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Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Start the change we want to see

I got hold of a manifesto issued by the De La Salle brothers proclaming once again the values they espoused in 2005in an earlier document, those of truth, justice,honesty and integrity. In this present manifesto, we find them appealing once again to practically all sectors of society to do their own share to help the country stand up on its toes and for a much better tomorrow. Part of the statement issued is addressed to educators like myself, urging us to "teach the young that what is happening today is wrong. (Let us) teach them that a life without moral virtue or principle is no life at all, but a subhuman existence unworthy of their dignity as children of God."

I took the liberty of reproduce the same here hoping the appeal would reach more people as I adhere to the principles it upholds.

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LET US START THE CHANGE WE WANT TO SEE
La Salle Green Hills Retreat House

National Heroes Day

30 November 2007


To all Filipinos of goodwill,
Profoundly disturbed by recent events, we the De La Salle Brothers of the Philippines, have decided as a body to exercise our vocation as teachers and
guides by raising our voices in protest at the moral degeneration that has
infiltrated almost every aspect of public life since we called for a restoration of
faith in democracy in 2005.

In July of that year, we and our colleagues issued a public statement in response to the crisis brought on by the Garcillano tapes and the ensuing controversies surrounding President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. At that time, we spoke out as educators, charged with the moral guidance of the young and concerned with upholding the values of honesty, integrity and truthfulness in public life and civil society. In that statement, we affirmed the principle that moral ascendancy is a critical ingredient to effective governance, and warned that a leadership without moral authority cannot realistically command the respect of a nation. Today, two years later, we are alarmed and ashamed that the situation has increasingly worsened. The signs of moral disintegration abound:

• the escalating number of acts of violence against journalists, leftists and members of the legal opposition, which according to a report of the UN Human Rights Council representative have been perpetrated by someelements in the military;

• unresolved anomalies in government, including the aborted ZTE-NBN deal and the fertilizer scam, which involve billions of pesos in public funds;

• the large amounts of cash distributed in brown bags to some lawmakers at Malacañang just as impeachment moves were being initiated and firmed up in Congress and the facile efforts to hide the truth about their origins and purpose;

• concerted efforts among some lawmakers and government officials to block attempts at establishing truth and securing accountability;

• the corruption of the electoral system as manifested in various anomalies related to the last national elections.

The net effect of these, together with past anomalies, has been to further undermine confidence in practically every institution of government. Widespread despair with these existing institutions can only spawn violence and increasing military adventurism. We need only think of the fiasco at the Manila Peninsula on 29 November 2007 to see that this is so.

What is even more lamentable is the degree to which many Filipinos have become desensitized to the stench of corruption because of the unending stream of government-related scams, cover-ups and scandals. The unwillingness of the public to engage in peaceful public exercises of moral outrage and to support calls for government accountability bespeak a weary cynicism and loss of hope in all possibility of meaningful change that is especially alarming for us as educators.
This retreat from civic responsibility bodes ill for the future. This is perhaps our
generation’s greatest crime: to rob our people, especially our youth, of the conviction that noble ideals are worth every sacrifice and that moral principles must prevail in public life.

For these reasons, even if it amounts to no more than a voice crying out in the wilderness, we, the De La Salle Brothers of the Philippines, feel the need to proclaim once again the same values we espoused in 2005: truth, justice, honesty and integrity. Without these, no government can be trusted, and where there is no trust, governance degenerates into bribery and intimidation. We join in the call of courageous religious leaders and of proven men and women of conscience who seek a moral revolution. But if such a call is to become more than mere lip-service, we must translate it into effective action on behalf of the values we espouse, keeping in mind the legal framework of the Constitution. We call on men and women of goodwill to act now to make real the change they want to see.

To all parents, teachers, pastors, religious and all those charged with the moral formation of youth: God has given us the extraordinary privilege of mentoring the young and laying the foundations of our country’s future. Let us not betray God’s trust. Let us teach the young that what is happening today is wrong. Let us teach them that a life without moral virtue or principle is no life at all, but a subhuman existence unworthy of their dignity as children of God. Let us teach them that we are all answerable to God for what we have made, not just of our lives, but also of our nation. Let us teach them, as one man showed us years ago, that the Filipino is worth dying for. To all Filipino workers here and abroad, farmers and fisherfolk, men and women in business, entrepreneurs and professionals: your efforts and earnings sustain the economic and political life of our country. In solidarity with one another, demand more from this government. Come together to hold this country’s leadership accountable for their stewardship of the taxes you pay. Demand that every centavo be properly allocated and accounted for. Demand transparency and fairness in all business transactions. Consider the long-term goals and voice your displeasure at lost opportunities and the abuses that squander our nation’s wealth to the detriment of all, especially the poor.

