Tag Archives: education

No Take Home Assignment on Fridays-DepEd

I know there is a reason for everything, even the most stupid decision a person may have done in his life is still governed by reason. Much more with the Department of Education, they must have a reason for ordering all public school teachers to be considerate on giving their students take-home assignments on Fridays to work at it on weekends.

DepEd Memorandum No. 392, signed by Education Secretary Armin Luistro last September 16, mandates all teachers to minimize the giving of homework/assignments (at least) “to a reasonable quantity to give their pupils ample time to rest and relax at home for the rest of the day.”

There is no quarrel about the good intention of the education department. At least it gives time for the entire family to stay together, relax and enjoy each other’s company. At this point in time when the Filipino family is being threatened by all forms of problems such as “parental separations, neglect and abandonment of children, child abuse in various forms, juvenile delinquency, etc. this memo-circular of the department is in order; granting the children have a good week-end full of fun with their families.

I disagree however on the grounds that school children will become less serious with their studies. And all they have in mind is fun at the expense of forgetting all about their academic obligations.

But this is not all, in the provinces as well in the cities, most of the children from poor families are given special tasks to do at home during weekend. There is no parent-children bonding. Parents are too busy working or attending to their businesses to earn a living and support their families. To many families a week-end full of fun with children and parents is just impractical at this time when everybody is affected by the on-going world economic crisis. No homework to do on week end for most children does not matter– are many of them are still asked by their parents to help them in the farm to to attend to their sources of livelihood.

What is the fear of most of the teachers anyway? Right now that children are given that much assignment to do at home during weekend–many can not still comply. And the worse, many are still slow to learn and pass their subjects. So the teacher laments, how much more if they are not allowed to bring home assignment on Fridays? But that practice/scheme does not also work in some instances with children from very poor families. The question who will help them do their assignments if parents are too busy earning a living? Giving too much assignments to school children may also work against the learning capacity. On the other hand if we deal lightly with their academic workload and tasks they also become mediocre learners. So, they will question again the quality of education we have.

As a teacher myself I know the significance of giving week-end assignments to our student; to ensure that will come back to school well prepared for the following week. Other teachers give extra-assignments to their students to help them catch up with their deficiencies (particularly slow learners) in the class. Another reason for week-end assignments is to fill-up the gaps (of instruction) attributed by lack of school facilities and learning materials. Other reason, siguro dahil na rin sa katamaran ng ibang teachers (believe it or not).

Aminin na natin na maraming kakulangan ang DepEd (budgetary constraints), ganon din ang mga magaaral dahil na rin sa kakulangan ng kita ng mga magulang. Pinagkakasya lang ang mayroon tayo. Ika nga, what you see is what you get. Kung ano ang mayroon sa mga paaralan natin, iyon din ang kakayahan nakukuha ng ating mga magaaral sa mga pampublikong paaralan. But this is not a deterrent to excel academically. If there is a will there is a way.

May punto and DepEd, may punto rin ang mga guro. Mga magulang na lang at mga magaaral ang nakakaalam kung ano ang nakakabuti sa kanila. After all sila naman ang mga tunay na apektado dito.

6 Comments

Filed under education, government, Human Rights, Individual Rights, Philippine government, politics

Condoms and the Presidential Election

This is the news, “Women activists present condoms to Philippine bishops.” What’s new? The Philippine Catholic bishops have been waging a bitter war with the government against the use of contraceptives. The Catholic church has never been weakened with its stiff stand against Family Planning and the use of artificial methods of birth control.

The Philippine Catholic Bishops have always been critical of any administration or political parties that support birth control and family planning. In fact presidential aspirants in the like of Senator Noynoy Aquino have been very careful with their stand with regards to population issues. The Bishop can always call on the Catholic faithful some 75 millions out of the 90 to 100 million Filipinos not to vote for any candidate who supports the family planning program of the government. One of the important criteria the good Bishops are looking to any politician vying for an elective position in the government is his policies and stand on the issues of family planning and birth control.

Even if President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo knows the significance of high birth rate in combating poverty problems in the Philippines, having been once a DSWD secretary, she tends to be careful with its population management program so as not to provoke the ire of the already critical Clergies to her administration. The bishops also took advantage of the government soft stand on Family Planning and birth control by calling for a ban on the advertisement of condom however the Arroyo’s administration only shrugged off their demands.

