Monthly Archives: March 2013
Considering how gloomy this day had been, I’m pretty glad it ended good and bright 🙂
Just heard that the PUP-Department of Journalism is now a Center for Development. I can’t say we students were part of the achievement, but we are forever grateful for our faculty members and officials for pushing this to CHED.
Honestly, my euphoria is high up in the ceiling right now XD It’s like winning an award or something! But considering the number of great journalists who are PUP Alumni, I guess this is to be expected.
And I, as a future alumnus, will do my share to make my department a Center of Excellence 🙂
I hope other colleges in PUP would also be more recognized like College of Accountancy and Engineering. I have some friends there and I swear, they’re crying blood over their exams and projects. They also have the DOS Policy in Accountancy where you have to get a final grade of 2.0 in your Accounting major subjects by the end of the sem. Otherwise, you have no choice but to re-take the subject again. A similar policy goes in College of Engineering where there’s a grade you have to achieve in a certain subject so you can take your other majors.
Last year, I was one of the aspiring students who had submitted her documents for the ASEAN Student Forum 2012 to be conducted in Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand.
Only 60 participants will be chosen among the ASEAN nations. I have no idea about the complete percentage for each country like the Philippines,but a rough estimate is about ten students each. Any interested participant should answer an official form distributed by ASEAN Community in Facebook, and submit an essay about himself prior to the application.
Anyways, I never really expected to be chosen. I just submitted my answers because I like ASEAN’s development goals in 2015, primarily the ASEAN Economic Community which will relax the economic ties of all SEA nations and form an integrated market where every country can benefit from one development of the other. I have much pride in my ASEAN heritage as much as I am in my Filipino lineage, and with its continuous stride for its lofty ambitions, I felt I can be part of its vision and implementation.
One morning, weeks after the application, I received this email:
Unfortunately, due to my financial situation and thesis, I wasn’t able to participate 😦
But I know I can still be part of ASEAN in other ways, and I will be more of help if I became a professional. 2015 is still far from now, and there are plenty of ways to be part of the promising change it will bring not only to the Philippines but to the SEA nations as well.
So anyways, I will share in this blog some of my answers from the ASEAN forum. Not to be bragging or anything (oh, alright, i’m bragging) but I’ll try to infect you guys with my enthusiasm on ASEAN with my answers. Still, I have no idea why I was chosen. Maybe because I put ASEAN’s goals to heart, and I’m very excited to the changes it will initiate in 2015.
The theme for last year’s ASEAN Forum is: Molding the ASEAN Mind
1. In your opinion, what is the “ASEAN Mind”?
In the Philippines, we have a practice we call “Bayanihan” in Filipino. You would often see the term under a picture of people carrying a nipa hut (a house made up of straws and bamboo that is a common sight in most ASEAN nations) on their shoulders and bring it to a common destination; a common goal. It’s quite synonymous with working together, collaborating with each other and sharing the same goal or vision. It’s the symbol of unity and brotherhood, of being able to help one another despite the differences and diversity. Just like the physiological structure of the mind, it consists of neurons connected together, closely intertwined and interconnected; with one neuron malfunctioning meant the failure of the whole system. It’s what I like to call as a sharing of vision, contributing to that vision, and achieving that vision through strong brotherhood and unity. Despite all the cultural and ethnic differences, we all stand as one through our intertwined past and the great dreams we have for our future.
2. What has inspired you to apply for 2012 ASEAN Student Forum?
My interest in ASEAN rapidly grew when I joined the ASEAN Community Group Page on Facebook and the ASEAN Youth Volunteers Network. I was once an ordinary, silent student yet, during my college days, you can say that I’ve experienced a great “awakening”. I became quite immersed with my nation – its current problems, social issues, politics, trade relations with other countries and its own developmental goals. Afterwards, I became interested on the countries just outside the Philippines. I began thinking, why can’t we foster more intimate partnerships with our own region? One that goes beyond the economics, or the call for a formal association. Our connection with each other traces back to our ancient, cultural origin born out of our geography. Despite the years of colonialism and occupation, we are still essentially the same. Our countries are facing the same problems, the same social issues and educational woes. Perhaps, we also share the same solution too, if we all together make it a mission to uncover it. I want to be in company with the students from these regions, to hear their opinion and come up with a common goal not only for my country but to the region as a whole. Just as Dr. Jose Rizal once said, the youth are the hope for the future. This I want to share with my fellow ASEAN students as well.
