Modeling from the president PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 09 October 2017 14:06

By Remedios F. Marmoleño

This hurricane season has been very bad to territories in the Caribbean and among those really hit hard is Puerto Rico, which is a colony of the US. After Hurricane Maria devastated the island Puerto Ricans were left without electricity, cellphone signals, water and food. The mayor of San Juan ( the capital of Puerto Rico) sent an appeal to Donald Trump for help. As is his style The Donald let loose comments that disparaged the Mayor and Puerto Ricans in general.

Making a belated visit to the island, Trump convened officials of the colony and acted like his usual self. Interviewed on a news channel the Mayor referred to Trump as the “Miscommunicator-in-Chief”.

The label for Trump reminded me of an idea that had been percolating in my mind for some days. Thinking of our own situation in the Philippines and the communication style of PRRD I realized that among the many traits needed by an effective leader is to be a good communicator. “Say what you mean and mean what you say.” Sadly this is something absent in PRRD. And I don’t refer only to his frequent use of expletives and profanities.

I  am not suggesting that our president regularly use politically correct language. There are times when something needs to be said and we can’t pussyfoot around how we say what needs to be said. Otherwise the leader comes across as being effete. But there needs to be considered “appropriate language” suitable for the occasion.

Malacañang functionaries cannot be forever coming forward to explain that the president did not mean what we heard and that he really meant something else. Then we begin to wonder if the spokesperson is fibbing. Who or what should we believe?

PRRD has made a habit of proclaiming to the country that he will resign if it is proven that he has hidden wealth,  or challenging the Chief Justice and the Ombudsman that they resign together or saying that he will resign if it is proven that any member of his family is into drugs. Hearing these statements on TV or reading them in the newspaper make me wonder if he might perhaps be putting too little respect and appreciation for the office he holds.

Freedom of expression is something we should guard zealously and no one should be a better model of this than the top official of the land.  Let us all remember that with freedom comes responsibilities and this too must be modeled to us by our own president.