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

FROM PHL DAILY INQUIRER

EDITORIAL: PH's GIFTS TO THE WORLD


Manny Pacquiao may continue to hog the limelight because of his date with destiny in the neon city of the planet, but spare a thought for all the other wondrous gifts of this Pearl of the Orient. Diverse of influences and wealthy of culture, the Philippines has many historic and meaningful offerings to be discovered—if only these can be treasured and promoted properly.
Those gifts are, or should be, coming to the fore in this merry month. Proclamation No. 439, signed by President Gloria Arroyo in 2003, declared May National Heritage Month and cited “a need to create in the people a consciousness, respect and love for the legacies of Filipino cultural history and to raise material support for the protection of tangible and intangible heritage,” as well as “a need to strengthen the people’s awareness of cultural heritage sites, structures and landscapes, and encourage their participation in the preservation of these cultural legacies through various activities.” The National Commission for Culture and the Arts is tasked to lead this important annual celebration. National Heritage Month kicks off tomorrow with the NCCA’s “Taoid” (the Ilocano word for “heritage”) project at the University of Santo Tomas, featuring an exhibit on heritage churches and cultural landmarks, a roundtable discussion on the establishment of standards for cultural conservation, and the premiere of director Butch Nolasco’s documentary “Our Spanish Heritage.” The NCCA is also running the “Bayaning Bayan” project, which seeks to celebrate the imagery of heroes from our literature and mythology through visual arts. READ MORE...

ALSO: Addressing and redressing injustice The BBL, the Peace Council argues, should be understood for what it really is: an instrument to pursue social justice and development, not only for the constituents of Bangsamoro but also for the entire Mindanao and the country as a whole.]


By Cielito F. Habito
“SOCIAL JUSTICE is the underlying rationale for the Bangsamoro Basic Law,” members of the Peace Council observed during its first plenary meeting last April 7. “Social justice is the underlying theme of the Philippine Constitution,” also asserted three members of the council who had been part of the 1986 Constitutional Commission that crafted that Charter. “The State shall promote social justice in all phases of national development,” declares Article II, Section 10 of the Constitution. The Peace Council, particularly members of its Cluster on Constitutionality, Forms and Power of Government led by former chief justice Hilario Davide Jr., thus sees the BBL as a measure that “gives life to the Constitution.”  The Mindanao 2020 Peace and Development Framework Plan, in analyzing the context for planning Mindanao’s future, cites widened appreciation of the centrality of historical injustice in perpetuating decades-old conflict and underdevelopment in Mindanao. This departs from the seeming conventional wisdom that prevailed in the 1990s, when poverty was commonly tagged as the root of “the Mindanao problem.” This, Mindanao 2020 observes, led to an approach overly dominated by economic interventions. True enough, the 1990s saw a remarkable increase in public investments in Mindanao, which saw most of its arterial roads paved, communication facilities upgraded, and the world-class Polloc Port built in Maguindanao, among many other projects. “Give the people jobs, and the problem will go away,” was the common prescription then. It did not take long for all to see that this was not enough. Violent conflict re-emerged soon after the departure of President Fidel Ramos, whose administration had more than tripled Mindanao’s share in the national infrastructure budget with the end view of upgrading the Mindanao economy. On hindsight, we now know that economic improvement was a necessary, but not sufficient, condition. READ MORE...

ALSO: ('PIGNOYS' REMARKS) LESSON LEARNED


By Rina Jimenez-David 
Lesson learned. I hope that’s what Thai national Prasertsri Kosin, aka Koko Narak, is telling himself as he leaves our shores after being deported by the Bureau of Immigration for his “racist” remarks. Kosin earned the ire of the BI and of netizens after a series of Facebook posts where he called Filipinos “pignoys,” “low-class slaves,” “wriggling cockroaches,” and fit only for “licking toilets.” Radio commentators wondered by what entitlement Kosin had earned the right to disparage Filipinos, since photos of him showed that he looks like an average “pignoy”—that is, so ordinary and nondescript one would mistake him for a sidecar driver (no offense to sidecar drivers, mind). And, judging from his published apologies to the Filipino public, he’s no grammarian (in English) either. So by what right does this Thai employee in a call center feel he can freely insult his hosts and not reap the consequences? In addition, Kosin was fired from his job at the business process outsourcing company where he was employed, although he earned a free trip back home for his troubles. In his explanation, Kosin said he was simply being “playful” when he issued those hurtful remarks. My take on his chutzpah was that, in a desire to stand out from the forest of personalities on social media, the call center employee chose to earn some attention by offending as many individuals as he could. And that’s precisely the problem with social media and the anonymity it allows. Hiding behind a nom de keyboard, “Koko Narak” chose offense as the best way to call attention to himself, to highlight his identity and earn as many “likes”—or rather, “unlikes”—as he could. READ MORE...

