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The shades of Ethics




Melito Salazar Jr.

Melito Salazar Jr.

In the chaos of today, it is important to have an anchor for the decisions we make and the actions we take.  The recently published book Ethics: Black White or (Gray)? by the Financial Executive Institute of the Philippines is a valuable resource not just for business executives but for all of us.

A product of the FINEX Ethics Committee, it presents the views of more than 20 known personalities in government, the banking and private sector. As Brother Armin A. Luistro FSC, president of De La Salle Philippines, puts it, “Actions speak louder than words, especially when trusted pillars of our institutions articulate their convictions and shared vision for the nation.”

Each page contains incisive and thought-provoking sharing.  I have chosen some gems.

Sonny Coloma, former cabinet member in the Aquino administration, recalls that in his 35 years as a Rotarian, he has found its Four Way Test — 1. Is it the truth? 2. Is it fair to all concerned? 3. Will it build goodwill and better friendships? 4.Will it be beneficial to all concerned — to be a simple, straightforward and practical guide to daily living and interaction with people.

The Corporate Partnership structure of their company which makes each and every officer partner have unlimited personal liability warranties against proven conflict of interest in their professional acts; a strict system of meritocracy and a well defined profit participation where value contributed=value received; and priority principle where profit distribution starts below, all have made the difference in making Multinational Investment Bancorporation the country’s oldest independent investment house, according to Chair and President Malou C. Cristobal.

Sharon G. Dayoan, Chair and CEO of KPMG R.G. Manabat & Co., believes: “At the end of the day, we are all human. We do not sign contracts to become ethical overnight. Ethics is a lifestyle. It is not a theory or idea that stays only in the mind and dies with spoken words.  Being accountable does not say much until we really live by those values.”

Admitting that today is a challenging time for the advertising and PR industry, Junie del Mundo, chair of EON, postulates that by doing things ethically and consistently championing truth for good, the trust of the Filipino people can be won back and win the battle against fake news.

Conflict of interest can exist from time to time but it can be overcome and addressed by being steadfast in one’s governance principles. Monetary Board member Juan de Zuniga adds, “Delicadeza and transparency are calls to be heeded in instances of conflict of interest.”

The guru of corporate governance, Dr. Jesus P. Estanislao believes that an enterprise program on Integrity and Ethics should be carried out and pursued on a sustained basis over the long term.  This can be done by inculcating governance habits through the use of personal governance scorecards, a continuing internal communication program, and the formulation (via evolution) of a code of proper governance conduct for the enterprise. Such a governance character is strengthened by an enterprise-facilitated outreach to families, schools and other sectors of the wider community, that aims to spread the culture of integrity and ethics beyond the enterprise.

Rizalina G. Mantaring, the Chairperson of Sun Life Financial Philippine Holding Company, Inc., and 2019 MAP President, is privileged “to work with a company with a long and storied history of doing right by the clients even when it hurts. She shares. “The client is the North Star which guides your moral compass, which in turn is comprised by your values. Putting the client at the center not only helps in making ethical decisions but guides a company’s strategy, which helps ensure no matter how the world changes, it will continue to stay relevant to its clients.”

Too many perspectives to share and too little column space. So let us follow Brother Luistro’ advice: “During this turbulent times when our moral compass seems to be mislaid, this FINEX book on ethics is a must-read.”

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