Or, A Change Must Come From Within!

by: atty. benji

“Watch your thoughts, they become words;
Watch your words, they become actions;
Watch your actions, they become habits;
Watch your habits, they become character;
Watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.”

Ours is a nation (or a town, province) gravely afflicted with interlocking diseases of poverty, passivity, cheating, graft and corruption, exploitative patronage, nepotism, factionalism, political instability, love for intrigue, lack of discipline, lack of patriotism, greed for power and the desire for instant gratification, etc. A cancerous growth is affecting the vital organs of our society to the extent that we seem to be in a state of paralysis; the patient is not responding to the problems confronting it. The times call for analysis of the social cancer.

And, we are both the doctor and patient. As Jesus Christ said in quoting the proverb: “Physician, heal thyself”.

Many years back, then former Senator Leticia Ramos-Shahani, in her sponsorship speech calling for Moral Recovery Program (MRP), has emphasized that “the sickness afflicting this country is moral in nature.” 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. We don’t need an economic recovery program; we also urgently need a moral, intellectual and spiritual recovery program.

Senator Shahani continued that “aside from the widespread problem of corruption, there is violence, hatred, hostility, greed for power, divisiveness which has become part of the everyday atmosphere which we breathe. We have to cleanse our national body, to rid it of its poisons and toxins, if the country is to survive. This times demand self-examination. Let us remember the words of the Greek philosopher, Socrates when he said: “The unexamined life is not worth living.” 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, with proper values and proper priorities.”

Why concentrate on the weakness of the people, it might be asked? and you might be asked too?

-Because, as in every sick person, we must analyze his disease or diseases. There is a need to examine how society shapes our character, of how Filipino children are brought up. 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, 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, is it normal to expect that he will long to handle guns and keep company with goons at a later age, 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, the Philippine was considered one of the most promising counties in Asia. Today, the Philippines is still called the “Sick Man of Asia”. 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, society as a whole must change and we must change too. This means not only the government but the private sector and the entire people as well.

Do we have the political will to change ourselves, undergo a major surgery, make the necessary sacrifices and go back to the basic virtues of honesty, self-reliance and responsibility for the community and the nation, and in our town, too. 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, of which we have many. Let us look inward and cleanse and heal ourselves before it is too late. We cannot expect to implement our national vision unless we have a clean hands and pure hearts”, said President Fidel V. Ramos in his Proclamation No. 62 .

After the sponsorship speech of then Senator Shahani on the Urgent Need for Moral Recovery Program (MRP) and the Senate Resolution No. 10 adopted on September 18, 1987, which directed Senate Committee on Education, Arts & Culture, & the Committee on Social Justice, 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.

-Reinforced by Presidential Proclamation No. 62, issued by then, 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.

After that mukhang walang nabago sa ating mga Pilipino, ganun parin tayo!

Sa kabila ng itinatag na Moral Recovery Program ng ating gobierno upang itaguyod ang mithiing maka-BAYAN, maka-TAO, maka-KALIKASAN at maka-DIYOS, ay laganap parin ang kurapsyon at kawatan sa lahat ng sangay ng pamahalaan, dayaan sa eleksyon, gahaman sa poder, palakasan o padrino system, laganap ang prostitution, talamak ang bintahan at paggamit ng bawal na gamot o droga sangkot ang kapulisan at tagapagpatupad ng batas, kawalan ng paggalang sa magulang at nakakatanda, tahasang paglabag sa batas trapiko, walang disiplina sa sarili, kulang sa pagmamahal sa bayan, kanya-kanya o walang paki-alam syndrome, crab mentality at iba pa.

In short, bagsak ang “moral character” o “moral values” nating mga Pilipino.

Thus, there is a need for self examination as a means to transform the nation, as advocated by Senator Shahani.

There is an urgent need for moral revolution to eradicate moral decadence in our community, and government, (or in the municipal government of bulan). Mabuhay ang maka-tao, maka-bayan, maka-kalikasan at maka-diyos na Pilipino.

It is the moral character which determines the destiny of an individual as well as that of the nation (town, or province). For an individual and nation to survive with dignity and prosperity that character has to be based on moral and ethical values.

