Saturday, February 22, 2014

COMPETENCE, ACCOUNTABILITY AND ETHICALITY: Approaches to Institutionalizing Integrity in the Teaching Profession

N.B. This is a talk I delivered to a group of teachers and educators at a National Educators' Congress in Legazpi, Albay.

Approaches to Institutionalizing Integrity in the Teaching Profession

The Oriental Hotel, Legazpi, Albay
January 16, 2014


There was very little time to get up this talk. I was very busy since Yolanda wrought havoc to a great part of Eastern Visayas more than two months ago and when the invitation got to me, I was in the boonies of Eastern Samar, at the tip of the isthmus where Guiuan is located, past the towns and barangays most hard hit on Samar island.
Let me put it straight. I saw a lot of competence and its opposite, side by side, everywhere I went. I saw examples of what accountability is, or ought to be, and examples, too, of its very close cousin, ethicality. I saw people of hope, of courage, of resiliency that cannot be described adequately unless one has seen it from close ranks, in the faces of the millions who, despite all the suffering, continue to hold on, plod on, live on, and go on looking forward to better days ahead. Despite the incompetence of people whom we expected to have it, the people, for the most part, remained whole, sane, sound, and relatively healthy even in their pain, most of it due, whether we like it or not, to what we Filipinos call “sariling sikap,” every man left on his own.
Integrity is another word for all of the above – which all refer to a condition of unimpairedness, wholeness, or soundness despite everything.
My talk this morning has to do with all the words I just mentioned above: competence, accountability and ethicality. They are all cousins of a bigger word that I also just mentioned – integrity. Necessarily, my talk will consist of three parts. I will devote the first part to the three above-mentioned words and a short summary of the three via the word “integrity.” The second part will deal with a phenomenological look at the current challenges posed to each of the three and all four, with particular focus on integrity as applied to the teaching profession. By way of conclusion, I would like to offer some suggested approaches for educators like us to face up to those challenges.


Like Building an Edifice
I would like to think that integrity is something like an edifice with a foundation, pillars, walls and roofing. In putting up an edifice, one does not begin from the roof down. One begins from the ground up. One needs to set up foundation, put up posts, wrap them up with walls and top everything off with a roof.
In similar fashion, one does not build integrity on nothing. No … you need the groundwork or context, if you will, of competence. You need to plaster it all around with accountability. You need to surround the whole context with the binding force of ethicality. Only then can you talk about topping it all off with its logical by-product and offshoot – integrity.

The Temple of Learning

I am sure you all are familiar with the traditional model of what education is all about – the temple of learning. The base, which is basic education, is equivalent to the foundation. The pillars, stand for the posts of the different branches of learning. The roof, in this case, stands for the arena of specialization, which by itself cannot be achieved while prescinding from the other two.
And since we are all educators here, it is just as well that we remain in this basic image and model of what institutionalizing integrity in the teaching profession is ultimately all about.
It is exactly what we educators know best – mould young minds ever so gradually, methodically, slowly, but surely, starting from the ground up, not the other way around. We follow the normal developmental curve of learners and we all know that, just like one does not start with the roof, one has to observe the so-called principle of readiness, respecting the natural stages of physical, emotional, and cognitive development of the learner.
And so, let us move methodically, slowly, but surely.

