#AnimatED: Lesson in leadership
In 2 weeks, President Benigno Aquino III steps down. By June 30, he would have served the country 6 years as our Constitution allows only a single term of office.
Aquino leaves a mixed legacy. The positives include:
- steady economic growth, making the Philippines the fastest growing economy in the region, ahead of China;
- robust strides in universal health care;
- an anti-poverty program that has started to improves the lives of the poorest of the poor;
- transparency and reforms in the budget and public works departments; and
- the passage of major laws such as on reproductive health, fair competition and sin taxes
On the downside, we saw:
- friendships trump institutions;
- weak crisis management from the Hong Kong hostages to Mamasapano; and
- incompetence in the delivery of frontline services and performance of duties, the most visible of which were the inefficiencies in the international airports and the breakdown of commuter trains.
In a recent interview with Rappler, Aquino explained that he kept his ally, Transport Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya, despite his epic lapses because he is “not corrupt.” (Watch the Aquino interview here)
This is a key lesson for incoming President-elect Rodrigo Duterte: building and strengthening institutions, not ties to friends, is central to effective governance.
Aquino’s and Duterte’s rhetoric on this subject is similar. “Friendship stops when the country’s interest is at stake,” Aquino told Rappler.
Duterte phrased it this way: “My loyalty to you as a friend ends where my loyalty to my country begins.” He was addressing his decades-old friend and benefactor Pastor Apollo Quiboloy who was miffed that he wasn’t apparently consulted on early appointments to the cabinet.
In Aquino’s case, loyalty to his friends remained a weakness during his term. We are witnessing the same with Duterte who hasn’t even assumed office yet.
The most vivid example is his avowed friendship with defeated vice-presidential candidate Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. This is the reason he seems bent on marginalizing Vice-President elect Leni Robredo, she who has a popular mandate.
He has not given her the courtesy of a meeting – which he already did with Marcos. He is not tapping her for a cabinet post despite her pronounced advocacies to help uplift the poor – a campaign promise Duterte made.
The president-elect’s “loyalty to the country” versus sustaining friendships with members of his cabinet and other appointees will be tested in the coming years. How will Duterte decide when his friends are caught in conflict-of-interest situations? perform poorly? are corrupt?
The lesson from the Aquino years is as clear as day. – Rappler.com
In these changing times, courage and clarity become even more important.
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