April 29, 2005

Mabuhay ang Kamote

kamoteNgayong araw na ito labingwalong taon na ang nakakaraan, isang kamote ang isinilang sa mundo. Hindi pa siya mukhang kamote noon, pero ngayon ay isa na siyang full-blown kamote.

Nawa'y tubuan pa siya ng mas maraming ugat. Bow.

April 28, 2005

A sad day

PunongbayanFormer Phivolcs chief Raymundo Punongbayan was among those who died today in a helicopter crash in Nueva Ecija. Punongbayan, along with four Phivolcs staff, were to do an ocular inspection for a planned resetllement area in Aurora following last December's landslides.

For people like me who grew up during the 90s, Dr. Punongbayan was one of our "heroes". He has become a household name in the Philippines because of his visibility in TV and radio during the Mt. Pinatubo eruption. He educated people about the Richter scale, the difference between magnitude and intensity, and the origins of lahar and different pyroclastic materials. He actually made me want to become a scientist, even for just a fleeting moment.

It's a sad day not only for the Philippine scientific community but for the whole Philippine nation.

April 27, 2005

Tsismoso

Sabi nila, makinig ka lang sa paligid mo, ang dami ka nang masasagap na makulay na mga kuwento. Kaya eto ang sample ng mga narinig ko kanina:

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Mula sa isang lalakeng nagba-bike nang mabilis habang na may nakaangkas na babae:

"Wag kang magulo, wala akong preno"

(Diyos ko. Sana di sila nasagasaan.)
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Mula sa isang babae na may kausap sa cellular phone habang nasa National Bookstore:

"Sige, tatawagan kita mamaya...Hindi nga puwede, may boyfriend na ako."

(Hmmmmmm...hehehehe!!!)
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Mula sa isa sa tatlong lalake na sumabit sa jeep kahit maluwag sa loob. Kausap niya mga kabarkada nila na hindi sumamang sumabit:

"Sige, sumabit na lang kayo sa ibang jeep. Kita kita na lang sa riles."

(Siyet. Bumaba tuloy ako at naglakad na lang pauwi.)

April 26, 2005

Biyaheng FEyUps: Reklamador

"Dapat di mo sinisiraan ang pinagtatrabahuhan mo hangga't nasa loob ka pa. Unethical yun."

Sinabi ito sa akin ng isa kong kasamahan noong nakaraang Sabado. Madaldal kasi ako, at may tendency na punahin ang sistema ng patakbo sa aming eskuwelahan sa harap ng maraming tao. Sa isang banda, may punto siya. Sabi nga ng ilan, kung di mo gusto ang sistema, e di umalis ka!!! Ipinapayo ko rin naman ito sa ilang mga kakilala ko kasi nakakaawa pag may nagpapaka-torture sa pagtagal sa isang sitwasyong hindi naman niya ikinasisiya.

Pero sa isang banda, kung ang punto ng pagrereklamo ay dahil gusto kong mabago ang sistema, e bakit ako aalis? Paanong lalabas ang mga mali at mababago ang sistema kung walang magrereklamo? Parang sa sitwasyon ng Pilipinas yan e. Paano ako makakapag-contribute sa pagtama ng mga mali ng Pilipinas kung susukuan ko ito at magpapakasaya na lang ako sa labas? O kaya ikumpara natin sa sitwasyon ng isang estudyante. Pag may problema ang estudyante sa kanyang eskuwelahan, dapat na lang ba siyang magpa-honorable dismissal at lumipat na lang sa ibang eskuwelahan?

Hindi miminsan na inisip kong umalis na sa FEU kasi ilang beses na rin akong na-disappoint sa mga pamamalakad ng unibersidad. Kung babasahin niyo naman sa aking mga sinusulat rito sa aking tambayan, medyo halata naman di ba? Buti na lang nandyan ang mga taong nagpapaalala sa akin na ang aking pag-alis ay hindi solusyon sa problema ng unibersidad, at bagkus ay isa lamang itong pang-iiwan sa mga taong magdudusa kasi di sila marunong pumalag.

Nandyan si former Dean Miriam Garcia, isa sa aking mga paboritong administrator, na nagsabi sa akin, "Bakit ka aalis, e hindi pa tayo tapos sa ginagawa natin dito? Nandyan ang ilang co-faculty na nagtitiyagang magturo kahit mas maraming financial opportunities sa labas, at humahawak na lamang sa pagmamahal sa propesyon kaya nakakaya pa nilang tumagal. At siyempre nandyan ang mga estudyante na siya naman talagang dahilan kung bakit ko pinili na magturo sa isang unibersidad.

Siguro lang, dapat solusyonan ko ang ethical dilemma ng pagkakaroon ko ng administrative position gayung marami akong tinututulan na patakaran na ini-impose ng admin. Nakakaasiwa nga naman, halimbawa, na magreklamo ako nang magreklamo sa grading system ng University kung ako rin naman ang naka-assign na mag-check sa aming faculty kung sinusunod nga nila ang grading system na iyon. O kaya, paano ko kukumbinsihin ang mga teacher at estudyante na sundin ang English-speaking policy ng university kung ako mismo ay hindi naniniwala sa policy na ito? Hindi compatible ang aking titular position sa aking position sa mga issues, kaya dapat siguro akong mamili para mas magkaroon ng integrity ang position ko.

Alam niyo na siguro kung ano ang pipiliin ko...abangan sa May 6, 2005. :)

April 25, 2005

KSP: Kagatan

Habang naghahanap ako ng topic para sa aking isusulat ngayon, natiyempuhan ko sa INQ7 ang mukhang magiging headline ng Philippine Daily Inquirer bukas:

'Bite the bullet,' Arroyo says of higher taxes, power rates.

Ayon sa report, inihayag ito ni PGMA sa pamamagitan ni Presidential Spokesperson Ignacio Bunye sa isa sa kanilang mga meeting with the press. Pinapasabi rin ni PGMA na kailangan daw natin itong gawin, kaysa naman daw tayo ay mag-suffer ng isang economic meltdown.

Nakakatawa naman kung paanong ipininta ni PGMA ang kanyang "pakiusap". Kung titingnan natin in metaphorical terms ang kanyang statement, ang "bullet" ay ang bagong mga tax measures na itinutulak ng administration at pati na rin ang napipintong pagtaas ng rates ng NAPOCOR. Kung iyon ay itinuturing na mga bullet, ibig sabihi'y parang tinututukan na rin nila tayo ng baril. Sa aking pagkakaalam, ang pagtanggap ng bala sa katawan ay nakakapinsala, at kung puro ang tama, nakamamatay. Mukhang hindi na pakiusapan ito. Threat na yata ito.

Matagal nang itinutulak ng GMA administration ang unang "balang" itinututok nila sa mga ulo natin - ang kanilang mga bagong tax measures. Ito raw ay kailangan para mapanatili natin ang "investor confidence" na magdadala sa atin ng dagdag na mga pondo at trabaho. Nakakatawa, kasi pagkatapos nating mag-rank na 2nd most corrupt country in Asia, pinoproblema pa rin ng mga government officials kung may confidence pa rin ang mga investors sa bansa natin. Ang sentro ng kanilang revenue-raising scheme ay ang pagtaas ng VAT mula 10% to 12%, na kasalukuyan nang pinagdedebatehan sa bicam ng kongreso.

