Legaspi: Makatao

Legaspi: Makatao


We train every Filipino to be people-oriented. This is spelled out in the core values of the country, especially by the Department of Education. It is believed that the core values of Maka-Diyos, Makatao, Makabansa, and Maka-kalikasan have been imparted to the young minds in school. These values shall be practiced and perfected as the child grows. We might have lost track of these values along the way. We could have taught our children otherwise.

Pedro Salgado, OP in his book Social Philosophy in the Philippine context, discussed that what we need are not a bag-full of terminologies of the values we need but rather what we need are the social values for us to attain social transformation. These are justice, charity and the common good. Perhaps these aspects are embodied in the core values, but we might have failed to hit the point in teaching young people.

Most private schools in the country have very nice and catchy slogans and well-worded philosophy, mission, vision, and goals. Most schools have the best-trained faculty and staff. Most schools have bemedaled and intelligent school heads. But how come we still produce self-centered and egoistic people? If we only live the values taught by our schools, we might have seen leaders who care for others and not about their ambitions. Fortunately, we can see some of our leaders who are really for the common good but this is about only three out of ten.

Makatao is one value that we need to review and reassess. This might be taught and explained in our classrooms but the discussion might be too intellectual. In my class, I had discussed makatao in the light of the common good. However, I saw that through the years, the concept of “common good” has not sipped into our being. Perhaps, the term might be too alien for us. Alien, in a sense, we have a hard time looking for its real definition. We might understand “common good” simply as “the good of all.” We need to go behind the lines.

Common good and being makatao are two relative concepts. We need to die to ourselves for us to attain the common good. We need to sacrifice our interests and comforts for the common welfare. There is a need for us to be communitarian and altruistic if we need to understand and live the value of makatao. Most often, we are confused between makatao and makasarili. Funny minds tell us that I (sarili) is a tao, thus being selfish means also being makatao. See, this is an argument that seems to be perfect but it is the manifestation of our imperfection. Makatao is not being selfish but one becomes integrated into the community and works for the common good.

When a person becomes makatao, he forgets the self but is now part of the community. All he does will be for the good of all. All his thoughts will be how to work for the welfare of the community and not each individual in the community. His character and his person become the community or the institution himself. In one institution, I conducted a social experiment and asked the employees about their salaries and I got a negative response because most of them are not aware of how they are paid. After all, one told me that the salary or compensation is secondary for them, their primary purpose is to live out their vision, mission, and goals. This is makatao, this is the common good.

So, before we shout out for our rights and privileges, let us go back to ourselves and evaluate what have we done to our community? Have we served the members well? Our human rights are only good when we also respect the rights of others.


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