What Philippines needs is interpreted differently by everyone.
Others say, “Kailangan ng Pilipinas ng kamay na bakal para matuto ang lahat ng disiplina.” But being a daughter of authoritarian parents, I doubt this. Being forced to do something and them setting expectations “for my own good” brought me scars and anxieties that haunt me until now. I appreciate what Duterte did to Davao and what Gordon did to Olongapo, but the question remains: “If someone not a member of their family held their position, will their city sustain? Will their people practice self-discipline?” Their leadership style could have had an impressive effect in their town, but does this follow for the whole country?
The problem with using fear and punishment as well as rewards to “motivate” an individual to do or not to do something is when they are not there anymore. For example, you tell the members of your community, “Kapag hindi ninyo itatapon ang basura ninyo sa tamang basurahan, magmumulta kayo ng isang libong piso.” But what happens when you take out the punishment? Will the townfolks learn how to dispose of their trash? This becomes more ineffective when your law only instills fear and stops there. You put a warning, “Bawal tumawid. Multa Php 2,000.” But people, especially when they are running late, will cross that lane if they don’t see officers. And to be honest, while this is one of my pet-peeves, I can’t blame them anymore. In this economy that favors the rich? In this unjustifiable traffic system?
We want to be like other countries, but they weren’t like that in one evening. It took several leaderships; it has become their culture to follow simple signs and rules. So how do we urge our own people to make following simple rules a part of them? their culture? Is instilling fear the right approach? Is that sustainable?
An authoritative regime is ideal, but how?
In our town, we have Mayor Kit Nieto. He has been really effective so far, and with statements like “We only deprived them of their liberties but not of their right to live in humane conditions” when he installed air-conditioning units at our town’s jail facilities, I kind of had hope that he was one of the authoritative leaders in our country. He talks and listens to people. He uses social media to affirm the townfolks that their money is being properly used but has not shown off his face in tarpaulins and posters, except during election. Now we have free medical services and politican-face-free roads. A true ONE Cainta.
And as much as I would like to keep him as our mayor, his leadership will end in 2022. If he seeks a higher position in the government, that would be great, but as a relatively anxious person, I am afraid he’d turn out to be authoritarian. I hope not.