Competence is Where We Begin

I learned long ago that basic to our understanding of anything, is the need to grapple first and foremost with a nominal definition. In logic, we need to know something first by its genus. Only then can one proceed to talk about its specific difference. For us to do this, we need to stand on common ground and define something clearly and distinctly.
Let me start from competence …
Competence is a concept that can change depending on what one does for a living. For biologists, competence has to do with cells’ ability to take up and carry DNA. Incompetent cells are, therefore, diseased cells unable to pass on life data. For geologists, it refers to resistance of rocks against either erosion or deformation. Incompetent rocks, therefore, are easily worn, degraded, corrupted, and destroyed by the elements. In the legal world of jurisdiction, it refers to the authority of a legal body to deal with and make pronouncements on legal matters, and by implication, to administer justice within a defined area of responsibility. Thus, one who has no license or no jurisdiction in a particular area is deemed incompetent. In the world of communication, it means the ability to speak and understand language. One is either competent in a language or not. Proficiency is what we sometimes call such competence. A person supposed to be engaged in communication in whatever form, but who cannot even formulate a decent sentence that can be understood, is thus declared incompetent. In the area of HR management, competence refers to a standardized requirement for an individual to properly perform a specific job. A leader, though elected by popular vote, who has no vision, no goals, no direction, and who simply can’t lead, is, on that score, an incompetent leader.
The last is what concerns us. Teachers and educators like us are expected to be competent in the field we are in, and it has to do with more than just knowing our stuff. It is in actuality a combination of practical and theoretical knowledge, cognitive skills, behavior and values used to improve performance. It is also known as the state or quality of being adequately or sufficiently qualified, having the ability to perform a specific role whose standards are governed by generally accepted norms and agreed upon regulations, written or unwritten.
Competence in our chosen job is not optional. It is not a matter of preference, but a matter of duty. And performance of duty, as you all know, takes more than just wishful thinking and is never achieved simply by brandishing like a sword nothing more than cutesy slogans and memorable one-liners. One may foam in the mouth, hurling invectives and spewing out forceful slogans, but unless all that takes off the ground and springs into concrete action, it is nothing more than Shakespeare’s “full of sound and fury signifying nothing.” It takes political will. It takes boldness and courage, and it is achieved, both literally and figuratively, only with blood, sweat, and tears, and a lot of grit and nerve!
As we all know, however, competence alone, does not quite clinch it. A well-sharpened saw can do efficiently what it is designed to do. It is on that score, very competent. But the competence that we speak of, belongs to a higher order of being, that which is endowed with intellect and free will, who can discern, choose and act on the basis of that choice, and take responsibility for whatever that choice leads to.

Response-Ability as Accountability
Here, we enter into the arena of responsibility, of accountability, of response-ability or the capacity to stand by, stand tall and proud, come what may, happen what might, and take responsibility for the consequences of that choice and decision. The nominal definition of accountability is precisely that - answerability, blameworthiness, liability, and the capacity to “give an account” of what one chooses and decides to do.
Accountability is, therefore, responsibility. Bruce Stone[1] writes that there are eight types of accountability: moral/ethical, administrative, political, managerial, market, legal/judicial, constituency relations, and professional. As teachers who act as trustees of young people’s present and future well-being, we are accountable on most of these eight types.

Ethicality as Responsibility
This leads us to the third word for today: ethicality. Competence alone, we said, does not make us suited for the job. We have had so many competent lawmakers, competent public speakers, and competent this or that. But even the most recent experience we had showed that these same competent lawmakers could not even explain satisfactorily where the money went, other than proclaiming that overused excuse of a lie that their signatures were faked. There goes competence piercing through the roof. But there goes accountability, too, down the drain!
What is misssing? Ethicality! Ethicality refers to that healthy balance between being capable of doing the right things and doing things rightly. Competence may mean catering to the mind and focusing on the what, but accountability means minding the how, and focusing on the rightness or wrongness of what is done, and deciding accordingly. It is a little like finding the right balance between being a manager and being a leader. Managers focus on results as the bottom line. Leaders focus on the process and are concerned with the welfare of people. Managers, they say, do the right things, but leaders do them rightly.
The famous Viktor Frankl expresses best that need for balance when he spoke about the need for the United States to have the Statue of Liberty in the East Coast balanced by a Statue of Responsibility on the West Coast.[2] Competence needs accountability. Competence and accountability make room for ethicality. Competence alone may make for good teachers and good lecturers, but without accountability which is the groundwork for ethicality, those same good teachers cannot become good educators.
Contemporary Catholic moral theology focuses more now not on rules and duties, but on responsibility. Instead of a hard-nosed preoccupation with an ethics of duty, we focus on the more positive ethics of responsibility, not a rule-based ethics, but a virtue-based ethics – an ethics of response as distinct from an ethics of rules and obligation.

