EDITORIALS & OPINIONS OF THE WEEK
(Mini Reads folowed by Full Commentary below)

FROM INQUIRER & MANILA TIMES

INQUIRER EDITORIAL: READY FOR K-TO-12?


THE K+12 Education Program of DepED December 15, 2010 On the education front, the Aquino administration has put its stake on a bold and major policy initiative that will have, arguably, long-lasting and far-reaching impacts for the millions of Filipino youth.. EDITORIAL Specifically, are we ready for Grade 11, the first of the two new senior high school years that have been added to the curriculum by virtue of the Enhanced Basic Education Act of 2013? By the start of school year 2016-2017, millions of students across the country who would have otherwise graduated from four years of high school would make up the first batch to enroll in Grade 11. After Grade 12, when they graduate in March 2018, they would constitute the first batch of high school students to finish the K-to-12 program. What does this mean in practical terms? It means, for one, that by next year, public schools would have to find extra classrooms, restrooms, teachers, textbooks, etc. to accommodate the new Grade 11 population that should have gone on to freshman college studies in the earlier setup, but which would now remain for another two years in the school. CONTINUE READING...

ALSO Manila Times by Ernesto Herrera: K to 12 kinks


ACCORDING to an Inquirer news article, a group of college professors, school staff and their supporters who call themselves The Coalition for K to 12 Suspension called on President Benigno Aquino 3rd to suspend the K to 12 program. They vowed to challenge it before the Supreme Court “for failing to protect the labor rights” of affected teachers.  Under the enhanced basic education program of the Department of Education—called K to 12 or Kindergarten plus Grades 1-12—a student will be required to undergo kindergarten, six years of elementary, four years of junior high school and two years of senior high school.   The implementation of universal kindergarten began in school year 2011-2012, followed by a new curriculum for Grade 7 in school year 2012-2013.   School year 2016-2017 will mark the nationwide implementation of the Grade 11 curriculum, to be followed by the Grade 12 curriculum in school year 2017-2018. CONTINUE READING...

ALSO INQUIRER Editorial: Who owns Edsa?


TELL-ALL: Retired military general Jose Almonte recalls in 'Endless Journey: A memoir' the years he played various roles in the country's history PHOTO FROM RAPPLER.COM  Three founding members of the Reform the Armed Forces Movement, or RAM, the bloc of mostly young officers in the military and the police who sought to depose the dictator Ferdinand Marcos in 1986, have issued a detailed refutation of the expansive claims made by retired general Jose Almonte in his memoir “Endless Journey.” (The second part of the refutation runs on the front page of today’s issue.)   “For starters, Jose Almonte was never a founder nor the father of the RAM,” write Felix Turingan, Gringo Honasan and Rex Robles. They argue that the memoir, “which has received fulsome praise from many quarters, contains grave errors and even outright fabrications regarding important events in our history.” In particular, they score two accounts that they say Almonte, the oldest member of RAM, misremembered or invented.   They describe Almonte’s characterization of American involvement in Edsa 1986 as “thoroughly suspect,” inconsistent with reality, and favoring the version the US government prefers. “Also, as may be gleaned from the Stanley Karnow book ‘In Our Image,’ the US wanted to portray themselves as having a bigger role in Edsa 1986…. Karnow’s book tries to give the US a bigger share of the Edsa glory.”  READ MORE...

ALSO INQUIRER: After Mamasapano, burn it all down?


Nigel Roberts  The fallout from Mamasapano continues. Almost two months later, emotions are still running high. The government’s handling of the peace process is under the microscope. So, too, are the Moro Islamic Liberation Front’s credentials as a trustworthy peace partner. As you’d expect in a democracy, the tragedy is now grist in the mill of the 2016 presidential election. Much more worrying, though, is the way some leaders are talking of delaying or even abandoning the Bangsamoro Basic Law. I can sympathize with their frustration: Mamasapano was a big deal, and confidence in the peace process has been shaken. But let’s think about this. What if the BBL does get set aside? What happens then?  There’s a strong possibility that Mindanao slides back into armed conflict, and the fragile boundaries separating those seeking a settlement and those who want no such thing disappear. There are quite a few people who want to keep this war going, such as the hardline ideologues on both sides and the war profiteers. And, of course, those politicians who thrive on lawlessness—the folks, in other words, who have gifted parts of Mindanao with 50 years of warlordism, corruption and injustice. They’ll be in the driver’s seat, and they won’t be complaining. READ MORE...

ALSO MANILA TIMES: President B. S. Aquino 3rd a HOPELESS case


..........Time to say goodbye & let it go In a short span of only less than eight weeks beginning January, President Benigno S. Aquino III gave four major speeches that were unprecedented and unpresidential. What he said were untrue, unfair and unkind to the persons or groups concerned. The first was his infamous speech on January 16 in the presence of His Holiness, Pope Francis, who was his guest at the Malacañang Palace that became the talk of the town. President Aquino claimed that “many members of the church, once the advocates of the poor, the marginalized and the helpless, suddenly became silent in the face of the previous administration’s abuses.” PNoy was pilloried in the press, which he richly deserved, because they were both uncalled for and a deviation from the truth. The other three speeches delivered by the shameless president from January 28 to March 9 are related to the Maguindanao Massacre. What he said last Monday regretting giving his approval to Operation Exodus contradicted his statements on January 28 when he equivocated that the SAF operation did not need his personal knowledge and approval! READ IN FULL FROM BEGINNING...

ALSO MANILA TIMES: What kind of graduates do we want?


