SWIMMING AGAINST THE CURRENT
By DR. JESUS P. ESTANISLAO
Having built the bridge between core values and the much-needed transformative changes in our country, if we are to build Dream Philippines, Dr. Tiongco now chisels in those changes that we need to bring about. He is brief but prophetic, in the sense that he in effect is issuing a call for others to help bring us to the promised land through strategic priorities we should pursue with the commitment to deliver results.
Here is what he says:
“Lastly, I have been asked to identify “three transformative changes” that the country needs most at the individual, organizational, and social levels.
“My answer builds on what I have said in the two previous sections.
“Very briefly, I would say that what the country needs most in order to be transformed are the following:
Changes in our people’s VALUES.
Changes in our people’s MINDSETS.
Changes in our people’s BEHAVIOR.
“I have pointed out three key values (kaayusan, kahusayan, and karangalan) that I think deserve to be given priority of development and promotion in the next several years. The core values chosen by the other contributors are not any less important, considering the reasons and considerations they have presented to explain their choices. The different sets of proposed “core values” perhaps reflect the variety of professional backgrounds and perspectives of the contributors, but the general or specific “core values” that have been identified can be integrated into a more comprehensive and coherent set or framework that can guide personal, group, and institutional initiatives related to values education or values formation in the country.
“One’s personal values, in turn, shape one’s mindset and behavior. In discussing what I consider the three ‘strategic priorities’ for the medium- to long-term development of the country from the standpoint of education, I referred to certain mindsets and behaviors among our people that need to be changed—for example, the dysfunctional personal tendencies that harm or endanger marital relationships and family unity; the penchant for ‘get rich quick’ schemes, the ako muna and kanya-kanya syndromes, the “crab mentality,” and other indicators of a materialistic or individualistic outlook on life.
“Most of these ways of thinking and behaving have become deep-rooted and, even worse, systemic. Hence, these pernicious and pervasive mindsets and behaviors pose formidable educational challenges. So, we need to have clear priorities. I have suggested three areas in which serious and sustained effort seems to be most needed: family life education, moral literacy, and education in ‘other-ness’. Again, it may be best to consider these suggestions together with those given by the other contributors so that a richer and fuller canvas of the ‘strategic priorities’ and ‘transformative changes’ needed can be composed and serve as a guide for purposeful and effective action.”
In the end, national transformation has to begin with deep changes in each one of us Filipinos, and those changes refer to: the values we hold on to (not just profess); to the personal culture (in the way we think, work, and live) we develop and nurture; and to the day-to-day decisions and actions we actually take (our behavior in attending to all our ordinary duties each day). This is the challenge for each one of us in the next five decades ahead, and indeed for much longer.