Sunday, November 14, 2010

EIGHT IS ENOUGH

From Blogger Pictures
No one deserves this


TODAY, AS THE ENTIRE COUNTRY AND CERTAINLY A COUPLE MILLION OTHER FOREIGN NATIONALITIES OGLED THE PACQUIAO-MARGARITO BOUT, I HARDLY GLANCED AT THE TV. I’VE NEVER BEEN A FAN OF BOXING. I’VE NEVER IDENTIFIED MYSELF WITH PACQUIAO. I DON’T SEE ANY SYMBOLISM OF PATRIOTISM IN HIM AT ALL. I HAVE NO TASTE FOR REAL BLOODY FACES AND MILLIONS OF NEURONS SNAPPING SOMEWHERE IN THE BRAINS OF COMBATANTS. WHY ANYONE WOULD OPEN HIMSELF UP TO PARKINSON’S DISEASE AND OTHER POSSIBLY FATAL AILMENTS DISGUSTS ME.

WHAT DISGUSTS ME EVEN MORE IS AN ENTIRE COUNTRY HOLDING ON TO PACQUIAO’S SHORTS. HE’S A GIFTED, HARDWORKING, CHARISMATIC ATHLETE. THAT’S ALL. I DON’T UNDERSTAND THE EUPHORIA. THE SUCKING UP. IT’S TOO MUCH, FIGHT AFTER FIGHT, BELT AFTER BELT. FILIPINOS HAVE GOT TO WAKE UP TO THE FACT THAT PACQUIAO AIN’T GONNA ERASE THE FIASCO THAT WAS QUIRINO GRANDSTAND. THE MAGUINDANAO MASSACRE. FILIPINOS HAVE GOT TO LOOK ELSEWHERE AND DIG DEEPER FOR HEROES—UNDERPAID SCIENTISTS, NURSES AND TEACHERS. ARTISTS AND MUSICIANS. ATHLETES THAT DON’T BEAT UP THEIR OPPONENTS. FOR ALL OF PACQUIAO’S RELIGIOSITY (SEE ALL THOSE TELEVISED MASSES HE ATTENDS), HIS SPORT OF CHOICE—HIS MULTIMILLION BREAD AND BUTTER IS BARBARIC AND INHUMAN. WHAT WAS HE PRAYING FOR? VICTORY, RIGHT? BUT AT WHAT COST? IT’S NOT THE SAME AS WHEN CHRISTIANS OR MUSLIMS SOUGHT DIVINE PROVIDENCE BEFORE GOING OFF TO WAR. THERE IS NO WAR ON THAT RING. JUST TWO HUMAN BEINGS BEATING EACH OTHER UP FOR PRIZE MONEY, WITH A 40,000+ LIVE CROWD CHEERING THEM ON LIKE BLOODTHIRSTY ROMANS.

WHAT EXAMPLE IS PACQUIAO SETTING? WHAT MESSAGE IS HE SENDING? WHEN EFREN “BATA” REYES WAS WEAVING HIS MAGIC IN THE BILLIARDS CIRCUIT, THE COUNTRY’S YOUTH WERE HANGING OUT WITH CUESTICKS. BILYARANS WERE EVERYWHERE. WHERE ARE THEY NOW? HOW IS EFREN REYES? AGE HAS CAUGHT UP WITH HIM, I HEAR, AND THE MAGIC ISN’T WHAT IT USED TO BE. YOUNG PEOPLE DON’T ALWAYS ASSOCIATE PACMAN WITH NATIONALISM. THEY ASSOCIATE HIM WITH MONEY, AND ALL THE MEXICANS HE HAS DEMOLISHED. “IT’S COOL TO BEAT UP A GUY. YOU GET PAID. YOU GET CHEERS. YOU GET ADVERTISING DEALS. YOU GET ELECTED.” MESSAGE SENT.

BUT I HAVE THIS TO SAY TO MANNY PACQUIAO: CONGRATULATIONS. NOW DO AS YOUR MAMA DIONISIA SAYS-RETIRE FROM BOXING. YOU ARE A CONGRESSMAN NOW, AFTER ALL. GO SLAY THOSE CORRUPT COLLEAGUES OF YOURS IN CONGRESS. MAYBE THEN I’LL THINK OF YOU AS A TRUE HERO.
Posted 15 m

Thursday, August 26, 2010

PAGBABAGO

Mama was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease in August of 2005. Since then, our family, my brother and I, particularly, have been knocking ourselves out, trying to make sense of what pseudo-sympathizers call “rich man’s disease,” looking for doctors (now Mama has five-a neurologist, a psychiatrist, an internist, an ophthalmologist, and a rehab doctor), caregivers (struck out seven times already), funds (no weekends for my brother and me), and answers (???). PD is already a big bad force to reckon with, but Mama’s recurring depression, brought on by a childhood of isolation and self-doubt, and by consecutive family tragedies (the passing of Daddy and her older sister), is the whammy that’s most difficult to challenge.

