SOME THEORETICAL CONSIDERATIONS
Before discussing the topic assigned to me, I wish briefly to outline some background ideas which for the subsequent discussion on "Values Education in the Social Sciences." These ideas are: (1) on education and society, (2) on epistemology and communication, and (3) on the pedagogical basics and the social sciences. The first are from cultural anthropology, the second from the philosophy of history, and the third from the philosophy of education.
Education and Society
Pedagogy (Gr. pais, child + agein, to lead) by definition is concerned with bringing up the young (implicitly) by elders who possess in greater measure knowledge and wisdom.
Society generally perceives itself as broadly divided along lines of age and knowledge: the young and the old, the ignorant and the knowledgeable. In traditional societies the young were less knowledgeable and the elders more knowledgeable, thus pedagogy or the "teaching of the young."
Although education may be regarded as an institution created by society, it is a function of society, and as such arises from the nature and character of society itself. Society seeks to preserve itself in some form of balance; to do so it maintains its functions and institutions in view of assuring its survival and convenience. There are instances, however, when a society is in no position to determine what is for its survival or convenience, as in the case of societies dominated by a power with non-congruent interests. Thus, educational anthropology speaks of (a) enculturation and (b) exculturation.
Enculturation. Enculturation, says Mischa Titiev, is the "conscious or unconscious conditioning occurring within that learning process whereby man, as child and adult, achieves competence in his culture."1 The term was introduced into social science by M.J. Herskovits in 1948. He saw people as born with biologically-inherited mechanisms whose manifestations they must "transform or control in conformity with their society's way of life," or "convert . . . to socially acceptable forms of cultural conduct."2
Enculturation, simplified for clarity's sake, means the process whereby a cultural community transmits its values and mores to its young. Here at least implicit suppositions are that "culture is learned anew by each generation," as John M. Whiting accurately observes, and that a level of cultural homogeneity is desirable for order and creative coexistence in society.3 This process makes a Japanese child grow into a Japanese, and a French child into become a Frenchman or Frenchwoman.
In education, enculturation manifests itself in the content and procedures of pedagogy. Through the content, the person becomes more and more knowledgeable in the values and customs of his own people; through the procedures, he discovers that his progress is measured by his achievement in the skills and perspectives which promote the well-being and aspirations of his society. His communication skills, for example, are measured in terms of how effectively he is able to communicate with his own people. Thus, the values of his society become the measure of his achievement and recognition.
Exculturation. The term "acculturation" is the more usual correlative term of enculturation, but I am using exculturation to suggest more strongly the contrast between the net effects of the two upon the education. Exculturation (understood as acculturation), says Titiev, refers to the process of "acquiring culture other than that of one's own society, and in general to the acquiring by one society of culture traits from another society."4
In the case of immigrants, where the term rightly applies, acculturation is a necessary means of acquiring social efficiency and competence in one's adopted society. In the case of colonized societies acculturation (understood as exculturation) becomes a problem, for here the minority culture of a powerful few becomes the culture of power, and the culture of the majority becomes the culture of powerlessness or marginalization. The result is usually an expensive, but generally futile, attempt on the part of the ruled class to acquire power or a share of power by going through the motions of acculturation with the power elite.
The futility of the attempt derives from the fact that the educational system provided by the ruling class for the majority really is calculated to prepare the ruled class for efficient service under them. The measures of educational achievement under this condition are necessarily those of serviceability to the demands of the power-holders regardless of the locus of the power within or outside the nation.
Education under a stratified society, such as one that is colonial, is also stratified. The education to which the children of the powerless majority are subjected is radically different from that of the children of the ruling class, who tend to acquire their education in centers of learning close to the power-centers if not in the power-centers themselves. In the home nation, schools are classified according to standards set in the power-centers, and accreditation marks out those which have the approval of the power-holders. To these schools go those who can afford their usually high cost, whether in the form of the direct costs of education such as tuition fees, or in the quality of the preparation for admission.
Exculturation simply means education which systematically makes the individual less adaptable and suited to live in his traditional society as he acquires efficiency in living for the other society. It means that a Filipino is educated to become less efficient in his own Filipino society and more competent in the service and arts of the alien culture, of the powerholders. These may reward him enough to keep his loyalty, but never enough for him to acquire equality or domination. The ruling class sees to it that the acquisition of such equality or attempts at domination are immoral if not criminal. That is part of the culture game.
Epistemology and Communication
Human knowing comes either from perspective or from experience. Knowledge from perspective is objective, always incomplete, but easy to communicate by simple demonstration. Knowledge from experience is subjective, complete, but impossible to fully communicate because it works only by signs and analogy.