Ano ang Pilipinas na ating adhika?  We keep talking about schools and teachers and principals, especially during graduation time, questioning the goals of education and complaining about the perennial lack of good teachers and classrooms, but we have to talk first about our society and ourselves. Schools are reflections of our society since we can choose what we teach our children.  Schools operate under assumptions about society and education that influence their understanding of educational aims, methods of instruction, and the content of the curriculum. If they come from dysfunctional families, it is next to impossible to teach children good values. If high government officials are often accused of dipping their fingers into public funds, it would matter little for teachers to teach their students that honesty is the best policy. If hardened criminals and drug lords live a life of luxury inside the national penitentiary, there is no use telling young people that crime does not pay. If students are hungry, it is difficult to teach them anything.  What is taught in the classroom reflects who we are as a people. We cannot change the educational system without changing our society because we cannot separate social assumptions from the way children are taught. A relationship exists between our society’s beliefs about knowledge and knowing, how we teach our students to know, and what kind of ethical behavior we should prefer them to espouse after they graduate. READ MORE...

ALSO INQUIRER: Surviving presidential crises


Artemio V. Panganiban  
The Mamasapano carnage which resulted in the death of 44 Special Action Force (SAF) officers is the most serious political crisis that has beset President Aquino since he assumed office.   P-Noy’s ouster? Although Philippine National Police chief Alan Purisima has accepted full responsibility and has consequently resigned, many militants (including some bishops) and relatives of the deceased still press P-Noy to own ultimate responsibility and to resign from the presidency.  While I agree with the rage for truth and justice, I believe there is no basis for the President’s resignation, much less for his ouster. For an Edsa-type rebellion to prosper, the military and the Church must combine.  However, my private conversations with the top officials of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) show an outright rejection of any kind of ouster. In fact, Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle, the highest ranking Catholic prelate in the country, has openly discouraged any such move. READ MORE...

Editorial

Who owns Edsa?



Read more: http://opinion.inquirer.net/83178/who-owns-edsa#ixzz3UBYhxSUN
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Ready for K-to-12?


THE K+12 Education Program of DepED December 15, 2010 On the education front, the Aquino administration has put its stake on a bold and major policy initiative that will have, arguably, long-lasting and far-reaching impacts for the millions of Filipino youth..

MANILA, MARCH 16, 2015 (INQUIRER) EDITORIAL Specifically, are we ready for Grade 11, the first of the two new senior high school years that have been added to the curriculum by virtue of the Enhanced Basic Education Act of 2013?

By the start of school year 2016-2017, millions of students across the country who would have otherwise graduated from four years of high school would make up the first batch to enroll in Grade 11. After Grade 12, when they graduate in March 2018, they would constitute the first batch of high school students to finish the K-to-12 program.

What does this mean in practical terms? It means, for one, that by next year, public schools would have to find extra classrooms, restrooms, teachers, textbooks, etc. to accommodate the new Grade 11 population that should have gone on to freshman college studies in the earlier setup, but which would now remain for another two years in the school.

The old school system replaced by K-to-12 leaned for decades on the annual turnaround of graduating students to make way for incoming batches from the lower years to use existing school facilities.

This time, the first year of implementation of the added senior high school under K-to-12 gives secondary schools the problem of where to put their Grade 11 classes. The burden is even more acute in public schools, which are mandated by law to carry the extra two years, even as they are more typically deprived of the resources and facilities that private schools enjoy.

Private junior high schools, while required to adhere to the minimum requirements of the K-to-12 curriculum, may choose not to offer Grades 11-12, which means their students will either have to find another private school that offers the senior high school years, or enroll in a public high school—further adding to the sudden population bulge in those campuses.

While secondary schools grapple with an excess of students, the opposite will be true for colleges and universities in the next two years. With the first batch of students completing Grades 11-12, no enrollments for freshman college will happen in school years 2016-2017 and 2017-2018, leaving tertiary schools with the problem of what to do with teachers on their payroll and classrooms and facilities left unused with the drastic drop in enrollment. This does not even count the possibility of more teachers losing their jobs as subjects are consolidated or dropped outright under the new curriculum.

Is the Philippine educational system ready for this disruption?

The Coalition for K to 12 Suspension, a new civic group composed of teachers, faculty associations, nonteaching personnel, parents and labor unionists, warns that it’s not.

 “Based on the consultations we conducted, we found out that the country’s education system is woefully ill-prepared for this program,” said the coalition’s spokesperson, Rene Luis Tadle. It estimates that about 80,000 people (56,771 college teachers and 22,838 nonteaching staff) will lose their jobs come school year 2016-2017, when college enrollments go down to zero. High schools across the country, on the other hand, lack enough classrooms and facilities to accommodate the students staying behind to take up Grade 11.

K-to-12 has, in fact, been running for some three years now, with the mandated universal kindergarten first implemented in school year 2011-2012, and the enhanced curriculum for Grade 1 and Grade 7 or First Year Junior High School kicking off in school year 2012-2013. Still, as reported by GMA News in June 2014, the program continues to be plagued with a lack of facilities and timely teaching materials. Teachers, for instance, are forced to use textbooks already phased out under the new curriculum simply because the newly approved ones are late in coming.

The Coalition for K to 12 Suspension warns that bigger problems are in store once Grade 11 begins, with the educational system inadequately prepared for the major shift. It has found an ally in Sen. Antonio Trillanes, a long-time critic of the program, who says, “The present system worked for the earlier generations, and there is no reason why it shouldn’t work for the present crop of students.”

That’s a rather simplistic argument against K-to-12, which seems to be a belated but well-intentioned corrective to an outmoded system (the Philippines was the last country in Asia to adopt a 12-year preuniversity program).

But, as always, the devil is in the details.

What is the government doing to ensure that, by next school year, K-to-12 does not result in chaos?


MANILA TIMES

K to 12 kinks March 9, 2015 9:58 pm by ERNESTO F. HERRERA

ACCORDING to an Inquirer news article, a group of college professors, school staff and their supporters who call themselves The Coalition for K to 12 Suspension called on President Benigno Aquino 3rd to suspend the K to 12 program.