Inirereport ng ating gobyerno na magpapasok ng karagdagang P80 billion sa kaban ng bayan ang pagtaas ng VAT rate. Kung saan nila kinuha ang figure na ito, hindi ko alam. Ngunit kung magre-rely tayo sa report ng ilang mga reliable authorities, ang P80 billion na binabandera ng administration ay isa lamang "bluff" para kumagat ang publiko sa kanilang proposal. Ayon sa "The economy on a cusp: The proposed VAT amendments and their larger significance", ang kontrobersyal na discussion paper na sinulat ng UP 11, ang realistic na estimate ng karagdagang revenue na makokolekta sa pagtaas ng VAT rate ay P30 - P35 billion lamang. Kung masasamahan pa ng pagtanggal ng ilang VAT exemptions, ine-estimate naman ng Department of Finance na P62.76 billion lamang ang itataas ng revenues dahil ina-assume ng DOF ang realistic na 70% collection rate. Paano pa kung ifactor-in natin ang percentage ng karadagang pondo na ito na mapupunta sa corruption? Sapat pa rin kaya ang maipapasok na revenue ng VAT increase para magkaroon nga ng confidence ang mga investors sa ating bansa?

OK lang naman talagang magbayad ng karagdagang buwis kung alam mo na sa maganda napupunta ang ibinabayad mo. Sabi nga ng isang kasamahan ko sa trabaho, "Bayad tayo ng bayad ng tax, hindi naman natin nararamdaman kung saan napunta." Paano nga naman natin mararamdaman kung, ayon sa report ng Economist Intelligence Unit, 20% - 30% ng ibinabayad natin ay nararamdaman lamang ng mga malalalim na bulsa ng iilang nakaupo sa gobyerno? Pagkatapos ay misappropriated pa ang ating budget dahil ang priority ay para sa pagbabayad ng mga utang na napunta sa mga white elephant o kaya ay sa mga overpriced anomalous projects tulad ng Bataan Nuclear Power Plant, Centennial Expo, Diosdado Macapagal Blvd., at computerization ng COMELEC. Paano ka naman gaganahang magbayad ng karagdagang buwis pag nakikita mong diyan lamang napupunta ang ibinabayad mo?

Pag-usapan naman natin ang isa pang "bala" - ang pagtaas ng rate ng NAPOCOR. Ayon kay Bunye, "We have to ensure the competitiveness of the power industry and this is one way of doing it." Pino-project kasi na magkakaroon ng operating deficit na $700 million ang NAPOCOR sa taon na ito at maiibsan ito nang konti ng rate increase na magpapasok raw ng $200 million. Kung ang rate increase ay "one way" ng pag-avert ng power crisis, ano naman kaya ang other ways? Sinubukan kaya nila itong i-explore? For example, ang NAPOCOR, kahit na ito ang pinakamalaking loser sa mga ahensya ng gobyreno, ang siya ring nagbibigay ng pinakamalaking sweldo na maaaring umabot sa P500,000 kada buwan sa kanyang pinakamataas na opisyal. Pwede naman sigurong bawasan ng gobyerno ang sweldo ng mga ito, lalo na't napakasama naman ng performance ng NAPOCOR sa ilalim ng kanilang pamamahala. Pwede rin siguro nilang bawasan ang mga "consultants" ng korporasyon, na karamiha'y mga dati rin nilang mga officers na tumanggap na ng early retirement package. Mas mabuti pa, dapat siguro'y i-negotiate na lang ng gobyerno ang restructuring ng utang ng NAPOCOR, na nagkakahalagang P500 billion.

Minsan may nagtanong sa akin, papayag raw ba akong mamatay para sa Pilipinas. Sabi ko, oo, basta ba siguradong para sa Pilipinas yung pagkamatay ko, hindi para sa iilan lamang mga taong may mga vested interests. Sa kasong ito, parang ang hirap seryosohin yung pakiusap ng pangulo na magpakamatay tayo at tumanggap ng bala sa ulo para sa Pilipinas. Parang gusto kong sabihin sa kanya, "Ikaw muna." Kungsabagay, magandang suggestion iyon. Ako muna ang tututok sa kaniya ng baril. Pag nabaril ko na siya, papayag na rin akong barilin niya ako. O kaya, mas maganda siguro pag nabaril ko na siya, tatakbo na lang ako at mamumundok. Para magkaroon pa ako ng tsansang makabaril ng mas maraming mga corrupt government officials.

Kagatan na.

April 24, 2005

Paglilinis ng Tambayan

Kung napansin niyo nitong nakaraang linggo, naglabas ako ng mga post na merong mga specific headings at parang may kanya-kanyang subject matter. Ako kasi ngayon ay nag-aayos ng aking tambayan. Napansin ko na sa aking pagba-blog nitong nakaraang taon, walang disiplina ang aking pagpo-post. Nagsusulat lang ako kapag nararamdaman kong gusto kong magsulat, at random ang pagpili ng aking mga topics. Pero panahon na para magkaroon ng direksyon ang aking mga sinusulat. Ayaw ko naman kasi na ang aking tambayan ay magiging isang ordinaryong blog lamang na parang isa lamang kombinasyon ng isang online diary at ng bulletin board sa Friendster.

Naalala ko, sinimulan ko ang pagba-blog na ito dahil gusto kong makapagbigay ng mga opinyon, puna at rekomendasyon, at inaasahan ko sana na ito ay magiging catalyst ng discussion. Ginawa ko rin ito kasi gusto kong matutong magsulat ng maayos na opinyon. Wala kasi akong training sa pagsusulat, at maganda sana kung ang web site na ito ang magsisilbi na ring aking praktisan.

Kaya simula nung nakaraang linggo, nilagyan ko na ng sense of order ang magiging topics na isusulat sa aking tambayan. Lunes ang araw para sa KSP, ang aking komentaryo sa socio-political issues. Tuwing Martes naman ay isasama ko kayo sa Biyaheng FEyUps, kung saan ibabahagi ko ang aking mga karanasan sa lugar ng mga Tamaraw. Huwebes ay ang araw ng pagdating ng mga bagong komiks, kaya ito rin ang araw para sa Oh God, It's Not Mint!, na tungkol naman sa mga komiks at iba pang "geek" topics. At Sabado naman ang Soundboard, ang aking mga kuro-kuro tungkol sa music scene.

Inaasahan ko na dahil naglagay ako ng isang rigid schedule, magkakaroon ng displina sa aking pagsusulat at hindi na ito mananatiling spontaneous na lamang. Maganda rin kasi yung mga dumadalaw rito, malalaman na kung ano ang maaasahang mababasa sa aking tambayan. From time to time, magsisingit pa rin ako ng mga post sa labas ng apat na regular na "column" na ito (hahaha, feeling columnist!). Pero ang mahalaga ay mapanindigan ko ang pagsunod sa mga regular na naka-schedule.

Sana magkaroon ng kabuluhan ang pinaggagawa kong pag-aayos ng tambayan. Sana gumanda na rin ang aking mga isusulat. :)

April 23, 2005

Soundboard: Chasing the Comet's Tail- A Review of Cynthia Alexander's Third Album

Cynthia_AlexanderBlueIt was all brought about by chance.