From Blogger Pictures
Christmas 2007: Mama could still smile into the camera

From Blogger Pictures
New Year's Day 2010: Mama sees less...

From Blogger Pictures
...But still has a healthy appetite!

There are happy changes, though. The trembling, drooling and choking are now a distant memory. Her voice is now audible, her speech patterns, less garbled and repetitive. Despite her confinement to a wheelchair, she regularly shoots hoops, sings Frank Sinatra songs from memory, and when her vision was still unimpaired, beat us all at Scrabble and watched her favourite WWE wrestler, Triple H, in action. Her once-69 pound frame must have doubled in the last 36 months, thanks to a steady, physician-approved diet of wheat bread, chocolate cereal, milk, white meat, rice, mixed vegetables, papaya and pears. But her absolute, hands-down favourite is the Goldilocks Crema de Fruta, and everybody knows it, as visitors never fail to visit her without the familiar festive fruit toppings and luscious cream filling nestled inside the unassuming brown box. Needless to say, if no visitors happen to drop by within the week, I am more than delighted to present her with her favourite Goldilocks dessert myself.

What makes her Crema de Fruta experience extra-special is the fact that she simply has to put a slice on her tongue, and her mouth , through all that chewing, will curve up in a smile. Then she’ll say, “Crema de Fruta!” And I’d say, “Mama, you’re psychic! Or your taste buds are just super active!” The truth is, she’s half-blind from glaucoma, and could no longer see what she’s eating. So it is my pleasure to spoon-or-fork feed her until that big fluffy chunk of Crema de Fruta is all gone from her saucer.

For our family, living with a loved one totally dependent on others, changes are not really major breakthroughs, but small yet significant steps that each one must take in order to get through the day. Sometimes, change is beyond one’s control; it just happens, and you have to live with it, or overcome it. But the change that I am most familiar with is the change that is based on personal choice. Many people have suggested that we bring our mom to a hospice, or that I go abroad so I could afford a private nurse for her. But those are not my choices. I choose to be physically present and actively involved in my mom’s life, no matter how back-breaking it is. I choose to bathe her myself, to shop for her clothes, to personally talk to her doctors. Mama’s chronic and incurable condition has changed my personal lifestyle, turning me into a homebody, and—I’m happy to note—a prolific blogger.

Sure, I work 8 hours a day, and the pressures of being a school administrator linger with me at the end of the day, but coming home with a Goldilocks Crema de Fruta, knowing my mom is waiting excitedly for me, and the Crema de Fruta, of course, makes everything worthwhile.

Monday, August 23, 2010

GET ON THE BUS

I'm no fan of beauty pageants, but I sincerely hope that Venus Raj wins Miss U tomorrow (August 24 in Manila). We need a FEEL-GOOD moment after that Manila Bus Hostage tragedy, and all those other bus-related tragedies (Benguet, CamSur) in the last few days.

Everyone's been focusing on the tragedies, and with good reason. From faulty brakes to reportedly drug-boosted drivers, from 42 dead in Benguet, to a former beauty titlist dead in Cam Sur--all in a week's span--this series of disgustingly unfortunate but avoidable events are a glaring reminder of what this country has become: transportation hell.

Of course, the Quirino Grandstand fiasco had nothing to do with faulty brakes and drivers on a high. The world watched in horror as it showcased a disgruntled former policeman with a mission, get his job and benefits back, by calling the Ombudsman's attention with 22 hostages onboard a Chinese tourist bus. Naturally, GMA and ABS-CBN were there to get the grisly details on the 6:30 news. ABS wins the "Most Insensitive, Sensational Award", in my book, for training their cameras on the bloodied bodies of tourists on stretchers, some of whom the reporter blithely identified as already dead. There was even a shot of Dinky Soliman giggling like a schoolgirl as cabinet officials and medical spokespersons got ready for their press conference. I have never seen such blood-curdling television since Face to Face.

