2022 PH presidential race

Too young to be president? Isko points to Obama, JFK, Ardern

Pia Ranada

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Too young to be president? Isko points to Obama, JFK, Ardern

THE ONE? Isko Moreno says age doesn't determine competence after being asked about criticisms that he is too young to be president. Rappler


The 47-year-old mayor says youthful, enthusiastic leadership is sorely needed to address the pandemic and the economic slump

MANILA, Philippines – Manila Mayor Isko Moreno, among the youngest in the pool of 2022 presidential candidates, said age doesn’t determine competence, when asked in a radio interview about criticisms that he is too young to gun for Malacañang.

Moreno, 47, said in a DZBB interview on Wednesday, February 2, that history is full of men and women who were around his age when they assumed the highest elected posts in their countries but were judged to be competent and successful.

“For so many instances in our history and world history, maraming mga bata na naging presidente na naging mabuti sa kanyang bansa (there were so many youthful people who became president and who became a boon for their country),” said Moreno.

He pointed to the late Philippine president Ramon Magsaysay who was sworn into office at the age of 46. Moreno also mentioned US presidents John F. Kennedy and Barack Obama, who were 43 and 47 years old, respectively, when they started their presidencies.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern became the youngest female head of government at 37 years old. In the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic, she was widely praised for New Zealand’s response to the health crisis.

For Moreno, youth can be an advantage for the presidency, especially in the time of pandemic where fast-moving developments call for energetic and quick leadership.

Maraming mga batang lider na mas mabilis kumilos, mas masigasig, mas open ang pag-iisip sa inobasyon, at saka mas madaling makatrabaho ng iba’t-ibang partido at iba’t-ibang grupo. I think it’s high time – hindi naman siguro masama – na makapamili tayo ng iba naman sa ating bansa,” said Moreno.

(Many young leaders act faster, are more enthusiastic, more open to innovations, and are easier for different parties and groups to work with. I think it’s high time – surely, it’s not a bad thing – to choose someone someone different, for a change, for our country.)

The Manila chief is not even the youngest among the top contenders for the presidency. Senator Manny Pacquiao is four years younger, at 43. The oldest of the candidates is 73-year-old Senator Panfilo Lacson. Vice President Leni Robredo is 56 while former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. is 64.

Moreno spent over two decades in government positions, mostly as a Manila elected official, with brief stints in appointive national government posts under the Duterte administration. He began his work for government at the age of 23, as Manila councilor. – Rappler.com

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Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada is Rappler’s Community Lead, in charge of linking our journalism with communities for impact.