When I see physical objects, for example under the conditions of the physical or natural sciences, I see only from a point of view, from a point in space regarding the object of my gaze. Therefore, I always see only a part of the objective being; I see the object only in perspective. I cannot see the other side, or the inside; I cannot see all around it at once. Always, part of what I think I know of it as a whole is mediated by a mental process rather than by vision. In other words, objective knowledge, by definition, is always incomplete.
On the other hand, if I have a toothache, or if I am angry, the fact is circumscribed by me. It is contained in me and is totally present to me, as it were. I "see" it from all perspectives simultaneously and no aspects of it or nuances of its reality can escape me. If anything did escape me, it is not part of the experience and cannot be spoken about. Wilhelm Dilthey said that this was best capable of communication through art, and not through demonstration.5 And when finally communicated, it is but the toothache or the anger of the onlooker himself that ultimately makes sense to the onlooker and through which he grasps that of others. Very much of the content and meaning of the social sciences is experience and can be appreciated only through the replay within the individual consciousness of what may have happened in the experience of others as signified in so many signs by language or art.
Thus, if objective knowledge is incomplete because of the limiting influence of the inescapable perspectivity of objective knowledge, and if subjective knowledge is never fully communicable because what the onlooker comes to understand ultimately is not the other's experience but his own, then all knowledge and communication is inescapably biased. That bias is not a defect of consciousness and communication, but their condition. This means that there is no value-free communication at all, that "value-free-communication" is absurd. It means also that all knowledge is interpretation or hermeneutical, and that all argument about communication and what is communicated (e.g., in education) is but a competition of interpretations and is reducible to a struggle for power rather than for clarity, or what some may call truth. The better this is considered, the sooner we might have peace in dialogue.
The Pedagogical Basics
While we are accustomed to hear from the Department of Education, Culture and Sports (DECS) that the "basics" are "reading," "writing," and "arithmetic," there is another level of regarding the basic human skills the possession of which distinguishes those who can meet the demands and challenges of life more effectively. I shall refer to the listing by Theodore Meyer Greene of four types of human capabilities: (1) linguistic proficiency, (2) factual discovery, (3) synoptic interpretation, and (4) normative evaluation.6
Linguistic Proficiency. Linguistic proficiency means (1) ability to use effectively a first language, and at least a second language on various levels of communication, and (2) familiarity with, and proficient use of, the specialized technical language of at least one of the arts, and the natural and physical sciences and technology, for which the language of mathematics is basic. The issue here is communication.
Factual Discovery. Factual discovery is the basic skill of being proficient in various methods and techniques of discovering and/or acquiring data and the processes which transform such data into information. It also means the ability to devise tools of discovery such as maps for the location of geographic places, directories and catalogues, research designs for guiding the task of discovery, formulae for arriving at answers, heuristic devices for discovering patterns and conclusions, and such. It also means knowing whom to ask or what to consult about the facts one wishes to know: authorities, catalogues, intelligence and information bureaus, and even simple tools like indexes, dictionaries, and concordances. The issue here is to know how, and to be able, to get the facts, which means getting the truth.
Synoptic Interpretation. Synoptic interpretation is reading the meaning of patterns which become apparent only when several facts are put alongside each other so that they can be seen together (Gr. syn-, together + opsis, a sight). Isolated facts may make no sense by themselves, but assume significance when seen in relation to other facts. Synoptic interpretation is rooted in the assumption of the relativity of meaning, and on the further assumption that the greater the number of facts seen together, the more reliable the interpretation.
Synoptic interpretation is what a chief executive officer does when he takes a hard look at sales graphs, or what a physicist does when he looks at the final assembled data of an experiment, or a physician when he diagnoses an ailment by looking at the assembled laboratory findings, or a teacher when he decides whether a student passes or fails as he sees the line of the ratings acquired over a term. It is also what the boss does when he sees the biodata and records of a job applicant, or what the judge does when he tries to work out a verdict as he pores through the mass of evidence before him.
When the historian looks at the mass of historical facts and makes a statement of his opinion, when the sociologist makes a statement about a society on the basis of his collected statistics, when the economist judges the health or ailment of economic conditions on the basis of so many figures and events, he is doing synoptic interpretation. Inability to do this leaves people unable to make intelligent decisions. All literacy may prove futile when one is illiterate in this aspect, that is when one is unable to read an assemblage of related facts.