They vowed to challenge it before the Supreme Court “for failing to protect the labor rights” of affected teachers.

Under the enhanced basic education program of the Department of Education—called K to 12 or Kindergarten plus Grades 1-12—a student will be required to undergo kindergarten, six years of elementary, four years of junior high school and two years of senior high school.

The implementation of universal kindergarten began in school year 2011-2012, followed by a new curriculum for Grade 7 in school year 2012-2013.

School year 2016-2017 will mark the nationwide implementation of the Grade 11 curriculum, to be followed by the Grade 12 curriculum in school year 2017-2018.

The Coalition for K to 12 Suspension will file in the Supreme Court on March 12 a petition seeking a temporary restraining order or writ of preliminary injunction against the program, according to Rene Tadle, who is also a convenor of the Council of Teachers and Staff of Colleges and Universities in the Philippines.

The group would also hold a mass action on May 9 to voice their opposition to the K to 12 curriculum.

In a press briefing, Tadle said the K to 12 law failed to provide protection for the labor rights of the 56,771 teachers and 22,838 non-teaching personnel who stand to lose their jobs and their hard-won security of tenure as a result of the program.

Because of the additional two years of high school, very few incoming college freshmen are expected in 2016, the start of the transition period for the program, leaving college professors with little to do and opening up the possibility that colleges and universities would lay them off or reduce their teaching load.

The loss of tenure also means the diminution of teachers’ benefits, which could lead to their underemployment and contractualization, Tadle said.

“Even before 2016, teachers and non-teaching staff, together with their families and dependents, have been suffering from undue stress, anxiety and anguish, brought about by the specter of early separation, forced retirement, constructive dismissal, diminution of salaries and benefits, labor contractualization, and general threat to self-organization,” Tadle said, reading from the coalition statement.

But teachers cannot be laid off just like that. Indeed, no company is allowed to lay off employees in lieu of anticipatory loss as it would be in violation of Article 283 of the Labor Code.

Teachers who would be laid off because of the K-12 implementation have a legitimate case or grievance.

In a previous column I mentioned how some private colleges and universities are quietly making adjustments to accommodate students who intend to skip Grades 11 and 12 in order to make sure they would have some college students during the crucial transition or the years where there will hardly be any college enrollees.

Schools stand to lose up to P150 billion due to decreased enrollment over five years once senior high school is fully implemented in 2016.

The Coordinating Council of Private Educational Associations (Cocopea) said that with the start of the added two-year senior high school, colleges would have no freshmen enrollees in school years 2016-2017 and 2017-2018.

The decreased enrollment is expected to carry over in the next three years or until school year 2020-2021, Cocopea said.

The Council of Teachers and Staff of Colleges and Universities said that based on their estimates, universities and colleges will lose 500,000 freshman college enrollees and more than 300,000 sophomore college enrollees once the implementation of the senior high school program starts in 2016.

What happens if the Supreme Court finds favor with The Coalition for K to 12 Suspension’s petition to stop the K-12 curriculum? As of now, it is already being implemented.

Another important question is whether the government can find the P30 billion a year it needs to spend until 2020 to meet the public classroom and staffing needs for the K to 12 Program.

That is how much it needs according to a recent study released by the Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS).

In a policy note, titled “K to 12 reform: Implications of adding Grades 11 and 12 on the higher education sub-sector,” PIDS senior research fellow Rosario G. Manasan said the government must add some 23,812 classrooms and 38,708 teachers for school year (SY) 2017 to 2018 period.

“The budgetary support needed for the SHS [senior high school]program is estimated to be equal to P27 billion in SY 2015-2016, P37 billion in SY 2016-2017, P28 billion in SY 2017-2018, and an average of P33 billion over the SY 2018 [to] 2020 period,” Manasan said.

Obviously, K to 12 can’t work without teachers to teach subjects or classrooms to hold classes in.

There are so many kinks to the K to 12 curriculum that the government has to iron out and I hope President Aquino doesn’t just kick the can to the next administration.

3 Responses to K to 12 kinks

parent says:

March 12, 2015 at 10:59 am

Everybody in favor of this always asks the “why only now?” thing. Nobody wanted this except government and those who will profit from it. No consultation was ever done to parents, only to schools. Media didn’t give it the proper attention for some reason. Had this gone through proper consultation this would never have passed. This is a result of a program without the proper cooperation of the people directly affected. Shame on those who keep talking about “the long term” when in fact a huge majority can’t even afford to eat right.

Reply

Naldo says:

March 10, 2015 at 5:17 pm

Looking at this in another perspective, if it will take around five years to meet the requirements of staffing and classrooms for the K2-12 to be implemented in Philippines. For each year leading to 2020, how many college graduates will Philippines have coming out of school? And at the current statistical data, how many of these graduates can find immediate employment in Philippines?

While, leading to year 2020, these graduates who cannot find employment in our country are seeking to go abroad, thinking of getting a better chance at employment. It must be reminded, for unemployed Filipinos that AEC has started to be implemented, it is an economic integration which guarantees free exchange of commerce and services among ASEAN members.

However, other ASEAN countries have K2-12 educational system already in-place, and where would that place Filipino college and university graduates in gaining professional employment against our ASEAN neighbors?

Unlike, what it was before that the old educational system is acceptable for most part, currently our ASEAN or Asian neighbors are getting picky in hiring people, for they do not want to lose the advantages on hiring their local manpower and skills development. As such, the ticket to gain entry into this competitive job market would be to have an educational system at par with our ASEAN neighbors.

If Philippines insist on continuing the old system and delaying its implimentation for the next five years, then these graduates would have to contend themselves to accept a low salary and base level jobs. While, Philippines look toward our neighbors who are reaping the benefits of a competitive market and robust economy.

