THE Philippines badly needs leaders who will transform the country through their leadership. I am praying for a transformation bloc composed of next-generation leaders with strong following and who show sincerity in their actions and who have new value propositions to come together and forget about themselves to build a transformation agenda under which every Filipino can support collectively. Here are some of my initial recommendations for a Philippine Transformation Platform.

These transformation leaders shall keep the country's interest as their primary concern at all times in all global agreements and relations. The welfare of the Filipinos will be the highest consideration in every national and international policy. No more "utang na loob," no more mendicant, self-pity attitude. The Philippines must know its global worth as a country. We stand with every nation on equal footing.

Full respect shall be accorded to the right of every local government unit to create its own strategies according to law and to the principle of subsidiarity. There must be full support and guidance for all local mechanisms to empower provinces, cities and municipalities to self-actualize as independent components of national development. No more competition but collaboration between local and national governments.

These leaders shall embrace digital transformation and data-driven governance in all aspects of society - healthcare, education, business and commerce, science and more. There shall be full adoption of interoperability and open data sharing across all departments of government for the convenience of citizens and the efficient delivery of public services. No more compartmentalized "to each his own approach" but optimizing the whole of nation approach.

It is always hard to detect, prove and correct corruption in the Philippines in the absence of a strong open data governance framework and policy present in high income to high-middle to middle-income countries. Data-driven integrity frameworks automatically allow citizens to flag fraud and corruption across all government agencies. All government agencies are mandated under the law to publish and share data. In the Philippines, our leaders have no wish to establish public trust earned through open governance. That is why we will continue to stay as a lower-middle-income country. We are caught in the pointless debates about past events -- but never in the institutional debates of empowering citizens to demand integrity in public office earned by developing public trust. Public trust is like a commodity in the Philippines - we trust leaders based on our own opinion. Unstructured data composed of more than 110 million opinions.

There must be serious adoption of sustainable development, harnessing and harmonizing economic, environmental and social resources. No more greed at the expense of the environment and human survival. Climate change has been a very serious issue for many years, but no Philippine president has transcended this issue and designed innovative solutions.

These leaders must fully invest in the human capital, physical, mental, and moral skills. Create and scale skills-based (aside from traditional occupation-centric) certification programs to future-proof the workforce. Increasing the economic complexity of the country but elevating the know-how of Filipinos based on international skills metrics. I have so many other suggestions in this area.

It will hurt our country badly to see more traditional politicians taking the lead. We need a new breed of politicians who will reject traditional ways. Our political system today is deeply characterized by patronage politics, the kind that is transactional, personality-based, control-driven and opinion-focused. Traditional politics impede the full growth of the Philippines. It is time to cleanse the system.

A true leader does not need to destroy himself in the process of leading others. In fact, he or she must continue to build his or her knowledge and integrity as a leader. For he or she understands that by increasing his or her self-worth and integrity, the collective worth of his or her constituency is increased. Destruction of his or her integrity reflects on the integrity of the whole. This is something that many past and present politicians forget. Because of the wrong notion that the seat that they occupy is their own. We often regard our politicians as mere politicians - to me they are our nation's leaders who will carve the future for us. In their hands is the power to decisively affect the destiny of this country. It is not an easy task. It takes a lot of enlightenment, personal sacrifice, humility, patience to understand new things and constant discipline.

No more palliative solutions. These are just initial recommendations. I am praying we have leaders who will unite for these goals. Don't unite for yourselves. Run for Filipinos. Do not run for your parties.