April 23, 2006 · Posted in: General, Governance

Forging a new social contract

ANYONE who wishes to drown in a sea of young, bright, beaming and hopeful faces only has to go to a graduation ceremony. Attending one has never failed to raise my optimism about the future of this country. And so when I spoke at the commencement exercises of the University of the Philippines School of Economics yesterday, my hopes were once again reaffirmed.

There were many outstanding students, including the valedictorian of the class of 2006, Donald K. Ngwe, who not only graduated summa cum laude but also received the Jose Encarnacion Jr. award for best in economics (for getting the highest average for economics subjects) and the Gerardo P. Sicat award for best thesis.

Ngwe is also speaking for the students at the UP Diliman commencement exercises today. Last year he was named one of the top three students at UP Diliman and finished with a jaw-dropping average of 1.104. He is one of 12 students graduating with a summa this year. Two molecular biology and biotechnology majors top the honors list.

I was truly impressed by the graduates and wish them all the best as they follow the school’s motto and “plunge into the deep.”

Below is my speech:

Let me start by congratulating the Class of 2006 of the UP School of Economics. Congratulations to the parents as well. I am sure you are all very proud and very pleased. Economics is one of the most prestigious degrees given by this great university. A diploma from the UP School of Economics is something that you should justifiably be proud of and it deserves a place of honor on your wall. Economics, they say, is the queen of the social sciences. It certainly is not a subject for the faint-hearted student. I was a political science major here at UP many years ago, and I can tell you that many of my classmates — some of whom are now topnotch lawyers, government officials and diplomats — could barely pass Econ 101.

Being only a journalist, I am very honored to have been asked to speak to such an esteemed group. I am also pleased that journalists and lawyers are no longer alone. It used to be that law and journalism were the most reviled and joked about professions on this planet — until economists came along. While doing deep research for this piece, I went into Google and typed the phrase “economists jokes.” There were 387,000 links! I am sure you all know the various versions of the “how many economists are needed to change a light bulb?” joke.

But seriously, if you ask me who has done more damage to this country – is it lawyers, journalists, or economists — I think I’d have a difficult time choosing. Not that my own profession is blameless, but I think it’s a toss up between lawyers and economists. The disastrous economic policies of the Marcos era, after all, were the handiwork of some of the brightest economists this country has ever produced – some of them, by the way, products of the UP School of Economics. Marcos, another UP product, was a brilliant lawyer, but he didn’t bring the country to the brink of economic ruin all by himself — he had the benefit of professional advice from topnotch economists.

But let me also say that in 1984, it was also the best minds of the UP School of Economics that produced the most incisive and devastating critique of the economic crisis. That “white paper” on the Philippine economy was widely read by the business community, academe, and by civil society and helped forge a consensus on how the Marcos regime had plundered the economy and impoverished the people. It also presented an alternative agenda for recovery. Uncharacteristically for economists, at the heart of this alternative agenda to halt what it called “the downward drift in the economy” was a call for democratic politics and greater public participation in decision making. It said that the authoritarian system under Marcos, which did not have effective checks and balances and accountability, “facilitated the economic excesses and mistakes of the past.” It added, “the waste and inefficiency entailed by economic concentration in both the private and public sectors have been abetted by the concentration of political power.”

This paper is so refreshingly uneconomistic. It doesn’t talk of economics as a rarefied field but links it to the greater political and social world out there. Let me confess that I had forgotten about this paper and read it again thoroughly only recently, when I bought a copy that was on sale at the UP Press bookstore two weeks ago. At only P15, it’s one of the few bargains left in this country. Its also as good an indicator as any of how the peso has depreciated in the last 20 years.

In many respects the white paper was ahead of its time. Much of it also rings true, even today. For instance, its observations on social inequality and the great disparities in wealth — are still valid. One of the greatest — and most tragic — failures of 20 years of democracy has been its inability to bridge the yawning gap between rich and poor. The Philippines remains one of the most unequal societies in the world, on a par with Brazil, and less egalitarian than neighboring Indonesia, Cambodia and Vietnam. Sadly, Marcos’s failure to address inequity is also democracy’s failure.

The paper also had this to say about democracy. It would be naïve, it said, to assume that the existence of democratic processes or institutions such as elections, a free press, etc. would automatically bring about the desired economic consequences. Citizens have to be offered real choices during elections, it said. In addition, they had to be informed if they are to choose well.

“The success of democracy rests, to a large extent, on information availability,” said the paper. “The quality of people’s participation in decision making and their perception of their interests is greatly affected by the amount and quality of information they have.”

This is a very prescient statement. A decade later, the economist and Nobel laureate Amartya Sen would publish his influential book on the link between information, public participation, democracy and economic development. By the late 1990s, Sen’s work would influence such mainstream development institutions as the World Bank.

The basic insight dates back to Adam Smith. More than 200 years ago, the founding father of modern economics wrote that information is the great leveler. A free market, he thought, is unable to function if information is withheld or limited to a few. Inadequate information distorts competition and gives undue advantage to vested interests. In analyzing the East Asian crisis of the late 1990s, latter-day economists have echoed Smith, tracing the roots of the malaise to bad information and prescribing more transparency in business and government.

You cannot imagine how happy I am to see that economists now realize what journalists have known for centuries: that societies function well only if citizens are well informed and that a free press is crucial not just for a functioning democracy but a healthy economy.

In the world of business — whether in the Philippines or elsewhere in Asia — transparency means information about who is doing what, who owns what, who is borrowing, from where, how much, for what, and how well everyone is doing, and who is being bailed out, protected, subsidized and at whose expense. These are questions that strike at the heart of power. Information can chip away at the heart of power. This is why journalists like myself are concerned about threats of increasing restrictions on the press and on the freedom to speak out. If our democracy is damaged and dysfunctional now, it will be a disaster if our freedoms are curtailed.

You don’t have to take this journalist’s word for this. This was what the sharp minds of this School said 22 years ago. This is also what the Nobel laureate Amartya Sen wrote: “We have to look at the connection between political and civil rights, on the one hand, and the prevention of major economic disasters, on the other. Political and civil rights give people the opportunity to draw attention forcefully to general needs and to demand appropriate public action. The response of a government to the acute suffering of its people often depends on the pressure that is put on it.

LET me take a break from all these economists talking and let me tell you about the face that haunts me when I cannot sleep at night. It is the face of Christian Alvarez, a frisky five-year old I met on the streets. Christian lives in Plaza Miranda. He and his family sleep on milk cartons near the Mercury Drugstore in Quiapo. Plaza Miranda is his playground. That is also where he and his family eat breakfast everyday: a bowl of lugaw given free by the feeding center run by a Catholic charity in Quiapo church.

Christian’s parents, Rowena and Lawrence Alvarez, are street vendors who make P150 to P200 a day. They have eight children, three of whom — all boys — live on the plaza. Three others are in the care of relatives and friends because their parents do not earn enough to feed and house them. Another was entrusted to the care of an orphanage. The last one, a girl, then aged two, disappeared on the plaza one night when Lawrence left her to fetch water from the Jolibee outlet near Quiapo church.

Christian is at the Quiapo church feeding center with his entire family three times a day. The day I went there, after the noon feeding, the boy shared with his parents and brothers their only real meal that day: three cups of rice bought for P5 each and pinakbet sold for P10 at the Quiapo market. So at 6 pm, Christian lined up again at the Quiapo church, for another bowl of steaming hot lugaw that will at least ensure that he will not go to sleep on an empty stomach.

