The events at EDSA in February 1986 not only ousted a dictator, but also demonstrated to the world and to ourselves our great strengths as a people. At EDSA we saw courage, determination and strength of purpose; we saw unity and concern for one another; we saw deep faith in God; and even in the grimmest moments, there was some laughter and humor.
We were proud of ourselves at EDSA and we expected great changes after our moment of glory. Today, sometime after, we realize that most of our problems as a nation still remain. We may have ousted a dictator, but that was the easy part. The task of building a nation is so much more difficult.
Now, with EDSA only an inspiring memory, we are faced with our weaknesses. Self-interest and disregard for the common good rears its ugly head. We are confronted with our lack of discipline and rigor, our colonial mentality, and our emphasis on porma (form).
Despite our great display of people’s power, now we are passive once more, expecting our leaders to take all responsibility for solving our many problems.
The task of building our nation is an awesome one. There is need for economic recovery. There is need to re-establish democratic institutions and to achieve the goals of peace and genuine social justice.
Along with these goals, there is a need as well to build ourselves as a people. There is need to change structures and to change people.
Building a people means eliminating our weaknesses and developing our strengths; this starts with the analysis, understanding, and appreciation of these strengths and weaknesses. We must take a good look at ourselves–objectively with scientific detachment, but also emotionally (i.e., lovingly) and, when appropriate, with disgust.
We must view ourselves as might a lover viewing a loved one but also as might a judge capable of a harsh verdict. We must not be self-flagellating, but neither can we afford to be defensive.
We must change, and for this understanding ourselves is the first step.
STRENGTHS OF THE FILIPINO CHARACTER
Pakikipagkapwa-Tao (regard for others). Filipinos are open to others and feel one with others. We regard others with dignity and respect, and deal with them as fellow human beings.
Pakikipagkapwa-tao is manifested in a basic sense of justice and fairness, and in concern for others. It is demonstrated in the Filipino’s ability to empathize with others, in helpfulness and generosity in times of need (pakikiramay), in the practice of bayanihan or mutual assistance, and in the famous Filipino hospitality.
Filipinos possess a sensitivity to people’s feelings or pakikiramdam, pagtitiwala or trust, and a sense of gratitude or utang-na-loob. Because of pakikipagkapwa-tao, Filipinos are very sensitive to the quality of interpersonal relationships and are very dependent on them: if our relationships are satisfactory, we are happy and secure.
Pakikipagkapwa-tao results in camaraderie and a feeling of closeness one to another. It helps promote unity as well a sense of social justice.
Family Orientation. Filipinos possess a genuine and deep love for the family, which includes not simply the spouses and children, parents, and siblings, but also grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, godparents, and other ceremonial relatives.
To the Filipino, one’s family is the source of personal identity, the source of emotional and material support, and the person’s main commitment and responsibility.
Concern for family is manifested in the honor and respect given to parents and elders, in the care given to children, the generosity towards kin in need, and in the great sacrifices one endures for the welfare of the family. This sense of family results in a feeling of belonging or rootedness and in a basic sense of security.
Joy and Humor. Filipinos have a cheerful and fun-loving approach to life and its ups and downs. There is a pleasant disposition, a sense of humor, and a propensity for happiness that contribute not only to the Filipino charm, but to the indomitability of the filipino spirit.
Laughing at ourselves and our trouble is an important coping mechanism. Often playful, sometimes cynical, sometimes disrespectful, we laugh at those we love and at those we hate, and make jokes about our fortune, good and bad.
This sense of joy and humor is manifested in the Filipino love for socials and celebrations, in our capacity to laugh even in the most trying of times, and in the appeal of political satire.
The result is a certain emotional balance and optimism, a healthy disrespect for power and office, and a capacity to survive.
Flexibility, Adaptability and Creativity. Filipinos have a great capacity to adjust, and to adapt to circumstances and to the surrounding environment, both physical and social. Unplanned or unanticipated events are never overly disturbing or disorienting as the flexible Filipino adjusts to whatever happens.
