Archive for the ‘Education’ Category

Declining English proficiency, a cause of fewer hires among Filipino college graduates

March 22, 2009

The Philippines is relying heavily on its workforce to shore up the economy, but a recent evaluation of the Universal Access to Competitiveness and Trade (UACT,) a research arm of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce reveals that:

For every 100 applicants, only six to 10 percent are effectively recruited and deployed for an entry level job.” —-Philstar (03/22/09, Ronda, RA)

The main reason given why the Business process outsourcing (BPO) is having a hard time recruiting graduates from Philippine colleges and universities is the inadequacy in English proficiency. This is radical reversal of the Filipinos’ long-standing reputation of being good in English. It appears the country is now suffering the negative effects of its schizophrenic bilingual policy that continues to be a contentious issue in education. (Photo Credit: Atsibatsi) =0=

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UP’s bizarre nude runs spill over university belt

March 4, 2009

What was once a prank of running nude in the UP Diliman had morphed into a spectacle of genital display among other students in the University belt in Manila. Elevated from a raunchy tradition by the Alpha Phi Omega (APO) fraternity to dramatize “protests” against school issues like tuition fee increases or government corruption, members of the same fraternity staged another nude run in public streets.

The event has the usual draw of crowds— giggling watchers and cajoling voyeurs as male students excitedly bare their skin, interrupting commerce and vehicular traffic. The disruptive display of private body parts has caught the ire of Senator Minority Leader Aquilino Pimentel who sees zero value in the immature behavior.

Airing his disapproval to the Senate Education Committee and demanding for an investigation, Sen. Pimentel asserted, “Sanction the parties responsible, including the university authorities for their failure to exercise their duty to see to it that the laws and the rules of this country may prevail… What redeeming social value does displaying the male genitals to prurient or innocent audience, young and old, pose to justify it?” GMANewsTV (03/04/09; 03/05/99 Balagtas-See, A)

For the overwhelming majority, Pimentel can rightly remind individuals and school authorities of laws against lascivious public exhibitions. There are boundaries of decency that Filipinos must uphold even if students and their teachers imagine they are the naked patriots, “mga hubad na bayani“— the emblematic reincarnations of the statue guarding the entrance of UP.

Organized shedding off of clothes is hardly an affair that one can be proud of. The “Oblation Run” has become embarrassingly vulgar. Many innocent children have been exposed to body parts better wrapped in garments. Yet even UP, the cream of the country’s universities, finds nudity exhilarating. For its frequency, the bizarre exhibitions come like a recurrent lewd joke devoid of meaningful significance.

At the end of the 100th year of the state university, close to a hundred Upians in Diliman bare themselves as an “offering” to their alma mater. Similar controversial naked runs have been staged in different UP campuses and in schools where the APO fraternity has its members. (Photo Credit: Justin Jovellanos) =0=

RELATED BLOGS: “The Oblation Run: a risque prank becomes a raunchy protest” Posted by mesiamd at 6/20/2008; “Nudity in UP Campus” Posted by mesiamd at 12/18/2008

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Go dream and get an education

March 4, 2009

David Michael Bautista, known to the wrestling world as Batista has a good advice to Filipinos: Go dream and get an education. The message comes from the four-time world heavy weight wrestling champion who comes to Manila to promote the World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) which can be viewed in a local cable Jack TV.

Taking advantage of his popularity, the 6 feet 6 inches, 290 lbs. American wrestler of mixed Filipino and Greek parentage, shares some facets of his life to bring inspiration to young kids and his wrestling fans. Having lived a hard life in tough neighborhoods in USA before he grabbed a place in the sports limelight, 40 year-old Batista preaches the necessity of getting a good education—something he regretted not pursuing, but want others to have including his two children. (Photo Credit: Britt601)=0=

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As nursing jobs become scarce, 88,750 brace for the next board examination

November 11, 2008

The nursing profession is often equated with tender loving care (TLC,) a trademark of compassionate service. In the Philippines those who are sick have reasons to be happy for they have more than the nurses they need. There is a surplus of nurses competing to take care of patients.

Nurses are desperate to grab employment in the nation’s crowded healthcare system. Four hundred thousand (400,000) are reported to be jobless; a wave of newly licensed professionals will join them after the next board exams. With the highest number of examinees in history, a total of 88,750 nurses will sit for the Philippine Regulations Commission (PRC)-administered licensure test on November 29 and 30, 2008.

Carmencita Abaquin and Marco Sto. Tomas of the Board of Nursing are happy about the advances in testing computerization. Having recovered from the cheating scandal in the June 2006 test, the exam administrators insist that the well-guarded computers will do the job. They promise that the conduct of the forthcoming licensure will be “leakage free.” Those who configure the computers aren’t expected to rig the reault. They assume the machines and testing materials are tamper-proof.

Yet, there’s a big problem that looms behind the effort to prevent cheating. Nurses are badly in need of work. Job recruitment has been slow. They can’t volunteer in hospitals because there is almost no vacancy even if many hands are willing to work for free. Having spent time, talent and treasure to become professionals, the nurses don’t have jobs mainly because of government indifference and neglect.

Four hundred thousand (400,000) unemployed young nurses translate into a disgusting waste of labor capital. The staggering number is a monumental setback to those who offer their career for the country’s most popular profession. In financial terms, this is a blow to the campaign to send workers abroad for more dollars intended to boost the local economy. The government seems disengaged, proudly slow to react to the problem.

As in the past, the blame and anger spread in all fronts, but nothing effective to correct the labor crisis has been done. The government’s labor allocation policy has failed. Unable to protect the nursing profession, Philippine lawmakers, labor planners, school administrators, and licensure officials haven’t acted to the satisfaction of the public.

Counted among the country’s reliable cash cows, the poor silent nurses are mercilessly brushed aside now that there’s little need for them inside and outside the country. The docile professionals, unable to vent their frustration, pathetically wait for the day when they’ll be able to find work. Sadly, the day isn’t coming anytime soon—for there’s hardly anyone to help them. Together with the unemployed, a fraction of the 88,750 board examinees is about to rush for jobs that aren’t there. (Photo Credits: glenmcbethlaw; uberdoog; allwaysNY) =0=

As nursing jobs become scarce, 88,750 brace for the next board examination

November 11, 2008

The nursing profession is often equated with tender loving care (TLC,) a trademark of compassionate service. In the Philippines those who are sick have reasons to be happy for they have more than the nurses they need. There is a surplus of nurses competing to take care of patients.

