Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Reactions to the ADB/UPSE Economic Outlook 2012 Forum

Last Monday (October 8), I attended the Economic Outlook forum at UP School of Economics and got to hear the recent studies made by the economic experts of ADB. It is good to hear economist talking about the value of inclusive growth, ensuring that economic growth is felt by every family and individual. It was interesting to hear from Dr. Medalla that economic growth has no direct correlation with poverty reduction.
They presented that our modest 4.5% economic growth is due to our strong service sector. Unfortunately or poverty level, including our unemployment and underemployment rates are at all-time high.  It is because our job generating manufacturing and agricultural sectors are naghihingalo. Our export sector failed to diversify and focused only on semi-conductor exports.  Because of the lacklustre performance of these two sectors, our leaders depended so much on our labour export and now on BPO. Or it can be interpreted that because of the OFW remittance bonanza, our leaders have neglected the manufacturing and agriculture. They are spared from making hard economic decisions, good for them and bad for us. Also, our productivity level is very low because what we have are low-skilled labor and underpaid skilled workers and professionals. With the rate that we have now, it will take 20 years to reach the productivity level of our counterparts.

The economic experts said that we should invest more on infrastructure development and resuscitate the manufacturing and agricultural sectors so that we can register a stable economic growth and be able to stand on two stable legs. Our neighbors who are also seeing rapid growth in the service sector have not neglected their manufacturing and agricultural sectors (thus fewer problems with poverty and unemployment).  I ask myself, aren’t these economic experts in the room (Sicat, Fabella, Medalla and their ADB counterparts) the same smart people who have served as economic advisers to past and present administrations?  

They identified education reform as a major solution to improve productivity, enhance quality of life and respond to the labor shortage. Of course as expected, being ADB and UPSE, they advocated for a deregulated environment.  Well, they should realize that it is deregulation at the Higher Education that has brought about the shortage of skilled workers and professionals (their list includes accountants, engineers, lawyers, doctors, software programmers). Because we believed their neoliberal doctrines, we let the market guide our path and now we now have an oversupply of nurses and HRM graduates. It’s also because of the logic of deregulation that we are suffering the effects of brain drain. And so how can the cause of our problems be also the solution to the same problems? I think I should attend more of their forums to hear how deregulation will do the trick. On another note, it was interesting to see how the economic discourse is dominated by men. Well maybe that’s why they are for deregulation (which is to me akin to abandonment).  I suppose having women economist with their mother hen instinct will provide a more “protectionist” perspective (go Aio, Betina, Simone, Mela, Ana, Gail…)

I suppose you can download the full text of the ADB Economic Outlook 2012 in their website. You can also view it from my Gdoc folder: 

Friday, September 28, 2012

MTBMLE concerns for early exit and excluded languages

My blogging has been long interrupted due to many demands at work including our busy schedule in creating awareness and organizing training for MTBMLE. Now we can pause and rest a bit since MTBMLE has been mainstreamed at least at the basic education sector. The next task is to work with higher education institutions.

 When I joined the advocacy late 2008, most of the people thought that the possibility of changing the policy for medium of instruction would be quite remote. Some even gave us that funny look thinking that MTBMLE is like going back to the dark ages. Thankfully,  MTBMLE became a major  policy through  DepEd Order 74 s 2009 and later was integrated in the K-12 framework. But we're not completely happy yet because presently the new order is to use mother tongue only up to grade 3 (an early exit which studies show to yield weak long term results). We hope that the K-12 bill would support for a late exit (studies like Thomas and Collier's proved that for maximum results for literacy and cognitive development, exposure to MT should be at 6 to 8 years) or at least a flexibility clause to allow the use of MT as long as it is needed and desired.

Aside from the cognitive benefits of a late exit, there are many pupils who reach high school and still lack adequate literacy skills. The MT in this case would be useful as a bridge language. There will also be pupils who would want to continue reading and writing in the mother tongue. Many of them will become writers of local newspapers, commentators of local radio stations and teachers who will use MTBMLE for classroom instruction and materials development. And so MT literacy up to grade three would be inadequate. Our local languages should also be continually enriched as an academic discourse. They are part of our tawid from our ancestors.

