Published on 6 January 2006
Discussions on the Charter and the Code of Ethics
Documentation of the Planning Meetings
In 2004, SANLAKAS Quezon City leaders held a discussion on the Charter of Human Responsibilities. Outcome of the discussion was a Code of Ethics of Grassroots Leaders. This year, the same leaders is endeavoring to come disseminate the Charter to leaders of other sectors, get their feedback on the contents and discuss if the Charter has applicability and relevance to their sectors.
Review of the Charter of Human Responsibilities and Discussion Thrusts
Last October 14, the Quezon City leaders met to review the Charter and the Code of Ethics, as well as to make an initial plan on the Charter diffusion.
Flora Santos explained that the assumption here was that global conditions today have placed the people of the world on a common ground to fight injustices as well as social human and ecological decay. She said that this fight is not only to restore the sanctity of human life, but of all life. She commented on the third principle on lasting peace cannot be established without justice. She said that we cannot achieve justice and respect for the dignity of persons and human rights unless we address the root cause of poverty today.
Jonathan Biay said that the present struggle to survive has become more difficult. Development and progress have been disastrous because they are based on an obsession of the powerful elite at the expense of the marginalized sectors of our society. On the second principle, that every person’s dignity demands that he or she contributes to the freedom and dignity of others, he said that this simply means that our solidarity with others enriches the one giving it. We realize that despite divisions and strife, we must learn to build confidence and foster unity with one another.
Erlinda Sapiandante was strong in conveying her thoughts on the fourth principle, meeting the material as well as the non-material needs of people. She said that equal rights and development of the women sector and of the poor sectors in society must be addressed.
On the fifth principle pertaining to the exercise of power that should serve the common good, Jojie San Pablo said that we must not expect the government to raise our consciousness or to bring changes in the economic life of the people. Rather, we should empower ourselves through cooperation-building efforts.
Jonathan Biay explained the 6th principle that consumption of natural resources to meet human needs must be integrated in the larger context of caring for the environment. He said that our orientation of meeting these needs are centered on the person, disregarding the effects of depletion of our earth’s resources. Life and nature are being defiled and nobody seems to care.
Regarding the 7th principle on the quest for development which has destroyed people’s creativity and inequality, if all leaders are equitably sharing their wealth, the world will be a better place to live in.
Baltazar Peñalan commented on the 9th principle on using knowledge in the service of solidarity and the culture of peace, saying that there are some self-centered and opportunist leaders who negatively affect organizations. He stressed that we must learn to be open-minded and exert more effort to use our expertise and experiences to the fullest.
Flora Santos cited the need for evaluation and assessment of past experiences in order to make decisions and priorities.
The group noted that we have been torn between the problems of caring for the earth and the moral responsibility of upholding the quality of life, particularly the future generation. The initiative to undertake relevant responses cannot be left to our leaders alone. Events of our time are demanding and have taken a great impact on the present crisis situation. The issues of social and human development are influencing the lifestyle, behavior and attitudes of the generations to come. For we cannot talk about environmental concerns as somebody else’s responsibility anymore, but it is our responsibility too.