Book sector not spared by downturn

By Jessica Annde D. Hermosa, BusinessWorld | 09/01/2009 12:20 AM

MANILA – The global economic downturn has not spared the domestic book industry, hitting sales and investment plans and limiting the production of new titles, industry officials said.

Limits posed by the local market are also to blame for the industry’s laggard performance, they added.

But a plan to award grants to authors and recommendations to focus on foreign markets and improve the education system could pull the sector out of its rut, National Book Development Board officials said.

“This year, there are almost no expansions except for a few stores in the new malls. Companies are focusing on training and retooling to prepare for the recovery,” Jose Paolo M. Sibal, Philippine Book Sellers Association president, said in a telephone interview on Friday.

Publishers, likewise, have hesitated from growing their businesses with only one firm availing of incentives to import more printing equipment this year, National Book Development Board Executive Director Andrea Pasion-Flores said in another interview.

“And as to sales, some of the publishers claim there has been a dip. Sales have been slightly affected,” the board’s chairman, Dennis T. Gonzales, said.

Mr. Sibal confirmed this, saying that demand, particularly for “pocket books,” has decreased.

The production of new titles, meanwhile, has proven a bit hardier.

“On average, there is a 5% growth every year in terms of new titles. It seems like the crisis has not affected this much. People are still producing which is a sign that there is still a market for new books,” Mr. Gonzales said.

The resilience however is only observed because “we didn’t boom, so we really won’t bust,” Ms. Pasion-Flores said.

To address this, the board is banking on a P150-million authorship trust fund that will be ready for disbursal, ideally, by 2011.

Implementing rules for the fund, created by Republic Act 9521 or the National Book Development Trust Fund Act, are “being finalized,” Mr. Gonzales said.

Interest from the fund will be awarded as grants to qualified authors, particularly those who pledge to produce new titles for science and technology, he said.

The fund will also go to cultural book projects which may not be commercially viable such as compilations of folklore or translations of important works into regional dialects.

Book sales, meanwhile, can be boosted by developing the local market and also marketing to buyers abroad, Mr. Gonzales said.

“In our case it’s really because of poverty and the quality of education. These affect book readership. It will take some time to radically increase local readership,” he said.

In the meantime, publishers would do well to target foreign markets, particularly for books that teach the English language.

“Many of our publishers are quite conservative in going to the international market… But there is a very big international market,” Mr. Gonzales said.


How to do well in school?

Views and analysis

1. Listen to the teacher. When the teacher repeats a point two times, red flag it and take notes. That means what she is saying is super important, that is why it is repeated twice, not that she already has Alzheimer’s (she will, 20 years down the road, after teaching young people like you).

2. Read everything thrice. The first is to scan the text, like an eagle surveying the field, before it swoops down for the kill. The second is to read slowly, marking important points on the margins, or underlining key words in the text. The third is to summarize the points in your head, in your notebook, or on the last page of the text. I tell my students: unless you have summarized the text in three sentences, in your own words, then you haven’t gotten it right.

3. Master the four skills. Being a teacher of the old school, I tell my students the four skills of language learning are still important. The four skills are not surfing the net, texting, watching MTV or reading The four skills are still reading, writing, listening and speaking. But because of the four so-called skills I enumerated earlier, some students no longer want to read. “Eh why pa did you go to school if you don’t want to read?” I ask my students in mock horror. Writing well, of course, means reading and rereading The Elements of Style by William Strunk and E.B. White. Listening, with the headphones of your iPod off, works best. And speaking, of course. When one day, I asked a student for his insights into Guy de Maupassant’s The Jewels, he answered, “Wala lang!” I said, “That is good. Therefore, your oral recitation grade is also wala lang!” Then he immediately cobbled together an answer that somewhat mollified his English teacher.

