So much has been said about the Filipino Values but not so many could totally understand and comprehend it. Filipinos spend their life time learning and unlearning both positive and negative values. That’s why values development has become one of the major concerns of the Department of Education, to develop a ‘just and humane society’ and ‘total human liberation and development’ which is the ideal of the Philippine Constitution.
It has been said that Filipino values are “ambivalent in the sense that they are a potential for good or evil” and they may either lead of hinder personal or national development. They can be used in a good or evil context, such as pakikisama sa kabuktutan or sa kaunlaran (in the pursuit of one’s greed or national development). There is nothing wrong about Filipinos valuing “utang na loob” (debt of gratitude) “pakikisama and pakiusap” for these may lead to positive and productive relationships of people; but this will become counter productive when politicians use it in propagating nepotism and “cronyism,” abuse of power and authority, and massive corruption in the government.
In Philippine politics, one of the most abused Filipino values is “hiya.” Mary R. Hollnsteiner describes hiya as a universal “social sanction that regulates the give and take of reciprocity and, in general, all social behavior.” It is translated as “a sense of social propriety”; as a preventive measure against social disorder, it makes one to conform to community norms. “When one violates such a norm he ordinarily feels a deep sense of shame, a realization of having failed to live up to the standards of the society.”
But this is not so to many of the elected and appointed Filipino officials. Many public servants, (politicians at that) give more premiums to economic gains than integrity in public service. The issue on cha-cha (or charter change) and the killing of the most recent impeachment complaint filed against president Arroyo are some of the instances where the value of “hiya” or sense of propriety is already ignored to give way to “utang na loob” (norm of reciprocity), and “pakikisama” (smooth interpersonal relations) in politics, or in propagating one’s political interests. “Hiya” as a form of a controlling mechanism in the society as thought of by Mary Hollnsteiner may not necessarily apply in Philippine politics and good governance because this can be “revalued” and interpreted differently depending on one’s personal interest.
For whatever reason a “Filipino within the utang na loob web” is expected to return favor on whatever debt of gratitude he has had from somebody. Politicians in the same manner are obligated to repay whatever favors he got from his party. “Suhol” or bribe is one effective means to control one’s allegiance to a political party or to a political leader. It is for this reason that national interest is set aside in favor of political financial support acceptability.
That’s why many politicians are emboldened to do corrupt practices and remiss with their duties as public servants because of the perception they owe not from the people but to their political party their power and position in the government. Disregarding “hiya” in effect has brought about “walang hiyang pulitiko” (shameless politicians) in the society and government. Besides, the Philippine society has tolerated corruption in the government, and abuse of authority by our political leaders. And since they could no longer do anything to get rid of corruption, Most Filipinos eventually develop a fatalistic attitude (bahala na ang Diyos sa kanila) and become a “pasukong Filipino” (submissive Filipino).
Are we really that helpless to let corruption and exploitation of the Filipino people contiunally reign in this country? Renato Constantion speaks of “education as a vital weapon of a people striving for economic emancipation, political independence, and cultural renascence.” But even with great events such as EDSA 1 and EDSA 2 where people power toppled down leaders and government, we have not really reformed our society. Corruption and abuse of authority have tremendously increased over the years. Till when shall the Filipinos learn from their lessons in the past to lead a just, humane, honest, and progressive society?
But even the 1987 Constitution that promotes the ideals of the Filipino people is in danger of improperly amended, to enable some people to stay in power beyond 2010, through a nefarious attempt to railroad charter change through a constituent assembly.
Bakit ako Mahihiya?
Bagamat pumanaw na ang dating sikat na mangaawit na si Didith Reyes na siyang nagpasikat sa awiting, “Bakit Ako’y Mahihiya,” ay nanatiling buhay pa rin ang diwa ng kanyang awitin. Buhay na buhay pa rin ang tema ng awiting ito sa mga magkakalaguyo, mga kabit, mga nangungurakot sa gobierno, etc. Nakakalungkot mang isipin pero kasali din pala dito ang ating mga Kongresista na siyang nagsusulong ng cha-cha.
Bakit nga ba sila ay mahihiya kung may kaakibat naman itong pabor na makukuha sa kasalukuyang administrasyon. Sabi nga ni Segundina, bakit sila mahihiya e tumataginting na pera naman ang kapalit nito. Bakit nga ba sila mahihiya na pumirma para sa charter change kung ang kapalit naman nito ay ang suporta sa kanilang kandidatora sa 2010. Ano ba ang dapat nilang ikahiya sa mga tao e hindi naman nagkakaisa ang paninindigan ng mga komokontra sa cha-cha.
Para sa akin lang ang ginagawang pagsusulong ng cha-cha, at pagbabale wala ng Kongreso sa Senado, para makalusot lamang ito sa ano mang kaparaanan, ay walang ipinag-iba sa gawain ng magkalaguyo na pataksil na isinasagawa ang lahat nang mairaos lang ang kati ng kanilang katawan. Labag ito sa kagandahang asal at maituturing din na kasalanang mortal.
Hindi ba kayo nahihiya niyan mga Tsong?