Countering Populism by Objectivity 

Countering Populism by Objectivity 

On the 9th of May, 2022, the country will get to choose a new set of government officials, including the President and the Vice President of the Philippines. The next leaders of our country will determine the future of the nation, and with this, Filipinos will need to be objective of their vote. 

Six years of government under outgoing President Rodrigo Duterte has been plagued with insensitivity and a lack of respect for his words, along with corruption, extrajudicial killings, and lapses in human rights. This has led several organizations and international communities to denounce the President’s actions and endorse candidates similar to their ideals. 

Although, six years ago, voters saw Duterte as a strong leader with qualities different from the then President Benigno Aquino III. Analysts marked his campaign as a“populist” approach and eventually led him to win the Presidential seat. Nowadays, several Presidential aspirants use a similar campaign strategy, and can possibly lead to a repeat of the past election. 

However, being “one with the people” is only one of the several qualities of a great leader. Filipinos must learn that along with this; a leader must have clear ambitions and goodwill, embody integrity, honesty, and humility, and treat the people with respect and seldom rule by force. 

A good leader is a member of the populace, not literally but figuratively. They must know the call of the people and be with them at times of crisis. Similarly, they must be an able communicator, willing to listen to people’s problems, and address them with logic and understanding. Similar to how generals such as Napoleon lead battles with them, a leader will always be part of the whole, never standing out because of their status or merit. 

Having transparent platforms and ambitions is always equivalent to being a great leader. They always have plans that are concise and available for the people. Obviously, how would one lead if they lack a platform to be with. Along with this is goodwill. The leader must demonstrate with a pure motive and not move only at times nearing the elections. 

A great leader is honest in mind, heart, and action. The words they give must be of truth and integrity. A person who lies by word will most likely also lie by action and lie about their promises, more so if they plan to lead the nation. Conversely, a person who speaks the truth also practices the truth. A great leader will always value truth and integrity and maintain transparency with the people. 

Lastly, humility and respect are needed of a leader of great values. Along with being a person of the people, a leader must constantly respect the people they live with. A great leader never rules by force instead they lead by example, action, and good morals. Respect begets respect, which translates to every position, especially in the government. 

The future of the Philippines is reliant on the vote of the Filipino people this coming May. As many voters remain blind to populist campaigning despite the Duterte government, there is a chance that history may repeat itself with the election of another weak leader. Although, if a sizable majority of Filipinos choose their leaders objectively and compare the aspirants with the qualities of great leaders, then the Philippines may see a shift for the good, shying away from the populist leaders of the past.

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