There was a lot to be ashamed of as the crisis segued into the night. I won't go into all those serious and not-so-serious feedbacks flying all over twitter and facebook all night. I will not go on the defensive, begging the international community not to judge us Filipinos for one man's actions. C'mon. The late Senior Inspector Mendoza WAS one of us. Frustrated, out-of-control, misunderstood. Hate him on facebook, we hate ourselves. He represented the worst in all of us, so we should rightfully be ashamed.

P-Noy has apologized to the Chinese government for what happened. HongKong has issued a total travel ban to the Philippines. A facebook friend warns, "Kawawang Singson sa HongKong".

Me, I'm going to root for Venus Raj, who lost a friend and probably a couple thousand text votes tonight.

Friday, August 6, 2010

FROM WANG-WANG TO KAWAWANG SHUTTLE DRIVERS AND OPERATORS

[Someone close to me is greatly affected by the recent MMDA anti-colorum drive. I'd just like to express his sentiments, which I think are valid and need careful creative rethinking by PNoy and his team of blue boys.]

Ang kolorum na AUV (aka FX o shuttle) nga ba ang dahilan ng trapiko sa Metro Manila? Nasan ang datos nyo? Natanong nyo ba ang mga taga PLM,PNU, La Salle, PWU, St Paul, Manila Doctors at mga call center employees na araw-araw sumasakay dito kung gaano nila naapreciate ang presence ng mga tulad namin lalo na sa gabi at madaling araw, at wala na silang masakyan?

Alam nyo po ba kung bakit maraming kolorum na bumabyahe? Kasi po napakamahal ng prangkisa, hindi makatarungan ang presyo. Sa laki, kailangang ipangutang pa! Marami po kaming umaasa (drayber, may-ari ng sasakyan) sa kita ng byahe ng tinatawag nyong "kolorum", pambili ng pagkain sa pang-araw-araw, pambaon sa skwela, pambayad sa ubod ng taas na singil ng kuryente. Marami ring mga nagtatrabaho, nag-oopisina, mga mag-aaral ng kolehiyo na araw-araw, rain or shine, pumipila sa mga "kolorum" dahil kahit paano, mas maginhawang sumakay dito, malinis,aircon, tama lang ang singil. Pagkatapos magbanat ng buto maghapon, konting comfort lang ng katawan pauwi ang inaasam, dahil sa gabi at madaling araw lang naman nakakabyahe ang "kolorum". Ang laking tulong din nito sa reduction ng pedestrians sa kalye, dahil sa isang AUV, 12 ang maximum na pasahero.

Kung ititigil rin lang ang sistema ng kolorum sa ngalan ng batas, mag-isip naman ang Pangulo at mga kinatawan nya ng alternatibo upang makapaghanapbuhay pa rin ang mga tsuper at may-ari ng sasakyan, at makabyahe pa rin ng maginhawa ang libu-libong pasahero. Kalampagain sana ang LTFRB, na maging patas sa pagpresyo ng prangkisa.

Ang hinanakit naming maliliit na may-ari ng sasakyan, pinag-iinitan kami dahil wala kaming laban at walang mga kapit sa heneral, ombudsman, cabinet secretary o congressman. Willing po kaming magbayad ng prangkisa kung sa kaban ng bayan at kapakanan nito mapupunta ang ibabayad namin. Pero wag naman kaming damputin at i-deprive ng ikinabubuhay namin. Hindi po kami mga kriminal. Kung mga kriminal nga, hindi nyo mahuli-huli dahil mabilis kumaripas ng takas, o mataas ang kapit. Kami, mga mababait na tupang sumasama sa inyo pag hinuhuli nyo dahil wala talaga kaming magawa.

Suggestion ko magkaroon ng public forum tungkol sa usaping ito. Palagay ko hindi alam ni PNoy ang puno't dulo nito. The MMDA is under the direct supervision of the President, right? Iparating nyo naman please ang saloobin ko, which I am sure ay saloobin rin ng maraming maliit na tao na nais lang kumita ng marangal upang mabuhay sa pang-araw-araw.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

RAINY PILGRIMAGE

What to do, what to do on a rainy, electric-powerless day...definitely not clean up the wicked mess Typhoon Basyang left on our front yard. My brother had a brilliant idea: hit the road to Lucban, Quezon!

From Blogger Pictures
Kamay Ni Hesus Retreat Center

And what a road it was! Cavite and Laguna flew by quite nicely, but in Luisiana, Quezon, the road snaked upward like a bad Prozac dream. If I looked to the left,tree trunks were dangerously leaning toward the ground; on my right, if I dared to look, was a tangle of forest and "bangin". I munched my fears away with sandwiches and buko pie, and chatted with Mama, who by now, was feeling not so chipper with all those twists and turns.