4. Budget your time. You are a student, right? Therefore, your job is to study. When I was taking graduate school in the US and we were reading 600 pages of text every week, I asked my classmates, “How do we survive this?” “Read the darned pages,” Boho from Harlem said, “then go to the gym three times a week — and dance in the clubs on Saturday nights!” And so we did. We read tomes on Islamic Mystical Literature, the Nineteenth-Century Novel, and Literary Criticism, then did the treadmill and danced at Splash in New York every Saturday night. In short, you study hard — and then you play just as hard.

5. Consult with the teacher. Your teacher has placed her e-mail address and consultation hours in the syllabus. Go and make use of these. If you get low marks in Composition class, or just cannot get why the old man Iona Potapov, who has just lost his son, begins talking to his horse at the end of Chekhov’s story, then talk to the teacher. With the patience of Job, I am sure he or she will explain why that sentence is a fragment, and you do not mix your tenses, and “occasion” is not spelled with two c’s, two s’s, and two n’s, that is why you got an F. And I am quite sure that your teacher will also enlighten you on the way Chekhov writes fiction as revelation, where the unsaid words and the absent gestures are as important — if not more important — than what is said and shown.

6. Use the library. I taught for 22 years at the Ateneo, which happens to have an excellent multimedia library. During the first weeks of class, I require my students to attend library orientation, so they will know how to dig in that fabulous archive of knowledge. I also tell them that the library subscribes to Time, Newsweek, The Economist, The Financial Times and the International Herald Tribune — the last two papers because I badgered the library to do so, 20 years ago. In short, the most incisive analysis and the crispest writing in accessible formats can be had, right there at their fingertips, via hard copies of the world’s finest periodicals.

7. Use your imagination. When studying literature, let your minds fly! Ravyi Sunico, my teacher in Philosophy, once said in class that the imagination has no boundaries. Therefore, let the wings of your mind and heart touch the sky when you read. When the French master wrote, “Monsieur Lantin was caught in the web of love,” do not tell the teacher that this means life is complicated. Hell-er! First, you answer that “web of love” is a metaphor that means falling in love is like being caught in a spider web. It reminds you of that time when that “fat dimpled spider” (in Walt Whitman’s wicked poem) comes charging along to eat the unwitting fly. In short, I add, my lips curving in a wicked smile, it is called falling in love because “at first, you are in love, and then you fall.”

8. Open your minds. You go to school to obtain a liberal education, especially in the Humanities. In the Jesuit Fr. Roque Ferriol’s book, that means “magpakatao” — being taught to be fully human. That means never being afraid of ideas. Freshmen jump out of their skin when they hear the word “communism” or the name “Sigmund Freud” discussed in their Literature classes. Eh kumusta naman? You tell me we will discuss Ninotchka Rosca’s novel, State of War, without talking about the class contradictions in society? Or talk about Little Red Riding Hood seducing the Big Bad Wolf in Angela Carter’s “The Company of Wolves,” without discussing that dear, dirty old man Sigmund Freud? Time now to forget your high-school class in Literature, where Sister Marionnete always pinned a moral lesson to every poem, play, story and essays taught in class, reducing the beauty of words to the silence of the lambs.

In short, enjoy your English classes. Have fun in the world of words. Read everything as if it is a love letter, which means reading between the lines. Or better yet, as my unforgettable teacher of the Modern Novel, Dr. Edna Zapanta Manlapaz, put it, read not only with your eyes and with your heart, but best of all, read with your genitals!

Which means reading everything at the gut level, at the level of the groin, where the vital seeds of life begin.

The Pinoy bagets speak

By Danton Remoto
Remote Control | 12/10/2008 10:08 AM
Views and Analysis Section

The Association of Asian Social Science Research Councils takes credit for the conference whose papers have been collected in a book called Youth in Transition: The Challenges of Generational Change in Asia.

Joseph H. Puyat of UP Diliman’s Department of Psychology draws a sketch of the Filipino youth in the 21st century. Philippine laws say that youth ends at age 21, when a citizen can already get married. The Department Health, meanwhile, stretches youth into the age of 24 while the Department of Education and Culture says it ends at 30. Likewise, the National Youth Council agrees youth ends at 30, while the United Nations Educational, Scientific Organization (UNESCO) says youth starts with the teen years and ends at age 44. Bless the United Nations, then, for including us in this category.