I was planning to watch Cynthia Alexander tonight in Conspiracy Garden Cafe since she is the only Conspiracy regular which I have yet to see play a full set. However, with my younger brother not responding to my text message invitation, I finally decided against going to the show because I did not want to watch her show alone. Still, after a tiring day walking through the whole length of SM North for more than five hours doing one of my obssessive fits looking for hard-to-find music albums, there was this tiny voice at the back of my head that bugged me to go to Conspiracy. So at around 8:30 pm, I found myself boarding a Project 6 jeep on the way to that famed bar in Visayas Avenue.

When I got to the gate of the cafe, there was Manang, the old lady who sells the bar's tickets and merchandise. I found out that Bayang was performing tonight, not Cynthia. I told Manang that I won't be watching the show since it was not in my plan, so I just asked if there was any newly-released album from any of the regulars. She pointed me to Gary Granada's newly-released lecture VCD, "Introduction to Hierarchic Selection: The Evolution of Social Substructures". I was carrying only a P1,000 bill, the VCD costs only P125, and Manang might have trouble finding change for my bill, so I decided to purchase another item. While browsing through the merchandise display, I was pleasantly surprised with what I discovered.

Comet's Tail, Cynthia Alexander's long-awaited third album, has finally been released.

There was a time when I did not bother to listen to Cynthia's music. I thought all her songs sounded like "I-N-S-O-M-Nia", her first single, which did not really appeal to me. However, my "stereotyping" was proven wrong when I finally got exposed to more of her music during one of the fund-raising shows in Conspiracy. I checked out her albums, Insomnia and Other Lullabyes and Rippingyarns, and I was very glad that I did. I got to discover one of Philippine music's hidden treasures - a genius whose work can stand toe-to-toe with the world's best. For the past two months, Cynthia's music has become regular listening for me every night. So I was eagerly anticipating her third collection of songs.

As of the time of writing of this article, I have already listened to the album five times, and I would gladly say that we have another masterpiece here. Comet's Tail picked up right where Rippingyarns left off and continued Cynthia's experimentation of fusing different musical styles while sprinkling it with her distinct sound. However, the styles used by Cynthia in this album were not as diverse as that of her previous album, as her Indian music influence was quite pronounced in the musical arrangement and even the lyrics of a lot of the tracks. It was actually not surprising, considering that she just finished doing the music for the recent "Sita at Rama" production of Teatrong Mulat. While this means that Comet's Tail offers less variety of styles compared to Rippingyarns, it also gave the album a more distinct character.

The instrumental arrangement is superb, and I won't hesitate to say that this is the most accomplished Cynthia Alexander album in that respect. In the fourth track, "Mantra", Cynthia chants "Gopala Govinda Rama Madana Mohana" repeatedly (hence, the title) against a background of a fusion of Indian and Mindanaoan ethnic music (I believe it sounds Maguindanaoan, in particular). The result is a real "psychedelic trip", which is probably the reason why this track has become my favorite in the album. The Indian-Mindanaoan fusion is also the formula for the arrangement of another song, "Heya", which is also characterized by an odd 7/8 beat in its stanzas. Another song whose arrangement really caught my fancy is the title track, "Comet's Tail". The strings and the synths in the song really gives sense to the feeling of a comet travelling through the vast outer space. There are also two short instrumental pieces in the album: "Knowings", an acoustic guitar duet between Cynthia and Sancho, and "Sayaw Ni Sita", which should have been made longer because it was cut quite abruptly when it was just getting going.

In terms of lyrical content, my favorites are the songs that coincidentally had the minimal instrumentation. First is "Dragonfly", a mostly piano-accompanied piece with the most catchy melody in the whole album. I like the play of words in the song's chorus "all for this / all for these / all for this / All for This / very tender moment / all for this very trembling". I also liked the lyrics of the last track, "Emptyhanded", which is accompanied solely by an acoustic guitar. The lyrics, which talks about our emptyhanded state when we come to and go from this world, are lifted from the Bhagavad Gita - said to be the jewel of India's spiritual wisdom. The words take on special meaning, considering that the album is dedicated to the memory of Cynthia's father.

However, Comet's Tail has one weakness compared to Cynthia's previous albums. Most of the tracks here lack the melodic hook of her previous songs. The album would certainly be appreciated by people like me who has been exposed already to Cynthia's style of music, but in my opinion, Rippingyarns would still be a better sampler for someone who is just getting into Cynthia's music.

I have been blessed once again with an opportunity to be exposed to another excellent album from a truly remarkable Filipino artist. Comet's Tail, just like the other albums of Cynthia Alexander, is a real gem in the OPM scene. Sadly, there are only a few people like me who gets exposed to such quality music from our local musicians, as pop trash and mindless novelty songs still continue to dominate the airwaves. How I wish that Cynthia and his fellow "Conspirators", who have long been offering a better alternative, would finally be given a chance to shine and to change the landscape of Philippine music.

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Comet's Tail and Rippingyarns, Cynthia Alexander's independently produced albums, are currently sold for P450 each at Conspiracy Garden Cafe: #59 Visayas Avenue, Diliman, Quezon City.

April 21, 2005

Intermission: Public Service Announcement

Ria GandaMy application for VISA has just been denied. That means all the "bilin", "pasalubong" and "pabati" will have to wait until October when I would finally be eligible again to apply for a VISA.

Maybe it just was not meant to be. Sayang. Matagal pa bago ko makita si lalabs.

April 19, 2005

Biyaheng FEyUps: Tiket

Para sa isang nagbabasa ng diyaryo, ang araw ng Linggo ay ang Classified Ads Day. Akala ko dati, sa Manila Bulletin lang naga-apply ito, pero ganun rin pala maski sa ibang mga broadsheets. Ewan ko ba kung bakit pinili ng mga broadsheets na itambak ang kanilang mga advertisements sa araw ng Linggo. Siguro para may mapilitang bumili ng diyaryo nila kahit araw ng pahinga ng mga tao sa bahay.

Para tuloy sa aking wala namang interes sa kung anumang ibinebenta o ino-offer sa Classified Ads, nakakairita ang sangkaterbang dagdag na pahina sa diyaryo tuwing Linggo. Ang ginagawa ko tuloy, sinusubukan ko na lang pag-aralan ang "personality" ng tao o ang "culture" ng organisasyong nagpo-post ng ad. Marami ka kasing makikitang mas malalim na kahulugan sa pagbabasa ng mensahe sa ad at sa paraan ng pag-project nito. At nitong nakaraang linggo, natiyempuhan ko ang ad ng aking eskuwelahang pinagtuturuan.

Simple lang naman ang ad. Half-page siya, black and white, at nandun sa loob ng main section ng Inquirer. May close-up picture ng isang listahan ng flights na tulad ng makikita mo pag nasa airport ka. At ang nakasulat dito ay:
MNL - FEU - SYD
MNL - FEU - NY
MNL - FEU - LON

FEU, your ticket to opportunities.

Ano ba ang makikita sa ad na ito? Una siguro, makikita natin ang target market ng FEU. Mukhang Metro Manila-centric pa rin ang customer base ng FEU, kahit na siguro sa aking tatlong taon na pagtuturo dito ay mukhang marami namang galing na rin sa mga probinsiya.