Nurses are desperate to grab employment in the nation’s crowded healthcare system. Four hundred thousand (400,000) are reported to be jobless; a wave of newly licensed professionals will join them after the next board exams. With the highest number of examinees in history, a total of 88,750 nurses will sit for the Philippine Regulations Commission (PRC)-administered licensure test on November 29 and 30, 2008.

Carmencita Abaquin and Marco Sto. Tomas of the Board of Nursing are happy about the advances in testing computerization. Having recovered from the cheating scandal in the June 2006 test, the exam administrators insist that the well-guarded computers will do the job. They promise that the conduct of the forthcoming licensure will be “leakage free.” Those who configure the computers aren’t expected to rig the reault. They assume the machines and testing materials are tamper-proof.

Yet, there’s a big problem that looms behind the effort to prevent cheating. Nurses are badly in need of work. Job recruitment has been slow. They can’t volunteer in hospitals because there is almost no vacancy even if many hands are willing to work for free. Having spent time, talent and treasure to become professionals, the nurses don’t have jobs mainly because of government indifference and neglect.

Four hundred thousand (400,000) unemployed young nurses translate into a disgusting waste of labor capital. The staggering number is a monumental setback to those who offer their career for the country’s most popular profession. In financial terms, this is a blow to the campaign to send workers abroad for more dollars intended to boost the local economy. The government seems disengaged, proudly slow to react to the problem.

As in the past, the blame and anger spread in all fronts, but nothing effective to correct the labor crisis has been done. The government’s labor allocation policy has failed. Unable to protect the nursing profession, Philippine lawmakers, labor planners, school administrators, and licensure officials haven’t acted to the satisfaction of the public.

Counted among the country’s reliable cash cows, the poor silent nurses are mercilessly brushed aside now that there’s little need for them inside and outside the country. The docile professionals, unable to vent their frustration, pathetically wait for the day when they’ll be able to find work. Sadly, the day isn’t coming anytime soon—for there’s hardly anyone to help them. Together with the unemployed, a fraction of the 88,750 board examinees is about to rush for jobs that aren’t there. (Photo Credits: glenmcbethlaw; uberdoog; allwaysNY) =0=

Terrorism, economic meltdown and other problems facing Americans and the world

September 24, 2008

There is a lulling effect of media’s downplay of other important problems affecting Americans. As an example, in a Gallup poll taken in March 2008, only 2% worry about terrorism—as though it’s a problem of the past.

This is partly an effect of liberal media’s dismissal that those who are bothered by terrorism are essentially “war mongerers” and “alarmists.” Many media people are averse to paying the high cost of security to a point of misleading the public. They ignore that enemies determined to harm us take their time and they wait. There are those who believe diplomacy is often effective and terrorists and Al Qaeda can be appeased in the name of friendship.

The hard reality is terrorism only needs one occasion to succeed. And terrorists are determined and clever. They pulled through in 911 at the World Trade Center (WTC) and in the cowardly killings in Spain, Bali, Kenya, Pakistan, UK, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Philippines, and in other parts of the world. Being friendly with terrorists is therefore a risky business.

The problem issues that citizens (with changing and short attention spans) have grown. But would you believe, only 2% of Americans as of March 2008 Gallup Poll thinks terrorism is a problem?

The new economic woes in Wall Street divert the nation’s attention away from other equally significant problems. The world reacts the same way—finger-pointing on who is to blame after foolishly ignoring the danger signs of the economic meltdown before they blew in the people’s faces.

Reckless buying of houses that they couldn’t afford wasn’t a problem until the mortgage crisis took its toll. Many who were stuck to what they erroneously believed were gripped with panic. Denial, complacency and short memory proved to be dangerous to the security of these individuals, the nation, and the world.

The Most Important Problem(s) Facing America, March 2008

Economic Problems…………………….35%
Iraq War……………………………………21%
Health Care & Costs……………………8%
Fuel, Gas Costs………………………….8%
Immigration & Illegal Aliens……………6%
Jobs & Unemployment…………………..5%
Gov’t Corruption & Incompetence…..5%
Moral Decline………………………………4%
Education……………………………………4%
Inflation & Cost of Living………………..4%
Poverty & Hunger………………………….3%
National Security…………………………..2%
Terrorism…………………………………….2%

Source: Gallup Poll, March 2008/Fleeced (Morris, D; McGann E; Harper Collins Publishers, New York, 2008, pp. 46-47.) Photo Credit: Mario Zuccal. =0=

Washington Sycip’s Message to UP

September 17, 2008

QUESTIONS FOR THE FUTURE OF U.P. September 3, 2008
by Washington SyCip

PRESIDENT EMERLINDA ROMAN, MEMBERS OF THE FACULTY AND FRIENDS OF U.P.

NOT BEING A GRADUATE OF THE LEADING EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTION OF THE COUNTRY, I AM DEEPLY HONORED THAT YOU HAVE INVITED ME TO BE ONE OF THE SPEAKERS IN YOUR CELEBRATION OF A HUNDRED YEARS OF SERVICE TO THE NATION

IN TODAY’S TALK I INTEND TO RAISE A NUMBER OF VERY FRANK QUESTIONS SINCE YOU RECEIVE MORE GOVERNMENT FUNDS THAN ANY OTHER EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTION IN THE COUNTRY, I, AS A TAXPAYER, MAY CLAIM THE RIGHT TO DO SO.

I HOPE YOU WILL NOT CONSIDER THIS AS AN ABUSE OF THE GRACIOUS INVITATION EXTENDED ME BY PRESIDENT ROMAN.

1. GOING OVER THE BOOK “THE UNIVERSITY OF THE PHILPPINES – A UNIVERSITY FOR FILIPINOS* WHICH WAS PUBLISHED AS UP. CELEBRATED ITS DIAMOND JUBILEE TWENTY FIVE YEARS AGO, ONE CANNOT MISS THE INTRODUCTION THAT SAYS “…A U.P. DEGREE HOLDER IS GENERALLY BELIEVED TO BE MORE CAPABLE THAN MOST COLLEGE GRADUATES, AS WELL AS IMBUED WITH A SENSE OF PURPOSE…WITH MINDS CAPABLE OF NEW IDEAS AND PERCEPTIONS AND PASSIONATE COMMITMENT TO THE SOCIAL GOOD”. IF U.P. HAS ACCURATELY CLAIMED THAT DURING THE PAST 62 YEARS, AFTER WE LEFT THE U.S. UMBRELLA, U.P. GRADUATES HAVE OCCUPIED THE PRESIDENTIAL CHAIR FOR 46 YEARS, THEN I MAY ASK YOU “WHY ARE WE IN SUCH A MESS?”

