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Time to let go

/ 05:26 AM December 13, 2018

The average life expectancy of Filipinos is 68.8 years for men, and a longer 74.3 years for women (maybe because they can relax now that hubby’s gone). Filipinos over 80 only account for 0.8 percent of the country’s population.

Senators are elected to serve the people for six years. If they leave the Senate before then, they are letting their constituents down. Those who voted for them no longer have their champion. So it’s only fair to the public they serve that those who are in their 80s think of those people.

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The statistics above say there’s a high chance that those who are 80 or older won’t live to serve their full term. Looking at those in this age group who are running for the Senate, the House or local positions, they’ve all had a multitude of years in government, “serving the people.” They’ve dedicated enough of their life to us. Let them enjoy their retirement.

Add to that, today’s rapidly changing, fast growing and stressful world is not something the elderly would be able to keep up with. At 45, I worked 12-15 hours a day nonstop. Now I take a nap.

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These old politicos do, too. Eighty-plus-year-olds aren’t able to keep up. Why would they even want to?

If the Philippines is to lead in the IT revolution we’re in, it needs young people crafting its laws. We old fogies don’t understand it, and where it is leading. Laws are for the future, not the past — or even the present. We need young visionaries in Congress.

You retire from business at 60 (too young) or 65, because business, which emphasizes efficiency, realizes that older people can’t keep up. And, anyway, after a lifetime of service, you deserve to relax and enjoy the remaining years of your life.

Why deny politicians the same enjoyment?

If they are genuine and sincere that they’re doing this for love of country, and out of a desire to do more to help their fellowmen, then surely it’s much better that they mentor and guide a younger, more dynamic person. They should step aside, as they’ve done their job, and instead help the next generation by guiding them with their wealth of experience.

For instance, the oldest person running for the Senate, former senator Juan Ponce Enrile, 94, should choose a protégé and turn over the reins to him or her. The Supreme Court has ruled that Enrile shouldn’t be in prison due to his “fragile health and advanced age.” So he surely must be no longer capable of dealing with the rigorousness, the stress and the active involvement the Senate calls for.

Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, is one of the world’s greatest leaders today, having guided Europe through some tough times. She’s 64, and she’s retiring. She has chosen a protégé, Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, who’s 56, to replace her, and whom she’ll guide. If she can recognize what’s best for her country, surely our old politicians can do the same.

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If they do continue to insist on running, then I suggest we decide for them—by moving our vote to younger people to assure us of a full six years of active representation. But, in choosing those young people, let’s do it based on their likely competence for the job. Name recognition is NOT a measure of competence. It’s a measure of nothing when it comes to sitting in Congress. A track record of achievement would be a good start: What has the person done?

For those in the Senate today, and for those who were in it in the past, their track record is there. What did they accomplish in their term? What committees did they chair? What bills did they author? What bills got passed into law that they authored or chaired? What investigations did they initiate or lead, and did any lead to a successful result? All these are on record, let’s see them published.

For congressmen running for the Senate or reelection in the House, the same questions need answering. I’d like to see their track records published and widely disseminated. Social media would be a good place for such, and the more traditional media, too.

For those attempting to enter the Senate for the first time, let’s see their CVs widely disseminated. What have they done that would justify their entrance into the Senate?

By all means, let’s have those who’ve built up years of experience, but still young enough to work assiduously for us in crafting the changes we need. Not those of an age where others like them are retiring, or have already retired.

Let’s vote for youth and competence.

E-mail: wallace_likeitis@wbf.ph

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TAGS: Filipino life expectancy, Like It Is, old politicians, Peter Wallace
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