Unless the situation of the Alvarez family is much improved, the future that awaits Christian is a life on the streets. Like his two other brothers, he will most likely go through two or three years of schooling at the elementary school nearby. He will likely drop out before the third or fourth grade — in fact, nearly 30 percent of all Filipino school children drop out before finishing sixth grade. After that, Christian will scrounge for a living on the streets — scavenging for recyclables, perhaps, or selling cigarettes and candies like his father, perhaps the occasional petty crime.

I wish I could say that the Alvarez family is a particularly special case. But it is not. In 2000, the proportion of the population not reaching the food threshold was 21 percent. One in every five Filipinos cannot afford to meet his minimum food needs. In current numbers, that’s 16 million people.

The numbers, if we look at them, are dismal. Over 30 million Filipinos live below poverty, earning less than the estimated P200 a day needed to keep a family of six clothed, fed, and housed. That is why many families now eat only one full meal — meaning rice and cooked food — a day. As marketing expert Ned Roberto found out in his study on the consumption patterns of the poor, ulam for many families in the lowest income strata these days are: patis, soy sauce, pork oil, sugar and even Pepsi. Many of these families can eat real food only once a week.

Let me give you more numbers. In the 1990s, we wrote about the PEA-Amari case, billed as the “grandmother of all scams,” where close to P3 billion were paid in bribes and commissions to businessmen and officials — including, it was alleged at that time, the Speaker of the House and the Senate President.

In 2001, the Office of the Ombudsman alleged that Joseph Estrada accumulated up to P20 billion in cash and real estate in two-and-half years in Malacañang. Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos were believed to have amassed up to $10 billion in the 20 years they were in power. Recently, it has been alleged that P1 billion recovered from the Marcos wealth by the Arroyo government was used to bankroll the president’s 2004 election campaign.

To me, the scandal lies not so much in the scale of the thievery. The real scandal is that while all these officials were helping themselves to the national treasury, the country was going to ruin and families like those of Christian Alvarez’s were going homeless and hungry.

When hunger stalks millions not because there is a lack of food, but because the social system impoverishes the multitudes while enriching a privileged few, then there is something that is terribly wrong. We are not the Sudan, where millions go hungry in deserts ravaged by war and disease. We are a middle-income country rich in natural resources.

The reason for hunger is the Philippines’ skewed income-distribution pattern: The richest 20 percent of the population account for nearly 55 percent of the national income, while the poorest 20 percent have less than 5 percent. At the same time, political power is monopolized by the wealthy and the privileged. This is particularly true of the House of Representatives, where two of every legislators belong to political families who have been in power for two or more generations.

That such inequity has existed for so long is a testament not so much to the talents of the privileged elite but to the resilience of the ordinary Filipino, a resilience that comes from the strength of our social institutions, particularly the family. Where state and society have failed, the family has filled the slack. For Filipinos, the family is the ultimate social safety net. We found in our research on hunger that one of the coping mechanisms for dealing with lack of food is sending children to the care of other family members. The other is stretching meager budgets and lowering eating and living standards. In the last few years, surveys have shown that more Filipinos are spending less on food. Family members are eating less so that all of them can survive.

In the past, periods of economic boom and the resilience of Filipinos have allowed us to postpone undertaking key reforms and lulled our elites into thinking that they can do politics and business as usual.

Even now, despite the urgency of the current crisis, our political leaders believe they can rule in the old way: that the corruption and ineptness can continue, that the low level of spending on social services will not fray the social fabric beyond repair, that the poor, though hungry, will find ways to cope and not mass up on the streets. Maybe they are right.

BUT WHAT if they are wrong? In 1971, then Senator Benigno S. Aquino famously said, “The Philippines is a social volcano.” Thirty-five years later, the volcano has not exploded — there were eruptions but they were not quite Pinatubo in scale. But how long can we postpone the social reckoning? Already the signs of exploding discontent are upon us: we saw it in the failed people power in February. We see it in the rising criminality brought about by increasing poverty. We saw it in the sporadic outbursts of peasant and urban poor resistance, as in Hacienda Luisita in Tarlac and other haciendas in Negros, but also in 2001, in the spontaneous uprising that was later called Edsa 3.

Our political leaders, however, seem impervious to the signs of the times. They cannot see because they are blinded by their own interests. We have to force them to open their eyes. Our tragedy is that the horizons of our political class are narrow; their interests, short-term; and their attention spans, even shorter. They cannot even see that the system that has nurtured them is failing.

The organizing principle of our political life is the division of spoils. Those in power struggle for a share of the largesse from the national treasury and use this to keep themselves in office, mainly by dispensing patronage to allies and constituents. Patronage is the glue that keeps our unjust and unproductive political system together. Politicians use their powers to bring benefits to their constituents and supporters and to amass funds for their reelection. Constituents, in turn, make continued demands — for jobs, money, basketball courts, etc. — knowing that politicians will use their office to deliver. Governance is distorted to meet these demands. Broader development and reform goals are forgotten. In the end, a system that mires the people in poverty is further entrenched and officials are stuck in the role of fighting for spoils so they could deliver the proceeds to demanding constituents. No matter how oppressive and disempowering this system is, it is resilient.

But this system can be sustained only for so long as the national treasury has enough funds to oil the patronage machine and keep it running. This is why our congressmen are so vehement about keeping their pork barrel funds despite a fiscal crisis and a ballooning budget deficit. Their political survival depends on their ability to deliver the bacon; or in this case, the pork.

The implicit social contract on which our political system has so long been anchored is this: politicians can steal but they have to share the loot with their constituents. But with the government in the red and constituent demands increasing with a fast-growing population and rising poverty, the system could unravel. The tragedy of our politics is that our politicians cannot even muster the will to save the system that has served them so well. Despite the urgency of the crisis, they have enacted at best half-hearted measures that only postpone the day of reckoning.

This is why I believe that the key reforms for moving forward have to do not so much with changing our form of government but with overhauling our political and electoral system. Electoral politics in the Philippines has reached the limits of its usefulness. Our politics is regressive. It hardly matters whether we stick to a presidential or shift to a parliamentary form of government. What we need is a system that will distribute power — and the benefits of power — more equitably.

We need a more even electoral field, and an election commission that will ensure that the rules are followed. We need to build political parties that articulate the interests of the poor, not just of the wealthy. We need measures that would impose party discipline and ensure accountability and transparency in campaign contributions.

Our political system since 1986 is becoming more and more elitist and exclusivist. Less than 200 families have monopolized Congress seats in the last 100 years. In 1962, only 27 percent of representatives were classified as upper class. Forty years later, in 1992, it was 44 percent. Over time, the assets of legislators have grown. In 1992, the average net worth of congressmen was P8 million, today it is P28 million. In the Senate, the average net worth increased from P33 million in 1998 to P59 million in 2001. A quarter of all senators today have a net worth of above P100 million. One should consider that many legislators underdeclare what they own.

The question is: Why should politicians want to overhaul a system that has been so good to them? The answer simply is this: Given current realities, that system cannot hold.

In other words, our fates are entwined. Our country will prosper only if everyone is looked after. There can be sustained prosperity only if such prosperity is shared by all. Our economy cannot expand if the benefits of growth are enjoyed by only a privileged and powerful few. We will not develop if a big segment of our population is poor, hungry, uneducated and uncared for. Even the World Bank, inspired by Amartya Sen’s work on economic development, says this.
In short, inequity is unsustainable. If we look all over the world, we will find that the only prosperous societies, the only secure states, and the only stable economies are those where citizens share wealth and power.
ULTIMATELY, democracy is sustainable only with stable institutions responsive to the needs of the majority: among them, a truly representative legislature, a competent and accountable executive, and a bureaucracy that delivers essential social services — education, health care, among others — especially those who need them the most.

