By Dr. Jun Ynares, M.D.
“Isn’t it strange that the President’s approval and trust ratings have risen despite the conflicts going on in some parts of the country?”
A couple of colleagues in the local government sector expressed that view to me a few days back. That was when media reported that the President’s approval rating had gone up to 82 percent and his trust rating to 81 percent.
“I find that admirable rather than strange” has been my reply to that kind of observation. Based on what political analysts have recently said, it rarely happens that a sitting President can keep his trust and approval ratings at the “excellent” levels amid major controversies and conflicts. The President has achieved a major feat and, in our view, this is good for the country today.
Experts in the field of analysis of survey statistics are quick to point out that the President’s most recent ratings reflect a massive public appreciation of two things: the way he is doing his job (approval) and the kind of person that he is (trust).
This appears to have baffled a number of the President’s critics. The question is, how can the country’s Chief Executive earn such ratings when – as they allege – many of his key election promises are yet to be fulfilled? Clearly, the ratings are not justified by his performance, they add.
Our view is that the survey ratings were not intended by the respondents to grade the President’s performance nor the delivery of quick results.
Rather, they are a reflection of the quality of their collective Hope. The level of trust they have in the way the President is doing his job and in the kind of person are key factors that define the level of confidence that people have in the future. That impressive level of hope means that many of our countrymen remain optimistic that the life they aspire for continues to stand a good chance of becoming a reality.
In many ways, leadership and governance are about inspiring Hope.
Hope is what sustains the collaborative relationship between the leader and the governed. Hope is their shared trust in the power of collaboration. The Hope shown and displayed by the governed is what, in turn, inspires the leader to look for ways and for the means with which to transform a community’s dreams into reality.
Others say that the leader’s performance track record is the basis of Hope on the part of the governed. The other view is that the state of the community’s Hope is what fuels the leader’s drive to perform and exceed community expectations.
Many of our colleagues and friends who are non-fans of the President believe that the State of the Nation’s Hope as reflected in his ratings is good for the country. We share this view. When the nation holds on to Hope in the face of major conflicts and controversies, we know that the country can weather the storm and emerge from it stronger.
Tomorrow, the 24th of July, the President will deliver his second State of the Nation Address (SONA). He will be doing so as our soldiers continue to push back terrorist elements in Marawi City, and as leftist armed groups intensify operations against the government’s military units. He will present himself to the nation as sort of a “war time” President.
Our elders would recall three Philippine “war time” presidents – Manuel Luis Quezon, Sergio Osmeña Sr., and Jose P. Laurel.
They have described these three leaders to us personifications of “statesmen” and as Filipinos who put country above self. They shared one single mission: To keep the State of the Nation’s Hope solid and intact as war raged in our land.
They led the country during times when violence and the imminence of death ruled our land. Their leadership ensured that Filipinos would hold on to the hope that the time of turbulence would be over soon, and that they could rebuild both land and lives in due time.
Our fellow Filipinos in many parts of our country need to be able to hold on to the same kind of hope today.
So, as the President steps to the podium tomorrow to deliver his address, we join the rest of the nation in wishing him well.
He shall be in our prayers today. May his words and presence in the joint session of Congress tomorrow sustain the strong State of the Nation’s Hope until the Sun of Peace shines on the conflict-ridden areas of our land.
God bless our country.
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