As if trying to maim the bishops stiff opposition on birth control and contraceptives, here comes Health Secretary Esperanza Cabral (former DSWD Secretary) “handing out condoms on February 13 as part of an information campaign on HIV-AIDS.” Her action may not necessarily be the collective stand of the government but nobody in the bureaucracy stood up to sanction her. She had not violated any law, she just exercised her political independence to promote actions responsive for the health and general welfare of the entire population. Yet the Bishops angrily called for her to resign.

But Health Secretary Cabral found allies on women’s health and rights advocate groups like the Party of the Workers who picketed and presented two baskest full of condoms at the headquarters of the Catholic Bishops Conference.

Judy Ann Miranda, the party’s secretary-general asked the bishops to “bless the condoms as a conciliatory gesture to unite for reproductive health and women’s rights” but unfortunately no bishop was around to receive/bless it.

As a response to the women activists action the bishops said, through spokesman Monsignor Pedro Quitorio, that they could not compromise on the church’s opposition to birth control devices. Again, a manifestation of the unwavering Catholic dogma on contraceptive devices which are perceived to tamper with the flow of nature and life. They the bishops however have no specific response on how to promote women’s reproductive health and quality of life.

“If contraceptives are immoral, nothing can change that… not even the vote of the whole country can change that,” Quitorio said. But should he not consider also immoral to see the health of women deteriorate just because couples are denied on the used of contraceptive devices. I think there is nothing more immoral than allowing spread of diseases and overpopulating the limited space we have in this country just because we can not control our rapid population growth.

And going back to politics, is the issue on contraceptives a leverage for a politician to improve his chances of winning in the presidential race? Will the good bishops support senator Manny Villar if he makes a covenant with the Catholic Church in the Philippines never to support legislative measures that advocate the use of contraceptives and other birth control devices? What will happen to the leading presidential candidate on surveys now should he decide to go against the bishops on their resistance to contraceptives and population control programs of the government?

So there we go, peace on earth and condom to all!

Leave a comment

Filed under Community life, democracy, education, Philippine government, Religion, Religion and sexual behavior, Reproductive Health, social justice, Wealth, Poverty, women

Political Platform and Broken Promises– (A class discussion)

It’s a heated political discussion in Secondlady’s Parliament of the Extreme. The wise and the fool want to trace the roots of poverty and underdevelopment in this land. These wise men and women pretending as senators and congressmen are now closing in to the eye of the problem. They temporarily abandoned the concept of greed, ignorance, and incompetence in the government so as not to see a couple of horns in their heads.

Gloria, not her excellency, raised the question: ” Is there such a thing as politician’s broken promises?”

But Randy the KSP and pasaway made fun with her question.

“Why did somebody promise you a grand wedding but instead ran away with a gay?”

Laughter followed. I had to intervene.

“This is a serious class discussion, behave or I’ll send you out.”

Emong the OFW son manifested his intention to participate. Permission was granted.

“Ma’am Seg, my classmates I just want to be clarified about a few things in relation to our topic. First, in the use of the word ‘promise.’ What is that being ‘promised’ by the politician? His platform of goverment or the programs/services he intends to do/accomplish during his/his term of office; second how does a politician arrive at his platform of government? Is it with consultation to people around him or he just based it on what he things/knows as best and right for the interest of his country and people; and third, for a politician to pursue his platform of government he has to translate everything into specific programs and services to be implemented. The question is this, are people involved (particularly those in the grassroots) in the identification of these needs, problems, solutions and their aspirations to keep the public official busy during his term of office? If not, nothing worthwhile is expected hence the notion of a broken promise.”

Samantha, the free thinker in the class raised her hand. I acknowledged her.

And she said: “Emong used the term “platform of government.” Is it really a “platform of government” that he is talking or he means a “political/party platform?” To me kasi, the the term platform of government is a more neutral term, it is a collective vision of what a government should be. This is people’s ideal not necessarily be that of a politician and his party.”

“And what’s the point you’re driving at Samantha Samantha?” I asked.

“Whether you are LP, NP, PALAKA, PM, KBL, UNO, etc., when you talk of platform of government your ideals and goals to serve goes beyond the boundaries of your personal/party interest. Everything you do is for the general interest of the majority of your people/constitutents, be they are rich or poor. And this is what Emong is saying as consultative goverment/governance. But I bet, most of these politicians are mouthing only the political platform of their party. It may not necessary address the needs of the majority but of the few. E, sabi pa naman, the government exists for the interest of the majority not of the few.”

Before I could say something somebody called our attention that Gloria’s question is not yet answered.