Editorial: Badly needed reform


The noise that politicians and activists have been making about the K-to-12 Enhanced Basic Education Curriculum whirls around two contrasting scenarios. One is the higher education institution (HEI) setting where empty chairs and empty tables signify zero enrollment and faculty layoffs because there are no first-year enrollees in 2016 and no first-year and second-year enrollees in 2017, the years when Grades 11 and 12 are scheduled to be first implemented. The other is the senior high school (SHS) scene where there are too many students but not enough classrooms, teachers and books because the Department of Education, given its perennial shortage problems, is ill-prepared to meet the requirements of the additional two years. Both are valid concerns, but stopping the implementation of the K-to-12 program is not the answer. The sooner this is realized, the sooner everyone can pitch in to ensure the success of this most massive change in our education history. The cue should be taken from the business executives and captains of industry who, as employers, have also been losing sleep over K-to-12. Management Association of the Philippines president Greg S. Navarro says they lose 33 percent of their staff every year to foreign jobs, and that’s just their organization. Where will they source their workforce in 2021 and 2022 when there will be few college graduates because students will have been held back two years in SHS? The business sector has come up with a proposal on how to fill the university classrooms that will otherwise be vacant upon the full implementation of the K-to-12 reform in 2016—a solution that will also benefit about 15 million out-of-school youth and ensure businesses of human resources. READ MORE...

Editorial: Indefensible
[A year and seven months later, De Lima’s enthusiasm has inexplicably waned. Her department is not keen on pursuing the rest of the PDAF cases, she says, because she has too many other investigations on her plate, and she needs to prioritize her tasks before she winds down her term at the end of the Aquino presidency. And just like that, a once-promising campaign against venality in government turns out to be yet another mirage, just another shabby exercise in selective justice and political hardball.]


EDITORIAL CARTOON COURTESY OF PHILIPPINE ONLINE CHRONICLES  Last week, Speaker Feliciano Belmonte and Eastern Samar Rep. Ben Evardone called on Justice Secretary Leila de Lima “not to be selective” in prosecuting government officials involved in the pork barrel scam, which so far has seen charges filed against two batches of high-profile respondents, among them Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada and Bong Revilla. De Lima had earlier remarked that the Department of Justice no longer considered it a priority to go after a third batch of people suspected of involvement in the scam concerning the Priority Development Assistance Fund, or even the plunder of the P900-million Malampaya Fund. As it happens, the third batch reportedly includes personalities allied with Malacañang and/or members of President Aquino’s Liberal Party, such as Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez, former Pangasinan representative Rachel Arenas and Tesda (Technical Education and Skills Development Authority) Director General Joel Villanueva. To accusations that De Lima was being partisan, Belmonte, a Liberal Party stalwart, was quoted as saying: “The DOJ should not discriminate whom to file.” Never mind the awkward language. Mind only how absurd the issue has become, the charade into which it has degenerated: A leader of the ruling party with deep vulnerability in the most explosive political development of the last five years attempts to take the higher road by calling on an agency of the very government of which he is a pillar to look more closely at his party mates’ ways with the people’s money. How virtuous—and how farcical. It indicates how unsavory De Lima’s apparent partiality toward government allies comes off, with Belmonte now appearing to be more high-minded and respectable than the indefensible decision to spare from investigation those lucky to be buddy-buddies with Malacañang. READ MORE...