Reading the Signs of the Times
I will now go to a phenomenological reading of contemporary trends that pose as obstacles to competence, accountability, and ethicality as related to the field of education. Given our line of expertise which is the field of education, my focus would be on competence in the educational setting, particularly on our job as teachers, first and foremost, before being educators.
But first, a word on the fast-rising phenomenon called social media … Nothing now is what it seems. Profile pics now tell more lies than truth. People are younger than they really are in their profiles, thanks to the growing phenomenon found only in social media called “impression management.” Virtual reality that can imitate actual reality can actually be made to appear better than reality. Research papers can be made to appear very professionally done, thanks to the magic of software or the use of the right apps. Competence can be faked, even as pictures can be photoshopped. Identities can be copied or “stolen” like what Loella Tan just did to Janka Cederstam, to the point of getting money from an unsuspecting Australian man.[3] Do you still remember the photographer who submitted a plagiarized photo taken somewhere in Brazil, and passing it off as his own, and earning thousands of dollars for it? As a teacher over the past 36 years, the fact that digital files can be passed on quickly from one person to another, should make us all wary of so-called “term papers” that have been harvested from some digital repository and recycled as new by resourceful students.

Erosion of Truth
In the world of social media, populated by digital natives, nothing is what it seems. Competence can be faked faster than movies can be downloaded. Competence takes on a beating especially if quick tweaking of files can be done with a few strokes of the keyboard. And if identities can be faked, so, too can academic credentials along with resumes that can easily be padded, depending on the need. If we are to believe the legislators that are at the center of the PDAF scam, then signatures can easily be faked, and alibis can easily be made. Competence here, obviously, has shoved aside all traces of ethicality.
Truth is hard to come by nowadays. News, that is really propaganda, really becomes noise, where facts are interspersed with a lot of innuendoes, personal opinions, and a lot of editorializing from the body language of so-called newscasters, who deliver what passes off as news replete with sound effects for emphasis, or for derision, or glorification of people they support or root for.
In the days immediately following the fury and devastation of supertyphoon Yolanda, it was very hard to sift the real news from reel reports of the big networks. CNN was giving a totally different picture from that given by its local counterparts. Some commenters in social media opined that, given the giant networks’ coverage of their own “relief operations” of their own foundations, news and truth, for that matter, became subservient and secondary to the siren songs of ratings. Truth became secondary to self-serving propaganda.
In a show business crazed culture that is the Philippines, even mainstream news that once was very professionally done in decades past, was reduced to nothing more than infotainment. Objective truth, in the end, suffers, and mass media becomes a tool for propaganda of the ruling oligarchs and elite classes, whose businesses are closely tied up with politics.
Education at the Service of Liberating Truth?

Education, as we all know, is essentially about the pursuit of truth, be it scientific, sociological, philosophical, existential, moral truth. Education is the pursuit, ultimately of liberation. Only the educated can be free. Ignorance is slavery. Ignorance is a curse.
But so is twisted truth. When truth becomes subservient to ideology, and turned as footstool of materialism, hedonism and individualism, and made to prop up liberalism and unbridled materialist capitalism, there ensues a progressive dehumanization of the person. Freedom is compromised and the capacity for people to choose freely and intelligently is trampled upon.

Contours of Hopelessness
As early as 2004, Elaine Robinson[4] was already speaking about what she calls the “contours of hopelessness” in a society that, she says, contains “structures that bear the tattered imprint of modernity.” Such hopelessness, she further says, can “manifest itself in the form of rationality,” “cynicism,” and “despair.”[5] Robert Spitzer, refers to the same phenomenon from the philosophical viewpoint as the rapid “cultural decline” of society all over the world.[6]

