After the entire Filipino nation kept a hawk-eye watch on the previous elections, everyone is wondering where the former Vice President and second contender for the presidential position is now.
Well, after the elections, Leni Robredo proves that the best man for the job is still a woman.
There is an abundance of data to suggest that women can be successful in positions of authority, not merely as secretaries or adjunct colleagues to males in positions of power.
Our current experience with the epidemic has brought to the forefront, on a worldwide scale, the strength and effectiveness of women leaders such as Jacinda Ardern, the youngest person to serve as Prime Minister of New Zealand in more than 150 years. Even though it would be a significant setback for New Zealand’s tourism industry, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and her government took the “go hard and go early” approach, which entailed a prompt and decisive response in the form of the mid-March closure of the country’s borders to international travelers. When there were just over one hundred confirmed cases of COVID-19, she ordered a rigorous lockdown across the whole country.
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Why Leni Robredo stands as a good representation
In our own context, Leni Robredo has demonstrated grit in the choices that she makes. For example, she accepted the invitation from the President to assume head of the war on drugs, despite the fact that her advisors said that doing so would be committing political suicide. Her position and the powers that came with it were instantly reduced when it became clear that she would not stop digging until she found out what needed to be done and then let the chips fall where they may. This moral fortitude, paired with compassion, has been visible in her track record of clean and effective governance, which addresses promptness and ingenuity crises such as the pandemic and recurrent calamities.
Leni Robredo is one of many women in our history who serve as a testament to the power of female leadership in our indigenous culture. These women come from a long line of women who came before her. Historians tell us that one of the four leaders regarded as cornerstones of our pre-Hispanic culture was called the babaylan. This leader, who was almost usually a woman, was the babaylan. There was the datu, also known as the chief, who was in charge of governance; the bagani, also known as the warrior, who defended the village settlements; the panday, who crafted tools for life and war; and the babaylan, who was not only the religious leader but also the repository of oral history, folklore, and indigenous medical knowledge. All of these individuals were referred to as the “four pillars” of society.
And then there were the female monarchs, such as the renowned warrior Princess Urduja of Pangasinan, who ruled Pangasinan, and Princess Tarhata Kiram, who ruled Sulu, who ruled more recently.
We don’t have any myths or legends that support male superiority, which makes our culture distinctive among those of other Asian countries. Machismo did not become ingrained in the culture until the arrival of the Spaniards, and the Spanish civil code was the driving force behind the establishment of institutionalized inequality.
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All of the Philippines’ women before
Our history as a country demonstrates that domineering males who portray themselves as agents of change can be completely inept at their jobs, but it also demonstrates that being a woman does not necessarily make one a good leader. Competence, experience, and a strong sense of moral direction are some of the other essential qualities.
Having survived seven separate attempts to overthrow his government, Cory Aquino was neither lacking in brains nor moral courage in times of crisis. On the other hand, she has been criticized for not having understood the importance of seizing what could have been revolutionary initiatives, such as a comprehensive land reform and the cancellation of our foreign debt. Given the goodwill and social capital that the country possessed at the time, the international community may have been willing to overlook these issues had they been addressed at the time. As a housewife who was unexpectedly propelled to the highest office in the land by an amazing display of people power, this has been accounted for by the protected luxury of her class as well as inexperience.
Gloria Macapagal Arroyo came to power with sufficient experience and skill; yet, she became embroiled in a web of corruption that she knowingly let to be spun about her by close family connections. This led to her downfall as president of the Philippines. In addition to this, it was said that she was as tough as a nail, much like the many other women who have managed to shoulder their way to power by being as harsh as the men.
Where is Robredo now?
Leni Robredo, who served as vice president under the previous administration, was chosen to participate in a program at Harvard University in the United States as one of five “distinguished leadership practitioners.” This program will bring together students, faculty, and other members of the university.
The appointment of Robredo and four other individuals to the position of Hauser Leader for the Fall 2022 semester was announced by the Center for Public Leadership (CPL) at Harvard Kennedy School.
“These Hauser Leaders bring to campus living examples of principled and effective public leadership,” said Deval Patrick, CPL co-director and professor of the practice of public leadership. “At a time when many challenges stem from leadership shortcomings, these Hauser Leaders bring to campus living examples of principled and effective public leadership.”
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“Although they come from a variety of backgrounds, these leaders share principles, ideals that are implemented in practical ways, that they can now share with the community at the Kennedy School,” he continued.
According to Harvard, the Hauser Leaders Program is home to an exceptional roster of prominent leaders and practitioners hailing from the public, nonprofit, and business sectors.
Robredo, who is currently the chairperson of the non-governmental group Angat Buhay, stated that being invited to participate in the show was a tremendous honor.
“I’m both thrilled and humbled to be given this space to share my advocacy work and experiences, alongside this roster of distinguished leaders from a variety of industries and fields,” she said. “What a privilege it is to be able to come back to Cambridge for this chance,” she continued. “What a blessing it is.”
Tricia Robredo, the second daughter of Robredo, is now attending Harvard University to pursue a Master of Medical Sciences degree in Global Health Delivery. In addition to her, her late husband, Jesse, and their oldest daughter, Aika, attended the Harvard Kennedy School.
So, how exactly is the woman who came second doing?
Well, the best man for the job is clearly still the woman—winning more than she anticipated.
During her concluding remarks at the inaugural Presidential Forum that was hosted by the Comelec, presidential candidate Leni Robredo stated that “the best man for the job is a woman.” This statement is reminiscent of what Ben Gurion, the head of the newly established Jewish state in 1948, remarked about his colleague Golda Meir: “The best man in my cabinet is a woman.”
It should go without saying that we shouldn’t base our decision on a candidate’s gender when selecting who to vote for. It is the capacity to lead with both competence and compassion, paired with a clear moral compass that can discern right from wrong and stands steadfastly for what is good for our people despite any pressure that may be exerted against them.