"Bear in mind that the wonderful things you learn in your schools are the work of many generations, produced by enthusiastic effort and infinite labor in every country of the world. All this is put into your hands as your inheritance in order that you may receive it, honor it, add to it, and one day faithfully hand it to your children. Thus do we mortals achieve immortality in the permanent things which we create in common." - Albert Einstein

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Young Children Think Like Scientists


My son, Alexander, when he was six months old

Research shows that young children think in similar ways as scientists do. With the growing realization of how crucial early childhood education is, these latest results point to great opportunities in introducing science to children. A child does employ a natural way of addressing problems and experimentation. In fact, we may not be aware of this, but everyone, including adults, do this. There are still, however,  major differences between the natural problem solving and experimentation that a young child does, and what a scientist or any other person who practices the scientific method actually does. Scientists employ controls in designing experiments and analyzing data. This requires putting aside prejudgments, formulating a verifiable hypothesis, and critically evaluating the results of works of other scientists. This difference is highlighted by being able to account for what one observes in the light of what is already known. Nevertheless, the motivation is present as early as our toddler years and introducing science at an early age can work by taking advantage of what young children are inclined to do. To scientists, doing science is indeed a play as opposed to a torturing job. We do enjoy it.

Alison Gopnik at the University of California, Berkeley, had been working in this area. A recent review by her has been recently published in the journal Science. The abstract of that paper is posted here as well as a TED video describing her work. A video released by the National Science Foundation is also shared in this post.


Science
Vol. 337 no. 6102 pp. 1623-1627 
DOI: 10.1126/science.1223416
http://www.sciencemag.org/content/337/6102/1623.abstract

Scientific Thinking in Young Children: Theoretical Advances, Empirical Research, and Policy Implications

  1. Alison Gopnik
+
  1. Department of Psychology, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720, USA.

ABSTRACT

New theoretical ideas and empirical research show that very young children’s learning and thinking are strikingly similar to much learning and thinking in science. Preschoolers test hypotheses against data and make causal inferences; they learn from statistics and informal experimentation, and from watching and listening to others. The mathematical framework of probabilistic models and Bayesian inference can describe this learning in precise ways. These discoveries have implications for early childhood education and policy. In particular, they suggest both that early childhood experience is extremely important and that the trend toward more structured and academic early childhood programs is misguided.



"Babies and young children are like the R&D division of the human species," says psychologist Alison Gopnik. Her research explores the sophisticated intelligence-gathering and decision-making that babies are really doing when they play.Alison Gopnik takes us into the fascinating minds of babies and children, and shows us how much we understand before we even realize we do." - http://www.ted.com/talks/alison_gopnik_what_do_babies_think.html

Babies Are Born Scientists
New research methods reveal that babies and young children learn by rationally testing hypotheses, analyzing statistics and doing experiments much as scientists do



Alison Gopnik, professor of psychology and affiliate professor of philosophy at the University of California, Berkeley, spoke with NSF about her research on young children's early learning. Credit: National Science Foundation


Being shown how to do something has advantages, for both young children and for scientists, as well as disadvantages. Most importantly, being taught something instead of exploring it for oneself discourages exploration that can lead to new conclusions, and research indicates this is the case for young children, Gopnick said.

The true challenge to education is doing both; maintaining curiosity while instilling discipline, learning hard work while at play, and having one's eyes and ears wide open while standing on the shoulders of giants in the past.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

A KINSE (Panawagan ng Isang Guro)



A KINSE (Panawagan ng Isang Guro)
Musika at Titik ni Joel Costa Malabanan
G Bm C G
A kinse na naman suweldo na naman
Em Bm C D
Ngunit pag binilang ay kulang pa rin
G Bm C G
Daming babayaran, daming naniningil
Em Bm C D G D- D7
Ngunit ang lahat ay ayos pa rin
Nakakapagod rin maghapong pagtuturo
Nakakasawa rin tambak na sulatin
Nakakapaos din, minsa’y parang ayaw ko na rin
Ngunit ang lahat, tinitiis pa rin.
C D G Em
* Pagkat di matatawaran ang tungkuling ginagampanan
C D G Em pause
Paglilingkod sa ating bayan
Bm pause C pause
Umula’t umaraw, bagyuhin man at bahain
D D7 G D7
Suminghot man at sipunin ako’y magtuturo pa rin.
Ad lib: G - Em - C - D (4x) D7
Ang ating kabataan ay igabay natin
Tungo sa mapayapa’t tuwid na landas
Daing ng ating bayan ay dapat na dinggin
Sistemang kolonyal dapat na buwagin
(Ulitin ang * )
Ad lib:
A kinse na naman suweldo na naman
Ngunit pag binilang ay kulang pa rin
Daming babayaran, daming naniningil
Ngunit ang lahat ay ayos pa rin
C D G -Em - C – D – G
Ayos pa rin, ayos pa rin, ayos pa rin

Boses at Gitara: Joel Costa Malabanan
Lead Guitar: Ivan Villaruel
Bass Guitar: Norman Javier
Drums: Arturo Sierra

Friday, September 28, 2012

The Problem with Reforms that Focus on One Piece

Right from the beginning, it is apparent that education reformers in the Philippines are fixated in the number of school years of basic education. With this emphasis, the real solutions have eluded those who are in power to improve the educational system. Comparisons are made against other countries but these studies have already been preconditioned by an agenda that the Philippines lacks years in basic education. Such inclination steers the observer into focusing mainly on curricula, which is perhaps the least important factor contributing to the quality of education. 

When the United States, for example, compared its mathematics education against that of Singapore, a more thorough examination was performed. This is illustrated in the work of the American Institutes of Research entitled, "What the United States Can Learn From Singapore’s World-Class Mathematics System: An Exploratory Study (and what Singapore can learn from the United States)".