We possess a tolerance for ambiguity that enables us to remain unfazed by uncertainty or lack of information. We are creative, resourceful, adept at learning, and able to improvise and make use of whatever is at hand in order to create and produce.
This quality of the Filipino is manifested in the ability to adapt to life in any part of the world; in the ability to make new things out of scrap and to keep old machines running; and, of course, in the creative talent manifested in the cultural sphere. It is seen likewise in the ability to accept change.
The result is productivity, innovation, entrepreneurship, equanimity, and survival.
Hard work and Industry. Filipinos have the capacity for hard work, given proper conditions. The desire to raise one’s standard of living and to possess the essentials of a decent life for one’s family, combined with the right opportunities and incentives, stimulate the Filipino to work very hard.
This is manifested most noticeably in a willingness to take risks with jobs abroad, and to work there at two or three jobs. The result is productivity and entrepreneurship for some, and survival despite poverty for others.
Faith and Religiosity. Filipinos have a deep faith in God. Innate religiosity enables us to comprehend and genuinely accept reality in the context of God’s will and plan.
Thus, tragedy and bad fortune are accepted and some optimism characterizes even the poorest lives.
Filipinos live very intimately with religion; this is tangible–a part of everyday life. We ascribe human traits to a supernatural God whom we alternately threaten and thank, call upon for mercy or forgiveness, and appease by pledges. Prayer is an important part of our lives.
The faith of the Filipino is related to bahala na, which, instead of being viewed as defeatist resignation, may be considered positively as a reservoir of psychic energy, an important psychological support on which we can lean during difficult times. This pampalakas ng loob allows us to act despite uncertainty.
Our faith and daring was manifest at EDSA and at other times in our history when it was difficult to be brave. It is seen also in the capacity to accept failure and defeat without our self-concept being devastated since we recognize forces external to ourselves as contributing to the unfolding of events in our lives.
The results of the Filipino’s faith are courage, daring, optimism, inner peace, as well as the capacity to genuinely accept tragedy and death.
Ability to Survive. Filipinos have an ability to survive which is manifested in our capacity for endurance despite difficult times, and in our ability to get by on so little. Filipinos make do with what is available in the environment, even, e.g., by eking out a living from a garbage dump.
This survival instinct is related to the Filipinos who bravely carry on through the harshest economic and social circumstances. Regretfully, one wonders what we might be able to do under better circumstances.
WEAKNESSES OF THE FILIPINO CHARACTER
Extreme Personalism. Filipinos view the world in terms of personal relationships and the extent to which one is able personally to relate to things and people determines our recognition of their existence and the value.
There is no separation between an objective task and emotional involvement. This personalism is manifested in the tendency to give personal interpretations to actions, i.e., to “take things personally.”
Thus, a sincere question may be viewed as a challenge to one’s competence or positive feedback may be interpreted as a sign of special affection. There is, in fact, some basis for such interpretations as Filipinos become personal in their criticism and praise. Personalism is also manifested in the need to establish personal relationships before any business or work relationship can be successful.
Because of this personalistic world view, Filipinos have difficulty dealing with all forms of impersonal stimuli. For this reason one is uncomfortable with bureaucracy, with rules and regulations, and with standard
procedures–all of which tend to be impersonal. We ignore them or we ask for exceptions. (Related: Moral Standards and Non Moral Standards
Personal contacts are involved in any transaction and are difficult to turn down. Preference is usually given to family and friends in hiring, delivery of services, and even in voting. Extreme personalism thus leads to the graft and corruption evident in Philippine society.
Extreme Family-Centeredness. While concern for the family is one of the Filipino’s greatest strengths, in the extreme it becomes a serious flaw. Excessive concern for the family creates an in-group to which the Filipino is fiercely loyal, to the detriment of concern for the larger community or the common good.
Excessive concern for family manifests itself in the use of one’s office and power as a means of promoting the interests of the family, in factionalism, patronage, and political dynasties, and in the protection of erring family members. It results in lack of concern for the common good and acts as a block to national consciousness.
