I’m slowly compiling my own list of candidates for the next local and national elections, and it’s a huge undertaking since the struggle is real.

I don’t remember ever neglecting to exercise my right to vote under the Constitution. There have been election seasons when I wished I didn’t have to vote, but I’ve always realized that showing up to the polls gives me a voice in matters that affect not just me but also others around me.

It’s a fundamental civic responsibility that many people would like to avoid because they feel their efforts would be in vain, but it’s essential that all voices be heard on election day. Whether it is a city or provincial election that will impact your neighborhood or a national election that may alter the country’s path, it is important to go out and vote come May 2022.

We will make these choices separately, cognizant of the fact that there will be no consensus. Politics is a matter of personal choice; each individual has one. However, I think that we will all vote with the same goal in mind: to make sound judgments and elect competent leaders.

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That said, now is the time to start thinking about the issues that are important to you so that you can create your own list of candidates to vote for. Who do you believe best embodies the definition of government leadership, and what qualifies candidates to lead our country?

I’ve created a brief (random) list of characteristics I’d want to see in the leaders I’d pick, along with my thoughts on why. It is entirely up to you whether you agree or disagree.

This list is anything but exhaustive. Other characteristics may be added, but if you’re searching for superheroes, get out of bed.

Or baka ako din should get out of bed.

The candidates that would get my votes (mahaba-haba ang listahan) would have to be those who are honest, practices self-awareness, putting people first ahead of themselves, walks the talk (talks the walk), actively listens to the voice of the people (communicates effectively too), and takes accountability.

  • His/her leadership concept should include HONESTY (or sincerity). The oldest universal truth is “honesty is the best policy”, and its endurance attests to its wisdom. When it comes to being free of deception and untruthfulness, we don’t need leaders who are continually changing their positions on matters that concern us. When it comes to selecting those to whom we will entrust the authority to represent us in government, honesty should never be compromised.

    Kung hindi sila honest, wala silang karapatan na iboto bilang representative natin.

  • You’ve probably learned that SELF-AWARENESS is a valuable leadership quality. This does not need elaboration, yet it is critical in the selection of our future leaders. Self-awareness implies that they are aware of how their actions affect the people they lead. Before putting them on your list, examine if they have the ability to reflect on how their traits manifest and influence the government’s goals for the people.

    ‘Yong iba, kulang na kulang nito. May alam akong kakandidato, ngunit wala sa kanya ang self-awareness. Scratch na siya agad sa listahan ko.

  • If we’re talking about self-preservation, if we’re thinking about preventing burnout or avoiding the negative effects of the difficulties we’re experiencing, putting self-interest ahead of other people isn’t a terrible thing. However, if you’ve chosen to pursue a career in leadership, be careful to learn how to PUT PEOPLE FIRST AHEAD OF YOURSELF in order to avoid entering the SELFISH territory. Even if they offer you the stars in the sky, candidates who are self-serving should be excluded from your list.

    Ganito dapat ang mindset ng mga pulitiko pagdating sa pamamahala ng gobyerno. Dapat alam nila na ang pagsisilbihan nila ay mga mamamayan at hindi ang sarili nila.

  • Those who WALK THE TALK and TALK THE WALK should be our future leaders. During election season, many politicians often say the sweetest things and make the most beautiful promises, only to fall short of delivering on them. You’d vote for them straight now if you were dumb enough to readily believe their slogans. That’s a red flag you must not let influence your choices. Check to see whether anyone you choose is capable of putting their words into action and supporting them all the way until their term ends.

    Kung nakikita mo nga na binobola ka na ng dyowa mo sa mga matatamis niyang pananalita, sa mga pulitiko hindi mo makita?

  • The routine of those who peddle the most influence to the leaders is obscuring ACTIVE LISTENING to the voice of the people. This trait is a skill, and leaders must be disciplined enough to become better listeners. Why is this important? Examine if the candidate you want to vote for is capable of actively listening before enacting policies that are one-sided and have more bad than good outcomes for the people.

    Nakakainis kapag kulang sa konsultasyon. Kung nagsagawa naman ng konsultasyon, ang resulta ay naiba sa kagustuhan ng marami.

  • On our list should be leaders who are capable of exercising a high degree of TAKING ACCOUNTABILITY. We need leaders who are willing to accept accountability for their actions and respectable enough to bear the repercussions of their judgments, ventures, and choices. Remember, this fosters trust and respect, as well as modeling responsible conduct.

    Random itong listahan ng qualities ng mga iboboto ko, pero itong huli na ito, wala pa akong nakita na government official sa Pilipinas na nagtataglay nito. Sa ibang bansa, nagre-resign o di kaya ay nakukulong.

Because not all of these qualities are present in the candidates who will eventually emerge before us, I’d be satisfied if the majority of them will have three or four each.

Jackpot na ‘yon.

The only issue is if they fail to cross the finish line on election day since many, many voters still lack common sense when electing candidates.

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has been with Palawan News since January 2019. She is its managing editor, overseeing and coordinating day-to-day editorial activities. Her writing interests are politics and governance, health, defense, investigative journalism, civic journalism, and the environment.