But whether youth ends at 21, 24, 30, or 44, the facts exist. The youth vote is the biggest in the country, pegged at 70 percent. Maybe that is why, as some quarters insist, inadequate info was given about voter registration last year because the Filipino youth vote is a thinking vote. As this school of thought suggested, if the thinking vote gets to vote, indeed, they might choose the young and the bright and the candidates whose faces are not too oily with corruption and greed.

A 2003 study by Raymundo and Puyat also shows that the Filipino youth value high self-esteem. “About 7 to 10 Filipino youth are quite satisfied with them selves or feel they are capable of doing many good things or take a positive attitude towards the self.” What is the importance of this? Aside from having lesser pimples because one doesn’t worry too often and having a better posture because one stands up straight and tall, having a good self-esteem has its other bonuses. “Young people who feel good about themselves tend to be less vulnerable to pressures from various sources to engage in high-risk behavior.”

All those books we read in college and graduate school about Philippine history and colonialism seemed to suggest that the pervasive effect of colonialism was completely negative. But in the postmodern and postcolonial age, and certainly in this new century, we have seen otherwise. Our collective and racial experiences with different colonial masters and authority figures have shaped us to be more malleable. We could shift shapes and mould ourselves into different phases and faces depending on the situation and the person we are dealing with.

An additional study by Miralao in 2003 suggests that the Filipino youth are comfortable with being individualistic and unique. That thumb mark of individuality is not a sign of weakness but of strength. “Likewise, the Filipino youth of today are able to continually fuse diverse and distinct roles and expectations into a coherent whole that defines who they are in their everyday interaction (Pena, 1998). A typical Filipino youth tends to have a well-rounded personality and is able to seamlessly shift from one role to another (i.e., brother/sister, son/daughter, friend, student, leader, athlete, musician) depending on the demands of the situation.”

What about God?

This reminds me of that long, famous poem “Like the Molave” of Rafael Zulueta da Costa that won the Commonwealth Literary Prize in 1940. Strong, sturdy and stubborn, the Filipino youth will stand tall and proud in the 21st century. Aside from individual strength, whence comes nourishment?

From spirituality and from the family. Admit it, many of us would rather go malling on a Sunday than sit it out in Mass with a priest droning on and on about Saint Paul’s Letter to the Philippines (Philippians, please, Phillipians). But fully 99.6 percent of the respondents believe in God or a Supreme Being. “Though many of them are less familiar with the teachings of their church compared to their parents, most of them still believe that how they conduct their lives today would have a bearing on what would happen to them in the hereafter, in heaven or in hell.” (Raymundo, 2003)

And would one be a Filipino without the family? What accounts for the popularity (still) of Big Brother is the sight of grown-up men and women bawling at the sound of their parents’ voices on the phone, or the sight of their siblings on the screen telling them they are much missed. In spite of the negative social costs of migration and the OFW phenomenon, 83.2 percent of those surveyed were raised by both parents living together.
“Even in families that have only the mother or the father (due to economic reasons) to supervise the household, adverse effects on the youth’s socialization have not been reliaby established. In many cases, the reason for a parent’s absence and not the absence itself is more determinative of whatever behavioral problem the youth may develop (Philippine Social Sciences Council, 2003).”

But in this postmodern age, we now know that strengths are also weaknesses. Faith and family might be fortresses, but they do not offer enough windows of opportunity to discuss the important issues of sex and sexuality. Until now, a coherent sex-education program is not in place in the schools. I still remember, with vividness enough to make me blush even today, the sight of my Religion teacher in high school, the spinsterish Miss Zamora, bravely talking about masturbation to a class of high-schoolers. Although we had galloping gonads and all, we could not look at Miss Zamora talking about something that we would not even discuss among ourselves in Practical Arts class.

