by Jean Madeleine Avila, RMTLI NextGen Youth Leader
I remember meeting my fellow NextGen Leaders last year and my favorite part about getting to know them is the mutual release of frustration when we talk about trying to put our thoughts into action. The validation that we are all struggling to ignite the change we need for a just and humane society. The people who are of utmost importance to us are the least, the last, and the lost, and building a just and humane community is the goal we set for ourselves to do. However, we often find ourselves facing difficult obstacles in achieving that goal. Often, the people in power no longer want to continue radical change in serving those at the margins of society. The discouragement we see is not new to us nor the generations before us yet what the leaders of today and the leaders before us have in common is that we bear and accept the responsibility to serve in our leadership.
During our learning session, we learned a lot about the legacy of Ramon Magsaysay and what the Foundation does to recognize leaders around Asia with the very same leadership values and greatness of spirit that embodied. Ramon Magsaysay is remembered by many things and often, he is known as the Defender of Democracy, the People’s President, and the Champion of the Masses. What all these three have in common is that they all convey the same message of serving the least, the last, and the lost. Most often than not, those who are left at the margins of society are forgotten and not embraced as members. However, Magsaysay reminds us in his Credo that those who have “less in life should have more in law.” It is in this line from the Magsaysay Credo that continues to inspire young leaders like myself to imbibe the Credo at heart. The Credo sets itself apart from the vague characterization of servant leadership, it sets itself as a practical application of democratic governance and empowerment of citizens.
It is critical to stand paramount in remaining true to our values as our values will shine its brilliance to ignite the change we wish to see in the world.
We often hear about leaders around the world who is known for their iron fists and strongman leadership. What I have observed about these leaders is that they exhibit their leadership as a point to power and intensity rather than the point of responsibility to consistently serve others. It is in this light that I see the values of Ramon Magsaysay incomparable to these spectacles of power. It is Magsaysay’s consistent embodiment of compassion, integrity, and humility that sets him apart, that sets him as a transformational leader for the people–the very leader we ought to have in our society.
There is no doubt that frustrations and discouragement will continue to come. However, it is critical to stand paramount in remaining true to our values as our values will shine its brilliance to ignite the change we wish to see in the world. The desire for a society that serves the least, the last, and the lost continues regardless of the dilemmas we face when dealing against the institutions that serve those in power rather than those who have less. It is in this desire that we look to Magsaysay and his Credo and the legacy he has left behind. In this, may we propagate the greatness of spirit for a just and humane society.