Thursday, October 20, 2011

Occupy Classroom

There is a current wave in the US and Europe wherein people chanted to occupy wall street to express their anger on the excesses of capitalism. Their actions were the result of seething anger due to excessive greed and profit of capitalism.

In the Philippines, the movement should be occupy classroom. There is now a huge gap between the poor and the rich in the access of quality education. The average tuition fee in a private tertiary education cost around P35,00-55,000 per semester. . Even in the premier state run university the tuition fees go as high as P20,000 per semester. When you add the students allowance, dormitory and daily expenses, the cost becomes prohibitive to the majority of the Filipinos

We are in the brink of creating a society where people are less skilled and where drop-outs are familiar stories. We are teetering toward a failed state.

To reverse this, the government should invest more and deliver more funds to our Basic Education. Specifically from kinder to Grade 6 where the love of knowledge and the acquisition of skills are critical  The result may not be quick but it can reverse the backward trend engulfing all of us.

Then strengthened the high school by offering math and science courses that will prepare them to take courses that will help the country to manufacture goods for the locals and for the foreigners to buy.

A country without a competitive manufacturing sector has no comparative advantage.

The only way to go up is to create things we will use and foreigners will buy. This is the only method to create jobs, opportunities and wealth for the majority. The current state of the country, where OFW remittance and service sector such as BPO, are the only factors that oiled our economy is not sustainable in the long run.

We need to occupy classroom by investing more to the education of our youth and the saving grace will be math and science.   

Monday, October 10, 2011

Tribute to F. Sionil Jose

I am an avid reader of F. Sionil Jose's articles. The man is 86 years old but his writings are for the young Filipinos to ponder. He is a national artist for literature and his ideas are refreshing to the Filipino soul. This is my tribute to him while he is still alive.

Thank you Mr. Jose you are the conscience that keep me grounded to the the truth.
To the my blog readers, the article below is related to being an investor. May you be touched!.

Why are Filipinos so Poor?
In the ’50s and ’60s, the Philippines was the most envied country in Southeast Asia. What happened?
By F. Sionil Jose

What did South Korea look like after the Korean War in 1953? Battered, poor – but look at Korea now. In the Fifties, the traffic in Taipei was composed of bicycles and army trucks, the streets flanked by tile-roofed low buildings. Jakarta was a giant village and Kuala Lumpur a small village surrounded by jungle and rubber plantations. Bangkok was criss-crossed with canals, the tallest structure was the Wat Arun, the Temple of the Sun, and it dominated the city’s skyline. Ricefields all the way from Don Muang airport — then a huddle of galvanized iron-roofed bodegas, to the Victory monument.Visit these cities today and weep — for they are more beautiful, cleaner and prosperous than Manila. In the Fifties and Sixties we were the most envied country in Southeast Asia. Remember further that when Indonesia got its independence in 1949, it had only 114 university graduates compared with the hundreds of Ph.D.’s that were already in our universities. Why then were we left behind? The economic explanation is simple. We did not produce cheaper and better products.

The basic question really is why we did not modernize fast enough and thereby doomed our people to poverty. This is the harsh truth about us today. Just consider these: some 15 years ago a survey showed that half of all grade school pupils dropped out after grade 5 because they had no money to continue schooling.Thousands of young adults today are therefore unable to find jobs. Our natural resources have been ravaged and they are not renewable. Our tremendous population increase eats up all of our economic gains. There is hunger in this country now; our poorest eat only once a day.But this physical poverty is really not as serious as the greater poverty that afflicts us and this is the poverty of the spirit.

Why then are we poor? More than ten years ago, James Fallows, editor of the Atlantic Monthly, came to the Philippines and wrote about our damaged culture which, he asserted, impeded our development. Many disagreed with him but I do find a great deal of truth in his analysis.This is not to say that I blame our social and moral malaise on colonialism alone. But we did inherit from Spain a social system and an elite that, on purpose, exploited the masses. Then, too, in the Iberian peninsula, to work with one’s hands is frowned upon and we inherited that vice as well. Colonialism by foreigners may no longer be what it was, but we are now a colony of our own elite.

