In the 2010 elections, I found it heartwarming to know that most of my friends and relatives were studying candidates’ background and platforms before supporting a candidate. My own children made me realize that choosing the lesser evil is not the criteria for 2010.
Just like the selection process when choosing a spouse – or for that matter, a presidential candidate, is that candidate THE ONE?
Here in Blog Watch, we invite the presidential candidates to discuss with us their vision for 2016 (Please read disclosure below). We want the candidates to know that “he/she is being evaluated on a whole range of issues, a process based on merit” and not just based on a emotional reaction.
There are many ways of stating the criteria for the 2016 elections but I chose to express it in simple words- character, competence, and clear platforms.
Coherent Platform- check their platforms if it is clear enough to get us from Point A to B. It is not just motherhood statements.
Character- humility, moral clarity, integrity, decency, transparency, consistency.
Competency- intelligence, practicality, energy, decisiveness, a willingness to work hard, leadership, good ideas, track record.
Clear Vision – a clear idea of what vision and strategic agenda are needed to transform our country.
Let’s take each criteria separately.
1. A coherent platform is a road map
Manolo Quezon observes that there’s “been a healthy interest in political platforms this time around, much more so than in 2004.” However, he thinks that there is confusion on what a platform is or supposed to contain because it means putting the cart before the horse, “as a party or coalition standing for election cannot plan without knowing what its numbers—and therefore, what is realistic—will be after the elections.”
BongV begs to disagree.“It is an opportunity to weed out the undesirables. Demanding a program, a platform, a baseline – something achievable within their term on which the candidate – his party, his backers, and his bankrollers can be held accountable for.” It is not rocket science. BenK says that “It does not even have to be a 100-page document. It just needs to have specific positions that imply achievable initiatives that potentially lead measurable results.”
A platform is defined as a statement on an issue of governance, which has three recognisable parts: issue-position-rationale. It must be pointed out that platforms are not motherhood statements, a “feel good” platitude about a worthy concept that few of us would disagree with but without any specified plans for realization. Benigno stresses that “if here was only one thing that a politician can do to make a convincing claim that he/she means business, it should be in a demonstrated capability to articulate a coherent platform or roadmap for change for our sad nation.”
2. Character is crucial but is it all about integrity or honesty?
BongV asks: Is integrity the correct issue? “The issue of integrity was seen as a central issue in the 2010 election because it was perceived to be an answer to the Aquino campaign’s central theme – corruption. In the 2010 campaign, integrity was being pitched by Noynoy supporters, which BongV clarifies with some questions:
- Is integrity the correct issue?
- Is integrity the only vital issue?
- Does Noynoy have a monopoly of Integrity?
- Does Noynoy actually have integrity? How was he proven reliable? To whom will he be more trustworthy – the oligarchs or the masses?
There is more to integrity in a candidate’s character. Integrity is defined as “the quality of having high moral principles, being reliable and trustworthy.” Character is associated closely with competence.
3. Competence equated with good governance and track record.
I was once guilty of saying anyone but Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (GMA), please when I discussed the candidates with my daughters.
Fear of Binay, another Marcos, another Erap, or GMA should not be the driving force in choosing our candidate. A campaign line that uses bad governance as another central issue and then not to provide any concrete detail about (1) any proposed solution to it and (2) a description of proposed steps to apply said solution just highlights further the insult to the electorate.
Good governance based on the definition of World Bank is as follow:
- Ensure political transparency and voice for all citizens,
- Provide efficient and effective public services,
- Promote the health and well-being of its citizens, and
- Create a favorable climate for stable economic growth.
These four items are considered key drivers or components that make up good governance which is integral in the competence of a leader. Track record and leadership abilities are all factors to consider in the competency of a presidential candidate.
4. Clear Vision is a clear idea of what vision and strategic agenda in carrying out the platforms to transform our country .
It is pretty clear that my criteria of coherent platforms, clear vision, character, and competence in choosing the candidates for the 2016 elections are not mutually exclusive. One cannot just choose based on character alone. These criteria are not limited to presidential candidates but to all those running in the 2016 Philippine elections.
Just because a candidate is politically opposed to President Aquino or Vice President Binay does not mean he/she is the better candidate who is efficient and effective and able to spur the economy. I cannot stress it enough that one needs to scrutinize the candidates.
A candidate who does not provide you with the facts which allow you to make a rational informed decision does not deserve your attention at all.
A lot of you are very eager to volunteer for voter education organizations by watching the election process, scrutinizing the candidate’s platforms and inviting your community to vote wisely by using the voting criteria . After we vote for our leaders, we want them to be accountable and hold them to their promises. It is important to continue watching them.
The present times call for a tough administrator, statesman and economic leader. We need change — economic , moral, social, environmental — like a parched land needs rainfall.
Photo by Brian Ong. Some Rights Reserved
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