It was another morning in a day in my life as a public official and as I was traversing the stretch of South Superhighway on the way to work, I was observing the other vehicles crawling along the same clogged roadway that leads to the heart of Metro Manila. If the country was a human, it would have needed an angioplasty, so congested and slow moving the byways and highways are.
The somber look of the people in the other vehicles, with the exception of a frowning face once in a while, reflects the mood of the Filipino people nowadays. Their expressions matched the news and the commentaries that I heard on the radio--- rising cost of fuel, the food crisis, government inefficiency, etc. Not really a good way to start the day. You're just about to embark on your daily grind but you're already weighed down by the country's woes. But what can you do? That's the reality we have to face.
Well, for starters, we can do what the song says---say a little prayer. The moment you wake up. As you put on your make up. Say a little prayer. Not just for yourself, but more so for your country.
I was listening to one of my favorite programs on radio, that of two very smart and witty commentators who never fail to make me smile with their wisecracks but compel one to deep thought with their sharp commentaries especially on governance and government.
They interviewed a cabinet secretary who is quite visible nowadays, owing to the current issues that the country is facing. They talked about the food crisis, and what the cabinet secretary intends to do about the problem. The interview was a long distance interview, since the secretary was abroad attending a conference.
After discussing the food crisis, the two commentators asked the secretary what his reaction was to a news item that he was included in a list of possible senatorial candidates of the administration. The cabinet member replied that he was flattered but surprised since he did not have it in mind to run for senator and would rather focus on his present job.
Of course, it was a standard politically correct response. But I doubt if everybody believed it. Within political circles, your name is included in a list of potential candidates only if you sound off your intentions or you are recruited to join the group. It's never a surprise.
The point is, why not be truthful about one's intentions? I'm one who believes that being truthful about one's intentions is the start of being transparent. If someone is unable to be transparent about intentions, how can that person be trusted in his / her actions?
I believe that it shouldn't be taken against politicians if they reveal their intentions early. It gives people a chance to scrutinize those who desire to serve the public. We should disabuse ourselves from the mindset that politicians expressing their intentions deserve disdain and be shunned. It's never too early for potential candidates to reveal their intentions because it is never too early for the people to know more about those seeking their trust and support.
In my view, it is more disadvantageous for the people if those seeking an elective position to declare their intentions just before the election period begins because by then, there wouldn't be enough time for the voters to truly assess the person courting their vote. Everything will just be superficial, enhanced by marketing techniques employed in political campaigns. It will then be all about packaging, promotions, and hype.
With the 2010 elections just two years away, the people should not wait for the last minute before attending to election concerns. Although it is a common trait for Filipinos to wait until the last moment before taking action, the selection of leaders should not be done in such a whimsical manner. That's how we got into the mess we're in now.
If we want a future that we can truly say is an improvement from the past and the present, then we should not set aside for later what we can do now. The time is right for us to know those who intend to join public service and use the period between now and 2010 to scrutinize, evaluate, and select those who deserve to be given the opportunity to serve the people.