READ FULL MEDIA EDITORIALS & OPINIONS  HERE:

EDITORIAL: PH’s gifts to the world

Manny Pacquiao may continue to hog the limelight because of his date with destiny in the neon city of the planet, but spare a thought for all the other wondrous gifts of this Pearl of the Orient. Diverse of influences and wealthy of culture, the Philippines has many historic and meaningful offerings to be discovered—if only these can be treasured and promoted properly.

Those gifts are, or should be, coming to the fore in this merry month. Proclamation No. 439, signed by President Gloria Arroyo in 2003, declared May National Heritage Month and cited “a need to create in the people a consciousness, respect and love for the legacies of Filipino cultural history and to raise material support for the protection of tangible and intangible heritage,” as well as “a need to strengthen the people’s awareness of cultural heritage sites, structures and landscapes, and encourage their participation in the preservation of these cultural legacies through various activities.” The National Commission for Culture and the Arts is tasked to lead this important annual celebration.

National Heritage Month kicks off tomorrow with the NCCA’s “Taoid” (the Ilocano word for “heritage”) project at the University of Santo Tomas, featuring an exhibit on heritage churches and cultural landmarks, a roundtable discussion on the establishment of standards for cultural conservation, and the premiere of director Butch Nolasco’s documentary “Our Spanish Heritage.” The NCCA is also running the “Bayaning Bayan” project, which seeks to celebrate the imagery of heroes from our literature and mythology through visual arts.

All that is a good start, but the placing of value on our culture and heritage needs to go beyond May. It’s time to focus awareness on, or indeed be aware of, Philippine cultural landmarks including heritage churches and other structures, as well as cultural traditions, and even the historic Manila-Acapulco galleon trade.

There are efforts to nominate the Manila-Acapulco galleon trade for inclusion in Unesco’s World Heritage List. The Unesco National Commission of the Philippines (Unacom) was reported to have held a meeting last week with officials of the Department of Foreign Affairs for this purpose. “The galleon trade paved the way for the widest possible exchange of material goods, cultural traditions and practices, knowledge and belief systems and peoples,” the Unacom said in a statement. “It established a formidable link between the East and West that would span for some 250 years (1565 to 1815), which can be considered the first manifestation of globalization, influencing politics and philosophy, commerce and the development of trade in most parts of the world.”

Similar efforts have also been made to get the Mayon Volcano Natural Park named a Unesco World Heritage Site.

Included at the UST roundtable is an update on the rehabilitation of the heritage churches in the Visayas damaged by the 2013 one-two punch made up of the earthquake and Supertyphoon “Yolanda.” The need to rebuild and protect these Spanish-era churches continues, as shown by the efforts of local officials in Piddig, Ilocos Norte, to ask the National Historical Commission of the Philippines to declare the 204-year-old St. Anne parish church a heritage structure.

The NCCA has been holding “heritage clinics” in various areas to educate locals on the need to help preserve cultural landmarks. This can also be seen in the renewed efforts to preserve and restore structures such as the Manila Metropolitan Theater, that art deco beauty in Arroceros, Manila, that has fallen into tragic disrepair.

All this falls into place and ultimately comes together when one considers the need to get the people’s awareness of and support for National Heritage Month, and then to get them engaged for the rest of the year and beyond. It will take a lot of work, and it begins now. Awareness includes continuing study not only among scholars but also among students and the general public; it involves acknowledging the necessity of conservation, all the way to actively seeking recognition for the Philippines and, most important, the assistance of Unesco.

The greatness of a country is measured not only in its material prosperity and its citizens’ important contributions to humanity, but also in its rich history. In that sense, the Philippines and its storied past can hold their own in the community of nations.



Read more: http://opinion.inquirer.net/84613/phs-gifts-to-the-world#ixzz3ZGUu9SjF
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MANILA, MAY 11, 2015 (INQUIRER) Philippine Daily Inquirer 12:45 AM | Sunday, May 3rd, 2015 - Manny Pacquiao may continue to hog the limelight because of his date with destiny in the neon city of the planet, but spare a thought for all the other wondrous gifts of this Pearl of the Orient.