A patronage-based political system does not build institutions: It corrupts and weakens them. Twenty years after the restoration of democracy, our institutions remain feeble, unable to stand on their own and to keep their autonomy and independence from partisan politics. These institutions are also wracked by corruption. We all know about the problems with the Bureau of Customs and the BIR. But equally alarming is how corruption has seeped into the marrow of the military, the police and the courts — which are the backbone institutions for ensuring public safety and the rule of law.

Most important of all, if our country will have a place in the future, the privileged classes must give up some of their power and wealth. We must find a way to funnel resources from the wealthy — by streamlining our tax system, for example — so that we can spend more on education, health care and livelihood projects for the poor. Government must stop its waste and profligacy to provide more social services for the people. Public spending has to address basic needs rather than greasing the patronage machine.

Ultimately, this means forging a new social compact, one built no longer on the mutual, if unevenly distributed, benefits of a system based on patronage and spoils. We need a social contract that is premised on the right of every citizen to the fundamentals of a decent life and on a more equitable sharing of the wealth our country produces.
This is your task now. The generations before you — including mine, which reached adulthood in the 1980s, at the dawn of people power — have failed. I am probably the same generation as your parents. Now in the throes of middle age, my generation has realized that many of our great hopes about this country have been frustrated, our big dreams of reform have turned to dust. While Edsa 1 is the defining experience of our lives and we will always be proud that we took part in restoring freedom, we have also failed to build a just and equitable society. That undertaking is yours. And as economists trained in the country’s premier university you are uniquely placed to play a reforming and nation building role. The UP School of Economics has a tradition for critical and innovative thought. For the past 20 years, it has upset presidents with its uncompromising analyses of our country’s economic problems. You are the bearers of this tradition.

Do not be daunted by the fact that the changes we need cannot be done overnight. They may not take effect soon enough to save Christian Alvarez from a life on the streets or prevent him from dropping out of school. But it is imperative we sow the seeds now so that if not Christian, then his children, your children, will be ensured not just of an education but also of a secure and comfortable life.

I have confidence in you, the Class of 2006. It is my hope you will have far greater clarity than we have had. The generations before you are jaded and worn out. They may no longer be capable of creativity; their energies are spent. They are stuck with old templates — imposing old solutions to new problems. We need to break out of the mold. We need your youth, your imagination, and your energy to do this.

Congratulations to all of you. I am certain that this university, this school has trained you well. The future of this country is in your capable hands.

57 Responses to Forging a new social contract


blog @ AWBHoldings.com » The Turn of This Generation

April 23rd, 2006 at 8:09 pm

[…] In a speech before the graduating class of UP School of Economics, PCIJ’s Sheila Coronel spoke about poverty, the problems of the political system, and the possible explosion of the social volcano. She even said that her generation had failed, and it is the turn of the generation of the graduating class: Ultimately, this means forging a new social compact, one built no longer on the mutual, if unevenly distributed, benefits of a system based on patronage and spoils. We need a social contract that is premised on the right of every citizen to the fundamentals of a decent life and on a more equitable sharing of the wealth our country produces. […]



April 23rd, 2006 at 11:32 pm

Wow..very impressive speech, informative, realistic, unbiased and encouraging. Graduation is not their last day at the school, it is their first day to the real world. Lucky for them, they have Sheila to welcome them. I remember myself 8 years ago, it was more of anxiety than excitement, ganun din siguro ang nararamdaman nila, and UP education is not a sure ticket to success these days. I am sure they can feel the pressure..how can a fresh economics gradute solve the problems or even help our nation, na puno ng corrupt political leaders, bureaucratic red-tape laden institutions and forgiving,easy-go-lucky pinoys. Sana lang ang first job nila hindi sa gobyerno..its not that im a pessimist, baka lang lamunin na rin sila ng sistemang nagttrabaho 1 oras after magbukas ang opisina, lunch break ng 2 oras at magpa-cute na lang 1 oras bago magsara ang opisina.

Welcome to the real world Economics Graduates! You can do it! meanwhile, here’s a joke for you..
“When you are in the unemployment line, at least you will know why you are there” :)



April 24th, 2006 at 12:33 am

here’s another econ joke (tis a pro-econ joke, since it’s the econ majors’ big day).

why the laws of economics make more sense than the laws of physics:

leave a 1000 peso bill overnight on a bench in the AS building. according to physics, the bill will still be there the next day. according to economics… (you get my drift).

joke joke joke! :)

anyway, congrats to all the econ graduates!


Juan Makabayan

April 24th, 2006 at 12:34 am

Is it true, I heard, 80%, on the ave, of UP grads each year since the 70’s batch are out of the country? Any way it must really be a high %.

I’m trying to imagine a Normandy-remiscent beach-head landing by our patriots-in-econimic-exile to re-take their Inang Bayan from Neo-Nazi-Fascist occupiers.

They have expressed their concern, they are aware. Buhay sa puso ng bawat UP grad ang diwa ng pagiging iskolar, paaral, ng bayan. They will find a way.


tongue in, anew

April 24th, 2006 at 2:36 am

No wonder this happened to our economy, the Eco grads had always followed the school motto and plunged us into the deep. Hehehe.

Nah, I have lots of Eco-grad friends whom I respect, especially those who started with us in Egineering but later shifted courses when the Math became very tough. Hehehe uli.

Mabuhay ang mga iskolar ng bayan!



April 24th, 2006 at 8:08 am

still on graduation, but on another note:

Cavite State University graduate heckles GMA during her speech
Mike Defensor wants answers from the PSG on the purported “security lapse”
Cavite governor calls it inappropriate behavior
Graduate arrested for attempting to bring out a protest banner
Graduates frisked before accepting their diplomas

if graduates are not given the academic freedom to express, even protest, during a ceremony that pretty much celebrates their success in the academe, then the school has no business calling itself a school. diploma mill might be more appropriate.

on the other hand, GMA should’ve known better than to address a state university graduation ceremony. if she wanted plaudits, she should’ve stuck to her rah-rah boys.



April 24th, 2006 at 8:26 am

Regarding that heckling, siguro naman kahit gaano tayo kagalit sa Presidente she still deserves some respect, she represents our country after all. Freedom of expression alright, we can not question that, dalhin naman sana sa lugar.. pero kung babastusin mo then afterwards kakamayan mo, ano ba yun? sana pala may Good Manners and Right Conduct subject sa college..put our heckling in proper places and always bring our manners with us. Buti na lang hindi ginawa ni Congressman Francis Escudero ang ganun when GMA awarded him as one of the Ten Outstanding Young Men. Kaya naman kahit sino nirerespeto sya.

Wika nga ni Mark Twain .. “There is a good side and a bad side to most people, and in accordance with your own character and disposition you will bring out one of them and the other will remain a sealed book to you”



April 24th, 2006 at 9:23 am

Ano man ang galit mo sa tao kung iimbitahin mo rin lang bilang isang panauhin dapat namang igalang at hindi para bastusin. Kung hindi rin lamang matanggap noong heckler ang presence ni Gloria ang dapat nyang ginawa ay hindi na sana siya sumampa pa ng stage nuong siya’y tawagin upang tanggapin kay Gloria ang kanyang diploma. This would have been her silent protest ngunit mas meaningful at mabigat ang impact.



