The word patriot signifies a person who loves his or her country and is ready to boldly support and defend it. In our country, we can find this likeness with our heroes who fought and defended our country from the tyranny and abuse of the rulers during their times. Even at the expense of their lives, they brought change and new order in our country resulting to the freedom that we are experiencing today.
If we examine our heroes and patriots around the world, what can we see as their common denominator? All have marks of selflessness. They did not just think of their welfare but primarily the welfare of others round about them. They are altruistic by the way they dedicated their lives without asking for anything in return from those who would benefit from it. They did not look for their personal gain. An athlete said, “A hero is not someone who does something courageous when he has nothing to lose and something to gain, but rather, he is the one who acts well when he has nothing to gain and everything to lose.” Selfless acts do not ask for anything in return, but desires the betterment of its recipient. Serving our nation, whether in public or private, do require selflessness. One who is selfless will not even think of putting the public or organizational funds in his or her own coffers, nor use it other than for its purpose. That is why laws have been placed so that those who do not know the thin line would have boundaries. Say for example the Republic Act No. 6713 or the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees. It provides for commitment to public interest reminding us that people who work in the government must uphold the public interest over and above personal interest. Same is true for private corporations. Some private corporations do have their Code of Business Conduct and Ethics or Corporation Code of Conduct to uphold their ethical principles for the protection of the interests of both the company and its employees.
Being selfless is easy to say but only a few really captures its deep essence. As a great example of selflessness, let us look into a loving parent’s character. Have you heard of the story about the selfless father? During the time of famine, a father who was able to look for food divided the provision equally between him and his children. Because of hunger, his children immediately consumed their food and only his share was left on the table. His stomach was grumbling because he hadn’t eaten anything that day. But looking at his children still hungry, with love and pity, he took the bread and instead of eating it, distributed it to them. This is the selflessness we can see from loving parents. Who would not want to see their children in a better condition and successful? Or would a parent rather see them worn out, suffering, and being ridiculed by people? Loving parents look for the welfare of their children, and possibly give their best to them. This can only happen when true love is present. As the saying goes, true love is selfless. It is prepared to sacrifice.
Ultimately, we can always look at the best example - Jesus who selflessly gave his life so that each one of us could live our lives abundantly. To live in selflessness does not mean that we deprive ourselves of what is due us, but to embrace the principle of looking into the welfare of others and deeply caring for people who are in need, helpless, and lost. Delai Lama said, “Our prime purpose in this life is to help others. And if you can’t help them, at least don’t hurt them.” Joseph Campbell also said, “A hero is someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself.” The Holy Scriptures in Philippians encourages us also, “Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” Selfless is a key to fulfill the second greatest commandment - to love others as ourselves. Jesus Christ laid His life so that we could walk on his example to love others - He laid his life for all humanity.
How about you? What are your stories of selflessness? (CGLG, CRFV)
“We must obey God rather than men.”
If punishment is around the corner, it is easier to obey. If there is a law, it is easier to command obedience. But what if there is neither punishment nor law to compel people to align their actions to what is morally and legally right? Rather, if faced with a situation where our conviction is challenged by the opinions of men or factual situations, how would we react?
There are three friends whose beliefs were challenged by the leader of the land, the king. Living in an era where there is a leader who can command whether they can live or die, their convictions were challenged when the king ordered all men to prostrate before his statue before his palace at the sound of a trumpet. Being officers of the court, there came a time when the trumpet sounded when the three friends were standing before the statue.
However, they chose to stand on what they believe in. Notwithstanding the fact that the announced penalty for disobedience was being burned inside a fiery furnace, they were ready to die for what they believe in. Enraged, the king, who saw the blunt disobedience of the three friends, ordered that the fiery furnace be heated seven times than its normal temperature. The friends were thrown there but they did not die. Instead, the king saw four people walking inside the fiery furnace and the fourth man looks like the “son of God.” He hurriedly called the friends to come out and explain what happened. In the end, they were promoted to high offices. Their disobedience to the king’s edict in order to obey the rules of their God catapulted them to positions of power.
Obedience to rules and regulations may result to either demotion or promotion. Generally, obedient workers do not experience punishments. Sometimes, they are promoted. Under a good type of leadership, this can help in the betterment of the operation of the office. But what if workers are placed under a bad type of leadership? Could their obedience lead to the betterment of the service they render or the oppression of the weak?
Often, disobedience to an order for the sake of standing for someone’s conviction can put someone to an uncomfortable situation; thus, only a few have the courage to obey their conviction and stand for what is right. Most just follow whatever is ordered without questioning or even looking at the morality or legality of the act. This is because it is easier to obey and avoid being put into hot water rather than stand for what is morally and legally right. But when will a system be fixed when everyone is just a Tom, Dick and Harry who have no bones to stand for what is right? Taking this in a wider scale, what will happen to a nation when all its people are crippled by fear to speak truth to power? (JBB, CRFV)
Have we been uncertain of what we are doing? Or did we ever question if what we’re doing is right or wrong? Doubted what to do and execute? Being unstable can affect our personal and corporate accomplishments. Whenever doubt sinks in to our system it causes our way towards our goal hazy and therefore unattainable.
