In less than a year, the Philippines will vote again. It is another opportunity to shape the future of this nation by selecting the leaders whom we assessed to be apt to the challenge to make genuine reforms that will contribute in making “Matatag, Maginhawa at Panatag na Buhay” a reality. For sure, we will hear lots of promises again from the aspirants or candidates during the campaign period. The big question is not just what they promise but also their commitment to fulfill it. Or will it be another confirmation of this famous line – “promises are meant to be broken”? How many of them would truly put their name and honor on the line for every word they utter in different platforms?
Time and again leaders would finish their terms with unfulfilled or empty promises. And somehow it becomes an acceptable practice as we see them get re-elected or appointed. It looks like we are not learning or probably the value of word of honor is slowly going down the drain. If that is the case, what else are we going to lose if the words of the leaders we choose cannot be trusted? We cannot afford to lose another year or two with the ongoing pandemic. The ongoing investigation on allegedly anomalous deals and other pandemic-related issues make us wonder what happened to the inspiring words full of conviction that were uttered to assure the Philippines of an honest and efficient delivery of services.
This week’s value focus invites us to reflect where we are individually and collectively as a nation in terms of how we value word of honor. If keeping our words is important to each of us, this will be translated in the decisions and actions we take including the choices we make in the election. We can do our part as citizens of this nation by making word of honor the norm now. We can start by reflecting on our day-to-day conduct vis-à-vis the oath of office as officials and employees of the government. The same is true in the private sector. How much of those words we utter are we practicing to this day? This is important to emphasize because we cannot impute blame to our leaders if we ourselves are not true to our words.
It is easier said than done is an unavoidable fact. We sing our national anthem with the words “…ang mamatay nang dahil sa iyo”. But when we are faced with challenges, we tend to forget our vow to our beloved nation. It is not to accommodate excuses though that gives rise to lackadaisical attitude. Notwithstanding the factors that restrict us, we should continue to find ways to abide with our pledges.
Indeed, the value of word of honor has been and will always be relevant. We need leaders whose ‘yes’ is ‘yes’ and ‘no’ a ‘no’ for it is not just the name of the leader that is on the line but the nation and the future generations. (AOS, CRFV)
What does charity mean to you? At these times of adversity, people’s charity has been tested in many ways but this virtue has a deeper meaning than our common understanding that it is to provide help or raise funds for those who are in need. The scriptures tell us, “Little children, let us not love in word only, neither with the tongue only, but in deed and truth.” This verse did not say that we should not love in words or in tongues, but it tells us that when we love, it must be in words or in tongues, in deeds, and in truth.
Charity in Words or in Tongues
Charity should also be found in our words or tongues. It is contradictory to show your love to people but curse them or tell them words that are not pleasing before God. As it has been said, “out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks.” If we speak harshly, negatively, and wickedly to other people, these reflect the contents of our hearts. If we do this, charity is not complete within us. That is why the Scriptures tell us to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people. We should always be reminded that, “It is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but what comes out of the mouth; this defiles a person.”
Charity in Actions
Like what the Scripture emphasized, do not love with empty words because words without action are futile - nothing and have no effect. If we then say we love people, then it must follow that our actions show that we do. We cannot say, “I love you,” and then hurt the people intentionally, plan wickedly against them, or even think of their downfall. We cannot say we love the people, then just look at them suffering while we have the means to help them. This action is not in line with what the Scripture said, “Do not withhold good from those who deserve it, when it is within your power to help them.” As a leader, do not withhold the growth of your subordinates if it is within your power to develop and nourish them. As an employer, do not withhold the benefits nor hinder the welfare of the employees if they deserve it and it is within your power to do so. As parents in the family, do not withhold your genuine love to your children if you can abundantly show them and let them feel it.
Charity in Truth
In truth, charity is the highest form of love and this is exemplified by God’s love for us. Agape love or unconditional love is the kind of love that this patient, kind, does not envy, does not boast, and that is not proud. It is not rude, not self-seeking, not easily angered, and keeps no record of wrongs. It does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, trusts, hopes, and perseveres. This kind of love can be seen when people willingly give without expecting anything in return – not fame, nor accolades of people, not even acknowledgment because it is their delight to give it freely as they have received freely.
