URA Vice President
In the Filipino language, "isa" means "one", and so "magkaisa" means "unite." I believe at the crossroads of our history as an alliance, we have to be one. We are one in the United Regions Alliance, and this election will again be a reaffirmation of our togetherness in this shared community.
While the role of Vice President, as in many democratic systems, would be largely confined as a supportive function to government, Lanaograd as Vice President will nevertheless pursue the following threefold vision moving forward. This may well be summarized as ISA:
Inclusive and sustainable growth
In its first year, the URA experienced significant growth, but mainly because it had to start from down up. Since then, it has become an alliance where 3 of the 30 plus member regions comprise more than 50 percent of the internal vote. For an alliance that heralds the rights and the importance of small- and medium-sized regions, it is gradually transforming into an institution that appears more accommodating to the larger regions. While it is recognized that the alliance will benefit in attracting the large regions to raise our international profile, we cannot neglect the need for caring and progress among those who are already our member regions. Our average WA membership has since declined from 39 per region in July 2020 to 25 in December 2020, which probably suggests a reevaluation of our collective growth goals. Inclusivity also translates to agreement in our essential and core values. Being an alliance of diversity, there can be issues where conflicts may arise, and can potentially affect perception of our portfolio within the circles of the aggrieved. If elected, I will be a proponent in the Alliance Cabinet to pursue inclusive and sustainable growth for the URA.
Strong and consensus-building World Assembly bloc
As an emerging WA voting and drafting bloc, we need to strengthen and streamline our processes to ensure that we can be an alliance that could effectively and efficiently demonstrate our positions in key resolutions and issues. We also have to continue pursuing ties with other regions and alliances which may be of benefit to our agenda. In relation to this, we must also work in actively promoting WA membership among our member nations, highlighting both its regional and individual importance. If elected, I will be a proponent to create a strong and consensus-building World Assembly bloc out of the URA.
Anticipatory and stable defense program
With the formation of the URA Armed Forces, the alliance has the opportunity to be more proactive in the defense of its member regions. Extended deterrence suggests we have to expand our ties with similarly proactive alliances and regions who could help in our defense policy. To further stress this point, the Philippines, being a founderless region for years, have maintained what was called a "force in being" - a standing force that is always defending, even in times of peace. This principle can be implemented in a larger context with dedicated WA members installed among the member regions of the alliance, building essential influence, actively monitoring potential security threats on the ground, and ensuring that tomorrow there will be allies who can operate effectively for protection, especially in times of vulnerability. This will also help in the assessment of focus areas that may need more immediate action than others. However, it is recognized that a broad-front strategy such as this would require enlarging the military and conscientiously positioning our vital assets, an objective that may well be met in integration with the other platforms cited. If elected, I will be a proponent to maintain an anticipatory and stable defense program.
ISA para kay Lanao
As I always say as regional representative of the Philippines, government work cannot be seen with silo mentality. Every effort is at its core interagency work, whether there are many or few institutions to deal with. We therefore have to keep in mind that working together is the name of the game.
At this point, I would like to flex a bit my credentials as a nation. In my 8 plus years in the NS world, I have served first as Vice President of Global Enterprise. When I moved to the Philippines, my first government service was with the Foreign Affairs Ministry. I also had a stint as Vice President of the Philippines. Currently, I am serving as Regional Affairs Minister of our region. Meanwhile, in the alliance, I have been elected as the first Head of Public Affairs of the URA. Among the pains of a newly created office was the departure and non-committal of early members who comprised the proto-organization. This has shown the impotence of good intentions, but the Public Affairs Council has found ways to adapt and innovate, fulfilling key outputs such as the URA Tribune (as the spiritual successor of the discontinued URA Harbinger) through a recruitment program that prioritized willingness to participate in coordination with core members than top-down appointment of roles. I can be glad that the PAC is receiving much interest now, especially considering how the election for the office is shaping up to be a contested one. Then again, I am aware of the limits of our public service, with our tenure set for six months. It is not always a rose garden, after all, but I believe our commitment to keep getting better despite the circumstances matters.
Don't forget to cast your vote in this election! Every one of them counts.