Monthly Archives: August 2008

Teachers, Don’t Leave Us Kids Alone!

 

Teacher’s salary should be doubled! A wishful thinking? Yes, this is  maybe a dream but one that rests upon solid foundation- upon our constitution in Article XIV, Section 5 (5) which says that” The State shall assign the highest budgetary priority to education and ensure that teaching will attract and retain its rightful share of the best available talents through adequate remuneration and other means of job satisfaction and fulfillment.”

Teachers are the real public servants for all so they deserve special attention and adequate remuneration and incentives. In short, upgrade the teacher’s salary! Although these people are in the first place driven by their calling to “transfer” knowledge to their students and not by the desire to accumulate material wealth, it is still proper for them to recieve a salary that will give them and their families a decent existence, keep them away from worries so they can focus their energy on teaching. This is the first step to ensure quality education. In Human capital theory, the economy of  a nation is a reflection of the quality of education. High quality education means high economy like Taiwan, Finnland, Hongkong and Japan to name a few examples. In short, a better educated population produces a better economy. 

Furthermore, Article XIV Section I of the 1987 Constitution of the Philippines says that ” The State shall protect and promote the right of all citizens to quality education at all levels, and shall take appropriate steps to make such education accessible to all” and that the “State shall establish and maintain, a system of free public education in the elementary and high school levels. Without limiting the natural rights of parents to rear their children, elementary education is compulsory for all children of school age” Section 2 (3). (Republic Act No. 6655 of 1988 is very important in this connection, hence a suggested reading for more details. To this,  Education for All Philippine Plan of Action (EFA-PPA)  addresses access, equity, quality, relevance, and sustainability.)

Twenty-one years after the newly-enacted 1987 Constitution (the Constitution currently in effect, enacted during the administration of President Corazon Aquino, replacing the Marcos-tailored 1973 Constitution), Philippine Education today has “sunk to its lowest level” says Education Secretary Jesli Lapus during the  consultative meeting of  education stakeholders in Baguio City last January 2008 that was also attended by Arroyo. The alarm was first raised in 2006 by the department of Education. Yet two years after nothing has been improved. President Gloria Macapagal-Arroy admitts herself that the state of education continued to worsen, though the budget-as the governmnet claims- has increased over a 10-year period – from P90 billion in 1999 to P149 billion in 2008, excluding the P4 billion acquired in 2007 from the private sector,  after Education Secretary Jesli Lapus re-launched the Adopt-A-School program in 2006. Kudos to Jesli Lapus for his efforts in bringing Education as a societal concern. But gathering from the materials I’ve read pertaining to Philippine education, it shows that increasing the budget for education is not the only solution to the problems of education.

Past statistics show that generally Literacy Rate in the Philippines climbed up over the last few years- from 72 percent in 1960 to 94 percent in 1990 due to increase in the numbers of schools built-elementary, secondary and tertiary levely-  and the rising level of enrollment that followed. Indeed, if you would bother to examine the figures about education in the Philippines that you would find published in Internet, it’s very impressive how enrollment in commerce and business courses as well as engineering and technology courses went up. One interesting fact is the gender distribution: female students are very highly represented in all levels-elemetary, secondary and tertiary education-, whereby male and female students are almost equally represented in the elemetary level. The clear difference begins in the secondray and tertiary education. Here the females exceed the males. In general, higher rates of dropouts, failures and repetition are shown among the boys in the elementary and secondary levels. This is a phenomenon that interests me from a psychological viewpoint. One thing, what does “has improved” mean in the present time and even more interesting is, what does it mean today in global context? In this connection, we will talk later about PISA, or Programme for International Student Assessment.

According to our leading educators, the main problems of our education  are declining quality, affordability, budget and mismatch.

Quality  You may have noticed that the statistics merely give us figures. Quantity is one thing, quality is another thing. In the Philippines the problem of quality is a central issue that will bother us for the next decades. There is still much to be done in this area if we want to help Arroyo realize her dream of transforming the nation into a first-world country. For as of now we are down there below if seen globally. If you live outside the country, what the world knows is only about our corrupt presidents who are taking advantage of their people instead of working for the common good. Many among us  were sadden to hear that our president is the most corrupt leader and the Philippines voted as the most corrupt country in asia. One may question the credibilty of this survey and the people who designed and, most of all, people who financed the said survey. Indeed, this could also be politically-motivated one. But one thing for sure, the Arroyos have already dominated the headlines for corrupt practices even before this survey was made and published. So to expect a good quality of education in our nation amidst this political chaos, moral desorientation, poverty, the on-going rebellion in Mindanao and the ever-present NPA threats, is beyond imagination, a dream in the true sense of the word. Progressive leaders are geared in improving more and more the quality of education in their respective countries to keep up, if not lead, the global standards of excellence and global market demands. So they never tire in evaluating their educational programs and investing huge amounts annually for training, upgrade of facilities and for research. This is investing in human capital for they believe that in today’s  Information Age, education is a tremendous production factor becoming more valuable than capital and labor. 

AffordabilityIt is poverty that hinders education and it is poor education that fosters poverty. Many of us cannot afford to pay education. We just hit the core of the problem, the vicious cycle where there seems to be no way out for the majority of the Filipinos. A pupil can still make it to go to school without  breakfast and lunch for a day. The next day don’t expect this pupil to be in school. It’s just not possible to learn when hunger is killing you. The same with an intelligent public high school graduate from a province. Even if he topped the UP entrance examination and has qualified for government scholarship, who would shoulder his living expenses in Manila? His daily transportations? His school materials? He will end up somewhere below his potentials.

BudgetThe Philippines is slowly becoming a two-class society- the rich and the poor  with a collapsing middle class. Ninety-five per cent of all our elementary pupils are attending public schools and many of them never make it to finish grade six let alone enter public high school because of poverty (Last count reveals that  more than 17 million students are enrolled in public schools). The fight for progress should happen in two levels at the same time- that of maintaining and improving the quality of education and of eradicating extreme poverty and/or diminishing “normal”poverty. This is really the challenge to our political leaders. To our church leaders, if they really understand that poverty has direct connection with rising criminality and juvenile delinquency, that poverty contributes directly to breaking the Ten Commandments that Christianity teaches, then they should take the necessity of birth control as a moral imperative.

You would never see pupils inside a very good classroom with a well-trained teacher when, due to absence of food, all the pupils are  weak and sick or have to roam around looking for food. But even if we have sometimes reason to believe that the powerful few wants the majority to remain poor so they can easily control them, we should never give up striving for a better Filipino society by continously pushing for the needed reforms.