Diverse of influences and wealthy of culture, the Philippines has many historic and meaningful offerings to be discovered—if only these can be treasured and promoted properly.

Those gifts are, or should be, coming to the fore in this merry month. Proclamation No. 439, signed by President Gloria Arroyo in 2003, declared May National Heritage Month and cited “a need to create in the people a consciousness, respect and love for the legacies of Filipino cultural history and to raise material support for the protection of tangible and intangible heritage,” as well as “a need to strengthen the people’s awareness of cultural heritage sites, structures and landscapes, and encourage their participation in the preservation of these cultural legacies through various activities.”

The National Commission for Culture and the Arts is tasked to lead this important annual celebration.

National Heritage Month kicks off tomorrow with the NCCA’s “Taoid” (the Ilocano word for “heritage”) project at the University of Santo Tomas, featuring an exhibit on heritage churches and cultural landmarks, a roundtable discussion on the establishment of standards for cultural conservation, and the premiere of director Butch Nolasco’s documentary “Our Spanish Heritage.”

The NCCA is also running the “Bayaning Bayan” project, which seeks to celebrate the imagery of heroes from our literature and mythology through visual arts.

READ MORE...
All that is a good start, but the placing of value on our culture and heritage needs to go beyond May. It’s time to focus awareness on, or indeed be aware of, Philippine cultural landmarks including heritage churches and other structures, as well as cultural traditions, and even the historic Manila-Acapulco galleon trade.

There are efforts to nominate the Manila-Acapulco galleon trade for inclusion in Unesco’s World Heritage List. The Unesco National Commission of the Philippines (Unacom) was reported to have held a meeting last week with officials of the Department of Foreign Affairs for this purpose.

“The galleon trade paved the way for the widest possible exchange of material goods, cultural traditions and practices, knowledge and belief systems and peoples,” the Unacom said in a statement. “It established a formidable link between the East and West that would span for some 250 years (1565 to 1815), which can be considered the first manifestation of globalization, influencing politics and philosophy, commerce and the development of trade in most parts of the world.”

Similar efforts have also been made to get the Mayon Volcano Natural Park named a Unesco World Heritage Site.

Included at the UST roundtable is an update on the rehabilitation of the heritage churches in the Visayas damaged by the 2013 one-two punch made up of the earthquake and Supertyphoon “Yolanda.”

The need to rebuild and protect these Spanish-era churches continues, as shown by the efforts of local officials in Piddig, Ilocos Norte, to ask the National Historical Commission of the Philippines to declare the 204-year-old St. Anne parish church a heritage structure.

The NCCA has been holding “heritage clinics” in various areas to educate locals on the need to help preserve cultural landmarks.

This can also be seen in the renewed efforts to preserve and restore structures such as the Manila Metropolitan Theater, that art deco beauty in Arroceros, Manila, that has fallen into tragic disrepair.

All this falls into place and ultimately comes together when one considers the need to get the people’s awareness of and support for National Heritage Month, and then to get them engaged for the rest of the year and beyond. It will take a lot of work, and it begins now.

Awareness includes continuing study not only among scholars but also among students and the general public; it involves acknowledging the necessity of conservation, all the way to actively seeking recognition for the Philippines and, most important, the assistance of Unesco.

The greatness of a country is measured not only in its material prosperity and its citizens’ important contributions to humanity, but also in its rich history. In that sense, the Philippines and its storied past can hold their own in the community of nations.


Addressing and redressing injustice Cielito F. Habito @inquirerdotnet Philippine Daily Inquirer 12:29 AM | Tuesday, May 5th, 2015


By Cielito F. Habito

“SOCIAL JUSTICE is the underlying rationale for the Bangsamoro Basic Law,” members of the Peace Council observed during its first plenary meeting last April 7. “Social justice is the underlying theme of the Philippine Constitution,” also asserted three members of the council who had been part of the 1986 Constitutional Commission that crafted that Charter.

“The State shall promote social justice in all phases of national development,” declares Article II, Section 10 of the Constitution. The Peace Council, particularly members of its Cluster on Constitutionality, Forms and Power of Government led by former chief justice Hilario Davide Jr., thus sees the BBL as a measure that “gives life to the Constitution.”

