March 2018
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Leadership as Service

Apolinario mabini PGis not yet rooted in the Philippines. A boss is usually expected to boss people around. If not he can be seen as weak. Señorismo among the urban upper class. Caciquismo among the provincial ruling class. The principalia that made a deal with King Philipp II to keep their datu privileges in exchange for subservience to the Spanish throne was the original sin of Felipinas, Felipe’s islands.

Jesus died to release mankind from original sin. Now how many have been martyred to release the Philippines, not from Cardinal Sin who was important for the EDSA revolution, but from the original sin of the principalia? The three priests called Gomburza, Dr. Jose Rizal, Heneral Luna, Ramon Magsaysay, Ninoy Aquino, Jesse Robredo? That should be enough already. Or not?

If religion does not work, look at management. There is a concept of leadership called Level 5 (link). It combines humility with professionalism. The stage before that is what usually passes for a great leader in the Philippines, a Level 4 or effective leader, then there is Level 3 or competent manager, Level 2 or Contributing Team Member, and Level 1 or Highly Capable Individual.

Humility and modesty? Isn’t that un-Filipino? I do consider Apolinario Mabini a great leader. Possibly because his physical condition did not allow him to go the usual Filipino macho way.

Of course he failed because those around him did not really accept him as more than an adviser. The culture was not ready for him, the sublime paralytic. I wonder how Lee Kuan Yew would have fared in the Philippine setting. His leadership was quiet and competent, not loud. He might just have decided to build malls and avoided politics. Is the Philippines ready for any real leaders?

Irineo B. R. Salazar, 19. February 2016, München

10 comments to Leadership as Service

    • What are they doing to promote that solution?

      • karlgarcia

        Unfortunately their approach is a tough sell.Condescenscion brings you nowhere.Their continued existence is not an indicator of anything,sure they outlived their contemporaries in the blogosphere,soon they will get tired of their so called tough love approach.

        • Some are modifying their approach. I see the most compassion in Grimwald. Benign0 and Ilda are still the “I am right” moralists and preacher/teachers.

          Filipinos have experienced enough of those who don’t practice what they preach. From Padre Damaso to Senator Sotto and (future Senator?) Manny Pacquiao.

    • I am quite surprised at a new perspective on two leaders:

      1. Carlos P. Romulo.

      1a. OK him standing up to Russians I don’t really see as a big deal. Filipinos in my experience often stood up to those whites defined as “bad” by American movies – Germans or Russians – and where the same types who bent backwards subserviently for certain Americans. Especially with what I have seen during the Marcos period.

      1b. His wanting the dot truly impresses me. I always had the impression he was kind of a lapdog type, again something where I guess I have had some biases.

      2. Claro M. Recto. I did not know he was a quiet, Level 5 Leader. Guess the “Senator” in front of his name gave me the wrong impression of a rhetorical loudmouth.

  • – Bikol seems to be the hotbed of change in so many ways…

    Bishop Arturo Bastes, reform-minded bishop of the Diocese of Sorsogon, said poverty is caused by the government’s insufficient delivery of social services and welfare to the people. With the current system, there is a lot of opportunities for corrupt government officials to intervene—from the collection of taxes to subsidizing government agencies, and this deprives the people of the benefits due them…

    Bishop Bastes is set to propose to the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) what he calls as “Project Serendipity,” a program that aims to create a politically-independent fund for the people’s health, housing, education, retirement and recovery assistance needs. It is a petition, which will be submitted to the Supreme Court, that will ask for a constitutional amendment that mandates that 20% of the country’s national budget will be automatically allocated yearly for social security, human development and welfare needs. This will be done through the process of People’s Initiative.


    Do we need a leader that can tell us that if we are to be successful as an economy, a people and a nation that we have to accept that our assumptions, beliefs and values are behind our actuations? That is not a personal view, but an interpretation of the science of the mind. [Robert Brooks, faculty of Harvard Medical School; he has served as Director of the Department of Psychology at McLean Hospital, a private psychiatric hospital.] That successful endeavors are characterized by individuals deliberately choosing to ask, “What is it that I can do differently to change the situation, rather than wait for others to change first?”

    And to change we have to start with examining our assumptions, beliefs and values because we take them for granted – and thus accept our situation as cast in stone? For example, do we believe that human development says that we have potentials [and is the driving force behind my commitment to my Eastern European friends] that we can live up to because men are created equal; that it is not just a proposition advanced by the West but in fact is fundamental to our faith – i.e., we are created to the image and likeness of the Creator?

    Unfortunately, the church (despite sensus fidelium) has been a large part of the subservience that defines Juan de la Cruz – that even in this day and age we demonstrate it to the world? For example, we are leader-dependent and that comes with all its ramifications? Thus we can’t see ourselves standing up to authority or anything bigger than us?

    Lee Kuan Yew and Mohamad Mahathir stood up to the West. And even Deng Xiaoping: “We need Western money (i.e., investment) and technology.” Translation: we need help now, we are a poor nation; but once we grow and develop we shall be your equal. And as importantly, did they understand a very basic economic principle, i.e., the multiplier effect of investment, and an imperative for a people and a nation to prosper?

    Sadly, in our case, we sought preferential trade and quotas – i.e., we were “rent-seeking” from day-one because our cacique masters were lord and we simply ignored the bigger impact of investment on the economy – and human development and poverty alleviation? Now we want to take pride in our concern for the poor? As one economist said, we must be very angry, very, very angry! We started trade and economic development on the wrong foot! And what is criminal is we’re still at it!

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