We are poor because we are poor — this is not a tautology. The culture of poverty is self-perpetuating. We are poor because our people are lazy. I pass by a slum area every morning – dozens of adults do nothing but idle, gossip and drink. We do not save. Look at the Japanese and how they save in spite of the fact that the interest given them by their banks is so little. They work very hard too.

We are great show-offs. Look at our women, how overdressed, over-coiffed they are, and Imelda epitomizes that extravagance. Look at our men, their manicured nails, their personal jewelry, their diamond rings. Yabang – that is what we are, and all that money expended on status symbols, on yabang. How much better if it were channeled into production.

We are poor because our nationalism is inward looking. Under its guise we protect inefficient industries and monopolies. We did not pursue agrarian reform like Japan and Taiwan. It is not so much the development of the rural sector, making it productive and a good market as well. Agrarian reform releases the energies of the landlords who, before the reform, merely waited for the harvest. They become entrepreneurs, the harbingers of change.

Our nationalist icons like Claro M. Recto and Lorenzo Tanada opposed agrarian reform, the single most important factor that would have altered the rural areas and lifted the peasant from poverty. Both of them were merely anti-American.

And finally, we are poor because we have lost our ethical moorings. We condone cronyism and corruption and we don’t ostracize or punish the crooks in our midst. Both cronyism and corruption are wasteful but we allow their practice because our loyalty is to family or friend, not to the larger good.
We can tackle our poverty in two very distinct ways. The first choice: a nationalist revolution, a continuation of the revolution in 1896. But even before we can use violence to change inequities in our society, we must first have a profound change in our way of thinking, in our culture. My regret about EDSA is that change would have been possible then with a minimum of bloodshed. In fact, a revolution may not be bloody at all if something like EDSA would present itself again. Or a dictator unlike Marcos.
The second is through education, perhaps a longer and more complex process. The only problem is that it may take so long and by the time conditions have changed, we may be back where we were, caught up with this tremendous population explosion which the Catholic Church exacerbates in its conformity with doctrinal purity.We are faced with a growing compulsion to violence, but even if the communists won, they will rule as badly because they will be hostage to the same obstructions in our culture, the barkada, the vaulting egos that sundered the revolution in 1896, the Huk revolt in 1949-53.

To repeat, neither education nor revolution can succeed if we do not internalize new attitudes, new ways of thinking. Let us go back to basics and remember those American slogans: A Ford in every garage. A chicken in every pot. Money is like fertilizer: to do any good it must be spread around.Some Filipinos, taunted wherever they are, are shamed to admit they are Filipinos. I have, myself, been embarrassed to explain, for instance, why Imelda, her children and the Marcos cronies are back, and in positions of power. Are there redeeming features in our country that we can be proud of? Of course, lots of them. When people say, for instance, that our corruption will never be banished, just remember that Arsenio Lacson as mayor of Manila and Ramon Magsaysay as president brought a clean government.We do not have the classical arts that brought Hinduism and Buddhism to continental and archipelagic Southeast Asia, but our artists have now ranged the world, showing what we have done with Western art forms, enriched with our own ethnic traditions. Our professionals, not just our domestics, are all over, showing how accomplished a people we are!

Look at our history. We are the first in Asia to rise against Western colonialism, the first to establish a republic. Recall the Battle of Tirad Pass and glory in the heroism of Gregorio del Pilar and the 48 Filipinos who died but stopped the Texas Rangers from capturing the president of that First Republic. Its equivalent in ancient history is the Battle of Thermopylae where the Spartans and their king Leonidas, died to a man, defending the pass against the invading Persians. Rizal — what nation on earth has produced a man like him? At 35, he was a novelist, a poet, an anthropologist, a sculptor, a medical doctor, a teacher and martyr.We are now 80 million and in another two decades we will pass the 100 million mark.
Eighty million — that is a mass market in any language, a mass market that should absorb our increased production in goods and services – a mass market which any entrepreneur can hope to exploit, like the proverbial oil for the lamps of China.
Japan was only 70 million when it had confidence enough and the wherewithal to challenge the United States and almost won. It is the same confidence that enabled Japan to flourish from the rubble of defeat in World War II.