OVER FIFTY YEARS AGO, WE WERE TOLD THAT WITH OUR ADVANTAGES OF BEING A CHRISTIAN NATION AND A DEMOCRACY, WE WILL BE, NEXT TO JAPAN, THE LEADING NATION IN EAST ASIA. TODAY WE FIND OURSELVES IN A STEADILY DECLINING POSITION REGARDLESS OF WHAT MEASURE WE GO BY: POVERTY INDEX, PER CAPITA
SPENDING ON EDUCATION, CRIME RATE, CORRUPTION RANKING, PEACE AND ORDER, RURAL HEALTH, THE LIST GOES ON.

UNFORTUNATELY, WE HAVE EVEN FOUND OURSELVES, INSPITE OF OUR LARGE POPULATION, WITH THE LAMENTABLE DISTINCTION OF BEING THE ONLY MAJOR SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATION THAT DID NOT WIN ANY MEDAL AT THE RECENTLY CONCLUDED OLYMPIC GAMES.

CAN WE BLAME THE RELIGION SPAIN BROUGHT TO OUR SHORES FIVE CENTURIES AGO FOR OUR LIMITATIONS OR THE U.S. FOR THE FAILURE OF OUR DEMOCRACY? SHOULDN’T OUR DECADES OF FREEDOM BE LONG ENOUGH FOR US TO CORRECT ANY INHERITED DISADVANTAGES?

WITH ALL THE TALENTED PEOPLE WE HAVE, WHY HAVE WE NOT BEEN ABLE TO PRODUCE A LEE KWAN YEW, WHO IN ONE GENERATION BROUGHT HIS PEOPLE IN SINGAPORE TO INCOME LEVELS OF THE U.S. OR GERMANY?

OR A K. T. LI OF TAIWAN, A PHYSICS GRADUATE OF CAMBRIDGE, WHO INTRODUCED THE COMPUTER TO EVERY AGE GROUP IN TAIWAN SO THAT THIS SMALL COUNTRY HAS BECOME THE LARGEST EXPORTER OF COMPUTERS AND COMPONENTS?

OR A MAHATHIR OF MALAYSIA WHO GREATLY IMPROVED INFRASTRUCTURE AND INCREASED INCOME LEVELS OF ALL CITIZENS IN A MIXED SOCIETY OF MALAYS, CHINESE AND INDIANS?

OR A GENERAL PARK OF SOUTH KOREA WHOSE TOUGH AND DISCIPLINED ADMINISTRATION INDUSTRIALIZED A COUNTRY WHERE THE LARGE FIRMS SUCCESSFULLY COMPETED WITH THE COMPANIES OF ITS FORMER COLONIAL MASTER?

OR A DENG HSIAO PING WHO RELEASED THE ENERGY OF HIS PEOPLE TO ACHIEVE IN 25 YEARS THE GREATEST REDUCTION OF POVERTY IN WORLD HISTORY?

WE DID HAVE THE PROMISE OF A RAMON MAGSAYSAY WHO AS SECRETARY OF DEFENSE GREATLY IMPROVED PEACE AND ORDER BUT WHOSE UNFORTUNATE EARLY DEATH 50 YEARS AGO PREVENTED HIM FROM CARRYING OUT A PROGRAM TO IMPROVE THE LIVES OF THE BOTTOM GROUP OF OUR PEOPLE.

THEN WE HAD RAFAEL SALAS, A BRILLIANT GRADUATE OF U.P. IN 1969, FRESH FROM MANAGING THE TRANSFORMATION OF CHRONIC SHORTAGE INTO AN ASTOUNDING PHILIPPINE RICE SUFFICIENCY BREAKTHROUGH, SALAS ACCEPTED A UNITED NATIONS OFFER TO HEAD A FLEDGLING FUND. HE BELIEVED AT THE U.N. THERE WOULD BE A POSSIBLITY OF MAKING A CONTRIBUTION TO SOLVING WHAT HE THOUGHT WAS
BECOMING ONE OF THE WORLD’S MAJOR PROBLEMS – POPULATION. HE THOUGHT THAT THE SAME STRATEGIES EMPLOYED IN THE RICE SUFFICIENCY PROGRAM, WOULD WORK IN A SOPHISTICATED INTERNATIONAL ENVIRONMENT AS THEY DID IN TRADITION BOUND PHILIPPINE RURAL COMMUNITIES. IN FACT HE WAS PROVEN RIGHT. ALEX MARSHALL OF THE UNITED NATIONS POPULATION FUND WRITES:

“THE CONSENSUS WHICH SALAS BUILT IS MORE THAN AN ACT OF DIPLOMACY. IT IS THE SOLID EVIDENCE OF THE RECOGNITION WORLDWIDE OF THE IMPORTANCE OF POPULATION IN DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMMES. IT HAS HELPED TO CHANGE THE POLICIES OF GOVERNMENTS; IT HAS HELPED TO CHANGE THE LIVES OF MILLIONS OF PEOPLE. IT HAS SET MEN AND WOMEN FREE TO MAKE CHOICES FOR THEMSELVES, AND HELPED SECURE
THE FUTURE OF CHILDREN YET UNBORN. THEY AND ALL OF US STAND IN HIS DEBT.”

BUT FILIPINOS HAVE SURMISED THAT RAFAEL LEFT THE PHILIPPINES BECAUSE HIS INTEGRITY AND COMPETENCE COULD NOT SURVIVE IN A CLIMATE OF GOVERNMENT CORRUPTION.

WILL U.P. BE ABLE TO PRODUCE OTHER LEADERS LIKE SALAS AND CAN THEY SUCCEED IN THE PHILIPPINE POLITICAL SOIL?