Normative Evaluation. Normative evaluation is applying a set of criteria (norms) to a subject in order to arrive at a judgment. Two things are essential: (1) the subject of evaluation, and (2) the criteria or norms of evaluation. Of the two, the subjects for evaluation, as a rule, come gratuitously in the course of any human life; but the criteria of evaluation are mostly to be acquired. The criteria or norms to be acquired come in the form of moral (ethical), legal, cultural, rational, aesthetical, political, religious, scientific, procedural, professional and technical norms. Ordinarily, these are rooted in some form of theoretical system or philosophy more or less explicit.
Normative evaluation is what a judge does when he decides whether an act is prohibited or not by a law; what a panel does when it decides which among a set of beauty contestants measures up best to a set of contest rules and requirements; and what a literary critic does when he applies a set of desiderata to a literary work with a view to making a statement concerning its literary quality. It is what a man or woman does when he or she decides to accept or reject a marriage proposal on the basis of his or her personal standards of acceptability. It is also what a theologian or religious teacher does when he takes up an idea and measures it against the established doctrine of his faith and decides whether the idea is orthodox or heterodox. It is also what a panel of professors does when they examine a thesis or dissertation, applying to it the norms of their academic discipline and of scientific method, with a view to arriving at a judgment of passed or failed, or to have it revised in order to bring it up to academic standards. It is also what the human conscience does when it is called upon to judge the goodness or evilness of an act yet to be done or already accomplished. It is the essence of critical thinking.
Normative evaluation saves man from the instability and unpredictabilities of arbitrariness. It is the basis of ethical behavior and therefore of the order in life.
These four have been called basics because they are skills every man needs for effective human life. An educational system that does not consciously, systematically and rigorously pursue the achievement of these skills can only be mediocre, and may be the preparation of a people for lifelong servitude either to other people or to their own ineffectuality as individuals.
VALUES EDUCATION IN THE SOCIAL SCIENCES
I see two sets of values in connection with the social sciences: (1) disciplinal values inherent in their scientific character and hence in the professionalism of the scholar, and (2) values extrinsic to the disciplines which may be incidentally learned.
The scientific disciplines and professional scientists, when speaking of values, cannot be separated as if the sciences had values in themselves independent of man whom they serve, or of the scholars who investigate and report about them. This intimate interconnection between the scientist and his science is to be kept in mind in the discussion which follows.
The following, possibly among others, easily come to mind when one thinks of the disciplinal and professional values which should guide the conduct of social sciences teaching: (1) scientific honesty, (2) circumspection and diligence in inquiry, (3) choice of philosophy and method, (4) fairness of critical judgment, (5) intellectual honesty, and (6) proper pursuit of the role of the discipline in the curriculum.
Scientific Honesty. Scientific honesty is both a quality of mind of the scientist, and a quality of the scientific report made after a study or investigation. As a quality of mind, it is openness, sincerity of purpose, and dedication to truth; as a quality of the scientific report, it means that what is written and proposed for the information of others is to the best possible degree free of inaccuracy in presentation, method and finding. There is to be no bending of material to suit personal purposes. The worst offense against this principle is a hoax, or a fabrication passed off as a scientific fact or artifact. The case among others, of the pseudo-historical documents in the study of Philippine history exposed by Henry Scott in 1968 is one example.
Circumspection and Diligence in Inquiry. Philippine history textbooks, especially after World War II, carried such material as the "Code of Kalantiaw," and when a Chief Justice of the Supreme Court retired during the presidency of Ferdinand Marcos he was honored with the "Order of Kalantiaw."
Circumspect and diligent inquiry by historian William Henry Scott (Unitas, 41 [Sept. 1968], 409-420) led him to conclude, "There is . . . no present evidence that any Filipino ruler by the name of Kalantiaw ever existed or that the Kalantiaw penal code is any older than 1914" (p. 420). One has to read the account of his painstaking detective work on alleged "pre-Hispanic source materials for the study of Philippine History" to appreciate what circumspection and diligence is about. But because of insufficiency in both, other historians, including the famous librarian Alexander Robertson, have circulated fabricated "historical" information which misguided numerous students who studied history in our schools.
Circumspection and diligence are qualities of mind and scholarly habit. They concern the research scholar as well as the teacher. These are virtues which serve as a moral assurance that what the scholar or teacher says is worthy of confidence. They are not absolute guarantees against the possibility of error, but they assure audiences and students that the possibility of error is greatly reduced, and that if any error has occurred, it was in good faith.
