Our Visions of Society, State, and Good Governance (A Boholano View) by Jose V. Abueva

Since 1987 I have been writing and speaking about this subject because many Filipinos lament that, as a nation we, Filipinos, have no vision and ideals. In fact, we have them. They are largely contained in our 1987 Constitution.

Unfortunately, it is true that our leaders rarely point out to the people our constitutional visions and ideals—to give us a common sense of purpose and direction. And our students are not learning about the Constitution as they should. For these reasons, we cannot fault many among our people for assuming that the visions and ideals do not exist. What we often hear, read and witness are stories of people in government and public life that deny our national visions and ideals and violate our laws.

Our Constitutional Vision of the Good Society and Ideal State and Government.

“We, the sovereign Filipino people, imploring the aid of Almighty God, in order (1) “to build a just and humane society”; and

(2) “establish a government that shall embody our ideals, promote the common good, conserve and develop our patrimony, and secure to ourselves and our posterity the blessings of independence and democracy—under the rule of law and a regime of truth, justice, freedom, love, equality and peace, do ordain and promulgate this Constitution.” (Preamble.)

(3) “The Philippines is a democratic and republican State. Sovereignty resides in the people, and all government authority emanates from them.” (Art. II. Sec. 1)

(4) “The prime duty of the Government is to serve the people.” (Art. II. Sec.4)

(5) “Public office is a public trust. Public officers and employees must at all time be accountable to the people, serve them with utmost responsibility, integrity, loyalty, and efficiency, act with patriotism and justice, and lead modest lives.” (Art. XI. Sec.1)

“Good Governance.” These concept and ideal of Filipino democracy have emerged after over 13 years of authoritarian rule under President Ferdinand Marcos. Blending Filipino and international ideals, we understand “good governance” as manifesting these features:

(1) people’s participation in free and fair elections and in policy and decision-making made possible by an open and accessible government in a free society with vigilant, competent and responsible media;

(2) responsiveness of the government to the needs and demands of the people who are informed, empowered and enabled to express their will to their political leaders and civil servants;

(3) transparency and accountability of public servants in response to the citizens’ will and their right to know (“the truth” in governance) as the sovereign in a democracy;

(4) honesty and fidelity of public servants and the certain punishment of those who are abusive and corrupt;

(5) efficiency and a sense of urgency in the exercise of power and authority to make the best use of scarce resources, including time especially;

(6) effectiveness in providing the needed public services, solving problems, and achieving goals, all for the common good;

(7) the protection and enhancement of human rights and the fulfillment of social justice;

(8) achieving ecological integrity and sustainable development; and

(9) realizing “Pamathalaan,” the indigenous Filipino vision of governance:  “dedicated to the enhancement of man’s true spiritual and material worth”…”through leadership by example, reasonable management, unity (pagkakaisa) between the governors and governed, and social harmony based on love (pagmamahalan) and compassion (pagdadamayan). (Pablo S. Trillana III. The Loves of Rizal, 2000. p. 179.)

A Vision of an Ideal Future. I have composed verses, a poem if you will, regarding a vision of our future as a nation in the global community. It is largely based on our constitutional vision and ideals but I have elaborated on them.

Building the “Good Society” We Want

United under God, we shall develop citizens and leaders who love our country,and trust and challenge one another to solve our problems and achieve our goals.

Upholding truth, honesty and excellence, we shall work together for the common good of all Filipinos at home and around the globe.

For, conscious of our roots in Asia, we are a Global Filipino Nation committed to the well-being, security, and advancement of all our people—and humankind

We want to be free and peaceful, united in our diversities, egalitarian, prosperous, life-sustaining and nonkilling.

In our quest for “the Good Life” we shall focus on the poor and powerless, the excluded, exploited, and oppressed. We shall achieve our vision of “The Good Society” through good citizenship through good citizenship, leadership and governance in inclusive democracies.

And responsive, effective and accountable institutions that enable us to satisfy our needs and fulfill our lives as individuals and as a nation.

As we shall do our share in shaping a just, humane, and nonkilling world, and safe, sustainable environments.

In sum, we want a Global Filipino Nation that is God-centered–whose people love and care for one another near and far.



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