Leaders Our Nation Needs
From an article printed in the Philippine Daily Inquirer
29 January 2007

When God decided to build a nation for His people, He didn’t call upon them as a whole. Instead, He called on one person – Abraham – and made him the leader to do the job. When God wanted to deliver his people from the bondage of slavery in Egypt, He didn’t talk to the people as a whole. Instead, He raised one leader – Moses – to do it. When He wanted His people to cross the wilderness on to the Promised Land — God appointed Joshua.

In the Bible, each time God wanted to do something great, He always called on one person – one whom He molded to become a leader — to do the task. But today, God no longer speaks directly to man the way He did during the times of the Old Testament. Today, God speaks to us indirectly – through signs and subtle messages He sends our way.

Today, leaders are elected by the people. Every election therefore becomes a call to leadership. While many run for money and power, there are those who run because they feel it is their calling to serve the people. But often, it is difficult to differentiate one candidate from another.

This brings me to the point – what should we look for in a candidate? What kind of leader does our nation need today?

Lao Tzu, a famous Chinese philosopher, said — “In choosing a leader, character is the most important quality. Intelligence and skills come second in importance.” US President Theodore Roosevelt said that “intelligence without morality is a great danger to society.”

Today, more than ever, our country needs leaders who cannot be bought; whose word is their bond; who put character above wealth; who will be honest in small things as in great things; who will make no compromises with wrong; whose ambitions are not confined to their own selfish desires. (With apologies to Charles Swindoll who penned “The World Needs Men”)

Leaders who, by their love for our country, can unite us Filipinos, wherever we may be in this archipelago or in the world, whatever our religion is.

Leaders who, by their sincerity and humility, can bring out the best in us as a people so we may discard the indifference and selfishness among our rich, the despair and lack of spirit among our poor, the greed and ambition among our leaders.

Leaders who can inspire our entire nation to work as one to do great things, including sacrifices, for the good of our nation.

Leaders who value honor, whose word is their bond, whose oath of office their commitment, who cannot be bought, who will be honest in small things and in great things.

Leaders whose love of country is greater than love for one’s self and family, and who shall be willing to march into hell so that the Filipinos may have heaven on this planet.