It is clear that in order to break this vicious cycle of poverty-poor education, the government should devise a sustainable socio-economic program of improving the livelihood of all poverty-striken families in all communities and follow the constitutional mandate of allocating the highest proportion of its budget to education. In reality, it is impossible to cope up with the first world when it comes to quality of education for while we are still trapped within this vicious cycle of poverty-poor education, the first world countries have since long freed themselves from this trap and since then been busy with high-tech researches and innovations, winning Nobel Prizes one after another.

MismatchThis is the argument that speaks for the needed reform in our educational system which is coupling vocational training with the private industry sector and rationally introducing Apprenticeship System. The state should create the necessary legal basis for this partnership between the educational and private industry sector. A four year vocational course for instance should be divided into two segments of two years theoretical learning and two years Apprenticeship to the corresponding industry sector where the student /apprentice learns the practical side of his chosen profession in coordination with his school. The student should be considered as an employee during this period and is entitled to monthly compensation which is adequate enough to support his existence as a student. During this apprenticeship period, the student attends theoretical lectures in his school at least two times a month, the school requiring him to pay only the minimum of tuition fees during this period. This is similar to the present OJT (On-the-Job Training) program being practiced now by some noted companies in the Philippines like IBM, Shell,etc.

 

Now about the PISA:

PISA or Programme for International Student Assessment (source wikipedia)

 The Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) is a triennial world-wide test of 15-year-old schoolchildren’s scholastic performance, the implementation of which is coordinated by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

The aim of the PISA study is to test and compare schoolchildren’s performance across the world, with a view to improving educational methods and outcomes.

Developement And Implementation

Developed from 1997, the first PISA assessment was carried out in 2000. The tests are taken every three years. Every period of assessment specialises in one particular subject, but also tests the other main areas studied. The subject specialisation is rotated through each PISA cycle.

In 2000, 265 000 students from 32 countries took part in PISA; 28 of them were OECD member countries. In 2002 the same tests were taken by 11 more “partner” countries (i.e. non-OECD members). The main focus of the 2000 tests was reading literacy, with two thirds of the questions being on that subject.

PISA’s debut round in 2000 was delivered on OECD’s behalf by an international consortium of research and educational institutions led by the Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER). It continued to lead the design and implementation of subsequent rounds of PISA for OECD.

Over 275 000 students took part in PISA 2003, which was conducted in 41 countries, including all 30 OECD countries. (Britain data collection however, failed to meet PISA’s quality standards and so the UK was not included in the international comparisons.) The focus was mathematics literacy, testing real-life situations in which mathematics is useful. Problem solving was also tested for the first time.

In 2006, 57 countries participated, and the main focus of PISA 2006 was science literacy. Results are due out in late 2007. Researchers have begun preparation for 2009, in which reading literacy will again be the main focus, giving the first opportunity to measure improvements in that domain. At last count (end-March 2007), about 63 countries were set to participate in PISA 2009. It is anticipated that more countries will join in before 2009.

Development of the methodology and procedures required to implement the PISA survey in all participating countries are led by ACER. It also leads in developing and implementing sampling procedures and assisting with monitoring sampling outcomes across these countries. The assessment instruments fundamental to PISA’s Reading, Mathematics, Science, Problem-solving, Computer-based testing, background and contextual questionnaires are similarly constructed and refined by ACER. ACER also develops purpose-built software to assist in sampling and data capture, and analyses all data.

The process of seeing through a single PISA cycle, start-to-finish, takes over 4 years.

Method Of Testing

The students tested by PISA are aged between 15 years and 3 months and 16 years and 2 months at the beginning of the assessment period. Only students at school are tested, not home-schoolers. In PISA 2006 , however, several countries also used a grade-based sample of students. This made it possible also to study how age and school year interact.

Each student takes a two-hour handwritten test. Part of the test is multiple-choice and part involves fuller answers. In total there are six and a half hours of assessment material, but each student is not tested on all the parts. Participating students also answer a questionnaire on their background including learning habits, motivation and family. School directors also fill in a questionnaire describing school demographics, funding etc.

Criticism has ensued in Luxembourg which scored quite low, over the method used in its PISA test. Although being a trilingual country, the test was not allowed to be done in Luxembourgish, the mother tongue of a majority of students.

Results

The results of each period of assessment normally take at least a year to be analysed. The first results for PISA 2000 came out in 2001 (OECD, 2001a) and 2003 (OECD, 2003c), and were followed by thematic reports studying particular aspects of the results. The evaluation of PISA 2003 was published in two volumes: Learning for Tomorrow’s World: First Results from PISA 2003 (OECD, 2004) and Problem Solving for Tomorrow’s World – First Measures of Cross-Curricular Competencies from PISA 2003 (OECD, 2004d)

Here is an overview of the top six scores in 2003:

Mathematics

Reading literacy

Science

Problem solving

1.  Hong Kong 550
2.  Finland 544
3.  South Korea 542
4.  Netherlands 538
5.  Liechtenstein 536
6.  Japan 534

 

1.  Finland 543
2.  South Korea 534
3.  Canada 528
4.  Australia 525
5.  Liechtenstein 525
6.  New Zealand 522

 

1.  Finland 563
2.  Hong Kong 542
3.  Canada 534
4.  Taiwan 532
5.  Estonia 531
6.  Japan 531

 

1.  South Korea 550
2.  Finland 548
2.  Hong Kong 548
4.  Japan 547
5.  New Zealand 533
6.  Macau 532

 

Professor Jouni Välijärvi was in charge of the Finnish PISA study: he believed that the high Finnish score was due both to the excellent Finnish teachers and to Finland’s 1990s LUMA programme which was developed to improve children’s skills in mathematics and natural sciences. He also drew attention to the Finnish school system which teaches the same curriculum to all pupils. Indeed individual Finnish students’ results did not vary a great deal and all schools had similar scores.

An evaluation of the 2003 results showed that the countries which spent more on education did not necessarily do better than those which spent less. Australia, Belgium, Canada, the Czech Republic, Finland, Japan, Korea and the Netherlands spent less but did relatively well, whereas the United States spent much more but was below the OECD average. The Czech Republic, in the top ten, spent only one third as much per student as the United States did, for example, but the USA came 24th out of 29 countries compared.

Compared with 2000, Poland, Belgium, the Czech Republic and Germany all improved their results. In fact, apparently due to the changes to the school system introduced in the educational reform of 1999, Polish students had above average reading skills in PISA 2003; in PISA 2000 they were near the bottom of the list.

Another point made in the evaluation was that students with higher-earning parents are better-educated and tend to achieve higher results. This was true in all the countries tested, although more obvious in certain countries, such as Germany.

