We need leaders who are visionaries and not just reactionaries. Leaders with foresight beyond short-term or even midterm solutions. Those who can consider a real future, past the next three or six years with a horizon that will benefit future generations of Filipino potential. We still need agility in decision-making as the need arises. But when it comes to enacting policies, services, and infrastructure, isn’t it time we consider that prevention of problems should be the main objective?
One important thing we should have learned from this pandemic is that classic Filipino resilience as a band-aid solution to problems big or small will not always cut it. For the nation to break free from the repetition of its own stumbling blocks to face the new challenges of the digital era and beyond, Filipinos should start choosing leaders that we truly need and not just familiar figures or prototypes that we instinctively gravitate to. We need leaders who can exemplify both an enduring vision and a propensity for innovation.
We are living in transformative and uncertain times. Proof enough is the global effect of the pandemic, which changed the very rules of the world as we know it, from how we work, learn, interact, travel, and so forth. With these considerations, the Philippines should keep up and become competitive not just with our Asian neighbors but with the rest of the international community for us to achieve the quality of life we desire and deserve.
To bring that to reality, we need leaders who are visionaries and not just reactionaries. Leaders with foresight beyond short-term or even midterm solutions. Those who can consider a real future, past the next three or six years with a horizon that will benefit future generations of Filipino potential.
We still need agility in decision-making as the need arises. But when it comes to enacting policies, services, and infrastructure, isn’t it time we consider that prevention of problems should be the main objective?
Take the perennial problem of traffic in the country. With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, we all had a sneak peek of semi-deserted roads and it was as if time stood still with Filipinos working and spending more time at home during the nationwide lockdown.
It was nothing like we have seen pre-pandemic, where traffic in EDSA and national roads were so congested that it was impacting our economy.
Economic and national progress should not be dependent on only one good leader at one time.
A study by the Japan International Cooperation Agency projected that the country would lose P5.4 billion daily if no interventions were made by 2035.
Long commutes in urban areas made local workers feel as if they were overseas Filipino workers who could not even spend time with their loved ones due to hours away from home caused by traffic and inefficiencies in the system.
But we won’t remain in this pandemic forever. As cities progress, congestion becomes an unfortunate byproduct. Our present and future leaders should anticipate the future beyond our immediate present economic recovery—which is why it is more imperative now to conduct efficient urban planning and create necessary infrastructure. Doing that will not cause us to revert to our original transport problems.
While people are at home, we can build more roads, more pedestrian lanes, smart and green infrastructure, and improve route rationalization. However, projects of that magnitude require a lot of money and time, which is why we need to be creative in how we provide mobility options for people now.
The leader we need right now is someone who can mobilize Filipinos to be future leaders in their own right.
This is where good leaders need to step in and be able to shepherd the population to think better and beyond what they are used to. Gone should be the days when leaders fear new ideas and methods because of time-tested practices.
Convincing more than 100 million people is a difficult thing to do and equipping them is even harder, but it can be done with a real vision for the future and the courageous openness to innovation.
For the longest time, Angkas has been advocating inclusive mobility in the form of smaller agile forms of transportation as an alternative to safe and reliable transportation, because motorcycle taxis are able to conduct multiple trips efficiently to various points in the metro.
Before, motorcycles were regarded negatively but now you have wide public acceptance where celebrities, CEOs, politicians, and influencers hop on motorcycles the same way the average Filipino wage worker would.
Motorcycles as a form of transport and livelihood have now been dignified to pave the way for equal opportunities to fulfill the goal of inclusive mobility: motorcycles as a safe form of public transportation for everybody.
Mobility through agile transport can end marginalization and be society’s equalizer. This includes active transport such as bicycles and pedestrian lanes, which also contribute to the health of any progressive city. Lesser vehicles on the road will also reduce the country’s carbon footprint, mitigating future disasters caused by climate change.
Economic and national progress should not be dependent on only one good leader at one time. With vision and innovation, leaders should advocate for and build an educated population who will never stop progressing. The leader we need right now is someone who can mobilize Filipinos to be future leaders in their own right.
After all, the heart of progress is mobility, and mobility is not limited to transportation but also moving mindsets to a visionary way of thinking despite tradition and opposition. We have to start now and let us not delay. The future of our country, especially our younger generation, depends on it.
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