Technologism at the Center of It All
Robinson and many others see all this as people trying to take refuge in science, knowledge, and technology. Even Catholic moral theologians speak of technologism as the tendency to find all answers to pressing questions as mediated by technology. The rule is: “if it can be done, it should be done.” If we can clone people, then let us do it. This is the triumph of technology. Gadgets are there to be used until a new version comes around. In the Philippines, people are prepared to kill for the latest cellphone. No one notices Rolex watches anymore, but everyone does notice what phone you are using, especially if it is the latest and most expensive model or brand.
Even our very own Chris Tiu has this to say about it: “Our generation is built upon the media. Our minds, opinions, and moral standards are shaped by what we see  […] Whatever moral standard society once held seems to have vanished, and left with it a relativistic morality built upon impulse and feeling.”[7]
Although my intention is not to bore you with deep theological details of the moral kind, I need to mention that all the foregoing has to do with what Livio Melina calls the “subjectivization of morality.” This subjectivization, in turn, springs from two basic roots:  on the philosophical plane, the rupture between freedom and truth, and, on the theological plane, the ruptue of the nexus between faith and morality.[8]
Subjectivization means the focus turns to the self. It is no accident that today’s selfie generation also turns out narcissists by the thousands, if not millions. Many studies have already established a correlation between facebook and the rise of narcissism among the young.

Modern-day Idolatries
This is where educators like us come in. Awareness of what is going on, not in the sense of mere superficial awareness, but critical awareness – what Paolo Freire[9] calls “conscientizacao” – is needed if we are to be truly the educators that we call ourselves. This means not just knowing on the surface, but really deeply knowing what is going on. This means to see beyond the phenomenal and see the phenomenological, the deep emerging realities of our young people, our society, and what are needed for us to make a significant and effective intervention as educators.
Elizabeth Scalia[10] has a listing of new idolatries that now bedevil our society. Calling them “strange gods,” they are the following: the Idol of the “I,” idol of the idea, idol of prosperity, the idol of technology, the idols of coolness and sex, the idol of plans,  and what she calls, the super idols. We will not comment here on each and everyone of them, but I am sure you can relate to at least two of them that I just discussed: the idol of the “I” and the the idol of technology.


What Are We to Do Then?
Let us make no mistake about it. We educators are in the front lines of this big cultural battle. And since we referred to our being more than just teachers, given the so many and mounting challenges ahead of us, we definitely need to be known as people who deliver … people who do not merely follow the bandwagon of the popular, the convenient and the comfortable.

Choosing the Path Less Travelled By
We need to make a difference. And making a difference is not just following the drift and allowing the current to carry us where we don’t want to go. That less worn path of deep awareness and concrete action, unfortunately means we need to be heroes. Heroes don’t live ordinary lives. They are not afraid to go against the grain, and venture out on new unfamiliar territories to make a difference in people’s lives.
Let me now suggest a few approaches that would allow us to combine competence, accountability, and ethicality so as to forge new avenues towards integrity in our difficult and challenging task as educators.

Go Where the Camel is Already Going
Let me begin with the obvious. Pop culture tells us this much … If you can’t beat them, join them! It has a grain of truth. According to Arab culture, you can’t really force the camel to go where you like him to go. It is easier to go towards where the camel is already going, they say. The camel knows and would not lead you deeper into the desert. By instinct, it knows where the oases are, where there is life.
Let me explain what I mean.  The young are already deeply immersed in technology. Whilst idolatry is very possible among them (and among adults, too), it is good to remember that, apart from going where the camel is already going, it is also good to “ride the dragons” and “roll with the punches.” We need to tame the dragon. We need to learn how to roll with the punches. According to the Rogers Adoption curve, 2 per cent are innovators, 14 percent are early adopters, 34 percent are in the early majority, 34 percent are in the late majority, and 16 percent are laggards in terms of technology.[11]
Very few among us are digital natives who were born from 1994 onwards. Some of us, like me, are digital migrants who took to the world of computer by force of circumstances. There are those of us who are digital dinosaurs. We need to loosen up and go where the camel is already going. You know what I mean. We need to grow in competence even in, and especially, in this area. And since part of competence is in the area of the capacity to speak the language of the young, then we need to learn the computer language, very literally and figuratively.

