Bringing up future leaders: INTEGRITY Institute for Law and Sciences

At the core of the proposed Anna’s Trees is the establishment of Integrity Institute. If you may ask me about my ultimate mission, this is it. For many years, it almost felt like an “un-anchored” ship, wandering from the shore, simply being tossed around by life’s storms and uncertainties.

And then, something clicked. I have been “placed” in those episodes (the ‘major’ one in 2019) when I needed to speak about integrity and accountability because no one else was willing to or ready. Understandably. While society is evolving, the person (as both human and divine) is also integrating itself into oneness.

We’re all still work-in-progress. Every person has his own path to take and the decision to be more accountable and to live a life based on integrity seldom comes overnight. Or rather, it is often easier to choose to look the other way. Because those who speak up oftentimes end up being the sore thumbs. It does not feel safe anymore.

But life brings us to certain places and we are called to choose our path, sometimes painfully.

We are seeing how corruption is slowly eating into the fiber of our humanity and society. Look around us–stories of honesty, of taxi drivers and cleaning staff returning lost bags or wallets–all these are good and noble…but it’s like all these acts of goodness are becoming the exemptions? That we expect people to steal (claim) lost and found things so that we celebrate these acts as heroism if they return them. I do not mean to belittle such acts of honesty and goodness but you get what I mean.

In the Philippines, we even have several words/terms for bribery–SOPs (standard operating procedures or the expected kickbacks in government projects), lagayan or lagay (bribery/bribe), padulas (to make it slippery in English, or another word for bribe), suhol (again, grease money), and “under the table.”

What have we really become? Where are we going?

And so, I am taking this step, indeed a huge project but not impossible–and I hope and pray that you will be joining me in this path.

When there is integrity, there is hope, dignity, and justice.
[Image by M. Velas-Suarin; taken at Podium Mall in Ortigas City, Philippines]

The Integrity Institute aims to nurture future leaders who will embody not just positive values but also deep commitment to honor Gaia and the Spirit. As such, we intend to establish a learning institute that will train children into adulthood through, first, scholarships (in the early-stage) and later on, innovative curriculum that integrates ecology (Gaia) and the Spirit (positive values). It is envisioned that these children will grow into leaders and

  • lawyers who do not break and circumvent laws;
  • doctors whose practice begins with the body’s natural capacity to heal–integrating  science medicine, natural and naturopathic therapy, and spiritual and energy healing;
  • scientists whose innovative creations will help build a more sustainable future; and
  • entrepreneurs who will give back to the society, embody palabra de honor, honor contracts/agreements (verbal or otherwise), respect procurement laws (among other legislation), and comply with all labor and social legislation and standards.

As a learning institute, it will adapt an innovative and transformation pedagogy, curriculum, and culture including in law education. For details on how this law pedagogy is being envisioned, please visit this article.

The Institute will also address the perennial problem of startups and SMEs when it comes to financing. Ironically, we have created a society where banks are seem only only for those who do not need money. Oftentimes, startups and small businesses could not access credit facility. They have nothing to show except their dreams and ideas.

Therefore, the Institute will be awarding grants or subsidies to worthy projects/enterprises based on the giving-back principle: honor the help that had been given them by helping others in return. This way, we are creating circles of hope and deepening the honor system, which is, sadly, slowly disappearing but which is still waiting to be re-ignited.

The Institute shall be borne from Anna’s Trees so I hope that you can support us in passing the word around. Your support–not just in the material sense–will truly mean a lot.

In the long-term, the Integrity Institute is hoped to contribute to nation-building and embodiment of nationalism and patriotism–the kind that also embraces and respects diversity and Oneness.

Meanwhile, we have just began the development of the website of Anna’s Trees, which will become the corporation vehicle (via a one-person-corporation or OPC first) of our initiatives, including this Institute.

Note: I have actually dreamt of a similar institute, which I called Philippine Leadership Academy, back in 2011. As I look back, it seems I am really being drawn to this path. The proposed Philippine Leadership Academy can actually be a college/unit of the Integrity Institute.

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