THIS country is running around in circles if we continue to be led by individuals who have poor leadership skills. Government in the Philippines has been a case of trial-and-error these past decades. Not exact, definite science of field of law. Yes, there are structures and systems, but these are mostly vulnerable and pliant to the whims and caprices of individuals controlling these structures and systems. The offices that are set to check the operations of government like the Commission on Audit, Commission on Appointments, Civil Service Commission, Office of the Ombudsman, Commission on Elections and departments of governments are also subject to the personal styles of management and mindset of people managing them. Why is this the case?

One possible cause is the absence of quality standards and key performances indicators for elected leaders and so it goes without saying that they also appoint people in cabinet who are part of their friendship circles and not necessarily based on merits.

Examples are cabinet secretaries who recommend unsafe motorcycle paraphernalia, demand apology from global bodies for our own poor rankings, and recently one, whose aversion for examinations, led him to blurt out quite irresponsibly the recommendation to scrap licensure examinations. Sadly, this cabinet secretary showed very poor grasp of how institutions are built by laws, legislations and legal policies throughout the ages, to even suggest scrapping the bar examinations.

While the innovation sector is busy pushing and creating certifications for various global skills to ensure that a steady match of qualified skilled workers with exact skill sets and competencies are regularly and adequately produced, here comes this bureaucrat suggesting the scrapping of examinations for professional licensures. These types of people running our country hold us back from really embracing our full potential as a nation of the 21st century.

Now in the alternative, here is my satirical counterproposal from a systems-thinking point of view. Why don't we establish statesmanship board examinations? To separate the grain from the chaff. To once and for all separate statesmen and women from plain politicians so we can finally move forward as a country.

For these examinations, all applicants shall submit a testimonial of good moral character from at least three reputable organizations. This is what we do as bar examinees, aside from submitting all sorts of clearances. The politician applicant shall also submit barangay clearance, police clearance, Prosecutors Office clearance, NBI clearance, Ombudsman clearance, and court clearance. He or she must submit an accomplished platform of government template which is duly sworn upon before a notary public with attached strategies and proof of concepts as annexes. No required application fee to take examinations.

For new applicants, there should be no pending administrative or criminal cases in any tribunal involving moral turpitude or grave abuse of office or position, and no next of kin relative by consanguinity or affinity in the same electoral unit. He or she should have graduated from college with at least a GPA of 85 percent.

For renewals or those for re-election, they must submit all requirements for new applicants including documents substantially proving to have made significant developments and improvements during his or her term of office. In short, they must prove that they deserve to be continue in office.

For executive positions, applicant politicians must have at least two years leadership and management experience, ability to manage teams, time and resources, and driven by concrete results and indicators.

For legislative positions, applicant politicians must have at least two years of experience in policy- making in any organization or levels, several units in law, and average writing and verbal communication skills.

For the actual examinations, the tests shall be based on the minimum competence listed under the 21st century skills, with corresponding weight. Twenty five percent each for four domains, namely Problem-Solving Skills (Critical thinking, Ability to develop and drive solutions relevant to given situation, ability to lead and guide large teams to common direction and achieve goals); Creativity and Innovation (Ability to harness latest technologies and ideas to create effective solutions and sustainable strategies resulting to long-term gains, and not just piece-meal palliative effects); Leadership and Resources Management (Ability to use all resources available -- workforce, infrastructure, natural resources, material assets and other resources to drive an overall mission without causing damage to environment and to society, improper and wasteful uses of public funds and assets) and Moral Character - an average level of consistent good moral character as a person in all his or her dealings with society.

To be qualified to run for office, the applicant must achieve a general average of fifty percent. Is that too much to ask from people upon whom our lives and future depend? By some miracle if this happens, I am sure we will have good governance and leadership.