2006 Survey

Here is an overview of the 20 places with the highest scores in 2006:

 

Mathematics

Science

Reading

1.  Taiwan  Finland  South Korea
2.  Finland  Hong Kong  Finland
3.  Hong Kong  Canada  Hong Kong
4.  South Korea  Taiwan  Canada
5.  Netherlands  Estonia  New Zealand
6.  Switzerland  Japan  Ireland
7.  Canada  New Zealand  Australia
8.  Macau  Australia  Liechtenstein
9.  Liechtenstein  Netherlands  Poland
10.  Japan  Liechtenstein  Sweden
11.  New Zealand  South Korea  Netherlands
12.  Belgium  Slovenia  Belgium
13.  Australia  Germany  Estonia
14.  Estonia  United Kingdom  Switzerland
15.  Denmark  Czech Republic  Japan
16.  Czech Republic  Switzerland  Taiwan
17.  Iceland  Macau  United Kingdom
18.  Austria  Austria  Germany
19.  Slovenia  Belgium  Denmark
20.  Germany  Ireland  Slovenia

——–

As announced, the next PISA Testing will be in 2009. I am not aware if the Philippines will be joining – or is ready to join this time. But given the total socio-economic and political situation in our country, I doubt if the Education Ministry will consider filling-up the application form. One thing more, I am not sure if we would meet the PISA standards for joining. It is astonishing how close we are geographically to our neighboring countries which  did not only join but topped the PISA 2006 like Taiwan  Korea and Hongkong in mathematics, reading and science respectively. One could actually reach Taiwan by a small boat. Yet viewed from these PISA Results, Taiwan appears to be light years away from the Philippines and so as South Korea, Hongkong and Japan. Indeed, these countries have shown that the future lies in asia and lately I have heard that from 2015 the Chinese universities will be dominating the world in terms of technical and scientific researches that European researchers can no longer do away without consulting their Chinese counterparts. Are we already satisfied with  the role of an on-looker in a rapidly developing asian community? If our people have no more faith in our politics this is understandable. But to lose faith in education is something that we cannot afford. We don’t leave our kids alone. And we have seen that nowadays our young people should not only be literate but should be able to fluently express themselves in liguistics and scientific terms to cope up with the global standards- or, let us say,- with the asian standards. This will take time and a genuine political will on the part of our next generations of leaders to finally set a decent goal for our country. The present administration has nothing else to offer in this respect for it’s too busy with other goals highly important for themselves only.

jun asuncion

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Filed under Education, Politics, Views and Concern

THE ELUSIVE JUSTICE AFTER 25 YEARS!

Or, the Prepared Speech That Was Never Read.

By attybenji

Ninoy Aquino said, “The Filipino is worth dying for.”

In retrospect, Twenty Five (25) years after Ninoy Aquino’s death, only his murderer, the alleged hired killer, Rolando Galman (RIP) and the other alleged conspirators, (mostly members of the defunct AVSECOM-MIA), now languishing and serving their sentence in the National Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa City, have been convicted.

Until now, these convicts are still denying their participations in the alleged grand conspiracy in killing Ninoy Aquino.

But what/how about the alleged mastermind of this heinous crime of all time? Ferdinand Marcos, Imelda Marcos, Fabian Ver & Danding Cojuangco, et al..

Imelda Marcos and Danding Conjuangco were not formally charged nor indicted for their alleged participations in the conspiracy, same thing with the late Ferdinand Marcos, who is now 6ft. below the ground, and also the late Fabian Ver was acquitted already by the Sandigan Bayan many years back. Similarly, the Agrava Fact Finding Commission, which was established by the government then to conduct full-blown investigation on Ninoy’s death, has concluded that his (Ninoy) death was part of the grand military conspiracy.

In his grave probably, Ninoy is still crying out for justice, his ghost continues to haunt his real killer/s, and we, Filipinos, are likewise crying out loud for justice to Ninoy. And hoping to see the light ahead.

Ladies & gentlemen, boys & girls, Today, August 21, 2008, we are celebrating the 25th Death Anniversary of one of our National Heroes, “Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino, Jr.

truly, Republic Act No. 9256 was passed and approved in to law on February 25, 2004, AN ACT DECLARING AUGUST 21 OF EVERY YEAR AS NINOY AQUINO DAY, A SPECIAL NONWORKING HOLIDAY, AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES”

Apparently, prior to said event, president GMA has issued an order commemorating Ninoy’s death on August 18, 2008 instead of August 21 as what the law provides, and declared the former date as non working holiday.

In restrospect, when Ferdinand Marcos declared Presidential Decree 1081 on September 21, 1972 placing the entire country under Martial Law, the Writ of Habeas Corpus was suspended. Many Filipinos were arrested for subversion including Ninoy. He was arrested, imprisoned and exiled along with the other activists at that time. He suffered a heart attack and was put on exile in the United States. He decided to come back to the Philippines on August 21, 1983 at the expense of his own life.

“if it’s my fate to die by an assassin’s bullet, so be it”.

His death ignited the hearts of every Filipino, who longed for freedom and were long sufferers of a country governed by a dictator. His death catapulted the EDSA Revolution, famously known as “People Power.”

Until now, the perpetrators of his assassination were not yet convicted. His case is one of the mysteries in history that will never be unveiled although deep in our hearts (Filipinos) we know who the mastermind/s was/is – are/were.

“The Filipino is worth dying for.”

Twenty five years after Ninoy’s death, in retrospect, is the Filipino still worth dying for?

Today, heroes are only found on the peso bills, decorative statues on building façade, parks, and streets, and institutions named on their behalf.

His death has in fact triggered the EDSA revolution that toppled the former dictator Marcos from Malacañang, and installed Cory Aquino to presidency.

The younger generation today lost the fire that ignited the revolution in EDSA. Twenty five years have passed since Ninoy’s death and 22 years after EDSA “People Power” Revolution… What happen now? The answer is yours!

Some writers say, we need another Ninoy to fuel our nationalism/love of country, not just loving oneself, one’s family, or loving one’s community.

I do not have the authority to preach, teach, or dictate about the current level of nationalism of us, Filipinos, but I could definitely say that we have forgotten the true meaning of Ninoy’s death and the true message of EDSA UNITY, FREEDOM, JUSTICE, and PEACE!

Analogous to this, I would like to quote & reproduce hereunder the most famous undelivered and never read speech in Philippine history of Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino, Jr. This speech, as we all know, was made and prepared by him while he was still in the United States, or said speech was drafted prior to his arrival in the Philippine soil on August 21, 1983. And, as expected based on his premonition, and apprehension, upon his arrival at MIA Tarmac, he was brutally murdered point blank, and failed to deliver his message to the entire Filipino people.

The UNDELIVERED SPEECH!
By Ninoy Aquino, Jr.