Choice of Philosophy and Method. We have noted earlier under the section on "Theoretical Considerations" that no human is ever able to rid himself of his subjectivity and therefore also of the ways of looking and understanding which are unique to each individual. We said there that there is no value-free communication; we can extend that by saying that there is no value-free perspective.
Philosophy, being rooted in an individual's way of looking and perspective, cannot be prescribed heteronomously, although an appeal can be addressed to each individual. For this reason, the academic freedom of teachers, especially on the tertiary level, is guaranteed by positive law. Under that freedom, persuasion is probably the only non-coercive way to get them to pursue a philosophic track.
Nevertheless, no matter how one may look at the freedom of the academic, there is the micro-society of his students, and the macro-society to which he and his students belong. To these they owe their rights; without these they have no rights at all. In other words, the larger reason for education should sober up those who wish to absolutize academic freedom and make it an idol. The point is that the teacher/professor in the classroom vis a vis his freedom is not there simply as an individual, but as a person standing in lieu of the larger purposes of society; like society, he is responsible for the recognition of the dialectic of mutual respect. He stands in the classroom and before students in loco societatis and it is in view of this that I adverted earlier to enculturation.
Thus, in the choice of philosophy--call it philosophy of science if you will--the values of the society for which the education is being undertaken should be considered with sincere respect. To cite extreme possibilities, humans may not be used as disposable objects of experimentation, or manipulated like laboratory mice. It is good to keep in mind always the maxim that humans are always ends in themselves.
Philosophy and method are so interlinked in science that one without the other is absurd. In this light, in cultures such as the Philippines where philosophy is often not explicit in the classroom, there is special importance to conscious pedagogical articulation of philosophy with regard to the sciences, in this case the social sciences. So much of the implicit philosophy in our classrooms is rooted in the Pragmatism of John Dewey, brought here by America in the establishment of the public school system in 1901. Although there is actual pluralism in our system, the role of the government educational agency we know as the Department of Education, Culture and Sports (DECS) has been such that less vigilant schools have simply been carried by the tide. While they profess Gospel values, their educational philosophy in practice in a large number of courses is no less pragmatistic or negative as regards the values they profess.
Scholars returning from the United States brought "exchange theory"
for the analysis of interhuman behavior; its underlying supposition is that
humans are incapable of altruism. "Conflict theory" (another name for
Dialecticism or, more plainly, Marxism) denounced the capitalistic exchange theory and, especially in its simplistic form, operated on the assumption that differences in socio-economic class constitute a state of war.
Behaviorism came with no less materialistic postulates. One can go on
listing the philosophical perspectives which have been dumped into our
educational system. Thanks to our uncritical openness, we have managed to
produce a supermarket style of educational philosophies to our children's
supreme confusion. To this they react with equal confusion manifested in a
behavior we read as lack of values, but which probably should be read as
confusion of values. The integration of truth cannot be possible when
the integrative factor--philosophy--is itself confounded. We have excused
this confusion by invoking freedom as if man were for freedom rather than freedom for man. It may take some salt to understand the nuance between the two; but failure to appreciate the nuance has been causing this nation to smart, and its educational system to recognize the confusion. It is now asking for values education--which, given its background, is already smarting.
The choice of philosophy and method also means choosing a philosophy of education and method of teaching. The usual methods in Philippine schools--largely due to the lack of imagination on the part of many educators and due principally to the lifeless bureaucratization and minimalism of the system--are lectures and discussions in class, and some laboratory work. The result is a great amount of cognitive learning and a minimum of affective learning. (Values education is profoundly affective!) The social science classroom can benefit greatly from the methods of exposure and immersion and the reflective element that procedurally follows such exercises.
Exposure is a method of teaching whereby the student is deliberately brought face to face with the concrete social realities which he can only imagine (if at all) when reading books. Exposure is brief, but may be an intermittent presence at the site of the subject of study or analysis. He should have the opportunity to interact with the people in situ and to listen to their side of the situation. He is expected to get the facts from living society rather than from his books alone. He may be allowed to enter into real human relations with the people from whom he is learning, but it is necessary to avoid relating to them as if they were laboratory mice being manipulated in order to get a class grade.
This method must be preceded by planning, and followed by individual and group reflection. Explaining what he sees is good, but it is even better if he can undertake exercises in devising strategies of solution. Exposure may develop into something more extended, called immersion.