To all artists, poets, writers and media practitioners: you are the vanguards of culture. You bear the great responsibility of ennobling the soul and creating a culture supportiveculture supportive of truth, justice and respect for human dignity. Focus on this task. Create visions and words that inspire and move our people to live up to what is best in them.

To all our men and women in uniform: our hearts go out to you for the ready sacrifices you have made again and again in the service of our nation. We acknowledge with gratitude the selflessness many of you have shown again and again. Remember that you are called to be defenders of the Constitution and protectors of human rights. Please do not fail in this charge. Let it be clear, however, that we do not condone military adventurism for it is inconsistent with the basic democratic values we hold dear.

To all civil servants, legislators and government workers: we believe that you also dream of a better nation for our children. We beg you to resist the culture of corruption. Help us build a future full of hope for our children.

To all our alumni and alumnae: we encourage you to take cognizance of the education you have received from La Salle all these years. As dark clouds hover in the horizon, we challenge you to and make a difference. Take heart from your fellow alumnus, Jose W. Diokno, and his vision of “a free nation, where men and women and children from all regions and with all kinds of talents may find truth and play and sing and laugh and dance and love without fear…”

We end this statement by sharing with you, our fellow Filipinos, this prayer of hope as we, the De La Salle Brothers look to 2011, the 100th year of the Lasallian ministry of education in the Philippines:


Lord, let me be the change I want to see
To do with strength and wisdom
All that needs to be done
And become the hope that I can be.
Set me free from my fears and hesitations.
Grant me courage and humility.
Fill me with spirit to face the challenge
And start the change I want to see.
Today, I start the change I want to see.
Even if I’m not the light, I can be the spark.
In faith, service and communion
Let us start the change we want to see,
The change that begins in me.

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7 Comments:

Blogger ipanema said...

That's a nice call for everyone. I really hope that we will still be given a chance to reverse our situation so all people be given chance to better their lives and that we can freely work together without those red tape.

Like the line from a prayer/song, "Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with ME", I guess we will have a chance at good life. Everything depends on US.

But everything will remain wishful thinking if the very people we elect to lead us are morally corrupt. Imagine the underdogs who yield their own power through corrupt practices.

We can only pray that God will show us the way to achieve this.

7:16 PM  
Blogger BatJay said...

kahit yung honesty and integrity muna ang unahin natin ay ok lang sa akin.

especially yung integrity.

4:04 AM  
Blogger cbs said...

cool.

ngapala bossing, ano email add mo? pakiitsa lang because i have some very important message from our sponsor.

as to your post, viva la salle! (arayku* nabatukan ata ako ni toni*)

9:34 AM  
Blogger rolly said...

ipanema it may seem hard to start changing our ways as these are already embedded in our society but then, we have to believe that we can and start now or it may be too late.

batjay Oo nga, parang yang mga yan ang talagang naabuso e no.

cbs nasa haloscan mo ang addy ko diba? Anyway, it's rollydelossantos(at)gmail(dot)com

Hey, I also got hold of the Ateneo statement and will probably post it here, too. Okay na siguro yun kay toni, hehe

10:41 AM  
Anonymous R Panaderos said...

There are times when it feels like we're fighting such a lonely and losing battle against the forces of corruption and inaction in our country.

But we fight on in the hope that meaningful change occurs somewhere in our future and hopefully, in our lifetime.

1:31 AM  
Anonymous bugsybee said...

I am happy to read this post (La Salle) and the next one (Ateneo) because it tells me that these educational institutions (even if many perceive, wrongly, that both schools are elitists) go out of their way to remind everyone that each of us has an obligation to be aware of and to act on the evils that threaten our country.

The parents and the teachers, especially, have a heavy responsibility. We are in a position to remind our students, daily, that they must do something if something is wrong. They cannot just watch and keep quiet ("walang paki"). We must keep on reminding them that evil succeeds only because good men do nothing.

8:15 PM  
Blogger rolly said...

bugsybee Where else should it start from? Dapot lang sa education,right? If we,as adults messed things up, maybe the young can right it.

5:58 AM  

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MGA TURO NI TITO:
Twenty years of teaching must sure amount to something. A new friend in cyberspace suggested I ought to have a journal by now. I agree.


Taken by my friend Arlene Lawson in her room at Century Park Sheraton in May, 2000.
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Location: Bambang, Pasig City, Philippines

Jack of all trade, master of none. First a disclaimer. My students have discovered this blog and they might think that what I write is gospel truth. Worse is they might find an argument that they think they can use, for some reason or another, against their teachers. So, to set the record straight, it is NOT. As a matter of fact, I write and open it to feedback to get another view in the hope that somebody would tell me if I am wrong and reenforce my thinking if it is right. Not that I will accept anything thrown my way, though. Just so I can think about it some more and decide whether my original stance is right or definitely off tangent. So there. I hope that clarifies everything. Now, on to blogging.


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