Archive for the ‘leadership’ Category

Falling ratings of Pres. Gloria M. Arroyo

March 16, 2009

It comes less of a surprise for the public to know that Pres. Gloria M. Arroyo (GMA) gets bad ratings for her work in the executive office. According to the survey on February 20 to 23, 2009 by the Social Weather Station Inc. (SWS,) her disapproval rating fell further to a net rating of negative (-) 33 (26% satisfied and 59% dissatisfied.)

“The President’s latest net satisfaction rating is lower compared to “poor” -24 percent (29 percent satisfied, 53 percent dissatisfied) in December and poor -27 (27 percent satisfied, 54 percent dissatisfied) in September.”—-Philstar (03/17/09, Sy, M)

More than half of the Filipinos don’t approve of GMA’s performance, in spite of Malacanang’s wish that the president be given appreciation for unrecognized “accomplishments.” Pres. Spokesman Lorelei Fajardo cites Arroyo’s work of insulating the country from the impacts of domestic and global economic crisis.

Many Filipinos feel this is untrue because the full blown effects of the financial crisis are yet to come. Even without the global crisis, the Philippines has been reeling in widespread poverty with about 40% of the population facing hunger each day. Her approval rating has been bad compared to past presidents Corazon Aquino, Fidel Ramos and Joseph Estrada. With the presidential election coming in 2010, the public appears to extend their patience for GMA,—opting to let her corruption-riddled government to pass. (Photo Credit: AP/ Aaron Familia)=0=

RELATED BLOGS: “Corruption scandals hurting Filipinos under Pres. Gloria M. Arroyo” Posted by mesiamd at 1/29/2009; “Not as a lecturer or as a judge,” EU thinks RP must do more to curb corruption Posted by mesiamd at 1/29/2009; “Corruption and apathy: where will these lead us?” Posted by mesiamd at 2/10/2009

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Obama’s popularity plunges from 83% to 68% a few days after assuming presidency

January 27, 2009

If only to augur the things that are to come, in less than a week Pres. Barack Obama’s approval rating dropped by 15 points. From a sky-high 83%, the new score fell to 68%. The long honeymoon predicted for the widely popular president is challenged by the worsening outlook of the economy.

The patience of the American people may not hold in spite of the dramatic changes Obama offers the public. Abandoning some blind credulity, supporters are now looking closely at the programs and plans the administration is selling the nation. Bashing the past administration, there is effort to paint a rosy liberal governance to replace the old. But it seems inadequate in reversing the public’s lack of trust.

According to the Gallup poll, the drastic fall of Obama’s support suggests the herculean task and towering expectation the president is facing. His words and actions are under urgent scrutiny as dark clouds threaten to choke the immediate future of the country.

In spite of the media’s commitment to bring the glib president in the best light, there are many Americans who feel wary. They see something corrupt and negligent. For being remiss of their duties, politicians and community leaders aren’t as trustworthy as before. And it is causing a toll on Barack Obama.(Photo Credit: Sebastian Niedlick/ Grabthar; Spudart) =0=

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Barack Obama takes oath as the 44th US president

January 20, 2009

On this day, we gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord.”—Pres. Barack Obama, 44th US President (01/20/09, Inaugural Speech, Washington,DC)

CONGRATULATIONS MR. PRESIDENT!

We salute and wish you good luck. May God bless you always.
—UP Ibalon and Friends

President Barack Obama’s inaugural address on Tuesday, January 20, 2009

My fellow citizens. I stand here today humbled by the task before us, grateful for the trust you have bestowed, mindful of the sacrifices borne by our ancestors. I
thank President Bush for his service to our nation, as well as the generosity and cooperation he has shown throughout this transition.

Forty-four Americans have now taken the presidential oath. The words have been spoken during rising tides of prosperity and the still waters of peace. Yet, every so often the oath is taken amidst gathering clouds and raging storms. At these moments, America has carried on not simply because of the skill or vision of those in high office, but because we the people have remained faithful to the ideals of our forebears, and true to our founding documents.

So it has been. So it must be with this generation of Americans.