Joy the pragmatic mind stood up and said: “Kaya nga iyong sinasabi ninyong broken promises is a result of subordinating people’s interests over personal and party’s interest. The politician once elected into office has to attend first to his party’s interest, particularly those who support him during elections rather than those of his general constituents when it comes to implementation of programs and services. Siempre uunahin niya kaagad iyong mga bomoto sa kanya. Ladies and gentlemen this is partisan politics. This is the root of all the evil of governance in this country.”

Laughter and much applause followed.

“Para kang si Brenda niyan,” somebody shouted.

“Hey tumigil ka diyan, if you really know something makipag-participate ka ng maayos.

I saw somebody raising his hand at the corner. It’s Joel the son of a minister and the class’s moralist.

“Okay class let’s hear from Joel. Joel…”

“There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death (Proverbs 14:12). The problem with us is that people have impinged their hopes to the politicians with the notion these men and women in the government chosen by the majority of the electorate to serve are fix-all technicians. Governance is a participative process, tell them what you need and discuss how you collectively act on it. Ma’am Seg said once, no public servant is really a servant at all. If I understand her right, sa akin lang, kung gusto ng mga tao ang pagbabago ay kumilos din sila. They too have to participate. She used the term “makialam.”

Somebody butted in. “Kaya nga hindi tayo nagkakaisa masyadong maraming pakialamero diyan. We have an abused system and abused exercise of democracy. The government, politicians and officials at that, are overwhelmed by so many issues and problems of the country. They just don’t know where and how to start. They are at lost how to satisfy everybody. And they just don’t know what else project they do to make money.”

Metring, the working student, also expressed what is in her mind. “First of all I would like to say there is an incongruence of minds– from the government institutions, the politicians, officials, and the people. People are also divided on what they think as the problem of the country. The government institutions plan and propose budget to fulfil their mandates based on their studies and feedback from their own people in the field; and what the politicians understand about programs and services is nothing but personal accomplishments which will have an impact to the electorates later. It may not be the need, it may not be the solution to the need, it’s a kapalpakan. Suma tutal, nagpapapogi lang. For all you know what they claim as accomplishments are failed projects to the people. Perhaps you can even say- to those who failed to see the significance of these projects may consider the same as ‘the broken promises’ of ‘an honest government sana’ kung hindi nila ito pinagkakitaan.”

And now the activist mind stood up and said: “The government is a system of power which reside on the will of the people. But the politicians thwart this ideal once in power. Once elected they think they are now the power themselves not the people. Classic example the Maguindanao case. They are now the government, they are now the laws, they are now in control of everything including the people’s mind. They say to the people, this is your need, and this is what the government can do. And all of these things ay ‘utang na loob ninyo’ sa aming mga politicians.”

Raising his fist he said, “down with all those politicians who act more for the advantage of foreign interest than our national interest. Mga nagpapagamit lang iyan, mga salot na sanhi ng paghihirap ng mga tao. They promised to pursue the welfare and interest of the people but sad to say they preserve instead the interest of their capitalist masters. It’s not on hanging projects and services alone which they have failed in their promises, it is on subordinating the interest of their nation for their personal gain. Example? Ito, Seg este Sec. may dalawang daan ka rito.”

His political statement created much laughters and uproar in the class.

I wish I could have more time with them discussing political issues. This is not a political science course, it’s a class on social problems and development. But we all agree on one thing, a political problem is a social problem, and a social problem is a political problem. Both impair efficient and honest governance. We have graft and corruption in the government because it runs in the system. People are fragmented by their political party affiliations. We perceive that politicians, businessmen, industrialists, and foreign powers have a hand on this. In a highly corrupt and politicized system, all what the people could expect from them politicians are nothing but broken promises. The have a faulty view of their political platform, they neglect people’s interest to give way to their party interests. And when they talk about programs and services, it is not on what the people want but on what they believe is useful and necessary to them.

But as they say it in the neighborhood, puwera de los buenos. Which means while there are corrupt public officials and politicians there are also a few good ones. But their tribe is still need to increase. Until such time we see more of them, we will never be done with politician’s broken promises.

My students do not showcase the best minds in the world. Many of them are struggling to survive in many of their subjects. But there is one strength (a glimpse of hope for tomorrow) I see in them, they are aware of issues and they will never give up on what they believe is right. Yes, right for their country.

Our class is no Senate, although one or two attempted to be a clown in the circus. But these are serious students who still believe, we are not done yet with the Philippines. Yes, may pag-asa pa!

2 Comments

Filed under Economic Survival, education, government, Justice, politics, Religion