From Blogger Pictures
Road clearing operations delayed our trip

Our real destination was Kamay Ni Hesus, a young shrine famous for two things: the mountainside journey through Jesus' Stations of the Cross towards the Risen Christ, whose hands reach out to the weary pilgrims, and the Church where Fr. Joey Faller celebrates healing masses. We thoroughly missed the Wednesday mass by 8 hours, but the church felt so warm and inviting, that we went in anyway, said our prayers, and took several pose-y pictures. We looked longingly at the pilgrims' mountain,hoping to trudge to the top, but the non-stop drizzle and enveloping fog prevented us from doing so.

From Blogger Pictures
A Pilgrim's Dream

From Blogger Pictures
Healing Hands

Several photo-ops later, we decided to head back to the car and hit the road again. Because I was such a whiny baby, my brother took a longer, but less winding route back to Paranaque, which was still wallowing in darkness.

Definitely, this pilgrim is coming back in better weather.

Monday, May 10, 2010

MY FAILURE OF ELECTIONS

I have many confessions to make today. The first and worst is the fact that I was unable to vote in this so-called historic elections. Unforgivable. Unjustifiable. But hear me out: I actually spent hours on the internet last night, resolving my undecidedness, reading reports and blogs, studying the Election 2010 guide from the link provided in Manuel L. Quezon III's blog, discussing in forums, even culminating in Loyola Press’ 3-minute retreat to clear my mind. By 2am, I was filling out the sample ballot, stalling frustratingly at the senate part, for I only had 5 real preferences (none of them from showbusiness). But I did it. I have decided, and I felt good!
I set my alarm for 5am, bent on being at my precinct by 6am. I was there at 6:30am, and was greeted by throngs of people, lines of people with brown envelopes with three digit-numbers and stubs. I found my clustered precinct number (211), walked near-sideways between two school buildings (aside: that space is an accident for school kids waiting to happen), went up the second floor, chatted with some neighbours, and started riffling through the voters’ list over other people’s heads (aside: Has Comelec never heard of posting the sheets one page next to each other, and not in clusters of 10 or so pages?). I looked, looked again. My name wasn’t on the list. I tried three other precincts. Nada. Zilch. A volunteer advised me to ask the election inspector in 211.
By this time it was already 7:45. The nightmare started to unfold before me: it would take hours to find my name, if it is there at all. Then I would have to stay in the holding room for an indefinite period of time. I looked around: none of the precincts have started accepting voters. I confess that I chickened out, at 8:15am. I had two reasons: First, I had to replace my sister-in-law as my wheelchair-bound mom’s caregiver, as the former still had to travel to another city to cast her vote; second, I remembered the last time I stood in line, under blistering heat, at the Manila City Hall and the Department of Foreign Affairs to apply for a passport. I started at 8am, and was still at the DFA at past 5 (aside: then, like now, I had my period, and my head was throbbing). That last time, I went home sick, and was hospitalized the following day, for three days.
So those are my confessions, and this is my heartbreak. I never found out why I wasn’t on the list eventhough I was a registered, active voter, in the same place where I’ve voted since I turned 18. So this is how it feels to be disenfranchised, and disgusted with myself, and with the whole Philippine electoral system, with the lack of relevant, comprehensive media coverage that focused too much on “bilog na hugis itlog” (aside: Isn’t “oblong” a valid shape?), and not on the actual process prior to one’s feeding the ballot into the PCOS machine, which has been explained to death already. In my opinion, the PCOS machines, despite reports of technical glitches (it happens), are not the problem with these elections.In fact, the machines stood out like a sore thumb in the middle of the chaos of public school rooms filled with seemingly clueless inspectors, watchers and voters. Before I left the building, I actually stared longingly at one PCOS machine, feeling as though I missed out on a piece of relevant history.
I would have hated to be a volunteer that day, to be inundated with complaint after complaint, by people both learned and clueless about automation. The problem is not automation, but logistics and unpreparedness, and the prehistoric insistence on voters lists clumped together, confusing signages, lack of proper information and instructions. The problem is not automation, but economics. Why automate when 13,000-19,000 are still lumped together in the same polling place, sharing a handful of machines? How can a machine be of any help if only 10-15 people, some of them in need of assistance, can be accommodated in each room? When my own printer flashes “paper jam”, I throw a fit. Imagine the reaction over all the paper jam messages flashing on the PCOS machines all over the country! Didn’t anybody-Comelec, PPCRV, lawmakers, the media, the candidates themselves-anticipate this nightmare? As I type this, I’m watching the holographic technology of reporting that GMA7 is so proud of (Aside: of course they could afford it, after the multimillions spent by candidates for airtime). What is there to holograph in a country the size of Texas, USA? (Aside: the hologram of Howie Severino looks like a scene 1980’s sci-fi movie, Superman 2, specifically). Can’t a remote feed fulfil the same purpose? Mel Chanco even had the gall to suggest to voters to share in the sacrifice for the country by patiently waiting, waiting, and waiting. For what? I think she’s mistaking disorganization for heroism. Lack of foresight for sacrifice. I would gladly be a hero in a fair fight, in a venue where everyone follows the rules. Over at ABS-CBN, Pokwang is receiving calls from disgruntled voters and giving her two-cents worth. How in the world can Pokwang possibly give electoral advice? At ABC 5, Mon Tulfo and a company of dark-suited panellists openly wonder why STI was a polling place. They repeatedly stress that only public schools can be used as polling places. So what does that make San Beda Alabang, and La Salle Grrenhills? Illegal polling places? At this point, I am no longer scratching my head at the tacky campaign jingles and Erap’s survey popularity. I am wearing my scalp thin wondering, are there no more credible media outfits out there (Aside: I hope I have better luck with the broadsheets).
I know I have no right to complain if I didn’t vote. My bad. My remorse. My failure. But I still have a voice, this blog, and my love for this country to spur me on. So forgive me if I keep coming back like spam in your inbox about this failure. Forgive me for believing that our acceptance of mediocrity and our propensity for suffering the ineptitude and /or arrogance of our government systems continues to drag us down as a nation. And forgive me, Gibo. I would have voted for you.
From Blogger Pictures