Pero ang mas kapuna-punang mensahe na makikita sa ad na ito ay kung paanong ipina-package ng FEU ang kanyang serbisyo sa estudyante. Base sa ad na ito, pinapalabas na naniniwala ang unibersidad na siya ay tagapagbukas ng daan para sa opportunities, at ang ibig sabihin ng opportunities ay abroad. Ulitin natin ang equation: opportunities = abroad. Hindi kami diploma mill, pero para kaming isang factory na pagkatapos ng "processing" ng estudyanteng mag-aaral sa FEU, matatapos siyang handa na para iwanan ang ating bansa.

Nakakatawa, dahil pag nagbabasa ako ng scholarship applications sa mga unibersidad na nasa ibang bansa tulad ng Japan, madalas may clause na nagsasabing dapat ay bumalik ako sa Pilipinas upang ibahagi ang aking natutunan sa ikauunlad ng aking bayan. Ngunit sa pagkakataong ito, isang unibersidad na nasa Pilipinas na mismo ang siya pang nagsasabi sa kanyang mga graduate na maganda ang umalis ng bansa. Nandun ang susi sa inyong magandang kinabukasan. Humayo kayo at magpakayaman.

Nalulungkot ako sa mensaheng ipinapaabot ng aking unibersidad. Ako ay may matibay na paniniwala na may pag-asa pa ang Pilipinas. At ito ay magagawa natin kung tayong lahat ay magtutulong-tulong at magsasakripisyo sa pagbuhay ng ating bansa. Madalas nating sabihin na ang kabataan ang pag-asa ng ating bayan. Ngunit paano tayo aasa kung sila'y wala na't umalis na - nabubuhay sa paniniwalang ang magandang bukas ay makakamit lamang kung sila'y lalabas?

Minsan ako'y nasa isang pamantasan
Mga mag-aaral ang nagkukuwentuhan
Ang lalim ng paksang pinag-uusapan
Kung paano bang mabilis yumaman

Kayraming nangangailangan
Sa Sarili mong bansa
Ngunit ang karamihan
Ang isip ay banyaga

Sana'y di ka masanay
Sana'y di ka masanay
Sa ganyang klaseng buhay

'Wag na 'wag kang pasanay
'Wag tayong pasasanay
'Wag na 'wag na 'wag na 'wag
na 'wag na 'wag na 'wag nawa

'Wag na 'wag kang pasanay
'Wag tayong pasasanay
Sa ganyang klaseng buhay

-- mula sa Sana'y Di Ka Masanay
ni Gary Granada

April 18, 2005

KSP: Si Cesar at ang Diyos

"...ibigay ninyo kay Cesar ang sa kay Cesar; at sa Diyos ang sa Diyos."

Dalawang araw nang headline sa Philippine Daily Inquirer ang isyu ng pinaplanong paghahabol ng BIR sa mga religious organizations para sa kanilang revenue collection. Siyempre, maraming miyembro ng mga sinasabing organization ang tumutol. Ayon sa kanila, nasa batas ng Pilipinas na tax-exempt ang kanilang mga income. Kanilang minention ang isang probisyon sa Republic Act 8424, na mas kilala sa pangalang Tax Reform Act of 1997:

"SEC. 30. Exemptions from Tax on Corporations. - The following organizations shall not be taxed under this Title in respect to income received by them as such...

(E) Nonstock corporation or association organized and operated exclusively for religious, charitable, scientific, athletic, or cultural purposes, or for the rehabilitation of veterans, no part of its net income or asset shall belong to or inures to the benefit of any member, organizer, officer or any specific person;"


Ayon sa BIR, kahit na exempt ang mga grupong ito sa tax, hindi kasama sa exemption ang mga kinikita ng mga organisasyong ito kung ito ay nagdadala na sa kanila ng profit. Kung susuriin nga naman ang Section 30, mababasa ito sa panghuling paragraph:

"Notwithstanding the provisions in the preceding paragraphs, the income of whatever kind and character of the foregoing organizations from any of their properties, real or personal, or from any of their activities conducted for profit regardless of the disposition made of such income, shall be subject to tax imposed under this Code."

Isang maselang bagay ang issue na ito dahil kaytagal na ring hindi pinakailaman ng ating gobyerno ang mga "koleksyon" ng iba't ibang mga simbahan. May nagsasabi na ito raw ay dahil sa prinsipyo ng "separation of Church and State" na nakapaloob sa ating Constitution. Kung bubuwisan daw ng gobyerno ang kinikita ng mga simbahan, magkakaroon diumano ng violation ng prinsipyong ito.

Ngunit dapat dito'y tingnan ang "substance over form". Hindi porke may separation of church and state ay hindi na sila napapailalim sa mga batas ng ating bansa. Ang pinaghihiwalay lamang dito ay ang kanilang kapangyarihan / powers at hindi ang kanilang jurisdiction. Ang income tax exemption sa mga koleksyon ng iba't ibang relihiyon ay inilagay sa ating batas sa assumption na wala naman kasing kinikita ang mga organisasyong ito. Na ang anumang koleksyong nakukuha nila ay napupunta sa mga aktibidad na magtutulak sa kanilang religious at social mission. Na ang mga koleksyon nila ay hindi nagpapayaman sa bulsa ng sinuman sa kanilang mga miyembro.

Ang tanong ngayon ay wala nga bang kinikita ang mga religious organizations sa bansa natin?

Bakit ang mga eskuwelahan na sectarian ang may matataas na tuition fee - doble o higit pa sa kanilang non-sectarian na counterparts?

Hindi ba maituturing na kita ang mga rentang ibinabayad ng mga lessee sa mga espasyong pinaparentahan ng mga religious organizations? Take note na market-based pa ang pricing ng mga rentang ito at magtataka ka naman kung bakit magpapatayo ng building na may dalawang floors o mahigit pa ang isang religious organization gayong isang floor lang naman ang gagamitin nila. Hindi kaya't may intensyon silang pagkakitaan talaga yung mga real estate properties na ipinatayo nila? Kung ganun, anong pinagkaiba nila sa isang real estate developer?

For religious purposes rin ba ang kinokolekta ng mga religious organizations sa pagpapagamit ng kanilang mga auditorium, gym at conference centers? Ano ang pagkakaiba ng sinisingil ng isang "dwelling home" na tumatanggap rin ng mga transients sa sinisingil ng isang inn o hotel?

Bakit may ilang mga religious leaders na nakatira sa condominium unit, nakasakay sa SUV, at kumakain sa mga class na restaurant? Kasama ba ito sa "religious purpose" ng kanilang organisasyon?

Hindi ko naman inaakusahan on blanket terms ang mga religious organizations sa Pilipinas na sila'y kumikita at nagpapayaman lang. Ngunit aminin na natin na may ilang mga miyembrong yumayaman talaga dahil sa kanilang nakukuhang mga "benepisyo" mula sa simbahan. At mas matindi, aminin na natin na may mga religious organizations na talagang itinayo para magpayaman lang. Isang joke nga sa business circle ngayon na kung gusto mong yumaman, huwag ka nang magtayo ng business. Magtayo ka na lang ng sarili mong relihiyon. Marami nang donasyon at iba pang pumapasok na pera, tax-exempt ka pa.

May nagsasabi na mas mabuti naman daw kasing magbigay nang diretso sa simbahan. Kahit papaano'y sigurado kang sa mabuti napupunta ang binibigay mo. Eto na yata ang paboritong litanya ng mga di-nagbabayad ng buwis. Tingnan mo ang statement ni Richard Gomez na nag-donate naman daw siya sa mga charitable institutions. Kungsabagay, totoo naman na ang ibinibigay para kay "Cesar" ay hindi buong-buong napupunta kay "Cesar" dahil sa talamak na corruption sa ating gobyerno. Pero ang tanong nga lang, napupunta nga ba sa Diyos ang kinokolekta raw ng mga religious organizations para sa Diyos?

