Wednesday, August 20, 2008

A time to ask questions?

We are all Filipinos and we love our country. But there are questions we now must answer…

Why do we all want our country clean, tidy and flood-free then we throw our trash just about everywhere we go? Why do all our drivers complain of heavy traffic and then we cut lines and not follow rules? Why do we lament graft and corruption when we ourselves prefer to bribe our way than pay our dues? Why do we lambast the failing quality of education while we let our kids watch even meaningless supposed real-life reality shows?

Why do we all talk about how bad our country has become and then turn a blind eye on those little children begging or sniffing rugby on the streets? Why do our doctors let our public hospitals rot while our poor countrymen die even from avoidable diseases? Why do our best lawyers and politicians argue just about everything while we all let injustice prevail? And why do our businessmen feel sad about our economy, when we all rather bring our money abroad?

How can we feel proud of our own honesty when we all fall in line to praise our leaders who cheat? How can we all sleep so well on a rainy night when we all know children and old people under that dingy little bridge could die? Where are the graduates of our prestigious schools, Ateneo, La Salle and UP? Are you leading our country the way you should? Where are the religious of our churches, are you showing us the way or are you too busy arguing with one another?

We say we are a country of the bests, of Manny Pacquiao and Leah Salonga. We are the country of heroes, of Ninoy, Rizal and Bonifacio. We are the world’s best debaters and the best teachers, the best nurses and caregivers. But where are our mothers? Who are they caring for? Why do we push them out our country, call them heroes, while our children are left astray?

Perhaps, it is time to stop asking questions. Now is the time to act.

Friday, July 18, 2008

More on LeadIndia

In a nutshell, this is what happened in India and how it can apply in the Philippines...

Here is what they did in India:
One day, without other announcements, the Times of India (India's leading English newspaper) had a full frontpage ad on their own newspaper about Lead India wherein they ask readers a lot of questions affecting their country. Later, there were other full front age ads on the same paper extolling the need for new breed of leaders and asking people to join the search for leaders. Still later, there were TV and internet ads echoing the same call.

It was said that thousands of people heed the call to do something and applied to be considered as future leader. The organizers then screened the candidates, poured over their resumes, assessed their backgrounds, etc. like job applicants until fewer applicants are left. Then they expose all remaining candidates in public and asked them all sorts of questions until there are still fewer candidates left in the finals.

Then, the finalist are brought everywhere, much like real candidates conducting town-hall meetings, answering the people's questions etc. They also debated on issues and tackled all of India's concerns, presenting solutions and their ideas on each of the issues. In the end, the people sent in their choice through SMS or text messaging, until the final winner is chosen. Today, everyone in India agrees that the winners, and even all the finalists are worthy future leaders. Some even suggest that the winner could be the next Indian Prime Minister!

How leaders are selected in the Philippines:
Meanwhile, back in our country, we hold regular elections for President and senators, etc. However, everyone thinks that everybody cheats and questions everyone that won the elections. Indeed, we believe that all politicians cheat the elections. Meanwhile, those who do not cheat will surely lose:

1. At the start, politicians cheat in the campaign.
Even before the campaign period, we see posters and advertisements by politicians, clearly violating the prohibition of early campaigning. Also, mass media, both radio and TV conduct questionable interviews on those winnable candidates while completely ignoring those capable and honest yet unknown leaders. Also, good candidates do not figure in surveys. Surveys are easily manipulated by not including the names of the worthy candidates. Of course, surveys are released for the benefit only of those who commissioned them.

2. In the end, politicians cheat in the counting of the votes.
Upon elections, there are many ways politicians cheat. We hear stories of vote shaving (dagdag-bawas), as well as more votes than voters. The huge turnout of voters in the counting is often questionable. If you are cheated in the counting, you can protest which is useless because often, the results of the protest will finish after the next election!

Here is what could happen if we copy the Lead India concept here in RP:
With this concept, anybody can join the contest and given free publicity. But those who are incapable will be exposed because they have to answer real interviews and engage in real debates. All fakes will be exposed while those with great ideas will be given national recognition.

In the end, the people (millions of us) will have the chance to choose directly the best from the best (the finalists). All the Pinoys, armed with a cellphone, can easily text in their choice. The winner will then be conceived as a real winner which mass media cannot ignore. No amount of manipulated surveys can disregard the selected leaders.

Expectedly, the winners will join the elections. If they are cheated in the elections, then the people would be stirred to act. Cheaters will therefore have a harder time to cheat.

I feel so excited.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Lead India

I found this video in YouTube. It is a very unique idea wherein India searched for a leader much like a reality show. In the end, all of India voted for a most likely future prime minister by SMS or text voting, much like what the audience do in American Idol!

I think the idea may be applied in the Philippines. We are known to be one of the world's biggest user of text messaging. Perhaps we can put this distinction into good use in search for a good leader? Who knows, this could prove to be another way of people power through texting!