Immersion is an extended living-with the people who are participating in the student's educational exercise. The people may be families or communities, with whom the student goes to live (the summer season is a good time) as a participant observer: he learns the ropes by holding them, so to speak. It is a kind of practicum in living the way other people live, see and value things. The purpose is not only understanding a situation, but forming human ties which become anchors for appreciation. Immersion among the poor, for example, should build ties of identification with their humanity and a recognition of the dehumanizing effect of oppressive conditions, whether these be the result of the human limitations of the poor themselves, or of overwhelming oppressive forces from other humans and institutions. This must be planned, and students need some preparation to make the experience truly educational and an occasion for growth in valuing.
As in the exposure method, immersion should be followed by deep and wide-ranging reflection on the matter observed and learned. But unlike exposure which is too brief, immersion should be interspersed systematically with reflections in situ. Such reflection may bring up questions which the student can clarify during his stay in his adopted community.
Other variants and modifications of these methods can be created. But whatever the mode of exposure or immersion, it is important that the program be an official part of the learning and curricular program and duly graded and credited. The crediting is a signal of institutional valuing. Calling these "extra-curricular" or "co-curricular" with less or incidental credit is hopelessly obsolete, even mindless.
Exposure and immersion may be conducted individually or by group; but if by group, preferably the number should be small.
Fairness of Critical Judgment. Inherent in the procedures of academic investigation and inquiry is the review of the works of other scholars. Reviewing involves evaluation and judgment. Fairness is needed in both the evaluation and the judgment. This means a truthful and sober presentation of why someone made the conclusions he did make. Perhaps it was his theoretical approach that blinded him to things he should have seen. Perhaps it was the insurmountable limitation of resources in his time, but in fairness to his sincerity, that was all that was then possible. Or if harshness is the only way to restore outraged truth, let it be--as Scott did to Jose E. Marco--but in the procedure he observed, with circumspection and diligence. Or if another example be needed, consider what Fr. John N. Schumacher, S.J., did with the La Loba Negra which has been shown to be another fabrication, falsely attributed to Fr. Jose Burgos.
Unfair critical judgment often stirs up storms and divides scholars into warring camps. It is a seduction to mudslinging and a waste of intellectual energy, more productive of heat than light. But on the other hand, official power should never be used to decide scientific issues. For this reason I abhor the sight of the legislative and the executive branches of government deciding what ethnic group is still Neolithic--we sometimes go that low.
Intellectual Honesty. Do not claim as your brainchild what in fact came from somebody else: do not plagiarize. These are the pedantic but correct rules of the intellectual game. It is for this that academic practice
has prescribed, in innumerable handbooks of form and style on scholarly writing, minute prescriptions concerning acknowledgement of sources and exact references. Intellectual honesty is an elemental scientific act of justice, and supplements what we have earlier called "scientific honesty."
Proper Pursuit of the Role of the Discipline in the Curriculum. Missing the forest for the trees is not unusual even among the most dedicated teachers. Specialization has made it possible to know so much sometimes about a narrow field; if one gets enamored of the facts of a specialization, one can miss the role of the discipline or subject in the educational system and process. This loss of perspective has often transformed social science classes in the Philippine classroom into information-conveying sessions at the expense of skill-in-methods learning. The result has often been that the social sciences are regarded simply as bodies-of-facts rather than disciplines concerned, not only with facts, but with the scientific methods of discovering facts.
I have suggested earlier that the social sciences (through not exclusively) should pay close attention, in the Philippine situation, to developing and honing students' abilities for factual discovery, synoptic interpretation, and normative evaluation. In this way, the social sciences can promote and enhance greater fidelity to disciplinal values, while laying the foundation for more intellectually stable citizens who, by that stability, may be predisposed to become more fertile grounds for the nurturing of other values. There should be no gainsaying that education is a value in itself which makes possible the learning of the other values in the classroom or elsewhere. To miss this is to miss very much indeed.
Maybe one more point should be made for the sake of emphasis in connection with normative evaluation. The social sciences ought to provide critical norms by which social phenomena are evaluated. It is not enough merely to describe phenomena; it is important to provide evaluative apparatus by which students can process information and make sense of social phenomena. Hence, the need for a theoretical (philosophical) framework of teaching and learning. While the teacher is not expected to impose, he must make clear his value position so that students know his biases, should such a knowledge be necessary for their own evaluation of his teaching as required by critical thinking.
Extra-Disciplinal Values and Social Science Teaching. Since the
values-communication may not arise spontaneously from the disciplines
concerned, there is also the issue of values integration, whose main question
is probably not what values, but how values--whether intradisciplinal or
extradisciplinal--can be integrated into the learning process. The integration
of values in the classroom process can take any or all of three modes: (1)
role model, (2) precept, and (3) process.