IN 1983, THIRTY YEARS AFTER HE HAD GRADUATED FROM THIS UNIVERSITY, AND AT THAT TIME AN UNDER SECRETARY GENERAL AT THE UNITED NATIONS, HE RETURNED HERE TO RECEIVE AN HONORARY DOCTOR OF LAWS DEGREE FROM HIS ALMA MATER. AS SALAS THANKED THE UNIVERSITY FOR THE HONOR CONFERRED ON HIM, HE ALSO TOOK LEAVE BY ASKING THE QUESTION:

WHAT CAN THE SCHOLARS OF THIS UNIVERSITY DO TO SOLVE THE PROBLEMS OF THE PHILIPPINES WHEN IT WILL BE A COUNTRY OF 70 MILLION PEOPLE”?

HIS WIDOW, CARMELITA R. SALAS, THE HIGHLY RESPECTED PHILIPPINE AMBASSADOR TO THE CZECH REPUBLIC, SPEAKING AT THE WORLD POPULATION DAY FORUM IN MANILA THIS LAST JULY, POINTED TO THIS VERY SAME CONCERN. TODAY, SHE SAID, THE PHILIPPINES IS A COUNTRY OF 89 MILLION, AND IN 2030 WILL BE CLOSE TO 140 MILLION. AGAIN, RAFAEL WOULD HAVE ASKED THE SCHOLARS OF THIS UNIVERSITY THE SAME QUESTION TODAY.

I ASK: WHAT WOULD BE THEIR ANSWER?

POST EDSA I, IN FEBRUARY OF 1987, WHEN FREEDOM IN THE PHILIPPINES HAD BEEN WON WITH WHAT THE WORLD WOULD KNOW AS “PEOPLE POWER”, SALAS WAS KEYNOTE SPEAKER AT THE DISTRICT MEETING OF ROTARY CLUBS IN MANILA. IN A SPEECH THAT ONE ROTARIAN REFERRED TO AS THE BEST SONA HE HAD EVER HEARD, RAFAEL SPOKE ON “MANAGING THE AFTERMATH”. LET ME READ TO YOU PART OF WHAT HE SAID:

BUT THIS FREEDOM CANNOT BE FULLY EXERCISED UNLESS THERE IS ORDER. GOVERNMENTS ARE INSTITUTED TO INSURE PEACE, STABILITY AND CONTINUITY; TO ENABLE THE CITIZENS TO PLAN THEIR FUTURE AND INSURE THE SURVIVAL AND GROWTH OF THEIR CHILDREN. THE RESUMPTION OF HOSTILITIES WITH THE NPA AND THE CONSTANT THREAT OF REBELLION IN MINDANAO AND A VERY HIGH INCIDENCE OF CRIME ARE POINTERS OF THE LACK OF ORDER I SPEAK OF. INSECURITY STIFLES PRODUCTIVITY. NO LONG-TERM INVESTMENT AND HIGH PRODUCTIVITY CAN BE ENCOURAGED WHEN BUSINESSMEN FEEL UNCERTAIN AND INSECURE. THE ADMINISTRATION HAS EXERTED A SINCERE EFFORT TO RESOLVE THESE PROBLEMS. BUT TIME PRESSES. ORDER MUST PREVAIL. A FREE SOCIETY CANNOT BE MOBILIZED FOR DEVELOPMENT UNLESS THERE IS A FEELING OF SAFETY AND CONFIDENCE IN THE FUTURE.”

THE SAME SPEECH WOULD HAVE BEEN RELEVANT POST EDSA II.

HOW PROPHETIC AND UNFORTUNATE THAT THINGS HAVE NOT CHANGED THE PAST 20 YEARS!

BUT “WHY” WE MUST ASK OURSELVES.

LET US BEGIN BY FOCUSING ON EDUCATION.

WE TEND TO UNFAIRLY BLAME EVERY CURRENT ADMINISTRATION FOR OUR PROBLEMS. BUT CAN’T WE SEE THAT THE STEADY DECLINE OF EDUCATIONAL STANDARDS IS THE CUMULATIVE EFFECT OF THE NEGLECT OF MANY ADMINISTRATIONS AND THE UNWILLINGNESS TO ADOPT LONG TERM SOLUTIONS TO PROBLEMS THAT CANNOT BE SOLVED BY A RIBBON CUTTING EVENT!

THE SUCCESS OR FAILURE OF ANY ORGANIZATION DEPENDS UPON ITS POLICIES AND EFFORTS ON DEVELOPING ITS HUMAN RESOURCES. FOR A NATION TO ADOPT SHORT TERM POLICIES ON EDUCATION IS NATIONAL SUICIDE! DOESN’T THE SOLUTION OF PEACE AND ORDER PROBLEMS DEPEND UPON RELATIVELY EQUAL EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES FOR THE RICH AND POOR, FOR THE CHRISTIANS AND MOSLEMS?

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2. WE AS A NATION ARE PROUD TO HAVE A UNIVERSITY OLDER THAN HARVARD. PROUD THAT U.P. CELEBRATES THE SUCCESS OF A HUNDRED YEARS. WE ARE PROUD OF ATENEO, LA SALLE AND MANY OTHER CATHOLIC UNIVERSITIES WHERE MEN AND WOMEN OF UPPER INCOME GROUPS ARE EDUCATED.

WE PRAISE THESE INSTITUTIONS OF LEARNING BUT AS A NATION WE SEEM TO ACCEPT THE SCANDALOUSLY HIGH NATIONAL DROPOUT RATES OF STUDENTS IN BASIC EDUCATION. THE FIGURES ARE WORSE IN MOSLEM AREAS AND IN POOR COMMUNITIES.

IN MANY TOWNS AND VILLAGES, SYNERGEIA, LED BY NENE GUEVARA, AND WORKING WITH MAYORS AND COMMUNITY LEADERS WHO WANT CHANGE, HAS IMPROVED LITERACY RATES. BUT MUCH, MUCH GREATER NATIONAL EFFORTS ARE NEEDED.

AS THE RECIPIENT OF THE LARGEST OF GOVERNMENT EDUCATION FUNDS, SHOULDN’T U.P. ENDEAVOR TO ENLIST ITS MANY SUCCESSFUL AND WEALTHY ALUMNI IN A CAMPAIGN TO RETURN TO THEIR ALMA MATER THE BENEFITS THEY HAVE RECEIVED FROM THE SCHOOL AND THUS ENABLE MORE FUNDS TO BE DIVERTED FROM U.P. AND ALLOCATED TO BASIC EDUCATION?

