Monday, October 7, 2013

Plagiarism, Dishonesty, Selfishness…what next?

Is this the path the Philippines is heading to? Where are the values we learned from our old schools and our elders? Morality is going down the drain. As what Apolinario said, I too seldom see the youngsters kiss the hands of their elders for respect and only a few use the words po, opo, oho. Most are becoming too materialistic, never mind if they hurt somebody, money is above anything else, greed destroys values.

By Apolinario Villalobos (
An editor and essayist based in Sultan Kudarat. A prolific poet, writer and essayist.

A senator delivered a plagiarized privilege speech, a philantrophist businessman also delivered a plagiarized commencement speech before graduating students of a high end university. The Napoles issue resulting from excessive greed is trending among plain rumor mongers and the hi-tech ones via social networks. And now a UP student plagiarized a photo which eventually won. Where will greed bring us next?

The senator boldly defended himself with a smile. The businessman just resigned from his top post in the university with a sad face. Napoles is languishing in a luxurious confinement with a hearty laugh. A teacher in UP by the name of Mendoza called Solis, the photo plagiarist, a “good student” , although, she met him only once.

What is happening to us Filipinos? We seemed to have lost our values. Yes, it seems. And, I am not surprised because the GMRC (Good Manners and Right Conduct) as an important integral component of basic instruction to students by the time they set foot on the school ground is practically eliminated. I am sure the reaction to this statement would be that it has been “improved”, hence, “replace” with another subject. If so, are the same values still taught? Take note of the following:

-students no longer know how to kiss the hand of their elders which is part of the Filipino culture and tradition -seldom can you hear youngsters use the “po” , “ho”, “opo”, “oho” (though some still due to the insistent of their parents) -students love to sound foreign by not pronouncing Filipino words properly, such as the “R” (by not speaking in our language as Filipinos the right way, we become dishonest because we do not show our real selves)

The school through their teachers seem deaf and blind to the above situations. I doubt if teachers ever call the attention of students who speak in Filipino with American twang. All those point to the failure of our education system to inculcate in the minds of the students the honesty as a Filipino value.

Some students, in their desire to complete school requirements to be able to graduate, “copy” and “paste” research materials from the internet to come up with a thesis. I know this because I have encountered materials of these kind in my job as editor. I know that the material is plagiarized if it is very well written (too good to be true). To confirm my suspicion, I would ask my clients to show me some of their notes. If my client admits the crime, that’s the time that I have to rewrite, condense, etc. the material. Most often these students humbly admit that they find it hard to express themselves in English. Bluntly put, the school failed in the aspect of general development of the students. A development which should have started at an early age when parents entrusted their children to the school. It is a sad reality that has become deeply rooted in the personality of our youth which they manifest when they go out to face the world teeming with the same bad attitude.

As a self-made Filipino who worked my way into a decent life through hard work and honesty, I am saddened with the new adage: May the best plagiarist and most dishonest win!

More poems and writings by Apolinario Villalobos at

Monday, June 24, 2013

Debt of Gratitude (Utang-na-loob)

This is part of the text I delivered during our 9th annual contract signing of the CNHS 65 Scholarship Foundation.

What is Debt of Gratitude? You owe this debt of gratitude to your parents. Your mother carried you in her womb for 9 months. Your parents took care of you; they clothed you, fed you, gave you a roof over your head and sent you to school. Can you repay the debt of gratitude you owe them? No, you cannot pay back your debt of gratitude to them with gold, money, or any tangible things on earth. Debt of gratitude cannot be repaid. According to a Malayan Proverb, “one can pay back the loan of gold, but one dies forever in debt to those who are kind.” Debt of gratitude is for life, it cannot be repaid and you carry this on throughout your living days.

Your character is a reflection of how you were brought up by your parents. You are the mirror-image of your parents. The way how you think about gratitude mirrors the character of your parents. Good virtue starts at home.

Your present status, your education, you owe it to the Foundation. We are not seeking any repayment. We just expect plain recognition from you. Recognize your debt of gratitude to the Foundation, not just vanish into thin air after all the help we extended to you. A simple thank you from time to time will suffice. A regular communication with your benefactors will do.

“Gratitude is the least of the virtues, but ingratitude is the worst of all vices.” – Thomas Fuller

“Gratitude is not only the greatest of the virtues but the parent of all others.” – Cicero

Fuller’s and Cicero’s definition of gratitude is somewhat conflicting, for Fuller it is the “least of the virtues” and to Cicero it is “the greatest”, nonetheless the meanings of the message they impart are somewhat the same.

“Thankfulness is the beginning of gratitude. Gratitude is the completion of thankfulness. Thankfulness may consist merely of words. Gratitude is shown in acts.” – Henri Frederic Amiel

Debt of gratitude cannot be repaid. Dala ninyo ito habang buhay, you carry this on for life.