Our greatest hope lies within ourselves! Sabi nga ni dating Presidente Marcos, “Sa Ikauunlad ng Bayan, Disiplina ang Kailangan”.

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?


  1. atty. benji,

    ms. shahani was absolutely right in her analysis why our nation is in this state of disarray and struggle! at the bottom of our economic problems and political instability really is the weakness and corruption of the moral foundations of our society. it seems we really don’t need an economic recovery program and what we urgently need is a moral, intellectual and spiritual recovery program. if we are able to solve this problem, everything (hopefully) will follow, will heal naturally and we should be able to lift and upgrade the quality of our life.

    am just wondering why nothing happened to this principled and righteous advocacy, is it that the people tasked to implement it are immoral themselves? most probably! the next administration after FVR has been saddled with immoral obscurities and difficulties. or is this a spiritual mission that the religious people are expected to be in the forefront.

    no wonder why we are still in this quandary.

  2. Because – those who are tasked to implement the moral recovery program are immoral themselves! Those who are tasked to apprehend criminals are criminals too! Those who are tasked to arrest the “magnanakaw ay magnanakaw din”!

    Simply, the policemen, for instance, who are tasked to enforce the law, are the leading violators of the same law. NO PARKING of Vehicle! – Sir, mawalang galang na po, bawal po mag-park ng kotse dito. The intimidating reply of the policeman: “Alam ko, pero hindi mo ba alam na Pulis ako!

    Consider the ff: scenario: In USSR, kapag may nangyaring krimen, 10 minutes lang nasa crime scene na ang russian police.

    In Germany, 8 minutes lang nasa crime scene na ang german police.

    In Britain, 6 minutes lang nasa crime scene na ang briton police.

    In USA, 3 minutes lang nasa crime scene na ang US police.

    BELIEVE IT OR NOT, in the Philippines, SPLIT SECONDS lang nasa crime scene na ang Pinoy Pulis…. Bakit kamo? Eh mga Pulis ang involved sa krimen eh.

    During ERAP presidency, lahat ng sangay ng gobierno ay nakabandera ang programa ni Erap laban sa kurapsyon na naka-imprenta sa dambuhalang tarpaulin… Walang kumpa-kumpare, walang kaibigan, walang kamag-anak…….Ang Resulta – mga kamag-anak o kaibigan mismo ni ERAP ang involved sa mga anomalous transactions ng gobierno……. then, ERAP was convicted of PLUNDER!

    Si PGMA laganap din ang mga tarpaulin sa lahat ng sangay ng gobierno at makikita ang matapang na mukha ni PGMA laban sa kurapsyon…. Ang Resulta – Nandyan ang Garci Tapes Scandal, Diosdado Macapagal Boulevard Scam, Jocjoc Bolante Fertilizer Scam, NBN-ZTE Broadband Scam (Northrail Scam – to follow). Lahat yan involved si PGMA at si FG Mike… I’m sure, after GMA’s term in 2010, -mahaplos man ine san mapinit na rehas sa CIW (Correctional Institution for Women) sa Mandaluyong.

    The bottom line – The person who are tasked to implement the moral recovery program, “ay mas imoral pa sa isang kriminal”.

    Again, may we call on all our national & local leaders (including church leaders) to exercise political will, or must be courageous enough, to change themselves, undergo a major surgery so to speak, make the necessary sacrifices and go back to the basic virtues of honesty and sincerity!

  3. Atty. Benjie’s comparison of the time of arrival of policemen is funny. But ironically, that is true. The persons ought to enforce the law are already in the crime scene because they are the lawbreakers themselves. The media reports can attest to this. Or, the Bicolanos in Manila can also tell us how MMDA Chair Bayani Fernando removed the billboards along major highways only to fill the same with his picture. In preparation for the 2010 presidential elections? That could be. GMA, too, as exhaustively explained in the comment preceding this. Hence, RudyB is right to express that probably, the major reason why MRP and similar programs did not take effect is because the persons tasked to do the advocacy are not morally upright.

