the city on the hill. The enemies will do everything in thier power to quell these voices. But we will persevere. We will endure for our mission.

We have no billions nor material resources. So we rely on the power of our voices. We rely on our individual commitment to restore our city and on those who cannot be bought by money or swayed by fear or favor.

We have no well-oiled cavalry. So we rely on the army of decent people from different ages and all walks of life who will fight for their dreams and will face the challenges to turn their dreams to reality.

We have no powerful strings to pull. We rely on enlightened people who have the power to change things to join us in our mission.

We have no control of the process. We rely strongly on our faith that there is now a chance for a new beginning for the city.

We are a people of the city on a hill – we are strong just like hill we stand on. We will not crumble in the face of challenges because we are on a mission.

The city on a hill and its people belong to no one except to its citizens.

It is time to step forward.

Jocelle Batapa-Sigue (January 1, 2019)

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