Kung ang mga ordinaryong mamamayan na nagtatrabaho at ang mga legitimate businesses ay binubuwisan sa kanilang kinikita, hindi ba't dapat lang din namang buwisan ang religious organizations kung sila rin ay "kumikita"? At mas malala, kung sila'y yumayaman pa?

April 14, 2005

Meme!!!

Hay, naku. Switch mode muna tayo:

Geek mode on

I used to be a geek. A comic geek in particular. Anyway, in keeping with Mr. Jologs' pauso (although he just plagiarized this idea from another geek), we'll play a meme game. Just to show everybody how geeky I am.

Here are the mechanics:

1. I will post a list of 15 fandoms, which may include tv shows, musicals, movies, books, etc...
2. You, my friends, will guess my favorite character / member from each fandom. You need not give a guess for all fandoms.
3. When guessed correctly, I will indicate the character's name in my original post, acknowledge the guy / girl / object who made the correct guess, and write a sentence about why I like the character.

OK, so here's my list. Guess my favorite character / member from each of the following fandom. Do you really know me and my taste? Hehehe.

1. The X-Men (comics, not the movie)

cyclops Psychicpants and Nanoy got this correctly. Always mistaken as stiff, Cyclops is actually a bad-ass character, cheating on his wife, performing euthanasia and frequently disobeying the Professor's orders. Also, Cyclops is my favorite because he's the antithesis to the X-Man I hate the most, that wretched Wolverine!!! Die, die, die, you overhyped midget!!!

2. The Avengers (I have two...err three answers here. Hehehe)

3. GTO (live drama)

onizukaNanoy got this one. Well...who else but the great teacher himself, Eikichi Onizuka!!! "I am a teacher, first and foremost." Someday I hope I would be a Great Teacher myself. GTP. Great Teacher Panget!!! :p

4. Eraserheads

lemonNanoy, who has been idolizing me for quite some time, got this one again. My favorite Eraserhead is Raimund Marasigan. Because of Cambio, Sandwich, and Natin99. And Maalalahanin. He's a real Pinoy rock genius.

5. Eat...Bulaga!

lastikmanNanoy, did you peek ay my answer key? Bossing Vic is a real genius. The proof? He's the record holder of the highest grade ever in Bulagaan. 1,000,000,000%!!! Get get AAAAWWWWWWW!!!

6. Captain Power and the Soldiers of the Future

7. Lost (the TV series)

lockeLost is my latest TV addiction, and Locke has been the most fascinating character so far. He's creepy, but at the same time he is sympathetic. He's deranged but he speaks the wisest words. He looks like a two-bit extra, but it appears that he would play a very big role in the series. His character is full of contradictions, which makes him stand out from the rest of the cast.

8. The Incredibles

DashNanoy got this one again. Dash has the funniest expressions and the coolest moments in the movie. And he can run on water!!! Damn, it, can it get any cooler than that?!!!

9. The Crew (does anybody even know this one? LOL)

10. Beerkada

alanMy lalabs got this right. Alan Polantoc is the Beerkada member who often thinks tha he's cool and usually ends up looking or sounding ridiculous in the process. He also delivered the best romatic lines during his courtship of Beerkadet Boopey.

11. Earth X

12. Watchmen

rorschachNanoy and I seems to be on the same wavelength? Rorschach delivered one of my favorite lines in a comic book. "No. Not even in the face of Armageddon. Never compromise" Also, he's a good role model for the youth. "Existence is random. Has no pattern save what we imagine after staring at it for too long. No meaning save what we choose to impose. This rudderless world is not shaped by vague metaphysical forces. It is not god who kils the children. Not fate that butchers them or destiny that feeds them to the dogs. It's us. Only us."

13. Fruits Basket

shigureRia again got this one, which is not surprising considering that she's the one who introduced me to this cartoon series. Shigure is the funniest among the Fruits Basket cast, and I love how he plays pranks to everyone. I would like to read one of those "romantic" books that he has written. Hehehe.

14. Lord of the Rings (movie)

gandalfWayne got this one. Gandalf was not originally my favorite character when I was watching LOTR: Fellowship of the Ring. It was originally Aragorn. But then came this amazing scene inside Moria where they confronted the Balrog. And when Gandalf shouted, "You can not pass!!!", I was sold. Gandalf is the coolest of them all.

15. Original Pinoy Superheroes

Let the guessing game begin!!! (As if somebody would bother to answer this. Hehehe.)

April 11, 2005

Sa graduating batch ng SY 2004 - 2005...

diploma Ang saya natin kanina, ano?

Ang sarap makita na lahat kayo ay nakatapos na. Eto na siguro ang batch kung saan halos lahat ay kakilala ko, at kilala ako. Hindi lamang sa B.S. Accountancy kundi maging sa ibang mga kurso. Kaya iba talaga ang pakiramdam nung pumwesto talaga ako sa gitna ng daan palabas para literal na makapagpaalam sa mga estudyanteng nagpasaya sa akin sa nakaraang mga taon.

Sayang nga at hindi ko nakayang magpaalam sa lahat. Tulad rin ng mga karanasan ko nung mga nakaraang graduation, malamang sa hindi ay ito na ang huling pagkakataon na makikita ko ang karamihan sa inyong mga grumaduate. Pero ok lang yun, nandito pa rin naman ang aking tambayan. At ako ay madadalaw niyo kahit kailan.

Natawa rin ako kanina nang may magpa-picture sa akin na hindi ko talaga matandaan kung bakit kilala ako. Dalawang beses pa nangyari yun. Sadya bang makakalimutin lang ako at di ko maalala kung sino sila? Kungsabagay, ok lang. At least kumakalat na ang aking picture. Magagamit ko ito sa aking mga plano sa 2016 . Hahaha!!!

Sana nga pala ay huwag ninyong kalilimutan na hindi para sa pansariling pakinabang ang natamo niyong edukasyon. Iyan ay may responsibilidad, lalo na't kayo ay iilan lamang sa mga Pinoy na nakaabot sa ganyang academic level. Gawin ninyong makabuluhan ang inyong buhay. Duon niyo lang mahahanap ang totoong kaligayahan.

Paalam na at sana magtagumpay kayo sa paghanap ng sarili niyong daan. Wala na kaming maituturong bago sa inyo. Panahon na para hanapin ang inyong mga bagong teacher. :)

Mahal na mahal ko kayong lahat. Bow.

April 9, 2005

Ngayon ay Araw ng Kagitingan...

...alam mo ba ito? O wala kang pakialam?

Gender Sensitive

Minsan may narinig akong usapan ng ilang mga babaeng kaibigan ko. Nung panahon kasing iyon, meron kasing isang iniwan ng kaniyang boyfriend. Nambabae kasi ang loko niyang bf. At dun na lumabas ang usapan ng kesyo "Ganyan talaga ang mga lalake." "Lahat sila babaero." "Hindi ba nila naiintindihan ang nararamdaman ng mga babae?"