Lack of Discipline. The Filipino’s lack of discipline encompasses several related characteristics. We have a casual and relaxed attitude towards time and space which manifests itself in lack of precision and compulsiveness, in poor time management and in procrastination.
We have an aversion to following strictly a set of procedures, which results in lack of standardization and quality control.
We are impatient and unable to delay gratification or reward, resulting in the use of short cuts, skirting the rules (the palusot syndrome) and in foolhardiness. We are guilty of ningas cogon, starting out projects with full vigor and interest which abruptly die down, leaving things unfinished.
Our lack of discipline often results in inefficient and wasteful work systems, the violation of rules leading to more serious transgressions, and a casual work ethic leading to carelessness and lack of follow-through.
Passivity and Lack of Initiative. Filipinos are generally passive and lacking in initiative. One waits to be told what has to be done. There is a strong reliance on others, e.g., leaders and government, to do things for us.
This is related to the attitude towards authority. Filipinos have a need for a strong authority figure and feel safer and more secure in the presence of such an authority. One is generally submissive to those in authority, and is not likely to raise issues or to question decisions.
Filipinos tend to be complacent and there rarely is a sense of urgency about any problem. There is a high tolerance for inefficiency, poor service, and even violations of one’s basic rights. In many ways, it can be said that the Filipino is too patient and long-suffering (matiisin), too easily resigned to one’s fate. Filipinos are thus easily oppressed and exploited.
Colonial Mentality. Filipinos have a colonial mentality which is made up of two dimensions: the first is a lack of patriotism or an active awareness, appreciation, and love of the Philippines; the second is an actual preference for things foreign.
Filipino culture is characterized by an openness to the outside–adapting and incorporating the foreign elements into our image of ourselves. Yet this image is not built around a deep core of Philippine history and language.
The result is a cultural vagueness or weakness that makes Filipinos extraordinarily susceptible to the wholesome acceptance of modern mass culture which is often Western. Thus, there is preference for foreign fashion, entertainment, lifestyles, technology, consumer items, etc.
The Filipino colonial mentality is manifested in the alienation of the elite from their roots and from the masses, as well as in the basic feeling of national inferiority that makes it difficult for Filipinos to relate as equals to Westerners.
Kanya-Kanya Syndrome. Filipinos have a selfish, self-serving attitude that generates a feeling of envy and competitiveness towards others, particularly one’s peers, who seem to have gained some status or prestige.
Towards them, the Filipino demonstrated the so-called “crab mentality”, using the levelling instruments of tsismis, intriga and unconstructive criticism to bring others down. There seems to be a basic assumption that another’s gain is our loss.
The kanya-kanya syndrome is also evident in personal ambition and drive for power and status that is completely insensitive to the common good. Personal and in-group interests reign supreme.
This characteristic is also evident in the lack of a sense of service among people in the government bureaucracy. The public is made to feel that service from these offices and from these civil servants is an extra perk that has to be paid for.
The kanya-kanya syndrome results in the dampening of cooperative and community spirit and in the denial of the rights of others.
Lack of Self-Analysis and Self-Reflection. There is a tendency in the Filipino to be superficial and even somewhat flighty. In the face of serious problems both personal and social, there is lack of analysis or reflection.
Joking about the most serious matters prevents us from looking deeply into the problem. There is no felt need to validate our hypotheses or explanations of things. Thus we are satisfied with superficial explanations for, and superficial solutions to, problems.
Related to this is the Filipino emphasis on form (maporma) rather than upon substance. There is a tendency to be satisfied with rhetoric and to substitute this for reality. Empty rhetoric and endless words are very much part of public life.
As long as the right things are said, as long as the proper documents and reports exist, and as long as the proper committees, task forces, or offices are formed, Filipinos are deluded into believing that what ought to be actually exists.
The Filipino lack of self-analysis and our emphasis upon form is reinforced by an educational system that is often more form than substance and a legal system that tends to substitute law for reality.
THE MANY FACES OF THE FILIPINO
From this discussion of the strengths and weaknesses of the Filipino, it is clear that there is much that is good here, but there is also much that needs to be changed. Many of our strong points are also the sources of our weakness.
