Filipino Values and Moral Development

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Filipino Values and Moral Development Strengths and Weaknesses of the Filipino Character

Strengths & Weaknesses of the Filipino Character :
Strengths & Weaknesses of the Filipino Character Note: This material is from Filipino Values & Moral Development published by the Economic Development Foundations in November, 1992 The study was sponsored by the Philippine Senate and was headed by Senator Leticia Shahani. It was conducted by a task force headed by Dr. Patricia Licuanan. The findings were based on bibliographic surveys and interviews and consultations with researchers and practitioners in the behavioral and social sciences, education and social welfare, journalists and social analysts; a nationwide survey of 2000 respondents; and, focus group discussions among residents of an urban poor resettlement area in Bagong Bayan, Dasmariñas, Cavite. From the study was developed “A Moral Recovery Program – Building a People, Building a Nation” Submitted to the Philippine Senate.

Strengths of the Filipino Character 1/8 :
Strengths of the Filipino Character 1/8 Pakikipagkapwa-Tao 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 (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 to one another. It is the foundation for unity as well the sense of social justice.

Strengths of the Filipino Character 2/8 :
Strengths of the Filipino Character 2/8 Family Orientation Filipinos possess a genuine and deep love for family which includes not simply spouse 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 one’s main commitment and responsibility. Concern for the family is manifested in the honor and respect given to parents and elders, in the care given to the children, the generosity towards kin in need, and in great sacrifices one endures for the welfare of the family. This sense of family results in a feeling of belongingness and rootedness in a basic sense of security.

a sense of humor and a propensity for happiness that contribute not only to the Filipino charm but also to the indomitability of the Filipino spirit. while there. innovation. We are creative. optimism. equanimity and survival. quick learners. makes the Filipino work very hard. Thus. in the ability to make new things out of old scraps. This sense of joy and humor is manifested in the Filipino’s love for socials and celebrations. and have the ability to improvise and make use of whatever is at hand in order to create and produce. We ascribe human traits to a supernatural God whom we alternately threaten and thank. Strengths of the Filipino Character 6/8 : Strengths of the Filipino Character 6/8 Faith and Religiosity 1/2 Filipinos have deep faith in God. disrespectful. and in the appeal of political satire. Laughing at ourselves and the mess we are in is an important coping mechanism. We have a pleasant disposition. It is tangible. to work at two or three jobs. Adaptability and Creativity Filipinos have a great capacity to adjust and to adapt to circumstances and the surrounding environment. This quality of the Filipino is manifested in the ability to adapt to life in any part of the world. This is manifested most noticeably in willingness to take the risks with jobs abroad and. Our innate religiosity enables us to comprehend and genuinely accept reality in the context of God’s will and plan. tragedy and bad fortune are accepted and some optimism characterizes even the poorest lives. The desire to raise one’s standard of living and to possess the essentials of a decent life for one’s family. call upon for mercy or forgiveness and appease by pledges. in our capacity to laugh even in the most trying of times. and touchable—a part of everyday life. Thus . we laugh at those we love and at those we hate and we make jokes about our good fortune and bad. We possess a tolerance for ambiguity that enables us to remain unfazed by uncertainly or lack of information. Filipinos live very intimately with religion. Strengths of the Filipino Character 5/8 : Strengths of the Filipino Character 5/8 Hard Work and Industry Filipinos have the capacity for hard work given proper conditions. It is likewise seen in the ability to accept change. Strengths of the Filipino Character 4/8 : Strengths of the Filipino Character 4/8 Flexibility. in the creative talent manifested in the cultural sphere.Strengths of the Filipino Character 3/8 : Strengths of the Filipino Character 3/8 Joy and Humor Filipinos have a cheerful and fun-loving approach to life and its ups and downs. sometimes. Unplanned or anticipated events are never overly disturbing or disorienting as the flexible Filipino adjusts to whatever happens. entrepreneurship. in the capacity to keep old machines running. a healthy disrespect for power and office and the capacity to survive. both physical and social. Often playful. combined with the right opportunities and incentives. The result is productivity and entrepreneurship for some and survival despite poverty for others. resourceful. The result is productivity. The result is a certain emotional balance. and of course.