Fast forward to 2008 Philippines. My nephew’s mother is working abroad, like a million others, and his dad is dead. He stays with my parents in the sunny suburbs. He turned 12 this year and one day last summer, I wanted to talk to him about the birds and the bees and the silent trees. I tentatively began with, “Hijo, uhhmm, let us talk about, uhmmm, sex.”

He looked at me with his big, wondering eyes lit with innocence. I looked at him, at that face wreathed with sunlight, and I high-tailed. “Ay, ahhh, I will just buy you the book, Boys and Sex.” End of the sex-education lesson. For, really, it is difficult to talk about sex to young people who are like your children. I was the one who carried this infant from the hospital to the house (his mother too scared to carry him because he looked so red and so frail). I would leave my classes and run to the hospital when he would have convulsions. And now, now he is 12 and I have to talk to him about sex?

Second-sem blues


Danton Remoto
Remote Control | 11/04/2008 1:00 AM

The gloom of All Saints’ and All Souls’ Days were lifted when I read my e-mail. I receive lots of letters every week, but this one from a young reader made my day.

“I would just like to express how much I appreciate your columns. You write with such wit, frankness, and passion that I often find myself laughing silently or agreeing ardently with your thoughts and views. You talk just about anything in your columns and no matter how varied the topics are, each article proves to be very much worthwhile. I highly value your opinions and insights on the different aspects of life.

“What you say and do, I believe, have helped hone my own ideals and principles as a person. You have inspired me to be more proactive about issues regarding our country through your writing. I applaud you for being the brave person that you are, continuing to rally for a better Philippines. I pray for more Filipinos like you; you are what our country needs. I wish you more power and strength for whatever trials that may come your way. I shall support you, in what little ways I can, in your future plans.”

“By the way, I’m a senior from that school on Taft. You should come over and teach us, too!”

Thank you. I have many friends over there, in that school on Taft, especially in its Literature Department: Marj Evasco, Ronald Baytan, Jerry Torres, Shirley Lua, Vince Groyon. Professor Cirilo Bautista has retired from teaching at De La Salle, but there are many other young literary lions in your school.

I would like to teach there, and at the University of the Philippines, too, but there is simply no time. M-W-F I teach 12 units, or four classes, at the Ateneo. I am also writing my dissertation for the PhD in English, major in Creative Writing, at UP Diliman, which I should finish this second semester.

Advice to students

Which brings me to the topic of today’s column: second sem.

The second sem begins on Monday, if it has not already begun in some schools. The freshmen are still hilong-talilong (higgledy-piggledy?) over the results of their first-sem work. Many must have thought college was easy and cool because you have classes only three hours a week per subject, not the usual daily grind in high school.

But this makes college more difficult. Why? Because the so-called lots of free time on your hands should be spent reading your required texts and even the recommended ones, and reviewing the notes that you took in class. Yes, you must take copious notes in class, since the teacher’s lecture consists of summaries of the textbook and the examples from his or her own store of knowledge. You can then review your notes, or rewrite them afterward. Rewriting them is better, since you can review your notes while rewriting them in a more organized fashion.

The poet Li Po said that “the palest ink is better than the most retentive memory.” This is true not only for writing, but also for studying.

Tips on reading

Teachers give you required texts because you should read them. But I find today’s students crestfallen at the sight of book chapters to read. How to read these chapters?

Before reading, put your cell phone on silent mode, turn off that TV or Ipod, lock that door and put your landline phone on mute. Place a blank sheet of paper beside the book you are reading. If you are distracted by a thought, write a fragment on the piece of paper to remind you of that thought later. When reading, use your eye the way a bird skims the landscape.

To get the flavor of the chapter, read its title, its subtitle, the chapter headings, and the summary usually found at the end of every chapter. This will fix a tentative thread of thought in your mind.

Do not use a highlighter. Engage with the book by writing on it. I like a book when its margins are full of check marks, asterisks, stars, lines, parallel lines, exclamation points, question marks, or even f— yous! That means that the reader has wrestled with the thoughts inscribed in the book.