Charity in Words, in Actions, and in Truth
Charity in words, in actions, and in truth is that genuine love the people around really need. Like Jesus Christ, he did not seek his own fame or glory when he gave his life for the redemption of mankind. His sacrifice is the manifestation of his agape love for the people that they may find true life and life more abundantly; that they may be set free from the captivity of sin, hurts, and unforgiveness; that they may be healed from any infirmity; and that they may see the light, and go back to the perfect pleasing and good will of God.
Today, let us reflect if our charity to others is charity in words, in actions, and in truth – charity that is genuine, selfless, and glory-giving to our God and King. Let us turn back from our wicked ways, and resolve to be better, even in the aspect of charity. (CGLG, CRFV)
On October 25, 2019, the Department of the Interior Local Government (DILG) officially released a Memorandum Circular number 2019-181 for Disciplina Muna National Advocacy Campaign. The advocacy targets three (3) types of audience – the youth as the next leaders, the young professionals as the contemporary and rising leaders in the present time and the general public. Its pillars include (1) road clearing, (2) disaster preparedness resilience, (3) anti-smoking, (4) ease of doing business, (5) liquor ban, (6) tourist spots clean up, and (7) functional Barangay Anti-Drug Abuse Council (BADAC). With the pandemic, it has focused its efforts in ensuring adherence to health standards. One of the advocacy’s principle is to increase the consciousness among the citizens with regards to our critical role and responsibility in sustainable development and maintenance of peace and order as a shared responsibility. This campaign encourages us, as individuals, to make one’s discipline a top priority for us to attain a peaceful and orderly nation.
Who loves discipline? Only a few does because this word is commonly associated with correction, chastisement, castigation, and punishment. People tend to shun away from this word because it is painful and unpleasant. It requires us to change, control ourselves, and follow rules and the like. We tend to overlook its essence because we are so much focused on the inconvenience the process would give us. Our negative perception about it hinders us from experiencing the lasting benefits.
Discipline is defined as a training that corrects, molds or perfects moral character by the NIV Family Devotional Study Bible Dictionary. It is a manner by which we implement things to set something in order, be it in personal, societal, organizational, or institutional application. Dr. David Jeremiah, an American writer, said that training, discipline and correction are painful but not permanent. For instance, a person who is suffering from an illness needs to exercise discipline in following dietary instructions in order to reach the goal of being well. Another, an athlete who aims to bag a gold has to observe discipline in every aspect of preparation. If a person fully understands the reason and the outcome of the process, then it would not be a struggle to embrace discipline regardless of the inconvenience.
Our nation has already began its advocacy towards an orderly and peaceful society in the midst of a worldwide pandemic through the Disiplina Muna National Advocacy Campaign. Will you be willing to be a part of the change and embrace a discipline that will bring an orderly outcome?
No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. Discipline produces a better person impacting an orderly nation. (MAT,CRFV)
“Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
We have exemplified the value of courage in many ways as a nation. In the Tokyo 2021 Olympics, our athletes portrayed courage and made history with our first gold medal and also brought home two silver and one bronze medals. We have witnessed their determination and tenacity to overcome challenges to give the best performance that they could for our nation.
Looking back in our history, courage is not new to Filipinos. It is our nature and characteristics. We fought for our independence with our unsophisticated weaponries. In part, we have been through a lot of disasters and calamities but we are still here fighting, not only for survival but also for economic growth. We are known for our resiliency.
We always pick-up the fight against all odds in life. We know that in this time of crisis, the fight is on and we are not giving up. Each one who has been laid off from work is trying to find means to feed his or her family. We are trying to help one another through our community pantries. Our government is doing its part too. Above all, we never neglect to call for divine help. We are endeavoring to create a better new normal notwithstanding the pandemic.
The value of courage is also a vital element in the quest for national transformation. It takes courage to make a difference, to set a new trend, and come against all tide of malpractices and illegal activities. It is the most challenging attempt yet noble, meaningful, and fruitful undertaking. It is the most fulfilling with lasting effect because it is leaving a glorious legacy for the next generation. There have been comments that corruption is impossible to eradicate as it is endemic and ingrained in the system of government. But for a brave reformer and crusader for change, it is possible.
In this time of pandemic, there is a call for strong determination to finish strong rather than simply accept defeat. Courage will give us the strength to overcome lack, sickness, disease, and any form of difficulties. Problems and dangers are unavoidable but to address them fearlessly reverses the negative situation. Now is the time to come out from hiding and raise our voices for a war cry against all pressures and troubles. (NAS, CRFV)
Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.
