Manila: A Filipino lawmaker is pushing for introductions to ethics in the basic education and higher studies curriculum in an effort to build a “strong moral foundation” for the youth.

“It is high time [we] inquire into the strengths and weaknesses of the Filipino people with a view to solving social ills and strengthening the nation’s moral fibre,” Representative Marcelino Teodoro of Marikina said as he filed House Bill 2477, a measure mandating the teaching of ethics in the elementary and high school curriculum as well as in college.

The country has recently been rocked by scandal after scandal involving impropriety and corruption, the latest of which involved “pork barrel” funds that are discretionary allocation used by congressmen and senators for projects that will supposedly benefit their constituents.

It had been found out in official government audit reports that such funds, amounting to billions of pesos, are being diverted to pockets of lawmakers and corrupt non-government organisations that serve as conduits.

Teodoro said lack of strong moral foundation breeds corruption in the government, thus it is necessary to formalise the teaching of subjects such as ethics in school, even at an early age.

Currently, ethics are being taught as part of religion and morality subjects in schools.

Teodoro said education should also zero in ways to get rid of corrupt practices.

He cited initiatives of the Ombudsman and the Department of Education (DepEd), which have introduced two modules entitled “Graft and Corruption Prevention Modules” to be taught at the elementary and secondary levels.

“The two modules are intended to awaken the students’ consciousness towards being honest and responsible citizens of their community,” he said.

Teodoro said the development of the modules was based on the concepts and values specified in Republic Act 6713 or the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees.

“The root of the crisis facing the Filipinos in the past decades is moral in nature,” he added.

“Grave problems require grave solutions. Nothing less than the intensive absorption of ethical values, through an educational system, can stem the continuing dominance of the culture of corruption in the Philippines today,” Teodoro said.