Last Friday, April 9, the Philippines celebrated a holiday called “Araw ng Kagitingan” or Day of Valour. I don’t think many remember the reason for this holiday. It was my American friend, Beau, who loves the Pinoy Culture and became a part of it, who reminded me it was to honor the thousands of Filipinos and Americans who surrendered to the Japanese during world war 2 and resulted in the Bataan Death March. For most of us it was just a long weekend.
Beau also reminded me of then President Manuel L. Quezon’s Civics and Ethics Code which I think we should keep in mind with the upcoming presidential elections. Beau’s words, “The valor and courage he speaks of and the past deeds of the passionate Filipinos who suffered in the Death March. It just speaks a great deal about those efforts and deeds and that we need to rededicate ourselves to his vision of what it means to be a honorable Filipino. That is the valor and fiber that binds the country. This makes the R.P. unique in all the world. The pride honor and sacrifice that is the Republic of the Philippines.”
As promulgated by the Manuel L. Quezon, The First President of the Philippine Commonwealth
1. Have faith in Divine Providence that guides the destinies of men and nations.
2. Love your country for it is the home of your people, the seat of your affections, and the sources of your happiness and well-being. It’s defense is your primary duty. Be ready at all times to sacrifice and die for it if necessary.
3. Respect the Constitution which is the expression of your sovereign will. The government is your government. It has been established for your safety and welfare. Obey the laws and see that they are observed by all and that public officials comply with their duties.
4. Pay your taxes willingly and promptly. Citizenship implies not only rights but also obligations.
5. Safeguard the purity of suffrage and abide by the decisions of the majority.
6. Love and respect your parents. It is your duty to serve them gratefully and well.
7. Value your honor as you value your life. Poverty with honor is preferable to wealth with dishonor.
8. Be truthful and be honest in thought and in action. Be just and charitable, courteous but dignified in your dealings with your fellowmen.
9. Lead a clean and frugal life. Do not indulge in frivolity or pretense. Be simple in your dress and modest in your behavior.
10. Live up to the noble traditions of our people. Venerate the memory of our heroes. Their lives point the way to duty and honor.
11. Be industrious. Be not afraid or ashamed to do manual labor. Productive toil is conductive to economic security and adds to the wealth of the nation.
12. Rely on your own efforts for your progress and happiness. Be not easily discouraged. Persevere in the pursuit of your legitimate ambitions.
13. Do your work cheerfully, thoroughly, and well. Work badly done is worse than work undone. Do not leave for tomorrow what you can do today.
14. Contribute to the welfare of your community and promote social justice. You do not live for yourselves and family alone. You a are part of society to which you owe definite responsibilities.
15. Cultivate the habit of using goods made in the Philippines. Patronize the products and trades of your countrymen.
16. Use and develop our natural resources and conserve them for posterity. They are the inalienable heritage of our people. Do not traffic with your citizenship.
The vital lesson we must learn from our past is that we can triumph if we only persevere. The Filipino people, by grit, hard work, and faith in God, will march forward to fulfill their destiny.
It took an American to remind me of these ethics which we should live by today. Let us remember these when we vote on May 10, 2010. Choose wisely!