By Fidel V. Ramos
Former Philippine President
This Sunday’s “Sermon” was based on FVR’s brief opening remarks at the launch of his newest Volume XII titled, “Make Change Work!!!” The simple occasion at the DND Conference Room/Social Hall at Camp Aguinaldo last 17 July was greatly honored and highlighted by the presence of President Du30 who gave the main message of “welcoming FVR’s criticisms.”
In effect, FVR summarized the message of “make change work!!!” As follows: “the vision of a better future from which all nations and peoples benefit equitably – regardless of history, ideology, religion, culture, socio-economic condition, and geography – is our unceasing, ultimate aspiration.
“We must organize a caring and sharing international community, and make it a family of truly principled nations daring enough to take concerted action against the threats to humankind.
“It is toward such a better world that leaders – in their roles as ‘custodians of the nation’s ideals, values and permanent interests’ – must lead their peoples. This is the kind of governance the Philippines needs.
“We need leaders who – because of their visionary qualities and political skills – can see beyond the gloom of the moment to brighter possibilities of the future, enough to carry out painful reforms. Obviously, today’s complex and delicate world must be managed through effective governance…”
The president as juggler and skipper
Talking from experience, FVR believes that confronted with many serious concerns, President Digong is like a juggler, balancing and keeping aloft at least ten balls, which are national and universal problems.
But, as Chief Executive and Commander-In-Chief, the President must perform with greater agility and competence than the ordinary circus juggler handling hot potatoes. The leader while on a tightwire 100 meters up, catches and manages the balls in a calm, harmonious manner, and not drop any in the process.
From the perspective of our people – whose hopes for a brighter future ride on the president – the highwire represents our aspirations for a higher quality of life. Its starting point is at the turnover of the “legacy” from the outgoing to the incoming president, and the finishline is at the president’s term-end, at a higher elevation.
As skipper of our flag carrier “Pilipinas,” P.Du30 must prove his navigational skills, mental courage and psychological fortitude to steer our leaky and overloaded ship safely to the “promised land.”
Challenging, isn’t it? Of course, it is. The presidency is no place for panicky, self-centered, onion-skinned, or fragile characters.
And, they must be able to communicate, persuade and endear effectively – without falling off the highwire or drowning with a capsized vessel.
The next five years: don’t waste opportunities
In the course of time, the Philippine ship of state had been buffeted by turbulent politics and social unrest, particularly since the 1970s.
Poverty continues to be our primary problem. We need to work double time, and involve every filipino – every man, woman, and child – to solve it. We should start them young, teach them the right values while still tender and malleable. We must challenge them to rise, be strong in adversity, be different from the preceding bad examples, be good citizens of the world.
Most of all, we have to teach everyone teamwork. Filipinos cannot anymore afford to be fragmented and fractious. We need to act as and be one nation. We have to move together, in the right direction. We need to care for each other. We need to share and contribute whatever talent one has. We must dare and try all proper means to get positive results more efficiently.
From day one, the national leader must define where he/she will bring the nation and show the people how to get there. He leads by setting the right example. He leads by making the correct decisions for the betterment of the many, not the enrichment of the few.
Experience teaches us that no man/woman, be he/she the president or billionaire captain of industry, can single-handedly bring about progress. The job of nation-building requires every citizen to do his/her just share – no matter what his/her stature in life is.
President Duterte last Monday said he has the highest respect for fvr despite the former president’s criticisms against his administration.
P.DU30, during the launch of FVR’s newest book “make change work!!!,” said he and Ramos share the same love of country.
“President Fidel V. Ramos, you are my idol. You are my number one supporter, but at the same time you are now my number one critic,” P.Digong said Monday afternoon (Manila Bulletin, 18 July).
Meanwhile, P.Du30 also wished success for Ramos’ latest “Sermons” and hoped that it would enlighten the Filipino people.
“Make change work!!!”
“Make change work!!! (volume XII),” published by the Manila Bulletin, contains selected articles from Ramos’ Sunday columns in same broadsheet
“I extend my wholehearted congratulations on the successful publication of ‘make change work!!!’ In the compilation of your column in the Manila Bulletin,” P.Du30 said.
“This book is very timely, given these challenges faced by our country today. I hope this book will enlighten our countrymen/women on how to achieve genuine transformation for the betterment of our nation which is by working – by working together,” the President added.
Ramos, in his remarks, called on the public to support the president as he gave P.Du30 a t-shirt bearing the motto “follow me” of Fort Benning, the U.S. army infantry school, Columbus Georgia. Said FVR, “Follow me. Para walang maiiwan pag may combat. Pero ito, naging uso sa mga kapitan. Pinapakita namin sa mga nightclubs at bars, andaming magagandang dalaga ang sumunod sa amin, (so nobody will be left behind during combat. But this became a fad among us captains. We showed this in nightclubs and bars, many beautiful women followed us),” Ramos said when he presented the t-shirt to P. Duterte.
Ramos lightened up the crowd by joking that the president “Can Du.30” while I “can do 31.” FVR added: “I’m sure with five years to go, he can do 40, 50, 60 up to 99, almost perfect,” and asked the audience to clap with a “Palakpak” (applause) command (Philippine Star, 18 July).
On a more serious note, Ramos said the president needs support “for him to fulfill his vision for Filipinos, which is a better future for all of us.”
“The vision of a better future from which all nations and peoples benefit equitably regardless of history, ideology, religion, culture, socio-economic condition and geography is our unceasing ultimate aspiration as Filipinos,” FVR added.
The Bottomline: patriotic public service
P.DU30 cannot do it alone. Neither can the government do it alone. But when all of us strive together with one goal in mind, and abide by the same precious values and commitments – we become a strong nation, able to achieve the higher quality of life we have always yearned for – in an environment of enduring peace and sustainable development.
The piece of stone which a laborer, clerk, farmer, fisherman, soldier, policeman, housewife, businessman or professional contributes to the task of nation-building counts substantially in fortifying our nation.
Therefore, let good governance ring true for every public servant, from the head of state down to LGUs. Having been there and done it, FVR believes public servants must embrace their duties not as mere jobs, nor opportunities to grab for themselves what they wrongfully think is rightfully theirs.
Rather, we must always value public service as an expression of our unconditional love of god, country, the environment and people.
Kaya natin ito!!!
Mabuhay ang Pilipinas!!!
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