SHOULD THE STUDENTS FROM UPPER INCOME GROUPS NOT BE ASKED TO PAY FOR THE FULL COST OF EDUCATION? WHEN UPPER INCOME FAMILIES SEND THEIR CHILDREN ABROAD, THEY DO PAY “FULL TUITION”. SHOULD THEY NOT BE ASKED TO DO THE SAME IN THEIR OWN COUNTRY?

HAS U.P. STUDIED HOW NEIGHBORING COUNTRIES HAVE DROPPED POVERTY LEVELS?

THE ASIAN DEVELOPMENT BANK JUST RELEASED A REPORT POINTING OUT THAT THE PHILIPPINES AND INDIA, WHO CLAIM TO BE DEMOCRACIES, LAG BEHIND EAST ASIAN COUNTRIES IN REDUCING POVERTY. CHINA AND VIETNAM, BOTH AUTHORITARIAN STATES, ARE THE TWO COUNTRIES THAT HAVE RAPIDLY REDUCED POVERTY. ARE THERE LESSONS TO BE LEARNED HERE?

WHY HAVE SINGAPORE AND THAILAND DEVELOPED HOSPITALS FOR “MEDICAL TOURISM” WHILE WE SEND OUR EXCELLENT DOCTORS AND NURSES TO DEVELOPED COUNTRIES? SHOULD WE NOT ADVOCATE SOME SYSTEM WHERE DESTINATION COUNTRIES COMPENSATE US FOR TRAINING THESE PROFESSIONALS?

ARE INWARD REMITTANCES OF POOR OVERSEAS WORKERS WITH DIVIDED FAMILIES OFFSETTING OUTWARD REMITTANCES OF UPPER INCOME FILIPINOS, EDUCATED IN SUBSIDIZED SCHOOLS LIKE U.P., AND SETTING UP HOUSEHOLDS ABROAD?

YOU CAN, OF COURSE, TELL ME THAT THE WORLD IS FLAT AND YOUNG PEOPLE SHOULD BE FREE TO MOVE ANYWHERE. YES – OUR YOUNG MEN AND WOMEN SHOULD GO ABROAD – IT WIDENS THEIR HORIZON AND GIVES THEM THE SKILLS TO BETTER SERVE THEIR COUNTRY. BUT WE SHOULD STRIVE TO KEEP THEIR HEARTS FILIPINO AND WITH A RESOLVE THAT THEY WILL RETURN TO SERVE IN THEIR COUNTRY’S DEVELOPMENT. AND GOVERNMENT POLICY SHOULD WORK WITH THEM TO USE ITS LIMITED RESOURCES TO REDUCE POVERTY AND IMPROVE THE LIVES OF ALL CITIZENS.

IS U.P. DOING ITS PART TO HELP GOVERNMENT ADOPT LONG TERM EDUCATIONAL MEASURES TO ENSURE THIS?

3. WE ALL AGREE ON THE NEED OF NATIONAL UNITY. CAN WE POINT TO THE POLITICS OF FRATERNITIES AS THE ROOT OF THE EXCESSIVE TIME SPENT ON NATIONAL POLITICS? OR IS THE LACK OF UNITY A BASIC
DISADVANTAGE OF AN ISLAND NATION?

IS THE SLUGGISH PACE OF ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT THE RESULT OF BLIND ACCEPTANCE OF WESTERN THINKING THAT POLITICAL FREEDOM OR DEMOCRACY COMES AHEAD OF ECONOMIC FREEDOM? DOESN’T DEMOCRACY ASSUME THAT THERE MUST BE THE “RULE OF LAW” WHICH IMPLIES AN INDEPENDENT JUDICIARY WITH WELL TRAINED AND WELL PAID HONEST LAWYERS? WHERE JUDGES MAY BE POORLY PAID AND SUBJECT TO POLITICAL PRESSURES IS IT POSSIBLE TO HAVE AN INDEPENDENT JUDICIARY LET ALONE A WORKING DEMOCRACY?

U.P. HAS PRODUCED EXCELLENT LAWYERS AND MANY OF THE BAR TOPNOTCHERS THAT ARE MANAGING THE LARGE LAW FIRMS – BUT ARE THEY LEADERS IN REFORMING THE JUDICIAL SYSTEM?

4. U.P. AND ASIA

HOW CLOSE IS U.P. TO RECOGNIZING THAT THE PHILIPPINES IS PART OF ASIA AND THAT CHINA, INDIA AND JAPAN WILL BE EXERTING MORE INFLUENCE ON OUR FUTURE THAN THE U.S. AND EUROPE?

IS THE FACULTY OF U.P.’S SCHOOL OF ASIAN STUDIES DEEPLY KNOWLEDGEABLE ABOUT THE CULTURE AND THE POLITICAL THINKING OF OUR NEIGHBORS AND ARE THEY PROFICIENT IN OTHER ASIAN LANGUAGES?

EVEN JAPAN, VERY CLOSELY ALLIED TO THE US., DOES NOT HAVE THE GOVERNMENT OR ECONOMIC STRUCTURE OF THE WESTERN WORLD. THE PARTY IN POWER HAS NOT CHANGED FOR OVER 50 YEARS AND ITS CORPORATE STRUCTURE AND BEHAVIOR ARE VERY DIFFERENT FROM WESTERN FIRMS.

WITH THE TOYOTA DONATION, YOU WILL AT LEAST HAVE THE PHYSICAL STRUCTURE FOR THE SCHOOL OF ASIAN STUDIES. BUT THE FACULTY IS EVEN MORE IMPORTANT THAN THE BUILDING.

DOES OUR BEING THE ONLY CATHOLIC COUNTRY IN ASIA, WITH AN EXTREMELY CONSERVATIVE CHURCH LEADERSHIP, SEEN ONLY IN POLAND AND MALTA, HAMPER OUR CAPACITY TO UNDERSTAND OUR ASIAN NEIGHBORS? WHAT IS THE ROLE OF U.P. AS THE ONLY WELL KNOWN PHILIPPINE UNIVERSITY THAT IS NOT CATHOLIC?

WITH A 6% MOSLEM MINORITY AND OUR DEPENDENCE ON IMPORTED ENERGY, DOES U.P. HAVE A FACULTY THAT IS KNOWLEDGEABLE IN THE HISTORY AND CULTURE OF THE MIDDLE EAST AND FLUENT IN ARABIC LANGUAGES?