“I have returned on my free will to join the ranks of those struggling to restore our rights and freedoms through nonviolence.

I seek no confrontation. I only pray and will strive for a genuine national reconciliation founded on justice.

I am prepared for the worst, and have decided against the advice of my mother, my spiritual adviser, many of my tested friends and a few of my most valued political mentors.

A death sentence awaits me. Two more subversion charges, both calling for death penalties, have been filed since I left three years ago and are now pending with the courts.

I could have opted to seek political asylum in America, but I feel it is my duty, as it is the duty of every Filipino, to suffer with his people especially in time of crisis.

I never sought nor have I been given assurances or promise of leniency by the regime. I return voluntarily armed only with a clear conscience and fortified in the faith that in the end justice will emerge triumphant.

According to Gandhi, the WILLING sacrifice of the innocent is the most powerful answer to insolent tyranny that has yet been conceived by God and man.

Three years ago when I left for an emergency heart bypass operation, I hoped and prayed that the rights and freedoms of our people would soon be restored, that living conditions would improve and that blood-letting would stop.

Rather than move forward, we have moved backward. The killings have increased, the economy has taken a turn for the worse and the human rights situation has deteriorated.

During the martial law period, the Supreme Court heard petitions for Habeas Corpus. It is most ironic, after martial law has allegedly been lifted, that the Supreme Court last April ruled it can no longer entertain petitions for Habeas Corpus for persons detained under a Presidential Commitment Order, which covers all so-called national security cases and which under present circumstances can cover almost anything.
The country is far advanced in her times of trouble. Economic, social and political problems bedevil the Filipino. These problems may be surmounted if we are united. But we can be united only if all the rights and freedoms enjoyed before September 21, 1972 are fully restored.

The Filipino asks for nothing more, but will surely accept nothing less, than all the rights and freedoms guaranteed by the 1935 Constitution — the most sacred legacies from the Founding Fathers.

Yes, the Filipino is patient, but there is a limit to his patience. Must we wait until that patience snaps?

The nation-wide rebellion is escalating and threatens to explode into a bloody revolution. There is a growing cadre of young Filipinos who have finally come to realize that freedom is never granted, it is taken. Must we relive the agonies and the blood-letting of the past that brought forth our Republic or can we sit down as brothers and sisters and discuss our differences with reason and goodwill?

I have often wondered how many disputes could have been settled easily had the disputants only dared to define their terms.

So as to leave no room for misunderstanding, I shall define my terms:

1. Six years ago, I was sentenced to die before a firing squad by a Military Tribunal whose jurisdiction I steadfastly refused to recognize. It is now time for the regime to decide. Order my IMMEDIATE EXECUTION OR SET ME FREE.
I was sentenced to die for allegedly being the leading communist leader. I am not a communist, never was and never will be.

2. National reconciliation and unity can be achieved but only with justice, including justice for our Muslim and Ifugao brothers. There can be no deal with a Dictator. No compromise with Dictatorship.

3. In a revolution there can really be no victors, only victims. We do not have to destroy in order to build.

4. Subversion stems from economic, social and political causes and will not be solved by purely military solutions; it can be curbed not with ever increasing repression but with a more equitable distribution of wealth, more democracy and more freedom, and

5. For the economy to get going once again, the workingman must be given his just and rightful share of his labor, and to the owners and managers must be restored the hope where there is so much uncertainty if not despair.

On one of the long corridors of Harvard University are carved in granite the words of Archibald Macleish:

“How shall freedom be defended? By arms when it is attacked by arms; by truth when it is attacked by lies; by democratic faith when it is attacked by authoritarian dogma. Always, and in the final act, by determination and faith.”

I return from exile and to an uncertain future with only determination and faith to offer — faith in our people and faith in God.”

-End of Speech-

This is a very informative one, and considered as one of the famous political speeches of all time in Philippine History.

Until Now, or 25 years after Ninoy was assassinated, the real mastermind of the killing and other conspirators have yet to be indicted in court or convicted.

Justice to Ninoy is justice to all.

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Filed under Atty. Benji's Column, Education, News, Politics, Views and Concern

The Rice Terraces Strike Back

Filipinos are still aware of  what’s happening in their country and they still know what they want or not want. In the latest survey conducted by the Social Weather Station (SWS) they sent the president diving. But as we have observed in her SONA 2008 she’s not to be blamed for her abrupt decline in this satisfaction rating but the rising rice and fuel prices!
To quote the presidential management chief Cerge Remonde, “President Arroyo’s -38  net satisfaction rating may have been the result of the rising rice and fuel prices in the country, …which should not be blamed on the government.” ( I have been observing how lousy are the people employed as presidential or mayor spokesmen in our country- no creativity in giving out statements about their bosses, that they mostly  damage their bosses instead of defending them adequately!) Filipinos may be generally poor economically but they still have good memory. They have not forgotten the scandals of this president- the election fraud-related hello garci tape, the ZTE scam, the human rights violations (killings  of investigative journalists, human rights activists and patriotic student leaders soared high in this regime ) the diversion of fertilizer funds, the Jueting scandals of Mr. Arroyo and this NFA rice rationing which is powered not by love for the poor but a sheer taking advantage of the world food and fuel crises to polish her image. And now this latest move to push the cha-cha (charter change) along with the switch to federalism with the aim of bringing a long lasting solution to the insurgency problem in Mindanao. All these things are clothed with her ambition of staying longer in power which is possible scenario to happen once her proposed Constituent Assembly would come into being because this would have the unlimited freedom to amend and revise one or two provisions of the constitution- to her advantage. Mr. Pimentel and Co. should only be watchful that their authored Senate Resolution No. 10 (Federalism)  will not be misused by the admiminstration. You know after all the mess she had done before and during these actual difficult times of food and fuel crises, it is just right that she goes diving now and stay down there unti 2010 to give our country the chance to grow. The people want a decent figure now at the top to lead the country out of this dead-end. If ever I would be asked about  the prime advantage of Federalism in the Philippines I would point out the reduction of the powers of the president. Our presidents with enormous powers have always been a burden to our country for the last four decades. Too much power corrupts the mind of man.
Remonde opined that “such an assessment of Mrs Arroyo is unfair  …  it’s never easy to be president of the Philippines”.  To become a president was easy, just a hello to garci, and that was it, she got her second term. But she should not expect an easy dasein as a president after all the deception and scandals she has caused herself and her husband. Remonde was not being fair here. And to blame not only the food and fuel crises but also the typhoon Frank for Arroyo’s very low net satisfaction rating is absurdity. Frank was not born yet when journalists and student leaders were being harrassed or killed in the Philippines, or when Arroyo was calling Garci and when Garci himself disappeared.
To make the matter worst, deputy Presidential Spokesperson Lorelei Fajardo doubled by saying she was  “not surprised with the net satisfaction rating because the country is plagued by several problems… these problems are not within the government’s control.” Not within the government’s control? The real problem was and is Arroyo and she controls the government, therefore, how can the government control the problem? How can Arroyo control herself when the mind has long been corrupted by too much power?
To sum it up, Fajardo said, “It is lonely at the top. Where else shall the people look for relief but from the president and government? The dissatisfaction does not come as a surprise. As a country, we are all suffering from the world economic downturn, factors beyond our control have seriously assaulted our economy and our way of life”. I don’t know if you would hire Lorelei Fajardo  as your spokesperson if you would be the first president or prime minister of the Federal Republic of the Philippines. The fact beyond control that asssaulted our economy and our way of life and, If I may add, the image of our nation abroad for decades by now were our very own powerful presidents made possible by our unitary sytem of government. Green light then for Federalism, for the State of Bicol ? I would say yes, but exercise caution  as we cross the road. 
jun asuncion
———————–
Here is the report:

18 July 2008

Second Quarter 2008 Social Weather Survey:
PGMA’s net rating falls to record-low -38

Social Weather Stations

The Social Weather Survey of June 27-30, 2008 found 22% satisfied and 60% dissatisfied with the performance of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, giving her a Net Satisfaction rating of -38 (% satisfied minus % dissatisfied), which is a new record-low for Presidents since 1986, surpassing the previous record of -33 in May 2005.

The new net rating is a 12-point drop from net -26 (27% satisfied, 54% dissatisfied) in the First Quarter 2008 Survey of March 28-31 [Chart 1, Table 1]. It is the fourth consecutive quarterly drop in her net rating since June 2007, when it was a neutral -3.

In all areas, majorities are dissatisfied

For the first time, gross dissatisfaction is at majority levels in all study areas: 63% in Metro Manila, 60% in the Balance of Luzon, 56% in the Visayas, and 62% in Mindanao.

The President’s net satisfaction rating in the Visayas, where she customarily draws her strongest support, fell by 18 points from -15 in March (36% satisfied, 51% dissatisfied) to a record-low -33 in June (23% satisfied, 56% dissatisfied) [Table 2, also Chart 2, Table 3].

In Mindanao, it fell by 8 points, from -33 (26% satisfied, 59% dissatisfied) to -41 (21% satisfied, 62% dissatisfied), also a new record-low for the area.

Her net satisfaction ratings fell by 13 points in Balance Luzon, from -25 (26% satisfied, 51% dissatisfied) to -38 (22% satisfied, 60% dissatisfied), and by 3 points in Metro Manila, from -37 (23% satisfied, 60% dissatisfied) to -40 (23% satisfied, 63% dissatisfied). The existing record-lows in those areas are -47 (May 2005) in Balance Luzon and -48 (June 2006) in Metro Manila.

Between March 2008 and June 2008, President Arroyo’s net rating fell by 11 points in both urban and rural areas: the former from -27 to -38, the latter from -26 to -37.

Ratings hit record-lows in all socio-economic classes

The June 2008 survey found dissatisfaction worsening in all socio-economic classes, with the middle-to-upper classes or ABCs just as dissatisfied now as the masa or class D.

The net satisfaction rating of Pres. Arroyo fell the most among the middle-to-upper classes or ABCs. It fell by 23 points, from -14 (34% satisfied, 48% dissatisfied) last March to -37 (22% satisfied, 59% dissatisfied) in June [Chart 3, Table 4]. The previous record-low for ABCs was -34 in May 2005. It had been positive in February, June and September 2007, when the ratings for the lower D and E classes were negative or zero.

Her net rating fell by 11 points among the class D or masa, from net -24 in March (28% satisfied, 52% dissatisfied) to net -35 in June (23% satisfied, 58% dissatisfied). The previous record-low for Class D was -34, also in May 2005.

The President’s net rating fell by 8 points in Class E, from net -37 in March (23% satisfied, 60% dissatisfied) to -45 in June (20% satisfied, 65% dissatisfied). The previous record-low for Class E was -37 in March 2008.

Survey Background

The Second Quarter of 2008 Social Weather Survey was conducted over June 27-30, 2008 using face-to-face interviews of 1,200 adults divided into random samples of 300 each in Metro Manila, the Balance of Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao (sampling error margins of ±3% for national percentages and ±6% for area percentages). The area estimates were weighted by National Statistics Office medium-population projections for 2008 to obtain the national estimates.

The quarterly Social Weather Survey on public satisfaction with the President is a non-commissioned item, and is included on SWS’s own initiative and released as a public service, with first printing rights assigned to BusinessWorld.

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“Never To Own Anything That Is Not Ours”

Never to own anything that is not ours? A Confusian analect, Marxist’s dialectic or Nietzsche’s geneaology of morals? No, it’s from the mouth of a poor, malnourished Filipino boy, with barely nothing to put into his mouth but turned in a bag with P18,000.
Yes, I stumbled upon this old news and made me  ponder upon this simple question: ” If a poor, malnourished boy can be honest, why can’t our moneyed presidents be honest?”. This led me to one of the first lessons we learned early in life at home and in school : “Honesty is the best policy”. This is very elementary, indeed. Our president  has gone beyond elementary schooling, she went on to higher education, got her doctorate in economics and she even went abroad for further studies. But it seems that all these things did not do her good for as a president she has forgotten the best policy- that of honesty. Too much education but lacking in honesty is I think as good as nothing. For me it is clear: Not Arroyo but a boy like him is the hope of our nation. Here’s the story:
………………………………..

Boy turns in bag with P18,000

Filipino values still practiced by simple Filipinos.
By Eva Visperas
Wednesday, October 10, 2007

“DAGUPAN CITY – Eleven-year-old Gicoven Abarquez spends his free time gathering plastic bottles around this city’s downtown area to help augment his family’s meager income.

But despite the family’s need for money, the boy never thought of keeping the bag containing around P18,000 which he found while looking for plastic bottles one day.

Abarquez, a grade four pupil at the East Central Elementary School here, was recently honored by the Dagupan City Police for his admirable honesty.

The boy was described by city police chief Superintendent Dionicio Borromeo as “malnourished, and who looks like a five-year-old because of his small body frame.”

It was last Sept. 21 when Abarquez, nicknamed Gangga, picked up the pouch bag along Perez Blvd.

“What was very impressive about this boy was that he never thought of owning the ‘manna,’ but immediately decided to turn it over to the police,” Borromeo told The STAR.

“It’s really heartwarming because he has high trust in the police,” he added.