Making decisions is part of our daily lives. Our actions determines our choices and decisions regardless if we were pressured or not. It’s either we do what is right or we do what is wrong. There are times that the pressure around us so intense that will motivate us to make crucial decisions and take necessary actions.
The effects of the current global pandemic has hit every aspect of our lives - individually or corporately. We are facing a pressing time where we need to constantly choose between righteousness and wickedness, between good and bad, and be able to survive.
Sadly, we have observed that some people started the race righteously but ended up taking the the opposite, allowing compromises. Yesterday they were crying for a graft-free society then we find them giving into corruption the next moment because of dire need. What are we really standing on? Are we going to change our purpose every time the situation change? Indecisive people tends to just follow the norm and just goes with the flow. They don’t have a stand about certain situations. When pressures sets in and we need to decide, will we keep on raising the banner of righteousness or will we let go and give up? Will we be decisive enough to stand firm on righteousness even if the majority does otherwise?
Just as what Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego said to King Nebuchadnezzar when they’ve been pressured to kneel and worship his image. They were aware of the consequences of their choice, yet they stood firm because they were 100% convinced that they are doing what should be done. They were decisive enough, they know their purpose and they’re willing to fight for it ‘til the end. As they uttered to the king,”If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and He will rescue us from your hand, O king. But even if God does not, we want you to know, O king that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up."
Even if the right choices doesn’t always sit well with us, we must still hold firm to what we’re called for - we are called for righteousness! We should abstain from every form of evil because we are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God's special possession, that we may declare the praises of Him who called us out of darkness into His wonderful light.
Decisiveness is knowing our purpose and being certain on our way towards its accomplishment. It is knowing our goal and being firm on it - uninfluenced by the changing standards and unaffected by the pressures in our environment. To be decisive means to be certain of who we are and what we are called to do. We are called to stand for righteousness, and we need to be certain of it ‘til the end. (MAT, CRFV)
Accountability is the readiness to give account to what is duly forthcoming. If we are to be audited by God today, are we ready? Have we done enough? What have we done with our skills, talents, and abilities? What have we done with the things He has given us?
These questions can also be asked to those who assume leadership functions in public office, elective or appointive. Elected officials are to give account to the electorate who entrusted to them such privilege in the exercise of their right of suffrage. In the same manner, the appointed officials will give account to the people, represented by the appointing authority, who believe that they will do well in their public functions during their stint in office. This gives meaning to the constitutional provision that “public office is a public trust”. Leadership positions are not for personal aggrandizement or fame but for service to the public.
The same principle applies to subordinate employees in government service. The high standard of public service is expected to be rendered by them to the taxpayers who religiously contribute for the revenues of the nation to be allotted for compensation and other government expenditures. The Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees enforces the value of accountability. It is clearly implied in the norms of conduct such as commitment to public interest, professionalism, justness and sincerity, political neutrality, responsiveness to the public, nationalism and patriotism, commitment to democracy, and simple living. All of these promote the observance of accountability to the public including the submission of annual performance report and other related provisions as mandatory requirements.
Our laws, however, are not bereft of provisions that require accountability even to the private sector. It is expected to those in the corporate world. Licenses and permits given to the business sector were issued for a reason. Inclusive of the right to operate is the protection of the general welfare, environmental care, compliance to reportorial requirements, payment of fees and dues, strict observance of standards enforced by regulatory agencies, and other obligations attached to it. They cannot engage into corrupt practices by getting consent from abusive rulers to do their wicked schemes at the expense of the health and safety of the general public.
Taking into consideration the value of accountability, it is always a two-way process. Accountability is expected to both sides – from whom the benefits or privileges are given and to whom the benefits or privileges are rendered. This makes every citizen become accountable also. As citizens of the country, we must do our part to make this nation progressive. The government is trying to do its role in alleviating the lives of every Filipino. There are subsidies amounting to millions of pesos being distributed by the government in order to uplift the lives of every family called “Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program”. The same is true with the social amelioration funds during this pandemic. Notwithstanding all these, it is too disappointing to hear those recipients who simply misuse their grants into gambling and other vices.
Indeed, there is a call for accountability to all stakeholders of this nation, both young and old, rich and poor, leaders and subordinates, and public and private sector. It must be an embodied tenet if we are to save this nation from imminent downturn. As the Civil Code has emphasized, “every person must, in the exercise of his rights and in the performance of his duties, act with justice, give everyone his due, and observe honesty and good faith”. (NAS, CRFV)
CRFV Winning Team
A company of men and women who have committed their lives to the cause of national transformation.