Holiday cynics

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If there’s anything Filipinos will not be denied, it is the right to their holidays. A tyrant can savage the Bill of Rights, but can remain in power for 14 years. A fake president can turn the country over to foreigners so they can plunder and rape at will, and mock their sovereign right to choose their leaders, but may still get away with it. But don’t ever, ever even suggest that Filipinos can’t celebrate their holidays.

In the only majority Christian country in Asia, those holidays are almost solely Christmas and Lent. Though one marks the birth of Christ and the other his death and resurrection, Christmas is an occasion for the wealthy to hie off to nearby Hongkong, and Lent an excuse to fly to Rome and Lourdes. The middle class has to make do with polluted beaches and Baguio, to which lowlanders mass in such numbers they create huge traffic jams while boosting that city’s commerce. Continue reading

Volatile days ahead

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Mrs. Gloria Macapagal- Arroyo said last July 19 that she would organize a Truth Commission, the members of which she would announce by July 25.

Mrs. Arroyo failed to do either. No one with an ounce of self-respect was willing to be identified with that commission, and she wasn’t really serious about it. The call for a Truth Commission had been made by the University of Santo Tomas and the Catholic Bishops Conference, apparently without much thought having gone into it. Continue reading

Hemmorrhage of teachers

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The United States will need 200,000 elementary and high school teachers each year for the next ten years. But because there won’t be enough teachers at home to meet the demand, it has turned to other countries to meet the shortage.

Among Asian countries the Philippines is a logical source of the teachers the US needs. Not only are Filipinos familiar with the English language. Due to US captivity for nearly 50 years as that country’s colony, the Philippine school system basically apes the US school system. That’s good news for the tens of thousands of teachers languishing in the low-paying, usually dead-end career that teaching has become in this country, but bad news for Filipino students and the Philippines. Continue reading

Educating DepEd

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What’s the patriotic thing to do during elections? The Department of Education’s (DepEd) Catanduanes Schools Superintendent Thelma Bueson had a bright idea. She issued “Guidelines on Patriotism” in June last year urging young people, once they’re able to vote, to vote for anyone else except “actors, actresses and basketball players.” Why? They “do not know their work in Congress because they are not educated for the positions of senator, vice president or president.”

There are several things wrong with Bueson’s “guidelines,” not the least being the incoherence of that paragraph and its emphasis on the negative. If the “actors, actresses and basketball players” who’re the subjects of Ms. Bueson’s qualms are already in Congress, there would be no point in either voting or not voting for them, would there? And is there really such a thing as being “educated for the positions of senator, vice president or president?” Continue reading

Exclusively positive

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I was at the Kapisanan ng Brodkaster ng Pilipinas’ (KBP) Top Level Management Conference last Thursday, November 10, and heard and saw Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo urge those present to stop covering “kangaroo courts, lynch mobs and witch-hunts.”

Mrs. Arroyo described those involved in the “kangaroo courts,” etc., as “losers” and herself and her administration as “winners.” The public, 41 percent of whom are tired of negative news, wants winners, she said. Ergo, the media should be reporting on her latest triumphs, among them the boost in the peso’s value and her having saved P37 billion as a result of her supposedly skilful management of the country’s finances. Continue reading