‘Start them young:’ De Lima lauds ‘thou-shall-not-steal’ campaign in schools

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Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima has commended the campaign of several Catholic schools from the eight dioceses in the National Capital Region (NCR) in raising awareness in the fight against corruption among school children.

De Lima, who chairs the Senate Committee on Social Justice, Welfare and Rural Development, lauded the schools’ campaign which promotes the virtues of honesty, integrity, and generosity to young people.

“With corruption running rampant under the Duterte administration, I salute these Catholic schools in raising awareness to curb corruption and shape the youth to be future leaders who value honesty, fairness, and integrity,” she said from her detention.

In observance of “Huwag Kang Magnakaw” (Thou Shall Not Steal) this month, the NCR Advocacy Committee of the Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines (CEAP) has launched an initiative which aims to teach young students to fight corruption.

Fr. Atilano Fajardo, who chairs the CEAP-NCR Advocacy Committee and head of the Public Affairs Ministry of the Archdiocese of Manila, said the campaign also allows the Catholic schools to contribute in advancing change in the country.

As early as Dec. 16, 2014, the Catholic church in the Philippines has launched the “Huwag Kang Magnanakaw” advocacy drive, which was taken from the Seventh Commandment “Though Shall Not Steal,” to fight graft and corruption. She notes that corruption is also a form of human rights violation.

De Lima, a staunch pro-human rights and anti-corruption advocate, underscored the importance of raising awareness about corruption among the youth, especially school children, to help them easily recognize lies and deception early on and resist corruption.

“Becoming aware of the scourge of corruption in our society would enable the youth to see through the duplicity and lies of some corrupt officials, particularly Mr. Duterte who pretends to hate corruption but allows his allies to use the taxpayers’ money for their personal gains. In fact, among his major allies and benefactors now are the country’s top plunderers and grafters.” she said.

“It will also serve as a constant reminder for them to always do the right thing should they encounter instances where corruption is hard to avoid, either because it appears to be the ‘norm’ or it is simply not easy to detect,” she added.

Duterte himself has faced corruption anomalies after several lawmakers pointed out that he is hiding wealth from the public, after an official at the Office of the Ombudsman claimed to have gotten hold of records of bank transactions of the President and his family that ran into hundreds of millions of pesos.

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