HISTORICAL NATIONAL VALUE CONCERN
AND VALUES EDUCATION
What we have discussed thus far can be said for any other country similarly situated as the Philippines. We have yet to confront the basic question of the distinctive track which should be taken by Philippine values education, especially in relation to the social sciences.
A nation's history is its own identity, for regardless of the similarities which may exist in the histories of nations, or the parallelisms which may occasionally occur, no nations have identical histories even among those who at some time in their national existence shared common governments or cultural roots. This is why the search for a uniquely appropriate way of dealing with any nation inevitably must consider the historic events through which the nation had passed. In the case of the study of values, or even in the critique of national values and valuing processes, it is important to identify the central value-concerns which are seen to have been centrally positioned in the consciousness of those nationals who were in a position to contribute the most visible and effective input into national events. I shall, therefore, attempt to identify those central value-concerns which preoccupied the protagonists of Philippine history since the late 18th century.
Recognition and Respect of Filipino Dignity (1774-1892)
On or around the year 1774, there developed among the best educated Filipinos--the secular clergy (the Filipinos, who were called Indios at the time, as a rule were not admitted to the orders of friars--a feeling of being racially discriminated against. This dragged on into most of the 19th century and culminated in the execution of Frs. Jose Burgos, Mariano Gomez, and Jacinto Zamora in February, 1872. The central issue was the demand by the Filipino clergy for full recognition of and respect for Filipino dignity. The claim was against what in practice was Spanish racism justified by a plethora of accusations such as immorality, incompetence, and so forth, some of which the Iberians claimed to be congenital to the Indio and therefore beyond remedy.
As the conflict dragged on, a new breed of educated Filipinos, products of the educational reform which took place in 1865, came into the scene. These were the ilustrados who picked up the struggle for the recognition of Filipino dignity, this time not only from local Spaniards but also from the Peninsular government of Spain. They called their campaign a "Reform Movement," but in essence, it was a recognition of their dignity to the point of giving them real participation in governing their country and in the amelioration of the Spanish colonial government in the archipelago.
Everything that suggested the capability of Filipinos to stand on equal ground with the white men and show their equal worth was greatly valued. Thus the victories in the painting competitions in Spain by Luna and Hidalgo were immense victories of Filipino dignity, as Rizal himself felt. Even Rizal's own triumph over Spaniards in writing Spanish poetry writing was in perfect tune with the central national value of the time. For this he scorned in his novels anything or anyone that seemed, or was, undignified or unworthy. And he caricatured them mercilessly.
By 1892, after Rizal's last attempts to bring about some reform failed because of his arrest and exile in Dapitan, Andres Bonifacio felt that Spanish reform was not forthcoming, and Filipinos were never going to live in dignity under Spanish dominion. Eventually, he expressed his sentiments categorically in such writings as "Katapusang Hibik ng Pilipinas." To build an institutional expression of his despair over Spanish reformability, he founded the Katipunan in 1892. The execution of Rizal in 1896 confirmed his worst fears and his revolutionary resolve.
The founding of the Katipunan was the signal for the birth of a new national value: independence. Dignity, it was perceived, could never be fully recognized and respected given the incorrigible attitude of the Spanish colonial powerholders. The only way to attain dignity was to become politically independent; the Revolution was launched to achieve just that.
By June 12, 1898, Bonifacio had been killed, but his dream of declaring independence from Spain was accomplished in Kawit, Cavite, by Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo and his fellow revolutionaries. By the close of that year, a republican Constitution had been completed in Malolos, Bulacan, and then ratified in January, 1899. But by February, the occupying Americans had made the future of that Constitution very uncertain. Eventually Aguinaldo was captured and the country fell completely into the hands of Americans whose intent was clearly recolonization. The struggle for independence was not over, and the best and most authentic acts of patriotism remained that of fighting for independence despite the military laws of the American occupation. Patriots went in and out of jail, but independence, they professed, was worth all the pain. The palliative of that face-saving Commonwealth period was never enough. Full independence, alone, was deemed to give the Filipino his full sense of dignity and self-respect.
When the Japanese occupied the Philippines in World War II, Filipinos fought and died, some out of blind fidelity to the United States, but many for patriotic motives. The message was the same: this nation had not worked for independence only to fall again into another colonial pit under the Japanese, regardless of their promise of prosperity.