3. How would you implement knowledge you gain from this forum?
I am a person who believes in revolution for innovation. Here in the Philippines, we revolutionized our way of information dissemination and social consciousness method through the use of social media. Being a journalism student, I often utilized the new media to discover the truth, analyze the facts and share my thoughts or opinion for the people to see and discuss. I am a firm advocate of developmental journalism, of seeking truth through education and comprehensive, coordinated implementation. The internet has so much social and educational impact to the whole world. If we can properly utilize its unimaginable potential, we can build a community of nations whose plans for development are interchangeable and cohesive with each other. As a future practitioner of this emerging new media, I can connect with my ASEAN brothers and sisters of building the vision. Through simple, little things, I believe we can move mountains, overcome the wide expanse of sea separating us nor ideologies barring us. Unity can be achieved through communication, communication can be achieved through electronic connections, connections that pass through from one country to another, one neuron to another, to form the ASEAN Mind.
4. After the establishment of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC), what would be the impact to all ASEAN citizens?
I would say it has a tremendous impact to all ASEAN Citizens. We are a community of promising growth and influence. I think the global community is carefully watching our next move because of the overflowing potential we possess. Through the Economic Community, ASEAN citizens will realize that they are not alone on this crucial moment of their country’s history; that they are not alone on facing such an ambitious endeavor. The Philippines’ economy is highly influenced by domestic labor and human resources, yet we are still earning investors to provide jobs locally. We are not as export-dependent as Thailand and Singapore who are giants in manufacturing. Through EAC, the Philippines can easily send labor to neighboring countries that are in need of human resources, and be benefitted through the goods and jobs produced. It is mutually-exclusive; ASEAN nations will benefit from the regional market. AEC is very important right now when the West is in decline, and the Eurozone crisis. Recessions are experienced because of these economic fluctuations with other countries outside Asia. With AEC, we can build a sustainable market of nations depending on free trade with each other. AEC will also further grow as a thinking tank to solve major undertakings like finding alternative sources of energy and increasingly breaking away from oil-dependency. AEC is such a big move, but just a small part of what I believe a bigger plan in ASEAN Mind. We will be able to help one country after another and more importantly, form connections to build a sustainable community of nations and a home for ASEAN citizens.
Anyway, you can learn more about ASEAN through: https://www.facebook.com/ASEANCommunity?fref=ts
Or if you are interested to join upcoming ASEAN-related forums and events, visit: http://www.asean.org/
Be prepared for 2015. Mabuhay Pilipinas, Mabuhay ASEAN! 🙂
Maybe it’s already obvious in my blog that I’m an activist. Engage me in a social and political dialogue and I’ll take the radical side. In the argument of things, I admit I am biased towards the minority, maybe the under-privileged and for people whose voice remains unheard and forgotten. I have no idea I would think this way until college, perhaps because my university is bit of a radical from its very roots, or Journalism exposes me to the world’s injustices and inequality, who knows. All I know is I am doomed to think of the bad side of a good news, and be criticized as a critic and not a doer. (Criticizing the critic, hm, I never thought of that before)
There’s absolutely no wrong for being an activist. In my experience, it allows me to be more conscious of the things around me. It’s not that I aspire to be the peoples’ champion or a Messianic savior for the oppressed and the silent. It’s not that I find purpose on pointing out what’s wrong with our society and the system. I think it’s a real pain-in-the-ass. I even hate myself sometimes for always thinking so negatively but I couldn’t help it. I am far too much in the left to make a U-turn back. I guess it’s already part of my system, like writing and reading, just in a more external sense.
