Lead Like Jesse

By RJ Barrete

Kaya Natin! is a non-partisan movement composed of Filipinos from various sectors of the Philippine society that aspire to espouse effective, ethical and empowering (3Es) leadership in the country. The organization strongly believes that our leaders should possess these three qualities in order to render true public service.

Recently, Kaya Natin Movement for Good Governance and Ethical Leadership together with Jesse Robredo Foundation and the Ateneo School of Government coordinated to come up with a youth leadership training that highlights and stresses the “Tsinelas Leadership” of the late DILG Sec. Jesse Robredo.

The three day training program promotes and elevates good governance and ethical leadership in the country especially among the youth. The training was participated by 40 college students and young leaders in the country. It assists young Filipinos to support leaders who lead like Jesse.

During the first day of the program, Dr. Penny Bundoc, sister of the late Sec. Robredo and founder of Jesse M. Robredo Foundation opened the program by introducing who Jesse Robredo is as a brother and a leader.

“You don’t need recognition. It will come whether you like it or not.” This is one thing she realized on the leadership of his brother. He doesn’t care if people recognize his efforts because in the end people will know the truth. As participant, I care to listen, this should be one of the characteristics that our present leaders must do and give importance about; that giving services to their constituents is never about receiving any recognition because in the first place, the time we elect these people in power, they have inherited the responsibility and accountability to their people and that is to provide the basic services. Thus, people are being empowered.

Furthermore, Dr. Nene Guevarra of Synergia Foundation and former Department of Finance Undersecretary laid down the characteristics of a good leader. According to her, a leader gives meaning to the word empowerment, and empowerment could only realize when leaders provide opportunities for Filipinos. Exactly I say, the only way we empower our people is when they get higher chances to stabilize their socio-economic mobility because when we do so, we both encourage our people to be relevant citizens of our country and contributors for the nation’s growth and development.

“You don’t need to be exact replica of my father. You need to be who you are as a leader.” says Tricia Robredo, daughter of Jesse Robredo. This is where my belief is coming from, that we have our own leadership qualities, we just need to live with it and make it a habit.

The time I applied for the program, I know the training was about Jesse Robredo; I know him as the DILG Secretary, former Mayor of Naga City, and the father of good governance but more than these general labels I know nothing about his life. But as the training progressed, I have a simple realization yet too hard for some to be committed with, and that is to be a good public servant. They say, youth nowadays are apathetic, leaders are notably corrupt and society is hopeless. I say no, the mere existence and contributions of Jesse Robredo strongly denies these assumptions, the fact that young leaders all over the country converged to know about good governance and ethical leadership, and brings them into actions gives hope for this nation.

The greatest avenue for us to break these stereotyped assumptions is to practice a participative democracy and exercise citizen engagement among ourselves. It is reasonable to question our government about its performance, it is even recommendable that we complain and express our opinion on different issues that concern us, but we must go beyond that. “You will only learn leadership through actual experience and practice.” says Harvey Keh KN Movement Lead Convenor and one of the Ten Outstanding Young Men of the Philippines (TOYM) for 2010.

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Lead Like Jesse Participants

In the last day of the program the participants did present their own projects to the panels, proposals were centered on good governance, youth empowerment and community-based activities. It was easy for young individuals to come up with various activities because of the great sense of idealism within us, but the challenge imposed now is “Are we willing to do it?” This question is the key for someone’s commitment for nation-building.

“Idealism must come with practicality.” says Jim Paredes, artist and member of the KN Movement Board of Trustees. No leader succeeds if he has no passion. There are times as a leader we may be suppressed by the kind of environment and corrupt system around us, but we must take a stand over what we think is morally upright because when we fail to resist, it is parallel to saying our society is dead and hopeless. He also stressed that a true leader invites its people to embrace the harsh reality and inspires them to do something about it.

As young leaders, we always want to change the crippled political system of this country, try to modify the cultural mindset of our people for positive change, and make an impact on others’ lives. These are verbally easy to claim but it takes true commitment to make them happen. Leadership is a choice but practicing good leadership is a challenge.

One thing I want to tell my fellow youth, continue to inspire people, and make your ideals into action. Another message to our leaders, before we recognize your leadership, make sure that you are practicing it with genuinity and passion.

As concluding activity of the program, the participants pledged for anti-vote buying to assure vigilance this coming May 13 National and Local Elections.

Youth, start now and be that change! Be proactive not passive.

Follow me on Twitter: @rjamesbarrete

 

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