Figure downloaded from  http://www.air.org/focus-area/education/index.cfm?fa=viewContent&content_id=598

Here are excerpts from the above study (I emphasize the first sentence of the last paragraph):
"...Analysis of these evidentiary streams finds Singaporean students more successful in mathematics than their U.S. counterparts because Singapore has a world-class mathematics system with quality components aligned to produce students who learn mathematics to mastery. These components include Singapore’s highly logical national mathematics framework, mathematically rich problem-based textbooks, challenging mathematics assessments, and highly qualified mathematics teachers whose pedagogy centers on teaching to mastery. Singapore also provides its mathematically slower students with an alternative framework and special assistance from an expert teacher. 
The U.S. mathematics system does not have similar features. It lacks a centrally identified core of mathematical content that provides a focus for the rest of the system. Its traditional textbooks emphasize definitions and formulas, not mathematical understanding; its assessments are not especially challenging; and too many U.S. teachers lack sound mathematics preparation. At-risk students often receive special assistance from a teacher’s aide who lacks a college degree. As a result, the United States produces students who have learned only to mechanically apply mathematical procedures to solve routine problems and who are, therefore, not mathematically competitive with students in most other industrialized countries. 
The experiences of several of the U.S pilot sites that introduced the Singapore mathematics textbooks without the other aspects of the Singaporean system also illustrate the challenges teachers face when only one piece of the Singapore system is replicated. Some pilot sites coped successfully with these challenges and significantly improved their students’ mathematics achievement, but others had great difficulty...."
Math teachers in Singapore are required to undergo a hundred hours per year of continuing education. Teachers in Singapore are also experts in the subjects that they teach. Teachers also receive enough pay to support their cost of living. Time inside classrooms is time well spent. The comparison between instructional time can not be made purely on the basis of the number of minutes in classroom time. The textbooks are different. The curriculum cannot be evaluated thoroughly by just browsing at the contents and structure of the lessons taught. A close examination of the textbooks used is necessary to see how mastery and depth as well as a focus on problem solving are evident. For students who take more time to learn, expert teachers are assigned, not the other way around. These are major elements of Singapore education and to focus on years of education completely misses these important factors.  

Rolando S. dela Cruz, president of the Darwin International School System, recently wrote in the Manila Bulletin, "The Science Dilemma in Philippine Schools". He pointed out:
Lack of training of teachers, overpopulated classrooms, dull curricula, outdated teaching methods, lack of equipment, and books offering Mickey Mouse lessons – these are some of the factors that lead to the poor state of science teaching. This is worsened by the general culture that undermines scientific thinking and technological innovation in favor of “bahala na” (“what will be, will be”) and “puwede na” (‘no need to excel”) in our daily national life. 
In the end, the educational system, family and government fail to effectively inculcate scientific thought that is necessary in the development of science and technology. This one whole system must be responsible in the large-scale dumbing down of generations upon generations of Filipinos in the field of Science.
The differences between Singapore and Philippine basic education goes beyond the walls of the classroom. The general environment in the Philippines is not supportive of math and science education simply because there are now several generations that have been poorly educated in these fields. Obviously, the Philippines is in no position, due mainly to lack of resources, to copy all of the elements that lead to a successful education program in the sciences and mathematics. This, however, is not a good reason to make Philippine education worse than it is now.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Thoughts on the Commision on the Filipino Language

Banner downloaded from  http://www.kwf.gov.ph/faq/ang-kwf/










Republic Act 7104 signed by President Corazon Aquino in 1991 created the Commission on the Filipino Language (Komisyon sa Wikang Pilipino(KWF)). Section 14 of this law describes the mission of this new body :

The Commission, pursuant to the pertinent provisions of the Constitution, shall have the following powers, functions and duties:
(a) Formulate policies, plans and programs to ensure the further development, enrichment, propagation and preservation of Filipino and other Philippine language;
(b) Promulgate rules, regulations and guidelines to implement its policies, plans and programs;
(c) Undertake or contract research and other studies to promote the evolution, development, enrichment and eventual standardization of Filipino and other Philippine languages. This will include the collation of works for possible incorporation into a multi-lingual dictionary of words, phrases, idioms, quotations, sayings and other expressions, including words and phrases from other languages now commonly used or included in the lingua franca;
(d) Propose guidelines and standards for linguistic forms and expressions in all official communications, publications, textbooks and other reading and teaching materials;
(e) Encourage and promote, through a system of incentives, grants and awards, the writing and publication, in Filipino and other Philippine languages, of original works, including textbooks and reference materials in various disciplines;
(f) Create and maintain within the Commission a division of transaction which shall encourage through incentives, undertake and vigorously support the translation into Filipino and other Philippine languages of important historical works and cultural traditions of ethnolinguistic groups, laws, resolutions and other legislative enactments, executive issuances, government policy statements and official documents, textbooks and reference materials in various disciplines and other foreign materials which it may deem necessary for education and other purposes;
(g) Call on any department, bureau, office, agency or any instrumentality of Government or on any private entity, institution or organization for cooperation and assistance in the performance of its functions, duties and responsibilities;
(h) Conduct, at the national, regional and local levels, public hearings, conferences, seminars and other group discussions to identify and help resolve problems and issues involving the development, propagation and preservation of Filipino and other Philippine languages;
(i) Formulate and adopt guidelines, standards and systems for monitoring and reporting on its performance at the national, regional and local levels; and submit to the Office of the President and to Congress an annual progress report on the implementation of its policies, plans and programs;
(j) Appoint, subject to the provisions of existing laws, its officials and employees and such other personnel as are necessary for the effective performance of its functions, duties and responsibilities; and dismiss them for cause;
(k) Organize and reorganize the structure of the Commission, create or abolish positions, or change the designation of existing positions to meet the changing conditions or as the need therefore arises; Provided, that such changes shall not affect the employment status of the incumbents, reduce their ranks, decrease their salaries or result in their separation from the service; and
(l) Perform such other activities which are necessary for the effective exercise of the abovementioned powers, functions, duties and responsibilities.