Self-reflection is commonly defined as a process of gaining better understanding of ourselves – our actions, responses, feelings and thoughts. This is most beneficial when we deliberately and sincerely look into our deep intentions and motivations with all honesty and with the desire for growth.
Self-reflection is considered important. Without it, we simply go through the motion or any situation without gaining perspective on what is truly happening until we get a feeling of being stuck, depressed or overwhelmed. It delivers us from any untoward situation such as staying in an unhealthy relationship, unfavorable transactions and impulsive decisions. A lack of it invites us to do the same thing over and over again even when it does not produce positive results.
One of the great kings that ever lived highly encourages us to let God examine us. If God searches our deepest thoughts and every room in our hearts, it is just proper and right that we search ourselves. Consequently, we can mirror ourselves in Him. Knowing ourselves will lead us and help us focus to the right path. This is relevant because there are things that seem right to a person but it ends in death. Taking time to think of every situation that affects us will make us more accurate and judicious. It will save us from troubles.
Socrates famously said, “The unexamined life is not worth living.” This statement emphasizes the importance of the value of self-reflection and analysis. It is one of the means by which we can have personal progress as it allows us to become better. As we improve ourselves, the more that we can lead others towards development. It becomes our game-changer as we genuinely adjust and realign ourselves to what we truly value. It will also keep us from accepting defeat in challenging times such as the current health and economic crises. (CD, CRFV)
Righteousness is oftentimes referred to as uprightness which is having right standing before God and before people. It is commonly known as compliance to existing laws, rules, and regulations. It is an all-encompassing value as the performance of any other value can be deemed an act of righteousness.
The value of righteousness is very relevant in this period of health and economic crisis. It is written in the Scripture that turning away from wicked ways is the condition of God for the healing of our land. It is undoubtedly the solution for the ongoing challenges, both by divine intervention and participation of humankind. This explains why there is a call for genuine repentance and a great clamor for good governance and responsible citizenship since the beginning of our existence as democratic country. History proves that unlawful undertakings in various fields of endeavor have greatly contributed to our nation’s economic decline. It naturally breeds all other problems in society.
To achieve righteousness, it is important to put our emphasis in the proper place. It is not on our human frailty but on our divine ability or capacity to live right. While it is true that we are vulnerable to temptation, we do not settle on such fact. Otherwise, we will always accept all forms of excuses, we remain weak as we are, and we will never progress. We should rather set our mind on our capacity to act and think right by being spiritual rather than carnal. According to ecclesiastical studies, we are not just created with human elements but also with a divine nature. This lies the teaching that we are created in the image and likeness of God. With this in view, righteousness is possible and this is where we should focus on.
Righteousness, thus, is the entrenched edict in all our walks of life. It is implied in the purposes of our Constitution – to build a just and humane society. It is the major aim and policy for the crafting of our laws, rules, and regulations. It is expected among all members of society, thereby, we are mandated to refrain from doing acts contrary to law, good morals, good customs, public policy, public order, public safety, and public interest. Finally, it is required to be observed in our relation with one another. It is codified that each one of us must, in the exercise of our rights and in the performance of our duties, we should act with justice, give everyone their due, and observe honesty and good faith.
We are blessed to have a nation that upholds righteousness and we should be proud of it. Moreover, it should be the mark of a true Filipino. If we have been abiding in our moral principles from time immemorial, we could have gone too far as a prosperous nation. But it is not yet too late to redeem the time to realize our dreams. Let us walk circumspectly taking into account the future of our beloved nation. (NAS, CRFV)
Conviction as a value is the attitude of acknowledging or accepting a mistake or sin followed by an act of repentance. It is listening to the dictates of conscience resulting to enlightenment and realization that something must be corrected in an area of life. It is responding rightly to the truth when the area of weakness or improvement is confronted. It is best facilitated by welcoming the pure word of correction rather than fighting against it.
Most people do not recognize the benefits of conviction which are extant every time conviction is thoroughly at work such as promotion and growth. They thought it is much easier to make excuses in order to save face or inappropriately protect their reputation. They did not realize that the more they reason out, the more they are closing the door for development and progress to their loss and detriment. Worse, they retaliate and attack the person who became the channel of conviction. In effect, the wrong is perpetrated rather than being addressed.
One of the deep frustrations and great disappointments of some teachers of reformation is the lack of transformation among the learners. They overlooked the absence of conviction as the major hindrance of the positive result they aim to achieve. The key to resolve it is to ensure that the word of truth is planted into the hearts of the listeners. It is not just feeding the minds but it is convicting the hearts with the help of the Almighty God. It is written that when God comes or works in our behalf, He will convict the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment.