April 24th, 2006 at 9:50 am

when a friend texted me about that issue hindi na ako nagulat since i’m also a product of the CSG and The Gazette and when GMA’s speech was marred by MAria Theresa Pangilinan the incumbent Central Student Government Chairman and staffer of the Gazette (who shouted Patalsikin si Gloria and even raised banner “No to Cha2x) with full of guts and courage and the other guy na hindi n2loy ang pagladlad ng banner.. just proves na wala silang takot 2 express what their sentiments are.

they are the few people who knows the suppression and repression inside and outside the campus being student leaders and student writers from the said university.

and i go for he side of the students who showed couraged to defy armed Gloria goons and speak up for what they believe, if there are more young people like Pangilinan and Dayan-dayan who would led the students, the Philippines can look to a bright future in spite of Gloria’s presidency.



April 24th, 2006 at 10:16 am

Do you mean if we have more young people like Pangilinan and Dayan-dayan, the Philippines can look to a bright future? Holy Molly! saan nanggaling ang assumption na yan? Maswerte sila, produkto sila ng Cavite State University, take note of the word “STATE UNIVERSITY”..meaning “Iskolar Sila ng Bayan”, hindi sila iskolar ng oposisyon. Lahat ng Pilipino, maka oposisyon o maka administrasyon, ang gumagastos sa pag-aaral nila..and being taxpayers and Filipinos may karapatan din tayong sabihin na igalang nila ang Presidente ng Pilipinas na kinikilalang Presidente ng mga Pilipino, may kwestiyon man o wala sa kanyang legitimacy. Mas maiintindihan ko pa siguro kung galing sa sila sa Private Universities, kung naghirap ang mga magulang nila sa taas ng matrikula sa mga Pribadong Unibersidad.

Had they put their manners first before activism, I would definitely agree..with more people like them, the Philippines can look to a brighter future



April 24th, 2006 at 10:37 am

“Lahat ng Pilipino, maka oposisyon o maka administrasyon, ang gumagastos sa pag-aaral nila..and being taxpayers and Filipinos may karapatan din tayong sabihin na igalang nila ang Presidente ng Pilipinas na kinikilalang Presidente ng mga Pilipino, may kwestiyon man o wala sa kanyang legitimacy.”

scud, meron din naman tayong karapatan bilang taxpayer at Filipino na sabihin sa kanila na sabihin dapat ang kanilang sentimyento at hinaing, at di dapat nila itago na lamang.

di lang naman sina pangilinan at dayan-dayan ang graduate ng CvSU noong araw na iyon, at di naman lahat ng graduate ay nagsipagprotesta.

parang pilipinas din, kahit ipagpalagay natin na taxpayers lang dapat ang pag-usapan natin — may mga sumasama sa kilos-protesta, at mayroon ding hindi; may mga sumusuporta kay GMA, mayroon namang hindi… at mayroon din namang mga taxpayer na di rin pumapanig kung saan.


Manuel L. Quezon III » Hecklers and officials

April 24th, 2006 at 10:45 am

[…] In the blogosphere, Sheila Coronel reproduces her speech before the Economics graduating class of the University of the Philippines. Titled “forging a new social contract,” she puts in perspective the call of the times. Incidentally, barako cafe has a very kind -and sharp- thing to say about journalists: […]



April 24th, 2006 at 10:48 am

Yup..i agree with you 100% jester, lahat tayo may karapatan na ipahayag ang sariling pananaw at sentimyento. Siguro naman sang-ayon ka na dapat ilagay yan sa lugar, dahil lahat naman tayo galit sa mga taong umaabuso sa kanilang karapatan.

If there’s any consolation, mabuti na lang mas marami pang iskolar ng bayan sa Cavite State University ang nakakaalam kung ano ang proper decorum. Kahit saan nga naman lugar may bulok na kamatis.



April 24th, 2006 at 11:02 am

ang opinyon ko sa issue na yan, scud, ay ginawa nina pangilinan at ni dayan-dayan ang protesta nila sa tamang lugar — na mapapakinggan mismo ni GMA ang kanilang protesta, at di malalagyan ng “spin” nina bunye, defensor, et al dahil ang protesta ay hindi na-report kay GMA kundi nakita at narinig niya mismo.

something like “take the message to the target audience.”

although, i must say that i agree with toro to some extent — may mga methods of silent protest na puwedeng gawin (walk out, removing the toga to show a “Now Na!” t-shirt, spraypainting a slogan on the back of the toga, et cetera), whose silence will be louder and more effective… plus di ka pa palalayasin ng PSG.

at the end of the day, what i appreciate the most is that the graduate spoke her mind. too many people don’t, even when they have something to say or some cause to espouse. ayoko namang malaman na ang taxes na binabayaran ko ay napupunta sa state U tuition ng isang robot o ventriloquist’s dummy.



April 24th, 2006 at 11:45 am

Well, it really depends on us kung ano sa palagay natin ang tamang lugar..kung sa palagay nila sa Commencement Exercise ng lahat ng CvSU 2006 graduates at sa harap ng mga magulang at bisita ng tamang lugar, eh pinakita lang talaga nila na matapang sila..hanggang dun lang. Some people liked their gutsy attitude, some only have pity for them..wala naman sigurong matatawag na graduate na walang pinag aralan.

Let’s just welcome them, and challenge them, like what Sheila did to UP Economics Graduates. Malaki ang inaasahan ng taumbayan sa kanila bilang mga “Iskolar ng Bayan”, make their countrymen proud..hindi natatapos sa salita ang pagiging makabayan. Ngayong hindi na sila umaasa sa tulong ng gobyerno, it’s just right na pagsilbihan naman nila ang mga taong nagpaaral sa kanila. Tingnan naman nating kung yang Lakas ng Sigaw nila, kasing Tibay ng Dibdib nila.



April 24th, 2006 at 12:07 pm

More than 200 years ago, the founding father of modern economics wrote that information is the great leveler. A free market, he thought, is unable to function if information is withheld or limited to a few. Inadequate information distorts competition and gives undue advantage to vested interests.

I remember inking a column piece for a community paper in Pampanga back in 2004 which affirms the fact that the the poor remain poor not because of the oft-parroted laziness or apathy but because of the fact that they, in the neoclassical school, cannot borrow against future earnings to invest in education, skills, new crops and entrepreneurial activities.

The poor are cut off from economic activity because they are deprived of many collective goods such as property rights, public safety, infrastructure) and lack information about market opportunities.

Of course, the socialist school of thought has a different reason altogether on why the poor remain poor while rich grows richer, but that was another essay altogether. 😀



April 24th, 2006 at 12:09 pm

I think I miffed the previous post. In any case, here’s the link.



April 24th, 2006 at 12:22 pm

The current fiscal policies of President Arroyo and her bevy of “economic managers” are still yet to answer the basic question of which should be tackled first – economic growth or poverty reduction.

This is where all it begins because different means lead to different ends and vice versa.

Government policies that emphasize growth in order to eliminate or at least reduce poverty are different from policies that emphasize poverty reduction in order to achieve high economic growth.

Let me give you examples.

Fiscal policy. How should a government resolve the trade-off between higher spending on poverty-related projects [ such as rural infrastructure ] and the need for tight fiscal policies? Should it risk incurring the disapproval of the financial markets at the price of better irrigation? How should it allocate its educational budget? Should more be spent on building primary schools in rural areas or in training bank auditors and accountants?