Reply

Leodegardo Pruna says:

March 10, 2015 at 7:08 am

Why only now? The breaking of the Department of Education into three resulted to what and where we are now. We are the only country in the world having this kind of educational system. Each of the three are trying to outdo each other tantamount to competition rather than cooperation/coordination. I believe that selfishness and greed are the reasons for the mess we are in. The group is rather acting late. It should have done this thing earlier. But, that is how it is in our country, unless our very survival is challenge, only then we act. Now, we have the bite the bullet otherwise we shall suffer the more in abandoning what has been started. We must however make sure that what we shall be doing would not aggravate the situation. God bless the Philippines.

Reply


INQUIRER

Editorial: Who owns Edsa? Philippine Daily Inquirer 12:09 AM | Monday, March 9th, 2015


TELL-ALL: Retired military general Jose Almonte recalls in 'Endless Journey: A memoir' the years he played various roles in the country's history PHOTO FROM RAPPLER.COM

Three founding members of the Reform the Armed Forces Movement, or RAM, the bloc of mostly young officers in the military and the police who sought to depose the dictator Ferdinand Marcos in 1986, have issued a detailed refutation of the expansive claims made by retired general Jose Almonte in his memoir “Endless Journey.” (The second part of the refutation runs on the front page of today’s issue.)

“For starters, Jose Almonte was never a founder nor the father of the RAM,” write Felix Turingan, Gringo Honasan and Rex Robles. They argue that the memoir, “which has received fulsome praise from many quarters, contains grave errors and even outright fabrications regarding important events in our history.” In particular, they score two accounts that they say Almonte, the oldest member of RAM, misremembered or invented.

They describe Almonte’s characterization of American involvement in Edsa 1986 as “thoroughly suspect,” inconsistent with reality, and favoring the version the US government prefers. “Also, as may be gleaned from the Stanley Karnow book ‘In Our Image,’ the US wanted to portray themselves as having a bigger role in Edsa 1986…. Karnow’s book tries to give the US a bigger share of the Edsa glory.”

They also denounce Almonte’s assertion that the “plan of Gringo was to kill Marcos and his family.” Honasan—the RAM leader who went on to lead at least two more coup attempts before finally embracing the political system he had helped reestablish, by running for and serving in the Senate—said the plan from the start was to capture Marcos (something he mentioned in the Inquirer’s Edsa 20 documentary). His criticism of Almonte’s claim was sharp: “You don’t have to lie or invent things to sell a book.” Almonte’s riposte was equal to the task, labeling Honasan’s latter-day response “politically expedient.”

In a sense, these dueling narratives are only to be expected. We are about as removed from the events of Edsa 1986 as the generals were from the Philippine Revolution when they wrote their memoirs in the 1920s: On many details, the accounts of Artemio Ricarte, Santiago Alvarez and (much later) Emilio Aguinaldo agree; on other points, they describe different realities. Even the apparently simple matter of when the revolution started elicits different recollections.

But this is not to say that we cannot construct an approximation of historical truth. Alvarez’s memoirs, for example, have a much superior factual base than those of Aguinaldo’s.

Judging from the three excerpts from Almonte’s book that ran in the Inquirer and the two-part rejoinder from the RAM originals, we think it is Almonte’s account that suffers from the most inconsistencies. More important, Almonte’s version of events subtly downgrades the participation of the people in the first, dramatic flourish of People Power.

He describes the co-optation of the military by the Marcos regime as though it happened slowly during the martial law era. “The distinction between national security and the personal interest of Marcos blurred. The military became Marcos’ political partner in maintaining power and accumulating ill-gotten wealth.” In fact, it was an essential part of Marcos’ plan to establish his brand of “constitutional authoritarianism” from the start.

He directly claims that his experience in Vietnam led to a no-casualty outcome in Edsa 1986. “The same principle eventually worked in People Power ’86, where we used it to ensure that there would be no casualties.” In fact, Edsa 1986 is best described as largely peaceful, because several died in the takeover of the government television station. And the animating spirit of active nonviolence behind People Power was definitely not learned from the Vietcong, but from the example of Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King.

Above all, he revises history to claim that he knew exactly that People Power would be needed. “It was thus ideal for [Jaime] Cardinal Sin to immediately tell the people to converge where we were to show support.” But in fact the reason the people needed to support the breakaway military faction was because Marcos had found out about the plan, and arrested key participants. The RAM repaired first to Camp Aguinaldo and then to the much more defensible Camp Crame because it was making a last stand.

The release of Almonte’s memoir is welcome, because it adds to the public record. It should be handled with appropriate skepticism, however, because sometimes historical revisionism is subtraction.


INQUIRER

After Mamasapano, burn it all down? Nigel Roberts @inquirerdotnet 12:06 AM | Monday, March 16th, 2015


Nigel Roberts

The fallout from Mamasapano continues. Almost two months later, emotions are still running high. The government’s handling of the peace process is under the microscope. So, too, are the Moro Islamic Liberation Front’s credentials as a trustworthy peace partner. As you’d expect in a democracy, the tragedy is now grist in the mill of the 2016 presidential election.

Much more worrying, though, is the way some leaders are talking of delaying or even abandoning the Bangsamoro Basic Law.

I can sympathize with their frustration:

Mamasapano was a big deal, and confidence in the peace process has been shaken. But let’s think about this. What if the BBL does get set aside? What happens then?

There’s a strong possibility that Mindanao slides back into armed conflict, and the fragile boundaries separating those seeking a settlement and those who want no such thing disappear. There are quite a few people who want to keep this war going, such as the hardline ideologues on both sides and the war profiteers. And, of course, those politicians who thrive on lawlessness—the folks, in other words, who have gifted parts of Mindanao with 50 years of warlordism, corruption and injustice. They’ll be in the driver’s seat, and they won’t be complaining.

