GOOD Leadership, GOOD Citizenship

GOOD Leadership, GOOD Citizenship
Extract from a speech at Siliman University
12 November 2008

There are two essential ingredients in the solution to our country’s problems, based on history. The first is Good Leadership.

If we look at history, practically every country in the world that has attained progress and prosperity was able to do so only by virtue of righteous or good leadership. In fact, to my knowledge, there is no country in history that was able to achieve high levels of progress and prosperity by any other mode of leadership.

If we look at the Bible, it speaks of righteous leadership from cover to cover. It is full of stories of leaders who, by virtue of righteous leadership, brought prosperity and greatness to their peoples during their generation.

This only means that if we also want our country to progress and to prosper, then we as a people must learn from the lessons of other nations. We as a people must demand good leadership from our leaders. And during elections, we as a people must do our best to elect good leaders to public office.

Rick Warren – author of The Purpose-Driven Life, the third most published book in the world today (third only to the Bible and the Harry Potter books) – said: “The root cause of all the major problems in every country in the world today is corrupt leadership. It is the root cause of poverty, hunger, injustice, immorality and illiteracy.” According to him, the only answer to that is righteous leadership, one which is based on genuine love of the people being served.

The second essential ingredient is Good Citizenship. World history has powerful lessons to teach us in this area. There is a clear pattern in history showing that in practically all the developed countries in the world today – before they attained their level of progress and prosperity – the people in each of these countries first learned to become responsible or good citizens. Thus, before Japan became the most prosperous country in Asia, the Japanese as a people first had to learn to become good citizens. At least a great many of them, including those in the business and professional sectors, strived hard to be diligent and responsible. Before America attained its prosperity, the leaders and citizens of America first had to learn the value of responsible citizenship. We see this same pattern in the history of the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Australia and most developed countries in the world.

Clearly, history is showing us a formula to progress and prosperity. History is showing us that responsible or good citizenship is one path to development. It is not enough that we choose to stay in our country. We must also be doers of good things for our country. It is not enough that you are a citizen — you must also strive to be a good citizen, one who is productive and responsible.

There is a saying that goes – “If you want to know a man, visit him at his home.”

It is my belief that the Filipino, in general, will not truly become world-class in the eyes of the world, if his home – his country – does not become world class. Yes, there will be individual Filipinos who, by their own talent and merit, will achieve great things and reap honors for themselves and for our country. But these achievements will remain at the level of the individual. They will be seen as more of an exception than the rule, the lucky few among the many.

All this means only one thing for all of us – that while we aspire for greatness in our profession or business endeavors, we must also aspire to become great patriots of our country. While we love ourselves and our families, we should also love this land God gave to all of us as a people. While we aspire for a world-class status for our personal talent and merit, we should never leave behind our country. We must simultaneously aspire for a world-class status for the home of our race.