As a people, we are person-oriented, and relationships with others are a very important part of our lives. Thus, we are capable of much caring and concern for others.
On the other hand, in the extreme our person orientation leads to lack of objectivity and a disregard for universal rules and procedures so that everyone, regardless of our relationship with them, is treated equally. Our person orientation leads us to be concerned for people, and yet unfair to some.
Our family orientation is both a strength and a weakness, giving us a sense of rootedness and security, both very essential to any form of reaching out to others. At the same time, it develops in us an in-group orientation that prevents us from reaching out beyond the family to the larger community and the nation.
Our flexibility, adaptability and creativity is a strength that allows us to adjust to any set of circumstances and to make the best of the situation. But this ability to “play things by ear” leads us to compromise on the precision and discipline necessary to accomplish many work-oriented goals.
Our sense of joy and humor serves us well in difficult times. it makes life more pleasant, but serious problems do need serious analysis, and humor can also be destructive.
Our faith in God and our religiosity are sources of strength and courage, but they also lead to an external orientation that keeps us passive and dependent on forces outside ourselves.
There are other contradictions in the many faces of the Filipino. We find pakikipagkapwa-tao and the kanya-kanya mentality living comfortably together in us. We are other-oriented and capable of great empathy; and yet we are self-serving, envious of others, and unconstructively critical of one another.
We also find the Filipino described alternately as hardworking and lazy. Indeed we see that we are capable of working long and hard at any job.
However, our casual work ethic as well as our basic passivity in the work setting also is apparent as we wait for orders and instructions rather than taking the initiative.
The strengths and weaknesses of the Filipino have their roots in many factors such as: (1) the home environment, (2) the social environment, (3) culture and language, (4) history, (5) the educational system, (6) religion, (7) the economic environment, (8) the political environment, (9) mass media, and (10) leadership and role models.
The Family and Home Environment. Childbearing practices, family relations, and family attitudes and orientation are the main components of the home environment. Childbearing in the Filipino family is characterized by high nurturance, low independence training, and low discipline.
The Filipino child grows up in an atmosphere of affection and over protection, where one learns security and trust, on the one hand, and dependence, on the other. In the indulgent atmosphere of the Filipino home, rigid standards of behavior or performance are not imposed, leading to a lack of discipline.
Attempts to maintain discipline come in the form of many “no’s” and “don’ts” and a system of criticism to keep children in line. Subtle comparisons among siblings also are used by mothers to control their children.
These may contribute to the “crab mentality.”
In a large family where we are encouraged to get along with our siblings and other relatives, we learn pakikipagkapwa-tao. In an authoritarian setting we learn respect for age and authority; at the same time we become passive and dependent on authority.
In the family, children are taught to value family and to give it primary importance.
The Social Environment. The main components of the social environment are social structures and social systems such as interpersonal religious and community interaction.
The social environment of the Filipino is characterized by a feudal structure with great gaps between the rich minority and the poor majority. These gaps are not merely economic but cultural as well, with the elite being highly westernized and alienated from the masses. This feudal structure develops dependence and passivity.
The Filipino is raised in an environment where one must depend on relationships with others in order to survive. In a poor country where resources are scarce and where the systems meant to respond to people’s needs can be insensitive, inefficient, or non-existent, the Filipino becomes very dependent on kinship and interpersonal relationships.
Sensitivity about hurting established relationships controls our behavior. We are restrained from making criticisms no matter how constructive, so standards of quality are not imposed.
We have difficulty saying no to requests and are pressured to favor our family and friends. That trying to get ahead of others is not considered acceptable exerts a strong brake upon efforts to improve our individual performance. The struggle for survival and our dependence on relationships make us in-group oriented.
Culture and Language. Much has been written about Filipino cultural values. Such characteristics such as warmth and person orientation, devotion to family, and sense of joy and humor are part of our culture and are reinforced by all socializing forces such as the family, school, and peer group.
Filipino culture rewards such traits and corresponding behavioral patterns develop because they make one more likable and enable life to proceed more easily.