TO FOLLOW U.S. POLICY, WHICH WILL HAVE TO FAVOR ISRAEL, CAN ONLY SPELL DISASTER FOR THE PHILIPPINES.

HAS U.P. STUDIED WHAT MEASURES SHOULD BE TAKEN TO NARROW THE EDUCATION GAP BETWEEN CHRISTIANS AND MOSLEMS?


5. U.P. CAMPUS

ABOUT 10 DAYS AGO I WAS PRESENT AT THE CEREMONIES WHEN TOYOTA, RESPONDING TO THE EFFORTS OF GEORGE TY, AGREED TO DONATE THE VERY ATTRACTIVE P100 MILLION BUILDING TO U.P. ITS ARCHITECT, JOSE DANILO SILVESTRE, DEAN OF THE COLLEGE OF ARCHITECTURE, ASSURED ME THAT HE AND OTHER ALUMNI LIKE MR. PALAFOX, NOTED URBAN DESIGNER, WOULD BE WILLING TO DONATE THEIR TIME AND EXPERTISE TO
LANDSCAPE THE PRESENT CAMPUS.

MAINTENANCE OF A “NEW” CAMPUS CAN BE ASSIGNED TO BUILDING OCCUPANTS OR FRATERNITIES, OR STUDENT ORGANIZATIONS. MAYBE YOU CAN COLLECT PARKING FEES FROM CARS PARKED IN THE CAMPUS. TALENTED FILIPINO ARTISTS AND SCULPTORS CAN THEN BE ENCOURAGED TO DISPLAY THEIR WORK IN THE CAMPUS!

DOES U.P. HAVE A DEVELOPMENT PLAN FOR ITS LARGE CAMPUS?

6. U.P. AND TOURISM

OUR 3,000,000 ARRIVALS A YEAR ARE WAY BEHIND OUR NEIGHBORS’ 10 TO 12 MILLION VISITORS. TOURISM BENEFITS ALL THE PEOPLE IN THE COUNTRYSIDE. OUR PEOPLE ARE KNOWN TO BE THE MOST HOSPITABLE AND FRIENDLY. WE ARE AHEAD OF OUR NEIGHBORS IN ENGLISH, THE FIRST LANGUAGE OF TOURISM.

WHEN I VISITED BOHOL LAST YEAR I WAS TOLD THE INFLUX OF GERMAN TOURISTS TO THE ATTRACTIVE ISLAND IS DUE TO THE 200 GERMANS WHO HAVE HAPPILY SETTLED THERE WITH THEIR FILIPINA WIVES.

THE HOSPITALITY INDUSTRY WILL BE THE GROWTH AREA OF THE COUNTRY. WILL YOUR DIFFERENT SCHOOLS PLAY A MAJOR ROLE IN ASSISTING SECRETARY DURANO ACHIEVE HIS TARGETS?

7. U.P. AND AGRICULTURE

I HAVE MET MANY THAIS WHO ARE GRADUATES OF THE PRESTIGIOUS LOS BAÑOS AGRICULTURAL SCHOOL. BUT I WONDER WHY THE THAIS, WHO USUALLY BRING BACK A FILIPINA WIFE, HAVE MADE THAI AGRICULTURE MUCH MORE PRODUCTIVE AND EFFICIENT THAN WHAT WE HAVE BEEN ABLE TO DO HERE.

LET US TAKE NOTICE OF THE DOLE SUCCESS STORY. AS DEAN OF THE BUSINESS SCHOOL, CESAR VIRATA HAD STRONGLY ADVOCATED COOPERATION WITH LOS BAÑOS. THROUGH HIS EFFORTS, DOLE ESTABLISHED THEIR VERY SUCCESSFUL AND PRODUCTIVE AGRI-BUSINESS OPERATIONS IN MINDANAO.

WITH THE CATHOLIC CHURCH’S CAMPAIGN AGAINST A SOUND GOVERNMENT POPULATION POLICY, WHICH IN TURN HAMPERS THE COUNTRY’S CAPACITY FOR ADDRESSING ITS POPULATION GROWTH RATE, PERHAPS U.P.’S CONTRIBUTION TO INCREASING RICE PRODUCTION, CAN PREVENT A RECURRENCE OF THE PROBLEM THAT WE HAD THIS YEAR!

I WAS ON THE BOARD OF A MALAYSIAN PALM OIL COMPANY THAT WAS DIVERSIFYING INTO BAMBOO, THEY TOLD ME THE BAMBOO EXPERTS WERE IN LOS BAÑOS. YET WE IMPORT BAMBOO SHOOTS FROM CHINA!

SINCE AGRICULTURE IS STILL THE MOST IMPORTANT PART OF OUR ECONOMY, SHOULDN’T U.P. THEN, IN COOPERATION WITH SUCCESSFUL FARMERS, PUT PARTICULAR FOCUS ON THE STUDY AND IMPLEMENTATION OF EFFICIENT FOOD PRODUCTION TO BRING FOOD COSTS DOWN?

8. ALUMNI RELATIONS

A NEW UNIVERSITY HAS THE DISADVANTAGE OF NOT HAVING A SUCCESSFUL ALUMNI GROUP THAT YOU CAN TAP FOR FUNDS.

U.P. HAS THE ADVANTAGE OF CELEBRATING A CENTENNIAL WITH VERY DISTINGUISHED AND WEALTHY GRADUATES IN PRACTICALLY EVERY FIELD OF ACTIVITY. BUT HAS YOUR DEPENDENCE ON GOVERNMENT FUNDS RESULTED IN A NEGLECT OF YOUR ALUMNI? HOW MANY BUILDINGS, LABORATORIES, AUDITORIUMS, PROFESSORIAL CHAIRS HAVE BEEN DONATED BY YOUR MANY PROSPEROUS ALUMNI?

MANY OF THE FACILITIES AT THE PHILIPPINE GENERAL HOSPITAL NEEDS IMPROVEMENT. YET THIS WAS THE TRAINING GROUND OF MANY DOCTORS FROM U.P. ONE VERY SOCIALLY RESPONSIBLE U.P. MEDICAL SCHOOL GRADUATE IN THE U.S., WHO IS PLANNING TO RETIRE HERE, TOLD ME HE WAS SHOCKED WHEN SOME OF HIS CLASSMATES HERE WERE BRAGGING ABOUT HOW LITTLE TAXES THEY WERE PAYING INSPITE OF THEIR LUXURIOUS HOUSES, CARS AND TRIPS ABROAD!