Market liberalization. Should the government maintain price controls on food crops, even if such controls distort resource allocations in the economy? Should it remove capital controls on the balance of payments, even if that means fiscal resources will be tied-up in holding additional foreign reserves – resources that could otherwise have been used to finance a social fund and a major infrastructure project?

Institutional reform. How should the government design its anti-corruption strategy? Should it target the large-scale corruption that foreign investors complain about or the petty corruption in the police and judicial systems that affects the ordinary citizen? Should legal reform focus on trade and foreign investments or domestic problems? Whose property rights should receive priority, farmers or foreign patent holders? Should the government pursue genuine land reform, even if it threatens politically powerful groups?

Do you get my point?


lokalokang matino

April 24th, 2006 at 12:42 pm

Ms. Pangilinan stood high than gloria in that face-to-cate encounter, not because she’s taller BUT BECAUSE she’s got the courage to express her dis-approval in the face of well known LIAR.
I submit, that a President should be respected by anyone, even if you did not vote for him/her.
BUT IF A SETTING PRESIDENT WHO CHEATED to get the position, LIED AND LIED MANY TIMES OVER, deserved no respect at all. The person should first show respect to the constitution, ITS PEOPLE and its institutions before he or she could command respect.



April 24th, 2006 at 1:13 pm

Just landed back here in Toronto after a month visit to my other home and nice to read Sheila addressed the up economics graduates on the subject which I always believe is the mean cause of all the social and political problems in the country. ” The great divide between the political and business elites and the majority of the population”. Yes, year in and year out our great universities produce thousands of brilliant economists (same as lawyers and journalists) and all with great and honourable intentions and wonderful sounding graduation’s motto’s. But are the people in our high government places, were not the same great and brilliant graduates of yesteryear’s?? That is the problem, once they are in position they usually tend to forget that economy is for the whole nation, not just for themselves. I have seen first hand that inequality. Just a few houses up my house in brookside hill a house built on one block, with half a dozen luxurious SUVs including X5 BMW and outside along Ortigas ave. a line of squatters with children as young as pre schoolers crisscrossing the ever dangerous traffic cleaning car windows for subsistence. I spent more than half of my vacation allowance on selective charities, which I knew meant nothing and may even only last a week or less for some recipients. It just pain me to no end how can a corrupt official drive around looking at these situation?? Are this year’s graduates any different from the past? I wish and hope because the Time is running out and Running out Fast.



April 24th, 2006 at 2:04 pm

Sheila’s speech is indeed enlightening and inspiring. But no amount of encouragement or admonition can make a meaningful change to a country that pretends to be asleep. As the great JPR said, “mahirap gisingin ang gising”. I have heard and read excellent treatises and studies from many brilliant and well-informed kababayans regarding the state of our country for the last fifty years but, unfortunately, like the parable of the mustard seeds, they all fell on barren soil just as they continue to these days.

We have tried practically all the conceivable peaceful and civil means to effect the necessary changes in this country to avoid seeing another Christian Alvarez, probably even long before his parents were born, through rallies, conventions, protests, sit-ins, convocations, and the like, and what have we accomplished? More of the same as yesteryears. The only difference is- it has gotten worse. And it continues to get worse by the day. Then the vicious cycle lives again. The cancer cells metastasize, as Sheila has hinted.

I think the cycle has to be broken soonest somewhere, somehow, if we want the motto of the our thousands and thousands of talented and newly-grads and other kababayans to change from, “If you can’t beat them, leave them (and migrate to another country)” to “If you can’t beat them, fight them (here and now)” by way of social cleansing-the proportion of which we have not seen before. Otherwise, we’ll just be saying and writing the same thing again and again using different words, terms, and presentations…..and watching once more George Orwell’s ANIMAL FARM.

CONGRATS to the new-grads!

in other words and in different terms like watching again orson



April 24th, 2006 at 5:45 pm

take note nga po “iskolar ng bayan” pero sa pangalan lamang dahil parang semi-private ng matatawag ang cavite state university….pero hindi yung ang isyu sa panahong ito. at paano mong matatawag na iskolar ng bayan kung ang mga funds sa pagpapagawang building at pagpapasweldo sa mga teacher/staffs etc. ay binabayaran ng mga estudyante?

kung minsan kailangan mong gawin ang ganong bagay upang magising ang karamihan. most of the CvSu students are too passive. wala silang pakialam sa mga pangyayari inside and outside the campus.

sabi nga ni loka-loakang matino” BUT IF A SETTING PRESIDENT WHO CHEATED to get the position, LIED AND LIED MANY TIMES OVER, deserved no respect at all. The person should first show respect to the constitution, ITS PEOPLE and its institutions before he or she could command respect.



April 24th, 2006 at 6:09 pm

also, read shiela’s speech before grads of UP Sch of Econ. it is an off-the-shelf piece, yet relevant to some points we were discussing.



April 24th, 2006 at 8:20 pm

ahh..so ayaw nyo gumastos para sa mga teachers at staffs na nagtututro sa inyo? talaga nga naman..spoiled na nga yata talaga ang mga iskolar ng bayan. Pasensya na at lahat tayo ay naghihirap.

And most students of CvSU are too passive? haay..narinig ko na naman ang sweeping statement para sa mga mas nakararaming taong ayaw sumama sa protesta, please give them the benefit of the doubt na lang..baka naman marami pa silang mas importanteng bagay na ginagawa.



April 24th, 2006 at 8:45 pm

it’s not that we don’t want to spend money for the teacher na nag22ro sa amin, hindi m kz alam yung status ng skul namin compared sa ibang mga state universities na kahit papano malaki pa rin ang government subsidies or hindi ka nanggaling sa isang state university kaya m nasasabi yan.

we just want the students to realized that they belong to a much more complex society that is with the struggling mass people.

“state university nga eh”… hindi kami private university..



April 24th, 2006 at 9:07 pm

I’m not a product of a state university,and i’m proud of that..at maswerte ka pa rin mababa ang tuition mo kumpara sa amin. Ang pagkakaalam ko, may parte ang mga tuition fees sa pagpapatakbo ng State University..hindi lahat yan asa sa kaban na bayan. Let me give you a link about the New UP Charter..you will read on 6th question kung bakit hindi kayang matustusan ng gobyerno ang lahat na pangangailangan ng State Universities


Last comment ko lang tungkol sa dalawang estudyante na hinahangaan ninyo, obviously naman na di nyo nakikita ang pagkakamali nila.. but did ever wonder kung bakit nandun si Gloria?

“PGMA orders release of P50-M for modernization of science and engineering courses of Cavite State University” http://www.gov.ph/news/default.asp?i=14976

Kung lagi kasi tayo nagpapadala sa init ng ulo, puro kamalian na lang ang nakikita natin..di natin alam, mali na rin ang ginagawa natin. Sadly, ang na cover ng media ay kamalian din..hindi ang magandang balita na regalo ng publiko sa CvSU. Wala na akong ibang komento pa tungkol sa 2 graduates..nangyari na yan, but if I can give them an advice, makinig na lang sila sa sinabi ni E.T. “Be Good”



April 24th, 2006 at 9:56 pm

Amen to that Scud.