Saturday, March 13, 2010

NO HERO'S WELCOME HERE

The Pacquiao-Clottey "Event" clears the roads and freezes the crime rate again. Pacquiao is touted yet again as the man who single-handedly unites the Filipinos even as he flashes the Villar check-sign in political sorties. An eighth title will further cement his godlike status among boxing pundits, and sweaty, giddy Filipinos will line the streets of Manila and Gensan once again, welcoming their hero noisily before returning to their daily grind and barely minimum wages, as Manny rides on to his first class hotel room and back to his American Dream-inspired mansion.

I have the highest respect for Manny and his profession. Manny did rise from the hard knocks of poverty and anonymity to become one of the world's most influential athletes. Will there be another Pacquiao? Highly doubtful. That's why I subscribe to what our Lenten recollection speaker observed about this whole phenomenon: the country's fixation with Manny Pacquiao, the rabid desire for him to win, are all symptoms of CULTURAL POVERTY pervading this nation. ECONOMIC POVERTY is one thing.
I understand the struggle to make ends meet, to make painful decisions about which bills to pay first, to work for peanuts in industries and corporations that insist on tossing the VAT to hapless consumers (The height would be taxing our text messages. I imagine the whole country texting expletives and death threats to the big 2). Economic poverty is too enormous a monster to slay, but cultural poverty is a contagious disease that festers in one's organs, poisons the bloodstream and makes even bigger monsters of the carriers. I personally wouldn't want to have that with my daily morning coffee.

What are the symptoms of this disease called Cultural Poverty?

1. That Filipinos structure their schedules around a Manny Pacquiao bout. The Pacquiao-Dela Hoya fight was a historical event, so I'd excuse that, but after the Golden Boy, they were just throwing infants at Manny's seasoned feet. Why watch a foregone conclusion?

So many other Filipinos--professionals, wage-earners--have achieved much more by uplifting more lives and creating a more lasting impact on society. For a while there, pushcart teacher Efren Penaflorida, CNN award in hand, hugged the limelight and was hailed as a true hero. But compared to the massive media blitz that has followed in Manny's wake for years, that few minutes of attention has since waned, and I can only pray that Efren's advocacy continues to bear fruit long after the once-adoring crowd's eyes have moved away. Why God-fearing, Bible-toting, pro-life advocating Filipinos cheer on a man in the barbaric sport of punching and nearly-killing another man totally floors me.

2. That people call themselves "artists" when all they know how to draw is manga-style comics. I'd like to blame this on the mediocre Art curriculum being used in schools. The curriculum doesn't have to adopt what Makiling School for the Arts is adopting, it just has to make art genres more experiential rather than theoretical.