ARE YOUR ALUMNI AWARE THAT THEY CAN LEGALLY REDUCE TAXES BY DONATING TO U.P.? MAYBE YEARLY SEMINARS TO UPDATE YOUR GRADUATES ON THE LATEST DEVELOPMENTS IN THEIR PROFESSION CAN ENCOURAGE THEM TO GIVE AN ANNUAL AMOUNT TO U.P.

I HAVE NO DOUBT THAT A WELL ORGANIZED AND AGGRESSIVE ALUMNI RELATIONS OFFICE WILL YIELD LARGE DIVIDENDS FOR U.P. AND THE NATION.

9. FACULTY

THE GREATNESS OF A UNIVERSITY IS ALWAYS MEASURED BY ITS FACULTY. FACULTY THAT WILL INSPIRE NOT MERELY INSTRUCT. MENTORS THAT WILL ENCOURAGE LEARNING AND THE USE OF THIS KNOWLEDGE TOWARDS NATION BUILDING.

A NATION’S PROGRESS IS ALSO DETERMINED BY WHAT IT DOES TO DEVELOP ITS HUMAN RESOURCES.

I READ THE REPORT OF YOUR NATIONAL COLLEGE OF PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION AND GOVERNANCE AND WAS VERY IMPRESSED WITH THE QUALIFICATIONS OF THE FACULTY AND LECTURERS. ASIDE FROM SEMINARS, PUBLICATIONS AND WORKSHOPS, WON’T IT BE WONDERFUL IF THEY CAN IMPLEMENT THE MANY CHANGES THEY ARE ADVOCATING, IN BASIC EDUCATION, IN THE CIVIL SERVICE, IN LOCAL GOVERNMENT AND IN THE FIGHT AGAINST CORRUPTION?

MY CONTACTS WITH YOUR FACULTY ARE MAINLY FROM YOUR EXCELLENT SCHOOL OF ECONOMICS AND THE BUSINESS SCHOOL AND, OF COURSE, WITH CYNTHIA BAUTISTA WHO HAS GIVEN INVALUABLE HELP TO THE MAGSAYSAY FOUNDATION IN FOCUSING ON ITS PLANS FOR THE NEXT 50 YEARS.

IS THIS STANDARD OF EXCELLENCE I SEE ALSO FOUND IN THE OTHER DEPARTMENTS?

CAN U.P. ENCOURAGE ITS BRIGHT FACULTY TO PUBLISH OBJECTIVE POSITION PAPERS ON NATIONAL ISSUES THAT WILL STOP THE ENDLESS AND CONFUSING DEBATES THAT ARE IN FULL PAGE ADS IN THE DAILY NEWSPAPERS?

CONSIDERING THE CONTRIBUTION U.P CAN MAKE IN OUR NATION’S FUTURE, SHOULD THIS UNIVERSITY NOT HAVE A “THINK TANK” WITH EXPERTS FROM ITS DIFFERENT SCHOOLS, POSSIBLY ALSO WORKING WITH NON U.P. GRADUATES, TO STUDY WHERE THE NATION IS TODAY, ITS NEGATIVES AND POSITIVES, AND HOW IT COULD
MOVE FORWARD IN THE NEXT 25 AND 50 YEARS?

HOPEFULLY, OUR MANY BRIGHT PEOPLE WILL UNITE BEHIND THIS PROGRAM TO REDUCE POVERTY AND PUT THE PHILIPPINES AGAIN IN A RESPECTABLE POSITION IN ASIA.

MAYBE SOME OF THE QUESTIONS I HAVE RAISED MAY BE EXPECTING TOO MUCH FROM AN EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTION, WITH LIMITED FUNDS, TO SOLVE ALL OF OUR NATIONAL
PROBLEMS.

BUT IT IS THE PRICE OF LEADERSHIP. THE BRIGHTEST YOUNG MEN AND WOMEN COME TO YOUR CAMPUS AND FOR THESE YOUNG MINDS, YOU MUST ENDEAVOR TO ATTRACT AND RETAIN THE BEST FACULTY IN EVERY SCHOOL.

IT IS MY PROFOUND HOPE THAT AGAINST ALL CHALLENGES, THIS GREAT UNIVERSITY, WITH AN INSPIRED ADMINISTRATION, A STRONG FACULTY AND AN ALUMNI CONSCIOUS OF ITS RESPONSIBILITY TO THE NATION, CAN, TOGETHER WITH THE SECRETARY OF EDUCATION, TAKE THE LEAD IN THE IMPLEMENTATION OF MAJOR REFORMS IN OUR PUBLIC SCHOOLS, WITHOUT WHICH POVERTY REDUCTION WILL BE DIFFICULT. AND WITHOUT WHICH, EQUAL OPPORTUNITY FOR ALL ITS CITIZENS TO BENEFIT FROM ECONOMIC GROWTH WILL NOT BE ATTAINABLE.


WITH THE PRESENT FINANCIAL DIFFICULTIES FACING THE DEVELOPED WORLD, OPTIMISTS ARE IN SHORT SUPPLY. BUT CAN WE HOPE THAT WE COULD FOLLOW THE PATH OF IRELAND, ALSO A VERY STRONG CATHOLIC COUNTRY, THAT WAS ABLE TO CONVINCE THE POLITICAL PARTIES TO ADOPT A COMMON ECONOMIC PROGRAM WHICH RESULTED IN THE RETURN OF THE YOUNG TALENTED PEOPLE THAT HAD MIGRATED TO THE UNITED
STATES AND UNITED KINGDOM? CAN THE VERY COMPETENT AND DISCIPLINED ECONOMISTS OF U.P. LEAD IN SUCH AN EFFORT?

ONLY THEN CAN A UNITED, PEACEFUL AND PROSPEROUS NATION BECOME A REALITY!

U.P. ALUMNI CLOSELY IDENTIFY THE OBLATION WITH THEIR ALMA MATER. BUT HOW MANY OF THEM REALLY KNOW THAT WHEN THE SCULPTOR TOLENTINO CREATED THIS FIGURE OF A YOUNG MAN WHOSE ARMS ARE OUTSTRETCHED IN A GESTURE OF SACRIFICE TO HIS COUNTRY AND HUMANITY, THE ARTIST ALSO PLACED AT ITS FEET A CLUSTER OF “KATAKALANTA” LEAVES, A PLANT THAT RAPIDLY MULTIPLIES TO SYMBOLIZE, AS TOLENTINO TELLS US THE “UNDYING STREAM OF HEROISM IN THE FILIPINO RACE.

