Hear before you condemn Gilas

Image source: Unknown

I refrained at first from commenting on the infamous brawl that took place during the basketball game between the Gilas Pilipinas and the Australian Boomers.

I felt back then that it was not right for me to do so since I failed to watch the game.

But I later felt compelled to air my views given the way some others have reacted against Gilas, which, for me, was unfair.

Of course, I am not about to say that what Gilas did was right. Nor am I to judge them negatively and say what they did was wrong.

But all I wish to convey is we should not be too quick to pass judgment on them without hearing their side of the story.

Bear in mind that in every story, there are always two or even more sides.

Let us then be fair, especially with our very own. Hear before you judge. Hear before you condemn Gilas.


I got married twice on July 16

It is not what you think

Photo courtesy of static1.squarespace.com

It is not what you think. I did not commit Bigamy.

By Bigamy, I am referring to the crime punishable with imprisonment for having a second marriage while the first still exists.

For sure, I will never commit this or any other crime.

Two significant events

But there are significant events in my life that took place on July 16 in two different years.

July 16, 2011

Photo by Nice Print Photography and Exige Weddings

The first was on July 16, 2011.

On that day, my wife Kathy and I exchanged our wedding vows.

Today is our sixth wedding anniversary.

And I am looking forward to more anniversaries to come.

July 16, 2015

Photo by @ClarkDevelopmentCorp

The second was on July 16, 2015.

On that day, I officially joined Clark Development Corporation as Manager of the Legal Department.

Today is my second year in the corporation.

And I am now the Manager of the Litigation Division, which is part of the Legal Affairs Group.

Promise Fulfilled

Marker’s design courtesy of the CDC-Communications Division and words by the author and the Lopez family

When my father, Angelo “Sonny” C. Lopez, Jr., was still alive, he always talked to me about a place called Haduan.

He did so whether we were speaking with each other privately at home or discussing some matters publicly on radio, both of which we loved doing together.

Haduan is a place located in the mountainous part of Pampanga and within the Clark Special Economic Zone.

I could still recall that among the things he often discussed with me about Haduan were some of the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) projects of Clark Development Corporation (CDC) for its people.

Until his death, my father was the Manager of the CDC-External Affairs Department, which is the department responsible for the CSR projects of CDC.

The author at the Haduan Bridge (June 4, 2017)

Back when he was still alive, I had the chance to join him and others in various CSR projects of CDC.

But I must admit that most if not all of the projects where I was able to join him were those held in areas situated in Angeles City.

For some forgotten reasons, I was unable to join him in the CSR projects of CDC for Haduan.

Of course, I regret that I failed to join him in those projects, especially so because I knew he really wanted me to be with him in Haduan.

And so with that in mind, I made a solemn promise on his grave that I would go to Haduan one day.

The author at his father’s Haduan marker (June 4, 2017)

Six days before his second death anniversary, or on the morning of June 4, 2017, a Sunday, I finally set foot in Haduan.

Once in Haduan, I searched for his marker right away and soon after found it.

This was of course with the help of the Haduan tribal chieftain, who knew so much about his good deeds.

As soon as I found it, I gently touched the marker, bearing the photo of my father, and whispered, as if he was right in front of me, the words, “Promise Fulfilled.”

Mission Accomplished

Photo of my father’s marker in Haduan courtesy of Mr. Cesar L. Dimabuyu

Several months after the death of my father, Angelo “Sonny” C. Lopez, Jr., something truly wonderful happened.

On January 22, 2016, then CDC President (now DOTr Secretary) Arthur P. Tugade signed for the corporation a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) for the Haduan Water Supply Project in memory of my father.

It was intended to provide easy access to clean and potable water for the people of Haduan, who in turn had to fetch water from a faraway stream.

The project was dedicated in memory of my father for the pivotal role he had played to make it happen and for his vision for a better life and everlasting love for the people of Haduan.

After more than a year from the signing of the MOA, the project was finally completed sometime this year and inaugurated on March 29, 2017.

Of course, with its completion, my father, wherever he may be, can now proudly declare to all that it is mission accomplished for him.

[Note: CDC and DOTr stands for Clark Development Corporation and Department of Transportation, respectively.]

The Servant Leader (Third and Final Part)

the-servant-leaderIn its succeeding Chapters titled respectively as The Head, Hands, Habits, and Conclusion, you will find even more of the useful if not valuable lessons on Servant Leadership.

For ready reference, I am reproducing below some of these lessons, which I am certain will be worth reading even though a bit lengthy:

The Head

  1. Servant leadership begins with a clear and compelling vision of the future that excites passion in the leader and commitment in those who follow.
  1. If everyone does not understand your purpose or is not excited and passionate about it, your organization will begin to lose its way.
  1. A clear purpose or mission provides direction. Without clear direction, your leadership does not matter.
  1. Fewer than ten percent of organizations around the world have clear, written values. But values are important because they drive people’s behavior while they are working on the purpose and the picture of the future.

4.1.    Most organizations that do have values either have too many values and/or they are not ranked. Research shows that people cannot focus on more than three or four values if you really want to impact behavior. Also, values must be ranked to be effective. Why? Because life is about value conflicts. When these conflicts arise, people need to know what value they should focus on.

