Morals must be part of public life and politics

Eric Ariel Salas

Eric Ariel Salas

Online newspapers keep me updated with everything that is happening in the Philippines. As usual, there’s the unstoppable, never-dying politicking and, not to mention, the unethical behavior at all levels of the government. As a citizen, I would have wanted to interfere. However, mine is a voice so little for the over 80 million Filipinos. But on a positive note, I have the firm belief that my voice could become loud through my every article.

Before coming here, I was about to finish my doctorate in public administration. Since it was so far-off from my engineering profession, people never failed to ask me if I would run for public office and what I would do if ever elected.

In a bat of an eye, I was quick to retort that I would make sure good values are inculcated into the minds of every public servant. This conviction that ethics plays a role in the formation of a strong personal discipline just would not retire from my head. So my thinking is simple: go back to the roots and introduce to the people the baseline of their morality.

It is this notion that each one strives to be good. That every soul only needs to be awakened to the truth that harmony is attainable by way of bridging the moral baseline values to the corresponding actions.

This is a no-picnic task. However, the Philippines is a Christian country and Filipinos have this super-colossal faith in God. Please do not tell me it is an old song, but people have to put God above their actions. From books, ethics is based on religion and the understanding of the Higher Supreme. Religion is where morality started.

God, as the center of every public official’s life, creates humility and honesty in day-to-day dealings. God becomes the boss. Imagine a triangle where God occupies the topmost corner. The one bottom corner is for you. The last corner is for “other people”. This triangular scheme portrays that you and the society are of the same altitude. You interact with the community – fairly and never above them. No one is above anyone. Only God is.

If each person would only have a strong faith in God, the society becomes stronger as well. In God, people mold values. With values molded in the context of faith, people practice truth, compassion, humility, fairness, responsibility, freedom, reverence for life, self-respect and other virtues essential for the establishment of a moral society – a society that aims for the national vision and strong personal discipline.

But faith must come hand-in-hand with actions. Faith without actions, for me, is useless. A moral value without service is good for nothing. That is also true the other way around. I wrote an article about this many years ago. It mentioned how people must couple faith and service so they could draw their rewards in heaven. Rewards don’t come in handy when people haven’t saved enough in their lifetime. Saving is through service.

In finality, if only all public officials would develop in themselves the true “spirit”, real fear and obedience in God, then the Philippines, or any nation for that matter, would have been a society of transparency. Isn’t transparency a lead factor to good governance?

Isn’t the basic law of the land, the constitution, derived from morality? Public officials must go down the roots and check the foundation of the laws which placed them into office in the first place.