Its director, Roberto Añonuevo, recently wrote on his blog "Panukalang Pagbabago sa Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino" (Recommended Reforms in the Commission on the Filipino Language). In the article, Añonuevo laments on his perceived failures of the commission. Here are some excerpts:
...Nakalulungkot isiping nabigo ang KWF ng kalukuyang panahon na isagawa ang mga itinatadhana ng batas. Walang malinaw na pambansang patakarang nabuo ang Lupon ng mga Komisyoner sa ilalim ng pamumuno ni Kom. Jose Laderas Santos, at ang ganitong pangyayari’y patutunayan ng mga rekord sa opisina. Nagmungkahi ako ng mga programang pangwika na puwedeng isaalang-alang ng lupon, ngunit ang tinig ng butihing Punong Kom. Santos ay waring nakapangyayari sa lahat at hindi ang lawas kolehiyado. Ang pagbubuo ng mga patakaran at programa ay dapat nakaayon sa saliksik at pag-aaral, ngunit dahil hindi naman ginagampanan ng KWF ang tungkuling magsaliksik hinggil sa Filipino at iba pang wika, umaasa na lamang ang KWF sa mga saliksik ng ibang pangkat at nagpapasiya alinsunod sa anumang itatakda ng pambansang pamahalaan. 
Kaya napakahirap hingan ang KWF ng katumbas na opinyon na magtataguyod ng Mother-tongue based Multilingual Education (MTB-MLE) bilang pamalit sa dating bilingguwal na edukasyong itinatadhana ng Saligang Batas 1987 at sinegundahan ng DECS Order Blg. 52, s. 1987 na may petsang 21 Mayo 1987. Pumasok ang KWF sa patakarang MTB-MLE ng Kagawaran ng Edukasyon (at siyang isinusulong ni dating sinibak na Punong Kom. Ricardo Ma. Nolasco at ipinagpatuloy ni Punong Kom. Santos) nang walang malinaw na parametro ng paglahok. Naging parang utusan ang KWF na gumawa lamang ng mga ortograpiya sa 12 pangunahing wika mula sa buong kapuluan; nagrepaso ng ilang teksbuk na itinataguyod ng DepEd at binigyan ng imprimatur ang mga ito kung kinakailangan; at nakilahok sa mga panrehiyon at pambansang seminar. Ngunit hindi iyon sapat, at hindi sapat ang maging pasibo sa usaping pangwika. 
Ideal ang MTB-MLE dahil sinisikap nitong turuan ang bata alinsunod sa wikang kinagisnan nito. Gayunman, hindi isinaalang-alang ng mga tagapagtaguyod ng MTB-MLE ang ibang balakid, gaya ng iba’t iba ang wikang kinagisnan ng mga bata na tinipon sa isang silid-aralan at kinakailangang maging polyglot ang guro; na dapat rebisahin ang kurikulum upang umayon sa MTB-MLE at K-12; na kulang ang materyales sa pagtuturo at hindi sapat ang mga pagsasanay sa guro; at kung ang lingguwa prangka, na gaya ng Filipino, ay gagamitin kung sakali’t may pagtatalo kung sa aling wika ituturo ang mga asignatura. Sa ganitong pangyayari, ang KWF sa ayuda ng DepEd ay dapat nagsasagawa ng mga saliksik upang maisaalang-alang sa pagsasakatuparan ng bagong patakarang pangwika at pang-edukasyon, alinsunod sa panrehiyong bisyon sa antas ng ASEAN, kung hindi man Asya-Pasipiko. 
Kinakailangang magbalik ang KWF sa seryoso at dibdibang pananaliksik....
Añonuevo points out directly that the commission has failed in its research mission. Instead of being proactive in studies on the languages of the Philippines, KWF has relied on other organizations or branches of government to do this work. Instead of acting as an advisory body for drawing national policies on languages, the commission simply waits for what the national government hands out. The KWF has failed to provide input and expert opinion, for example, to the Mother-tongue based multilingual education (MTB-MLE) component of DepEd's K to 12. Instead, the KWF simply served as a tool, providing DepEd with rushed standardized systems (orthography) for 12 major languages used in the Philippines, reviewing some of the new textbooks recommended by DepEd, rubber stamping these if needed, and participating in various regional and national seminars. These, according to Añonuevo, are not enough.

Añonuevo recognizes the importance of mother tongue instruction but he emphasizes the need to identify properly the challenges of such program. And the items he enumerated above are: students in one classroom having different mother tongues, teacher expertise and preparation, subjects need to be revised to match the mother tongue, and lack of teaching and learning resources in mother tongue. The Commission has not been able to guide and shape these programs. Añonuevo continues in article with citing specific instances and programs that raise serious questions of propriety. The successful implementation of DepEd's K to 12 MTB-MLE requires a diligent body of language experts. Unfortunately, according to Añonuevo, that body is not doing its job.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Sequence of Science Courses

DepEd's K to 12 employs the spiral curriculum in teaching sciences in high school. For example, in grade 8, the first quarter is assigned to chemistry topics which include the particle nature of matter, atomic structure, and the periodic table. The second quarter is mostly biology dealing with a wide spectrum of topics; the digestive system, cell division, biodiversity, and ecosystems. Physics is studied during the third quarter and in this year, the areas discussed are the laws of motion, work, power, and the different forms of energy. The fourth quarter is on earth sciences which include earthquakes, typhoons and the solar system. Looking back at Grade 7, one may then evaluate what the sequence of topics is and ask whether the various disciplines maybe influencing each other. In chemistry, Grade 7 talks about solutions, acids and bases, elements and compounds, and metals and nonmetals. Biology in Grade 7 seems to prepare students for Grade 8 biology as it covers parts and functions, heredity, and interactions within an ecosystem. Physics likewise as it introduces force, motion and energy. And the last quarter deals with the climate in the Philippines, the atmosphere, and eclipses.

Whether there are cross-disciplinary benefits is an important question. This in fact is an active research area for education in the United States. In this light, the sequence may be relevant. The spiral curriculum could be regarded as an extreme design of mixing the sciences. Cross-disciplinary benefits are more likely to happen when a student covers one branch of science for an entire year. The spiral curriculum can only devote one quarter of a year to each branch, so the topics student will be exposed per year in each branch of science are severely limited. The following in a study that describes how chemistry, for example, may aid in learning biology. This is an abstract of an Honors Thesis submitted by Lauren Kronthal to the Department of Chemistry at Georgetown University in 2012:


A Background in Chemistry Helps Students
Learn and Understand Biology
Lauren J. Kronthal
Thesis Advisors:  Sarah Stoll, Ph.D. and Gina Wimp, Ph.D.
Abstract
         With the booming science, technology, engineering, and math job market, the United States cannot afford to be behind in the sciences if it is to remain economically competitive with other industrialized nations. High schools are desperately trying to improve their students’ understanding of the sciences by switching the order of science classes based on the suggestions of educational researchers. Recently, educators have proposed that chemistry be taught before biology since chemistry is necessary to fully understand biological concepts, but no empirical studies have been performed to show that chemistry improves student understanding of biology. I, therefore, addressed the question: Does a background in chemistry help students understand biological concepts?
            To address this question, I taught different biological concepts by 1) providing the relevant chemistry background or 2) not providing such background. I gave an assessment with questions of varying difficulty levels for topics where a chemistry background was provided/not provided and graded student responses. I found that a background in chemistry significantly improved students’ scores on questions that tested basic recall of information and on questions that required students to create a new idea using their knowledge of the content. Other levels of questions had no difference in mean class scores between when chemistry was taught and when it was not taught. Overall, students performed significantly better when given a background in chemistry. These results show that teaching chemistry before biology in high school can help improve student understanding of biological concepts.