Ilang beses na rin akong nakarinig ng ganyang mga sentimyento. Ilang beses rin akong nakarinig ng mga argumento na "Dapat kasi maintindihan mo na kaming mga babae ay ganito at ganun..." May kakilala akong lalakeng tinukso, "Naku, parang hindi ka dumaan sa pagkabinata!!!" Tapos may kaibigan akong babae na napipigilang gawin ang gusto niyang gawin dahil "siya'y isang babae lang."

Mayroon ba talagang pagkakaiba ang lalake at babae maliban sa kanilang pisikal na katangian? Matagal na akong nahihiwagaan dito, dahil hindi ko maintindihan kung bakit mahilig mag-generalize ng mga characteristics na ia-attribute lamang sa mga lalake at pati na rin yung ia-attribute sa mga babae lang. Yung mga argument na "Men are from Mars, women are from Venus." Talaga bang may ugaling pang-lalake at may ugaling pam-babae?

Naiintindihan ko na malaking dahilan ng pagkakaroon ng ganitong pag-stereotype ay dahil na rin sa naging structure ng ating lipunan. Naging male-dominated kasi ang society, kaya't na-identify na ang power-wielding attributes sa mga lalake, at ang submissive atributes sa mga babae. Pero dahil nga sa isa itong sociological phenomenon, hindi ba't artificial lamang ang mga attribute na ito at hindi naman natural?

May kilala akong babaeng nangangaliwa. May kilala akong babaeng breadwinner ng pamilya at lalakeng magaling na maybahay. May kilala akong lalakeng umiyak dahil niloko siya ng girlfriend niya. May kilala akong lalakeng tsismoso. May kilala akong mga babaeng nagpapalitan ng mga kwento tungkol sa kanilang sex life. May kilala akong babaeng corrupt. May kilala akong businesswoman na malakas manggulang sa kanyang mga kliyente at malakas mandugas sa computation ng kanyang babayarang taxes.

Ngayon, baka sabihin niyo naman na may galit yata ako sa mga babae dahil sa mga sinasabi ko. Hindi. Sinusulat ko lang ito dahil nagpanting ang tenga ko sa isang feminist group na pinresent ang kanilang argumento sa pamamagitan ng pag-stereotype sa lahat ng mga lalake bilang manloloko, babaero at power-tripper. Totoo, marami pa ang dapat gawin para tunay na magkaroon ng pantay na estado ang mga lalake at babae sa lipunan, at suportado ko naman ang women's liberation movement. Pero para ma-liberate ng babae ang kanyang sarili sa kanyang pagkaka-stereotype, di ba't dapat ay i-liberate rin niya sa kanyang sariling utak ang kanyang pagi-stereotype sa mga lalake? Yun naman ang point ng liberation argument, di ba? Na pinapalaya natin ang ating sarili dahil tayong lahat ay pantay-pantay. Na pinapalaya natin ang ating sarili dahil ang kaya mong gawin ay kaya ko ring gawin.

Sa susunod na pagkakataong may marinig akong nagpapayo sa isang babaeng umiiyak dahil niloko siya ng kanyang boyfriend, sana di ko na marinig na "Ganyan kasi ang mga lalake, manloloko." Dahil sa totoo lang, niloko siya ng boyfriend niya dahil manloloko ang boyfriend niya. Hindi dahil lalake siya.

April 6, 2005

Amen!!!

The irony of all ironies. Sa darating na graduation ng FEU ngayong darating na Lunes, ako ang naatasang mag-deliver ng invocation bilang representative ng Institute of Graduate Studies. Kung speech ang pinapagawa sa akin, madali lang e. Pero kapag isang public prayer, medyo nahihirapan ako.

Dahil ba sa hindi ako naniniwala sa diyos? Hindi. Naniniwala naman ako sa diyos e, kahit na siguro hindi ako naniniwala sa organized religion. Sa akin lang kasi, ayaw kong nagdadasal in public. Pag may pinagli-lead nga ng prayer, nagtatago na ako para hindi ako ang ma-assign. Gusto ko kasi, ang dasal ay parang conversation lang. Para lang kaming nag-uusap ni Lord. Sasagot siya, sasagot ako. May personal touch.

Heniweyz, kanina ay sinimulan ko na itong isulat. Ang lumabas ay nakapagsulat ako ng speech...tapos nagkaroon na lang ng mga salitang Lord at God kaya nagmukha nang dasal. Hay naku...pagpalain naman sana kami ni Lord sa mga pagsasabihin ko sa stage. Ano kaya ang magiging corrections ng admin sa aking prayer? Masyado na naman kayang activist ito sa tingin nila? Sana wala nang palitan...

We are in the presence of God.

Lord, thank you for this moment of pride and joy as we celebrate the end of one chapter in our lifelong quest for learning. It has been a long and trying journey for a lot of us, and we thank you for guiding us with your spirit along the way.

As we open a new chapter in our lives, please remind each one of us that we are some of a privileged few from our society who managed to reach this point of academic distinction. In a society obssessed with displaying diplomas and medals on our walls, it is ironic that less than 5% of our population manages to get this far in terms of educational attainment.

In this light, please remind each one of us, Lord, that our privileged position of being college, master's or doctorate degree holders does not mean that we are an exclusive elite destined to feast on our nation's riches. Rather, we are your instruments of change and development, bestowed with the responsibility to open the doors of opportunity to our less fortunate brethren. You have given us the key to these doors leading to our country's future. Please shower us with wisdom to guide us in fulfilling this responsibility.

Lord, please bless this batch of Tamaraws. Make us special. May we be remembered not just as another batch of names to be added to the alumni roster of our distinguished University. Instead, may we be remembered as the batch of Tamaraws who left the hallowed halls of Far Eastern University and struck out to become a force of good in our families, our local communities, our nation, and in our world.

All of these we ask in your name. Amen.

April 4, 2005

Practice!!!

Kanina lang uli ako nagturo na lecture-style. Three hours, kaunti pa ang estudyante.

Napagod ako. Minalat. At higit sa lahat, naiiwan sa dulo ng aking dila ang gusto kong sabihin kasi alam ko kung paano ipaliwanag pero di ko maipaliwanag.

Mukhang nangangalawang na ako, ah. Kailangan na uli ng practice.

April 3, 2005

Kung bakit ko nami-miss si President Edilberto De Jesus

Nung pumasok ako sa FEU para magturo, ang inabutan kong presidente ay ang dating education secretary Edilberto De Jesus. Maganda ang kanyang vision para sa unibersidad, at isa siya sa dahilan kung bakit ginanahan ako sa pagtuturo dito. Kanina, pinublish sa Philippine Daily Inquirer ang kanyang speech na dineliver sa comencement exercises ng kanyang alma mater, Ateneo de Manila University. I-share ko lang:

As a student of history, I fear for the judgment historians will render when they review the record of my generation. I believe, and I say this in all humility and with deep regret, that their verdict will not be kind to us.

I hope they will give a fair assessment; that they will take into account the burden of history the previous generation had left for us to bear. We started to move into leadership positions in the '80s, when the country's institutions were finally beginning to collapse under the accumulated weight of a decade of authoritarian rule. I did not think that, in less than 20 years, easily within one lifetime, my generation would have to go to the streets twice to throw out two presidents.

Rizal

I think future historians of this period will recognize the individuals and institutions that did try to rebuild the kind of nation that Rizal thought might be possible a hundred years after his time. But historians cannot escape the contemporary context

within which they write their accounts. In the end, looking at the bottom line today, I think they will conclude that my generation had failed in many important ways: that our people deserved better from us; that we could have done better for them and for the country, that we did not deliver.

