By Merlina Hernando-Malipot and Czarina Nicole Ong-Ki
Recognizing the need to instill ethical and moral standards in universities and colleges nationwide, the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) on Thursday inked an agreement with the Office of the Ombudsman (OMB) and the University of the Philippines (UP) System for the implementation of an anti-corruption for the youth program.
The CHED, UP system and the OMB signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) to “promote and safeguard public interest” as well as to “educate the youth” through a program that will help veer away the youth on corruption practices – among others.
CHED, represented by Chairman Prospero De Vera III, together with Ombudsman Samuel Martires and UP System President Danilo Concepcion signed the MOA at the Board of Regents Room at the University of the Philippines-Diliman, Quezon City.
During the signing, De Vera said that CHED “welcomes and commends this worthy initiative” of Martires to target young people and build the “foundation of an ethical and moral future” for the country.
“We commit the full support of the Commission and will mobilize the close to 2,000 public and private universities starting today,” De Vera added.
De Vera noted that the tripartite undertaking is an initiative of Ombudsman Martires to foster collaboration among CHED, UP System and OMB to “help promote transparency in government and strengthen the mechanisms of democratic accountability and efficiency.
Ombudsman Samuel Martires believes that the youth holds the power to reduce, if not eliminate, graft and corruption in the country.
This is why he reached out to the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) and the University of the Philippines (UP) to enter into a memorandum of understanding (MOU) and implement ethics and values formation into students’ curriculums.
During his speech held at the 4th floor of UP Quezon Hall in Quezon City on Thursday afternoon, Martires lamented that many individuals have lost sight of their own morals. What many adults prioritize right now, he said, is earning money – even if it means they have to resort to bad deeds in order to do so.
So he urged people: “Huwag natin ipasa ang values na yun sa kabataan, (Let us not pass on these values to our children).”
Martires added that he plans to talk to Rep. Eddie Villanueva to come up with a bill that would make values formation a separate subject from the Makabayan subject. Ideally, Martires said this would be a one-hour subject taken once a week.
He also said that values formation would be created based on religion, so Catholics, Christians, Muslims, and those from Iglesia Ni Cristo (INC), among many others, would all be able to learn from it.
“Napakahalaga na turuan natin ang mga bata ng tamang ugali. Mahirap turuan ang matatanda, (It is very important to teach children the right attitude. It’s difficult teaching the old),” he said.
The group, De Vera added, also aims to “instill ethical and moral values and empower citizens especially the youth sector as key players in nation-building and human development.”
In an interview with the Manila Bulletin, De Vera said that a three-unit subject in line the goals of the anti-corruption program will soon be rolled out as an elective in Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) nationwide.
“We are confident that our universities and colleges will welcome this because of its importance and urgency,” De Vera said.
Under this newly-signed agreement, CHED will “facilitate the production of information and education materials on ethics and accountability and disseminate these materials for the use of professors teaching the Ethics subject under the General Education curriculum in universities; organize workshops for General Education professors in the teaching of the subject on Ethics; and disseminate these materials to other education stakeholders.”
De Vera, who used to teach Ethics in UP, said that one of the challenges in teaching subject is the lack of local materials. “Most are Western references so we hope to gather materials in the local setting,” he explained.
CHED, De Vera said, is also expected to “initiate, together with higher education institutions (HEI), the development of a subject on Ethics and Accountability in the Public Service that can be offered as an elective in universities and colleges” as well as to “mobilize the expertise of the Ombudsman in the review and improvement of the General Education curriculum particularly in the ethics subject, and in the other projects and activities of the Commission.”
Through the program, De Vera said that CHED will also “support the conduct of fora and symposia in HEIs on ethics and accountability with the participation of the Ombudsman and other government agencies” and the “activities of university-based youth groups that promote ethics, accountability and good governance in the various universities.”
Soon, CHED also hopes to sign a Memorandum of Understanding with TVUP, University of the Philippines’ Internet Television Network, for the “production of video materials” consistent with the MoU.
Earlier, CHED also enjoined HEIs to offer Peace Education and Indigenous People (IP) Education. De Vera noted that these will be used as a “framework” to pilot the program which will also feature best anti-corruption practices – among others.