Filipinos are everywhere. From USA to Hong Kong, from United Kingdom to Saudi Arabia, Filipinos are well-known for their industry and work ethics. Many say Filipinos can easily adapt to different cultures. They say this is partly because Philippine culture itself is a mixed up of different cultures, taking into account the influences of nations that colonized and occupied the Philippines in the past-Spain, United States and Japan.

In a country rich with diverse culture and rich with human and natural resources, how come many people are still in the poverty line?

Nothing in this world is perfect. Our culture is not free from imperfections. Corruption is a dark piece in Filipinos’ modern tidbits of culture. It’s depressing to hear in news featuring that Philippines ranks among the most corrupt nations in the world. Reality bites and we are all guilty. In one way or another, we commit some corrupt acts in home, in school and in our community, in Webster’s dictionary; corruption is defined as the “impairment of integrity, virtue, or moral principle.” It is also defined as the deviation from what is ideal and correct. By this definition, is it not corrupt to copy the answers of your classmate while taking an examination? It is not corrupt to take twenty pesos from the pocket of your parents without asking permission? Is it not corrupt to take fruits from your neighbor’s backyard without asking permission?

No matter how unnoticeable a corrupt act is, it is still a corrupt act. Moreover, corruption is cumulative and progressive. By progressive, we mean that as time goes by, simple corrupt act becomes a rampant one. Expose a child now to a simple act of corruption and he will carry this culture to his future workplace, whether it will be in a public or private office.

As teachers, it is our responsibility to serve as role models to our students. It is a part of our duty to take them away from corrupt acts. Yes we are not perfect, but we must try our best not commit corrupt acts ourselves. We are creating leaders. The future depends on these seedlings. Let us denounce corruption in our classrooms. Make our students realize the importance of fairness, honesty and integrity.

Everything begins with a single step. Start in our classrooms. Let us break the culture of corruption in our beloved nation.

By: Ms. Antonia M. De Vega | Master Teacher I | Parang Elementary School, Bagac, Bataan

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