"What this Country needs is not a change OF men but a change IN men" March 1980

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

A leader with a clear vision can uplift his people in any crisis

In times of crisis, a leader with a clear vision of what he wants for his people and his country can always rise up to any challenge, Independent Senator Richard J. Gordon said.

Gordon made the statement during the recently-concluded 10th Achievers and Leaders Summit at the RCBC Plaza , Makati City , where he shared his experiences and lessons learned in leading volunteers during times of crises and disasters.

"A leader should uplift the level of behavior of a people. He must give them a vision, show them where they are going, and at the same time, consult them too. That's what we did in Subic ," he said during his speech.

"A leader defines not only his character but when he uplifts his people he wants to define the kind of people he wants them to be," he added.

Gordon, also chairman and chief executive officer of the Philippine National Red Cross (PNRC), said having a vision was the key for progress in Olongapo and Subic .

As a mayor of Olongapo, he has defined his constituents as disciplined and responsible citizens by enforcing rules, which were initially disagreeable to them but eventually turned out to be the best for the community, turning Olongapo into a model city.

He had imposed the color coding scheme in jeeps, organized the garbage collection method, improved the peace and order system, and invigorated the people with slogans, "Aim high, Olongapo!", and "Bawal and tamad, lalong bawal ang tanga sa Olongapo!"

In Subic, Gordon has envisioned transforming the former US military base into a Freeport , an idea which sounded crazy to many, but nevertheless, he pursued with his vision and transformed Subic into a premier investment hub and tourism spot..

"I had a vision for Subic , and I was able to convince our volunteers that it can be done. After three years, we no longer got money from the national government. They were drawing money from us. After the first year, we got the tourism destination of the year award," Gordon said.

"And who did it? The people. People will always be part of the process of change. We hosted APEC (Asia Pacific Economic Conference) in 1996. It was the best proof that Filipinos can create a 'Bagumbayan' in their own minds as well as in their community," he added.

The Senator stressed that if he had introduced changes in Olongapo and Subic through a vision that he eagerly worked on with the people, the country can do it as well if all the leaders are focused on where they want the nation to be.

"The Philippines is a very exciting place, it's a development waiting to happen. It takes leadership and people. First, we have to change ourselves, re-invent ourselves. Second, you have to not cease from hoping, you have to look at the good side of things and try to find out whether you can do what needs to be done," Gordon said.

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