Aside from emphasizing interpersonal values, Filipino culture is also characterized by an openness to the outside which easily incorporates foreign elements without a basic consciousness of our cultural core. This is related to our colonial mentality and to the use of English as the medium of instruction in schools.
The introduction of English as the medium of education de-Filipinized the youth and taught them to regard American culture as superior. The use of English contributes also to a lack of self-confidence on the part of the Filipino.
The fact that doing well means using a foreign language, which foreigners inevitably can handle better, leads to an inferiority complex. At a very early age, we find that our self-esteem depends on the mastery of something foreign.
The use of a foreign language may also explain the Filipino’s unreflectiveness and mental laziness.
Thinking in our native language, but expressing ourselves in English, results not only in a lack of confidence, but also in a lack in our power of expression, imprecision, and a stunted development of one’s intellectual powers.
History. We are the product of our colonial history, which is regarded by many as the culprit behind our lack of nationalism and our colonial mentality. Colonialism developed a mind-set in the Filipino which encouraged us to think of the colonial power as superior and more powerful.
As a second-class citizen beneath the Spanish and then the Americans, we developed a dependence on foreign powers that makes us believe we are not responsible for our country’s fate.
The American influence is more ingrained in the Philippines because the Americans set up a public school system where we learned English and the American way of life. Present-day media reinforce these colonial influences, and the Filipino elite sets the example by their western ways.
Another vestige of our colonial past is our basic attitude towards the government, which we have learned to identify as foreign and apart from us. Thus, we do not identify with government and are distrustful and uncooperative towards it. Much time and energy is spent trying to outsmart the government, which we have learned from our colonial past to regard as an enemy.
The Educational System. Aside from the problems inherent in the use of a foreign language in our educational system, the educational system leads to other problems for us as a people.
The lack of suitable local textbooks and dependence on foreign textbooks, particularly in the higher school levels, force Filipino students as well as their teachers to use school materials that are irrelevant to the Philippine setting. From this comes a mind-set that things learned in school are not related to real life.
Aside from the influences of the formal curriculum, there are the influences of the “hidden curriculum” i.e., the values taught informally by the Philippine school system. Schools are highly authoritarian, with the teacher as the central focus.
The Filipino student is taught to be dependent on the teacher as we attempt to record verbatim what the teacher says and to give this back during examinations in its original form and with little processing. Teachers reward well-behaved and obedient students and are uncomfortable with those who ask questions and express a different viewpoint. The Filipino student learns passivity and conformity. Critical thinking is not learned in the school.
Religion. Religion is the root of Filipino optimism and its capacity to accept life’s hardships. However, religion also instills in the Filipino attitudes of resignation and a pre-occupation with the afterlife. We become vulnerable also to being victimized by opportunism, oppression, exploitation, and superstition.
The Economic Environment. Many Filipino traits are rooted in the poverty and hard life that is the lot of most Filipinos. Our difficulties drive us to take risks, impel us to work very hard, and develop in us the ability to survive.
Poverty, however, has also become an excuse for graft and corruption, particularly among the lower rungs of the bureaucracy. Unless things get too difficult, passivity sets in.
The Political Environment. The Philippine political environment is characterized by a centralization of power. Political power and authority is concentrated in the hands of the elite and the participation of most Filipinos often is limited to voting in elections.
Similarly, basic services from the government are concentrated in Manila and its outlying towns and provinces.
A great majority of Filipinos are not reached by such basic services as water, electricity, roads, and health services. Government structures and systems–e.g., justice and education–are often ineffective or inefficient.
Since the government often is not there to offer basic services, we depend on our family, kin, and neighbors for our everyday needs. The absence of government enhances our extreme family-and even community-centeredness. We find it difficult to identify with a nation-family, since the government is not there to symbolize or represent the state.
The fact that political power is still very much concentrated in the hands of a few may lead to passivity. The inefficiency of government structures and systems also leads to a lack of integrity and accountability in our public servants.
Mass Media. Mass media reinforces our colonial mentality. Advertisements using Caucasian models and emphasizing a product’s similarity with imported brands are part of our daily lives.