Does the experience of other nations emerging from long civil wars have anything to say to the Philippines at this dangerous moment? I believe so. Here are three things worth thinking about—two psychological, and one material.

The first is that war, peace and reconciliation are intensely emotional experiences, and thus need careful psychological management. Violence evokes anger, humiliation and the desire for revenge—passions that can drive all logic before them. This is why trust and belief are so vital to sustaining peace processes, even more important than concrete steps like ceasefires, peace agreements, constitutional amendments and reconstruction programs. When confidence in a peace process falters, as it is faltering now, it is essential that national and community leaders act to prevent hope from evaporating.

The second—and this isn’t a contradiction—is that it’s important to see what happened at Mamasapano in a broader context, difficult as that may be right now. History tells us that peace processes never proceed smoothly. Many fail outright, or take decades to get anywhere. Take Northern Ireland, inching its way toward peace over the last 30 years, beset by constant crises. As just one example: the assassination in 2009 of Ronan Kerr, a Catholic member of the new unified Police Service of Northern Ireland, by Catholic dissidents.

This murder could have traumatized the province, but leaders and the public from all sides refused to let this happen. Kerr’s funeral saw former enemies in church together for the first time, standing in defiance of those who wanted a return to war. As the BBC said at the time, “a murder designed to divide people has actually brought them closer together.” Setbacks are inevitable parts of a peace process; the question is how leaders respond. Do they have the guts to do what’s needed to restore public trust?

A proper accounting is needed if the nation is to put Mamasapano behind it. This will be tough, both for the government and for the MILF—but the costs of inaction or evasion could be deadly. The viral video is a part of this. All civil wars feature brutal crimes on both sides, and many perpetrators are never brought to justice.

When a crime becomes as public as that execution, though, it carries great destructive power, and it demands a political response. Of course, there are much larger injustices at stake than this single act. But a single act can sometimes change events in ways quite unforeseen at the time.

Many of us remember the iconic photograph of the Saigon police commissioner executing a Vietcong guerilla in the street in the 1968 Tet offensive. That photograph did untold damage to US public support for the South Vietnamese government’s war effort. More recently, Mohamed Bouazizi, the Tunisian street vendor, set himself on fire in 2010—a single act by an unknown man that ignited the Arab Spring. No one should underestimate what the after-images of the Mamasapano killings could do if they are left to fester. Whichever group the murderer belongs to, convincing steps must be taken to punish him.

The third thing to bear in mind is that giving up on the peace process would be horribly expensive, in both human and material terms. The Mindanao conflict has claimed over 120,000 lives in the past 40 years, and has displaced 2 million people; economic losses have been estimated by the World Bank at $10 billion between 1975 and 2002.

War may enrich a few individuals, but it bankrupts nations. The World Bank’s 2011 World Development Report on global conflict shows that civil wars, on average, cost countries 30 years of GDP growth. It takes about 15 years to get back to prewar GDP growth rates, and 20 years for trade to recover.

Dramatic numbers like these have led me to see the postcolonial world as a tale of two kinds of state: those that have set war aside and have, by and large, prospered, and those that persist with war and remain poor. (Another powerful statistic: Countries experiencing major violence throughout 1980s and 1990s entered the new century with 20 percent more of their citizens poor than those that remained at peace.) Violence in Mindanao affects everyone in the Philippines—not just those who have suffered directly. Everyone’s prospects are compromised by a long, dirty war that compromises the country’s economic reputation.

Which brings me back to the Bangsamoro Basic Law. The proposed law might not be perfect, and it probably won’t fully satisfy everyone. But that is no reason to throw it under the bus in the wake of Mamasapano. Confidence in the peace process does have to be restored, but the law then needs to be passed. After years of effort, this is the Philippines’ best chance of achieving peace—of joining the prosperous club of nations that fight their battles in court, not in cornfields.

Nigel Roberts is an independent adviser to governments and donors on postconflict stabilization, and has visited the Philippines several times since 2009. In March 2014 he contributed a piece to this section titled “Mindanao: the political psychology of peace.” He was the director of the World Bank’s 2011 World Development Report on Conflict, Security and Development.


MANILA TIMES

President B. S. Aquino 3rd a HOPELESS case March 15, 2015 9:14 pm Rick B. Ramos by RICK RAMOS

LAST week, I wrote that Benigno S. Aquino 3rd will go down in history as the president who lost his credibility to the Filipino people (MT, March 7, 2015). This is on top of and/or because of being the Most Incompetent President (MIP) of the Philippines!

The prevarications of President B.S. Aquino 3rd on the Mamasapano Massacre made him lose whatever was left of his credibility. Forty-six days have passed since the January 25 savage Slaughter of the 44 Special Action Force (SAF) commandos of the Philippine National Police (PNP). Yet President Aquino has chosen Not to Tell the Truth.

In the presidential prevarication on the Mamasapano Massacre made on January 28 that was broadcasted live nationwide, the Chief Executive avoided telling the truth by not directly answering the question on who gave the order to implement Operation Exodus. But what made matters worse for him were the flagrant lies he made recently in a meeting in Malacañang with evangelical leaders last Monday on March 9.

During the prayer meeting in Malacañang, President Aquino dumped all the blame for the slaughter of SAF troopers on PNP-SAFDirector Napeñas. The sacked SAF Commander allegedly gave PNoy the Wrong information on what was happening on January 25 and disobeyed the presidential order to coordinate with the military (Armed Forces of the Philippines). Mr. Aquino claims that he was “fooled” by former SAF Chief Napeñas!

