City Savings Bank, Inc. (CitySavings) is helping to revitalize character-building and values formation programs in schools with the launch of its National Economic Development and Values Formation webinar series. The program is designed to guide the Department of Education’s (DepEd) public schools in revitalizing character education programs with a focus on values and virtues that will contribute to economic recovery. The pandemic accelerated digital transformation globally but it also yielded challenges, particularly, in contactless physical interaction between teachers and students. To address the shift in educational needs, teachers are going beyond usual learning and teaching modalities, which the Bank recognized is also affecting how values or character formation are incorporated in the curriculum. CitySavings, advocating to instill the right virtues among the Filipino youth, partnered with the University of Asia and the Pacific (UA&P), a leading institution of higher learning in the Philippines with pioneering programs for educators in values formation for the training delivery of this engagement. Dr. Bernardo M. Villegas, a prominent economist and one of the initiators of values education courses, highlighted the common notion of how contactless erodes the quality of human relations. “There must be some way we can make sure that as we enter a more digitalized world, we do not lose the distinct advantage of Filipinos, not only for its value to the employability of our workforce here and abroad but also primarily to retain the social virtues for us to be on top of any measure of Gross National Happiness,” Dr. Villegas said. A total of 450 principals, assistant principals, guidance counselors, and educators from Luzon regions participated in the 3-day webinar, which also focused on the important roles of school authorities in exerting every effort of bringing in parents into the highly involved task of values and virtues formation. “School administrators and teachers are an essential component in the character building of our students. We have the foremost task to equip ourselves with the appropriate tools to provide our students with lifelong skills with a moral dimension for international competitiveness,” explained Dr. Arnulfo M. Balane, Assistant Regional Director of NCR. Dr. Antonio N. Torralba, an educator with tremendous experience in basic education helped the DepEd participants boost the campaign of #WAGI (Wastong Asal at Gawi, Isabuhay) that focuses on the long and delicate process of “pagsasabuhay” (living) “wastong asal” (right behavior) and “gawi” (human virtues). “Manners (Wastong Asal) + Right Conduct (Gawi) is the essence of Values Education. More than a subject, it is a lifestyle,” said Dr. Torralba, who also moderated a forum with college students and young professionals from public schools, providing school leaders with a perspective on the four areas of conversation: What Makes Good Schools, Good Principals, Good Teachers, and Good Students. “It was a reflective session hearing the voice of the learners on the ideas and suggestions on the areas of concern. I was able to draw a conclusion that in formulating programs/activities, to consider the values of the learners, it should fit their values and interest to guide them in making wise decisions,” shared Cynthia Marca, EdD RGC, Guidance Counselor III of Muntinlupa National High School. CitySavings is optimistic that champions among the school leaders will effectively carry out a character education program for their schools to, ultimately, support our country’s economic development. “I am confident that the key takeaways you got from this webinar, plus the valuable insights from Dr. Bernie’s Book of Virtues and Values, will help you think through your school’s character education program, and go through a decision-making process that will blend values into the curriculum for a stronger and better school community,” said CitySavings President and CEO Lorenzo T. Ocampo.