ENGLISH is taught as the second language in our country and is also supported in our curriculum by the English Proficiency Program. We are enriching it because of globalization, considering that Filipinos are found almost anywhere in the world. We are known worldwide for our proficiency in speaking the language, thus giving us an edge in finding a good job overseas. English is not anti-poor but is a must for development. I must say, "Salitang English ay pag-ibayuhin; salitang Pilipino ay pagbutihin; at salitang bernakulo ay huwag limutin..."
April 2007 Archives
THE GOOD: Cebu has experienced a growth of monumental proportion the past few years. The data released by NEDA on their website depicts the ever changing economic landscape of Cebu as well as the Philippines in general. In Region 7 alone, where Cebu is located, exports have gone up substantially which reflects the region's strong growth that is driven mostly by the electronics sector. Though the electronics sector comprises the majority of the region's export, the service sector is fast catching up. BPO (business outsourcing companies) and IT companies and all other service-related companies have experienced unprecedented growth as multinational and foreign companies have shown confidence towards the local government. With a lot of infrastructure under construction or just recently finished, the demand for more usable space has been considerably addressed. Not only that, but the abundance of highly skilled professionals and the advantage of having some excellent universities in close proximity capable of producing the right persons for the right job have also made it possible for these companies to maintain their competitive edge and confidence in the Cebu talent pool. Kudos to the local government of Cebu for having the vision of developing the city and its cluster cities to be one of the fast growing preferred destinations for IT and BPO companies. No doubt they have labored to make this a reality. Watch out for a changing landscape all over Cebu City as new tall buildings will emerge. The bad: Metropolitan Cebu, though one of the largest islands in Region 7, is limited in its expansion in terms of real estate. The mountainous land that sorrounds the city in the west side and the long coastline in the east made it difficult to scatter the developments of the now highly urbanized Cebu City. Urban planners will definitely face a challenging task in making Cebu an ultramodern city. The influx of workers in the city due to new opportunities brought about by the services sector presents another unpleasant problem:lack of housing. With no expansion available, a new wave of shelters will have to squeeze in a now crowded Cebu City. Though road networks have been improving with the addition of the south reclamation and the north reclamation areas in the past few years, the lack of land available for road expansion still presents a daunting task for urban planners to expand the roads around Cebu City. Along with this challenge is the ever increasing real estate cost due to the lure of high earning professionals who can afford such a commodity. Cebu has not adapted yet to mass urban housing like condominiums and high-rise apartments. Still the most preferred are the subdivisions. Townhouses and apartments share the remaining chunk of the pie. The ugly: The densely populated Ayala-Lahug-Banilad-Talamban area has already reached its breaking point in terms of land use. With no mass transportation, and the increase of passenger cars and vehicles and limited road networks, the traffic going in and out of the city is now worse than ever. That stretch alone, which usually takes a little over 15 minutes a couple of years ago, now will make it hard for you to reach halfway in 30 minutes during rush hour. Indeed, mass transportation will be a viable solution in the future. It's interesting what will happen in the next five to 10 years.
CONTRARY to the belief of educators led by the Wika ng Kultura at Agham Inc. (WIKA), English as a medium of instruction is not anti-poor. Before one jumps to the conclusion that it is indeed anti-poor and that it alienates Filipino school children from their Filipino heritage, he should ask himself whether knowing to speak English is an asset or not. If it is, then it is not anti-poor since it will benefit the poor. In a global market where English is the medium of communication, the poor will be able to compete if they know how to speak the language. The reason why the country is surviving is because of the millions of OFW working abroad. And how were they able to get jobs in these foreign countries? Well, they speak English. Today, you don't have to go out of the country to need your English to be employed. Think about the thousands of jobs made available by the call center business. The reason why these foreign companies established these call centers is because Filipinos speak English well. By using English as a medium of instruction, it does not necessarily compromise our Filipino heritage. You will never appreciate this truth unless you go abroad and speak to Filipinos who migrated years ago. They and their children speak Tagalog, Ilocano, Ilonggo, etc. and they eat pinakbet, sinigang, lechon, etc. This is true even to children born in those foreign countries. If we drop English as a medium of instruction, this will be a loss not only for the Filipino people in general, but to the poor in particular. Whether we like it or not, we are now living in a global economy. Let us, as a nation, compete globally. -- Teck Uy, Ontario, Canada (via e-mail)
A 17-YEAR-OLD girl, sold to lust-driven men, probably got an STD [sexually transmitted disease] along with her horrid sex experience. Not a pretty picture, eh? But, yes, it's happening and it's everywhere, even in France and Cote d'Ivoire. The story about the innocent girl turned prostitute is very depressing. I think that the people responsible for this should rot in hell. They don't have the right to manage girls especially if it's like this. I also think that the Filipino owner should be consumed by his conscience because he did something indecent to a fellow countryman. These things should never happen to guiltless girls. They should be busy with school, learning and dreaming of the best things life has to offer. They should not be bothered by dirty men that want them for a temporary high. -- Eunice Oquialda, Assumption College, San Lorenzo, Makati City (via e-mail)
IT is so disheartening to see that we Filipinos spend P70 million pesos on a sport we can never be competitive at internationally and neglect those sports where we can be competitive, like baseball and football (soccer) and other team sports. Personally, Philippine basketball has been too boring to watch because on the one hand, the country dominates regional competitions such as the SEABA [Southeast Asia Basketball Association], while on the other hand, we cannot even qualify for the any of the major world competitions, even by sending professional and Fil-foreign players from the PBA [Philippine Basketball Association]. In addition, politics governs the management of the sport in the country. Even the PBA has become boring to watch because even with all that's been happening -- the coach switchings, the confusing multi-player deals, etc. -- the quality of the games played hasn't improved. -- Marcelo dela Peña, Australia (via e-mail)
VERY incisive, dear [Supreme Court Chief] Justice [Reynato Puno]. very clear, unequivocally clear. The sooner the Americans get their noses out of the country with their anti-terrorism pretext, the better Filipinos' lives will be. About time somebody in the higher echelons of government spoke out on this reality. Fighting a supposedly terrorist threat away from US shores is a flimsy excuse for America's pursuit of their brand of hegemony sponsored by their greedy corporations. The sooner they leave us alone, the better our lives will be. More power! Applause, applause, applause. -- Vernon Dula, Vancouver, Canada (via e-mail)
FULL rehabilitation of the PNR [Philippine National Railways] is welcome news. I remember when I was a kid, my parents used to ride the train from San Fernando, La Union to Manila. As a kid, those were exciting years, with beautiful scenery along the railroad tracks. I just hope it will be done very soon and I also hope that this project will not be "haunted" by corruption. -- Mario JA Urbano, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (via e-mail)
AS a kid who grew up in the Philippines, I never had a Filipino idol. I guess you can blame that one on too much Americanization. My childhood heroes back then were GI Joe and [the Teenage Mutant] Ninja Turtles. As a teenager, my idols became WWF [World Wrestling Federation, now known as World Wrestling Entertainment] wrestlers. Now that I am a 21-year-old young adult, I am very proud to say that I finally have an idol in life who is Filipino like me in the name of Manny Pacquiao.