Avoid being a passive reader by locking your mind with that of the author. You can do this better if you are sitting upright, have a good lamp with the light coming from your right side and for me, a hot cup of chocolate.


When a teacher assigns a group work, don’t use the occasion to be a slacker. Group mates hate nothing less than a sponger, somebody who does no work but claims the grade nevertheless as part of the group. That is why I ask the group members to report to me those who did not help in making the group presentation (oral) and the group paper (written).

Slacker receives a zero for the group work, and the teacher’s dagger looks for the whole week. Oral presentations should not be occasions for boredom. Do a PowerPoint presentation. Pepper your report with well-chosen visuals and keywords. Do not read from a prepared text. Learn the art of writing a gist, or a précis, of the work. A concise report can also be substantial. A long report is often just full of pads, and pads, if you ask your girl friends, don’t work all the time.

How about recommended texts? If you have taken good notes and read all the required texts at least twice, you need not read the recommended texts. But if the subject is your major and you want to learn more about it, then go! Reading recommended texts will give you a deeper background into the subject matter. These texts can also offer another angle of vision, a different framework or context, for the same subject matter.


And how to write that darned report?

The best thing is still to read The Elements of Style by William Strunk and E.B. White. It is the only book you need to read – and read three times – in order to write well. You must also remember the dictum: write in white heat, revise in cold blood. Write key words, fragments, images on a piece of paper. This is called free writing, tapping into your memory bank, brainstorming with yourself. Then later, organize these stray thoughts into a sentence, a paragraph, an essay.

My rule in my college classes is this: one sentence must have one thought. A group of related sentences constitute a paragraph. And a group of related paragraphs constitute an essay. When you can already string together a three-page-long introduction composed of one sentence, as Nick Joaquin did in “May Day Eve,” then you can junk my rule.

After writing the essay, take a break. Do something that does not involve the mind. I think that means watching MTV or MYX. Then return to the essay and begin the work of a butcher, chopping away the debris from your work. Then you can revise by pressing the computer’s automatic checker for spelling and grammar.

“You’re lucky you now have computers!” I told my class once. “You only have to press F4 and your essays are immediately corrected.”

My students laughed and, sufficiently provoked, I asked, “Why, do you think I am lying to you? It is so easy to press F4!”

Until this girl in front of me, who writes the best essays in class, said that F4 is the Taiwanese group of long-haired boys, and perhaps I meant pressing F7?

Harnessing student power

By Leonor Magtolis Briones
The Business of Governance

The phrase “student power” came into vogue during the sixties. This was the time when thousands of students all over the world marched on their governments, whether in the United States, Canada, Europe, South America, Asia or Africa. A common theme was the war in Vietnam . The global call of the students was for the United States to get out of Vietnam. Ho Chi Minh, and Che Guevara were the most popular icons. So it was in the Philippines.

The students also found reason to engage their respective governments on other issues as well. American students complained about the activities of the CIA in developing countries. They rebelled against the draft which would have sent them to Vietnam. In England , students criticized their government’s domestic policies. Rallies drew students by the thousands.

In Paris, they tried to recapture the days of the French revolution where the students played a major role. Students stormed Paris a number of times to set up their version of the Paris Commune. In UP the students took over the university and established the Diliman Commune.

In the Philippines, the focus was on American imperialism. The battle cry was “Ibagsak ang Piyudalismo, Pasismo at Imperialismo!” “Maoismo, Marxismo-Leninismo” were frequently uttered by students. Privately, the women would complain about “Machismo-Leninismol”

Teach-ins would last till morning. Those of us who were members of the Bertrand Russell Peace Foundation would camp in the house of Dodong and Princess Nemenzo. We would cross over to the house of Merlin Magallona and pester him with questions.

And the mammoth rallies! I must say the youth rallies of today can’t match the vast numbers of students who would march from UP Diliman , walk all the way to Tondo and end up in Malacanang—singing, chanting, and shouting all the time.

Student Power and the 2010 elections

Time to “fast forward” to the present. Since the downfall of the Marcos dictatorship, it seemed that student power like Merlin the Magician has faded away.