Personalism is also manifested in the necessity for the establishment of personal relationships before any business or work relationships can be successful. may be considered positively as a reservoir of psychic energy. on so very little. i. Filipinos have difficulty dealing with all forms of personal stimuli. Weaknesses of the Filipino Character 1/8 : Weaknesses of the Filipino Character 1/8 Extreme personalism 1/2 Filipinos view the world in terms of personal relationships and the extent to which one is able to personally relate things and people determines the recognition of their existence and the value given to them. as well as the capacity to genuinely accept tragedy and death. Strengths of the Filipino Character 8/8 : Strengths of the Filipino Character 8/8 Ability to Survive Filipinos have an ability to survive. The faith of the Filipino is related to bahala na which. an important psychological prop on which we can lean during hard times. There is no separation between an objective task and emotional involvement. inner peace. It is manifested in the millions of Filipinos who bravely live through the harshest economic and social circumstances. eking out a living from a garbage dump). Strengths of the Filipino Character 7/8 : Strengths of the Filipino Character 7/8 Faith and Religiosity 2/2 Our faith and daring was manifest at EDSA and other times in our history even when it was difficult to be brave. which is manifested in our capacity for endurance despite difficult times and in our ability to get by.” Thus. Weaknesses of the Filipino Character 2/8 : Weaknesses of the Filipino Character 2/8 Extreme personalism 2/2 Because of this personalistic world view. Filipinos make do with what is available in the environment (e. It is for this . hard work and a deep faith in God. It is also seen in the capacity to accept failure and defeat without our self-concept being devastated since we recognize forces external to ourselves as contributing to how events in our lives turn out.. one wonders what we might be able to do under better circumstances.g. Regretfully. This pampalakas ng loob allows us to act despite uncertainty. 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. The results of the Filipino’s faith are courage. This survival instinct is related to the Filipino’s other strengths— a basic optimism.e. flexibility and adaptability.. There is in fact some basis for such interpretations as Filipinos are quite personal in criticism and praise. “take things personally.prayer is important part of our lives. instead of being viewed as defeatist resignation. This personalism is manifested in the tendency to give personal interpretations to actions. daring optimism.

. It results a lack of concern for the common good and acts as a block to national consciousness. Weaknesses of the Filipino Character 5/8 : Weaknesses of the Filipino Character 5/8 Passivity and Lack of Initiative Filipinos are generally passive and lacking in initiative.g. Extreme personalism thus leads to the graft and corruption evident in Philippine society. in skirting the rules (the palusot syndrome) and in foolhardiness. Filipinos are thus easily oppressed and exploited. We have an aversion for following strictly a set of procedures and this results in lack of standardization and quality control. We have a casual and relaxed attitude towards time and space which manifests itself in lack of precision and compulsiveness. Too easily resigned to one’s fate. and in the protection of erring family members. we ignore them or we ask for exceptions. Personal contacts are involved in any transaction and these are difficult to turn down. Weaknesses of the Filipino Character 3/8 : Weaknesses of the Filipino Character 3/8 Extreme Family Centeredness While concern for the family is one of the Filipino’s greatest strengths. Preference is usually given to family and friends in hiring. Excessive concern for family manifests itself in the use of one’s office and power as a means of promoting the interest of the family. leaders. with rules and regulations and with standard procedures. We are impatient and unable to delay gratification or reward. 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 for the common good. in the extreme it becomes a serious flaw. Our lack of discipline often results in efficient and wasteful work systems violations of rules leading to more serious transgressions and a casual work ethic leading to carelessness and lack of follow-through. In the face of these. government) to do things for us. patronage and political dynasties. in poor time management and procrastination. There is strong reliance on others (e. it can be said that the Filipino is too patient and long suffering (matiisin). In many ways. This is related to one’s attitude towards authority. all of which tend to be impersonal. starting out projects with full vigor and interest which abruptly die down leaving things unfinished. Weaknesses of the Filipino Character 4/8 : Weaknesses of the Filipino Character 4/8 Lack of Discipline The Filipino’s lack of discipline encompasses several related characteristics. factionalism. We are guilty of ningas cogon.reason that one is uncomfortable with bureaucracy. 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. One waits to be told what has to be done. Filipinos have a need for a strong authority. There is high tolerance for inefficiency. delivery of services and even in voting. resulting in the use of short-cuts.. poor service and even violations of one’s basic rights.

