“MAP Insights” Column in BUSINESSWORLD – 1 December 2009
by Mr. Augusto L. de Leon
This is the title of a recently released book authored by Lee Iacocca, former President of Ford. He
asks, where are the people who are fed up with what is happening to the country? Where is the outrage?
People cannot be patriots if there is no outrage from them, when leaders go their merry ways without true
concern for the people. What he laments in the United States is so also true in the Philippines.
Speaking out loud is a patriotic duty, he says. Do not trust politicians who serve self interest when
they should be serving the best interest of the people. Keep on asking questions and demanding answers. For
us, the big question is: WHY ARE WE BEING LEFT BEHIND by our neighbors? Why is it that to be able
to live, we have to leave our families and work in other countries? If the economy is doing great as our
leaders claim, why are the poverty and hunger increasing among the population? Why are we having to
survive by means of borrowing and increasing our debts? Ask ask, and demand answers.
Elections are coming and Lee Iacocca suggests nine C's of Leadership to screen the candidate who
will run the country.
Curiosity – A good leader knows how to listen to people outside the 'inner circle'. He reads and
learns from others from his readings. Having traveled so much in the world, he should already have
many ideas of what can be applied to enhance the development of our country.
Creative – He is willing to try something different and think outside the box. A leadership quality
sorely needed in shaping our economic policies that have consistently failed in the last century.
Change – He has to manage change. In the Philippines, he should be able to move away from the
economic policy influence of vested interest and manage the transition towards policies that can
change the social and economic structure of the population.
Communication – It starts with telling the truth even if it is painful. Here, sincerity should replace
public relations’ 'speak'.
Character – He has to know the difference between right and wrong to have the guts to do the right
thing. Leaders can be tested how they regard MONEY and their passion for justice among the underprivileged.
Courage – Can he choose to be right at the cost of losing votes and popularity?
Conviction – Does he have the passion to truly make the change that will alter the trajectory of the
future for the Filipinos?
Charisma- Indeed, one needs charisma to be elected but to succeed as a leader, he also must have the
mental capacity to provide substance to his leadership.
Competence - “He got to know what he is doing, and he got to surround himself with people who
know what they are doing. …” I must add that he has to surround himself not only with
knowledgeable people but also with morally upright people. Our leader has to be a problem solver as
we are beset with many problems. At the same time, we need leaders who apply common sense
rather than theoretical solutions adopted from well developed countries.
Leaders are made and not born. Leadership is forged in times of crisis. One aspiring for leadership
that has not been tested by time offers great risk to those he governs. Leaders have to be judged by their past
actions as public servants, in their private and personal lives. In the Philippines, we do not only elect the
candidate, we also elect the spouse as the past has shown us that in our culture, the spouse gains power
together with the elected leader.
The recent flood in the country was truly an opportunity to test the leadership of many in position of
leadership. Who were the formal leaders elected and appointed who failed to plan such that their failure
brought so much misery among so many? Who were the formal leaders elected and appointed on the ground
solving problems? To our great surprise, we did discover that among the Filipino people, there are many who
can qualify to be our future leaders. These are the people who volunteered and performed magnificently
under crisis condition.
In our South Triangle Barangay in Quezon City, we can be proud of our young Barangay Captain
and his team of Kagawad’s, mostly coming from the informal settlers of the community. I must cite the name
of the Barangay Captain, Larry Handayan, as if he is typical of the youth who can be one of our future
national leaders we have hoped. With the leadership he has shown, and if those have been disadvantaged by
the present society are able to raise above themselves to perform so well under crisis, we have hope for the
next generation.
A few words on what they did during the floods. All of them were on the road. Each one attending to
his designated task. They took pictures of the floods to document the destruction. Got the river of Mother
Ignacia in U tube to gain support for the reconstruction. Quick garbage collection. Barangay emergency
service, Barangay mini fire equipment for washing away the mad to prevent Lepto disease.
A dialogue of all affected citizens, the barangay, the government officials was called soon after the
condition stabilized. The cause of the flood was identified and suggestions were gathered from the
participants. Public Works, the City government participated. But what turned out was that the Flood Control
has been taken over by the Metro Manila Development Authority and while invited, they did not bother to
send a representative to the dialogue.
In a nutshell, the problems were identified as follows. The flood control projects undertaken started
with the high elevation areas, instead of improving the exit drainage to the lower elevation and creeks’ water
ways. While the potential problems were anticipated, those in authority did not do anything because they
adopted a paradigm that there must be “a total systems solution” and there was still no budget. Forgetting
that even with a small budget, much of the destruction could have been avoided by giving priority to
something like 100 to 200 meters of culvert to provide flood water exits where it did no much damage.
Given the situation where those who could help solve the flood problem did not care to participate,
the Barangay Captain took note of the suggestions offered to bring the problem to the authorities and
proceeded to direct the meeting so that with the participation of the Kagawad’s, many other issues were
addressed including taking action to prevent dengue.
(This article reflects the personal opinion of the author and does not reflect the official stand of the Management
Association of the Philippines. The author is Principal Consultant of De Leon Consulting. Feedback at For previous articles, please visit <>.)
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