Whatever battles we may have won, we did not do enough to turn the tide in the war for a more democratic, a more just, a more Christian social, economic and political order for our people. It is cold comfort to keep telling ourselves what I also honestly believe-that we would be worse off today had we not prevailed at Edsa I and Edsa II. Whether because of timidity, negligence, or self-interest, we have squandered the gains painfully won in those battles. We have thus allowed to fester the bitter divisions that were both their cause and consequence.

Most puzzled

I have spent much of the last six months overseas. Foreigners express puzzlement at our country's failure to move ahead. Often, they are sincerely sympathetic. With increasing frequency, as some of our ambassadors abroad have also reported, their expressions of sympathy have become both pitying and patronizing.

Those who had studied in the Philippines, not at the Ateneo, but at places like Adamson and Centro Escolar, FEU, Mapua and UE, are the most puzzled. They speak with genuine fondness of the Filipino friends they had made and gratefully acknowledge how much they learned in the Philippines. Those who know the country best are too polite and too sensitive to ask what is happening in the Philippines and to the Filipinos. But their reflections on what they and their countries have achieved, however modestly conveyed, serve as a silent reminder and a rebuke of what we have failed to accomplish.

Not without a sense of irony, I think to myself: imagine if they had studied at the Ateneo. How much more might they have done for their country or, conceivably, how much less?

Failure in education

There is also some irony in this honor that the Ateneo had decided to confer on me today [a doctorate degree, honoris causa]. My tenure as secretary of education doubtless entered into the decision. But I must confess that I never received congressional confirmation for this post. As you know, there is a Commission on Appointments, and the honorable members of the commission found me wanting. It was somewhat amusing that friends appeared to think that having served without confirmation was some kind of distinction, deserving of congratulations.

A deeper irony lies in the fact that the education sector arguably demonstrates best how badly our generation and those before us have failed our people. Until the mid-'30s, the country had an 11-year public basic education system. To my knowledge, we are the only country that, upon gaining autonomy from the colonial power, actually reduced the investment in basic education, cutting back the cycle to 10 years.

My generation was not responsible for this decision, but we are accountable for not having done anything about it. If we had been able to add another year to the basic education cycle, we could have at least regained what we had 70 years ago, and we would at least have caught up with Myanmar. Today, all the other countries in our region, in addition to promoting two to three years of preschool, now require 12 to 13 years of primary and secondary education before entrance to university studies.

Soft power

Despite post-independence political turbulence, fueled by insurgency, cronyism and corruption, the Philippines remained, until perhaps the '50s, an object of admiration-a regional center for academic and professional education, culturally vibrant and diverse, globally connected through its command of English, the only Catholic country in the region, and the showcase of democracy in the developing world. We never had much of a military force to boast of, but we had a good bit of "soft power" then, derived not from armaments but from the respect Filipino scholars, artists, writers, professionals and even some politicians enjoyed in the region and beyond.

Today, even your Ateneo diploma will not ensure immediate acceptance of your readiness for graduate studies abroad. We have to negotiate to get international accreditation for the graduates of our professional schools. And whether we are truly democratic or even Catholic have become subject to debate.

We have embraced a political system, anchored on the principle of one-person-one vote. Its effective functioning requires an educated electorate, and the failure of our educational system inevitably translates into the fragility of our democracy. Some political analysts have already concluded that many politicians do not really want educated voters. They need voters who can write their names, but otherwise prefer compliant clients who are easy to confuse, to corrupt or to coerce.

Let us concede that this is an overly cynical view that applies only to a few. But my recollection of many discussions with local and national level politicians during my term as education secretary is troubling. I can count on the fingers of one hand the occasions when any of them asked me, without any prompting on my part, about the quality of the education in the public schools. They were interested mainly in my budget and on the appointment of specific officials and sometimes, even of specific teachers in their constituencies. Whether the children were actually learning did not naturally surface as an issue.

Commitment to quality

Let us also accept that improving the quality of the educational system is a long-term goal, perhaps beyond attainment within only one generation. But our generation of leaders has shown little effective commitment to quality. Singapore has about 10 post-secondary educational institutions, only three of them granted university status. Considering our larger population, we should have 200 or, allowing for our geographic spread, perhaps 300 post-secondary schools. We have about 1,500 colleges and universities. The number is still increasing and, in the memorable phrase of a high education official, "every two-toilet school wants to be a university." Sadly, there will be no lack of politicians willing to make this happen.

Improving the educational system requires leaders willing to take decisions that may initially appear unpopular. My generation has not produced enough of this kind of leaders. Most politicians have avoided any action that might risk the loss of political office. They have temporized and compromised, postponing difficult decisions and promising action at a later, more opportune time.

The truth is we often concur in these practical decisions as necessary so that friends and allies can retain power and, presumably, the capacity to do good when the time comes. Looking back, I begin to wonder whether such calls offered the easy way out, when, perhaps, lines should have been clearly drawn and the risks taken. Because there is always, down the road, one more election to contest, one more piece of legislation to pass, and consequently, one more excuse for appeasing a political patron, one more Jesuitic reason to evade the critical issues that, in the long-term, would help bring about fundamental changes.

Act of Contrition

Fr. Tito Caluag invited me a few years ago to a dinner to explore how the University could mobilize its alumni resources for nation-building. He presented his alumni guests a list of other alumni holding top positions in business and government and academe. The list was truly impressive. It included leaders in all the branches of government, in academe and the media and in the biggest business corporations. After a quick look at the names and the titles, I suggested that the group begin its deliberations by praying the Act of Contrition.

Clearly, many Ateneo alumni have done exceedingly well for themselves and for their families, and the Ateneo can justly take pride in their success. Ateneo has given them an excellent educational foundation. The sobering thought for the Ateneo and for the Jesuits, and indeed for all those who run the country's elite schools, is that the individual success of their alumni has somehow not translated into the greater welfare of the national community.

Ateneo has graduated distinguished leaders in many fields. It has even produced politicians who can actually win elections. And yet, despite controlling so many of the levers that move society, these alumni, including those of my generation, have not been able to exert a decisive influence on the direction of the country to make it more democratic, more just, and more capable of providing our people with the opportunities for a decent life.

Reason for hope

These concerns, I am happy to say, appear to have surfaced also among the Class of 2005. Last month, I met with a group of their representatives, who shared with me their fears about their future in this country. They said they wanted me to give them a reason to stay home, instead of seeking their fortunes abroad. They wanted me to give them the good news.

That seemed a strange thing to expect from someone who had just left the country and whose main contribution, as secretary of education, was to proclaim the bad news-that the educational system had suffered from sustained neglect, that it was in critical condition, and that heroic efforts would be required for repair and rehabilitation. Like an Old Testament prophet, I was preaching, less hope than impending doom.

And yet, despite the apprehensions I heard from your classmates, I believe that the Class of 2005 is leaving the Ateneo far better prepared than my own Class of '62. Admission policies have given you a more diverse, a more representative social environment than we had. Girls were in your classes, not across the creek. Your contact with the world beyond the campus and the range of options for social and cultural and co-curricular activities were certainly much more extensive than ours.

