Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon M. Lopez today called for transformational leaders in government with crucial traits in integrity, competence and energy (ICE) specially in this pandemic period where the country continued to wallow in hunger and unemployment on prolonged strict quarantine restrictions.
In a speech at the 2021 Career Executive Service Leadership Conclave of the Career Executive Service Board (CESB) of the Civil Service Commission, the DTI Secretary stressed, “As we deal with the unforeseen health and economic crisis brought about by COVID-19, the Philippines needs to rely on its leaders more than ever in seeking solutions to manage and solve the many challenges that our country faces.”
Lopez, known for his monicker as “SuperMon” in the Duterte Cabinet for being the hardworking Secretary, said that ICE is a personal mantra in his kind of leadership.
“You cannot lose any one trait if you want to be a true leader or even a true person. Having Competence and Energy or Hard Work but without Integrity is dangerous. Having Integrity and Energy but without Competence can make you a nice person but most likely ineffective. Having Competence and Integrity but without Energy and Hard Work can make one almost an ideal person and worker, but nothing can be achieved if the person is what we call, tamad,” said the trade chief, who served as executive director of Go Negosyo championing entrepreneurship to lead people out of poverty before joining the Duterte government.
According to Lopez, today’s leaders in office are faced with the delicate act of balancing health and economy, of keeping people safe from COVID-19 while making sure they still have jobs and employment. “But in anything that we do, we have to keep in mind that all our actions should be for the good of our people. And at the end of the day, leaders need to keep the good of the people as their true north to guide them,” he stressed.
Given that the concept of leadership has been changing and being redefined in a volatile, uncertain, complex, ambiguous, and digital world, Lopez said leaders need to leave their comfort zone, reinvent themselves, and quickly adapt and respond effectively. “Otherwise, our people—whether as an organization or as a nation— will be doomed to obsolescence, unable to think and act quick enough to survive in the post-pandemic economy,” said Lopez, who together with the members of the economic cluster of the Cabinet has continuously pushed for the reopening of the economy further amid real hunger and malnutrition amid high unemployment in the country.
The Inter Agency Task Force approved the recommendation of the economic managers to ease restrictions and to place the entire country under the more relaxed modified general community quarantine status from the current general community quarantine, but was turned down by President Duterte saying mobility restrictions can only be allowed once inoculation of COVID-19 vaccines starts. Arrival of vaccines, however, has remained uncertain, much less the start of inoculation.
After almost a year of strict quarantines, Lopez said the Philippines is “very challenged now”, even as he also said that whatever the government is doing “it should be for the good of the people.”
“Today’s leaders in office are faced with the delicate act of balancing health and economy, of keeping our people safe from COVID-19 while making sure they still have jobs and employment. But in anything that we do, we have to keep in mind that all our actions should be for the good of our people. And at the end of the day, leaders need to keep the good of the people as their true north to guide them,” he stressed.
To this end, he said, DTI believes in transformational leadership that aim to bring positive changes so as to create a culture of trust and innovation. “These transformational leaders should communicate clarity of vision. They should also have a consistently caring conscience and a commitment to collaboration and checking,” he said.
In the case of the DTI, this means communicating clarity its vision and making everyone onboard for its thrust of “Trabaho, Negosyo, Konsyumer”.
He said DTI is working towards creating its own transformational leaders while participating in the program to Institutionalize Meritocracy and Excellence in Human Resource Management (PRIME-HRM) of the CSC. This program is a mechanism that empowers government agencies by developing their HRM competencies, systems, and practices toward excellence. On this journey, DTI has achieved a Bronze Award for achieving Maturity Level II CSC-accreditation across all four core HR Management Systems nationwide.
In closing, Lopez said “For the participants, we hope that you take advantage of today’s events and other leadership programs so that you can become capable leaders of the country. But as you do so, remember to always keep the good of our people as your true north.”