The tendency of media to produce escapist movies, soap operas, comics, etc., feed th Filipino’s passivity. Rather than confront our poverty and oppression, we fantasize instead. The propensity to use flashy sets, designer clothes, superstars, and other bongga features reinforce porma.
Leadership and Role Models. Filipinos look up to their leaders as role models. Political leaders are the main models, but all other leaders serve as role models as well. Thus, when our leaders violate the law or show themselves to be self-serving and driven by personal interest–when there is lack of public accountability–there is a negative impact on the Filipino.
GOALS AND STRATEGIES FOR CHANGE
Goals. Based on the strengths and weaknesses of the Filipino, the following goals for change are proposed. The Filipino should develop:
1. a sense of patriotism and national pride–a genuine love, appreciation, and commitment to the Philippines and things Filipino;
2. a sense of the common good–the ability to look beyond selfish interests, a sense of justice and a sense of outrage at its violation;
3. a sense of integrity and accountability–an aversion toward graft and corruption in society and an avoidance of the practice in one’s daily life;
4. the value and habits of discipline and hard work; and
5. the value and habits of self-reflection and analysis, the internalization of spiritual values, and an emphasis upon essence rather than on form.
General Stategic Principles. In identifying goals for change and developing our capabilities for their achievement, it is necessary to consider certain general principles:
1. Strategies must be multi-layered and multi-sectoral;
2. Strategies must emphasize change in the power-holders as well as in the masa (people);
3. Strategies should be holistic, emphasizing individual as well as systemic or structural change;
4. The change should involve a critical mass of people;
5. The goals should be divided into small pieces for implementation;
6. Strategies must be connected to the daily life of people; and
7. Strategies must be implemented by an act of the will and involve self-sacrifice.
Multi-Layered, Multi-Sectoral Strategies.
A program of change must adopt strategies that are multi-layered and multi-sectoral. These layers and sectors could consist of the following: (1) the government; (2) non-governmental organizations; (3) people or the masa; (4) the family;
(5) educational institutions; (6) religious institutions; and (7) media. Some strategies should target all sectors of society, while other strategies should focus on particular sectors.
Roles of Power-Holders and the Masa.
To ensure that meaningful change will take place, proposed strategies must emphasize change among power-holders or decision-makers as much as among the masa.
These power-holders and decision-makers hold the key to structures and systems which in most cases need to be set up first before change can take place. Unless the people on top change, it will be difficult to expect real change.
On the other hand, as the masa constitute the greater majority of Philippine society, any program for change will have to target this critical mass. Their active participation and support are indispensable components of our strategies.
Holistic, Individual and Systemic/Structural Change.
Our approach to change should be holistic in that our strategies should facilitate individual as well as systemic or structural change. Individual conversion or renewal, as manifested in changed values, attitudes, habits and behavior, is a prerequisite to social change.
However, individual conversion or renewal needs to be complemented and reinforced by a corresponding systemic or structural transformation. Otherwise, the effect of solely individual renewal would be shallow and limited, especially since many systems and structures in Philippine society themselves are the stumbling blocks to individual renewal.
Critical Mass or Network of Change Initiators.
The initiators of change should not be a few individuals, but a critical mass or network of people highly committed to the goals of change. Aside from initiating change, the role of the critical mass or network of people is to follow through with persistence on the implementation of these strategies. This prevents ningas cogon from setting in.
Restricted or “Bite-Size” Goals.
Strategies for change must be worked on one goal at a time, with everyone’s effort concentrated on the goal chosen for that designated time period. The goals must be cut up into bite-size, realistic pieces, for easier management.
Goals Related to People’s Lives.
Change strategies must be connected to our daily lives, particularly to our economic activities, businesses, professions, occupations and jobs. Value change must likewise address matters close to our hearts, that is, activities and affairs of our families and communities from which change must start.
Act of the Will and Self-Sacrifice. The implementation of these strategies must be an act of the will. If we want change, kailangang kayanin natin. We must be ready for tremendous sacrifice–starting with ourselves.