Abarquez, the youngest of four children of Maria, a helper in a bagoong factory, and Benito, a construction worker, said his parents would get mad at him if he would take the money which does not belong to him.

“My mother taught us never to own anything that is not ours,” Abarquez told Borromeo.  

“If you see a Filipino like him, you will say, ‘There’s still hope in the Philippines after all’,” Borromeo said.

The awarding was delayed and held the other day because Borromeo wanted to add significance to the occasion by holding the ceremony this October in commemoration of Children’s Month.

Details about the money found by Abarquez have not been totally divulged because fake claimants have been going to the police station.

But Abarquez said he would be able to recognize the man who lost the bag as he saw him board a jeepney when the pouch he was carrying fell. The jeepney immediately sped off so Abarquez was not able to call the man’s attention, and brought the money to the police.

The police have given the true claimant 60 days, starting last Monday, to show up at their station. If the owner fails to come forward, the police, upon deliberation, have decided that the money will be given as a reward to the Abarquez family.

The local police also plans to make Abarquez the beneficiary of their Kinabukasan Mo, Sagot Ko scholarship project.

Borromeo said they will give school supplies to Abarquez including a school bag, notebooks, paper, ballpens, shoes and school uniforms. Abarquez, they learned, has never owned a pair of shoes.

The Kiwanis Club of Dagupeña likewise pledged to give Abarquez some of the books that he needs for school.”

—————-

So far, so good as we used to say. This happened last year and I just wondering if the boy ever received the promised rewards by the police and the Kiwanis Club. And what happened to that P18,000? It’s just normal to wonder or entertain some doubts in a place where the authorities say one thing but do another thing, the problem of sincerity in our nation.

What’s wrong with being basic? Some people pretending to know everything already and who think they’re already far enough, are usually the same people who commit the most silly mistakes in life. The reason is that they ignored the very basic (simple) truths in life. You can claim to be very sophisticated in your thinking, to be on another level than the rest around you. But don’t you know that  simple things are most complex and difficult to follow? To live a simple life, for instance, is hard, when you mean by simple living avoiding the complexities, etc. of civilization and retreating to the countryside. For then you have to gather your firewoods, fetch your water from a well, wash your clothings by hands, feed your animals, etc. It’s hard work everyday! The same thing with basic teaching like “Be honest”. Simple as it is, but all of us have trouble with this and have failed. But worse,  all our presidents have failed. Who would believe for instance Arroyo’s SONA 2008? As Aesop has noted,” A liar will not be believed, even when he speaks the truth”.

According to John Ruskin, the beginning of education is to make your children capable of honesty. Our honest boy Gangga, though poor shows more education than the last five presidents of our republic which includes the sitting Arroyo. This poor boy speaks the language of honesty, not of greed. He surely learned this language from his parents, unlike our presidents who seemed to have patterned their concept of honesty not from their parents but from the practical definition of what a president now means in our nation: Greed as Measure of All, in short, GMA. Again, Marcos was the founder of this New School Of Greed, and was the mentor of the next generations of successful republic plunderers. The logic of Greed, however, doesn’t know what a genuine human feeling and loyalty is about. So they help one another to dethrone the incumbent Greed Holder only to replace him with their own version of Greed.

We know that Marcos did not bother about Jueting business, for instance, as Estrada did. Instead he concentrated on gold bars by shipping them all to Switzerland, hidden in a certain corner in Zürich a few kilometers from where I am writing this post. Indeed each of them has his/her own field of specialty, Marcos the miner with his fields of gold, Estrada the gambler with his gambling arenas and Arroyo the rice and fertilizer dealer with her rice fields. One of his outstanding students was undoubtedly Mr. Estrada, a man without formal education but graduated summa cum laude from this New School Of Greed. According to governor Singson at that time ( who was one of Estradas Jueting’s payoffs collectors), Estrada was receiving P32 to 35 million a month in Jueteng collections alone. With these high standards of earning set by these presidents, it is not surprising that Filipinos aspiring for presidency have in their subconscious also the dream of getting super rich- exactly  like their mentors. Even the sitting president graduated with honors from this school and is on the way to realizing this dream to the fullest. But she displayed a good portion of her education and loyalty by pardoning her ex-Boss Estrada, pardoning his plunder! This is the logic of greed in action, a logic too complex for our boy to comprehend. Truly, Professor Marcos was very successful in this respect. He taught his students this logic and helped them realize this Philippine Dream.

Going back to Erap, getting cuts from foreign loans or from big government contracts were too complicated for the mind of  this former small-town mayor, unlike Marcos who, being a criminal lawyer was familiar with legal technicalities. The bigger the mind, the more complex is the arena of deception. The small-minded Erap continued therefore with his Jueting, an expertise he knew so well during his mayor days. We are all familiar with the mechanics of town politics: The mayor appoints on day one his/her chief of police, if possible a relative. Utang na loob (debt of gratitude) pressures this chief of police to protect the personal interests of the mayor, mostly his/her illegal activities like Jueting, thereby reducing the whole town police corps to mere bodyguards or private goons of the mayor. We hope that Bulan was and is an exception to the rule! Anyway, this mechanics was continued by Erap as president viewing the entire PNP as his personal bodyguards. Now, we also hope Arroyo is an exception to this rule! I stand to be corrected here.

To continue, do you really believe this boy was too weak to tell a lie or to carry home that bag since home was much farther than the next police station? Well, I think not. Don’t be surprised if I would tell you now that we have more honest young people in Manila than Zürich! This keeps me optimistic about our chance for a better Malacañang or Philippines. This is the reason why: The second good news from home I read published in the local Zürich newspapers, now reproduced in English hereunder:

_______________

 Reader’s Digest’s Global Honesty Test

Are people honest?
Reader’s Digest conducts global cell phone honesty test: Researchers ‘lose’ mobile phones in 32 cities, and two thirds are returned
By Reader’s Digest Association
Jul 23, 2007 – 6:02:20 PM