That we are in the midst of crisis is now well understood. Our nation is at war, against a far-reaching network of violence and hatred. Our economy is badly weakened, a consequence of greed and irresponsibility on the part of some, but also our collective failure to make hard choices and prepare the nation for a new age. Homes have been lost; jobs shed; businesses shuttered. Our health care is too costly; our schools fail too many; and each day brings further evidence that the ways we use energy strengthen our adversaries and threaten our planet.

These are the indicators of crisis, subject to data and statistics. Less measurable but no less profound is a sapping of confidence across our land — a nagging fear that America’s decline is inevitable, and that the next generation must lower its sights.

Today I say to you that the challenges we face are real. They are serious and they are many. They will not be met easily or in a short span of time. But know this, America — they will be met.

On this day, we gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord.

On this day, we come to proclaim an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn out dogmas, that for far too long have strangled our politics.

We remain a young nation, but in the words of Scripture, the time has come to set aside childish things. The time has come to reaffirm our enduring spirit; to choose our better history; to carry forward that precious gift, that noble idea, passed on from generation to generation: the God-given promise that all are equal, all are free and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness.

In reaffirming the greatness of our nation, we understand that greatness is never a given. It must be earned. Our journey has never been one of shortcuts or settling for less. It has not been the path for the faint-hearted — for those who prefer leisure over work, or seek only the pleasures of riches and fame. Rather, it has been the risk-takers, the doers, the makers of things — some celebrated but more often men and women obscure in their labor, who have carried us up the long, rugged path towards prosperity and freedom.

For us, they packed up their few worldly possessions and traveled across oceans in search of a new life.

For us, they toiled in sweatshops and settled the West; endured the lash of the whip and plowed the hard earth.

For us, they fought and died, in places like Concord and Gettysburg; Normandy and Khe Sahn.

Time and again these men and women struggled and sacrificed and worked till their hands were raw so that we might live a better life. They saw America as bigger than the sum of our individual ambitions; greater than all the differences of birth or wealth or faction.

This is the journey we continue today. We remain the most prosperous, powerful nation on Earth. Our workers are no less productive than when this crisis began. Our minds are no less inventive, our goods and services no less needed than they were last week or last month or last year. Our capacity remains undiminished. But our time of standing pat, of protecting narrow interests and putting off unpleasant decisions — that time has surely passed. Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the work of remaking America.

For everywhere we look, there is work to be done. The state of the economy calls for action, bold and swift, and we will act — not only to create new jobs, but to lay a new foundation for growth. We will build the roads and bridges, the electric grids and digital lines that feed our commerce and bind us together. We will restore science to its rightful place, and wield technology’s wonders to raise health care’s quality and lower its cost. We will harness the sun and the winds and the soil to fuel our cars and run our factories. And we will transform our schools and colleges and universities to meet the demands of a new age. All this we can do. All this we will do.

Now, there are some who question the scale of our ambitions — who suggest that our system cannot tolerate too many big plans. Their memories are short. For they have forgotten what this country has already done; what free men and women can achieve when imagination is joined to common purpose, and necessity to courage.

What the cynics fail to understand is that the ground has shifted beneath them — that the stale political arguments that have consumed us for so long no longer apply. The question we ask today is not whether our government is too big or too small, but whether it works — whether it helps families find jobs at a decent wage, care they can afford, a retirement that is dignified. Where the answer is yes, we intend to move forward. Where the answer is no, programs will end. Those of us who manage the public’s dollars will be held to account — to spend wisely, reform bad habits, and do our business in the light of day — because only then can we restore the vital trust between a people and their government.

Nor is the question before us whether the market is a force for good or ill. Its power to generate wealth and expand freedom is unmatched, but this crisis has reminded us that without a watchful eye, the market can spin out of control — and that a nation cannot prosper long when it favors only the prosperous. The success of our economy has always depended not just on the size of our gross domestic product, but on the reach of our prosperity; on our ability to extend opportunity to every willing heart — not out of charity, but because it is the surest route to our common good.