  4. A moral revolution? Writers and readers of Bulan Observer, pardon my problem with this so called moral revolution and give me time to reflect on this topic for it’s no easy one. In the meantime let me say a few words.
    Atty. Benji’s call on our national and local leaders to exercise political will is in contrast easy to understand. But for our church leaders, the first step I must say to moral revolution is for them to stay away from politics (Give back to Ceasar what is Ceasar’s) and that they must rather concentrate on studying God’s will, not political will.
    Corruption, our favorite (and hated) word of the centuries seems to be an unsolvable x, a factor not even the most brilliant politician is able to solve. Indeed, a problem more difficult than any mathematical problem itself! Now, some politicians and a lot of bishops seem to have found a new formula on how to solve it, and that is, moral revolution! Yes, from the same kind or group of people with the same formula that has in fact always been the cause of our socio-economic and political failure. Our problem of corruption is a problem many of our public servants and bishops do not understand and don’t want to understand. Why? This man Upton Sinclair, offers us the answer when he says that : “It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends on his not understanding it.”
    With man, I suppose Upton Sinclair does not count out a bishop.
    You got it.

  5. The problem w/ the philippines is the unwelcoming climate for foreign investments. I am a Filipino who has grown up in Canada went to the Philippines for a visit and decided, Hey I like it here. I own a couple of bars here in Canada that pretty much run themselves, so having the time and some investors willing to pony up the cash, we thought we would open a few bars in Manila. This was the start of the worst nightmare of my life. Aside from the various permits and licenses needed to establish a business, in every branch of the government a civil servant behind a desk needs to be bribed to get your paperwork in order or if it is to be submitted at all. The red tape alone when it was found out I had Canadian investors was unreal. I gave up, bribes alone was going to take up around 10% of the start up capital. On a less personal note I invested in this Canadian Mining company that had a fairly big copper/gold find in the philippines who after a couple of years of trying to start the mine just gave up and sold out to a Chinese company, apparently too many people wanted a piece of the action. Good thing I sold prior to the fiasco. Philippines is a nice place to visit but I would not want to do business there, too bad.

  6. This is true. I heard the same accounts from some swiss friends who had or wanting to start business in the Philippines but ended up frustrated like you. So you see how the country is missing lots of potential investors. These malpractices are choking the economy. The individual and the system are one and the same and there seems to be no way out.
    In any case, you are right to say that it is still a nice place to visit for the Philippines has more to offer than corruption and bribery alone.

  7. During the term of FVR, the R.A. #7227 was passed and implemented, otherwise known as – The Bases Conversion Development Act (BCDA) of 1992,

    Pursuant to the mandate of RA #7227, foreign investor or locators in the ecozones, (e.g. SBMA or CSEZ), would be granted by government a Certificate of Registration and Tax Exemption (CORTE), such as,

    –”Exemption from customs and import duties and national and internal revenue taxes on importation of capital goods, equipments, raw materials, supplies and other articles including household and personal effects, xxx”.

    In short, the status of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA), or Clark Special Economic Zone (CSEZ) as a freeport or special ecozone, and its attendant incentives and privileges has been consistently recognized and upheld by law such that it is considered as outside the Philippine customs territory and consequently, goods discharge thereat are considered as not having entered the Philippine customs territory at all. – Because the objective in establishing the BCDA and other free port and ecozones are to invite foreign investors/locators to put their investment in country to strengthen the economy and tourism industry in the country, by giving them tax benefits, perks, credits and incentives such as duty free or tax free importation of goods.

    And yet, the Chairman, CEO or GM of the ecozone locators could hardly understand the prevailing practice/system in the country requiring them to pay for extra fees/costs to anything that does not require extra/additional time/effort, such as processing of local permits, (e.g., mayor’s permit, health & sanitary permit, building permit, business license/clearance, etc.) despite the fact that they are doing their business legally, and enjoying tax free benefits in the country, why they have to pay for an extra fees denominated as “Lagay” or “Padulas to government employees”. Ang sistemang ito ay hindi maintindihan ng mga foreign investors dito sa Pilipinas! Hindi pa kasama dyan ang revolutionary tax ng cpp/npa, plus the policemen’s protection fund, etc.

  8. Pingback: assuming without admitting- or admitting and assuming? « Bulan Observer . Views And Concerns. For A Brighter Bulan

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