But to be fair, my line of thinking is progressive. I usually think for the solutions of this country than cry it on the streets over it again and again. I blame the government and I blame us, the people. The only difference is that, I blame the government a liiitle bit more 🙂 I believe the reason why we have sunk this deep is because we, the people, easily bend under the system. Our views may not change but out priority will. Cynicism will mold our idealism into a tiny shape of a ball we can swallow and hide anytime given the calling of situation. We may be activists now, but most of us will have a big chance to be the country’s oppressors tomorrow. Regardless on how we think right or left, we can always think progressive.
I remember back in first year days, a common warning to freshmen is: “Wag kang magpapaloko sa aktibista” (Don’t let the activists trick you). But the irony of this statement is that I became an activist without having activist friends. I became an activist without personally interacting with activists. Before, there’s even a point in my life that I laughed at their useless efforts, knowing how numb (and dumb) the government can be. The change is internal. And I openly disagree with this blatant statement of activists as bad influence. They are not con men. They will tell you there’s going to be a campus walk-out or massive rally but you will always have the option to refuse. You have a choice, just like everything else you do in your life. The means may be different for each activist, but the cause remains the same, and we are all fighting for it.
I’m proud of my university’s affair in activism. I guess the reason why we remained Php12.oo per unit (less than 50 cents in dollar) is because of our lively student demonstrations. Burning of chairs aside, the reason why many poor Filipino families are able to send their kids to school is because of PUP’s student bulwark against tuition hike. I gotta hand it to them, but I will make this clear: I CONDEMN THE BURNING OF CHAIRS AND TABLES, DILAPIDATED AND USELESS AS THEY APPEAR TO BE. It’s ironic that we PUP students, known for our resourcefulness, thriftiness and lateral skills to make the best out of little, are throwing a bunch of chairs and burning these for the whole world to see just to make a point. Being a radical and a critical thinker are two different things. You can choose to be critical without becoming too much radical, but being radical without critical thinking is no activism. Activism shouldn’t be reduced into plain, outright vandalism (And I don’t like the pollution of dark smoke from a burning wood. Think green, people!) Being left demands the use of both sides of your brain. Use it.
[The key to survival here in the Philippines breaks into one line: If the government doesn’t give a damn about you and things you need, force it to give one, but you musn’t make your situation more damning as it already is]
For those PUPians who are afraid that the image of this school has been tarnished and so, it limits your chances of being accepted into companies you are vying for, let’s just take this more as a challenge. Just show the company the things you are capable of. Just be more confident. We are raised in a harsh, scarce environment, and we have to rely on our street-smart skills and adaptability just to survive. Skills you couldn’t find on other schools. Of course, if your interviewer isn’t that impressed, you can always show them your ability to set things on fire, buildings and company cars included >:)
Joking aside, I’m a graduating student too so we’re all in this together. Don’t just depend solely on PUP’s reputation of raising diligent students alone. Let your resume do the talking. And if one company won’t accept you, don’t blame it on the fact that it’s because PUP has a bad image. There’s also a small chance that it could be because of your performance or presentation itself. Assess your weaknesses first and try to improve yourself. I know many PUPians who are on the top because they worked so hard to be on the place they are now. And if you managed to get a good job or a good life, don’t think twice to look back on your roots. Please don’t let this incident stop you from donating chairs and tables and other equipment in the future 🙂 Or if you can’t, you can always teach. Think of this as a means of giving back and paying homage to our alma mater. We can all give back something for our university, activists or typical students alike.
I have observed that most of the sentiments in Facebook under the “Burning of Chairs” thread start something like this: ” Taxpayers’ money are being wasted because of the deplorable act. There’s a logic in that, but I find it somehow amusing. Here we have a bunch of people crying over how our taxes are wasted, but turning a blind eye on how congressmen can go to Las Vegas for the latest Pacquiao bout complete with a family entourage. Or how a certain senator gave a million worth of Christmas ”gifts” to his colleagues. Or even question how and where do electoral candidates get their money to spend for countless campaign ads both in TV and print for the upcoming elections. Granted that these chairs did came from public fund, and I’m not saying that there is something wrong with the observation, but I’m just frustrated how quick people are to cry ”foul” over one thing and ignore the rest of the issues dangling from the same vine.