As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals. Our founding fathers … our found fathers, faced with perils we can scarcely imagine, drafted a charter to assure the rule of law and the rights of man, a charter expanded by the blood of generations. Those ideals still light the world, and we will not give them up for expedience’s sake. And so to all the other peoples and governments who are watching today, from the grandest capitals to the small village where my father was born: know that America is a friend of each nation and every man, woman, and child who seeks a future of peace and dignity, and that we are ready to lead once more.

Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with sturdy alliances and enduring convictions. They understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please. Instead, they knew that our power grows through its prudent use; our security emanates from the justness of our cause, the force of our example, the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.

We are the keepers of this legacy. Guided by these principles once more, we can meet those new threats that demand even greater effort — even greater cooperation and understanding between nations. We will begin to responsibly leave Iraq to its people, and forge a hard-earned peace in Afghanistan. With old friends and former foes, we will work tirelessly to lessen the nuclear threat, and roll back the specter of a warming planet. We will not apologize for our way of life, nor will we waver in its defense, and for those who seek to advance their aims by inducing terror and slaughtering innocents, we say to you now that our spirit is stronger and cannot be broken; you cannot outlast us, and we will defeat you.

For we know that our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness. We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus — and non-believers. We are shaped by every language and culture, drawn from every end of this Earth; and because we have tasted the bitter swill of civil war and segregation, and emerged from that dark chapter stronger and more united, we cannot help but believe that the old hatreds shall someday pass; that the lines of tribe shall soon dissolve; that as the world grows smaller, our common humanity shall reveal itself; and that America must play its role in ushering in a new era of peace.

To the Muslim world, we seek a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect. To those leaders around the globe who seek to sow conflict, or blame their society’s ills on the West — know that your people will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy. To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history; but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.

To the people of poor nations, we pledge to work alongside you to make your farms flourish and let clean waters flow; to nourish starved bodies and feed hungry minds. And to those nations like ours that enjoy relative plenty, we say we can no longer afford indifference to the suffering outside our borders; nor can we consume the world’s resources without regard to effect. For the world has changed, and we must change with it.

As we consider the road that unfolds before us, we remember with humble gratitude those brave Americans who, at this very hour, patrol far-off deserts and distant mountains. They have something to tell us, just as the fallen heroes who lie in Arlington whisper through the ages. We honor them not only because they are guardians of our liberty, but because they embody the spirit of service; a willingness to find meaning in something greater than themselves. And yet, at this moment — a moment that will define a generation — it is precisely this spirit that must inhabit us all.

For as much as government can do and must do, it is ultimately the faith and determination of the American people upon which this nation relies. It is the kindness to take in a stranger when the levees break, the selflessness of workers who would rather cut their hours than see a friend lose their job which sees us through our darkest hours. It is the firefighter’s courage to storm a stairway filled with smoke, but also a parent’s willingness to nurture a child, that finally decides our fate.

Our challenges may be new. The instruments with which we meet them may be new. But those values upon which our success depends — hard work and honesty, courage and fair play, tolerance and curiosity, loyalty and patriotism — these things are old. These things are true. They have been the quiet force of progress throughout our history. What is demanded then is a return to these truths. What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility — a recognition, on the part of every American, that we have duties to ourselves, our nation, and the world, duties that we do not grudgingly accept but rather seize gladly, firm in the knowledge that there is nothing so satisfying to the spirit, so defining of our character, than giving our all to a difficult task.

This is the price and the promise of citizenship.

This is the source of our confidence — the knowledge that God calls on us to shape an uncertain destiny.

This is the meaning of our liberty and our creed — why men and women and children of every race and every faith can join in celebration across this magnificent Mall, and why a man whose father less than sixty years ago might not have been served at a local restaurant can now stand before you to take a most sacred oath.

So let us mark this day with remembrance, of who we are and how far we have traveled. In the year of America’s birth, in the coldest of months, a small band of patriots huddled by dying campfires on the shores of an icy river. The capital was abandoned. The enemy was advancing. The snow was stained with blood. At a moment when the outcome of our revolution was most in doubt, the father of our nation ordered these words be read to the people:

“Let it be told to the future world … that in the depth of winter, when nothing but hope and virtue could survive…that the city and the country, alarmed at one common danger, came forth to meet (it).”

