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Open letter from an ‘old millennial’

How Filipinos may choose its next President




As 2021 marches on, it won’t be long till Philippine media is filled with advertisements and appearances of candidates for the 2022 elections. Filipinos here and abroad can imagine how intense the coming presidential elections will be.

If 2016 were the benchmark of how events can turn (remember, Rodrigo Duterte came in as a dark horse and won by a landslide before anyone realized what happened), then Filipinos should hang on to their seats because we are in for a wild ride.

As part of the old millennials’ tribe (those who can still remember dial-up internet and what a floppy disk is), I am very much invested on who will run the country next.
My age bracket is composed of young professionals saving up to buy a house, starting a family, opening a business, and those who will live through the effects of climate change and will have a big stake on the country’s future.

I am not saying the older generations do not have a stake in the country, but what I mean is, my peers want their children to live in a better Philippines. It is my generation, and the generations after us, who will feel the effects of the actions of the next President.

That said, I want to share my views on how Filipinos may choose our next leader. Let me clarify that this does not pertain to any individual or group of people.

Who to choose
1) Choose a leader who is not hungry for power. An ideal leader’s goal is to serve and do good for the country, not run it to feed his/her ego.
2) Choose a leader who leads by example and has a competent team.
3) Choose a leader who is progressive, with no tolerance for bigotry, xenophobia, and any form of discrimination based on creed, family background or wealth.
4) Choose a leader who has a good heart. No matter how smart a leader is, if he/she is unkind to others, forget it. A good leader is compassionate and understanding.
5) Choose a leader who knows how to think. This may sound ridiculous, but competence is something rare in the country.
6) Choose a leader who cares for the environment. The Philippines is an archipelago in the Pacific Ring of Fire and the Pacific Typhoon Belt. Caring for the environment is a matter of survival for us.
7) Choose a leader who is
family-oriented. After all the political noise, a leader who values family will take good care of the country.

8) Choose a leader with word of honor. This is more rare in the Philippines than competence.

9) Choose a leader who values the preservation and integrity of institutions. Let us not let the Philippines to be run like a syndicate.

10) Choose a leader who adapts to the changing times. We do not want to be extinct like dinosaurs, we want to be alive when the flying cars come.

11) Choose a leader who listens to criticism with an open mind and not with a warrant of arrest. I don’t want to be tagged as a communist if I disagree with the views of elected officials. I want an intelligent discourse so people will be educated and learn how to think.

12) Choose a leader who inspires and challenges others to be better.

13) Lastly, choose a leader who walks the walk and does not talk shit.

Hungry for real change
We need real leaders who are hungry for real change and real progress. We want to see equal rights for women, we want to see the LGBTQ+ enjoy the same rights as every other human being in this country, we want police officers to be accountable for their misdeeds and illegal acts, we want legalization of cannabis so that those who have actual medicinal needs for it can access it and those imprisoned for it be given another chance.

We want better quality of education for our public schools, especially in rural areas. We want young women educated about reproductive health, gender and sex based on science and without religious clout.

We want leaders who will teach young men how to respect women regardless of their stature, age or creed. We want leaders who actually care for the poor. We want leaders who genuinely talk to the people and listen to their needs.

Who can this candidate be?

To paraphrase Eminem: “Will the real leader please stand up, we’re going to have a problem here.”