Shut up, listen  

Published July 21, 2019, 12:42 AM

by Charissa Luci-Atienza & Bernie Cahiles-Magkilat



Dr. Jun A. Ynares
Dr. Jun A. Ynares

I continue to receive questions regarding the transformation of Antipolo City to one of the country’s fastest developing and most competitive component cities.

Some two weeks ago, I shared in this column one of the pillars of this transformation: empowering our city hall team and the various sectors which contribute to the growth of the city. Empowering them involved “stepping back” on the part of the leader, a leadership concept which author and speaker Lloyd Luna asserts was the original Filipino leadership style.

There were other reasons for the transformation of Antipolo City which many have described as remarkable.

Among them are the three important lessons my teachers taught me and which guided me in the field of public service.

Lesson number one: Shut up and listen.

Lesson number two: If you know the answer, raise your hand.

Lesson number three: Finished or not finished, pass your paper.

Shut up and listen. Raise your hands. Finished or not finished, pass your paper.

Those three lessons helped shape the Antipolo City of today. From a sleepy, bedroom community on top of a hill, it is today a bustling community preferred by many Filipino families to be their home. In the process, the city attracted talents, investors, and entrepreneurs. Together, all these human resources collaborated to create a city they call their own.

That transformation began six years ago when I applied lesson number one. I shut my mouth up and I listened to the people. I listened to their answer to the question. What is your most important aspiration?

Their answer was clear: they wanted a city that is not lagging behind other cities in terms of social, economic, and infrastructure development.

As I listened, I understood the aspiration.

The aspiration was born out of the fact that six years ago, Antipolo lagged behind the other major cities of the Southern Tagalog region. It lagged behind them in the areas of governance; of infrastructure; of health and maternal care, of child welfare, nutrition, and education; of peace and order.

They said they wanted Antipolo to be number one. That gave birth to our battle-cry of our first three years. The battle-cry was, “Antipolo: Numero Uno.”

During those first three years, we discovered three things: first, the power of a shared aspiration; second, the power of a clear vision; third, the power of collaboration.

When I heard my fellow Antipoleños clamor for “Antipolo, Numero Uno,” what I heard was their clear expression of the standard they had set to determine the quality of our governance. They said there is only one standard of quality that would pass their criteria: being numero uno.

That brought us to lesson number two which we learned from our teachers. Lesson number two: If you know the answer, raise your hand. After I had listened to them, it was my turn to ask: How do we fulfill our shared aspiration? Who among you will help? Who will lend a hand? Who will offer and commit their resources, time, and talent to make the city number one?

And just like my teachers, I wrapped up the questions with the invitation… raise your hand.

Many did.

Within three short years, Antipolo garnered the highest award as the country’s Most Competitive Component City. The honors meant that we bested everybody else in the areas of governance, infrastructure development, and ease of doing business. We were no longer lagging behind other cities in terms of economic, physical, and social development.

We were at the head of the pack.

First, that the quality standards we set are defined by our shared aspiration.

Second, that the highest standards of quality are achieved only through collaboration; through people working together to fulfill that shared aspiration.

Some people have asked me why I did not seek a third term. That brings me to the third lesson my teachers taught me: Finished or not finished, pass your paper. The lesson was meant to instill in us the reality that time would not wait for us. We cannot dilly-dally, we have to make the most of what time would allow us to.

I did. I finished what I had to. I passed my paper.

*For feedback, please email it to [email protected] or send it to #4 Horse Shoe Drive, Beverly Hills Subdivision, Bgy. Beverly Hills, Antipolo City, Rizal.