America, in the face of our common dangers, in this winter of our hardship, let us remember these timeless words. With hope and virtue, let us brave once more the icy currents, and endure what storms may come. Let it be said by our children’s children that when we were tested we refused to let this journey end, that we did not turn back nor did we falter; and with eyes fixed on the horizon and God’s grace upon us, we carried forth that great gift of freedom and delivered it safely to future generations.

Thank you. God bless you. And God bless the United States of America.

Source: AP/ Yahoo.News (Photo Credits: Reuters/ Jason Reed; Reuters/ Jim Bourg; AP/ Jason de Crow; AP/ Carolyn Kaster ; AP/ Nick Ut; Traqair57;____; Reuters/ Tannen Maury)=0=

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Erlinda Requejo-Arellano: outstanding Bicolana community leader of New Jersey

January 18, 2009

As the Bicol National Association of America (BNAA) gears for its July national convention in New York City this year, I can’t help but pay tribute to Erlinda Requejo-Arellano (Linda,) president of the Bicolandia Association Inc. of the Eastern Seaboard USA. She is at the helm of the preparations for the grand event which will draw Bicolanos and friends in the tri-state area.

I believe Linda is most capable in doing the job. She is a well-known community leader with outstanding accomplishments to her credit. Having been the founding president of the Filipino American Political Action Coalition of New Jersey, Inc. (FAPAC-NJ), she serves as the organizer and founding President of the Filipino American Political Action Group of Essex County and Vice President (Eastern Region) of the Bikol National Association of America.

She is the auditor of the Philippine American Communities Executive Council and the vice president of the Filipino Association of Northern New Jersey, Inc. (FANNJI). An adviser and three-time past overall chairperson of the Philippine Day Organizing Council (PDOC,) she is a mover in the Women’s Initiatives of Nutley headed by the mayor Joan Cocchiola.

Linda assumed headship and remains to be an engaging adviser of the Our Lady of Penafrancia Devotees Association, Inc. (OLPDA,) a religious organization which promotes the devotion to the patroness of the Bicol Region. A strong-willed daughter of a war veteran-hero, she took the position of founding president of the Sons, Daughters and Orphans of Philippine American Veterans, Inc.

Among Linda’s other numerous community involvements was her longtime presidency in the Filipino American Voters’ League, Inc. She admirably served as a mentor in the Juvenile Urban Mentoring Program of Passaic Youth, treasurer of 2002 Multicultural Committee of Passaic, member of the 1999 Facilities Advisory Board and Chairman of the 1998 Quality of Life Program, both of the Passaic Board of Education.

From 1995 through 1998, Linda prominently sat on the board of the United Passaic Organization (a CAP agency) as an able treasurer, chairman of the finance committee, and member of the education and fundraising Committees. Professionally, Linda is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the New Jersey Society of Certified Public Accountants.

Born with twin sister Mila, Linda hails from Canaman, Camarines Sur, Bicol Region, Philippines where the Requejo family has humbly served the community for over 100 years, majority of the years were under the mayoralty of her grandfather and father Damaso who served the most. Her brother Emmanuel is currently the mayor.

A consistent honor student at the Colegio (now Universidad) de Sta. Isabel, Naga City, spanning her elementary and high school years, Linda was one of the Three Most Outstanding High School Students. She was bestowed leadership and academic excellence recognition from among over 5,000students in the city.

After high school, she won an American Field Service scholarship and spent a year in Kenmore (Buffalo) New York. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of Santo Tomas in Manila with a Bachelors of Science degree in Commerce major in Accounting. Soon after passing the Philippine accountancy exams, she joined Sycip, Gorres and Velayo, CPA’s and LM Power Engineering until she immigrated to the United States.

She worked for Franwall Optical Co. while taking graduate credits at the State University of NY in Buffalo. She moved for a better career offer with an accounting firm in Clifton, NJ where she earned her New Jersey license as a certified public accountant (CPA.) She was senior accountant and office manager of the firm for 17 years. Presently, Linda is the comptroller of the Passaic Board of Education, a job of trust which oversees a budget of over $200 million.