For others

Your preparation for engagement in civil society work was also superior. You had the lessons of martial law, the Aquino assassination, and Edsa I to learn from. Edsa II provided a less traumatic initiation into political activism than the First Quarter Storm and martial law that an earlier generation had to endure. You have also received a more coherent framework for civic engagement. Ateneo did introduce us to the concept, but the phrase "men and women for others" had not yet been coined in our time.

It is a good thing you come better prepared for the world beyond the campus than we did. Because we have failed, the necessary task of nation-building now belongs to you. I cannot tell you to hang on, to keep faith, to keep fighting for your ideals because things are becoming better and victory is at hand. I can only tell you that things will not become better unless you work to make them so. Is this not what Ateneo has tried to teach us? Some things must be done, not because it is convenient or profitable, but because it is the right thing to do. We can show you where we failed and how you can do better. But only you can decide your course of action.

Positions of power

Fortunately, most of you will still have some time before you must bear the burden of leadership. In the meantime, you can help yourself by keeping a close watch on the cohort between the ages of 40 and 60, the group that has moved or are moving into positions of power and that can stay in power for a long time.

Pay close attention to the alumni among them, especially if they are kith and kin. The course of action they pursue may be good for you and your family, and may even be good for the Ateneo, in the short term, but not necessarily good for the country as a whole. Remind them, when necessary, what they and you were taught to become at the Ateneo, men and women for others. And "others" does not mean only those from the same family or fraternity, school, church, or political party.

The problem with many developing countries, scholars say, is their lack, not just of financial but also of social capital. People trust only those to whom they are bound by blood and language. Countries endowed with a larger stock of social capital can mobilize more easily for more comprehensive, more inclusive goals.

Good news

Building social capital means projecting the radius of trust beyond the usual boundaries to embrace a larger collectivity. I believe your Ateneo experience, more than ours, has given you a greater capacity to connect with people beyond your immediate family and social circles.

What good news then do I bring? It is simple. And it is the one that your valedictorian already recognized. You are the good news. You are the message of hope that must sustain all of us, the message that you can succeed where we have failed. Our failures need not be yours. Even prophets of doom believe in redemption, with repentance and reform. From this faith, springs hope.

Forty years from now, perhaps even earlier, one of you will ascend this stage for a graduation ceremony. My prayer is that the commencement address then will not be another mea culpa, because your generation would have bequeathed to your children a richer legacy than you have received from us. I am sure that this is also the prayer of the Ateneo, which must, sadly, share in our failure, as it will share in your triumph.

Congratulations and thank you for sharing this moment with an old alumnus.


Sayang, wala na siya sa FEU. E di sana hindi ko nakikita yung ad ng FEU na katulad nung nasa page A6 ng Inquirer ngayong araw. Nakakainis yang ad na yan.

At isa pa. Dahil sa speech na ito, naging malinaw na sa akin kung bakit mas gusto ko ang mga graduates ng Ateneo kaysa mga graduates ng De Le Salle. Hahahaha!!!

Hay naku...


Darna


May trabaho ako hanggang gabi araw-araw. Paano ako manonood niyan?!!! WWWWAAAAAHHHHHH!!!!

April 1, 2005

English-isms

Kahapon, habang nag-uusap kami ni Dean, na-mention niya sa akin na may puna na naman sa akin ang aming beloved president. Noong isang araw kasi, nagkaroon ng faculty seminar sa aming auditorium. It's one of those leadership seminars that I hate pero inenjoy ko na lang kaya game ako sa pag-participate. Akala ko naman matutuwa kasi active ako at nag-share pa ako ng insight. Yun pala, ang pinuna ay ang hindi ko paggamit ng English sa aking sharing.

Tapos, yun rin pala ang puna niya sa aking article sa The POdium - the IABF SC Newsletter. Marami na kasing lumapit sa akin at nagsabing natuwa sila sa article. Pero olats pa rin ako kay Madame President, kasi sinulat ko raw in Taglish. Maganda raw sana ang aming first issue, kaya lang isa daw ito sa mga pinuna niya.

Sabi ni Ria, hindi daw Taglish ang gamit ko. Filipino daw yun.

Naalala ko tuloy ang isang instance pa na pinuna ako habang nagtuturo sa mga contestants na iko-coach ko para sa ICFC last year. Lumapit si Madame President sa amin, at akala ko matutuwa kasi kitang kita naman ang hirap sa pagprepare para sa isang big time na interschool contest. Biruin mo ba naman na sabihin sa akin, "Make sure that you're coaching in English."

Ano ba itong obssession with English sa aming unibersidad? Mali pala. Ang obssessed nga lang pala sa English-isms dito ay ang aming mga administrators. Palaging pinapangalandakan na kailangan daw marunong ng English for global competitiveness, at siguro nga may punto naman sila duon, pero kailangan bang i-emphasize to the point na wala na kaming karapatang mag-Tagalog sa kahit anong instance?

Kailangan daw kasi naririnig ng mga estudyante lagi ang English dahil ang mga estudyante daw na narito ay walang ibang venue para ma-practice ang language. E kung yun ang dahilan, bakit ako pupunahin sa pagta-Tagalog sa harap ng isang audience na puro co-faculty ko naman at wala ni isang estudyante? Ano ang masama sa pagta-Tagalog sa two pages lang ng isang 36-page magazine kung saan ang lahat ng ibang pages ay in English na grammatically perfect na pinagmalaki pa tuloy nila kahit sa ibang school ang naturang magazine?

Binring-up pa na nainitindihan naman daw nila na kami raw mga taga-UP ay mga nationalistic kaya mas prefer namin ang Tagalog. Pero intindihin na lang daw namin ang "pangangailangan" ng aming mga estudyante dito.

Ang aking pagta-Tagalog ay walang kinalaman sa nationalism. Ang aking pagta-Tagalog ay wala ring kinalaman sa anumang speaking deficiency pagdating sa English dahil hahamunin ko kahit sino rito ng Englishan. Ako ay nagta-Tagalog dahil wala namang pangangailangang mag-English sa mga panahong nagta-Tagalog ako. Eto ang natural na lumalabas sa aking bibig, kaya bakit ko pipigilan? Dahil lang sa may mine-maintain kaming "standard"? Dahil pine-prepare namin ang aming mga estudyante na magpunta na lang abroad kasi dun may trabaho at nakakahiya naman pag baluktot silang magsalita ng English?

Bakit sinisisi ang paggamit natin ng Tagalog sa pag-deteriorate ng English? E kung sabihin ko kaya na kaya hindi rin umuunlad ang sarili nating wika e dahil sa pinipilit naman nating mag-English nang wala sa lugar/panahon? Sa totoo lang, may tamang panahon para mag-English. May tamang panahon rin para mag-Tagalog at mag-Filipino. Yun lang naman ang sinusunod ko at yun dapat ang sinusunod natin para hindi nagde-deteriorate ang skills natin sa parehong wika.

Sila kaya? Alam kaya nila kung kelan kailangan naman silang gumamit ng Filipino? Baka nga mabulol pa sila pag pinagsalita na sila ng Tagalog. Ano ba naman yan? Educators pa namang naturingan. English-an lang pala ang alam.

Kanta na nga lang tayo:

"Mayrong isang aso
Daig pa ang leon
Siya'y humihiyaw
Hindi kumakahol

Katulad ng iba
Pa-Ingles Ingles pa
At kung pakikinggan
Mali-mali naman

Wag na uy!!!"