To understand what the above study is really about, it is important to look at exactly what topics were being taught in chemistry and biology. The chemistry lectures are on intermolecular forces, polar and nonpolar compounds, and solutions, while the topics covered in biology are the sugars; monosaccharides, disaccharides and polysaccharides, as well, as movement of ions and water inside cells. In this case, the biology topics clearly benefit from a background in chemistry. Chemistry provides a perspective that allows students to see the components inside a cell in molecular terms. What is important in this curriculum design is a deliberate effort to connect the topics between the two fields of science. Such is not evident in the DepEd's K to 12 science curriculum.

The biggest disadvantage of a spiral curriculum is the lack opportunity to cover a variety of topics within one discipline in a year. Each discipline requires steps. To get to intermolecular forces and a molecular understanding of solutions, there are prerequisites. The topics build on top of each other and a quarter is simply not enough time to cover enough to aid the student in another field. It is simply the nature of the subject. Thus, designing a curriculum that will achieve what is described above will require a year of chemistry before taking biology.

Whether taking one subject in science helps in another is an important question. A survey of how students perform in college science courses provides preliminary insights:

Figure downloaded from  http://www.education.rec.ri.cmu.edu/roboticscurriculum/research/Sadler%20Tai.pdf 
The above does not directly answer the question since this is a study of how students performed in these fields after finishing high school. However, although it does not specifically address how a student's background affects a student's performance on a science subject in high school, it clearly shows that there are cross-subject benefits. Of special interest, is how high school math influences a student's performance in all sciences, including biology. The fact that students who had high school calculus perform much better across the board is probably not so much on an improvement in background, but more on being exposed to greater challenges. These studies are still ongoing and these illustrate how reforms in science education should be made. Reforms in science education can not be simply dictated in a whimsical fashion.  

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Why Physics First: An Alternative to Spiral Curriculum in the Sciences


There is a movement regarding science education in high school in the United States that has been increasing in popularity. Spearheaded by a Nobel laureate in physics, Leon Lederman, "Physics First" makes the claim that the proper sequence for teaching the sciences in high school should be physics, followed by chemistry, and then biology. The project "American Renaissance in Science Education" summarizes this order in the following flow chart:
Figure downloaded from  http://ed.fnal.gov/arise/arise_lml/arise_science.html
The University of Missouri currently has a program that helps train teachers in implementing the above course sequence. It is briefly described in a brochure with the following brief rationale:


Downloaded from  http://www.physicsfirstmo.org/files/Brochure%20Aug09B.pdf 
Bottom line: Unlike the spiral curriculum that DepEd's K to 12 promotes, "Physics First" is a response to our improved understanding of how the brain learns. There are additional significant differences. "Physics First", as demonstrated in the University of Missouri program involves summer workshops for teachers over a three year period. This reform does not take place with teacher training lasting for a week or two. An institution of higher learning is intimately involved not for weeks, but for years. The program is not imposed on all public schools. And in the limited, well-designed, controlled studies, regular evaluation will be performed. This is in line with a perspective from another Nobel laureate, Richard Feynman:
"Anecdotal evidence alone, however, cannot confirm the success of the physics-first curriculum. Richard Feynman, renowned physicist and Nobel laureate, spoke of this lack of credible studies in science education almost 40 years ago. "There is an enormous number of studies and a great deal of statistics," he said in a speech about education at the Galileo Symposium in Italy in 1964, "…but they are mixtures of anecdotes, uncontrolled experiments, and very poorly controlled experiments, so that there is very little information as a result." Following this logic, the physics-first curriculum cannot be declared a complete success without well-controlled studies showing its utility in raising science literacy." 
From "Physics First in Science Education Reform" 
Vikram Pattanayak
Biochemistry and Biophysics, University of Pennsylvania

Monday, September 24, 2012

Ilocano Youth, Study History (A Martial Law Commemoration Statement)


Kabataang Ilocano, Pag-aralan ang Kasaysayan, Labanan ang Pasismo ng Kasalukuyang Rehimen
by  ANAKBAYAN - NUSP - CEGP - KABATAAN PARTYLIST ILOCOS REGION 

40 taon na ang nakakalipas nang ideklara ni Marcos ang Martial Law.Isang malagim na kabanata sa ating kasaysayan kung saan ang kalayaanng mamamayan ay binusalan. Ngunit bago pa lamang nito ay samu’t saring anti-mamamayang polisiya na ang ipinatupad ni Marcos.

Setyembre 11, 1982, sa mismong kaarawan ni Marcos ay ipinasa ang Education Act of 1982. Sa pamamagitan ng batas na ito ay lalo pang lumalaang komersalisasyon ng edukasyon. Tinanggal ang kapangyarihan ng estado na iregularisa ang pagtaas ng mga bayarin sa mga paaralan.

Makalipas ang 40 taon, ano na nga ba ang pagkakaiba ng rehimeng Aquino sa batas militar ni Marcos?

Kung kay Marcos naisabatas ang Educ Act of 1982, kay Noynoy naman ipinatupad ang sunud-sunod at walang prenong pagtaas ng mga bayarin sa mga State Universities and Colleges mismo. Bukod pa dito ay ang mga SUC ng Region 1 ang may pinakamalaking kaltas sa budget ngayong taonna 6.79% o aabot sa P88,929 na bawas.

Dagdag pa rito ay ang pagsisimula ng K-12 Program na tukoy naman nang hindi tutugon sa tunay na pangangailangan ng mga paaralan. Sa IlocosSur mismo ay may kakulangan na ng 131 na guro para sa pampublikong elementarya at 54 naman sa hayskul. Hindi pa rin natutugunan na kakulangan sa mga upuan na aabot ng 26,567sa elementarya at 6,332 sa hayskul.

Tulad ng pambabasura ni Marcos sa sektor ng edukasyon, ganoon na lamang din ang ipinapakita ni Noynoy sa kasalukuyang panahon. Patuloy rin ang paggamit ng dahas at lakas ng militar sa mga paaralan at komunidad. Mandatory na muli ang pagsali sa ROTC sa ilang mga pamantasan samantalang hindi pa rin nabibigyang solusyon ang isyu ng korapsyon at pagiging mersenaryo nito. Sa ISPSC, ang mga guro pa nga mismo ang nagpipilit sa mga estudyante na sa ROTC pumasok kahit labag ito sa kanilang kagustuhan at batas. 

