Acting like the boss
Do you remember the tagline, “Kayo ang boss ko”?
I remember. It was 2010, I was just a sophomore in high school when Benigno Aquino III, more popularly known as “Noynoy,” won the presidential elections.
It was an optimistic time. I was young, but I remember that people were hopeful for change, as they usually are during a presidential election year. It was in this atmosphere of optimism that, with much fanfare, P-Noy declared during his inauguration: “Kayo ang boss ko!” We cheered. We hoped.
I remember, everybody repeated that phrase so many times that it became a mantra. A collective prayer that this administration would finally change the country’s political culture and create a more people-oriented government.
But within the next six years that mantra, so full of the hopes and aspirations of millions of Filipinos, became just another campaign slogan, a vessel for broken promises and unanswered prayers.
We always point to that quote from P-Noy as a symbol of our politicians’ penchant for arousing hope and then crushing it beneath the reality of their policies.
But I think there is another layer to that phrase that we seem to be forgetting — our role as the bosses. We seem to forget that bosses also have a responsibility to their organizations. They aren’t supposed to just sit back and relax as their employees do the work for them. Bosses are expected to actively manage their organization, most especially their employees.
Yes, politicians are mostly to blame for the inadequacies and inefficiencies of government, but as their bosses, we are equally to blame for the failures of the government.
In any good organization, accountability always starts at the top. The boss is always accountable for the actions of his workers. So if an organization’s employees are inefficient, lazy and corrupt, the blame is put on the boss as well for not managing them well.
The same goes for the country. Sure, P-Noy said we were his bosses, but did we really live up to that job?
If we truly want to be considered the bosses of this country, we need to act like it. As we millennials say, “you gotta own it.” Angkinin mo na. Stop the blame-shifting, and start being accountable.
So how can we become accountable? Well, most obviously, through the vote. Just as corporate bosses fire incompetent and corrupt employees, so should we.
Corrupt politicians always try to push the boundaries of what they can do without getting kicked out of office. It’s true everywhere. The difference is, those boundaries are just slightly different from place to place. In the Philippines, we’re just way more tolerant of criminal acts in public office.
There is only one thing that drives politicians, and that is staying in power. In our country, politicians are so empowered to do criminal acts while in office because they know they can do so with impunity. Even if they get caught, charged and, heck, even imprisoned, they know a political comeback is always in the horizon. They just need to know what’s trending with the masses.
Accountability starts with us, the voters. We are supposed to be the threat that keeps politicians in place, the bogeyman that keeps them awake at night, the micromanaging bosses that watch their every move.
They should know that if ever they betray the public’s trust, there will be repercussions. Maybe not in the form of trials and court cases, but through the loss of votes. We must let them know that they are dealing with strict and demanding bosses, and if ever they screw up, they will be kicked out of office.
Hell hath no fury like a voter scorned.
I suppose this call to action is a little bit late for this year’s elections, and a little bit too early for the next one. So take this as an excuse to reflect on our voting habits. A lot of what I’m saying here we already know. We need to stop taking our responsibility for granted. We need to let our voices be heard in saying that enough is enough. It’s time for change.
As Dr. Jose Rizal so elegantly noted, “There are no tyrants where there are no slaves.”
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Knulp Aseo, 21, is a graduate of the University of the Philippines Diliman and currently works in government.
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