6 Filipinos on #TheLeaderIWant: Honest, empathetic, not corrupt
MANILA, Philippines – As local candidates for the midterm elections started campaigning last Friday, March 29, Rappler went around different communities to ask people about the qualities of a leader they want to elect. (READ: Local campaigns start: Duterte, ex-mayor, sets the tone for 2019 polls)
Local and national candidates showed off their best qualities, presented their platforms and some brought popular celebrities to encourage voters to support them. (READ: IN PHOTOS: Stars at the 2019 local campaign kickoff)
But what do voters look for in a candidate? We asked 6 who readily gave their answers.
When asked this question, many of them cited empathy as an important trait.
College student Miguel Louie De Guzman said that more than having a leader who knows and understands the woes of ordinary people, he said that the country needs someone who stands for and champions the plight of Filipinos.
“Kasi marami sa ating mga kandidato at opisyal, alam at nauunawaan ang pinagdadaanan natin pero do they stand with us? Kaya mahalagang nakalubog sa masa at sa pang-araw-araw na danas ang mga leaders natin dahil sa ganitong paraan lamang nila tunay na matutugunan at maipapanalo ang laban ng mga Pilipino.”
(Most of our [government] officials and candidates just know and understand what we're going through, but do they stand with us? That's why it's important that our leaders also experience the daily struggles of the masses. This is the only way they can be truly responsive and help win the fight of Filipinos.)
Meanwhile, street vendor Delio Suarez hopes for a leader who is considerate to vendors like him and who understands their struggles. Suarez tries to make ends meet with the small money he earns from selling bottled water and cigarettes to passersby and car passengers along Shaw Boulevard in Pasig City.
“Ang katangian ng isang lider, yung magpatupad ng mga batas na [ipinapatupad] nila na nasa tama. Tulad ng hanap-buhay naming ito, eh bawal 'di ba? Sana maunawaan nila kami na, eh wala naman kaming pinag-aralan na makakuha kami ng magandang trabaho. Sana maunawaan kami na payagan na lang kaming magtinda dito, sana hindi na kami hinuhuli.”
(A good characteristic of a leader is someone who makes law for the greater good. [A good leader is] one who understands vendors. I wish they’d understand us, we were not able to finish school and get a better-paying job. I wish they’d understand us and allow us to sell here. I wish they’d stop apprehending us.)
Streetfood vendor Rose Aniban, 30, shared the same sentiment. She said that a leader is someone who knows how to engage with and reach out to his constituents, and one who is not corrupt.
“Syempre 'yung mabait, 'yung madaling lapitan kung nangangailangan ka, saka 'yung hindi corrupt," said Aniban. (Of course [a good leader is] one who is kind, one whom we can easily reach out to when we need help, and one who is not corrupt.)
'Honesty still the best policy'
Contrary to what some politicians claim, honesty of a candidate is still valued for a leader. (READ: Sara Duterte: All candidates lie, honesty not an issue)
Pasig City traffic enforcer Rex San Agustin said he wants leaders who keep their word. “Kailangan kung ano sinabi nila, tuparin nila," said San Agustin.
Agustin added that he also wants a leader who will address the health care issues of the poor. "Para ‘yung mga mahihirap, matugunan ‘yung mga babayaran sa ospital,” he said. (So the poor can afford to pay their hospital bills.)
Construction painter Delio Generosa said he wants a leader who will address employment issues, especially for manual laborers like him. More importantly, he would like to see genuine kindness in a leader – one who can identify with his constituents.
More than being honest, pro-people and law-abiding, Filipinos also look for a faithful and God-fearing leader.
Fr Glenn Andrei Baes, OSJ said that he wants a leader who is God-fearing, with a good conscience and is prudent both in words and actions. He also said that a leader must stand for himself and fulfill all the promises he made and not just do what is convenient for him.
What about you? What kind of leader would you vote for? – with reports from Isabel Lupac, Maria Gabriela Aquino and Sofia Virtudes/Rappler.com