AS THIS UNIVERSITY CELEBRATES ITS HUNDREDTH ANNIVERSARY I ASK A FINAL QUESTION: CAN WE EXPECT FROM U.P.’S LEADERSHIP THIS HEROISM THE COUNTRY BEGS FOR?=0=

N.B. Ma. Rhodora T. Gonzales, M.D., a psychiatrist in Lincoln Hospital Medical Center in New York City and fellow UPian and classmate sends this well-thought message of Washington Sycip in a speech he delivered during a UP Centennial Celebration convocation. Sycip’s queries as a non-UP graduate are invaluable in the search for relevance of our school today. AFM (September 16, 2008)

AdeN-CSI University: a boy and girl thing that never goes out of style

September 10, 2008


Why are reunions more popular than before? Is it a sign of ageing or is it an affirmation of being forever young? Is it still that boy and girl thing that never goes out of style? Or is it the bond that’s hard to describe, but so easy to feel with the heart?

Members of Ateneo de Naga High School ’73 known as the Golden Boys of Quiborak (GBQ’s,) myself included, are holding a reunion on September 13, 2008 in Naga City, Philippines. It’s an auspicious time to meet the flashy dames of Colegio de Sta Isabel (CSI) Class’73, the magagayons who for years never escaped our minds.

In a gesture of amity, reconciliation, and love, we agree to meet with the ladies. Like before, we’ll have another kurumustahan—this time in a random mix of classmates, friends and families, unsupervised by our teachers, very much unlike the occasions of pabiristohans in soirees we know.

A milestone that definitely tickles the imagination, for the first time we’ll encounter the popular girls in blue that we used to ogle in front of la porteria, at el campanario of Naga Cathedral or at el canto of Ateneo Avenue. The four imposing pillars of the west end near Quiborak seem to draw us like pubescent fireflies in pursuit of the blue girls in their pheromone-rich enclave a stone’s throw from Colgante Bridge.

The reunion not only gives credence to the belief that memories last, it also reminds us of the downside of having same-sex schools at the height of adolescent social awakening. We, the students, sequestered by a compulsory gender divide of our time, still have that persistent longing for pure friendships out of our exclusive cocoons, away from the tangled allure of a strip joint.

The drive to relive the remembrances of our juvenile years is so great that we make ways to meet and be cozy with each other. Away from the watchful gaze of the Catholic nuns of the Daughters of Charity (DC) and the priests of St. Ignatius’ Society of Jesus (SJ,) we have built a shadow co-ed school of our own—the Ateneo-CSI University.


It’s a utopian school that we have established. The Ateneo-CSI University doesn’t have boring lectures. Except for foul behavior, no one has to pay tuition. Wearing long hair or being bald isn’t an infraction. We don’t have to take periodic tests; uniforms aren’t required. There’s no pressure to attend convocations or join protest rallies. Absence and tardiness aren’t punished.

As if to break open a precious time capsule left in the sand dunes of the past or rescue an old surf-beaten bottle that has finally rested on a rugged shore, the reunion will be celebrated in muted grace, pomp, and style. On this unique day, there will be no pain and discomfort— only boundless happiness of having to return to where we are most comfortable, right at the cuddly bosom of affable classmates and supportive friends.

After 35 years we will reach out for the past that will make us laugh and cry. We’ll go back to the roads we walked before. We’ll point the trees we climbed and the steep mountains we scaled. We’ll go back to the woods we explored, glance at the homey blue sky, feel the breeze on our faces, and recall the meandering rivers we roamed.

Some of us will visit the abyssal depths of our fears if only to remind that we’re all human beings who stick together, through thick and thin as though we’re tied in an unbreakable blood compact of Magellan.

We encourage and help each other in good days and bad times like a herd of gazelles grazing in the vast plain. Deep into the vestiges of our own insecurity and personal triumph, we will mark a phenomenal passage. In this reunion, three decades after we left high school, what we have is unity and love, a reward of being bonded and truly alive! =0=

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Ateneo de Naga University Northeast USA Alumni Reunion Away from Home

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International Literacy Day: education opens the golden door

September 9, 2008

Bilang mga bata, tayo’s pag-asa ng mundo, bilang kabataan tayo’y realidad.”

“Como mga aki, kita esperanza nin kinaban, como mga jovenes kita an realidad.”

“De ninos somos la esperanza del mundo; de jovenes una realidad.”

As children we are the hope of the world; as youth we are a reality.

–Revisita Maryknoll(09/08 Vol.29, #7)

On a wonderful day, UP Ibalon’s Dan Daz, an artistic photographer of Legazpi City, Philippines takes this picture in a feeding center in Rapu-Rapu, Albay of an innocent child who’s among the hopes of our country. Poverty can be an obstacle to literacy, but nurturing brings hope. What does she want to be in the future? Education transforms and opens the golden door.(International Literacy Day, September 8, 2008) Photo Credits: Dan Daz; JunCruznaLigas; http://www.UN.org)

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84.1% functional literacy of Filipinos, but…

September 9, 2008

“Literacy is the Best Remedy,” is the theme of the UN International Literacy day observed on September 8. Based on multi-agency data which include the Department of Education and the National Statistical Council, the functional literacy of Filipinos is 84.1%. This means 67 million of us are functionally literate and 12.72 million are illiterate. Not bad.

But the big number of illiterates is still a huge problem. With a sizeable impaired segment of the population, we cannot tap the maximum potential and productivity of our workers. Having close to 13 million individuals lacking in education and skills is a huge drain in our pool of nation builders. By estimates, this is close or a bit larger than the extent of the country’s brain drain—Filipinos who have left for jobs abroad.

Philippines must not slacken for about 65% of our youth are out of school and 56% of our students are not able to graduate in high school. Philstar (09/09/08, Roces, AR) There is an ominous message in this statistics as we proceed to the 21st century. Realizing that among the ranks of highly schooled literates, a significant number of talented Filipinos use their educational edge for their own selfish ends, the picture doesn’t look pretty. (Photo Credits: EDP@ICC)=0=


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