April 24th, 2006 at 11:35 pm

Here’s the government’s simple solution to simple Economics:

“PRESIDENT Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s government has launched talks with heirs of deposed president Ferdinand Marcos to recover money from his estate said to be worth billions of dollars…[up to 10 billion dollars in 1986…could now be worth at least 10 times more]…” PHILIPPINE DAILY INQUIRER

Let’s see, the Marcos family assets are worth billions of dollars and the ordinary Economics graduate finding work as a cashier at Jollibee earn about 400 Pesos a day. The Marcos family et al are living in luxury while the Econ graduate is plunged deep into abject poverty. Maybe an Econ grad should go for his/her Master’s degree to realize that the marginalized millions of Filipinos outnumber the corrupt few in control of the Philippines.


dirk pitt

April 25th, 2006 at 12:00 am

“Last comment ko lang tungkol sa dalawang estudyante na hinahangaan ninyo, obviously naman na di nyo nakikita ang pagkakamali nila.. but did ever wonder kung bakit nandun si Gloria?”

Nandun si Gloria dahil nandaya siya sa eleksiyon nung 2004; pero di ninyo nakikita yun.



April 25th, 2006 at 2:38 am

they saw it actually. they just considered gloria’s 2004 act as one misdemeanor (like maria theresa’s) worthy to be dismissed from our minds.

forget the past…as the newspaper rounds last Sunday of PIA slogan speaks: Magtulungan tayo. Kaunlaran muna. (a volley of government ads in retaliation to the senate-perceived victory on the SC eo464 rule…start of another palace-initiated mind-conditioning, to me: all hail, plankton…all hail, plankton!)

(one may download the propaganda ads here http://www.pia.gov.ph/ , i.e., if you care…)


tongue in, anew

April 25th, 2006 at 3:06 am

Am not wasting precious bandwidth to read crap, Panyero.

Aaah, may P50M naman palang donation, so, kalimutan na ang lying, cheating, stealing, and cover-up. That’s Pinoy morality for you.

But wait, bakit P50M lang pag education? Pag pulis P500M, Pag AFP, P500M. Sa irrigation P500M. Pansinin ninyo lahat ng lakad ni Gloria, may dalang suhol na P500M!


dirk pitt

April 25th, 2006 at 4:15 am

“But wait, bakit P50M lang pag education? Pag pulis P500M, Pag AFP, P500M. Sa irrigation P500M. Pansinin ninyo lahat ng lakad ni Gloria, may dalang suhol na P500M!”

Mas mahal ni Gloria ang mga farmers! Ang fertilizer fund niya, BILLIONS of pesos!


Ambuot Saimo

April 25th, 2006 at 5:22 am

Shiela’s assessment of our economic quagmire is right on target There are millions of Christian Alvarezes out there including unfortunately the employed sector who cannot support a family of four even if he works 24 hours a day because the greedy employers do not give them living wage but slave wage. Frankly, the slaves of old are really more fortunate than Filipino workers today because their masters provide them with their basic needs (food, clothing, shelter and medicine) so that they remain healthy inasmuch a healthy slave is an asset to the owner (more productive and command higher price if sold later). Today, there are millions of slaves (terminology changed to employees) but living not within their master’s domain but are still serving for their masters’ (terminology changed to employers) and receiving tokens called “salary” for the day’s hardwork for their master’s benefit. Their freedom and enjoyment are restricted due to financial constraints, do not enjoy and understand what life really is and cannot support themselves even if they work 24 hours a day. If these people are not slaves, what are they?
I hope these 2006 graduates will be courageous enough to initiate the much needed economic reforms and will not allow themselves to be prostituted or used by the elites. There are viable solutions out there aside from armed revolution on how we could get out from these economic and political shit we are in but the problem is they are definitely anti-rich and therefore next to impossible- because these priviliged few has the control of all institutions and virtually even the destiny of much of the Filipinos.
Definitely we have a problem here and a solution is needed. So, aside from just posting our crticisms/grievances/commentaries and crying over spilt milk in these blog why don’t we brainstorm ourselves of what are the possible or impossible SOLUTIONS. Mind you… congress or somebody who has the capacity may pick it up or at least we can “AWAKEN” the majority of the FILIPINO PEOPLE who are on deep slumber. Ayayaay buhaay !!!



April 25th, 2006 at 7:32 am

Dirk Pitt says,

“Nandun si Gloria dahil nandaya siya sa eleksiyon nung 2004; pero di ninyo nakikita yun.”

If I may answer you, Dirk, no I have not forgotten that. I know what goes on in every election. Neither have I forgotten those who cheated in the election to subvert the will of the people. I was one of the original members of the Namfrel in the early ’60s when it was headed by the late Mrs. Fernandina Balboa, to prevent rampant election fraud then, and I knew who cheated and how much it angered us to know that the cheats would not have succeeded without the help of citizens like you and me. There will always be attempts to cheat us, but if people will just make lip service and not act to prevent it I cannot blame Gloria as much as I would blame the people for being so inert and allowed cheating to happen. There would have been no reason for the heckler to pull that stunt.



April 25th, 2006 at 1:34 pm

yeah right, denounce the heckler. the protesters. bastos! walang modo! hindi ginamit ang pinag-aralan! very unfilipino(?)! but for cheaters & plunderers? oh, enough of that noise! let’s just move on! no one is clean anyway. the administration, the opposition, they’re all the same. well, that’s good manners and right conduct.
and how are you going to deal with plunderers? through a settlement. 70-30, 60-40 deal? all charges dropped. no need for apologies either. just return some of the money. and again we say, let’s move on. (but of course this is not applicable to lowly govt. employees. you get caught stealing, you go straight to jail for 10 years). again, that’s good manners and right conduct. cool?

but my take on gloria’s experience in that school’s incident? this kind of protest action happens not just in the phils. we should not be too naïve about it. there is an issue against gloria she should deal with it. buti nga hindi siya binato ng bulok na kamatis or bugok na itlog that would have been more embarrassing as what happened to some foreign dignitaries. bastos ba? pangit ba makita sa tv? i say tama na ang pacute. deal with the changing times. i admire the girl for her guts. may paninindigan. i’m sure the media will welcome her with open arms for that courageous act. she has a bright future ahead of her.



April 25th, 2006 at 1:45 pm

Remind me when a protester smashed Prime Minister Jean Chretien face with a Pie (was it mustard, apple or egg pie) and the only person we blame is his single security man who was busy looking at the chicks maybe. It was the PM who tackled the protester himself and the pics worthy of WWF. No big deal, it’ part of politics, the lighter side compared the the rest of them.



April 25th, 2006 at 1:56 pm

we’re on the same wavelength naykika. you have just given a perfect example.



April 25th, 2006 at 2:02 pm

when is the right time or place to do it? right there when gloria was present. that’s the perfect opportunity for protesters. to think that they cannot even set their sights on gloria at mendiola.



April 25th, 2006 at 2:34 pm

well, eto lang po masasabi ko:

the students who heckled gloria deserves to be there. in a way, they also worked (hard or not) to finish their schooling and be considered as graduates. but gloria who was heckled doesn’t deserve to be there. it was garcillano who worked hard for her winning so garcillano should be the one to be there.

but it seems that the students did not cheat their way to graduation. garcillano cheated, though not for himself but for the president. in that case, garcillano therefore doesn’t deserve to be there. in simple terms, neither gloria nor garcillano should be present.

sino ngayon ang deserving? puwede kayang iyong mga magulang na lang nila? just to give justice to their votes that weren’t counted?

ba’t kasi masyadong biased ang mga heads ng schools sa mga popular persons and politicians. alam ko, graduation ceremonies are made to inspire. si manong tonyo na magtataho, na nagpaaral ng pitong anak dahil sa kanyang trabaho, di kaya puwedeng maging inspirasyon? ba’t si gloria pa?


