Key Takeaway: Anyone who truly wants to serve would do so regardless of their standing. True service and purpose transcend any kind of position, role, or responsibility: what truly matters is that you are responsible. True service also entails working together no matter where you are.
Yesterday, 21 February, I’d normally most remember for being the birthday of the mother of my best friend. But yesterday – and I almost quite forgot completely until a cousin said it, and we tuned in – also happened to be the first Philippine presidential debates for 2016, featuring the five candidates for the chief position of the Pearl of the Orient: Vice-President Jejomar Binay, Sr., Senators Miriam Defensor Santiago and Grace Poe, Davao Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, and former Interior and Local Government Secretary Manuel Roxas II, set in Cagayan de Oro in Mindanao.
Santiago’s main bite was how the plans by her opponents would be financed (even calling Roxas’s list of plans “promises in the sky” – she was always a feisty one), while Binay kept on mentioning how decisive he was. Duterte claimed to be able to implement his harsh discipline (the “blood[iness]” that would ensue if he won) in 3-6 months, while Poe cited solid research and building on top of it or answering the needs said research opposed, promising new perspectives – which can actually be the advantage of newness to the environment. Roxas vowed to continue the Daang Matuwid (“straight path”) following up the current administration, fighting against graft and corruption.
I did appreciate Miriam’s conviction (she’s a stage four cancer survivor) that her purpose was to serve out the rest of her life – sounds familiar, doesn’t it? – as well as Poe’s understanding that experience is not always the best indication of competence. Yes, experience is very important, but not always; and we also need to look at the quality of said experience. And we want to avoid the arrogance of seniority: this leads to the “too-big-to-fail” mentality that destroyed corporate giants in the USA the past two decades. Fresh insights are always welcome and perhaps even necessary, as long as they are backed solidly by research and follow-through. That, my friends, already exists all around us, and it is called innovation. Social innovation, in particular.
But this isn’t the time or place to take apart platforms or choose sides. The Daily You is here to talk about purpose, awareness, service, and love, which will be touched on shortly.
As expected, there was a storm of social media activity during the entire program, which supposedly led to #PiliPinasDebates2016 being the top trend worldwide on Twitter (which is good! shows that we Filipinos care at least to some extent!). Amidst the various comments of Mike Enriquez goofing up (hey, he was funny doing it, bringing some comic relief to an otherwise grave setting!), commercials getting more airtime than the program itself (our large TV stations are notorious for that, anyway), and of candidates taking swings personally (sadly, this did happen), there were some valuable insights that ought to be taken to heart not just by the five hopefuls, but by everyone.
One specific insight struck me particularly hard, which I loved and retweeted (check out @TheDailyAloy) from my classmate in university and fellow member in said university’s Christian Life Community branch:
Miriam Defensor Santiago mentioned her purpose is to serve. Mar Roxas declared he wanted a life of stability for everyone. Good for them, that they do not ignore the realities of social responsibility! But the insights by my friend above and others like him are also very true: service isn’t specific of your position. What matters is that you do the job.
The image of the five presidentiables raising their hands together (and presumably posing for a group photo in front) got me thinking on this – and, yeah, I guess, slightly skeptical. As I tweeted earlier, if they were all truly servants of the nation, they’d all work together no matter who wins. That was the mentality both my opponent in running for senior batch representative in our major’s home organization in university and I held (though, sadly, the plans did not all push through), something we mutually agreed on pre-elections. True purpose transcends roles or positions – and for good: We all have something valuable to contribute, in the greater scheme of things.
(Read more: The first you, not the next someone)
We were all made for a specific and true purpose, and I firmly believe that the journey of our lives has two major phases: to find out said purpose, and to live it out. But once you do start living it out, you don’t have to become famous or powerful to do your part well. You just do it – and in fact, the humbler the better, without compromising your vision or the scope of inclusiveness.
With that, as we begin a new week, I invite everyone to redouble their efforts in serving truly, geared towards their individual purposes – and for my fellow Filipinos to carefully consider who to vote for.
Have a purposeful week!
Disclaimer: Any explicit political views above are solely the opinion of the author. The Daily You does not endorse any candidate one over the other, but simply advocates true service and purpose.