A. For Developing Patriotism, and National Pride:
We need a national ideology that can summon all our resources for the task of lifting national morale, pride and productivity.
a. We have to write and teach our true history; history books must be rewritten from our perspective.
b. We should include in our education those aspects of the past that are still preserved by cultural communities. The culture and traditions of these minorities should be protected and given importance.
c. We can start instilling national pride by nurturing community pride first. This can be done by setting up community museums where materials reflecting of local history are displayed: old folk re-telling our town or community history in public gatherings; reviving local cultural groups; tracing family trees; having family reunions, etc.
We ought to use Filipino in our cultural and intellectual life. Some of our universities and other institutions have started doing this; the practice should be continued and expanded.
a. We must push for the Filipinization of the entire educational system.
b. We must have value formation in the school curriculum and teach pride in being a Filipino.
c. Literature should be used to instill national pride.
5. Trade and Industry.
We should support the “Buy Filipino” movement by:
a. Identifying and making known the centers of product excellence in the Philippines; and dispersing economic activities based on local product expertise and indigenous materials (i.e., industries should be developed in the respective regions where the required skills and resources already abound).
b. Having a big brother-small brother relationship between companies, where big companies could help related companies improve the quality of their products. The government could also act as a big brother helping these small companies improve the quality of their output.
c. Having an “order-regalo” or “order-pasalubong” (gift) project which targets Filipinos abroad. This could be initiated by both the government and businessmen.
d. Promoting a “Sariling Atin” day when everybody would wear and use Filipino clothes and products only.
a. We can coordinate with KBP, PANA and other media agencies in such projects as the following:
– Giving awards or other incentives to advertisements that promote national pride and patriotism. Conversely, giving “kalabasa” awards or denying incentives to advertisements that promote colonial mentality.
– Prohibiting the use of foreign models in advertisements.
b. We can organize contests (i.e., oratorical, story, drama, essay, etc.) about love for country, and about what Filipinos like about their country or their countrymen. These stories, dramas, essays, and the like can then be made into teaching materials for our schools.
c. We need to use media programs (such as comics and programs in the various dialects) that will reach with the masa or great majority of people. For instance, R. Constantino’s, “How to Decolonize the Filipino Mind”, could be written in comics form in the various dialects.
a. The leadership in the executive, legislative and judicial branches of the government should be models of positive Filipino traits.
b. In order to promote national unity and national integration, the government must attempt a long-range strategy for democratic transformation in Philippine politics.
c. The government must continue and even increase its present efforts to have a more independent economic strategy: it must diversify its sources of assistance and not merely rely on the U.S. or on any other foreign nation.
B. Developing a Sense of the Common Good:
a. The government needs to decentralize its power and give more voice and greater participation to people at the grassroots.
b. Government must widen democratic space, establish political pluralism, and protect and support the forces working for change (e.g., change agents from cause-oriented groups, non-governmental organizations and people’s organizations) instead of repressing them.
c. The government should bring basic services to the depressed areas in a participatory manner, giving the local people a more active role in administering and enhancing such services.
2. Non-governmental organizations.
a. The role of our cause-oriented groups or non-governmental organizations should be both crusading or consciousness-raising and problem solving. Our community groups or people’s organizations can conduct their own projects with the support of non-governmental organizations, religious groups and the government, and empower themselves in the process.
b. Our social institutions need to be mobilized towards a common purpose and shared priorities with the government and the Philippine society as a whole.
c. Our community groups, people’s organizations and non-governmental organizations could promote public forums and discussions wherein pressing national concerns like land reform, graft and corruption, unemployment, etc., can be discussed. The government should participate in these fora and religious should be encouraged to do the same.
d. We can form small study groups in our schools, work places or communities. Through these groups, we can study the various ways by which we can initiate change in our spheres of influence and encourage each other to become role models for our family, peers, and community.
