An In-depth Look into the Quality of Our Community Leaders

Elections have a lot to answer for in view of the quality of leadership comprising our supposed peak body that we Filipino migrants in Australia have had to live with within the confines of our immediate ethnic Filipino community.
Generally speaking, voters who put them where they are (usually made up of heads/representatives of paying affiliate members) exhibit a gamut of differing attitudinal or behavioural tendencies. More often than not they start feeling blasé and exasperated by democratic shortcomings (ganyan talaga anong magagawa mo), so they either endure, grin and bear it, and let it go (hayaaan mo na lang, sige na lang, pabayaan mo na sila diyan)). Most often than not, many end up becoming lackadaisical, couldn’t care less, or just pliably take things as they are. Some are altogether left in a quandary with nary a query answered so they stay put merely coasting along with long-established mates (nakikipagbarkadahan).
Woe it is to those who give it an honest, good try, with high hopes and the best of intentions only to get invariably burnt out after being awakened by the realities of the operating “barkadahan mentality” (gang system). The big ask at the initial salvo is the classic “WIIFM” (what’s in it for me). No sooner than expected, some end up swearing acrimoniously “Never Again!”
On the other side of the fence, are the die-hards. The luckier ones have used their past PCC presidential posts as a stepping stone into the bigger political arena. There are many however—and I hazard to call them “jaded leaders” who have been worn out or wearied by overwork or overexposure, some dulled and satiated by overindulgence in power play yet remains constantly overzealous and thus overstay as officers whilst priding themselves as movers and shakers of the Filipino community.
The reasons for tarrying too long are one too many. Understandably, they have an axe to grind, personal agendas to fulfil (such as the sweet-talking networkers) or simply have nothing else better to do. Rarely do I like to believe that there are also those who serve with firm resolve to social relevance and purpose.

In all fairness and gratuity to our community leaders past, present and future -- the whole process of running, consequently serving your term, then staying on for perpetuity in community organizations is truly a selfless, thankless, ruthless act of commitment and servitude. Each and every leader has been heard to declare that he/she is doing it for the love of the community.
AMEN....
“It’s for the community” It’s for the love of our own people.” “We dedicate ourselves to the service of our constituents.”
Hallelujah...Praise the Lord!
Elected leaders are wedded to the popular vote as the incontrovertible template – regardless of how unrepresentative the results and unloved the elected leader-politician – the constituent/voting member is captive.
It's a form of electoral fundamentalism, whereby the vote remains the singular most cherished, inalienable right and yet voters tend to barter their votes for long time favours.
Trouble is, people don’t want to introduce change anymore as change tends to disrupt the status quo that to most is better upheld as is, where is.
To me personally, one of the most worrying, annoying even is the seemingly imbued almost systematic practice of “Barkadahan system (“gang mentality”) that is operating in PCC. I’ve been here for nearly two decades and all I see is a panoply of old, familiar faces or old guards (sila at sila rin.)
There is an urgent need for PCC to recognise the breadth and complexity of this issue, noting the serious harms it may cause, because it is crippling, counterproductive. and kills the very principles of equal opportunity and tapping potentially new leaders.

PCC should approach this visible and widely perceived problem of “barkadahan” primarily as a social and public health issue. With this in mind, I recommend they should strive to improve the quality and reach of preventative and early intervention measures, including education initiatives to reduce the incidence of “barkadahan” among officers by redefining Constitutional provisions
already in place. Additionally, appropriately investigate serious complaints and coordinate their investigations across jurisdictions where appropriate (e.g. concrete action/investigation on the letter of Bicolana Demi Robinson).

The general membership must have a clear awareness and understanding of how direct and indirect offences can and make the process clear for victims of “Barkadahan” whose unseen hands manage to menace, harass, intrigue out or cause untold or undefined but deeply felt offences which, in various degrees of disappointment, can actually make or unmake anybody.

Fact is we do not dispute that the PCC officials are clearly mandated by election results. Fine. We will not argue anymore how directly or indirectly, the “barkadahan system” effectively promoted the re-election of overstaying people whose staying power negates possibilities for discovering other gems of potential leaders.

Despite their initial appeal however, officers elected by popular vote create a serious dilemma because they cannot keep on fawning: obsequiousness as they are expected to deliver at all times.

Who was it who said that politics by principle is that which modern politics is not. What we normally observe is politics by interest and since friends of the same feather flock together, they will always share and protect their interests and would rather work comfortably with each other.

In this regard it may do well for PCC to consider applying the concepts of both the Cultural fit and functional fit, two criteria that most human resource departments adapt when evaluating candidates for employment that may verily augur well in the proper selection of future leaders/officers of PCC.
Functional fit is about the candidate’s hard skills -- the candidate’s education, certifications, core competencies and experience.  This type of information, which is usually supplied in the candidate’s resume or curriculum vitae, can be confirmed fairly as soon as aspiring officers make their declarations to run as per Constitutional procedure giving voters time to assess and know their candidates way in advance. 
Cultural fit, on the other hand cover the soft skills and personal goals, is usually assessed during the actual election phase when the candidate “sells” himself/herself. Ideally it would be best for PCC to follow the Presidential campaign style in the Philippines where all the presidentiables are lined-up in a debate and answers open-ended questions from the body like “Can you describe yourself to us and what new reforms or revolutionary changes can you offer for me as a voter and for the organization on the whole? Questions like this help the voters decide whether or not the candidate will thrive within the company's culture fit. 
Merging both their subjective assessment may be augmented with data gathered from the CV plus the old dictum that first impressions count much. If PCC only allows for these things to happen, by all means they would be able to distill the best of the best.
On top of that, if only the so-called overstaying officers would have the noblesse oblige to step back and give others a chance, then all’s well that ends well.
One final word: Politics should always, always, be guided by principle, never by populism or popular vote. The mantra of every leader-politician ought to be TO LISTEN TO THE PEOPLE NOT TO THE DICTATES OF THEIR INTERESTS.
Evelyn Zaragoza’s challenge for PCC officials to be more dynamic and visionary is a tall order indeed. But the idea is fast gaining ground among PCC officers politicians who should know better.
Whilst we keep a watchful eye on their moves, we still offer them our best wishes and heartfelt endorsements. (Mars Cavestany/All Rights Reserved)

Pahabol! Just as we are about to go to the press, the most awaited response from a certain Violy Escultura (who is she anyway?), the newly elected President of APCO sent a very curt and laconic  reply to our questionnaire for a supposed interview write up on her visions as a leader to which she originally said yes. Whatever changed her mind, is none of our business but she both snubbed the publisher and the Editor none the least the Filipino community with her final answer “I will not dignify your questions with a reply” What a a way to begin ones term. So be it. No further questions asked?
(Mars Cavestany/All Rights Reserved)

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