If you were sitting on a park bench and noticed that a “lost” cell phone was ringing, would you answer it? And if so, and a stranger’s voice on the other end asked you to take time from your busy day to return the phone, what would you do? Hang up? Keep the phone? Or, agree to return it?
That’s exactly what Reader’s Digest editors wanted to find out. And so the world’s most widely read magazine used its network of global editions to conduct an informal test of honesty around the world, asking reporters in the most populous cities in 32 countries to leave 960 mid-priced mobile phones in busy public places.
Local researchers from each country arranged and conducted their own tests, observing the mobiles from a distance. They rang the phones and waited to see if anyone would answer, and then watched to see if the person would (1) agree to return it, (2) call later on preset numbers that were programmed into the handsets, or (3) keep the phones for themselves. After all, these were tempting, brand-new phones with usable airtime.
The researchers tallied the results, interviewed test participants, and filed their reports in many of the August editions of Reader’s Digest, including the Web edition of U.S. Reader’s Digest (www.rd.com) and U.S. Selecciones magazine. While the study was not scientific, the results provided a fascinating human interest story.
“What we found out surprised and intrigued us,” said Conrad Kiechel, Editorial Director, International. “In every single city where the test was conducted, at minimum almost half of the phones were returned. And despite the temptation that people must have felt to keep the phones, and the fact that the test imposed on everyone’s time, the average return rate was a remarkable 68 percent, or about two thirds of the 30 phones we dropped in each city.”
The test followed last year’s Reader’s Digest Global Courtesy Test, which made headlines worldwide. Like the 2006 test, it was developed and overseen by the magazine editors in each of the participating countries. Both programs dramatically illustrated the magazine’s remarkable geographic “footprint” by conducting simultaneous local tests and reporting the results globally.
The highest percentage of returned phones was in the smallest city, Ljubljana, Slovenia, with a population of only 267,000. All but one of 30 cell phones were returned. From a nun at a bus stop to a young waiter at a coffee shop (who also retrieved a leather jacket the reporter had accidentally left behind – not part of the test!), the residents in this picture-postcard city in the foothills of the Alps were almost universally helpful.
Could the citizens of a major metropolis, with all its stress and pressure, be as honest? The people of Toronto, Canada (population 5.4 million), came close, returning 28 of 30 phones. “If you can help somebody out, why not?” said Ryan Demchuk, a 29-year-old insurance broker, who returned the mobile.
Seoul, South Korea, was third in the rankings, followed by Stockholm, Sweden, where Lotta Mossige-Norheim, a railway ticket inspector, found the mobile on a shopping street and handed it back. “I’m always calling people who’ve left a handset on my train,” she said.
Tied for fifth place in the rankings with 24 returned phones were: Mumbai, India; Manila, the Philippines; and New York City.
In many countries, people said they believed the young would behave worse than their elders. Yet, in the test results, young people were just as honest. In New York’s Harlem section, 16-year-old Johnnie Sparrow arranged to meet a reporter later that evening. Arriving at the scheduled time flanked by a group of younger neighborhood boys who clearly looked up to him, Sparrow was surprised to learn that the lost phone wasn’t lost at all. But he was proud of how he reacted when he found it.
“I did the right thing,” he said with a smile.
Parental influence weighed heavily with some. “My parents taught me that if something is not yours, don’t take it,” said Muhammad Faizal Bin Hassan, an employee of a Singapore shopping complex, where he answered a ringing phone.
Many adults accompanied by children were keen to show the young people how to behave when they spotted a phone. In Hounslow, West London, Mohammad Yusuf Mahmoud, 33, was with his two young daughters when he answered a phone in a busy shopping street. “I’m glad that my kids are here to see this. I hope it sets a good example,” he said.
Women were slightly more likely to return phones than were men.
All over the world, the most common reason people gave for returning a phone was that they too had once lost an item of value and didn’t want others to suffer as they had. “I’ve had cars stolen three times and even the laundry from the cellar was taken,” said Kristiina, 51, who returned a phone in Helsinki.
So, how did planet earth perform in the honesty test? Everywhere, the locally based Reader’s Digest reporters heard pessimism about the chances of getting phones back, especially given economic and other pressures. And yet, globally, 654 mobiles, or 68 percent, were returned.

 

The Phones we got back, city by city
Rank City Country Phones Recovered (out of 30)
1 Ljubljana Slovenia 29
2 Toronto Canada 28
3 Seoul South Korea 27
4 Stockholm Sweden 26
5= Mumbai India 24
  Manila Philippines 24
  New York USA 24
8= Helsinki Finland 23
  Budapest Hungary 23
  Warsaw Poland 23
  Prague Czech Republic 23
  Auckland New Zealand 23
  Zagreb Croatia 23
14= Sao Paulo Brazil 21
  Paris France 21
  Berlin Germany 21
  Bangkok Thailand 21
18= Milan Italy 20
  Mexico City Mexico 20
  Zurich Switzerland 20
21= Sydney Australia 19
  London UK 19
23 Madrid Spain 18
24 Moscow Russia 17
25= Singapore Singapore 16
  Buenos Aires Argentina 16
  Taipei Taiwan 16
28 Lisbon Portugal 15
29= Amsterdam Holland 14
  Bucharest Romania 14
31= Hong Kong Hong Kong 13
  Kuala Lumpur Malaysia 13

 ________________________

 Manila was 5th worldwide, and among asian cities tested, Manila placed 2nd after Seoul. This is something to be proud of, a ray of hope for Manila. How about Bulan’s Honesty Index? We have no solid facts in our hands to base our argument. Perhaps we need to device and conduct also such a test. How about our local government, our local chief executive? How do you rate her SOBA 2007- or,  State Of Bulan Address 2007? Public Trust And Credibilty is a public definition and perception, not a self-definition or self-rating by the mayor herself. Therefore it is legal and correct that people discourse about it publicly. It’s a needed feedback.

Mayor Helen De Castro reports herself, and I qoute, “ Public Office is a Public Trust”. Sayo baga tabi ini na padomdom sa entero na mga Opisyal san Gobierno, na an poder, autoridad nan capacidad na inhatag sa kaniya sayo na de-kumpiansa na trabaho. Permi ko tabi in-iisip na sa pagiging Mayor ko, nasa kamot nan liderato ko an kaayadan o pagroro san bungto ta, nan sa paagi san amo Administrasyon, makabalangkas kami sin mga plano, programa nan mga proyekto na para sa kaayadan san kadaghanan na mga ciudadano. Importante man na makuwa mi lugod tabi an kooperasyon, partisipasyon nan pagdanon san mga miembros san Komunidad Bulanenyo.
Ini na paghatod ko sa iyo sin Report saro na paagi basi maaraman tabi niyo kun nano na an mga inhimo namo, segun sa tiwala niyo sa amo. Parte ini san pangako mi na accountability nan transparency, na dire kamo nai-ignorar san mga programa san Gobierno Lokal.”

She says openly that she needs your participation and constructive assessment of her performance after you had entrusted her this office. So why not avail of this offer from Mayor Helen De Castro herself? Indeed, we should never own anything that is not ours- aside from things that legally belong to us, like our own opinion. Therefore, be proud of your opinions and voice them out. Our mayor needs them.

 

jun asuncion

Bulan Observer

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Sad For My Country

An old article authored by The Call Of The Wild

 

I recently read an article in the newspaper about the current squabbles between the son of the former Speaker of the House, Mr. de Venecia, and the first Gentleman Arroyo.  I can not help but chuckle.  I was not surprised with the involvement of the husband of President Arroyo.  He has had his fingers on every scandal related to graft and corruptions.  And the President is not going to stop him or do anything about it.  It is good for their family. 