Tahasan rin ang recruitment ng CAFGU at AFP sa mga kabataan sa komunidad para diumano maging katulungan nila sa pagtataguyod ng kapayapaan sa lugar sa ilalim ng Oplan Bayanihan. Subalit, batay na rin sa marahas na pagkamatay ni Nicolas Ramos at Elmer Valdez sa kamay ng mga militar noong 2010, hindi kapayapaan kundi karahasan ang ipinapalaganap ng AFP sa mga komunidad. 

Sa ating paggunita ng deklarasyon ng Martial Law, kailangang muli nating sariwain ang diwa ng pagkakaisa at sama-samang pagkilos para malabanan ang pasismong dulot ng rehimeng Aquino sa ngayon. 

Labanan ang Pagtataas ng Matrikula! Labanan ang Komersalisasyon ngEdukasyon!Ibasura ang Education Act of 1982! Ibasura ang K-12! Oplan Bayanihan Biguin! Karapatang Pantao, Ipaglaban! Manindigan at Kumilos para sa Tunay na Pagbabago!



ANAKBAYAN - NUSP - CEGP - KABATAAN PARTYLIST ILOCOS REGION

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Philippine Basic Education - A View from a Former President

President Fidel V. Ramos is sharing his thoughts on Philippine basic education.
Photo downloaded from  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fidel_V._Ramos 

In "Empowering the Filipino People", the first of two parts of his article on the 2012 Education Forum for Asia (EFA), Ramos writes:
The bottomline for all our leaders and concerned Filipinos is that, whatever be their level or quality of education (if any), NO FILIPINO CHILD OR YOUNGSTER SHOULD BE DEPRIVED OF EDUCATION AS A HUMAN RIGHT. 
WE STILL HAVE TOO MANY CHILD BEGGARS, HOMELESS URCHINS, KID VENDORS, AND STREET CHILDREN – ALL OF WHOM DESERVE TO BE IN SCHOOL, REGARDLESS OF THEIR FAMILY INCOME, SOCIO-ECONOMIC STATUS, CULTURAL-ETHNIC ORIGIN, OR GEOGRAPHIC ISOLATION. 
IN THE 21ST CENTURY, TO BE OUT-OF-SCHOOL AT A YOUNG, FORMATIVE AGE EQUATES TO A LIFE OF POVERTY, HARDSHIP, AND EVEN CRIME.
Ramos likewise notes a comparison between China's efforts and DepEd's K to 12:
Among the most impressive (although “elementary”) components of EFA observed by Philippine delegations since our initial participation in 2003 was the presentation on the primary education of China’s children, starting at 4 years of age – which deals more with values than the usual school curriculum of reading, writing, language, arithmetic, health, and music subjects. 
China’s is the more comprehensive equivalent of our new DepEd K-12 program, with the PRC’s special focus on values, science/technology, and culture (which areas are still “weak” in the Philippine system). The philosophy behind all this – which is to maximize benefits from education by investing more in children during their younger (instead of later) years – is not new.
These ideas are indeed not new, yet DepEd's K to 12 refuses to follow what other countries have learned regarding basic education. DepEd's K to 12 ignores what international exams in math and sciences are telling Filipinos. Instead of focusing on the early years and strengthening elementary education, DepEd chooses to spread its limited resources into the later years of basic education.

It is not a lack of awareness regarding what problems truly plague the educational system in the country. Ramos also notes:
While tiny elites among our peoples get first-rate university education, the majority fail to receive quality basic education (if at all). Leaders, educators, economists, and social scientists around the world know how a stagnant economy, sub-standard education, shorter life expectancy, and mass poverty are parts of the same vicious cycle of national non-performance. This is well-recognized by Malacañang, academic experts, teaching professionals, lawmakers, and LGU officials.
The recognition is there - Officials seem to simply ignore the real problems.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

CBCP: "Pass the Information Bill Now"

One of the reasons why basic education is very important to society is that it prepares the young members to become positive contributors. When the public school system is failing, when students are not meeting the standards, it is important to address these problems. Equally pressing is the intricate web tangling education, poverty and human rights. While reforms in education are truly necessary, other measures must be taken to address the other factors affecting society. The poor state of education can easily be an advantage for those in power.  The social arm of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines has recently issued a call. It urges the Philippine government to immediately pass the Freedom of Information bill. Here is the CBCP statement (downloaded from: http://pcij.org/blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/CBCP-NASSA-supports-FOI-bill-2012.09.20.pdf):


Our peoples’ right to information – access to the records, documents, papers of/on contracts, transactions, decisions, programs, data, regulations, and all other official acts of government – provides greater opportunity for peoples’ participation in good governance. It is a constitutional right of every Filipino to be informed of the governmental affairs to ensure healthy social environment for democratic peoples’ participation in the delivery of programs, projects and services of the government.
The National Secretariat for Social Action – Justice and Peace (NASSA), the social action and development arm of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), calls upon our legislators to PASS THE FREEDOM OF INFORMATION (FOI) BILL in the 15th Congress. CBCP-NASSA strongly believes FOI adheres to the principle of transparency and accountability. It is an important component to appropriately ensure the flagship governmental advocacy on “MATUWID Na DAAN.”
Lack of access to information systematically subjects our concerned sectors – farmers, fisherfolks, Indigenous peoples, workers and rural and urban poor, particularly the Basic Ecclesial communities – to become vulnerable to exploitation and manipulation by bad elements in the society. Unfamiliarity and ignorance of government processes, contracts, activities and services, together with lack of formal education cause deprivation of rights and poverty. Our people then become mere objects of government policies rather than subjects/ participants in their development.
Without access to information, these sectors as well as other sectors in the Philippine society gain no knowledge as to what government plans. They would be unaware of the projects and contracts the national and local governments make for them. Even now, although some of these communities and/ or sectors are consulted, their issues and concerns are not being heard. Our people then eventually tend to develop distrust in government institutions and activities.
CBCP-NASSA finds several questions worthy of reflection:
-Why is it that in 14 years the FOI bill has still not been passed?
-Why did the Aquino Administration not certify FOI as one of the priority bills when the President demands for transparency and accountability in his effort to eliminate corruption in his government?
-Why has the Congress not called committee hearing on FOI? Why is Malacanang not following-up the calling of hearings if there is nothing to fear about the legislation?
-How can the government be true to its mandate according to the 1987 Philippine Constitution Art. III, Section 7, stating “The right of the people to information on matters of public concern shall be recognized” if there is no political will to take concrete steps to adopt FOI?
CBCP-NASSA believes that the passage of the Freedom of Information bill enhances people’s participation in politics and governance. The passage and enforcement of FOI would be a great service to the people; it empowers people with a new tool of information, especially the poor; it promotes social justice by giving the opportunity for social auditing of previously inaccessible public information, all geared towards the pursuit of the common good.
In the spirit of truth and justice, CBCP-NASSA calls upon President Benigno Aquino III to immediately certify the FOI bill as a priority, and urge all the members of the House of Representatives especially his party members, to support the passage of the FOI. Unless the President sees the urgent need to pass the FOI bill, his campaign on “Matuwid na Daan” is only a slogan, and has no firm basis.
We urge Speaker Feliciano Belmonte, Jr. to immediately direct their respective Chairpersons of the Committee on Public Information to conduct committee hearings on the said bill. Both houses of Congress should deliberate and decide on the bill before the 15th Congress ends.
CBCP-NASSA also prays for the support of every individual and groups who want to transform Philippine politics into an art of good governance. Let us encourage our respective district representatives and senators to vote for the passage of FOI. As our representatives in the government, their authority resides and emanate from us. Let them truly represent us in Congress by supporting the passage of FOI.
+ BRODERICK S. PABILLO, D.D.
National Director
20 September 2012

