A Filipino value or disvalue does not exist alone, in isolation or in a vacuum
. Filipino values like bahala na, utang na loob, hiya, pakikisama,pakiusap are clustered around core values like social acceptance, economic security, social mobility, and are always found in a definite context or setof circumstances.
Both positive values and negative disvalues together form a characteristic constellation in school
(aralan at dasalan [studying and praying],kuwentuhan at laruan [story telling and game], inggitan at tsismisan [envying and gossiping]), which differs from the configuration found
(pagkakaisa [unity] , pagkabayani [heroism], intriga [intrigue], palakasan [show of power], sipsipan [bribery], palusot),
(palabra de honor [word of honor], delicadeza [finesse], "commission", "kickback", padulas [grease money], lagay [bribe]), or
in thebarrio barangays
(paggalang [honoring], pagdadamayan [comforting], bayanihan [cooperation], bahala na [come what may], utang na loob[gratefulness], hiya[shame]/pakiusap[appear], palakasan [show of power]).
To change a framework of values, it may be necessary to change theconstellation and context of those negative values that hinder Filipino and Christian development.
we can speak of Filipino values in the sense that the historical consciousness of values has evolved among our people. The Filipinoconcept of justice has evolved from inequality to equality, and to human dignity; from the tribe, to the family, and to the nation(6).Filipino
consciousness of these different values varies at different periods of our history.It is only in the last two decades that the Filipino people have become more conscious of overpopulation and family planning, environmental pollution(Kawasaki sintering plant) and wildlife conservation (Calauit Island), and the violation of human rights (Martial Law), active non-violence and PeoplePower (1986 non-violent Revolution).FILIPINO VALUES: AMBIVALENCE AND SPLIT-LEVEL CHRISTIANITY
Are Filipino values good or bad?
The truth is that Filipino values are ambivalent in the sense that they are a potential for good or evil, a help or hindrance to personal and national development, depending on how they are understood, practiced or lived.
They can be used in a good or evilcontext
, e.g., pakikisama sa kabuktutan or sa kaunlaran. Filipino values have both positive and negative aspects depending on the context in whichthey are found.
In a social system or atmosphere of extreme insecurity, the positive qualities of the Filipino take on negative and ugly appearances
. For example, utang na loob can lead to pakiusap, nepotism and "cronyism". Pagmamay-ari ng kapangyarihan (the possession of power) and their abusecould lead to class distinction or the "malakas-mahina system". Hiya can become pakitang tao or gaya-gaya; machismo (tunay na lalake) is partlyresponsible for the "querida system" and the doble kara morality.To show the
ambivalence of Filipino values
, one example will suffice. Take the well known but ambivalent Filipino
bahala na mentality
. On the onehand, this Filipino attitude could be the root of the positive value of risk taking, entrepreneurship, and social responsibility.
Prof. Jose de Mesa
, in apioneer book on the Filipino and Christian meaning of bahala na, stresses the positive meaning of this virtue of risk- taking, enterprise and joint trust inboth human effort (bahala tayong lahat) and divine Providence (bahala ang Maykapal)(7).
A people's will to take chances and risks, no matter what difficulties and problems the future entails, is necessary for a nation's growth anddestiny.
Bahala na could be a genuine faith and trust in Divine Providence that also presupposes a self-reliance (pagsasarili) that took the form of People Power in the EDSA revolution. Bahala na was a positive and nationalistic virtue for Jose Rizal, who believed that Filipinos could no longer relyon the Spaniards, but only on themselves and on God.On the other hand, in the past the
negative aspect of bahala na which dominated Filipino life meant a false sense of resignation
(ganyan langang buhay), a
superstitious belief or blind faith
(malas/suwerte, tadhana, kapalaran), or
escape from decision-making and social responsibility
.As such it may be the root cause of national apathy (walang pakialam) and collective paralysis of action (bakit pa kikilos) to solve both local andnational problems. Everything is already predetermined or fated.
Negatively, bahala na could engender a false sense of security with God as insurance or a security blanket
. For example, if God wants Filipinofamilies to have plenty of children (anak ay kayamanan), God will take care of everything. Bahala na could be the cause of the absence of nationalinitiative and of that discipline required for national growth.When negative bahala na prevails, nothing ever gets done. Potholed roads, uncollected garbage, countless unsolved murders, carnaping andsmuggling remain year after year. How many have ever been arrested, convicted or jailed for wanton murder or for notorious graft and corruption?
Asense of national frustration, helplessness, and despair grips the nation and the people no longer care
. Nothing is going to happen--Bahalana, come what may.
From a Filipino perspective, what social reforms are necessary to transform bahala na positively?
No society will long endure unless there is justice; that is, unless a system of reward and punishment exists and is effective. If in Philippine society lying and stealing people's money arerewarded and truthfulness and honesty are punished, what else can one expect but a badly broken political will for national reform?
The present government should therefore prioritize an effective system of universal sanctions for those who hold power
. From a Christianperspective, the Christian doctrines of divine Providence, creation, stewardship of land and property, and the conservation of our natural resourcesremain the challenge and task of parents, educators, and Christian evangelizers.
Split-level Christianity or double-standard morality
, the immorality and hypocrisy of many so-called Filipino Christians, is a scandal to bothChristians and non-Christians alike.(8)It is important to distinguish between
in all its varied forms and
;between bad and good Christians. We must also take into account the ambiguity of any religious commitment, which is not something made once andfor all, but a life-long process which demands constant conversion and renewal. We must also distinguish between Filipino actual and normativebehaviour (
between what is and what ought to be)
.Filipino values are not static, i.e., they are not simply what they are, but dynamic, i.e., they become. From a historical perspective, the question to ask