The honorable thing to do-speak up!

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ILLUSTRATION BY TRISTAN YUVIENCO

Politics in the Philippines has never been smooth and trouble-free. Still, from the government’s controversial handling of the war on drugs to retired Armed Forces of the Philippines chief Roy Cimatu replacing Gina Lopez as the Environment secretary, our public officials have shown, in their own way, that they mean well for our country.

However, the same old problems from a hundred years ago—poverty and corruption, to name a few—remain prevalent and unsolved to this day.

One particular trait that contributes to these problems is our tolerance of ignorance.

Letting things go

Tolerating ignorance is a fault of many Filipinos. It’s something that presents itself in informal gatherings, business transactions and even in politics and media.

By now, we have convinced ourselves that “letting things go”—that is, dismissing the mistakes or inefficiencies of others—is okay because correcting someone spares him or her from embarrassment or from feeling inadequate.

Therefore, it is always more convenient and “polite” to be complacent rather than saying what you really think and feel.

It doesn’t help that Filipinos are sensitive to feedback, even if it is the helpful and constructive kind. Thus, many choose not to deal with situations that desperately need their attention. Addressing them, they fear, would just make them look bad.

Admittedly, it’s no fun being corrected all the time. But when do we speak up and how? On one hand, holding back what you want to say for fear of hurting a person’s feelings might just come out sounding more hurtful when you finally decide to open up.

On the other hand, being frank and straightforward can be misconstrued as being arrogant.

When pointing out a person’s errors or oversights, it is important to speak with respect. Our intention to speak our mind out should not come from our pride or ego; but rather, from our heart, as a sincere intention to help someone do better.

Once we get over the discomfort of correcting someone, we can slowly lessen the ignorance that pervades our environment. It isn’t easy, but once we learn how to speak our mind with respect and the best of intentions for others, we will be doing others—and ourselves—a huge favor.

As others improve from our feedback, we learn to overcome our fears and express ourselves with dignity and honor.

By becoming honorable, we become excellent. While these are the core values of our state university, they are certainly not limited to the students enrolled in the school.

Being honorable means standing up for what’s right, based on well-researched facts and good intentions. When we keep our principles intact, we influence others to do the same.; and when we act honorably, it’s only natural that we act with excellence. True excellence cannot exist without being truly honorable.

The good news is, living by these values isn’t complicated at all. What we simply have to do is start being honorable. We may be ordinary people, but collectively, our actions, no matter how small, can have a great impact on society’s big issues.
To quote one of my professors: “It is a challenging time to live in the Philippines now.” What are you going to do about it? —CONTRIBUTED

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