I'M writing this piece as a dedication to my beloved country, the Philippines. It has endured long years of hardships and challenges. The hardships were of no equal. Beyond imagination. It endured tumultuous years, Martial law, coup d'etat, political noise and countless revolutions. I have seen how this country has fought hard like a fighter. Despite the barrage of punches it held on long enough to see another opportunity to get back on its feet. I love the Philippines, that's why I chose to stay. I love it because I have a country that I can call my own. I have my identity. Now I'm happy. I'm happy to see the Philippines slowly getting back on its feet. Crawling like a downed fighter but with so much confidence and courage. Amid the chaos it transforms this once lagging economy to a new workhorse of Asia. The Philippines may not be remembered as a rich nation in Asia, but it will be remembered as a country that endured and emerged a winner. Forget the skeptics. They do us no good. They are like poisons who desire nothing but to see us fail. To see us suffer. I have endured just like my country. Yes, but I did not leave in exchange for dollars and yens because I know I will soon rise up to my feet to help my beloved county. This is the country which I can call my own. Like my family that I'm always proud of. I'm proud of my country. I chose to stay, for good. I'm not in despair or in lack but because this country has given so much. I have my job, a decent job. A job that others can only envy. I have my family that I get to see everyday. And not sacrificing my relationship in exchange for the good life. I have a good life, because this country has given me the opportunity to enjoy it. Family. Church. Car. House. Good relationship. Friendship. And, I'm here in the Philippines. I chose to stay because that's the only way I can help my beloved country. But was I deprived of a good life? I don't think so. Others don't want hardships. They even cursed me because I stayed. Others say the good life can only be found when they earn "big bucks." Only to realize that they are wrong. Soon they realize that living in a country not their own is much harder than it seems. Relationships have failed. Families have broken up. Kids have changed. College fees are close to impossible. Yes, you may earn big bucks. You do spend big bucks as well. Others are clever enough to send the dollars back home, Thank you. But then again they cannot experience the good life they've been longing for. And, being a minority to say the least, you're treated unfairly and sometimes unjustly. But, they have no choice. They have to live with it. Raise the kids without the yaya. Work two or three jobs a week. Parents take turn watching the kids. Even Sundays are spent working instead of resting. And the list is endless. They have no choice. Who are they? You can hear them. You can see them. They are the ones who envy the Philippines. They are envious because the Philippines is already progressing. They are envious because the economy is booming. How they wish they could go back. I doubt it. They have no more face to show off after turning their back on this country. I have nothing to brag about. I'm just an engineer who is enjoying life to the fullest. I'm just thankful that I stayed in my beautiful country, the Philippines.
THIS is classic doublespeak. [Raul] Gonzalez telling us that he doesn't want foreigners dictating him to intervene in the release of Beltran is exactly the opposite of what he did during the trial of Smith. Now he speaks of rules of court, while in Smith's case he brazenly disregarded those very same rules when he manipulated and schemed with the US government to violate the status quo thus rendering the pending case of Smith moot and academic. I hope Gonzalez runs for an elective office in 2010. Let's see if the people would still heed his callous remarks and trapo attitude. -- Rene Delorino, Diliman, Quezon City (via e-mail)
I AM no fan of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, who I would like to see out of office sooner rather than later, but I do not understand how some Filipinos seem to rejoice at the misery of their poor countrymen by quoting poverty figures out of context. If the number of Filipinos living on $1 a day is true, then I would expect to read thousands of my countrymen dying of hunger everyday. A Filipino living on $1 a day in the countryside may be better fed than his urban counterpart making $5 a day. A rural resident may not even have a peso in his pocket but he could have adequate sustenance from what the land provides. He needs not buy vegetables, chicken or pork which he plants and raises in his backyard. His clothes may come from one of the door-to-door boxes sent by luckier relatives abroad. I am aware of the hard times Filipinos are in today but please do not rub salt in their wounds by making them believe that they are really much worse off than how they already think they are. That's cruel. -- Francis Sarmiento, Ontario, Canada (via e-mail)
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