Towards Healthy Differentiation
But this does not mean going exactly the way our young charges go. Technology may have become an idol for many. For adults like us, our plans may be our idols, or our ideas, or the desire for prosperity. This is where the need for integrity kicks in. We need to work for competence, yes, and accountability, too. But there is the issue of ethicality to think about.
My recent trip of mercy to Eastern Samar proved at least for me what I have been hearing about many times before. Corruption is not limited to congress and other high profile government agencies like Customs and BIR. Corruption has become a deeply embedded culture in and out of government, in every sector, in every nook and cranny of this island nation. I saw it in the ports, in the checkpoints manned by men in uniform, in municipal halls, in barangay offices, etc. Why, I even see it in the way books are procured, even in private schools. And they take seemingly innocent forms like free trips to Bangkok, care of the book publishers, free seminars in five-star hotels, free cars for doctors courtesy of pharmaceutical companies. The list is legion. In the name of the drive for competence, we all tend to cut a few corners here and there, and accountability flies out the window of expediency and opportunity to make a little more from out of the ordinary sources of income.
I do not need to do a cross section and an autopsy of how corruption takes place. They come in the form of perks, or gifts given by book publishers not in the confines of the school, but in posh restaurants, hotels, and even at home. This comes also in the form of requests from Principals to renovate the office, change the airconditioning unit, or sponsor their educational trip to some oversea destination. Nothing seemingly wrong? Yes … until you do the math and realize that nothing really comes for free, but added to the bill at the end, or passed on to parents in terms of more expensive books and workbooks. Administrative and moral accountability both take center stage, and without ethicality, it would just be treated as normal administrative procedural matters.

Academic and Personal Integrity
When ethicality is thrown into the mix of competence and accountability, then we move into the world of integrity, either personal or academic integrity. Integrity, like we said above, is the state of being unimpaired, a situation of soundness. From the moral viewpoint, it means being beyond blame, being virtuous, being upright, honest, and focused on the common good, and the good of the students.
But we educators need to make a distinction between being righteous for righteousness’ sake, and doing the right things along with doing things rightly for others’ sake. The former is ethicality that stops with our person, but perfects us and makes us become what we are meant to become. The latter is ethicality that goes beyond our person and benefits those we work for, those we educate, and those we have dedicated our lives for. The first is something that all of us can do at any time even if we get no awards or citations for it. Virtue is its own reward which is exactly analogous to saying that art is good for its own sake, or ars artis gratia, as the ancient Romans would say.
The latter however is righteousness that extends beyond ourselves, that has repercussions on others. And because it goes far beyond perfecting ourselves, we need to go the extra mile so that we could help establish a culture that makes it easier for others to become also the best version of themselves.

Working for Academic Integrity
Approaches to Assuring Integrity in the Teaching Profession

Academic integrity cannot be taken apart from authentic education. Without academic integrity, there can be no authentic education. Applied to education, the integrity we refer to simply means one thing – no cheating whatsoever. As educators and teachers, we are duty bound to cultivate a culture and set up a structure that makes all forms of cheating as close to impossible as we can work for.
As we have seen, technology plays a big role and is actually the most predominant factor in assuring academic integrity. It has greatly affected education in many ways, but the two most striking is that it has expanded in ways undreamt of before the traditional models of teaching and learning while at the same time challenging them. Huge amounts of data can now be stored, transferred, or copied in minutes. Provenance of information can become blurry and attributions can be shady. The speed by which information can be sent, resent, forwarded and modified can be dangerous and can be used for other sinister motives. Subtle manipulation has been redefined by the internet and the relative anonymity afforded by cyberspace has contributed to the phenomenon called disinhibition, where people think they can afford to be less honest, less charitable, more biting, more sarcastic, and more caustic since “in cyberspace, no one knows you’re a dog.”
Issues of identity, sincerity, honesty and truthfulness are sidetracked and glossed over. Plagiarism and lack of self-responsibility take center stage. What I pass on and forward is not my responsibility. One end result of all this is that teachers and students now have a skewed perception of what ownership of information may entail, and of what responsibility anyone has in what is passed on as truth. Information that someone else has worked so hard for to acquire, is in a matter of minutes, considered as collective property, or referred to as “creative commons.”

Values-Driven Academic Integrity
The Center for Academic Integrity[12] lists down 5 fundamental values of academic integrity that may well be worth our attention: honesty, trust, fairness, respect, and responsibility. “From these values flow principles of behavior that enable academic communities to translate ideals into action.” The values are self-explanatory. We do not need to belabor what everyone considers obvious.
What they all point to is the commitment, even in the face of adversity, to uphold and cultivate those values everywhere and at all times.