task forces or offices are firmed. And yet this image is not built around a deep core of Philippine history and language. The kanya-kanya syndrome results in the dampening of cooperative and community spirit and in the trampling upon the rights of others. Empty rhetoric and endless words are very much part of public discourse. Weaknesses of the Filipino Character 8/8 : Weaknesses of the Filipino Character 8/8 Lack of Self-analysis and Self-reflection There is a tendency in the Filipino to be superficial and even somewhat flighty. there is lack of analysis or reflection. as long as the proper committees. There seems to be a basic assumptions that another gain is one’s loss. appreciation and love of the Philippines. the second is an actual preference for things foreign. Personal and in-group interests reign supreme. As long as the right things are said. technology. The public is made to feel that service from these offices and from these civil servants is an extra perk that is to be paid for. There is no felt need to validate our hypotheses or explanations of things. There is a tendency to be satisfied with rhetoric and to substitute this for reality. particularly one’s peers who seem to have gained some status or prestige. This characteristic is also evident in the lack of a sense of service among people in the government bureaucracy. lifestyles. The kanya-kanya syndrome is also evident in the personal ambition and the drive for power and status that is completely insensitive to the common good. the Filipino emphasis on form (maporma) rather than on substance. Filipinos are deluded into believing that what ought to be. intriga and unconstructive criticism to bring others down. 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. Filipino culture is characterized by an openness to the outside—adapting and incorporating the foreign elements into our image of ourselves. Weaknesses of the Filipino Character 7/8 : Weaknesses of the Filipino Character 7/8 Kanya-Kanya Syndrome Filipinos have a selfish. etc. Related to this. the Filipino demonstrates the so-called crab mentality (referring to the tendency of crabs in a basket to pull each other down) using the traveling instrument of tsismis. We joke about the most serious matters and this prevents looking deeply into the problem. Towards them. we are satisfied with superficial explanations and superficial solutions to problems. actually exists. consumer items. Thus. Thus there is preference for foreign fashion. both personal and social. selfserving attitude that generates a feeling of envy and competitiveness toward others. The result is cultural vagueness or weakness that makes Filipinos extraordinarily susceptible to the wholesale acceptance of modern mass culture which is often Western.Weaknesses of the Filipino Character 6/8 : Weaknesses of the Filipino Character 6/8 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. as long as the proper documents and reports exist. The Filipino lack of self-analysis and our . In the face of serious problems. entertainment.

hatred.emphasis on norms is reinforced by an educational system that is often more form than substance and a legal system that tends to substitute law for reality. political instability. Watch your habits. divisiveness which has become part of the everyday atmosphere which we breathe. benji “Watch your thoughts. hostility. province) gravely afflicted with interlocking diseases of poverty.” It is her view that at the bottom of our economic problems and political instability is the weakness and corruption of the moral foundations of our society. love for intrigue. This times demand self-examination. As Jesus Christ said in quoting the proverb: “Physician. with proper values and proper priorities. etc. there is violence. Senator Shahani continued that “aside from the widespread problem of corruption. they become character. intellectual and spiritual recovery program.” -AnonymousOurs is a nation (or a town. A CALL FOR MORAL REVOLUTION? Or. Let us remember the words of the Greek philosopher. graft and corruption. greed for power. Many years back. to rid it of its poisons and toxins. passivity. exploitative patronage. they become actions. greed for power and the desire for instant gratification. they become words. We have to cleanse our national body. heal thyself”.” Let us translate this wise saying to the national level and examine our own character as a people to ensure that we are growing in the proper direction. in her sponsorship speech calling for Moral Recovery Program (MRP). they become habits. then former Senator Leticia Ramos-Shahani. the patient is not responding to the problems confronting it. lack of patriotism. we are both the doctor and patient.” . for it becomes your destiny. The times call for analysis of the social cancer. factionalism. Watch your words. we also urgently need a moral. And. cheating. lack of discipline. Watch your actions. nepotism. A cancerous growth is affecting the vital organs of our society to the extent that we seem to be in a state of paralysis. if the country is to survive. Socrates when he said: “The unexamined life is not worth living. has emphasized that “the sickness afflicting this country is moral in nature. Watch your character. We don’t need an economic recovery program. A Change Must Come From Within! by: atty.

