PH needs Servant Leader like ‘The Guy’ 

“More than any Filipino President, (Ramon) Magsaysay exemplified the human model of ‘Servant Leadership’. He gave the people a vision of hope for a working democracy and a better life for all, and especially the common people. Intuitively, he was a prophet of an inclusive democracy of, for, and by all the people.”  

This was how the late Dr. Jose V. Abueva, former president of the University of the Philippines system, described the country’s seventh President, whose 65th death anniversary is marked today. 

Magsaysay, dubbed as the “Man of the Masses” and fondly referred to by admirers as “My Guy”, passed away when the plane that was bringing him back to Manila crashed in Cebu in 1957. 

Although it has been 65 years since his passing and he did not finish his term, for many political observers Magsaysay remains the standard by which every other President who came after him is, and should be, judged. 

As Abueva said in his book “Ramon Magsaysay: ‘Servant Leader’ with a Vision of Hope’,” the late President “made people understand what politics and government in a democracy could do to serve and protect them. He made meaningful such concepts as ‘popular sovereignty’, ‘public office as a public trust’, ‘the general welfare’, ‘human dignity’ and ‘social justice’.” 

Magsaysay clearly laid out his kind of leadership in his “Credo”, most of which remains as relevant today as it was during his lifetime. “I believe that the President should set the example of a big heart, an honest mind, sound instincts, the virtue of healthy impatience, and an abiding love for the common man.” 

The Guy declared, “I believe that he who has less in life should have more in law”, oft-quoted by politicians who came after him but who often honored it more in the breach than the observance. 

Magsaysay also expressed his belief “that a high and unwavering sense of morality should pervade all spheres of governmental activity”. He believed “in the majesty of constitutional and legal processes, in the inviolability of human rights.” 

Believing that the “the government exists for the welfare of the masses of the nation”, Magsaysay, as Abueva pointed out, subscribed to the idea of “public service as public trust.” 

It is an idea that Filipinos and people aspiring to “serve them” should keep firmly in mind as the country prepares to elect a new President and other officials in May. 

Whether elected or appointed – or anointed, as some people seem to believe they are – those in government, Magsaysay knew, were put in their positions to serve the people. That is the true essence of Servant Leadership. 

After all, the concept, Abueva’s book underscored, was modeled by Jesus Christ himself, the Anointed – not Appointed – Son of God. (Linda B. Bolido) 

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