If the Q&A session (62 minutes) was any indication, we touched hearts and minds. Most of the questions were directed at my talk, and the questions kep coming even during the 90 minute cocktail “hour” that followed.
The talk started with what I thought was the national aspiration for economic progress. My premise was that this can only happen as desired if it went at least hand in hand with social and political reforms. And all these must be founded on a well-defined framework of social justice.
The talk – outlined in an 63-slide ppt. – then laid out some fifteen major forms of changes happening in the world and their implications on Life in the 21st Century (Philippines). I mentioned some five evolved forces they must contend with.
A. CITIZENS, CUSTOMERS WILL DEMAND GOODS AND SERVICES FROM BUSINESS CORPORATIONS AND BETTER GOVERNMENT SERVICES AT LOWER COSTS AND GREATER CONVENIENCE;
B. THEY WILL SUFFER GRAFT AND CORRUPTION AND CORPORATE INDIFFERENCE, LESS AND LESS AND AT SOME POINT DEMAND THAT IT STOP;
C. THEY WILL USE SOCIAL MEDIA AND OTHER FORMS OF PRESSURE TO BRING ABOUT CHANGES. SHAMING PEOPLE AND ORGANIZATIONS WILL BECOME A LEGITIMATE PROTEST MODE;
D. THEY WILL USE CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE TO CALL ATTENTION TO THEIR DEMANDS. SOME WILL RESORT TO VIOLENT FORMS OF PROTEST.
I put it plainly by saying that the reputation of the organization they have decided to join and to which they will dedicate their lives is badly tarnish and its social capital badly eroded. I spoke of the need to rebuild it and bring back the kind of police that are “GINAGALANG, PINAGKAKATIWALAAN AT MINAMAHAL NG TAONG BAYAN”. I EMPHASIZED THE KEY ROLE THEY WILL PLAY IN THESE REFORMS.
Many questions were sent forward to the moderator in written form, unsigned. A few brave cadets asked their questions orally.
I am glad the officials heard and adopted, among several major ones, my on-the-spot recommendation to make this symposium a monthly affair with different speakers from different sectors on different topics to fasmiliarize the cadets with burning issues of the day that they may have to help face productively. I have been asked to provide advice to the PNPA…and I was also invited to talk to the Adventist University students.
Quite an honor and privilege for this old man…