3. Religious Organizations/Movements.
a. Religious family movements, like Marriage Encounter or the Christian Family Movement, can be encouraged to reach out to the poor who are the least prepared for family life. Programs for the poor should be coordinated with the government and religious institutions.
b. The charismatic, cursillo, and born-again movements should be encouraged to concretize spiritual doctrines by reaching out to the poor and contributing to nation-building.
a. Communization of our schools should be developed to give a common experience to students and to foster greater equality in society.
b. Social orientation courses in our schools should be not only for socialization activities, but also for socially-oriented and socially-relevant activities.
C. For Developing Integrity and Accountability:
1. Government Leadership Structure/Systems
a. Our top government officials should serve as models for other workers in the lower echelons of the bureaucracy.
b. Since our leaders are too insulated from what is actually happening at the bottom, they need to be exposed to the realities of social life.
c. The government needs to implement comprehensive, concrete and operational measures to minimize graft and corruption. These measures must be given teeth by establishing groups or institutions vested with police power.
d. There is a need for a more efficient bureaucracy, with a minimum of red tape. The government should systematize information dissemination. For instance, the public should be informed how a government agency administers its services. This and other similar strategies could minimize “fixers” and lessen graft and corruption.
e. A system of reinforcing desirable behavior must be formulated by the government bureaucracy. For example, honest policemen and industrious Metro Aides can be given appropriate recognition, awards, or other incentives.
a. The career executive program given to government officials should be extended, that is, a similar program should be drawn up for all government employees. The program can be a training package called “Public Service”.
b. Our government employees should be given value clarification seminars.
D. For Developing Discipline and Hard Work
1. In both government and private institutions, we need to:
a. provide positive controls; keep performance records; and maintain reward and recognition systems; and
b. get rid of useless, meaningless rules.
2. We ought to reward excellence in whatever Filipinos do by:
a. identifying and making known centers of excellence in the Philippines;
b. looking for, documenting and publicizing success or excellence stories (e.g., local entrepreneurs who have succeeded) using various media;
c. recognizing and encouraging advertisements that convey the value of excellence and depict positive Filipino values; and
d. using media (such as comics, radio programs in the various dialects), that will communicate to the masa in order to depict positive Filipino values, and giving awards to radio, TV programs, and movies that convey these values.
E. For Developing Self-reflection and Analysis
1. Religion/Religious Movements.
The teaching of religion or catechism should be concrete, integrated to daily life, and socially relevant. Our religious movements should not only engage in “spiritual” activities but should specifically reach out to the poor and needy.
2. Small Groups/NGO’s.
a. We can start a movement of small groups (e.g., community groups, work groups, and parish groups) where people can begin to reflect on their situation and that of the country.
b. Some big companies are already inculcating the habit of observation-action-reflection through training programs that use experiential methods. These efforts should be expanded. Specifically, the training programs could be re-designed for use in other contexts, such as in the small groups mentioned in the preceding paragraph.
3. Government Leadership.
a. We should encourage “conversion” at the top level, as manifested in public “repentance” or confession.
b. The Department of Education, Culture and Sports (DECS) and private learning institutions should inculcate the value and habit of self-reflection starting from childhood. Educational methods should not focus on rote learning, but should emphasize reflection and analysis.
c. We can conduct a “national reflection weekend” for officials and employees in all levels and branches of the government. During this weekend, government personnel can repeat the process of the Moral Recovery project, that is, reflect on Filipino traits, then contemplate goals for strengthening the positive traits and changing the negative traits; or a commission or similar unit can go to regional and provincial levels to help the regional and provincial government officials and employees in their reflection.
d. We can strengthen the research arms of government agencies by linking them with universities and non-governmental organizations.
CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
In conclusion, it is recommended that once this report is submitted to the Senate and becomes a Senate Report, the project should be allowed to develop on its own, independent of, but in collaboration with, the legislature.
It is envisioned that training modules could be developed that would enable a critical mass of people to reflect on our strengths and weaknesses as a people.
It is important that these modules not simply communicate the findings of the project, but, more importantly, should attempt to replicate the process of communal reflection that was an essential ingredient of the project methodology.
The project was a powerful experience for the members of the task force. Along with the project findings we wish to share this experience as well, so that together we may understand ourselves, and together we may make an act of the will to become a better people
Image from Rappler