They are going to amass billions of dollars before her term is over.  It is good business to be President of the Philippines and good business to be the husband of the president.  It seems like the First Couple are trying to compete with Bill Gates.  However, Bill Gates amassed his billions by working….

That is the difference.  The First Gentleman is immune from prosecution. Who will dare to go against the greedy couple? They hold the people HOSTAGE by using their police and their military. The military and police are not there to protect the integrity of the constitution, to “Protect and to Serve” the welfare of the people. They are there to protect and to serve the interest of President Arroyo and her husband. What happened to Mr. Lozada ? That was part of intimidation…  Do you believe that??  Do you think the whole Filipino people from Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao are that stupid to believe it? 

Since the time of Marcos up to the present, they use the same tactics of intimidations: killings, kidnappings, murders, the disappearances of people that were brave enough to express their thoughts and opinions, the disappearance of student activists that held rallies in the streets to express their fight against the cuddling of corrupt officials that includes the First Couple. As I went through the list of journalist killed, I can’t help but ponder what the hell is going on in the Philippines? Many journalists were killed because they were brave enough to announce to the world what is going on in the Philippines.  They were the true martyrs.  I salute those who died in expressing their beliefs and principles and to those journalists that are struggling right now and risking their lives for the sake of true journalism, keep up the good work, we are with you. We salute you.

Where are the people and journalists that were picked up by the military?  Where is justice? These poor people went in the streets to  express their rights as Filipino citizen and were  supposed to be protected by  free speech as written in the constitution.  Where are they? 

Of course, you can almost predict the outcome of the rivalry of the two powerful families.  They are all mixed in the same pot.  The other family tolerated and connived with the First Couple as long as they both benefited from sacking the government’s coffer. No more, No less.  Each and every one of them had their fingers on the golden pot in all the government dealings that involved making more and more money.  The big problem is that THEY ARE ALL GREEDY.  When it involves big time kickbacks, everybody was scrambling to get into the Chinese pie. And lo and behold!  It was not a surprise that the First Gentleman got the bid and the kickbacks. Of course, the other family did not like it and wanted revenge.  Now, the”BAHO” start to come out. They started to spill the “MABAHO BEANS” and all went into chaos. The first couple scrambles to find a scapegoat. Beware, my friends and people of the Philippines. Watch this……

                                                   

THE OLD MODUS OPERANDI IS NOW IN FULL SWING 

 

Of course, the president will give a speech denying the allegations of graft and corruptions involving her husband. She will say it was politically motivated etc, etc, same old mabaho sh__….

Of course, there will be massive rallies, speeches by those politicians that did not get a share of the Chinese pie or (millions of dollars in kickbacks) Honest daw sila. Do you believe it?

Of course, the president will order an investigation about the graft and corruption that is plaguing the nation. A FARCE!

Of course, the president and her cohorts will try to find a way of getting out of this predicament…… Let’s divert the attention of these pesky protesters.

Of course, it was the works of Al Qaeda and the president will cry to the U.S. please help us ( to get more money from U.S.) and blame the NPA.

Of course, the president will mobilize her police and the military and hunt for the Al Qaeda, the NPA and the Invisible Foe.

Of course, now the president will have an excuse to declare an Emergency proclamation to curtail the rights of the people, to intimidate, to silence targeted vocal protesters, kidnappings, disappearances of young students who are idealistic and potential enemy of the administration.

The rampant killings without mercy and hesitations whether that person was a husband with children and wife or a young bright student whose only fault was being idealistic and patriotic. The many decent people whose only fault was that they expressed their feelings, opinions and beliefs were killed by their own countrymen. By the very same police and soldiers whose duty was to protect their countrymen not to kill them.  All for the benefit of the president……

Where is the UN and the Human Rights Organizations? Where are they? There are so many killings going on and they are killing the people with impunity. There is so much lawlessness and the country is continuously annihilating its own intellectuals. It is becoming like a pogrom. The judges, the SC judges, the magistrates, the ombudsmen were all powerless to serve the oppressed. It seems.

When the late dictator Marcos was deposed, there was great jubilation and relief amongst the people. At last, we can have a president that is more concern of the people and their welfare and the improvement of economy and prosperity. But look what happened?  It is the same sh__ with a different smell.  We were successful in kicking out Marcos, but look who replaced him? His very own wife and children that had bankrupted our government coffers.  The same people with the same last names whose role models were corrupt leaders and the mother is a flamboyant greedy hypocrite thief.

Who is replacing the old corrupt politicians?  Their children!  Their children found out in their early age that to be successful and rich, you have to be in politics. The family of  de Venecias, the Macapagals, the Arroyos, the Estradas, the Marcoses etc, etc.  

They don’t want bright, uncorrupted, idealistic young individuals who are on their way to change the way the government is being run.  They are eliminating our young children who are bright and full of vigor and vitality and ideals.  They are eliminating our future generations of more honest and idealistic individuals that are the hope of the future. We will end up having leaders that are products of the same families of politicians that had no hesitations of enriching themselves at the expense of the people. 

The people’s power was successful in kicking out Marcos a few decades ago hoping that the deposed corrupt leader will be replaced by a decent honest leader. But, look if you think Marcos was a brutal dictator, Is Arroyo better than him?  Undoubtedly, the president is practicing Niccolo Machiavelli’s “The Prince”. Read on….

And now, Ladies and Gentlemen, You and I know that this is the same sh__ that has happened so many times, you can almost predict it. So, what shall we do?  Sit and twiddle our thumbs?   Do nothing?  Join the rallies and cry our hearts out?  Run away and go to Japan and become a japajuki?  Go to Arab countries and be their slaves?  Not a bad idea.   The government doesn’t want you to progress here in the Philippines. They want you to join the rest of the OFW that are enslaving themselves so that they can support their families and in turn support the government.

 It is a big bucks man. No kidding. Millions of dollars are flowing in to support the Philippine economy. The government doesn’t care how you earn the money you send. Whether you prostituted, enslaved yourself, worked in the ditches. The government wants you to go away. Never mind if you are away from your family. Just get out of here and make some money abroad.  The government says; just send me the money, honey. And you gladly do it because you are a true Filipino who loves  your family.  You will be gone for five, ten years? Your children barely remember your face! Your wife or husband have a kabit on the side. You can not blame him or her. You were gone too long! 

 These are the results of the ineptness and the horrendous massive corruptions of the top leaders of our government. Their priorities and concerns are for themselves. This is truly a sad, sad story of my country.

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