OPINION AND OPTION
By ELINANDO B. CINCO
I had a very informative and insightful lunch recently, as I was lucky enough to be a part of the 2019 Year-end General Membership Meeting of the International Association of Business Communicators, Philippines (IABC).
Personally, I always look forward to joining these meetings and get-togethers, as IABC’s GMMs are among the most anticipated events of the organization’s members, many of whom are my close friends.
Thus, it was a true honor for me to be invited once again to such a momentous occasion. It always fascinates me to be able to converse, discuss, and even sometimes debate with other communicators on various relevant issues.
For the information of our readers,the IABC GMM is even open to the public, so communicators like me get to listen to and interact with high-caliber leaders from diverse range of industries. And this year was no different, as the organization raised the bar even higher in 2019 with their celebrity-status guest.
This year’s IABC event was extra-special, as it touched on one of my favorite topics, which is “trust” and the concept of the public servant. In these trying times, our government never escapes my thoughts, and I am constantly pondering on what it can do to better serve our people, and gather a higher level of trust from our citizens.
One of our country’s most popular public servants shared insights on that topic — TRUST. Mayor Isko Moreno, who is already making waves with his brave and effective leadership of the City of Manila.
I come from a very traditional background in communications and journalism, so I have clearly seen that in this current era when misinformation is increasingly advancing, in spite of technology, and because of it, we are forced to filter out what we should believe and what we should not. And this becomes quite the challenge, especially for traditional journalists like me.
But that is where Mayor Moreno stands out. He explained to us how his online and digital campaigns are actually organic, not something manufactured or created simply to boost ratings or create hype. He believes in action first, and if you commit to making a change in a real and effective way, then this will spread like wildfire on its own merit.
What struck me was how efficiently the m mayor works, as he is able to work hard, fast, while still maintaining a good relationship with the people. And even how he talks is very relatable and down-to-earth, it is simply impossible not to like him. And his experience is undeniable – 18 full years in local legislation. This man is self-made, self-taught, but always gracious for the men and women who taught him and brought him to where he is today.
Thankfully, we had a government leader like our special guest that day, and after his fruitful talk with us, I can confidently say he effectively showed us what authenticity is, and gave us reason to believe, hope, and keep faith in the government system we have today.
It was an interesting format, where Mayor Moreno did away with the usual political speech that we are all used to hearing. Instead, he immediately opened the forum for any and all questions.
Throughout the question-and-answer portion of the program, Mayor Moreno was able to highlight how he utilized his popularity, which he so humbly refused to admit, to set an example for others on how to communicate, how to lead, and how to establish a strong connection of trust with constituents.
He explained how he hates anarchy, tyranny, corruption, and simply desires to act on all the issues and problems that have plagued the City of Manila in the past. Throughout the talk, the whole audience was engrossed: He was humble, never embracing his popularity, and he showed no signs of a grander ambition of higher politics. He shared with us that after being mayor, his dream is actually to be a professor and to teach, as was always his ultimate dream.
Here we see how much he values education and being able to share his knowledge with the youth. If this is a sign of things to come for Manila and for the Philippines, then I am confident we are moving in the right direction.
IABC Philippines President Belle Tiongco put it best, when she said “The IABC is very honored and fortunate to have learned about Mayor Isko’s future plans for the City of Manila, because it gives us hope that yes, we have leaders who are visionaries, whose hearts and souls are in the right place.”
She continued: “He has a sense of history, and a real connection to the land in which he grew up in, the land that was both caring and hostile to him. And he will use these, as most great leaders do, to change the future.”
Tiongco concluded: “This is what we most admire in Mayor Isko; contrary to what others may think. He is not about press releases, as he declares. He is about proper and timely implementation. Mabuhay angMaynila!”
Before the mayor arrived, we were also given the opportunity to get to know the latest data on the Philippine Trust Index, one of the industry’s most cited studies from the EON Group, which looks into levels and drivers of trust among Filipinos on six institutions – the government, the business sector, the media, non-governmental organizations, the church, and the academe. Richard Arboleda, IABC PH vice president, shared with us the latest findings, and these definitely helped shape my view of our political landscape today.
I commend the IABC Philippines for always being an advocate on the issue of truth and authenticity. One of the organization’s flagship programs, the recently Philippine Quill and Student Quill Awards, was anchored on the theme “Express Your Truth” and “Shape the Future.”
I wholeheartedly agree with IABC Philippines Chairman and Meralco PR honcho Joe Zaldarriaga when he said, “It is upon us, as communicators, to bring out what is real, accurate, and true because only through that can we give the next generation a just and honorable world.”