  1. What are the key values of your organization? How are they ranked in order of importance? True success in servant leadership depends on how clearly values are defined, ordered, and lived by the leader.
  1. As a leader, let your people know what is expected so they can excel.
  1. Jesus was really clear about the vision for His ministry. He was clear about the final exam.

7.1.    And once a leader’s vision is clear, once the final exam is set up, then a leader initiates day-to-day coaching. You prepare people to be able to pass the final exam, to live according to the vision.

7.2.    Leadership is not about power, it is not about control. It is about helping people live according to the vision. It is the vision – the purpose, picture of the future and values – that everyone should serve.

  1. Servant leadership starts with a vision and ends with a servant heart that helps people live according to that vision.
  1. Servant leadership starts within the relationships closest to you.
  1. A servant leader in the image of Christ must be by nature a truth-teller and a realist. Honesty in communicating the price to be paid for serving and living out the values of servant leadership is a crucial test of the integrity of the leader.
  1. Remember that Servant Leadership Involves…
  • Setting the vision
  • Defining and modeling the operating values, structure and behavior norms
  • Creating the follower environment with partners in the vision
  • Moving to the bottom of the hierarchy with service in mind


  1. A key role servant leaders often play is facilitating necessary changes.
  1. As a servant leader, you have to identify which changes are necessary to implement your vision, and then help people move in that direction.
  1. Another key element of being a servant leader is to consider people’s development as an equal end goal as their performance.
  1. As a servant leader, the way you serve the vision is by developing people so that they can work on that vision even when you are not around. The ultimate sign of an effective servant leader is what happens when you are not there.
  1. A key activity of an effective servant leader is to act as a performance coach. When Jesus called them to follow Him, He pledged to the disciples His full support and guidance as they developed into “fishers of men.” This is the duty of a servant leader – the ongoing investment of the leader’s life into the lives of those who follow.


  1. Before something can become a habit, it must first be practiced as a discipline.
  1. A wise person once said, “Life is like a tube of toothpaste: you never know what is inside until you are squeezed.” In times of personal crisis, you have to call on the resources of faith that you have already stored up.
  1. The antidote for fear and pride is faith in God’s unconditional love for us. The true servant leader is one who clearly understands what unconditional love is all about and puts it into practice every day.
  1. Servant leaders understand that everyone needs to be heard, praised, encouraged, forgiven, accepted and guided back to the right path when they drift off course. As leaders, we need to practice these behaviors. Why? Because Jesus did!
  1. We do the best we can – we plan, we strategize, we act – but still we all need some outside information to help us see how we are doing.
  1. We all need trusted truth-tellers, preferably those not directly impacted by what we do, who can help us keep on course.
  1. Too often in organizations, self-serving leaders cut off feedback by killing the messenger. Eventually the anti-feedback leader gets blindsided even though people were available who could have given helpful information.
  1. Feedback is a gift.
  1. Even great leaders like Moses can fall victim to their own blind spots. When they do, their effectiveness and credibility as a leader can be impacted unless they have people in their life who have been given permission to call them to task when they get off track.


  1. Leadership is not something you do to people; it is something you do with people.
  1. Jesus is the master of the art of living and leading as an act of service. He loves it when you call on Him. He is only a prayer away as your leadership guide and inspiration. You are not called to lead by yourself.

The Servant Leader (Second Part)

the-servant-leaderSelf-Serving Leaders vs. Servant Leaders

In its Chapter titled The Heart, the authors showed us how to easily spot the difference between Self-Serving Leaders and Servant Leaders.

I am certain this was done purposely in order for us to have a clear if not a better understanding of what Servant Leadership means.

Of course, having a clear understanding of what this leadership model is all about is essential in ensuring that we attain our ultimate goal of becoming Servant Leaders.

Thus, the authors wrote:

One of the quickest ways you can tell the difference between a servant leader and a self-serving leader is how they handle feedback, because one of the biggest fears that self-serving leaders have is to lose their position.

Self-serving leaders spend most of their time protecting their status. If you give them feedback, how do they usually respond? Negatively. They think your feedback means you do not want their leadership anymore.

Servant leaders, however, look at leadership as an act of service. They embrace and welcome feedback as a source of useful information on how they can provide better service.

Another way to tell a self-serving from a servant leader is how they approach succession planning.

Self-serving leaders who are addicted to power, recognition and who are afraid of loss of position are not likely to spend any time or effort in training their replacements.

Furthermore, the authors wrote:

Servant leaders, who consider their position as being on loan and as an act of service, look beyond their own season of leadership and prepare the next generation of leaders.

Moreover, the authors wrote:

A servant leader never asks anyone to do something they would not be willing to do themselves.

The authors further wrote:

When we are fearful, we are protective of ourselves at work and at home. Fearful leaders may hide behind their positions, withhold information, intimidate others, become “control freaks” and discourage honest feedback.

The authors also wrote:

When the origin of an idea is more important than the idea itself, that is a matter of pride.

And on making decisions out of pride, the authors had these important words to say:

If your pride is in charge, ask yourself, “What is hurting you?” Do you really want to make a decision out of pride?

When you make decisions out of pride, know that those decisions are not going to give you the best long-term results. You might get a mile or so down the road, but such decisions will not see you through the entire trip.