This one is a conversation about personal risk-taking, “skin in the game”, democracy, values, geopolitics and much more. It is a conversation that resonates based on what is happening across much of the world – particularly the rise of populism and authoritarians like Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro, and the entrenchment of old hands like Vladimir Putin and Turkey’s Recep Erdogan, to name a few. However, it is also a conversation about personal and collective values and taking risks based on these. It, therefore, offers many lessons across a variety of contexts.
My guest is Philippine Congressman and opposition member Gary Alejano. Before becoming a Congressman, Gary was a soldier in the Philippine Marine Corps and risked his life in various combat operations. He was awarded the Medal of Valour for his service to his country.
In 2003, he was one of a group of young officers who led a mutiny to protest corruption in his country’s armed forces. Yes – I said this one is about risk-taking. This was known as the “Oakwood Mutiny” (named after the luxury Manila hotel Alejano and his colleagues occupied). It was an incident that received worldwide attention.
We talk about that. We also talk about his becoming a Congressman and getting into politics – including the negative perception people in the Philippines have about their politicians (which of course, is a phenomenon many people have about their politicians across most countries in the world, particularly now!). We also discuss:
- Opposing his President’s bloody and ineffective “war on drugs”, which by some estimates has led to the deaths of over 20,000 people;
- What is happening inside the Philippines;
- Fake news, democracy and authoritarianism;
- China and geopolitics in the region;
- Running for a Senate seat next year;
- Taking acute personal risks in public life;
- Much more!
I came away from this thinking that Congressman Gary Alejano is one of the world’s good guys. I hope you enjoy this fascinating conversation.
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