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Humphrey fellows talk about ethics

Gresheen Gift M. Libby | Associate Editor

Four scholars under the Hubert Humphrey fellowship program discussed ethical issues on culture, profession and social media during the 16th Humphrey Voice Series lecture held  June 30 at the Luce Auditorium.

They are lawyer Nicolas Pichay, judge Amy Alabado Avellano, journalist Criselda Caringal and police chief inspector Kimberly Molitas, who all shared their thoughts on the theme, “Ethical Dilemmas in a Changing Nation” based on their respective professions, and talked about their experience as recipients of the fellowship.

The Hubert Humphrey fellowship program brings young and mid-career professionals from designated countries to the United States for a year of non-degree graduate-level study, leadership development, and professional collaboration with U.S. counterparts.

Pichay, a Hubert Humphrey alumnus from Syracuse University in New York, delivered his talk entitled “Discovering Ethics Hidden in Plain Sight. He used the Andres Bonifacio monument in Caloocan to explain how the ethics of the country manifests in its external appearance. The statue, which is supposed to be historical, is covered in traffic, littering people, and towering MRTs that destroy the monument’s beauty. He also recalled how the public gave a little attention to the “photobomber building” in Rizal Park, saying the lack of reaction could be because most of Filipinos do not value time and space.

He said our country does not give importance and recognition to historical figures which explains why our ethics is also deteriorating.

Avellano, presiding Judge at Regional Trial Court Branch 58 in San Carlos City and a Humphrey alumna from the University of Minnesota, tackled “Ethics in the Legal Profession.”

She exposed the wrong practices done by some lawyers which are violating their guiding rules in the justice system.

She said it is against the Constitution for people working in the legal profession to accept gifts because it is considered a form of bribery.

According to her, Filipinos have the “utang na loob” and “pa thank you” culture that clashes with legal ethics.

Social media trolls were discussed in Criselda Caringal’s “Ethics in the time of trolls” talk. Caringal, producer of iWitness, a GMA-7 documentary TV show, is a Humphrey alumna from the Arizona State University.

She said that there are people who hire professional “trolls”- people who post disruptive, sometimes ridiculous, political comments- to spread fake news, hate comments, and deceive people. She encouraged everyone to be aware of the “like” and “share” features of social media.

Molitas , a beauty queen and a police officer, said that the Philippines is a lot safer now due to the abundance of police officers, in her talk entitled “Ethics in the Police Force.”. She said that it is the responsibility of both the people and the police to reach out to each other and discuss what collaborative efforts they need from one another.

The event was organized by the Silliman University College of Law and was attended by various schools and universities in Metro Dumaguete.

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