The Mindanao 2020 Peace and Development Framework Plan, in analyzing the context for planning Mindanao’s future, cites widened appreciation of the centrality of historical injustice in perpetuating decades-old conflict and underdevelopment in Mindanao.

This departs from the seeming conventional wisdom that prevailed in the 1990s, when poverty was commonly tagged as the root of “the Mindanao problem.”

This, Mindanao 2020 observes, led to an approach overly dominated by economic interventions. True enough, the 1990s saw a remarkable increase in public investments in Mindanao, which saw most of its arterial roads paved, communication facilities upgraded, and the world-class Polloc Port built in Maguindanao, among many other projects. “Give the people jobs, and the problem will go away,” was the common prescription then.

It did not take long for all to see that this was not enough. Violent conflict re-emerged soon after the departure of President Fidel Ramos, whose administration had more than tripled Mindanao’s share in the national infrastructure budget with the end view of upgrading the Mindanao economy. On hindsight, we now know that economic improvement was a necessary, but not sufficient, condition.

READ MORE...
“While the destructive impact of poverty is not to be underestimated,” Mindanao 2020 observed, “historical injustice is now regarded by all major stakeholders as the underlying root of the Mindanao challenge.”

This injustice has come in multiple forms: There are social, political, economic, cultural and environmental injustices that had led to deep-seated tensions, which were to inevitably break out into open violent conflict. Mindanao 2020 concluded that “attainment of lasting peace and development in Mindanao must hinge on addressing and redressing these various forms of injustice.”

A wide and varied literature has emerged in the past 15 years advocating greater levels of social cohesion in Mindanao and seeking to understand barriers to achieving it. It recognized the need to “re-weave Mindanao’s fragmented society” by addressing the requirements of social cohesion, not just in the Bangsamoro areas but in the whole of Mindanao. Scholarly analyses have stressed the importance of trust and strong ties that foster unity across divergent groups and strengthen the social connections and linkages, through which information is communicated and knowledge shared.

These are collectively captured in the term “social capital” which, it has been argued, merits as much attention as the other more familiar forms of capital (financial, physical, human and natural) in examining the requisites for Mindanao’s development.

Mindanao 2020, a document that deserves wider and closer attention these days, further avers: “Against the historical backdrop of injustice in Mindanao, a more recent grievance expressed among Muslim circles relates to the perceived failure of government to rehabilitate conflict-affected communities and provide livelihood for the Bangsamoro people in the aftermath of the 1996 Peace Agreement with the Moro National Liberation Front.

The challenge, then, is for government to demonstrate greater sincerity and build greater confidence among the peoples of Mindanao in such a way that appropriate emphasis is being given to addressing the traditional challenges that have held back the island group for much too long. In particular, what’s needed is to put in place a machinery for a decisive joint effort for peace and development, including governance—spanning short term activities, long term planning, funding and implementation—between the central government and the (autonomous region) spanning a period of at least 50 years.

This will aim specifically to reduce dependence on both the central government and foreign donors, thereby building up self-reliance.”

This is indeed what the BBL is all about.

Davide, speaking for the Peace Council, observes: “The passage of a new organic law for the autonomous region is compelled by the imperative of correcting the injustices of the past, the urgency of the socio-economic-political context at present, and the uncertainty of having a similar opportunity in the future. The BBL must be understood as an extraordinarily special law, not only because of its nature as an organic act, but also, and more importantly, as an embodiment of a peace agreement, the product of prolonged negotiations.” In addressing concerns about the measure’s constitutionality, the council believes that “the Constitution must be interpreted liberally, so as to give life to its provisions, and allow the fulfillment of the decades-old mandate for genuine regional autonomy.”

The BBL, the Peace Council argues, should be understood for what it really is: an instrument to pursue social justice and development, not only for the constituents of Bangsamoro but also for the entire Mindanao and the country as a whole.