By July, 1946, the United States of America finally recognized Philippine independence. But alas, at this time recognition was ironic, and practically a joke. The country had just been devastated by a war the Philippines had no hand in creating. America knew that if independence were recognized at that time, in pure despair the Philippines would ask the USA to come back in one form or other to help rebuild the nation's ruins, and in the process make some profit. True enough, it was not long before the Laurel-Langley Agreement.
Economic Development (1946-1966)
After the recognition of Philippine independence, it became very clear, especially because of post-war conditions, that independence had no real substance unless the nation had enough material sustenance to feed, clothe, house, educate, medicate, and in any way cultivate and promote the life of Filipinos. Economic sufficiency and more was the desideratum of the period.
But troubles there were in abundance: warlords in the countryside; dissident Huks in the mountains; underfed and undereducated everywhere; and growing slums in the cities, especially Manila.
The Legislature spent its energies, which appear from hindsight not to have been very vast, on debates about what to do with the economy. One President is derisively reported as having asked the legislature to abolish (some say "amend") the "law of supply and demand." The Central Bank and some well-meaning Cabinet men were in disagreement concerning the peso-dollar exchange rate because of the fear of fast exit of capital in the country as American profits locally earned were being sent out of the country. Agriculturization or industrialization was the question for some. But the sum total of all these was a question of the central national value at the time--economic development without which dignity and independence would be illusory. Slogans like "Filipino first" (Garcia) or "simple living" (Macapagal) and various ways of toying with economic protectionism (e.g., NEPA) were but ways of expressing that central concern for economic progress, and borrowing foreign capital was not the least among the possibilities.
By 1965, it was clear that some progress had indeed taken place. A few rich had become very rich, and Marcos later spoke loud and clear against those "oligarchs." Some of them had been his own political patrons. But in Macapagal's time, even the basic staple of rice was in short supply. When Macapagal imported rice from Thailand the Legislature accused him of illegal importation, to which he retorted that he preferred to go to jail than see his people go hungry. That was noble, but the people were hungry nevertheless, and he lost the next election to Ferdinand E. Marcos who campaigned on the assurance that "This nation will be great again!" He assumed the presidency in 1966.
Social Justice (1966-present)
Marcos came to be convinced that it was not only development that the nation needed, but some form of social justice. He tried to move in that direction if only, at the least, to appear to fulfill his grand promises. He may have been sincere, and many indeed agreed with him concerning the need for social justice on a national scale. At first, he tried what he legally could.
He faced what other presidents ahead of him had encountered: an uncooperative, often hostile, garrulous but essentially unproductive legislature. Its leading presidential aspirants were trying to ensure their election prospects by seeing to it that the incumbent Chief Executive failed miserably during his term of office. The logic was simple, a successful president was clearly undefeatable for another term, but why make that possible; hence he was not to succeed at all costs even if the nation drowned! So Marcos plodded through his term hardly able to even begin to make this nation great again. The rice shortages continued, election spending caused inflation, and the nation was sinking because the government itself among other factors was beginning to believe its own alarmist propaganda. Marcos decided to take the authoritarian road and imposed martial law in 1972.
With control of government fully in his hands, he thought he could achieve at least a modicum of social justice. But his means themselves were unjust, and although he did register some economic gains in the mid-1970s, these were soon eroded by growing discontent and loss of government credibility due to widespread graft and corruption and immense inefficiency.
Social justice was bandied about and given much lip service, but still there was no clear evidence of success in that direction, economically or morally. Those who disliked martial law most were among the most desirous to see every Marcos move fail utterly, and so it came to pass. But the national theme of social justice did not pass and as Marcos fell more deeply into failure, the need for social justice become more acute.
A "people power" upheaval threw Marcos out of the presidency in February 1986. Mrs. Corazon C. Aquino became President. Immediately she was confronted with the same national need--social justice. First, she had to decide how to handle her new government and chose to be a liberal and to handle government democratically. She made commitments to free enterprise and to respecting human rights. An early gesture was to free political detainees, many of whom she later sought to reincarcerate. She asked for and got an agrarian land reform law as a signal of her personal commitment to social justice.
The central value which appears to concern the nation principally is social justice. If this be so then the centerpiece of Philippine values education today must be social justice. It should be seen as the central and organizing value in reference to which the other values become nationally meaningful. Philippine values education without a vital center can only be a hat full of watch parts, disorganized and likely to go as the spirit blows.