Linda was recently feted with a leadership award for political advocacy by the Pan American Concerned Citizens Action League, Inc. (PACCAL). Her leadership in political empowerment has also earned her the Go an Extra Mile (GEM) recognition given by the Filipino Asian Bulletin community and the St. Vincent de Paul Public Service Award, for being among the first awardees of the Universidad de Sta. Isabel as an outstanding alumna.

Other sterling distinctions she has had the pleasure of receiving are the United States Special Congressional Recognition for Leadership and Community Service, the New Jersey Assembly Award for outstanding community leadership, the Philippine Day Organizing Council Recognition Award for outstanding leadership, the Philippine Day Organizing Council Bayanihan (Communal Spirit) Award, the Passaic Board of Education Recognition Award as chairperson of the Quality of Life Program, and awards from the Philippine American Friendship Committee, the Philippine Independence Celebration Committee, the Performing Arts of the Philippines, Inc., the Philippine American Communities Council, Inc., the Philippine American Veterans Organization, Inc. and the Bicolandia Association, Inc.

Above all these, what Linda brags to be an “award” that’s unparalleled, unsurpassed and only hers to claim is being mother of her two most wonderful children, Gerard, 29and Marie, 28. =0=

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Naga City Mayor Jesse M. Robredo: a beacon of hope

January 16, 2009

Many UP Ibalonians know Jesse. The popular Bicolano mayor who is an adopted member of the Ibalons shares the mission of the organization. Gearing for more national leadership, he is at the forefront of of the Kaya Natin movement, a group of hope-driven Filipinos who seeks better governance, transparency and ethical responsibility in public service. Ibalonian Don Salvosa shares an inspiring article about Jesse written by Harvey S. Key of the KN movement which appeared in Manila Bulletin, Sunday, December 28, 2008. The piece is reproduced entirely below.—mesiamd (01/16/09)

Things I learned from Mayor Jesse Robredo
by: Harvey S. Keh

For many of you who don’t probably know him, Mayor Jesse Robredo is the multi-awarded incumbent city mayor of Naga City, which is currently the main commercial area of the Bicol Region. Aside from this, Mayor Robredo was also one of the first Filipino winners of the Ramon Magsaysay Award for Government Service which is equivalent to Asia’s Nobel Prize. He won the award because he was able to transform Naga City from a third class municipality to a first class city and uplift the quality of life of his constituents. Moreover, he was able to develop systems that would enable government processes to be more transparent and accountable to his constituents. As a prime example of this, when one visits the website of Naga City, you would be able to see all the expenses and purchases of the city government. In the more than 16 years of being the mayor of Naga, the city has received accolades from national and international organizations such as the World Bank and the United Nations.

I met Mayor Robredo in 2001 at an event organized by Synergeia Foundation, one of the country’s more effective institutions in improving our public education system. Since then, Mayor Robredo has been one of the people I have looked up to for advice and his effective brand of leadership has been a constant source of inspiration for me. As such, I wanted to share the things that I have learned through these years that I have worked with him.

Firstly, I have learned that there are still people like him who continue to remain ethical despite being in government service for the past 16 years. Many people have dissuaded me from entering government service since they say that no one actually survives the current system of pervasive graft and corruption. Mayor Robredo has shown that one need not compromise his or her values and principles to be able to govern and deliver basic services to the people in an effective manner.

When I asked him what was his secret for being steadfast in his values, he told me that his faith in God and his family are his main foundations, and this is the second lesson that I learned from him. In a society where we hear of politicians having several wives and families, we have someone like Mayor Robredo who continues to put premium on his being a loyal husband and a loving father who devotes time to his three daughters. I remember a time wherein he failed to attend one of our Kaya Natin! Caravan of Good Governance events in the province since his daughter sought his help with regard to her school project. Many politicians would often jump at the chance just to be able to speak before thousands of students but Mayor Robredo chose to be with his daughter who needed him during that time.

Aside from this, Mayor Robredo has also shown that he is a man that can stand up for what he believes in even if he already knows that majority are no longer with him. This can be seen when in the last 2 Presidential elections, wherein he chose to support the late Senator Raul Roco because he believed that he would make a good President for our country even if he already knew that surveys have shown that Senator Roco would have a slim chance of winning and even if he already knew that if Senator Roco loses he may not be able to get the support of the winning candidate. Standing up and holding on to your own principles is something that is clearly lacking in many of our leaders today. Our present day leaders will often support issues or people that will help propagate their own self-interests without necessarily thinking if what they are supporting will be for the common good.

