POSTSCRIPT / July 24, 2011 / Sunday


Philippine STAR Columnist

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True state of nation is in every Pinoy’s gut

COMPARE: When Malacañang gives media early copies of the President’s State of the Nation Address, we are invariably advised to check the text against the delivery.

Of course. We should always check the President’s SONA claims against the actual delivery — delivery of the goods and services that an army of researchers and writers had hurriedly collated and inserted into his address.

But the true State of the Nation is not what the President says it is, nor what the political opposition claims.Rather, it is the sum of what Filipinos feel in their gut here and now.

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MICROVIEW: Perception is personal. Government statistics and politicians’ claims are swept away as rubbish when they do not jibe with the abject reality being experienced by the person plied with propaganda.

The macroview of the economy through the eyes of a sitting politician becomes irrelevant, sometimes even insulting, when it does not conform to the microview of the individual.

As we keep telling cadet reporters, we should give more weight not to what a politician says or promises to do but to what he actually does. Check his words against delivery.

Whatever President Noynoy Aquino says tomorrow in his SONA before the Congress and the Nation should be checked against reality.

(To start the comparison, check it against Manong Ernie Maceda’s down-to-earth State of the Nation bullet-style summary fired off in his Star column yesterday.)

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CREDIBILITY: How do you talk of having created a million-plus jobs to those still looking even just for a“pantawid”  kind of temporary work, and to the horde lining up for hours to secure an NBI clearance without which they cannot land a job?

How do you talk of having doled out a whopping P2 billion to the poor when more numerous indigents have not seen a centavo of it? What do we do with the recipients who have assumed that mendicant palm-out position to await the next handout?

How do you talk of rice self-sufficiency in 2013 to those who see tons of rice rotting in NFA bodegas and are haunted by the continued rise in the price of the cereal?

How do you talk of improved peace and order to those whose loved ones had vanished in the night after military-types hauled them off? What do we tell the families and colleagues of journalists who had been gunned down for giving voice to a muted public?

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LEADERSHIP: Somebody suggested on Twitter that aside from the SONA and the opposition’s counter-SONA, there should be also an honest report on the State of the Presidency.

That will be a tough job. Maybe the least we can do at the moment is to draw lessons from these timely lines from the book “Leadership Quotes” compiled by Mac Anderson:

Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality. — Warren G. Bennis

Management is doing things right. Leadership is doing the right things. — Peter Drucker

One of the true tests of leadership is the ability to recognize a problem before it becomes an emergency. — Arnold H. Glasgow

Not everything that is faced can be changed. But nothing can be changed until it is faced. — James Baldwin

If you want to know why your people are not performing well, step up to the mirror and take a peek. — Ken Blanchard

The first responsibility of a leader is to define reality, the last is to say “Thank you.” In between the two, the leaders must become a servant. — Max De Pree

They don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. — Theodore Roosevelt

The greatest management principle in the world is: the things that get rewarded and appreciated get done. — Michael LeBoeuf

Excellence is… caring more than others think is wise;
Risking more than others think is safe;
Dreaming more than others think is practical.
Expecting more than others think is possible.
Winston Churchill

You get the best efforts from others not by lighting a fire beneath them, but by building a fire within. — Bob Nelson

Quality is never an accident: It is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, intelligent direction and skillful execution. It represents the wise choice of many alternatives. — William A. Foster

Values are critical guides for making decisions. When in doubt, they cut through the fog like a beacon in the night. — Robert Townsend

A leader’s job is to look into the future and see the organization not as it is, but as it should be. —Jack Welch

Giving people a little more than they expect is a good way to get back a lot more than you’d expect. — Robert Half

The most important persuasion tool you have in your entire arsenal is integrity. — Zig Ziglar

To lead the people, walk behind them.Lao Tzu

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EDSA MESS: From another vantage, we can see the true State of the Nation in the state of traffic on Epifanio de los Santos Ave.

If you venture into EDSA and come out without a scratch and without having burned a fuse evading trucks, buses and other demons darting into your lane, you should offer a thanksgiving mass.

Which agency is responsible for straightening out the mess? Is it the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority, the Department of Transportation, the Department Public Works and Highways, or the local governments whose areas EDSA traverses, or all of them plus some other authorities?

To me, the acid test of Transportation Secretary Mar Roxas is bringing order and sanity to EDSA. If he can do that job, that makes him my best bet for president in 2015. If he cannot, he better quit this early.

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(First published in the Philippine STAR of July 24, 2011)

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