The value of conviction, thus, is a material ingredient for individual change and it plays an important role in the quest for national transformation. It is an essential tool in the fight against corruption and any form of evil in society. Zacchaeus, a public figure in the olden times, was a living proof of this. He was known as a chief tax collector who allegedly became rich by employing false accusations or any lying and deceitful schemes in the collection of taxes. People regarded him as a sinner for being in such craft for a long time. However, he heeded the conviction of his heart and responded accordingly. He gave half of his goods to the poor and if he has taken anything from anyone by false accusation, he vowed to restore fourfold.
Conviction was also well illustrated in the story of the prodigal son in the Scriptures. According to the story, the son squandered all the possessions his father gave him and went to a wayward living. When all his wealth was exhausted and started to starve, he came to himself and decided to go back to his father. “Coming to himself” means coming to his senses. It means heeding his conscience and having the value of conviction in his life. By doing so, apart from his expectation, he was warmly received by his father and was restored back to his original position as a son.
Learning from the example of the prodigal son, how many of us learn and courageously admit our mistakes and endeavor to correct or make reparation of the wrongs that we have done? Let us not be mindful of the comments of others. Let us be mindful of the blessings that await us by obeying the conviction of our hearts. (NAS, CRFV)
Leadership is a quality that almost everyone covets to possess. A single word that brings with it a barrage of other things, both good and bad, positive and negative. Along with being a leader comes power that either inspires or corrupts; leadership may also come as a result of hard work, integrity and righteousness or to some a result of perversive influence or manipulation. Therefore, it can be said that there are two types of leadership in this world - wicked and righteous. It’s the reality we have to acknowledge but we have the power to choose which of these two is the reality we will live by.
As VROs, statesmen, stateswomen, and nation builders, it goes without saying that we are inclined to follow the path towards righteous leadership. Our identity as leaders is certain the moment we embrace our roles as advocates of national transformation through values restoration. Now, the question is, how much of a leader are we? More importantly, how willing are we to lead especially in these times of adversity? Of uncertainty?
The nation, no, the whole world is eagerly waiting for true leaders to arise. Leaders who have the capacity to come face to face with the harsh challenges of the ongoing Covid pandemic. With this scenario, the only ingredient that goes perfectly with righteous leadership is willingness. The scripture says, “Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, watching over them—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be”. To lead without compulsion is key to massive, nationwide, and worldwide healing that we all look forward to. Imagine what one, two, hundreds, thousands and more of such willing leaders can do. Not only that, how faster can the good things in store for all of us be realized if they all arise and defeat this enemy that we’ve been battling for more than a year now?
Looking back to where we are and who we are, are we talking about them, meaning others apart from us? Are we among the crowd who are waiting for these high caliber leaders to save us? Or are we the one? The leader that is equipped with courage to be at the frontlines to fight this battle alongside these elite warriors?
Now that the real challenge is out and the bigger picture is painted, let us take a look at what exactly we can do. As public servants cum VROs, whether in the managerial or the rank and file, it is no question that we are all leaders. Leadership doesn’t necessarily come with titles and position; it is an innate quality that can be developed and nurtured.
The first area we need to look at is how well are we leading our very own lives? Have we broken through that initial fear that came with the threat of being infected with Covid? Are we stable, calm, and strong enough to now look out for others? If we can walk out our doors and are aggressive enough to seek and not to wait for the needs that must be addressed, we can say that we are among the willing leaders that can influence change and healing. Being a relevant leader in this season is not solely defined by position, profession, resources, and riches but more so by voluntary leadership. We can be the plainest Jane or Joe stripped off of any formal leadership title but our compassion and sincere desire to extend our hands to others will qualify us to be the kind of leader that is needed in this season and beyond.