Values that All Point Back to the Individual Person
But as you can see, all these values really boil down to personal virtues – traits that individually we all are called to embody. This means one very important thing, all approaches towards cultivating integrity in the teaching profession begins with the individual person, though it does not end with the person. What begins as values out there, becomes virtues in each and everyone of us. What takes shape as personal virtues have a way of spilling over into external structures, policies, and guidelines that help build the edifice of academic and personal integrity.

The Importance of Integrity
There is a surprising write-up from a Muslim writer that is striking. Ayesha Almazroui[13] gives a definition of integrity and presents its importance in education. Surprisingly, the author jibes with practically what Roman Catholics teach about conscience in general. Conscience for us is not just a vague feeling that something is right or wrong. Conscience is not reduced to mere values that are not geared towards action. Conscience is a process, not an internal state of being. Almazroui pretty much states the same thing. The author states that there are three steps required for integrity to take place: 1) discern what is right and what is wrong; 2) a person should act on what has been discerned; 3) a person should say openly he is acting based on his discernment of right and wrong.
Do you care to know the opposite of all three? Just one word, and one word we can do less of as educators – corruption!

Frankl, Viktor (1959). Man’s search for meaning. New York: Pocket Books.
Freire, Paulo (2007). The pedagogy of the oppressed. New York: Continuum Press.
Garriepy, K.D., Spencer, B.L., & Couture, J.C. (Eds) (2009). The fundamental values of academic integrity. Rotterdam: Sense Publishers.
Jabbra, J.G. & Dwivede, O.P. (Eds) (1989). Public service accountability: A comparative Perspective. Hartford, CT: Kumarian Press.
Melina, Livio (2001). Sharing in Christ’s virtues: For a renewal of moral theology in the light of veritatis splendor. Washington,DC: The Catholic University of America Press.
Robinson, E. (2004). These three: The theological virtues of faith, hope and love. Cleveland: The Pilgrim Press.
Scalia, Elizabeth (2013). Strange gods: Unmasking the idols of everyday life. Notre Dame: Aver Maria Press.
Spitzer, Robert (2011). Ten universal principles: A brief philosophy of the life issues. San Francisco: Ignatius Press.
Tuazon, Oliver M. (2012). No holds barred: Questions young people ask. Manila: Cobrin Publishing.
Vogt, Brandon (2011). The church and new media. Blogging converts, online activists, and bishops who tweet. Huntington, IN: OSV.

Fr. Vitaliano “Chito” Dimaranan, SDB, CAS, MThL, PhD
National Educators’ Congress
The Oriental Hotel
Legazpi City, Albay
January 16-17, 2014

[1] cf. Jabbra, J.G. & Dwivede, O.P. (Eds). Public Service Accountability: A Comparative Perspective. Hartford, CT: Kumarian Press, c. 1989.
[2] Frankl, Viktor. Man’s Search for Meaning. C. 1956, pp. 209-210
[3]  cf. “Call Center Agent Arrested for Facebook Identity Theft” from retrieved January 14, 2014
[4] Robinson, E. These Three: The Theological Virtues of Faith, Hope, and Love. Cleveland: The Pilgrim Press, c. 2004
[5] ibid., p. 86-87
[6] Spitzer, Robert. Ten Universal Principles: A Brief Philosophy of the Life Issues. San Francisco: Ignatius Press, c. 2011.
[7] Chris Jay Tiu in Tuazon, Oliver M. No Holds Barred: Questions Young People Ask. Manila: Cobrin Publishing, c. 2012, location 60.
[8] Melina, Livio. Sharing in Christ’s Virtues: For a Renewal of Moral Theology in Light of Veritatis Splendor. Washington DC: The Catholic University of America Press, c. 2001, pp. 18ss
[9] Freire, Paulo. Pedagogy of the Oppressed. New York: Continuum, c. 2007.
[10] Scalia, Elizabeth. Strange Gods: Unmasking the Idols in Everyday Life. Notre Dame: Ave Maria Press, c. 2013.
[11]  Landry, Scot. “Innovative Shepherding: New Media in the Diocese,” in Vogt, Brandon. The Church and New Media: Blogging Converts, Online Activists, and Bishops who Tweet. Huntington: OSV, c. 2011, p.112.
[12] Garriepy, K. D., Spencer, B.L., & Courure, J.C. (Eds). The Fundamental Values of Academic Integrity. Rotterdam: Sense Publishers, c. 2009.
[13] Almazroui, Ayesha. “The Definition of Integrity is Important in Education,” in, retrieved January 13, 2014.

