Olongapo SubicBay BatangGapo Newscenter

Thursday, July 31, 2008


Why pay for advice on leadership and politics from a foreigner when we can have a free lecture from a homegrown talent?

Sen. Richard Gordon said there is no need for Filipinos to pay and listen to renowned former New York City mayor Rudolph Giuliani lecture on politics and leadership.

Although admitting Giuliani succeeded in steering New York from the rubble of the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks, Gordon said he made a similar achievement when he served as mayor of Olongapo City.

“I can understand where he’s coming from. We are both mayors, we are both lawyers, we both cleansed our cities. I made Olongapo a model city, he did the same thing to New York,” Gordon said.

Gordon said both New York and Olongapo have had their share of disasters. New York was hit by terror attacks while Olongapo suffered from the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo in 1991.

Gordon likened himself to Giuliani, saying they each led the people of their cities out from the crisis brought about by the unfortunate events.

“We have a lot of heroes here, leaders who are tested in times of crisis,” he said.

Gordon claimed his leadership experience was born from tough luck.

“Mine was worse. The Americans left Subic Naval Base but I was able to help Pinatubo victims,” he said.

As chairman of the Philippine National Red Cross (PNRC), Gordon said he is leading the effort to help victims of calamities and disasters.

After rehabilitating Olongapo and Subic Bay Freeport from the ashes of Pinatubo, Gordon said he went on to head the Department of Tourism that resulted in the growth of the country’s tourism industry under the innovative “Wow! Philippines” program.

“Even Intramuros became famous,” Gordon said as he ticked off his other accomplishments.

“All I am saying is, we have comparative accomplishments pero baka naman mas marami tayong krisis na nilagpasan at pinagtagumpayan (but we have more experience in terms of overcoming crises),” Gordon said.

Giuliani spoke at a roundtable discussion with Manila’s prominent political and business leaders last Tuesday.

Academe and media practitioners also attended the forum held at the Makati Shangri-La Hotel.

Giuliani gave an hour-long talk about “Leadership in Times of Crisis,” in which he discussed extensively the six principles of leadership.

Guiliani stressed a leader must be trusted to hold on to his or her word, whether in politics, in business, or in other endeavors.

Among other traits, Giuliani said a leader should be trusted.

The discussions focused on the issues of mistrust of political leaders.

The panelists discussed the issue of trust in leadership as they noted the adverse trust ratings of President Arroyo in the latest opinion surveys.

Giuliani though noted Mrs. Arroyo has demonstrated the kind of leadership that is not swayed by popularity concerns.

He said it is important to make the decisions that are necessary “whether they may be popular or unpopular and you’re willing to risk some unpopularity (for) the good of the people.”

Giuliani said the Sept. 11 attacks made him look into the life of wartime British Prime Minister Winston Churchill who had to go through even worse situations.

Binay, too, cites his achievements

Makati City Mayor Jejomar Binay, one of the main sponsors of the forum, offered the city’s own success story as an inspiration for those who look at difficult times as hopeless times.

Binay recalled how the country’s financial and business capital had P200 million in debts when he was appointed as acting mayor of the city by then President Corazon Aquino in the political ruins left by the ouster of the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos in 1986.

Binay said Makati was almost bankrupt and faced a huge budget deficit.

Binay said he was able to help Makati get back on its feet through tough leadership, innovation, and optimism.

Binay bragged how Makati managed to pay its debts and even had a budget surplus in just a year under his leadership. – Aurea Calica, Michael Punongbayan - PhilStar



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