Lesson learned At Large Rina Jimenez-David @inquirerdotnet Philippine Daily Inquirer 12:10 AM | Friday, May 8th, 2015


FACEBOOK PHOTO APPENDED BY PHNO---A Thai employee at Cognizant Philippines, a company involved in information technology, consulting, and business process outsourcing services, seems to have a deep-seated dislike for the country and its people. Kosin Prasertsri, a.k.a. Koko Narak, 32, has been spreading hateful comments about the Philippines and has been bashing Filipinos around him.


By Rina Jimenez-David

Lesson learned. I hope that’s what Thai national Prasertsri Kosin, aka Koko Narak, is telling himself as he leaves our shores after being deported by the Bureau of Immigration for his “racist” remarks.

Kosin earned the ire of the BI and of netizens after a series of Facebook posts where he called Filipinos “pignoys,” “low-class slaves,” “wriggling cockroaches,” and fit only for “licking toilets.” Radio commentators wondered by what entitlement Kosin had earned the right to disparage Filipinos, since photos of him showed that he looks like an average “pignoy”—that is, so ordinary and nondescript one would mistake him for a sidecar driver (no offense to sidecar drivers, mind).

And, judging from his published apologies to the Filipino public, he’s no grammarian (in English) either. So by what right does this Thai employee in a call center feel he can freely insult his hosts and not reap the consequences?

In addition, Kosin was fired from his job at the business process outsourcing company where he was employed, although he earned a free trip back home for his troubles.

In his explanation, Kosin said he was simply being “playful” when he issued those hurtful remarks. My take on his chutzpah was that, in a desire to stand out from the forest of personalities on social media, the call center employee chose to earn some attention by offending as many individuals as he could.

And that’s precisely the problem with social media and the anonymity it allows. Hiding behind a nom de keyboard, “Koko Narak” chose offense as the best way to call attention to himself, to highlight his identity and earn as many “likes”—or rather, “unlikes”—as he could.

READ MORE...
For that’s how social media works. Blogs, posts, tweets are measured for impact by how many “hits” they generate, how many “eyeballs” they manage to capture and, as a consequence, how much attention they win.

* * *

In much the same way, that’s how advertisers measure “reach.” A newspaper or magazine is adjudged worthy of ad placements by circulation and readership. Broadcasts are rated according to “ratings,” the number of listeners and viewers that is determined by a complicated system of monitoring listenership or viewership.

If Kosin is able to teach us anything, it’s that even “naughty” posts on social media can have consequences, with deportation being one of them. “Freedom of expression” may be enshrined in the Constitution, but even that is reined in by laws on libel and on offending social norms.

Journalists should be the first to rush to the defense of quasi-journalists, for after all we all deal with words and free expression in pursuit of our trade and avocation. But even as we adhere to the cheeky admonition to “comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable,” we do so knowing the limits of the affliction we can impose on others. We are all too aware of our targets’ ability—and right—to hit back and claim payback.

We hope it will take the form of a libel suit, at worst. But also in the back of our minds is the possibility of inviting harsher retaliation, like a bullet to the back of the head in the middle of a busy street.

So goodbye, Koko Narak. May you learn to temper your words and your impulse to offend the next time you’re tempted to share your thoughts and feelings online. And please, some lessons on English grammar would not hurt.

* * *

Bettors the world over are said to be hurting at the alleged “deception” foisted on the boxing-loving public by Manny Pacquiao for not disclosing a shoulder injury before his historic match-up with Floyd “Money” Mayweather.

Foremost among the disappointed is Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, who said he was not inclined to make good his losing bet on Pacquiao given news of the Pacman’s ailment. But I heard that actor Mark Wahlberg had such faith in the Filipino boxer that he put up $250,000 (about P12 million) on Pacquiao.

But neither Hun Sen nor Wahlberg have gone to court over the controversy stirred by Pacquiao’s claim that a “tear” in his shoulder prevented him from giving his all in the May 2 (May 3 here) bout.

Plaintiffs Stephane Vanel and Kami Rahbaran, claimed in court that Pacquiao and his camp (named in the suit are his promoter Top Rank and Top Rank chair Bob Arum, president Todd DuBoef and manager Michael Koncz) had known about the injury a month before the fight and should have canceled the bout or else disclosed the state of Pacquiao’s health before he entered the ring.