Sunday, February 16, 2014


N.B. The following is a memorandum originally written by the Honorable Eriberto B. Misa when he was Director of Prisons on July 25, 1940 or 74 years ago. His son Joaquin L. Misa, then legal counsel and director of Victorias Milling Company revised it some time in 1987 and was fanned out as a Memo by the then President of Vicmico, C.R. De Luzuriaga, Jr. I got hold of a copy of the same when I was a young Principal then at the Don Bosco Technical College, Basic Education Department. I was so impressed by it, and even now, 27 years later, I still am. Everyone who reads it can probably, in the words of Mr. De Luzuriaga,  "appreciate how applicable it is to us, till now," especially now, and that "it has not suffered the ills of time." I quote here some of the best lines, especially about Honesty, Efficiency, and Loyalty. I omit all those that pertain per se to the conditions of the officials and employees of the company to whom the memo was sent a second time around. My own comments and additions are writeen in italics.


Because you do not steal, does not necessarily mean that you are honest.

Honesty is synonimous with honor, fairness, integrity, truthfulness and freedom from fraud.
When you commit an action against accepted precepts of honor, you are not honest; you are dihonorable.

When you are not impartial in your actions and judgments, you not honest, you are unfair.

When you deliberately commit an injustice because your action has been influenced by fear, gain, or favoritism, you are not honest; you lack integrity.

When you lie, you are not honest, you are a liar.

When you pretend to be what you are not, you are not honest; you are a fraud.

When you take away anything that belongs to another, without his consent, you are not honest; you are a thief.

When you do not try your best in the discharge of your duties, you are not honest; you are no good.


Efficiency in the service is the satisfactory manner in which you perform the work assigned to you.

A piece of work is satisfactorily performed when it accomplishes the desired result with the minimum use of energy and time.

As in any kind of human activity, only painstaking practice can attain near perfection. Therefore, get into the habit of doing things promptly and to the best of your ability, always looking for easier, quicker and better means of doing them in the future.

Avoid being too technical. Comply with the spirit rather than with the letter of any instruction, rule or regulation, when you find it conflicting with the main objective.


You owe it to your superiors, to all your equals, and to all your subordinates, but above all, you owe it to your employer [the Company]. Don't think of the Company as something remote and abstract. It should be closer to you than anything else, as you are fortunate enough to be in its service. Your loyalty to your superiors, your equals, and to your subordinates ends where your loyalty to the Company begins. When you find yourself torn between your loyalty to your superiors and friends on the one hand, and to the Company on the other, your duty is first to your Company.

As loyal employees in the service [...] we should feel keenly, as resting upon our shoulders, the responsibility of creating as good and wholesome image of [ ... ] as possible.

I post this today, 16 February 2014, 6th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year A. The Gospel reminds us of three realities that are closest to the humanity of all of us: anger, lust, and the need to be truthful and honest. Traditional teaching tells us it is not sinful, per se, to be angry, but what is sinful is what we do with it. Experience shows us that lust is something we all human beings need to temper and control, and that, it concerns, first and foremost, the interior before the exterior of our personhood. The third is what concerns us most in our times - the lack of passionate dedication to TRUTH, and the wanton disregard for the value of TRUTH-TELLING.

These three items concern us all deeply, individually and collectively. At no other time in our common history has the need for  truth-telling taken center stage in our collective consciousness, when accusations left and right are met with denials left and right, and people concerned seem to be infinitely capable of not batting an eyelash while telling a pack of lies, for the whole world to see, in public television, no less.