Furthermore, let us be encouraged to know that this is just the beginning. Remember, “whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much”. There is so much more in store and not only does our territory expand but the necessary resources are inevitably our portion. Whether we are a leader of tens, hundreds, thousands or ourselves; whether we have an official leadership title or we are just starting out, we only need to be willing. The path to growth in leadership will naturally follow and the only power we must possess is the power over ourselves and our actions in line with righteousness. (KMB, CRFV)
The world is watching and waiting for people to trust and to depend on - waiting for men and women who are prepared for whatever the next period may bring, be it an opportunity or a challenge. They are the ones who carry the capacity to provide accurate solutions and execute plans. These are choice individuals endued with uncompromising values that we can count on in the midst of these perplexing times. People who cherish and live with reliable things. Now, what are these reliable things? Let us be reminded that the only reliable thing in this world that we can depend on are the love of God and His Word
As others live through the obscurities of life, we have some who rose from the dead and became light through the darkness; a strength for the faint-hearted and voice for those who wander. Reliability is the name of the game. A value best exemplified by men and women of unwavering commitment, indefatigable consistency and unquestionable faithfulness on what they say, do or think.
Reliable people possess unwavering commitment. They do not fail those who depend on them. They would go through the fire of mêlée without leaving others in the heat of the battle. They are willing to make selfless sacrifices as they go down and they serve others disregarding their own titles, status or even reputation.
In addition, reliable men and women are indefatigably consistent in excellence regardless of varying demands from the same people they help. First and foremost, they excel in service because their mindset is not only to work for God but they allow God to work through them. Second, they are commendably consistent because God’s skill directs them and His might empowers their inmost being to complete every task anytime and anywhere. In their stillness and confidence on God, they find their strength. They are indeed dependable because they depend on God.
Moreover, individuals who are reliable retain unquestionable faithfulness. They are faithful to God, their family, agency and fellow people. They are steadfast on what they believe they ought to do according to the will of God and the One who appointed them. They have an unalienable possession in the love of God, family, country and fellowmen. Their devotion to the people and service were woven in the fabric of their very being which can never be obliterated or extracted. Thus, everyone is reminded of the faithful God whose goodness is incomparable and His loving-kindness is always available.
As the world lives through these perilous times, reliable people who rely on God, on His love and in His word will see us through. There might be a mountain-pass with its sharp flints around but through their lives’ testimonies, we will surely be led to a fruitful valley. We are taught to depend and inclined to keep in step with the divine pace. The nest might be stirred up, but with trust, an individual might acquire the powers of flight. So, let us absolutely rely on God and become reliable persons in such a time as this. (JVS, CRFV)
Interdependence is defined by Collins Dictionary as the condition of a group of people or things that all depend on each other. Based on that definition, we can say that an interdependent relationship is one in which two or more people rely on each other because of diverse capabilities with the aim of helping satisfy one another’s needs, whether they be physical, emotional, or spiritual. It is also natural that when we are young, we are dependent to our parents or to our legal guardians for personal support. As we grow mature, such attitude of dependency should remain in us, no longer for personal satisfaction and support, but for a greater and noble purpose. We should continue to learn to live and work with people around us rather than doing and living alone. We must recognize the fact that we are not “jack of all trades”.
Not only is interdependence foundational to societal living, it is also the intention of God to us. We were given different gifts, skills, and talents in order for us to effectively function, equip others, and serve one another for the common good. We are like different parts of one body wherein we operate interdependently. An eye cannot say to the ear “I do not need you”. An ear cannot say to the nose “I do not need you”. This principle applies to all other parts of the body. If we are of one body, we should therefore connect and function together in one accord.
Taking for example the Israelites in the olden times, they lived in a close-knit society. This spurred by the fact that they came from one lineage. When they were liberated from slavery in Egypt, they travelled, lived, and worked together as one large community. Even though they were in diaspora, they continued to function interdependently through trade and industry. Such practice remained to this day and even to other countries around the globe. We, Filipinos, are also included in the list. We have the “bayanihan” culture. It was an age-old tradition that we still observe to this day. We come together regardless of blood relation in order to help a family in need. This is who we are as Filipinos.
All the more that we understood how to be interdependent in these difficult and challenging scenarios. Our fellow citizens are learning that interdependence is needed in order to overcome and outrun the current COVID-19 situation. One perfect example that is currently being implemented and adapted by many is the concept of the community pantry. Is there one in your community yet? Can we see the spirit of interdependence through this? Its essence, practicality, and mechanics are simply one of the best expression of interdependence. An avenue for giving to those who have and a way for those who are in lack to get by. Who have ever thought that interdependence is complicated? It is not and is actually simple. It is an act that springs forth from one’s innate compassion for others. How to do it will automatically follow. Who else must initiate and participate in such projects apart from us? The opportunity to take action is right in front of us. Let us grab and hold on to it. (CD, CRFV)
CRFV Winning Team
A company of men and women who have committed their lives to the cause of national transformation.