No less than former President Fidel V. Ramos (FVR) spoke out last Tuesday after President B.S. Aquino 3rd placed all the blame on the ill-fated Operation Exodus solely on the Special Action Force (SAF) Commander Getulio “Leo” Napeñas, Jr. Former President Ramos made known that he was “so disappointed with the language used “ in the speech of Mr. Aquino that was made before pastors, bishops and other church leaders.

FVR also observed and lamented the failure to maintain the dignity of the Office of the President, which is very important, with the pathetic speech made by PNoy. Mr. Ramos emphasized that this is not the first time it happened but also in previous instances. The highly-respected statesman cited the “high standard of behavior” that is expected of a Chief Executive and Commander-in-Chief.

Senior Senator Sergio “Serge” Osmeña 3rd has recently commented that PNoy is suffering from a “Crisis of Credibility.” The remark instantly reminded of the same situation with then President Ferdinand E. Marcos in the 1980s before he was deposed in the EDSA 1 People Power Revolution. Earlier, Senator Serge Osmeña had severely criticized the Child-President for his stubbornness not to apologize to the Filipino people.

Communications Secretary Herminio “Sonny” Coloma was reported in the press that President Aquino will not – never? – apologize on the Slaughter of the 44 SAF commandos in Mamasapano, Maguindanao. If this is true, then this is good because it will hasten the removal of PNoy from the Office of the President in Malacañang.

Role of resigned PNP Chief Purisima While President B.S. Aquino 3rd viciously (angrily and cruelly) attacked the former SAF Commander for the disaster of Operation Exodus, he conveniently forgot to touch on the role of his BFF (Best Friend Forever) Alan Purisima. The suspended PNP Chief, who has resigned due to its aftermath, was appointed Commander of the tragic operation by President Aquino himself. Was there a conspiracy between the president and his FBB in the usurpation of authority?

President Aquino was communicating via text messages with his BFF Purisima on that fateful day of January 25 on the developments of the SAF operations. What PNoy said in his speech that he was given the wrong information and “fooled” by SAF Commander Napeñas defies logic. Earlier in February, he spoke of betrayal by someone he trusted referring to resigned PNP Chief Purisima.

PNoy could have easily asked Acting PNP Chief Leonardo Espina and/or DILG Secretary Mar Roxas for updates, but he did not. Likewise, the same he could have done with the AFP Chief of Staff General Gregorio Catapang and Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin. They were all in Zamboanga City that day. Thus, Mr. Aquino has no excuses for not knowing what was happening with the ill-fated operations.

Resigned PNP Chief Purisima did not cooperate with the PNP Board of Inquiry (BOI) investigation on the Mamasapano Massacre. Likewise. Purisima also did not answer the questions and invoked “executive privilege” during the Senate hearings. There were four Senate closed-door Executive Sessions with the police and military officers, including then suspended PNP Chief Purisima.

The worst thing about Purisima is that he has not condoled with any member of the families of the 44 slain SAF commandos. This is unforgivable since he was the appointed Commander of the operations that claimed the lives of their loved ones. Perhaps this is analogous to the despicable absence of President Aquino in the solemn arrival honors at Villamor Air Base even if he could have attended the ceremony had he only wanted to.

PNoy should have fired Purisima a long time ago. This was after the corruption issues surfaced against him in 2014 with his huge estate in Nueva Ecija and the controversial construction of the PNP Chief’s White House inside Camp Crame. Yet President Aquino opted to keep his BFF even after his suspension by the Ombudsman.

Time to say goodbye & let it go In a short span of only less than eight weeks beginning January, President Benigno S. Aquino III gave four major speeches that were unprecedented and unpresidential. What he said were untrue, unfair and unkind to the persons or groups concerned.

The first was his infamous speech on January 16 in the presence of His Holiness, Pope Francis, who was his guest at the Malacañang Palace that became the talk of the town. President Aquino claimed that “many members of the church, once the advocates of the poor, the marginalized and the helpless, suddenly became silent in the face of the previous administration’s abuses.” PNoy was pilloried in the press, which he richly deserved, because they were both uncalled for and a deviation from the truth.

The other three speeches delivered by the shameless president from January 28 to March 9 are related to the Maguindanao Massacre. What he said last Monday regretting giving his approval to Operation Exodus contradicted his statements on January 28 when he equivocated that the SAF operation did not need his personal knowledge and approval!

Worst, in all his three speeches the Chief Executive Never Condemned the brutal slaughter of the 44 SAF elite police commandos by the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) and other armed groups. PNoy was particularly careful not to excoriate the MILF because he wants the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) passed by Congress by June this year regardless of the Mamasapano Massacre!

It is now obvious that President Benigno S. Aquino 3rd is a HOPELESS Case. Thus, he must be removed from office either through his resignation or People Power that has ousted two undesirables presidents.


MANILA TIMES

What kind of graduates do we want? March 14, 2015 9:33 pm Fr. Benigno P. Beltran, SVD by FR. BENIGNO P. BELTRAN, SVD



Ano ang Pilipinas na ating adhika?

We keep talking about schools and teachers and principals, especially during graduation time, questioning the goals of education and complaining about the perennial lack of good teachers and classrooms, but we have to talk first about our society and ourselves. Schools are reflections of our society since we can choose what we teach our children.

Schools operate under assumptions about society and education that influence their understanding of educational aims, methods of instruction, and the content of the curriculum. If they come from dysfunctional families, it is next to impossible to teach children good values. If high government officials are often accused of dipping their fingers into public funds, it would matter little for teachers to teach their students that honesty is the best policy. If hardened criminals and drug lords live a life of luxury inside the national penitentiary, there is no use telling young people that crime does not pay. If students are hungry, it is difficult to teach them anything.

What is taught in the classroom reflects who we are as a people. We cannot change the educational system without changing our society because we cannot separate social assumptions from the way children are taught. A relationship exists between our society’s beliefs about knowledge and knowing, how we teach our students to know, and what kind of ethical behavior we should prefer them to espouse after they graduate.