We're not also fully happy because DepEd Order 16 s. 2012 has provided funding support only for the so called major languages and there's no any provision for the excluded languages. I was horrified to find out that not a single language in the CAR region is included while some regions received support for two of their languages. Some leaders were able to assert that their languages be included. I heard that VP Binay fought for the inclusion of Ibanag. So from eight we now have 14 languages that are being supported by DepEd. Still not a single CAR language is included in the list.

It is good that for the few CAR teachers/supervisors  like Mrs. Gloria Suayan (PSDS of Bokod) and Mrs. Hermie Osting (Principal in Buguias) who attended our previous MTBMLE training and conferences are able to develop their own instructional materials funded by local sources. Other schools in CAR have no choice but to use Ilocano. I am an Ilocano  but my present stand is that if there are no available materials in their local language, they should be given the option to use either Ilocano, Filipino or English, depending on their context and availability of materials.

 My EDFD 221 (SocioCultural Foundation of Education) class had the opportunity to visit Bokod few weeks ago and we were encouraged to see that Mrs. Suayan was able to provide training for the schools in her district. They developed primers and instructional materials in Ibaloy, Karao and Kalanguya. She had the primers reviewed by some experts.  She mentioned that it is strategic to train PSDS because they co-chair the local school board and thus have access to local funds. Besides, the PSDS are the ones tasked to provide curricular support.

The other year we visited Mrs. Osting and we saw the initial Kankana-ey big books she made. She said they added some more. My former student Manybel Calis has been doing her own study of  the Ibaloy (her MT) thru the Ibaloi-ak Facebook group. She has been in touch with a local Ibaloi group "Makniba." It is headed by Dr. Morr Tadeo Pungayan a known scholar of Ibaloi Culture. The group dreams of putting up an Ibaloy Academy but lacks support to fulfill such dream. Dr. Pungayan teaches Ibaloy course at SLU but only when there are at least five enrollees.

Of course, I should not miss the pioneers of MTBMLE in the north and in the country -- the teachers in Lubuagan, Kalinga. Before MTBMLE was pilot-tested in several schools, Lubuagan was our main destination for our EDFD 221 class fieldtrip. It was there where we saw how pupils come alive when their language is used inside the classroom.

I suppose the cause for MTBMLE for Cordillera should be led by universities in the north like BSU, UP Baguio and SLU. Last summer I met a feisty Kankana-ey SLU professor, Jane Larter. Thru her leadership, a one-month MTBMLE training was held last April at SLU. It was  co-organized by SLU, SIL and 170+Talaytayan MLE. Our salute to our MTBMLE advocates and leaders in CAR.