Reports have it that Koncz, who allegedly filled out the disclosure form during the weigh-in days before the fight, checked the “No” box beside the question of whether the fighter had a shoulder injury.

* * *

Pacquiao’s lawyer is said to have pooh-poohed the charges, saying the boxer had been cleared by his doctors before the fight, but that the injury recurred in the course of the match. He expressed confidence that the suit would be dismissed.

I don’t know how the legal rigmarole will sort itself out, but I don’t think those who placed bets on the Pacman, not even Hun Sen or Wahlberg, have much to stand on if they claim they were “cheated” by Pacquiao. Nobody forces anybody to bet on any side of a game, be it basketball, golf or boxing. A bettor does so knowing full well the risk of losing. Indeed, the risk of losing one’s shirt is what gives gambling the “edge,” the thrill, the suspense.

So if you should lose, you should know full well that it’s part of the game, and that losing your money is the counterpart to raking it in. In gambling, as in boxing, there is no sure thing.


Editorial: Badly needed reform Philippine Daily Inquirer 12:10 AM | Thursday, May 7th, 2015

The noise that politicians and activists have been making about the K-to-12 Enhanced Basic Education Curriculum whirls around two contrasting scenarios.

One is the higher education institution (HEI) setting where empty chairs and empty tables signify zero enrollment and faculty layoffs because there are no first-year enrollees in 2016 and no first-year and second-year enrollees in 2017, the years when Grades 11 and 12 are scheduled to be first implemented. The other is the senior high school (SHS) scene where there are too many students but not enough classrooms, teachers and books because the Department of Education, given its perennial shortage problems, is ill-prepared to meet the requirements of the additional two years.

Both are valid concerns, but stopping the implementation of the K-to-12 program is not the answer. The sooner this is realized, the sooner everyone can pitch in to ensure the success of this most massive change in our education history.

The cue should be taken from the business executives and captains of industry who, as employers, have also been losing sleep over K-to-12. Management Association of the Philippines president Greg S. Navarro says they lose 33 percent of their staff every year to foreign jobs, and that’s just their organization. Where will they source their workforce in 2021 and 2022 when there will be few college graduates because students will have been held back two years in SHS?

The business sector has come up with a proposal on how to fill the university classrooms that will otherwise be vacant upon the full implementation of the K-to-12 reform in 2016—a solution that will also benefit about 15 million out-of-school youth and ensure businesses of human resources.

READ MORE...
Each year, the Philippine Business for Education (PBEd) says, HEIs receive some 840,000 freshmen and enroll an estimated 300,000 sophomores. How to stop personnel displacement and school closures as a result of the huge revenue loss that HEIs are facing as students transition into SHS?

Corollary to this, the 840,000 new enrollees at HEIs are only 60 percent of the total number of high school graduates. The rest are forced to forego college education because of lack of funds.

Through PBEd, the business sector is proposing a government voucher system for pre-2015 high school graduates who have not been able to enter college for financial reasons. This will not only give out-of-school youth from poor families access to university education but also widen the pool of talents that can contribute to economic growth and social progress.

This cohort of HEI enrollees will avert the displacement of professors, instructors, lecturers and other staff. In other words, it will be business as usual for tertiary schools instead of the fallow prospects they are facing now.

The students will be free to enroll in their school of choice, so it is expected that there will be keen competition among HEIs. It is highly likely that the universities with quality academic programs, strong performance at professional exams, and innovative marketing strategies will draw the biggest number of voucher-holders.

For sources of funding for the vouchers, PBEd has looked at two bills pending in Congress: the Tertiary Education Transition Fund and the Unified Financial Assistance System for Higher and Technical Education (UniFAST).

The first is meant purposely to support development and activities during the K-to-12 transition period, with an initial funding estimated at P12 billion for 2016. The second has a proposed appropriation of P25 billion to cover all government scholarships, grants-in-aid and loan programs. PBEd, says its president Chito Salazar, has recommended that the UniFAST bill be used for the voucher program at least during the K-to-12 two-year transition period.

Good ideas are out there, and reverting to the old 10-year basic education system is not an option.

