Dearest Mr. Aquino,
As a legitimate citizen of this country and as a student of Sir. Benj Barretto, there are six things I know to be true:
(i). Good governance is a product of the power of the people relayed to sovereign authority for the public good or value.
Long story short, we are called to be public servants. Because we are in need of a clean and good government to lead us into a better nation, the people of the Philippines have decided to transform their rights into specific people of the government in hopes that these people will share the burden of the responsibility in doing good governance. That means you and your minions, Mr. President. We are counting on YOU. A good governance composes of several things: an effective and efficient leadership towards the alleviation of poverty, which is the problem of the Philippines. It contains transparency and accountability of leaders towards transferability and sustainability of the government. Now I’m not saying that you’re not exactly doing it but there are several names in the government in power that are known to abuse their power and be corrupt to the point that they are not practicing good governance anymore. A good government heavily relies on its leaders and that is something we are lacking: good and responsible leaders who are indeed for the cause of the public good instead of merely themselves. There is a strong need to implement this point across all borders of the government and remove those corrupt officials to be replaced by those who work for the people. Remember that we were the givers of your power. Use it appropriately. Don’t be afraid to do what you’re tasked to do, even if it means discharging some people along the way.
(ii). The state is a parent or guardian of the country.
This means you have to watch out for us as if we were your own children. Like any good parent who just wants what’s best for their children, you must do the same. This means that we, the public and the citizens of this country, are your top priorities. Not your undercover line of work, your career, your reputation, and certainly not the numbers of your income. Your main concern and responsibility is the people. Make sure your children are doing good, are happy, and are moving towards bright futures. At the same time, favoritism is not a good trait. A parent loves all his or her kids the same and this means that you cannot just focus on bettering the lives of only a few parts of the country and forgetting the rest. Reach out to everybody. Coordinate. Get personal. Maybe if you get to know the people you are actually serving instead of working up there on your pedestal, it’ll give you more passion and drive to better serve your people more quickly and efficiently. Be effective. And do not waste the hopefully ample amount of time given.
(iii). There are three fundamental powers of the state: where does it all go?
Given the rights of police power, power of taxation, and power of eminent domain, are they being used justly? In previous years, our taxes were raised but we didn’t know where they were going. Actually, in the end we found out they were being shoved into the pockets of corrupt officials. Let me remind you that you are the head of the state. No matter what you do (as long as it is just and righteous), your people will be behind you in support. Your powers—do not abuse, do not take them for granted, and do it for the people. Let it be for the good that resources are not wasted, social justice is achieved, and decision-making is righteous. Always for the people. Make sure your other minions pertain to that as well.
(iv). Politics are messy, complex, and unsightly.
For some reason, when it comes to Filipino politics everybody’s hands get dirty. Personal connections influence political reputations (your parents, in your case), popularity is more important than excellence to earn substantial votes, there is a high present tolerance for mediocrity, and then there’s the idea of utang ng loob, hiya, and pakikisama behind the scenes. Otherwise known as self-absorbed to please the wrong people just to stay in power, position, and good name. This is wrong. Politics are to be used for the good of the majority of the people. Being in politics is not about yourself. You are in control because you have a vision of a better Philippines and you want to make sure you earn the chance to try to make it come true. Do not say things to the public and turn you back and do something else or back down from your words. Be strong, Mr. President. The country needs you to be.
(v). The government consists of three branches: the executive, legislative, and judiciary. Are they staying true to their tasks?
This morning I had an interesting lecture in Sir Benj’s class about implemented laws not followed. Like the law requirements for a municipality to be a city ignored by the council themselves! Traditionally and according to the Constitution, those who break the law should end up in jail. The executive implements the law, the legislative creates the law, and the judicial branch decides on legalities of actions based on these laws. Why is it not being taken seriously? What is the point of making a law where our leaders are too soft to follow through? Like that R.A. 90003 intended for the leaders of their communities to have a waste management program after three years ignored. I understand there is the problem of financing to follow through so here’s a tip: Make laws that can actually be pulled together and done so that no excuses can be accepted. Do not tolerate heedlessness. How will the country move forward if our own constitution is being carelessly ignored, worse, by the makers or implementers themselves? Another thing, I believe in the saying that if you really wanted it, you’d do everything in your power to find a way. Let the leaders be leaders. This means that the heads be responsible enough to not avoid responsibility, take the initiative and act for the best without waiting to be reminded or told.
(vi). Taking aside corruption, poverty is the biggest problem of the Philippines. How to alleviate?
I don’t know the answer. You have inkling to running your government well but it is only the beginning and I am certain so much more can be done. I agree with you when you say that corruption should first be dealt with but my concern is if it is actually being dealt with genuinely or is it still swept under the rug, especially with clearly corrupt officials in your office? Like I said, stay strong and stay true. Live up to your promises to the public. At the same time, there is a mentality that must be changed among the Filipino people and I believe it goes along the lines of helplessness: being the damsels in distress and waiting for the knight to come save them. I don’t know how to instruct through this but as a president, I suggest you simply be more open. Clear your mind and steadfast your heart. Be available, be determined, be responsible, and do not waste any of the opportunities that pass by. I cannot imagine a day in the life of a country president but I am hoping days are not wasted simply sitting on a desk behind view trying to act like you’re doing something important when you really could be. This letter aims as simple reminders, in case you lose your way along the unpaved road. I have faith in you. And I’m guessing since you own majority of the nation’s votes, they believe in you too.
Hoping that you don’t disappoint,
One of the many concerned citizens who actually really care about what happens next.