And please, with FOI’s death for the 15th time (no thanks to the TUWID NA DAAN), just how WELL do we know where our taxes actually go to?
Last friday, March 15 was a typical, dark day for me. It was the day where we will pass all the requirements for my OJT to a professor whose sense of understanding is so shallow I wonder how she swims on it. I woke up feeling depressed and helpless; I still have one document missing and I don’t think my ever so dear professor would let me off the hook and I’m sure she’s got tons of humiliating words to rub it in. I was as good as dead. I was texting my classmates to prepare my eulogy (jokingly of course) for my sure demise.
I have no way of knowing that another student like me on another part of Manila is having a battle on her own; a battle infinitely harder than mine, and maybe than the rest of us.
Her name is Kristel Tejada. Most of us may not know her, may not have seen her for once in our lives, but she is us, and we are her. Her dreams are no different to you and me. She wanted to help her family so much that she studied hard to enter the premier national university, the University of the Philippines, and she was able to do so. She was sure that her study in UP will be her family’s ticket to escape the harrowing life of an average Filipino lower middle-class life. Just like the rest of us, she strive for her dreams and on her young shoulders, the dreams of her family.
We may not know her but she is us. We are her.
But unlike Kristel, most of us are not haunted every night by a one paper with words like: “No late tuition payment” and “Leave of Absence” inscribed on it. We are not forced to leave our classes because we are unofficially not enrolled. We do not have to listen to our parents fighting and blaming each other for their inability to pay our tuition. We do not have to text our professor if it’s okay to sit-in her class and be shy about it.
On march 15, friday, the student that was like us, a student who shared the same journey with us, killed herself.
Most of us may argue, “She’s too weak. Suicide isn’t the answer” or “I will never do the same thing she did”. Most of us may shun her of her cowardliness to face her problems. But anyone who is sure that suicide has never once crossed their minds, please raise your hands. Or in our case, feel free to comment on my post. I want to meet you people who have incredible spirit and strength which had never once faltered especially in the darkest moments of their lives.
I admit, I once thought of suicidal thoughts, a fleeting thought but a thought that was there, even for just seconds. In fits of depression and helplessness, ourselves are our greatest enemies; our tormentors we cannot escape from. In moments of desperation, we are prone to do anything to escape from the pain and the hurt. All people will experience this trapped feeling, and while some people are stronger than the rest and capable of holding much longer, some of us are just tired of being strong and decides to escape. Kristel was young, and her study, her school, that is most important to her, has been taken away from her. Added to that is the absence of a guide, a friend, or someone, anyone who can help her out during the last crucial moments of her life.
But the bigger problem here is not Kristel’s decision to end her life. It’s the very system we are all part of. Not just the UP-Manila system, or the State Colleges and Universities System. It’s the system of education in the whole Philippines, where the right to education for all, is still repressed no matter how democratic our society appears to be. Not all Filipino kids can afford tertiary education, heck even the basic one. State colleges and universities are there to help you out but their budget has been repeatedly cut year by year until the universities have to resort to income-generating schemes on their own.
Sad as it appears, education is only a lesser priority in our society. We cannot deny that more and more kids are dropping off from school because of several factors which involved lack of money. More and more parents have to work and work to send their kids to school for a better future.
And now with the government bent on privatizing everything, what can we do? Many people argued that yes, there’s no such thing as libre anymore, and that includes education. But right now, we Filipinos need all the help we can have. No matter how high the economic growth is, we are still trapped in this endless cycle of having to meet both ends meet, of surviving each day with barely a peso to save. You wonder why many Filipinos wanted libre so much? It’s because we spent most of our time working and saving money to the extremes of our capabilities, day by each unforgivable day, and do the same thing for the rest of our lives.
Education shouldn’t be commercialized, nor it should be baited for the few ones who can afford it. Education is for all. It’s in the very heart of our constitution. You want to put a price tag in education? Make sure all Filipinos can afford it first.