Martial Law: Teachers and Professors Who Fought the Dictatorship

Here are the teachers and professors whose names are enshrined on the Wall of Martyrs and Heroes at the Bantayog ng mga Bayani. The pictures and the captions are from the Bantayog ng mga Bayani Foundation. A Martial Law Posters' Exhibit will be on at the Bantayog from Sept 20 until the end of September.
Downloaded from : ActPhils Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/actphils



Friday, September 21, 2012

Two Lessons on Martial Law

Here are two perspectives, each one is shared here in its entirety.


SALUTE THE PEOPLE’S RESISTANCE TO FASCIST RULE!
by Act Phils on Thursday, September 20, 2012 at 1:47am ·

Teachers and Education Workers: Persist in the struggle for national freedom and democracy!
ACT Statement on the 40th year of the imposition of martial law
September 20, 2012

It was in the 23rd of September 1972 and not the 21st when Ferdinand Marcos declared martial law. Marcos supposedly signed the declaration on the 21st, but it was the staged assassination attempt on then Defence Secretary Juan Ponce Enrile on the 22nd that was used as justification for the declaration. Thus on the night of the same day, opposition Senators Benigno Aguino, Jr. and Jose W. Diokno were arrested; offices of critical media outlets such as the Manila Times and television stations owned by the Lopezes were padlocked. The public would only have an inkling of actual martial law—the declaration of which has for a long time been rumored about—when on the morning of the 23rd, television and radio programs that used to accompany breakfast went silent. Indeed, Press Secretary Francisco Tatad appeared on television in the afternoon reading Proclamation 1081.  Later in the evening, Marcos himself announced the imposition of martial rule to “save the republic and build a new society.”[i]

But merely correcting the date of the declaration of martial law does not and cannot erase the brutality of the repression that martial law engendered, let alone, the admirable and courageous resistance of the people against the dictatorship.

Martial law as repression on behalf of US imperialism and the ruling class
Martial rule was imposed by Marcos to ensure his continued stay in power and attempt to destroy the strong anti-imperialist and nationalist mass movement in the urban centers and decimate the anti-feudal, anti-imperialist armed movement in the countryside. To the Filipino people, it meant the wide-scale arrests and detention of those perceived to be opposing the Marcos dictatorship. Around 70,000 were imprisoned for political reasons without formal charges; and in rare instances wherein cases were brought to court, victims were usually charged with common crimes like murder or illegal possession of firearms. The torture of political prisoners were systematic, involving electrocution, water cure, Russian roulette, and, for women, sexual abuse including gang rape.[ii] “Salvaging” meant extra-judicial killing and around 1000 were believed to have disappeared. Among which include Jessica Sales, an instructor of Political Science and Sociology at the University of the Philippines in Manila and in Los Baños. Together with six others, Jessica disappeared in 31 July 1977.[iii] In Mindanao, some 100,000 Muslim Filipinos were killed during martial law.

Marcos and his cronies benefitted from the imposition of terror. Estimates of Marcos ill-gotten wealth range from $5 billion to $35 billion. Some even suggest that the true amount could go well over a hundred billion dollars. The value of Imelda Marcos’s jewellery confiscated after the 25 February 1986 ouster of Marcos from Malacanang is estimated at $20 million.

Marcos’s cronies such as Rodolfo Cuenca, Herminio Disini, Roberto Benedicto, and Eduardo Cojuangco amassed wealth through government contracts, ownership of confiscated media conglomerates (including ABS-CBN), or through shameless use of the coconut levy and other government funds.[iv]
But it was US imperialism which profited the most from the imposition of martial law:

The Nixon administration—speaking through the American Chamber of Commerce in Manila—hailed the proclamation of martial law and, in particular, expected the growth of foreign investment in the country. The very first act of Marcos after issuing martial law decrees was to reverse the Supreme Court decision on the Quasha case to the cheers of his foreign corporate patrons as martial law's chief beneficiaries. And as an US Congress report admitted, the martial law period was a time for extending imperialist privileges for foreign investment even further. [v]

With Marcos and his cronies brokering deals with American and other foreign contractors, the country’s foreign debt increased at a tremendous rate:
When Marcos assumed presidency in 1966, the foreign debt of the Philippines stood below $1 billion. When he fled Malacañang in February 1986 during the first People Power, the country had a foreign debt of $28 billion. Following our loan schedule, Filipino taxpayers will pay for the foreign debts of Marcos until 2025 - 59 years after he assumed office and 39 years after he was kicked out.

The single largest foreign debt (and most expensive white elephant) of the country was also contracted by Marcos-- the $2.3 billion Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP). This lone project comprised 9 percent of the total foreign debt of the country when it was completed in 1984. Subsequent investigations showed that the BNPP was overpriced by $600 million, and that Marcos and his crony Herminio Desini, who facilitated the project, were bribed with $80 million by the project contractor US-based Westinghouse Corporation.[vi]

Martial law as resistance
Wherever there is repression, there is resistance. Marcos’s martial rule was met with resistance. Thousands of activists, including students, workers, women, teachers, lawyers and  church people went underground. Many joined the armed resistance in the countryside led by the New People’s Army and the Communist Party of the Philippines. Our Muslim compatriots established the Moro National Liberation Front in Mindanao and asserted their right to secession from a country ruled by a tyrannical regime.

