The first weekend of a new year opens a window for some contemplation. How far have we come as a nation? Or how have we progressed as a family? One only needs to look at what a nation values to determine the moral standing of its people.
A cursory search on the term “values” reveals that these are the basic and fundamental beliefs that guide or motivate attitudes or actions. In short, values “help us determine what is important to us.” “Values describe the personal qualities we choose to embody to guide our actions; the sort of person we want to be; the manner in which we treat ourselves and others, and our interaction with the world around us. They provide the general guidelines for conduct.”
So what do Filipinos “value” nowadays in a world that is so fast and where lifestyles are fragile and relationships are temporary? In a primer released by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) early this year titled, “A Study on Filipino Values,” the research aimed to answer the questions: “What is important for Filipinos?” and “What do Filipinos value at present?”
“Surveys and focus group discussions were held nationwide, participated by Filipinos from different places and sectors. Part of the research is for Filipinos to articulate why these values are important to them. The NCCA also conducted this research to determine different values upheld across the country, so that Filipinos can continue to embody these values to strengthen Filipino society,” according to the primer’s rationale.
The study revealed new insights grounded on traditional beliefs that we, for so long, held close to our hearts. For one, 19 common and shared values were identified, primary of which is “Family,” “Education” as second, and “Faith” as third. Included too are “Health and Wellness,” “Self,” “Work and Livelihood,” “Peace and Development,” “Honesty and Integrity,” “Resilience.” Surprisingly, Filipinos also value “Environment,” “Human Rights,” “Culture, Arts, and Sciences,” and “Creative Excellence.”
In the primer, the “Family” is the Filipinos’ “be-all-end-all” or the primordial purpose of being. “Family is of utmost importance to Filipinos. For them, family becomes a source of strength and inspiration to brave through challenges in life. This is also where one first learns the value of respect, kindness, love, and faith in God.”
On the other hand, “Education” for many Filipinos serves as the way to a better future. “Sustainable education ensures better job security For impoverished families especially, their children getting proper education gives them a chance to lift themselves out of poverty. Such is its value that parents are willing to give their lives to ensure their children get the best education.”
On the part of “Faith,” it is an “important force in the lives of Filipinos.” “Faith gives us the resilience to go through life’s challenges – Nasa Diyos ang awa, nasa tao ang gawa.”
In the primer’s conclusion, it said, “One can observe that traditional Filipino values have remained the same: family-centered, faith and virtue-based, sympathetic for others, and education-oriented.” Looking at these factors that Filipinos value the most reflect who we are as a nation. May 2022 find us caring more for our family, working harder for a good education, as we humble ourselves in the presence of God. Only then can we become a better nation, greater than ever before.