“This Sacred Synod likewise declares that children and young people have a right to be motivated to appraise moral values with a right conscience, to embrace them with a personal adherence, together with a deeper knowledge and love of God.” This is what the Second Vatican Council declared in Gravissimum Educationis regarding the right to education and the importance of teaching them moral values. The Church is concerned, not just about the kind of education given to children and young people, but the kind of society they are being raised in.

Schooling is a process with profound implications for the social, cultural, political and economic dimensions of life. Learning flows out of the experiences and activities of a person in interaction with society and the world. We first have to figure out what kind of society we really want: a Filipino society populated by responsible persons who thrive on interdependence and community, or a nation of narcissistic consumers unwilling to take full responsibility for their actions in a culture of greed who feel dependent on products, services, and corrupt authority figures.

The school is an institution connected to and relating to the society of which it is a part. It is the ideas and beliefs of society that gives its members a sense of belonging, or identity. It holds them together, and provides their agenda for action. A dysfunctional society will result in a dysfunctional educational system which will produce dysfunctional citizens.

Schools and our future What is happening in our schools today will determine the fate of our society tomorrow. Educational systems are mostly about replicating and perpetuating a social order constructed within horizons of meaning, habit and practice, a specific range of historical conditions, and discursive boundaries. Schools are communal institutions that embody ideological, political and economic interests. Educators should be interested not just in how the individual student’s mind works, but how individual minds in society work together to create an aggregate outcome.

We have to look at the educational system as a whole, in its proper context, and inquire into the configurations of relationships which structure the whole system. And then we should take a long, hard look at Philippine society as a self-organizing whole in which the educational system converges with its cultural, economic and political features.

How do we promote among young people the ethical commitments that make it possible to have a better society? How can the educational system teach an integral vision of the human being with the right values?

A 2014 study by Julio Teehankee, Dean at De La Salle University, showed that 178 family dynasties rule 73 of the 80 provinces of the Philippines. Thus, the people elected to government positions do not represent the people but their families. This ruling class is determined to use their wealth and political clout to maintain their privileged position through a corrupt system where many can get away with stealing billions from government coffers.

A 2012 study by the World Bank showed that 25.2% of Filipinos are living below the poverty line of $1.25 a day. In this culture of poverty, environmental destruction runs rampant and rebellions are brewing. The marginalization of the majority of members of society means the best, brightest and most creative have been shut out of the process of building the nation for the 21st Century. Educators cannot ignore the impending catastrophe this state of affairs will wreak on the nation.

The dominant culture will always try to produce knowledge consistent with its own interests. Is our educational system perpetuating an unjust society described by Pope Francis in Evangelii Gaudium: “The thirst for power and possessions knows no limits. In this system, which tends to devour everything which stands in the way of increased profits, whatever is fragile, like the environment, is defenseless before the interests of a deified market, which become the only rule”? Are our schools only compounding the advantages of the upper class, since the children of the rich come better prepared to school and more able to pay for better education?

The set of meanings and values that young people today are learning, in homes, in churches, in schools, from media and their peer groups, will have a long-term and fundamental bearing on the way Filipino society will face the future. Their meanings and values will eventually redefine who and what the Filipino is. Educators have to integrate their teaching with the needs and interests of their students to nurture a flexible way of thinking that could be applied to solving the problems that plague Filipino society.

What kind of society do we want?

We first have to ask: What kind of society do we want? What kind of education is most likely to bring about that kind of society? What kind of curriculum will most likely produce that kind of education? And only then do we set about making that kind of curriculum. We have to understand first why we learn, how we learn, what we should learn and how to implement all that we learn in our communities and society before designing a new curriculum that matches society’s needs, revamping class design to improve interaction and collaboration among students, and re-imagining a teacher’s role in classrooms of the future.

Schools are among the important ways in which a society’s beliefs, values and rules of conduct are passed on from one generation to another. Learning must be a way of becoming – an ongoing set of attitudes and actions by individuals and groups they employ to try to keep abreast of the surprising, chaotic, recurring events in history. We need a shared framework about what Filipinos as human beings are “for” and how we might act and what we should strive for or resist. We need to look back at our past in trying to figure out what kind of society we really want. Who are we as a people?

For the longest time, educators have struggled with the question of how to change the educational system to serve the needs of Filipino society. How do we transform teacher preparation programs, curriculum design, textbooks, parent expectations and relationships with schools, and student expectations about learning in such a way as to benefit society?

Karunungan (wisdom) is needed here with its moral component – wisdom as the application of information worth remembering and knowledge relevant to understanding not only about how our society works, but also how it should work. And that requires a moral framework of what should and should not matter, as well as an ideal of the human being at its highest potentiality. Ethics or moral wisdom helps us tell the difference between the right direction and the wrong direction in building a just and peaceful society in a world that is changing fast through globalization – Nasa mundo ang utak, sa Pilipinas nakatapak.

We need to redefine today what it means to be human and why we are in this evolving universe. This new definition should frame our educational aims and policies. The transformation of the education system has to be rooted in the values and poli tics of Filipino society in the context of a dynamic cosmos. Piecemeal approaches will not do. A renewal of education shall have to draw from, as well as contribute, to a larger exercise in national renewal.

Paradigm shifts in educational philosophy Human beings dwell in a dynamic universe, where everything evolves and converges. As organisms become more complex and more conscious, they also become more integrally whole and better connected. Inhabiting this evolving cosmos, human beings are continually evolving too. Enhancing the quality of life and the ecosystem on which life depends is the primary goal of education in the light of the innate human yearning for wholeness and rootedness in a convergent cosmos.

What would the effects of the unfolding of the new vision of the cosmos be for the set of meanings and values that inform the life of the Filipino people?