In the urban centers, underground networks organized workers, the urban poor, and the middle class and broke the information monopoly and media censorship of the Marcos regime through an underground press. By 1975, workers of La Tondeña successfully launched a strike in spite of the martial law strike prohibition. The indigenous peoples of Bontoc and Kalinga in the Cordillera successfully prevented the construction of the World Bank-funded Chico River Dams through massive protest actions which attracted international support. Militancy among students which was curtailed in the initial years of martial law grew in strength to demand the return of their student councils and their campus newspapers. Urban poor communities resisted demolition of their homes in the guise of “beautification” projects by Imelda. Workers in the Bataan Export Processing Zone held several general strikes to demand higher wages as well as to oppose the construction of the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant. Women organized to demand the end of martial law. Various forms of resistances escalated especially after the brazen assassination of Benigno Aquino, Jr. on 21 August 1983.

Released by Marcos under U.S. pressure, Benigno "Ninoy" Aquino, Marcos's chief rival in the feudal oligarchy, flew back to the Philippines in 1983, in a bid, as he himself described it, to help contain the revolutionary upsurge. His assassination in the hands of the Marcos regime only fuelled the fires of protest from all quarters--including sections of the U.S. imperialist establishment. While U.S. President Reagan and the Pentagon opted to hang on to Marcos as long as possible, the U.S. State Department decided much earlier to cast their lot with a more marketable puppet in the person of a feudal hacienda owner, Corazon Cojuangco Aquino, the widow of Marcos's rival.[vii]

Salute to our teacher martyrs and heroes
ACT salutes our teacher martyr and heroes who sacrificed their lives to overthrow the US-Marcos dictatorship and to achieve national freedom and democracy. Among them are:

Jessica Sales, instructor of sociology and political science in UP Manila and UP Los Banos. Disappeared in 1997, together with seven others.

Carlos del Rosario, instructor of political science at the Philippine College of Commerce (now Polytechnic University of the Philippines) and founding member of the Kabataan Makabayan and a staunch nationalist. Disappeared on 19 March 1971.

Santiago Arce, teacher and principal of the Little Flower High School in Peñarrubia, Abra and supported the farmers’ struggle for land in Abra. Killed while in the custody of the military, September 1974.

Countless other teachers, professors and education workers joined the anti-dictatorship struggle and helped in exposing bankruptcy, corruption, and repression which characterized the Marcos regime. The Alliance of Concerned Teachers was established in 1982 and became the center of militant struggles of education workers for their democratic rights and welfare and for acting in solidarity with other people’s organizations.

Continue the struggle for national freedom and democracy
Indeed, the people’s resistance ended the savagery of the Marcos dictatorship.  But despite the success of the people’s resistance in ousting the Marcos dictatorship, the most fundamental characteristics of Philippine society remain. Widespread poverty, injustice, and oppression that pretty much summarize the state of the country during the Marcos years remain.

The various administrations that occupied Malacanang since 1986 have pursued the same economic and political policies as that of the Marcos regime: a development thrust subservient to foreign interests and to the local elite. Genuine land reform for the millions of farmers remains a dream especially with deceptive programs like the CARP and the CARPER. In addition to the lackluster approach to finding real and life-long solutions to unemployment, all administrations, since Marcos, has focused on various anti-worker policies like labor contractualization and the peddling of cheap labor to multinational companies, let alone, force Filipinos to work overseas. Demolition of urban poor communities to give way to big business projects is a regular occurrence.  Education, health, and other social services are becoming less and less accessible as rates of users’ fees and the implementation of public private partnership schemes are being heightened.

Human rights violations remain a grim reality. Under the present Aquino dispensation, 100 extra-judicial killings, nine enforced disappearances, and 94 political prisoners have been recorded.  The Oplan Saggitarius of the martial law period and the Oplan Bantay Laya of the Arroyo regime is the Oplan Bayanihan of Aquino, an anti-people program that shamelessly interposes “peace and development projects” with military operations. Activist and pro-people organizations such as the Alliance of Concerned Teachers are being labelled as enemies of the state. Harassment and surveillance of human rights advocates such as Dr. Bienvenido Lumbera or Mrs. Edith Burgos are not isolated.

But as in during martial law when the people, including teachers and other education personnel, have shown, repression breeds resistance. The people will not be cowed. Let us mark the 40th year of the imposition of martial law in the Philippines by once more declaring:

Never again to martial law!
Junk Oplan Bayanihan and all repressive programs and projects!
End impunity! Justice for all victims of human rights violations from the Marcos regime to the Aquino regime!
Advance the people’s rights and welfare!
Persist in our struggle for nation


[i] http://www.gov.ph/featured/declaration-of-martial-law/

[ii] http://www.pinoyexchange.com/forums/showthread.php?t=456024

[iii] http://www.bantayog.org/node/191

[iv] See for example, Ricardo Manapat. Some are Smarter Than Others: The History of Marcos’ Crony Capitalism. New York: Aletheia Publications. 1991.

[v] http://www.bulatlat.com/news/3-32/3-32-retrospect.html

[vi] http://www.bulatlat.com/news/4-33/4-33-marcosdebt.html

[vii] http://www.bulatlat.com/news/3-32/3-32-retrospect.html

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ALLIANCE OF CONCERNED TEACHERS
2/F Teachers’ Center, Mines St. cor. Dipolog St., Bgy. VASRA, Quezon City, Philippines
Telefax  453-9116  Mobile 09178502124; 0920-9220817 Email  act_philippines@yahoo.com Website  www.actphils.com
Member, Education International

ACT in multisectoral rally at Mendiola, July 12, 1985
ACT-Phil. Rally vs. US-Marcos Dictatorship & WB-IMF Intrusion in Education, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, 1985
ACT-Phil. Rally vs. US-Marcos Dictatorship & WB-IMF Intrusion in Education, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, 1985

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Good lessons from a bad dictator: Memories of a martial law baby




