The republic in Republic of the Philippines

The reasoning, “kulang o wala kasing disiplina ang Pinoy” and “walang pakialam”, are for me not the root of the problem but symptoms of what appears as the root which is a weak grasp of the implication of being citizens of a republic.

A republic

is more or less republican, in proportion as it has in its composition more or less of this ingredient of the direct action of the citizens. (Thomas Jefferson)

In terms of representation, a republic

is a form of government without a hereditary ruling class.

The critical test of a people’s fitness for popular rule is the relative strength of two conflicting desires which varies among different peoples — the desire to exercise power over others, and the desire not to have power exercised over themselves. A people in whom the second desire is predominant is fit for representative government.

And, from its citizens, a republic requires the Duty of virtuousity

There must be a positive Passion for the public good, the public Interest, Honor, Power, and Glory, established in the Minds of the People, or there can be no Republican Government, nor any real Liberty. And this public Passion must be Superior to all private Passions. Men must be ready, they must pride themselves, and be happy to sacrifice their private Pleasures, Passions, and Interests, nay their private Friendships and dearest connections, when they Stand in Competition with the Rights of society (John Adams)

It is in the manners and spirit of a people which preserve a republic in vigour. . . . degeneracy in these is a canker which soon eats into the heart of its laws and constitution. (Thomas Jefferson)

When virtue is banished, ambition invades the minds of those who are disposed to receive it, and avarice possesses the whole community. (Montesquieu)

Republics are created by the virtue, public spirit, and intelligence of the citizens. They fall, when the wise are banished from the public councils, because they dare to be honest, and the profligate are rewarded, because they flatter the people, in order to betray them. (Joseph Story)

Today, the world has variations of republics and some have fallen from the ideal.

What is the case for this Republic? To make good, steady and inclusive progress, the answer to this must be known and realized by each and every Filipino. What do we mean when we call ourselves a republic? What distinguishes this republic from those who have “fallen”?

The schools, especially public schools, instead of hammering into children the atrocities of one man who has long been dead, and risking an outcome which is opposite of what’s intended, should revive in the curriculum the study and practice of virtues extolled by a republic in its citizens. We call it values formation nowadays; schools need to expand the formation, the aim being to contribute toward creating a republican culture, a national culture, a virtuous citizenry. This is how education can make a strong republic. Education in the country these days is understood as just English, Math, and Science. I believe that such outcome is secondary. A technical-vocational school director whom I recently interviewed said that she injected values formation into the school’s curriculum because she believes that everything will follow values. Similarly, in another school, there is this poster that reads

Education without values as useful as it is seems rather to make man a more clever devil. C.S.Lewis

I so agree.


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