With the new administration now in place, every Juan is waiting for the big CHANGE to take place in our country. The promise of change is one of the most awaited assurances which brought President Digong to where he is now. It is the confidence of the people on his promise that change is about to come.
While waiting for the big CHANGE to happen, let us have a glimpse on President Digong’s background. It is more interesting to check on his financial EQ as a person. A lot of information on his family and professional life has been discussed and widely published but very few know about his financial emotional intelligence.
Now, why put an emphasis on financial emotional intelligence? Why is it important?
Financial Emotional intelligence is the ability to monitor our emotions, to discriminate different existing emotions and label them appropriately, and to use emotional information to guide our thoughts and behavior in managing finances.
As a migrant in Davao, I have heard many stories from locals on how President Digong displayed his emotional intelligence when it comes to finances while serving as Mayor of Davao for seven terms. His thoughts and understanding on the issues of money facilitates in making better decisions. Let us understand that emotions interact with thinking. It is awareness that allows people to be better decision-makers which in turn leads them to achieve their financial goals in life.
A person who is highly emotionally responsive to crucial issues has a better way of dealing with more significant issues in life. Our emotional reasoning and understanding in response to the people, environment and circumstances in life is also related to the aspects of emotional facilitation factor. It gives us a clear idea on the emotions that need to be included or excluded from thought based on context and situation.
As Mayor Digong is not favorable on excessive and extravagant expenditures, it will certainly be reflected in his present administration. In fact, the simplicity of the inauguration ceremony on June 30 was an indication of simplicity in contrast with the past administrations.
When President Digong was mayor of Davao, he insisted that local government agencies and officials should utilize the most economical vehicle in the market. Thus, Toyota Avanza has been the common vehicle being used by local government agencies in Davao. And, now as President of the country, he maintains that everyone in the government especially his cabinet members should practice the same austerity. He told his cabinet members to get rid of their luxurious vehicles and be contented with what the government can afford. He pointed out that the government officials should use the mini multipurpose vehicle, Avanza, since it is the cheapest in the market.
As the new President of the Philippines, President Digong vows to practice a leadership style that would reflect simplicity and diligence. He has always lived a simple life. He stayed within the limits of his salary and allowances that he received when he was still the mayor of Davao. He even drives a 1988 Isuzu pickup truck that he maintains for the past 3 decades (and is planning to continue using now that he is president and refuse to ride the presidential Benz). Simplicity, despite of position, is one component of a financially emotionally intelligent person. He knows his financial goals in life, and this has guided his thoughts and emotions in making decisions. He can easily purchase the latest Toyota Fortuner or Lexus to fit his stature but he never did. He knows the limits of his salary, and he knows how to spend it wisely.
For the people outside of Davao, the first-hand, genuine stories about President Digong’s simplicity are too good to be true. Maybe because of the mindset of Filipinos – where there is power, money and luxury follows.
While President Digong was positively motivated to achieve his personal financial goals, let us check his financial goals for the city of Davao during his term as mayor. Through the years, President Digong exhibits a good example of governance on his personal finances as well as the government funds of Davao – that’s an illustration of a person with good financial EQ. He rejects the impulsive drive to spend excessively the money of the people. He, otherwise, maintains and gives directives to his administration to be frugal in using the money from the people’s coffer. And, he does this while maintaining standards and integrity among the government workers in Davao. The budget of the city was spent on projects that benefit the poor.
One of the most successful projects in Davao is the effective emergency response unit which is considered at par with the emergency response team of other countries in Europe. Accordingly, the city government spent millions to set up the world class 911 Emergency Response Unit, through the effort of President Digong, for the people of Davao. And, for the record, the use of 911 Ambulance is totally free of charge!
It takes a true leader to make grand things happen. I believe that political will is not enough. Policies always come and go. It takes a good leader with political will coupled with high financial emotional intelligence to complete gigantic, insurmountable goals like the ones that the former mayor of Davao has implemented.
Now that he is the 16th President of the country, people are just hopeful for the BIG CHANGE to happen. I, for one, is not only hopeful… but extremely confident that he will be guided by his FEQ. As mentioned in his inaugural speech, “It’s going to be a rough ride”; and, to achieve the goals that he has set for the needed change in our country needs more than political will. With President Digong’s years of experience serving the people of Davao, he has gained the character, and developed the full potential of his financial emotional intelligence. The new challenges and goals given to him as the President of our country will just be a new path to work on towards a better Philippines.
by Zell Sulit, MA
Zell has an MA in Counseling Psychology from the Ateneo de Manila University and completed the Registered Financial Planner program (RFP) Philippines.
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