This new understanding of reality should be the context of the needed transformation of Filipino society. It should enrich, nourish and challenge us to become more fully what we can be, contribute to the vision of who we are and what we are becoming, and help other members of society to become truly what they are meant to be. The human project is never finished and each person needs to be empowered to undertake their own self-determined project in the light of a dynamic universe.

In an evolving cosmos, the classroom should be a place where vision and reality collide. Reality should have primacy over ideology. Schools must be institutions for creating a social order consonant with the realities of the world, places for possibilities of human flourishing. The task of the educational system is to help members of society draw on their particular resources and deep insight in order to modify their behavior, and make intelligent moral choices so that the presence of the human race on earth will once more be life-giving.

The only way to really transform the educational system is to change the fundamental conditions of economics and politics. It also means to change the system of meaning and values that inform Filipino society, in order to dignify and empower the totality of what each Filipino can become.

Fr. Benigno P. Beltran, SVD, heads the Sandiwaan Center for Learning, based in Smokey Mountain, Tondo, Manila, a technology-based non-formal education provider for out-of-school youth.


INQUIRER

Surviving presidential crises Artemio V. Panganiban @inquirerdotnet Philippine Daily Inquirer 2:46 AM | Sunday, March 15th, 2015


Artemio V. Panganiban

The Mamasapano carnage which resulted in the death of 44 Special Action Force (SAF) officers is the most serious political crisis that has beset President Aquino since he assumed office.

P-Noy’s ouster? Although Philippine National Police chief Alan Purisima has accepted full responsibility and has consequently resigned, many militants (including some bishops) and relatives of the deceased still press P-Noy to own ultimate responsibility and to resign from the presidency.

While I agree with the rage for truth and justice, I believe there is no basis for the President’s resignation, much less for his ouster. For an Edsa-type rebellion to prosper, the military and the Church must combine.

However, my private conversations with the top officials of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) show an outright rejection of any kind of ouster. In fact, Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle, the highest ranking Catholic prelate in the country, has openly discouraged any such move.

All that the CBCP officials ask for is transparency in arriving at the truth and in meting out justice to the culprits. None of them, I understand, have been sounded out by any credible military commander to support a peaceful people power revolt, or an unconstitutional coup d’état.

How FVR handled crisis. All past presidents have faced political crises. For example, in April 1994, during the term of President Fidel V. Ramos (FVR), an overseas Filipino worker, Flor Contemplacion, was found guilty by a Singapore court of murdering Delia Maga, another OFW, and sentenced her to death by hanging.

Nonetheless, even after the verdict was announced, the friendly relations between the Philippines and Singapore continued. However, the relations soured after Emilia Frenilla, another OFW, returned from the island-state and alleged that Contemplacion was innocent and that Maga’s employer was the real killer.

This late-breaking revelation sparked outrage among our people. FVR, under the theory of command responsibility, was blamed for the alleged injustice and for not doing enough to save Contemplacion.

In his recent autobiography, “Endless Journey,” Gen. Jose T. Almonte, FVR’s national security adviser, rued that “the outpouring of grief was close to what we had felt and seen when Ninoy Aquino was assassinated…”

To assuage the outrage, FVR asked the Singapore government to reopen the case so Frenilla could testify. However, the request was turned down; it was noted that a year before Contemplacion was executed, the Singaporean authorities ignored a plea for compassion by the US government and penalized an American teenager by lashing him with a cane in addition to imprisoning him for four years for merely vandalizing cars.

Because of this refusal, many Filipinos felt that Contemplacion was denied a fair trial and that FVR did not do enough for her. After the OFW’s execution, rallies and demonstrations became unstoppable and the “fury welled-up, forming a tidal wave” that threatened to unseat FVR.

Proactively, FVR broke diplomatic ties with Singapore and “forced” the resignation of two Cabinet members, Foreign Affairs Secretary Roberto Romulo and Labor Secretary Nieves Confesor.

Only then did the public indignation subside.

Contemplacion was just one Filipino whom our people perceived to have been denied justice. In Mamasapano, 44 SAF officers perished. Truth and justice must be accorded them, remembering that when our people perceive—whether rightly or wrongly—a palpable injustice, they rage until justice is done.

Other presidents. Serious crises other chief executives have also faced. Ferdinand Marcos thought he fully controlled the country with an iron fist but when our people perceived terrible injustice in the “tarmac murder” of Ninoy Aquino, our masses rose peacefully and overwhelmed the dictator.

Despite her herculean effort to restore democracy, the saintly Cory Aquino, the icon of Philippine democracy, had to subdue several coup attempts.

Similarly, the perceived injustice at the refusal of the Senate impeachment court to open the so-called “second envelope” which was supposed to contain damning evidence against President Joseph Estrada triggered the second Edsa revolution that resulted in the “constructive resignation” of Estrada, and his subsequent indictment and trial for and conviction of plunder.

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, who succeeded Estrada, initially did well until she mishandled the accusations of fraud during her electoral bid in 2004, especially when she perfunctorily confessed “I am sorry” to the charge that she phoned an election commissioner to assure her victory.

That notorious “Hello Garci” incident, capped by the resignation of the “Hyatt 10,” nearly toppled her. Thereafter, she continuously battled low public approval ratings and struggled daily to stay in office. Though she managed to finish her term, she is now detained, despite her delicate medical condition, while facing trial in a criminal charge for plunder.

The moral lesson from all these is that presidents, regardless of their qualifications, intentions and accomplishments, invariably face serious political crises. How P-Noy will overcome his own crisis will depend on how he satisfies the agonizing cries for truth and justice for the fallen SAF 44. Publicly picking on subordinates will not alleviate the cries. Quite the contrary, such public hand-washing and finger-pointing will just aggravate the agony.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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