Thursday, August 19, 2010

A review of the Moral Recovery Program after EDSA I

The "Moral Recovery Program: Building a People; Building a Nation" of the government needs reevaluation and reexamination to reflect the present day realities. In this paper, the strengths of the Filipino character include:

  1. Pakikipagkapwa-tao
  2. Family orientation
  3. Hard work and Industry
  4. Faith and Religiosity
  5. Joy and Humor
  6. Flexibility, Adaptability and Creativity
  7. Ability to Survive

The following are listed as weaknesses of the Filipino character:

  1. Extreme Personalism
  2. Extreme Family Centeredness
  3. Lack of Discipline
  4. Passivity and Lack of Initiative
  5. Colonial Mentality
  6. Kanya-Kanya Syndrome
  7. Lack of Self-analysis and Self-reflection

This program was an offshoot of the EDSA I bloodless revolution. Having served the government for seventeen (17) years, I was somewhat aware of this program. In fact, our agency then was the recipient of some Values Orientation Workshops organized by the Civil Service Commission (CSC). We also had our own corporate values program.
Maybe the intent of the program was to make the Filipino revisit himself. For a time after EDSA I, we did revisit ourselves but soon after, we grew complacent again, worse apathetic.

I do not want to be preachy but the first institution that teaches values is the home. It is reinforced by school, church and government, in that order. I am tempted to add broadcast media. However, what do we see in broadcast media today, particularly on television? Do we see the reinforcement of our positive values in shows and programs? Hardly.

In documentaries, news and public affairs, yes, but how much time is devoted to this segment in a 20-hour daily TV programming?

If one tries to examine carefully, prominently not included in the identified strengths of a Filipino is love of country. Small wonder we still possess the colonial mentality. Our very own homes do not emphasize love of country. Our educational system does not encourage love of country. Yes it is taught to a certain extent but what I’m saying is it should be a continuing program where pupils and students fully understand and appreciate their being Filipinos. As a people, we lack a sense of patriotism. Love of country should be at the core of our being.

But there is always hope. Hope springs eternal. Our young people now are responding to political issues that shape their destiny. They are now more involved. Although not all youth actively engages in civic virtue, it is a welcome development.
The Filipino has its strengths just like any foreign national. But we also possess weaknesses as a people. We need to develop self-analysis and self-reflection to determine what needs to be discarded; polished; learned and applied. Trouble is the excellent trait of self-analysis and self-reflection is one of our prominent weaknesses.

Another glaring weakness is our lack of discipline. It is totally an anathema to society but we see it practiced everywhere: undisciplined drivers; garbage and litter everywhere. You only need to look around to know. It does not take a genius to figure this one out. Similarly, the value of discipline ought to start from home; reinforced by school, church, government and mass media. But this time, mass media has the positive power to reinforce and influence. Positive traits when highlighted by media whether print or broadcast or the net has a favorable effect on people. Being featured for a positive act or trait is the reward itself.

My recommendation is for government leaders to recreate a committee that will focus on the moral reforms that this present administration is bent on advocating.

The following steps could be undertaken:

  • Review the Moral Recovery Program vis-à-vis the moral reforms of the present administration – reevaluate its effectiveness and applicability;
  • Revise if needed;
  • Reintroduce to public consciousness through Executive Order
  • Disseminate through consultations, focused groups discussions and workshops using the various channels of government including the grassroots level
  • Enlist the support of media to promote the program
  • In schools all over the country, set up mechanism to strengthen the program through the conduct of Essay-Writing Competitions; Slogan-Writing Competitions; Extemporaneous Speech Contests and the like with handsome prizes
  • Set a timeline to measure the effectiveness of the program
  • Ensure continuous review and revision to suit the needs of the changing times

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