Forget that the additional two-year SHS will make our students more competitive for study grants abroad for specialization purposes; that the new 12-year curriculum will make public education more equitable for the children of the poor who cannot afford the private schools that, for decades, have been offering the extra years; or that we have the highest youth unemployment rate in Asean because our jobseekers are unqualified to fill the open positions in our labor market.

Forget all that and consider just one compelling reality: The old 10-year curriculum rolled out public school graduates with reading, writing and other basic skills at a fourth-grade level. It’s pretty obvious that the K-to-12 reform is badly needed.


Editorial: Indefensible Philippine Daily Inquirer 12:10 AM | Saturday, May 9th, 2015


EDITORIAL CARTOON COURTESY OF PHILIPPINE ONLINE CHRONICLES

Last week, Speaker Feliciano Belmonte and Eastern Samar Rep. Ben Evardone called on Justice Secretary Leila de Lima “not to be selective” in prosecuting government officials involved in the pork barrel scam, which so far has seen charges filed against two batches of high-profile respondents, among them Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada and Bong Revilla.

De Lima had earlier remarked that the Department of Justice no longer considered it a priority to go after a third batch of people suspected of involvement in the scam concerning the Priority Development Assistance Fund, or even the plunder of the P900-million Malampaya Fund.

As it happens, the third batch reportedly includes personalities allied with Malacañang and/or members of President Aquino’s Liberal Party, such as Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez, former Pangasinan representative Rachel Arenas and Tesda (Technical Education and Skills Development Authority) Director General Joel Villanueva.

To accusations that De Lima was being partisan, Belmonte, a Liberal Party stalwart, was quoted as saying: “The DOJ should not discriminate whom to file.”

Never mind the awkward language. Mind only how absurd the issue has become, the charade into which it has degenerated:

A leader of the ruling party with deep vulnerability in the most explosive political development of the last five years attempts to take the higher road by calling on an agency of the very government of which he is a pillar to look more closely at his party mates’ ways with the people’s money.

How virtuous—and how farcical. It indicates how unsavory De Lima’s apparent partiality toward government allies comes off, with Belmonte now appearing to be more high-minded and respectable than the indefensible decision to spare from investigation those lucky to be buddy-buddies with Malacañang.

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It wasn’t too long ago that the Aquino administration trumpeted the DOJ’s filing of charges against three sitting senators, their powerful aides and various other individuals in the bureaucracy for the PDAF scam as not only a high-water mark in the anticorruption campaign but also a mere part of a wide-ranging investigation meant to uncover a vast conspiracy to defraud the people of billions of pesos in taxpayer money.

Through all the missteps and blunders of the administration, many people have believed that President Aquino himself, for all his apparent deficiencies, is incorruptible, and his drive against corruption sincere.

It was only under his watch, after all, that three senators of the realm found themselves haled to court and clapped in jail on plausible charges of milking the public till through an elaborate money-laundering scheme allegedly run by businesswoman Janet Lim Napoles.

The hour of reckoning, at last, many had thought.

And Mr. Aquino, through his justice secretary, stoked that hope by following up the initial flurry of charges with a second batch of respondents charged with the same offenses.

The scam involving the PDAF had run for years and needed hundreds, perhaps thousands, of people within and outside the government bureaucracy for the money to change hands with utmost discreetness and efficiency.

De Lima said that the investigations would favor no one, that the net would fall wherever it should, and that the filing of charges against a third batch of people was in the offing. And why not?

Surely there were more people involved than the 72 individuals (38 in the first batch, 34 in the second) that she had slapped with plunder, graft and related charges.

A year and seven months later, De Lima’s enthusiasm has inexplicably waned. Her department is not keen on pursuing the rest of the PDAF cases, she says, because she has too many other investigations on her plate, and she needs to prioritize her tasks before she winds down her term at the end of the Aquino presidency.

And just like that, a once-promising campaign against venality in government turns out to be yet another mirage, just another shabby exercise in selective justice and political hardball.

The validity of this administration’s “daang matuwid” watchword rested on one thing: how fairly it applied to friend and foe alike. It now appears clear: Malacañang’s friends enjoy exemption, and more.

It’s indefensible. Does De Lima think her record can make her a senator?


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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