Church leader who thinks Filipinos are on their phones too much wants a ‘commission on Filipino values’

Do we need a Commission on Filipino Values? Jesus is Lord church founder and party list representative Bro. Eddie Villanueva seems to think so — and blames it on the appeal of a “modern lifestyle” adapted from foreign countries and excessive smartphone usage.

The lawmaker is proposing a measure that seeks to create a commission specifically focused on preserving and instilling “national values, etiquette, and moral uprightness among Filipinos of all ages.”

After languishing in the previous Congress, Villanueva refiled House Bill 5762 called the National Values, Etiquette, and Moral Uprightness Act, as Filipino values are apparently “very vulnerable to be supplanted by the forces of modernity.”

The religious leader blamed rapid technological developments and globalization in affecting Philippine society’s moral fiber.

“The deeply cherished Filipino values, etiquette, and behavior on being ‘maka-Diyos, maka-tao, maka-kalikasan at maka-bansa’ (God-fearing, compassionate, environment-conscious, and patriotic) are now being challenged by the lure of material prosperity as well as the enticing appeal of modern lifestyle, particularly from developed countries, propagated through the media and the internet. This is particularly worth noting because due to the accessibility of smartphones and internet connection, a Filipino youth spends an average of six hours a week online, while 3.5 percent of the youth are logging in at least 35 hours a week,” Villanueva said in his explanatory note.

“This bill seeks to counter the susceptibility of our God-pleasing values system to be swayed, altered, and superseded by foreign influences. It aims to preserve and continually instill national values, instruct proper etiquette, and inculcate moral uprightness to Filipinos through the crafting of a Program on National Values, Etiquette and Moral Uprightness to be implemented by a Commission on Filipino Values,” Villanueva added.

Aside from a commission on values, the proposal also includes establishing a Presidential Interfaith Council composed of leaders from religious organizations in the Philippines.

The bill also seeks to implement this program in schools and public and private offices “as they are instructed to instill patriotism, national pride and identity, moral uprightness, including online and social etiquette during employee orientation and training programs.”