Juan Makabayan

April 25th, 2006 at 3:33 pm

Why is Malacanang silent in the aftermath of the CSU/Maria Theresa Pangilinan’s heartfelt version of tunay “Sigaw ng Bayan’ – ‘no to cha-cha!’ ; or ‘Sigaw ng Kabataan’ – ‘patalsikin si Gloria!’ ?

The Book warns the elders not to provoke the children.

I remember a seminarian I know wasn’t able to contain his outrage when he uncharacteristically had an outburst against a philandering scandalous clergy: ” You are not worthy! You are not worthy ! You are not worthy!” Well, the clergy in question was transferred and was not heard of since, sparing the community from further scandals.



April 25th, 2006 at 7:02 pm

on sheila’s speech: the theme on state U grads’ duty to the country seems to be echoed in a thread of the speech the UP chancellor made in the diliman graduation rites.

on theresa pangilinan:

ruby, scud,

“hindi m kz alam yung status ng skul namin compared sa ibang mga state universities na kahit papano malaki pa rin ang government subsidies or hindi ka nanggaling sa isang state university kaya m nasasabi yan.”

like scud, i wasn’t a state U student, although i feel i can claim the title “iskolar ng bayan” (and bear it with pride, too) as my tuition throughout my college career was state-sponsored (DOST), and thus far i don’t think i’ve done anything to waste the taxes that paid for my tuition.

let’s discuss the issue WITHOUT stooping to focusing on WHO a person is. let’s discuss WHAT the person SUPPORTS/DISPOSES, might we?

i think pangilinan got her point across, very effectively, and with a very widespread audience as well (courtesy of the media). i think she did her protest in a manner that would guarantee that:

1. GMA sees it firsthand
2. people see that GMA sees it firsthand, and therefore
3. the people who see it get to make a choice to:

a. damn GMA and praise pangilinan (like jr_lad, tama ba? and myself as well)
b. damn pangilinan in defense of GMA (like, apparently, defensor, maliksi, et al)
c. damn pangilinan in defense of propriety (GMA’s presence a non sequitur to what pangilinan did; these are those similar to scud’s view — tama ba, scud, toro?)
d. damn them both (if one followed The Bard’s Mercutian principles), or
e. don’t give a damn one way or another (if this is what “too passive” means, perhaps; apathetic, maybe?)

the freedom to choose one’s path is one of the trademarks of a democracy (no matter how flawed ours is and is getting). i may not agree with scud nor he with me, as you can see above, but he has not in any way attacked me as a person (though truth be told, gusto ko siyang batukan sa comment niyang “Kahit saan nga naman lugar may bulok na kamatis..” peace scud)


“i’m sure the media will welcome her with open arms for that courageous act. she has a bright future ahead of her.”

caveat — media might, but what of the typical HR manager?


“alam ko, graduation ceremonies are made to inspire. si manong tonyo na magtataho, na nagpaaral ng pitong anak dahil sa kanyang trabaho, di kaya puwedeng maging inspirasyon? ba’t si gloria pa?”




April 25th, 2006 at 8:27 pm

right, jester. damn w/ propriety. as loka-loka said, RESPECT BEGGETS RESPECT. tama ng plastikan. para lang yan sa mga politiko.



April 25th, 2006 at 8:43 pm

i agree with jr. lad lamentations above.

and the palace propaganda machine puts the blame on the school officials for the “security lapse”. what are we to infer from this, transform schools into sanitized and activists- free zones?

to u.p. sch of econ grads: the ‘white paper’ shiela’s talking about, remained just that- a paper colored white. if my memory serves me right, most of the economist- authors joined the government, in fact partially manned the economic team that succeeded marcos.

well… you will have the chance to make it a reality and more responsive to the likes of mang tonyo. good luck.



April 25th, 2006 at 8:45 pm

jester, can i choose c & d? :)



April 25th, 2006 at 9:02 pm


“what are we to infer from this, transform schools into sanitized and activists- free zones?”

i’m sure that’s what they want, but the fact is private schools have by and large lived in such a state for the longest time. lucky state U students — they aren’t as repressed as private school students are in the above sense, in the context of campus press freedom, the right to free expression, et cetera.

lumalayo na tayo sa topic, ah. but to use your closing as a springboard back to the topic, the question is: how many state U grads will use their talents for nation-building and how many will be seduced by the system into becoming the trapos of the next generation?


be my guest, hehe.



April 25th, 2006 at 9:19 pm

Their first job will be the key..as i said, welcome to the real world graduates. Advice lang, sa ngayon wag nyo unahin magtrabaho sa gobyerno..lalamunin kayo ng sistema at ng mga beterano sa garapalan. At the end of the day, its not your intelligence, talent or school that matters..its your attitude.

meanwhile, hanapbuhay na rin muna ako



April 25th, 2006 at 9:34 pm

jester said,

“…how many state U grads will use their talents for nation building and how many will be seduced by the system into becoming the trapos of the next generation?”

ultimately, ‘to be or not to be’, that is the question!

tis their own lookout and the nation’s grief should they willingly plunge and take the latter. heavens forbid.



April 25th, 2006 at 9:57 pm

freewheel, “security lapse” daw? that’s very funny. and how do they want school officials do that? frisk all graduating students because the queen(?) is around? maybe they have forgotten gone are the days when kings & queens rule the earth. when anything you say against them is an automatic death sentence by decapitation, scourging or anything gross. and gloria is not even a queen.

and to the graduates, as scud said, welcome to the real world! learn from the parable of the sower.



April 26th, 2006 at 5:25 am

A few words for the new Grads: and the real world is full of obstacles. don’t travel the path of the ones who sow pains and destructions upon their motherland. she suffered enough. give her the breathing room and like a good mother she soon be back on her own two feet taking care of all her children and believe me you will feel the difference. good luck to all…



April 26th, 2006 at 10:49 am

simple lang ata ang message ni naykika: don’t follow the footsteps of gma. right? :)




April 27th, 2006 at 5:43 am

Para naman mabalanse yung tila hinanakit ng iba (scud, et. al.) dito na may mga humahanga sa atin kay Panganiban, o sige aaminin ko na hanga ako kay GMA dahil sa tapang at katusuhan niya. In fact hanga din ako kay Satanas dahil sa kanyang persistence. Balik kay GMA, palagay ko lang yung katapangan niya ay panduduro lang. Pag nagkasubuan na, malamang lalabas ang karuwagan. Ganyan din ang hinala ko sa mga amuyong niya na puro manduduro.

Nuong hindi pa siya nahuhuli, legendary yung terrorist na tinatawag na “Jackal.” Naging subject pa ng mga novels na gaya ng “Day of the Jackal,” at yung Bourne trilogy ni Robert Ludlum (of course iniba na nung gawing movies starring Matt Damon dahil hindi na relevant sa panahon). Pero sa wakas ay nahuli din ang tunay na Jackal. Sa pagkakatanda ko sa news story, disappointed daw yung mga nakahuli dahil parang basang sisiw at ni hindi lumaban. Ngayon nakalimutan na siguro ng mga tao na totoong person siya. Ganyan din itong tropa ng mga manduduro sa ating bansang sinilangan.



April 27th, 2006 at 5:44 am

Sorry, I meant Pangilinan.



April 27th, 2006 at 1:54 pm

again, talking of pangilinan, everyday my revulsion against siraulo gonzales is growing. imagine wasting time and money directing the nbi to investigate pangilinan “the heckler” and the school officials as well for pangilinan’s action against gloria? and to think that he cannot even defend a fellow filipino (the rape victim) against a foreign aggressor. it is so disgusting to have a public official with the likes of gonzales. he doesn’t deserve occupying that DOJ post (a just reward for being a rabid gma defender?). it is unfair to the filipino people having an incompetent justice secretary as gonzales.

as what pangilinan said in an interview (if i remember it right), “protest does not choose the time or the person”.