With that in mind, Kristel’s death should be a wake up call for not only the government but to Filipino youths and students to put value in their education. The government isn’t the only one which puts little importance to it; we are guilty of the same deed. And as students of a state university which is funded by taxpayers’ money by the way, we should give something back. We should be progressive in our advocacy, which doesn’t involve the burning of chairs and tables which I shall tackle on my next blog post.
After this, Kristel Tejada should be the last one, without students forced to follow her footsteps…but then again,no one shouldn’t have been the first.
To say that I’m disappointed on how the administration handles the Sabah Standoff is an understatement.
Malaysians and the Philippine government obviously underestimated these battle-hardened small group of warriors. You can really see how the government knows little of these warrior race when the President himself calls for their peaceful surrender. Hah, he will have better luck in growing his hair back than having this people to listen to his orders! These people have pledged to die, as their ancestors did so during the Spanish and American times when they fearlessly defended their territory over the colonizers.
These men sailed to Sabah with no more than 200 forces and managed to make a form a threat despite their meager resources. Despite being exposed to Malaysia’s military prowess over the years and fully knowing the great odds against them, they remained defiant and determined even when bombs started to fall.
Unless a quick and efficient diplomatic solution will be reached, Filipino-Muslim blood will spill down on Sabah’s rich soils. And if I were a Tausug, I would gladly die fighting for my rights than go home and be treated as criminals by the Philippine government which didn’t hesitate to label me as a ”terrorist”.
I’m not advocating war or the continued determination of these people to reclaim Sabah using guns and arms. I’m just sad that so many lives are lost, so many lives are affected, and so many Filipino-soldiers have made sacrifices that aren’t really necessary, or could have prevented. We can resolve it in a peaceful way, but not on an overly submissive way (As of writing this, the Foreign Affairs Secretary had just labeled the Sultanate’s men as TERRORISTS. I mean, Malaysia has every right to say so, but having your own government condemn you as such???! What, are they trying to appease Malaysia or something? Are they scared OFWs in Malaysia would lose their jobs or suffer discrimination? These Malaysians are not like the unforgivable Chinese, they are only interested in living their lives in peace and normalcy as you and me)
I’m just trying to say to the present administration, those Tausugs in Sabah have more balls than you guys have. I hate to see brave men die while the spineless cowards run this country.
I am dismayed to hear that about a thousand Taisug troops will be sent to Sabah as reinforcements. Must you continue to send these loyal men to inevitable deaths? The Moros (Filipino-Muslims) may have more experience in guerilla fighting than these Malaysians but believe me, if they lost patience, they will do whatever means necessary to eliminate the threat to their sovereignty.
On the other hand, It also comes as an interesting note to how the issue reveals all those juicy secrets hidden deep in the jungles of Southern Mindanao, like how Malaysia seems to fund MNLF with armories and weapons. Malaysia also trains these Muslim commanders and soldiers in modern warfare and such.
Sabah standoff also reveals a political and geographical element which lies dormant until now. Sabah is a land where the government of Malaysia isn’t really that much felt, much like the Bangsamoro land in Mindanao. It is a far cry from the sophisticated and sleek capital, Kuala Lumpur and cities in Peninsular Malaysia. It is eerily similar to the situation in Mindanao where towns are run by clans and private armies, leading to the under-development state that persists until now.
It would be worth noting that Filipinos from Mindanao and Malaysians from other parts of Malaysia have come to live in Sabah and established themselves as Sabahnese. All they want is peace and to be left alone. Already, the economy of Tawi-tawi is being affected by the standoff. Sabah is the closest neighbor when it comes to trade and commerce. No matter how we look at it, war’s greatest victims are the innocent people who managed to make out the best of the harrowing circumstances around them.
I just hope this will end soon, with minimal bloodshed on both sides as possible. But with this kind of leadership, I think it’s going to be a long, long crusade for a peaceful and bloodless conclusion of this standoff. Don’t judge me, I am just blaming the current administration as it is blaming the former one (which is, all the time)