a grade 1 teacher teaching in Karao

Colors in Ibaloy; made by a teacher at Ambangeg Elem Scl

A Lubuagan teacher reads a big book she made

A Kankana-ey pupil in Buguias reading a  big book in her mother tongue

Ang Pagtatapos ng Pagkabusabos sa Hacienda

John 15:9-17
Kung papaanong inibig ako ng Ama ay gayon ko rin kayo inibig. Manatili kayo sa aking pag-ibig. 10 Kung tutuparin ninyo ang aking mga utos, mananatili kayo sa aking pag-ibig. Tulad ko, tinupad ko ang mga utos ng aking Ama at nanatili sa kaniyang pag-ibig. 11 Ang mga bagay na ito ay sinabi ko sa inyo upang ang aking kagalakan ay manatili sa inyo. Gayundin naman, ang inyong kagalakan ay malubos. 12 Ito ang aking utos: Kayo ay mag-ibigan sa isa't isa gaya ng pag-ibig ko sa inyo. 13 Wala nang hihigit pang pag-ibig kaysa rito, na ang isang tao ay mag-alay ng kaniyang buhay para sa kaniyang mga kaibigan. 14 Kayo ay aking mga kaibigan kapag ginawa ninyo ang anumang inuutos ko sa inyo. 15 Hindi ko na kayo tinatawag na mga alipin sapagkat hindi alam ng alipin ang ginagawa ng kaniyang panginoon. Sa halip ay tinawag ko kayong mga kaibigan sapagkat ang lahat ng narinig ko sa aking Ama ay ipinaaalam ko sa inyo. 16 Hindi ninyo ako hinirang ngunit ako ang humirang sa inyo at nagtalaga sa inyo. Ang dahilan ay upang kayo ay humayo at mamunga at ang inyong bunga ay manatili. At anumang ang inyong hingin sa aking Ama sa pangalan ko ay ibibigay niya sa inyo. 17 Ang mga bagay na ito ay iniuutos ko sa inyo upang kayo ay mag-ibigan sa isa't isa.
Tunay na nakakabagbag damdamin ang eksena nang ianunsiyo ang desisyon ukol sa Hacienda Luisita. Sinasabi na ang 4,000 hektarya ng Hacienda Luisita ay magiging pag-aari na ng mga 6,000 na magsasaka at hindi na lamang iisang angkan ang makikinabang nito. Kinunan ng kamera ang pagbubunyi ng mga magsasaka sa Hacienda Luisita. Kahit na ang ilan ay humihiyaw sa tuwa at sumisigaw ng “wagi! wagi!” bakas pa rin sa mga mukha nila ang mas malalim na sentimyento na nanggagaling mula sa kanilang puso na hindi kayang ipaliwanag ng anumang salita. May halo itong tuwa at pait. Sabi ng isang babae, sana raw ay buhay pa ang kanyang ama dahil namatay na lamang siya na hindi niya nakita ang araw na ito. Para bang iniinda nila ang karanasan ng mga magulang nila na buong buhay na nagpagal at nagbanat ng buto sa ilalim ng nakakapasong init araw at ang kapalit lamang nito ay kakarampot na suweldo na tila panigurado na hindi sila aangat sa buhay at ang mga anak nila ay tatanda kagaya rin nila, mga busabos at alipin ng lupang sinasaka. Nakakalunos na isipin na ang 6,000 na pamilyang ito sa loob ng napakahabang panahon ay napagkaitan ng mga maraming pagkakataon sa buhay –kumain ng sapat, magpa-aral ng mga anak, maipagamot ang mga may sakit, at tumanda na walang agam agam na may disenteng sustento. Samantala ang mga may ari ng lupain ay namumuhay ng marangya sa kanilang mga mansiyon at condo units, nakakaliwaliw sa buong mundo, napapag-aral ang mga anak sa magagarang eskuwelahan upang makapagtapos at maging pinuno ng mga negosyo at pamahalaan upang mapalawak pa lalo ang kanilang kayamanan at impluwensiya. Yan ang mapait na larawan ng kawalan ng hustisya sa ating bayan at sa mundong ating ginagalawan.
Ang pagbubunyi ng Hacienda Luisita ay maihahambing sa pagkakataon nang sinabi ni Hesus sa kaniyang mga disipulo na minamahal niya sila kagaya ng pagmamahal ng Ama at ang turing niya sa kanila ay mga kaibigan sa halip na mga alipin. Siya na Panginoon ng lahat ng panginoon at lumalang ng buong sanglibutan ay itinuring na kaibigan ang kaniyang mga nilalang. At ang basehan nito ay hindi awa kungdi pag-ibig.
Kahit nuon pa man, makikita natin na hindi nais ng Diyos na maging alipin ang mga tao. Sa totoo lang ang turing niya kina Adan at Eba ay mga kaibigan, mga kasama niyang naglalakad at naguusap sa hardin. Nagkaroon lamang ng pagka-alipin dahil sa kasalanan na dumating sa mundo. Ngunit gayunpaman ay gumagawa ang Diyos ng mga paraan upang maka-alpas ang mga tao sa pagka-busasbos. Isang paraan dito ang Jubilee na iniutos ng Diyos sa bayan ng Israel. Sa tuwing 49 na taon, tutunog ang trumpeta bilang hudyat ng simula ng Jubilee. Sa panahon ng Jubilee, ang lahat ng mga naisanglang lupa ay ibabalik sa orihinal na may-ari. Hindi kagaya ngayon na kung ikaw ay may utang, mamanahin pa ito ng iyong mga apo sa tuhod. Ang mga alipin ay hindi mananatili sa pagkabusabos kungdi makakalaya na kasama ng kanilang pamilya. Magiging mabunga ang lupa upang sa panahon ng Jubilee ito ay magpapahinga ganun din ang mga taong gumagawa. May sapat silang kakainin sa isang taon kaya hindi nila kailangan magtatanim. Kung magbubunga man ang lupa, kahit sino ay maaaring pumasok at mamitas ng bunga nito. Ang lahat ay pantay pantay, mahirap man o mayaman sa panahon ng Jubilee. Ipinapahiwatig ng Jubilee na ang lupain ay pag-aari ng Diyos at ibinigay ito para sa lahat at hindi para sa pakinabang ng iilan lamang.