History books paint him as a dictator. Enemies and victims brand him as a human rights violator. Loyalists honor him as a hero. Either you hate or love the man but there are ordinary citizens who lived during the era of the so-called 20-year reign of terror who cannot help but relish memories of a brilliant leadership under then President Ferdinand Edralin Marcos.
Blood may have said to trail his footsteps but in retrospect, I ( as a Martial Law baby), could not deny that behind the man’s notoriety is a great legacy that bespeaks of a great vision for his country, a deep love for his nation’s soul and true compassion for the poor and majority of the Filipinos.
Marcos dreamt of a united archipelago and came up with a grand plan of development which the succeeding presidents continued and credited to themselves.  Under his able leadership, he built infrastructures that linked major islands and cities of the metro. Under his administration, the North and South Luzon Expressways were built, the first in Southeast Asia. The famous San Juanico bridge was constructed connecting the provinces of Samar and Leyte. Spanning 2.16 kilometers of the San Juanico Strait, it is the longest bridge and one of the most beautifully designed in the whole country.
Another first in Southeast Asia was the Light Railway Transit (LRT) which was initiated under his term. Backed by the 14-month study funded by the World Bank, the initial phase of the train system within Metro Manila was built. The LRT 1 (now known as the Yellow Line) was finished in 1983.and covers the 15-kilometer Taft Avenue-Rizal Avenue route between Baclaran, Pasay City and the Bonifacio Monument in Caloocan City.
The Marcos government later appointed Electrowatt Engineering Services of Zurich, Switzerland to manage and supervise the light railway system. It was also responsible for the extension studies which eventually comprised 150 kilometers of lines along major cities in about 20 years’ time. This includes the EDSA route, the construction of which started on September 16, 1997 under the helm of former President Fidel Valdez Ramos. Dubbed as the Metro Rail Transit (MRT), the route was inaugurated in 1999 by President Joseph Estrada. The MRT covers the whole span of EDSA from North Avenue to Taft Avenue.
The LRT 2 (Purple Line), on the other hand, which transverses Pasig to Recto Avenue was inaugurated on April 5, 2003 by Pres. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. But not one of his successors acknowledged these were part of Marcos’ long term infrastructure blueprint.
During Marcos’ time, the Filipinos’ sense of patriotism was very strong. To inculcate a deep sense of nationalism, reciting Panatang Makabayan was required during flag ceremonies in schools. Stopping in respect for the flag whenever the national anthem was played seemed to come so naturally then.
He introduced the Philippine culture to the world by publishing books about the greatness and beauty of our nation, and encouraging the development of artists. He built the Nayong Pilipino park near the international airport and presented miniature settings of the different regions for local and foreign tourists to appreciate. He opened doors to the world and encouraged cultural exchange through the Cultural Center of the Philippines, Folk Arts Theater and the Philippine International Convention Center which still stand to this day. Even the idea of building these monumental structures in a reclamation area was way before his time. The Palm Islands of Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates is celebrated as the eighth wonder of the world but its concept is not so original. The Philippines already had the bay reclamation area 40 years ago where hotels, business hubs and the CCP Complex flourished.  The latest to rise in this area is the Mall of Asia.
Long before former US Vice President Al Gore spearheaded the cause against global warming, Marcos already instilled the importance of caring for the environment through the Green Revolution. Part of the elementary school curriculum was backyard gardening. Students and their parents were also encouraged to plant vegetables in empty plots in the school and homes, making crops seeds readily available. Cities were clean because people were disciplined enough to manage their waste properly. Eye sores of litter and garbage piles along sidewalks were not a big headache of local governments.
Marcos was in tune with the basic needs of citizens. During the 70’s, street children and cariton homes were unheard of. The urban poor were cared for. Malacanang opened its doors on regular schedules to accommodate the needs of the least fortunate. Unlike today when local governments pull out informal settlers from the squatters areas in the city and move them to far-flung areas that deprive them of their daily livelihood or in subdivisions where there is so little or no water and electricity at all, Marcos then housed the displaced urban poor in pleasant and decent apartment buildings called BLISS right within the city proper. These buildings still exist to this date.
Education was so high in his priority list that literacy reached almost a hundred percent. Parents then were not burdened with buying new textbooks every school year because these could be passed on to other children.
Health was given prime importance. Public school children were kept from being malnourished with free nutribuns distributed everyday. Veggie meat made from soya was highly promoted. The government built highly specialized hospitals like the Philippine Heart Center, Philippine Lung Center and the National Kidney Institute.
Marcos knew that agriculture was the strength of his country and worked on it. Aggressive conversion of farm lots into residential and commercial areas was rare. During his first term alone, 3,739 hectares of lands in Central Luzon were distributed to the farmers under the Land Reform Program. The Masagana 99 project made the Philippines a frontliner in crop development.  For the first time, we achieved self-sufficiency in rice since the American Period. The country even became a big exporter of rice in the world market.  The International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) in Los Bańos, Laguna became the training center for agriculturists in Asia. It is just sad that 40 years after, Pres. Simeon Benigno Cojuanco Aquino III encouraged the local farmers to learn from the technology of Vietnam. He seemed to conveniently forget the fact that the Philippines was once the leader in rice development and Vietnam was just one of the Southeast Asian neighbors that benefited from it. In fact, the now famous Jasmine rice was once known as the local variety Milagrosa which was sown in the Philippines.
Marcos established the Kadiwa chains of stores all over the country to create a sure market for farmers’ produce. It also became a source of the families’ basic needs and groceries at affordable prices. Pres. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo later came up with a poor replica with the Tindahan ni Gloria which merely sold poor quality rice, sardines and instant noodles.
He saw to it that consumers were not exploited. The government owned 40 percent of the stocks in Petron through the Philippine National Oil Company. Petron helped level the playing field in the oil market. He made sure that international players like Shell, Caltex and Mobil did not abuse the public by raising the prices of petroleum products. Lame excuses that the government was helpless with the dictates of the foreign market were not dished out since Petron acted as neutralizer. The Oil Price Stabilization Fund was also established as buffer to protect the riding and driving public from the burden of increasing oil prices.
Public utilities were under the care of the government to prevent capitalists from exploiting the public. It is just a pity that the leaders after Marcos got into the privatization fever and sold electricity and water distribution to private businessmen. Now the consumers are held hostage with price increases at the whim of the businessmen.
Life was so much better back then at least for the ordinary citizen. The common man felt what real progress was all about. The peso had so much value that minimum wage earners could actually raise their family decently. But ever since democracy was restored, claims of increased GDP only translated to the steady increase of the price of galunggong and other basic goods, food on the table of the working class dwindled, the increase of poverty in the countryside spilled over to urban squatter colonies and cariton homes in city streets.
It is just so ironic that with the downfall of the so-called dictatorship and the rebirth of democracy, the Philippines seemed to get worse with every change of administration. From being one of the top economies of Asia and leader in agriculture in the 70’s, we now top the list of the most corrupt and poorest countries. Too much freedom was given to the capitalists through privatization schemes which in turn, gave way to abuses of the consumers.
It is common knowledge that we should learn from history but because Marcos was labeled as a traitor and a bully, none of the succeeding presidents and politicians ever dared to publicly acknowledge his legacy out of shame or fear of losing popular votes. None of the present leaders seem to be humble enough to follow his good examples. Rather they choose to lead people further into ignorance and poverty. Now isn’t that a more cruel version of tyranny?