make the necessary sacrifices and go back to the basic virtues of honesty. -Reinforced by Presidential Proclamation No. & the Committee on Social Justice. which directed Senate Committee on Education. If the children and youth age 12 to 16 years old are already encouraged by their parents to practice child prostitution to add to the family income.Why concentrate on the weakness of the people. society as a whole must change and we must change too. Arts & Culture. as in every sick person. Do we have the political will to change ourselves. We cannot expect to implement our national vision unless we have a clean hands and pure hearts”. the Philippine was considered one of the most promising counties in Asia. Ramos in his Proclamation No. we must analyze his disease or diseases. 10 adopted on September 18. and in our town. Can our educators realize that it is not enough to change the child and the homes but also the whole of society? “Let us minimize our weakness and strengthen our virtues. self-reliance and responsibility for the community and the nation. President FVR on 1992 declaring a Moral Recovery Program of the government & calling for the active participation of all sectors of the society in the MRP. issued by then. ganun parin tayo! . said President Fidel V. Welfare and Development to conduct joint inquiry into the strengths and weaknesses of Filipino character with a view to solve the social ills and strengthening the nation’s moral fiber. After the sponsorship speech of then Senator Shahani on the Urgent Need for Moral Recovery Program (MRP) and the Senate Resolution No. There is a need to examine how society shapes our character. Let us look inward and cleanse and heal ourselves before it is too late. 1987. can we expect these children to be upright and law abiding citizens? If the child sees so much physical violence and brutality at home and in society. 62 . too. the Philippines is still called the “Sick Man of Asia”. undergo a major surgery. This means not only the government but the private sector and the entire people as well. of how Filipino children are brought up. 62. What has gone wrong? Can’t we put our own house in order? Why is there such a big demand for pornography and smut? It is also important to realize the extent of this sickness and to be aware that in order to eliminate graft and corruption. it might be asked? and you might be asked too? -Because. of which we have many. not only during the period of elections but on a daily basis? Is the economic situation so desperate that thousands of our women refuse to learn other skills other than selling their bodies several times over every night? Why do we always disobey traffic rules and regulations? Why has cheating become a normal way of life in the Philippines particularly during the elections? Several years ago. Today. After that mukhang walang nabago sa ating mga Pilipino. is it normal to expect that he will long to handle guns and keep company with goons at a later age.

Thus. tahasang paglabag sa batas trapiko. In short. and government.Sa kabila ng itinatag na Moral Recovery Program ng ating gobierno upang itaguyod ang mithiing maka-BAYAN. For an individual and nation to survive with dignity and prosperity that character has to be based on moral and ethical values. bagsak ang “moral character” o “moral values” nating mga Pilipino. There is an urgent need for moral revolution to eradicate moral decadence in our community. “Sa Ikauunlad ng Bayan. kanya-kanya o walang paki-alam syndrome. maka-kalikasan at maka-diyos na Pilipino. Disiplina ang Kailangan”. Mabuhay ang maka-tao. talamak ang bintahan at paggamit ng bawal na gamot o droga sangkot ang kapulisan at tagapagpatupad ng batas. maka-TAO. walang disiplina sa sarili. kawalan ng paggalang sa magulang at nakakatanda. crab mentality at iba pa. Our greatest hope lies within ourselves! Sabi nga ni dating Presidente Marcos. gahaman sa poder. maka-bayan. It is the moral character which determines the destiny of an individual as well as that of the nation (town. as advocated by Senator Shahani. maka-KALIKASAN at maka-DIYOS. kulang sa pagmamahal sa bayan. or province). Tayo ba ay may disiplina sa sarili? tayo ba ay masunurrin sa ating batas? tayo ba ay masunurin sa ating mga magulang? at may pagpapahalaga sa ating kalikasan at sa bayan? . laganap ang prostitution. (or in the municipal government of bulan). palakasan o padrino system. there is a need for self examination as a means to transform the nation. dayaan sa eleksyon. ay laganap parin ang kurapsyon at kawatan sa lahat ng sangay ng pamahalaan.

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