IN celebration of the Golden Jubilee Year of Financial Executives Institute of the Philippines, FINEX launched an ethics book entitled Ethics: Black White (or Gray)? which gathered essays and actual cases from 50 well-known personalities from the government, banking and private sectors.
Last May, Zondie Garcia, FINEX Ethics Committee Chair, asked me to sub-chair the committee of the Ethics book. I immediately accepted because I believe in the project, more so that conflict of interest as a topic was hugging the headlines at that time. Ethics, instead of being simply black (wrong) or white (right) was getting blurry or even gray. And so, an ethics book is relevant and timely.
The book has articles from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) — no less than BSP Governor Nestor Espenilla, Jr. (“Continuity Plus Plus: BSP’s Strategic and Ethical Bedrock”), Monetary Board Member Jun de Zuniga (“Rising Above Conflict of Interest”) and Deputy Governors Chuchi Fonacier (“Managing Conflict of Interest: Walking on a Thin Line”) and Diwa Guinigundo (“The Ethics of Being Ethical”); former Securities and Exchange Commission Chairs Tess Herbosa and Fe Barin; from the Institute of Corporate Directors, Dr. Jesus Estanislao who also wrote the preface, and Francis Estrada; from banks: Bankers Association of the Philippines President Nestor Tan, former BSP governor and Philtrust Head Jimmy Laya, ING Head Hans Sicat, Ding Pascual, RPT committee chair of PNB; FINEX members led by 2008 CFO of the year Baby Nuesa (“When Ethics Collide with Culture, We Must Rediscover Shame”); and SharePHIL Chair Evelyn Singson (“The Protection of Minority Shareholders’ Rights”).
Writers from the academe include Miriam President Charito Lapus, UA&P Professor Bernie Villegas and former UP president Fred Pascual; from the insurance industry, Allianz PNB Life President Olaf Kliesow and Sunlife’s Riza Mantaring (“When Doing Right by the Client Hurts”); from former government officials, Communications Secretary Sonny Coloma (“Is There a Right Time to be Ethical?”), Agriculture Secretary William Dar (Ethics and Agriculture — the Right to Food), former Finance Secretary and now Philippine Stock Exchange Chair Jose Pardo (“A Heart for Doing What is Right”).
As most articles were pretty serious, we also have an article from Laurie Jimenez (“When No One is Looking”), GMA 7 director, about when she was still in school and didn’t go with the flow of cheating. From the Filipina circle of CEOs, we have Carol Dominguez, social entrepreneurs Chit Juan (“Can You Do Business with the Poor and Get Rich?”) and Chiqui Escareal Go and accounting head Sharon Dayoan.
A section on the digital space titled Ethical Views on Technology was coordinated by Reynaldo C. Lugtu with articles from PLDT’s FINTQ Lito Villanueva (“Ethical Imperatives in Transformation”), Amihan’s Winston Damarillo, and Urban Chair Tito Ortiz, now a reinvented blockchain advocate. These are just some of the writers and more.
The Ethics book was launched at the BSP (thank you to our dear Governor Nesting!) with DG Chuchi Fonacier as guest speaker. Attendees were mainly the writers/contributors of the book.
Ethics: Black White (or Gray)? hopes that through the stories, examples, and experiences of the writers, it will be a good guide to all of us to decide on what is black or white, what is right or wrong, and not fall in the gray area.
The book, to be distributed to FINEX members and school partners, is dedicated “to everyone who wants to be ethical and do the right things right.”
Of the Ethics book, Dr. Jess Estanislao writes, “the battle for the observance of proper ethical standards is a continuing task of a lifetime. This volume is an invitation to bring integrity and ethics into our daily decisions and actions.”
Bro. Armin Luistro says: “During these turbulent times when our moral compass seems to be misled, the FINEX book on ethics is a must-read.”
Flor G. Tarriela is the Chairman of Philippine National Bank. She is former Undersecretary of Finance and the First Filipina Vice President of Citibank N.A. She is Go Negosyo 2018 Woman Intrapreneur Awardee. She is a FINEX Foundation Trustee and an Institute of Corporate Directors (ICD) Fellow.