IN this month of November the whole country is celebrating the Filipino Values Month pursuant to Proclamation No. 479 issued on October 7, 1994 by former President Fidel V. Ramos.
This annual celebration is an effective measure to create moral awakening and national consciousness on unique, positive, and genuine values held important by the Filipino people in their daily lives.
On four pillars – maka-Dios (pro-God), makatao (pro-people), makabayan (pro-country), and makakalikasan (pro-nature) – these values mirror the country’s rich tradition and cultural heritage. These four pillars are developed from the people’s direct experiences with others, particularly with parents, teachers, relatives, and friends.
Studies showed that values formation starts in the family, in spiritual life, relationship with others, in the workplace, and in the community. These are kindness, piety, generosity, resourcefulness, and respect for the law, respectively.
Common Filipino values such as being helpful and hospitable unite families, indigenous peoples, societies, and nations. Positive values, especially respect for man’s dignity and honor, make Filipinos productive, responsible, and law-abiding. Values formation starts at home.
Traditionally at home, the parents taught their children to say “po” and “opo” to older people and to kiss their hands as a sign of respect. Our country is a family-centered nation. It can be shown in the care given to children, the generosity towards kin in need, and in the great sacrifice for family welfare. Filipinos take care for their parents or elders especially in their twilight years at home.
Other strong Filipino values we need to preserve are bayanihan or volunteerism, utang na loob or debt of gratitude, sariling sikap or self-reliance, and pakikisama or comradeship. Schools and higher education institutions are urged to reinforce the preservation and promotion of these values in education by incorporating them in the curriculum. Living in a Christian country, we Filipinos are known globally for our good values; our love of God, country, and family; our diligence and hard work; our regard for personal honor and dignity; our compassion, generosity, adaptability, loyalty to a friend or benefactor, respect and our care for the elderly. These values distinguished us from the other nations hence making this country a better place to live in. The advancement of technology, the social media and the materialism affect our good Filipino moral values. Social media opened our doors from the positive and negative values practiced in the other countries. The introduction of these values to our young generation may diminish our good moral values that may lead to its destruction.
On the other hand some of the good Filipino values, such as “utang na loob” and being helpful affected our educational system especially when there is a political intervention. Politics and Education complement each other. However, too much politics may lead to downfall of the quality of education.
According to the book “I Dared to Dream” authored by Mr. Crispin L. Casiple, a retired Department of Education (formerly DECS) Regional Supervisor, political interference was one of the factors that slowed down the educational movement for quality education. This is a sad reality that happened to our basic education system in the past decades that might be one of the factors that lead to further downward shift of the quality of education in the country.
Politicians interfere in the assigning of teachers that before assigning teachers, they should first get the approval of the municipal mayor, the governor, or the congressman. In situation like this, the most likely to be appointed were those not in the rank, bypassing other ranking applicants.
Politicians interfere in the promotion and hiring of teachers. Most likely, those promoted or hired teachers were short of capability and knowhow about the activities of the position. What was worse was that teachers promoted or hired through the blessings of politicians owe their loyalty to them, not to their superiors. Hence, for the sake of quality education, we appeal that these negative values in the past should not be practiced by our present politicians and our authorities in education.