ORGANIZING VALUES AROUND JUSTICE
Justice is meaningful in terms of the relationships man has and creates (1) between himself and other humans and human institutions, ((2) between himself and nature, (3) between himself and himself, and (4) between himself and the Transcendent.7
Man, Fellowmen, and Institutions
To do justice is to recognize value and act according to that recognition. The value of individuals must be recognized to give them their due: nutrition if they are hungry, clothing if they are naked, medicine if they are sick, education if they are ignorant, deliverance from bondage if they are oppressed, and so forth. The recognition of the rights of others means the proper rendering to them of that to which they have a right, be it efficient service, fairly priced and quality goods and services, fidelity, care, or just wages. It means also recognition of their natural right to govern themselves by means of broadening their true and effective participation in their own governance and determination of their destiny, earthly and otherwise. But most importantly, the rights of others is to be read as one's obligation towards them: they have rights precisely because I have obligations, for rights spring from man's social nature.
Man also relates to institutions. Many Filipinos today are ready to lionize the villains of society in order to make money. Rebels against the government frequently have been elevated to the status of folk heroes while the law enforcers are shown as bungling, terroristic, and corrupt. This is an indication of an anarchistic attitude, a failure to relate to the largest natural institution--the government and its agencies. Is this lack of concern for government perhaps the reason why so many sometimes sell their votes?
Many a history teacher has singled out what is called polo service and taxes in the colonial era as acts of government injustice without explaining why these were needed and how these services and taxes produced such public services as roads and bridges. The result has been a failure of the citizenry to appreciate that tax payments are investments in public conveniences and services, or in the case of public servants, to appreciate the moral implications of their trusteeship of the people's money.
Man and Nature
Justice in human relations with nature primarily involves promoting the serviceability and beneficence of nature for mankind. Any improvident aggression upon nature that in the long or short term returns to plague man in the form of shortages of natural resources or cataclysms is unjust not only to the perpetrator, but to the society or community which eventually is affected. This holds true for pollution and the ravaging of nature as through deforestation, dynamite fishing, the degradation of agricultural soil, and damage to the ozone layer.
Justice in dealing with nature also involves the provident use and employment of natural resources for the sustenance of society's necessities.
Man and Himself
Man also needs to deal with himself fairly and justly. It is justice to self and to society to care for one's development personally and professionally. Untold injustice takes place in society because of countless people who fail to value their potentials and grow up to become burdens to themselves and to society. Every school child ought to know this as motivation for his or her growth and for educational perseverance.
Problems like drug abuse destroy human potential and place a burden on others, apart from its potential inducement to crime. Drug abuse is an injustice to self, as are such other self-corrosive behaviors as alcoholism.
Good health and physical fitness is good for a productive and socially beneficial life. It is the effect of doing justice to one's body and faculties sustainedly.
Man and Transcendence
The relationship of man with Transcendence is recognized legally under the provision of law assuring freedom of belief and religious expression. Although the sense in which justice is meant under this is chiefly theological, it is no less true that it is a realm of valuing which profoundly affects human behavior and social relationships. There are ways of relating to Transcendence which create social dysfunction or lead to outright menace. If carelessly developed, religious values and behavior can cause social upheavals, as history has so often demonstrated. For this reason value education needs to confront squarely the developing religious consciousness of learners, especially their growth towards tolerance and the positive appreciation of the religious culture of other people.
In a particular way proper to the Philippine setting, these themes of justice--whether the liberative type such as the protection of human rights, the distributive type such as land reform and just wages, or the developmental type such as education and economic production--can be adapted for classroom learning and for programs of out-of-class education contextualized in the Philippine setting.
Ateneo de Manila University
1. Mischa Titiev, "Enculturation," in A Dictionary of the Social Sciences, Julius Gould & William L. Kolb, eds. (New York: The Free Press, 1965), p. 239.
2. M.J. Herskovits cited by Titiev, ibid.
3. See John W.M. Whiting, "Anthropological Aspect" of "Socialization," International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences, David Sills, ed. (U.S.A.: The Macmillan Co. & The Free Press, 1968), XIV, 545-549.
4. Titiev, op. cit., p. 239.
5. Wilhelm Dilthey, "Understanding of Other Persons and Their Life Expressions," in Patrick Gardiner, ed., Theories of History (Glencoe, Ill.: The Free Press, 1960), pp. 213-225.
6. See Theodore Meyer Greene, Liberal Education Reconsidered (Cambridge: Harvard Univ. Press, 1953), pp. 37-40.
7. These categories were suggested to me by W. Wielemans (Kath. Univ. Leuven, Belgium), "The Impact of Industrialization on Cultural Identity and Education in Asian Countries" (Proposal for a research project, typescript, 1985).