I am not looking for a foreign power for us to challenge. But we have a real and insidious enemy that we must vanquish, and this enemy is worse than the intransigence of any foreign power. We are our own enemy. And we must have the courage, the will, to change ourselves.

F. Sionil Jose, whose works have been published in 24 languages, is also a bookseller, editor, publisher and founding president of the the PhilippinesÕ PEN Center. The foregoing is an excerpt from a speech delivered by Mr. Jose in Manila, Philippines.

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Monday, October 03, 2011



Recently I was given a copy of the Philippine Human Development Report 2008/2009. The book was published by the Human Development Network and the UN Development Programme. The analysis and perspectives brings an in depth analysis of Human Development of Philippine provinces.

I made an extract of the report focusing on Quezon Province to benefit the students, researchers, faculty, Quezonians and friends of Quezon Province. The data will bring you enlightenment as well as righteous anger. I will be remiss on my civic duty if I will not inform you on what is happening in Quezon Province. It is but proper first to give thanks to the Human Development Network headed by Arsenio M. Balisacan for the data. Though their research was dated 2006 the relevance is unquestionable. 



A long and healthy life is proxied by achievements in life expectancy at birth.
The average Quezonians are expected to live 67.5 years.
The longest among Filipinos are those born in la Union who are expected to live 74.6 years while those born in Tawi-Tawin have the shortest at 53.4 years old.

The knowledge are measured as a weighted average of the high school graduate ratio and the basic education enrollment rate.
Quezon province high school graduate ratio is only 48%. Fellow CALABARZON province Cavite has 73.7% while Laguna has 72.5%. The percentage shows that there is a high dropped out rate in Quezon Province.


The per capita income in Quezon Province is P16,827. Fellow CALABARZON, Laguna is P30,838, Batangas is P23,465.

In a summary the measure of human development that seeks to measure the average achievement are in three basic dimensions of human development: a long and healthy life, knowledge and a decent standard of living. Quezon was ranked number 58 out of 77 provinces. Let us see the comparative data:
Rank   Province
2         Rizal
3        Cavite
5        Laguna
15      Batangas
58      Quezon

If Quezon Province was a country, how would it fare against other countries in Human Development Index?
HDI     Province/Country
0.684   Quezon
0.684    Tajikistan
0.670    South Africa
0.646    Morocco
0.634    Namibia

Human Poverty Index

Poverty incidence is a general measure of well being. It is defined as the proportion whose income falls below a specified poverty line. The poverty line is the amount of money just sufficient to meet a person’s most basic food and nonfood needs.

Year       %
2006     43.7
2003     32.3
2000     28.6
1997     30.3

From the above record, it is very clear that the incidence of poverty in Quezon Province is on upward trajectory. This only means that 43.7% of Quezonians are having difficulty of meeting his most basic food and nonfood needs.

Now let us compare the data with our neighbor, Batangas.

Year     %
2006    23.3
2003    25.6
2000    14.9
1997    17.4

Though the poverty index is also increasing in Batangas, the 23.3% is still much lower to Quezon’s 43.7%..


Quezonians born in 2006 are expected to live 67.5 years.

In terms of Human Development Index, Quezon Province is ranked number 58 in the country, the lowest in CALABARZON. Laguna is number 5 while Batangas is 15.

Our per capita income is the lowest in the CALABARZON contributing to the highest poverty Incidence of 43.7%. Laguna has 9% incidence while Batangas has 23.3%.

Our Human Development Index is comparable to Tajikistan.

The people of Quezon Province is on a downward slide in terms of income and upward swing in terms of poverty, It is time for the Quezonians to help the province in every way and anyway they can. We are just a statistics away from Namibia.

Arnel L. Cadeliña