Finally, one of the most important lessons I learned from Mayor Robredo is the simplicity of his way of life. When one thinks of Filipino politicians, large houses and expensive cars always comes to mind but when one visits Naga, you will see that despite being on his 6th term as mayor of a 1st class city, he continues to live in a very simple home. I remember one time wherein we met in my office in Quezon City and I saw him just taking a cab without any bodyguards to reach our office. Back then, I was quite surprised since I was used to seeing politicians with their big cars, blaring sirens and their throngs of bodyguards. Among all of these lessons, I think what Mayor Robredo has shown me is that there is still much to Hope for in our country if we have more principled leaders like him who will continue
to deliver proper services to the people and will always put the interests of our country above his or her own interests.(Photo Credits: http://www.nagagov.ph x 2; Rolye) =0=

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Obama takes a statistical lead on the 41st day before election; McCain suspends campaign and debate to address financial crisis

September 24, 2008


Presidential candidate Barack Obama gains 6 point lead over John McCain today September 24, 2008, 41 days before the November 4 election. Obama’s present advantage is probably a windfall from the blame the Republican party is getting from the financial meltdown bogging the market after Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Lehman Brothers, Bear Stearns, among others filed government protection from bankruptcy.

The genesis of the economic crisis is traced on long-standing corporate greed pervasive in Wall Street, the weak oversight by government regulators for many years, corruption, and the lack of accountability in the banking system, making both Democratic and Republican parties culpable.

In 2001, the Bush administration had pushed for a tightening of the mortagage lending, but Democrats like Cong. Barney Frank (D-MA) head of house financial services committee blocked the initiative.

Citing urgency of the matter, McCain,in a display of leadership, cancels a scheduled debate with Obama on Friday night, September 26, 2008, to focus in bringing a bipartisan solution to the crisis. A bail-out financial package is needed to be passed by the Congress to avert further damage in the economy.

At this time, Obama doesn’t want to stop his campaign. He thinks he can do the campaigning and helping fix the economic crisis at the same time. The impasse in the proposed $700 billion bailout of the financial institutions need to be addressed quickly to avert full-blown economic collapse. (Photo Credit: Mario Zucca)=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)

The Filipino-American President of the United States?

August 10, 2008

No sooner than former mayor Rudy Guiliani of New York (who rose to prominence for heroically managing the 911 terrorist attack of the Twin Tower) advised us that we must choose the candidate we can trust, I got this composite photo of a man from my email. (Photo Credit: KTphotografia)

He has the striking hallmarks of success which represent how a US presidential candidate of Filipino-American descent may look. Like Barack Obama, the familiar gentleman doesn’t have any resemblance to the faces which grace the dollar bills of United States. He doesn’t have the skin tone, tall nose, and demeanor of ex-soldier-former POW John McCain either. But interestingly, he makes us smile and think for a while. He mixes flavors just like our cool halo-halo served with long spoons and tall elegant glasses.

Do you know this man?

Dressed in a dark power suit and a matching gray tie, he has the curly hairdo of Barack Obama, the moustache of top pugilist Manny Pacquiao, and the twinkle of a smile from a regular brown guy walking the streets of Manila. The azure bright sky auspiciously beckons behind him. It’s the best clime for our presidential candidate—for the top job in Washington, DC.

Yet, what could be in his background, his mind, and ability to make us think he can be presidential? Is he the guy we can trust or is he the person we can repeat our history together? Eyeing the presidency starts with a dream, but it can end up with a nightmare as well.

During a visit to Philippines, Guiliani was a speaker in a Manila forum dubbed “Leadership in Times of Crisis.” He seemed well-informed about the politics in Manila so much so that he focused on a timely theme—-a government we need must be principled, honest, transparent, and not obsessed with popularity. His advice was well-received by VIPs, executives, government men, think tanks, and business leaders whom he asked, “Who do you want that’s closest to the future for your country?” =0=