Nang si Hesus ay umakyat na sa langit at dumating ang Banal ng Espiritu, ipinakita muli ang diwa ng Jubilee. Ang unang iglesiya o pamayanan ng Diyos ay kinabibilangan ng iba’t-ibang tao, mayaman at mahirap, Hudyo at Hentil, ngunit sinasabi ng Aklat ng mga Gawa na walang mahirap sa kanilang kalagitnaan. Lahat ay pantay pantay. Dahil sa pag-ibig na nananaig, ibinabahagi ng mga mayayaman ang kanilang pag-aari. Walang photo-ops o press release na kapalit nito. Isinakatuparan nila ang utos ni Hesus na mahalin nila ang kanilang kapwa at ituring sila bilang kaibigan kagaya ng ginawa ni Hesus sa kanila. Hindi kailangan ng dahas o malaking premyo upang magamapanan ito. Sapat na ang pag-ibig na dulot ng Espiritu ng Diyos sa bawat isang maniniwala. Dahil sa pagmamahalan, pagbibigayan at pagmamalasakit na nanaig sa pamayanan ng Diyos, ang mabuting balita tungkol kay Hesu Kristo ay nagningning sa buong mundo at madaming na-akit na sumunod kay Kristo.

Nakakalungkot na sa ngayon ay kailangan pa ng napakahabang pagtatalo sa korte at umabot pa hanggang mag-isyu ng utos ang Korte Suprema na ibahagi sa mga magsasaka ang lupain na para sa kanila. At nang ibigay ito sa kanila, wala man lang pagkilala sa mga mahabang panahon na sila ay napagkaitan ng hustisiya.
Ang panahon ng Jubilee nuong lumang tipan ay dumarating lamang tuwing ikalimang dekada ngunit ngayon kung buhay si Kristo sa ating puso at sa ating pamayanan, araw-araw ay maaari nang maging Jubilee. Hindi ito madali dahil salungat ito sa lohika ng mundo kung saan ang pag-aari ng mga bagay bagay ay isang permanenteng bagay na binabantayan ng batas. Ang paniwala ng bawat isa ay kanyang permanenteng pag-aari ang kaniyang natamong lupain o anumang kayamanan. Ang mga naghihirap ay siyang sinisisi at pinagbibintangang mga tamad. Hindi nakikita ang taliwas na sistema na kung saan hindi pantay ang oportunidad para sa bawat isa. Halimbawa kung ikaw ay ipinanganak na Cojuangco o Zobel, kahit hindi ka na kumayod, siguradong mabubuhay ka ng maluwag.

Ngunit hindi dahil salungat ang Jubilee sa ikot ng mundo, ito ay imposibleng mangayari. Kailangan pag-isipan, paghandaan at simulan kahit sa mga maliliit na mga bagay. Ang 6,000 na libong pamilya sa Hacienda Luisita na magkakamit ng kanilang sariling lupa ay isang patak lamang kung titingnan ang higit na 30 milyong Pilipino na kagaya nila. Sila ay naghihintay ng pagkakataon na maramdaman na sila ay tinawag na kaibigan at hindi mga alipin magpakailanman.

Written for the weekly gospel reflections of  KAALAGAD Katipunang Kristiyano,  a “fellowship of fellow servants.” The antiquated font embodies the age – old wisdom of community and solidarity. The bigger letters K and D mean “Kapatiran at Damayan” or “Kalayaan at Demokrasya.” The straight line connecting K and D is a “leveled table” representing Equality and Service. The smaller letters which form the word AALAGA is a pledge to a nurturing faith and culture.