3. That television exaggerates suffering by making the heroine literally crawl, grovel for food and have her face disfigured or perpetually shoved in mud. Almost always she would start out as a provincial lass who finds employment as a maid in the palatial house of a cruel matrona whose heartthrob-of-a-son falls in love with her and saves her from her fate. The actors even have the gall to claim that their show is full of values ("Marami kayong values na mapupulot dito"). I especially detest the maltreatment of children in these primetime shows. There is no subtlety, no delicadeza in these scripts. In American crime shows where children are the victims, the director and cameraman make sure that the angles are respectful and the editing does not expose child actors to physicality. I cringe whenever a Filipino child actor is thrown to the ground by an adult actor, or is made to cry for hours on end, night after night just to get that "api" effect. Hello, MTRCB. You penalize hosts for saying offensive things. Don't you find the treatment of women and children in telenovelas just as appalling?

4. That Noynoy, Villar, Erap, Jinggoy, and Lito Lapid are leading in surveys because their names are familiar and their ads (except in Lapid's case) are glossy and repetitious. I am all for amending the constitution so ex-convicts, current convicts and actors don't get a free ride into delicate government positions.

5. That years after the Expanded Senior Citizen's Act was passed and signed into law early this year, my Mom still has to wait before she can get a full 20% off on her medicines purchase. I never tire of asking the Mercury Drug salesclerk when they will implement the law, and they never tire of telling me that they are waiting for BIR to send them the Implementing Guidelines. Do they expect me to believe that anyone in BIR, or any government agency for that matter, is doing any form of service or work, in the heat of the election campaigns?

There's more, but I'd like to save them till after the Pacquiao-Clottey fight. I hope that Filipinos everywhere will wake up to the reality that Pacquiao will not save us, nor will he punch away our problems. Let's stop using him as a metaphor for success and heroism. Let's put our minds and hearts somewhere else where real problems are solved. Where that is, is up to us.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Doing Good Badly

Doing Good Badly

This is a very timely, very spot-on article on the reality of relief efforts in disaster areas such as Haiti. It confirms what I believed all along: those barongs, stuffed toys, swimsuits, and expired noodles have no place in our donation boxes.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

GOTTA GIVE IT TO THE GIBO WEBSITE: TWO GREEN THUMBS UP!

From Blogger Pictures
The cure for traffic


I'm thinking of hiring Gibo's web team.
Love the site! The green/gold theme is very eye-friendly, and I'm sure it alludes to his La Salle roots.All his video and TVCs (which have improved tremendously with the the pilot metaphors) are on the banner, and his views on virtually all issues are arranged very systematically, like a wiki.

Being an educator, I immediately scrolled to the "Education" section, and found two subsections--"student loan programs" and "preparing our children". When I clicked the "loans" part, I expected to find a treatise, but instead, I found this (quoted from the site):

Student Loan Program

Exhaust all means to give everyone the proper college education--Aside from usual scholarships and state subsidies, creative solutions should also be implemented to give every Filipino the education that is rightfully his.

One specific example for this is a loan system for the less fortunate, but deserving students in the tertiary level. When a student applies for a loan, he will be given a Social Security System (SSS) number. Immediately after he gets his first paycheck, it will register that he is getting a salary and subsequent deductions could be made.


Fiscally, I don't know if that makes sense. There should be infallible stats on student scholars who actually become employed, and thus are given SSS numbers. Does this also apply to graduates who go abroad immediately after receiving their diplomas? I have tons of questions, but I find the idea interesting, something that our country's economists and education experts can do some serious pencil-pushing on.

The other proposal, to add two years of elementary education, is BS, if you ask me. Parents in private schools are already scraping the bottom of their savings barrels just to pay their kids' tuition fees for 6 years of elementary schooling. Another two years will set them back, well, two years, and I'm afraid that in the good intentions of beefing up grade school quality, we might end up with high school dropouts on their 3rd or fourth year of high school. So I don't go with Gibo on that part.

Ok, back to the website: one more cool thing about it is a microsite called
www.gibotalino.ph. So far it's got some youtube videos where Gibo discusses solutions to national problems, i.e. traffic. This, and the whole site, is very youth-friendly, I would say, because text is kept at a minimum, while videos carry much of the candidate's message. Clearly, his niche is the educated sector of Philippine society, with his metaphors and flawless English. I can dig that, but can the kariton-pushing masses?

On the basis of his website, Gibo's got the edge. Personally, he's a presidential candidate who's worth following more. Yup, I just became his facebook fan.