April 27th, 2006 at 4:27 pm

how dumb this guy gonzales is? 1 example is, by downgrading the charges against the 3 cheering US marines rape suspects from conspiracy to accessory to the crime. he even said, he wanted to exenorate them but if only to satisfy the mob (http://news.inq7.net/nation/index.php?index=1&story_id=72999). what a show of arrogance. this decision was enough for the public prosecutor to resign as it weakens the case against the acussed. truly dumbo justice secretary.



April 27th, 2006 at 4:32 pm



April 27th, 2006 at 4:53 pm

based on intelligence reports there is this operation “hackle” sa pma graduation rites hehehe sa cavite state university pala yung mangyayari at iba pa ang pangalan operation “heckle” ni ms. pangilinan. sus ginoong intelligence report yan.



April 28th, 2006 at 8:47 pm

“Information is power… Information can chip away at the heart of power…The success of democracy rests, to a large extent, on information availability…The quality of people’s participation in decision making and their perception of their interests is greatly affected by the amount and quality of information they have.”

Sadyang totoo ang mga pangungusap na iyon, alam ko, mula sa pagbabasa’t pag-aaral—at mula rin sa sariling karanasan, kung saan napasok ako sandali sa mga hanay ng mga medyo mahihirap.

Sa panahong iyon, talagang masasabi ko na nakatulong sa aking pagdedesisyon ang pagkakaroon ng tamang impormasyon —mula sa mga mabibigat na desisyon, tungo sa mga pang-araw-araw na bagay. Kahit sa pagpapalaki lamang ng sanggol, nakatulong ang kaalaman ukol sa mga bitamina, nutrisyon, ng pagkakaugnay ng kalinisan at kalusugan, at marami pang ibang klaseng impormasyon. My information at that time spelled the difference between my quality of life and that of my neighbor’s, even when we all had the same actual income.

Totoo ngang makapangyarihan ang impormasyon. Maaring maigpawan ng isang tao ang kawalan niya ng salapi, kung siya ay may taglay-taglay na impormasyon. Even without money and other resources, one is less powerless when information is in his or her hands.

Higit sa lahat, sa maraming pangkakataon, and impormasyon lamang ang tanging sandata / armas / kasangkapan na maaaring hawakan ng mga mahihirap laban sa kanilang kahirapan, kawalan ng kapangyarihan, kawalan ng mga oportunidad na umunlad, kawalan ng pag-asa.
– –
(The Gulf Between C and E: Hindi Nagbabasa, Hindi Nakaka-internet)

Sa aking palagay, isang hindi nabibigyan ng pansin – o di kaya hindi nakikita dahil ito’y naging katanggap-tanggap, ay ang katotohanan na ang mga Pilipino mula sa classes A, B, C, D at E ay nabubuhay sa talagang kakaibang mundo. Ito ang isang napansin ko sa aking maikling panahong napasok sa mga hanay ng mga mahihirap. Kung minsan nga, tila ibang bansa ang kinapapalooban ng mga mayayaman, at ang kinapapalooban ng middle class, at ng mahihirap.

Maliban sa malawak na pagkakaiba sa kayamanan, ang iba’t-ibang mga classes ay may iba-iba ring pinagkakaabalahan, iba-ibang kagustuhan o sensibilities, at iba-iba ring mga sistema ng pagpapahalaga o value systems. Ofcourse, the different classes in our society speak different languages. They watch different TV shows, they go to different schools…Wala akong hawak-hawak na solidong pag-aaral, ngunit sa palagay ko, ang mga taong nasa posisyong nakagawa ng malalim na pag-aaral tungkol sa mga pagkakaibang ito ay ang mga retailers, mga nagbebenta ng noodles at shampoo, at mga malalaking advertising agencies.

At sa totoo lang, hindi gaanong kumportable ang mga mahihirap sa pagbabasa, lalong-lalo na kapag ito’y nasa wikang Ingles. Iba rin ang mga tipong literatura na binabasa nila. At, nadiskubre ko lang kamakailan sa pagpunta ko sa mga public schools dito lang sa Maynila, maraming-marami sa mga mahihirap ay hindi nakakagamit ng internet!

(Ang Marami Pang Maaaring Gawin ng Media)
Malaki ang kapangyarihan ng media na baguhin ang sitwasyong ito. Ngunit mas madalas, lalo niyang pinapalaganap ang kalagayang ito. Isang sulyap sa mga tipo ng headlines sa mga tabloids — “Buntis sa ULTRA stampede, Nabaliw!” — ay tama na para dumating sa pagtingin na ang ating media ay kadalasa’y hindi lang walang pakialam, ngunit predatory pa.

The groundbreaking work of PCIJ is balancing out this situation. Because of PCIJ’s work, many Filipinos are now more aware that reporting can be in-depth and driven, that the news need not be shallow or sensationalized.

Kaya lang, sa palagay ko, ang pinakamahusay na pag-uulat mula sa PCIJ ay hindi nakakarating sa mga mahihirap. The country’s best reporting is not available to the poor. First off, it is available in glossy magazines in a format that intimidates the poor and is way off their budget. Siguro mas celphone updates, local TV shows, tabloids at komiks ang mga tipong binabasa’t pinapanood ng mga mahihirap.

For sure, I do not believe that the poor deserve to be fed shit. Totoo nga na kadalasa’y hindi sila nakakapag-aral. Ngunit hinding-hindi totoo na hindi nila maiintindihan o mapapahalagaan ang mahusay na sining o good art. Napanood ko ang “Crying Ladies,” halimbawa, sa isang maliit na sinehan, sa isang low-end theater, ngunit noong panahong iyon, ang sinehan ay punong-puno ng mga mahihirap, at sabay-sabay naman kaming natatawa’t naiiiyak.

Of course I am a great fan of PCIJ and its work. At PCIJ, issues are always dealt with in an in-depth manner, the insights are always incisive, the investigations are virtually foolproof. Often, the writing is so (damned) beautiful and seamless.

Now, with its blog, PCIJ’s work is also accessible to the growing ranks of tech-savvy young people. And as the blog itself shows, it is accessible to a broad range of Pinoys. Also, as you already know, PCIJ’s investigations usually set off a ripple in the media (and society) that eventually reach the poor and the poorest.

But I still wish that its work (in its full splendor) could be accessible to the poor. Maganda sana kung ang mga artikulo ng PCIJ, kagaya nitong makabagbag-damdaming talumpati na napakayaman din sa impormasyon, ay nasasalin sa Filipino —at hindi yung mabigat na academic-type Filipino, kundi ang mas accessible na Jun-Cruz-Reyes type ng wika. Sana rin mas maraming ulat ng PCIJ ay mahahanap sa mga tabloids. Sana magkaroon ng primetime airtime ang PCIJ. Sana mapondohan ito ng isang funding agency…

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Then perhaps the poor will be less uninformed. Perhaps they will be more empowered. Then maybe the future EDSA’s will be less an impotent outpouring of pent up rage by “gangsters, squatters, idiots, unschooled”—I even heard a middle class friend of mine portray them as “orcs” ! (from Lord of the Rings). And there would be less poor people who internalize the belief that their lives are so cheap that they deserve to be fodder for shows like Wowowee. Mabuhay ang PCIJ.

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