BOO CHANCO: CAN SHE LEAD US THROUGH THE CRISIS?
MANILA, October 4, 2004 (STAR) DEMAND AND SUPPLY By Boo Chanco - She was rated six in a scale of 10 by members of the PCCI. The headline declared it a passing mark. I am not too sure it is, unless a DepEd transmutation table was used. When I was in grade school, 75 out of 100 was considered passing. She should have scored 7.5 out of ten to merit that.
Peter Wallace says 43 percent of businessmen now donít think she will be effective in sustaining the economyís recovery. Of course we all know that the most recent SWS survey showed a dramatic overall drop in satisfaction rating from her election high.
What is going on here? Plain and simple crisis of confidence in her leadership! Unfortunately, we canít afford one because we have a serious fiscal crisis to tackle. A crisis of confidence in our leader, specially among the business taipans, makes it more difficult to lick the fiscal crisis. Even as Rep. Joey Salceda continues to get a sympathetic audience after audience in the business community when he presents the problem at hand, the final question always has to do with her, and her capacity to lead.
The key question is, according to business analyst Peter Wallace, will she change? Peter tries to answer the question. She got a six year mandate, so she has nothing to lose if she does the unpopular but correct actions. But, Peter surmises, the Constitution might be changed and she might want to be prime minister Ė so back to politicking again.
She had three years of "on-the-job" training, Peter points out, so she knows now what can work and what canít. On the other hand, there may be a continuing feeling of insecurity, from the election results, which makes her continue trying to be populist. Then also, Peter surmises, is the influence of you-know-who and other cronies in government affairs.
But she managed her campaign very well. I, for one, observed that if she only managed the country as well as she managed her campaign, the country would be alright. Then again, managing a campaign and a country are two different things. In a campaign, self interest is a strong motivation to do it well. In managing a country, self interest often gets in the way of doing it well.
So, Peter asks the key question: will she change? The secondary one is, can she learn to be a leader?
Peter observes: "There is no question too many of her decisions have been predicated on gaining popularity. Is it an inherent trait Ė or just there to win? Is it ambition, or a personal need? As to leadership, she lacks empathy, the human touch... is too pikon... she canít get loyalty, believers."
Going back to the question, can she change? Peter says it is 50:50.
Peter however says it is too early to tell if we have a leadership crisis. But the signs are worrying. Among those cited by Peter are: some Cabinet appointments, "Palace of the South" and transferring department head offices out of Manila Ė she can expand regional offices but head offices have to be in the capital for better coordination, weekly TV show with the masses ala Erap."
Peter observes that she is "not making any decisive moves that show she can get things done except announcing the state of fiscal crisis." Peter quotes the observation of CNNís Maria Ressa that she seems to be just a "place holder" leader, just like Cory and Megawati. She is not proactive, just reacting to events, just plodding along.
Peter concedes that the market seems to give her the benefit of the doubt with the economic indices holding up, but even those are down to the yearís low in the last two months. Peter also notes that while the economy seems to be growing faster, as measured by the GDP, everything else is worse.
GDP/head was $1,145 under Ramos, $975 under Erap, $967 under Ate Glo. Infrastructure spending as a percent of GDP was 3.4 percent under Ramos, 2.8 percent under Erap and 1.8 percent under Ate Glo. Budget deficit as percent of GDP was -0.3 under Ramos, -3.2 under Erap and -4.6 under Ate Glo. Unemployment rate was 9.2 percent under Ramos, 10.9 percent under Erap and 11.6 percent under Ate Glo.
Leadership, Peter says, matters. "Churchill changed the outcome of a war. Lee Kwan Yew built Singapore from a $2.5 million GDP-country in 1972 to a $86-billion GDP city state. Leadership is not just important, itís essential."
What about GMA? Peter says "she certainly has the work ethic and the desire to succeed. She has the brains and the impatience. She has the IQ. Does she have the EQ?"
EQ. Emotional quotient or the ability to work through the emotions. Peter quotes Daniel Goleman in describing EQ. "Great leadership works through the emotions. No matter what leaders set out to do Ė whether itís creating strategy or mobilizing teams to action Ė their success depends on how they do it. Even if they get everything just right, if leaders fail in this primal task of driving emotions in the right direction, nothing they do will work as well as it could or should."
So thatís it. The future of this country now depends on the Emotional Quotient of Ate Glo. From what I hear from those closely working with her, and even read in the front pages occasionally, thatís one disaster area the Office of Civil Defense can do nothing about. I donít think there is a Cabinet member who can stand up to her. Joey Salceda and Butch Pichay survive the close encounters only because they are elected officials who are not totally beholden to her. She even needs them.
Joeyís right. We have to pray harder. Sheís the only one we got.
The month long celebration of German-Philippine relations has revealed more about the German way of nurturing bilateral ties than is known, or we are used to. I was surprised about the many wonderful things the Germans have been quietly doing in our country that they donít talk about much. The Germans cut a different image of the developed country helping one from the Third World.
Their assistance program is a good example. It is varied and focused on sectors of our society that need help most. No high capital friendship highways or intrusive and agile programs that strike at the heart of our government decision-making institutions. And yes, none of the usual diplomatic or economic strings attached.
There is for instance, a project designed to raise our skills that will enable Philippine individuals/ corporations to take part and compete in the future of the mobile Internet technology. The Germans want to help build a reputation for Filipinos comparable to that of Indiaís competence in software development, thus attracting more foreign investment, generating sustainable job opportunities and general employment.
I am also impressed by a program to train our workers in the garments industry, our third largest export, is another important example. They are working through CS Garment, a local company owned by a German investor, Claus Sudhoff. Mr. Sudhoff is a long time resident of the Philippines. The German government is using CS Garment to train seamstresses to produce world class garments that have found a niche in the highly competitive and quota free markets of Europe.
Claus may seem gruff on first impression but as he talks, you get to feel he loves this country dearly, even as he complains like a Pinoy. He has managed and lived through the difficulties of running a garments factory in the old strike-prone Bataan Export Processing Zone. He has established his CS Garments in Cavite. He worries about the quality of his workersí life, leading him to establish among others, a family planning program in his factory.
There are varied activities in line for German month, including an Oktoberfest event with an authentic Bavarian brass band flown in for the month. Log on to www.germany-philippines.com for details of events and reservations.
Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi
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