Globalization is largely to blame. Students spend their time getting ready for jobs here and abroad. During the 60’s, the most powerful lure was radicalism. At present, students have many more choices.They can go abroad. They can get cushy jobs. They can spend long hours in cyber space with their laptops. They can do many things— set up businesses, become chefs, write plays, make movies and even enter show business.

Things have changed, though. The emergence of political, social and economic crises is radicalizing the students. They are aware of the disarray in governance They now attend rallies and assemblies in greater numbers. They are busy organizing forums and symposia. Slowly, the sleeping giant is awakening.

Their elders are beginning to see the potential of student power. Now it is fashionable for young and old personalities to go on campus tours and stir the students into action either for their candidacies or for national reforms.

Two trends are discernable. Students are seduced with offers to be on the staff of 2010 candidates. As early as last year, the bulletin boards of the College of Public Administration and Governance were plastered with ads inviting students to be part of the team of a presidential candidate. Political parties are busily organizing youth organizations. The students are beginning to sense their power.

Another trend is to encourage students to participate in reforming the present system. The “I Am Change” Movement started by Harvey Keh is going on campus tours. “Kaya Natin ‘To” is led by Governors Panlilio and Padaca. From Ateneo, they are crossing over to UP and on to the other schools. The Former Senior Government Officials (FSGO) is also going on campus tours.

The Young Turks are themselves politicians. However, they are introducing new politics to the students. Traditional party members usually stick together and spend their waking hours plotting the destruction of the other parties. Atty. Adel A. Tamano, Mayor JV Ejercito, Cong. TG Guingona, Cong. Erin Tanada, former Cong. Gilbert Remulla and Prof. Danton Remoto come from different parties, but they have bonded together in order to reach out to the young. They encourage students to dialogue with them on political, economic, and social issues. Their theme is, “there is hope” in response to the apathy and indifference of the youth to national problems.

To repeat, the decade of the 60’s saw the global rise of student power. Students of that decade proved they were a formidable force. They contributed mightily to the downfall of dictators, fascists, and warmongers all over the world.

Will Filipino students rise and mobilize their power to reform this country, or will they succumb to the siren call of tradpols ? Let us see.

Young Generation of Politicians Barnstorms Schools, Connects with the “Internet Nation”

Press Release: August 11,2008
For more info: Eero Brillantes, 09276702831,

Young Generation of Politicians Barnstorms Schools, Connects with the “Internet Nation”

A multipartisan political group called the “Young Turks” led by Genuine Opposition Spokesperson and Pamantasan Lungsod ng Maynila President Atty. Adel Tamano has started to go the rounds of colleges and universities all over the country. Tamano, along with other young political personalities Nacionalista Party spokesperson and former congressman Gilbert Remulla, Ateneo English Professor Danton Remoto, Congressman Erin Tanada, Congressman TG Guingona and San Juan Mayor JV Ejercito are doing the rounds of campuses advocating for youth involvement in governance.

The kick-off started at Silliman University in Dumaguete City last July 10-11, 2008. Tamano described the event. “The bright students of Silliman University asked questions and we tried to answer them with substance and with style, with wit and cheer and laughter intact. It is because their questions seemed to deal with lack of hope, of being betrayed by their leaders, of abandonment. I hope we kept the spark plug of hope alive. We spoke in a chapel, a presentation room for business students, and the great church — all in one day. We hope the Sillimanians had a grand time, the way we did too, in our first campus tour.”

Eero Brillantes, CEO of Mindbullet Marketing and Public Relations, who maintains the young turk’s blog, says that the blog has become hyperactive after the Silliman activity. Based on site metering, he noted interest in what the group has to say. “The blog has just recently been put up. Yet it has already been visited almost 10,000 times. It is currently ranked number 13 for politics and government by Its just one notch lower than the “Mar Roxas for President 2010 blog which is at number 12. The blog definitely has momentum. With the campus tour catching fire, the blog is poised to be a prominent fixture in new politics for the country. The Young Turks and the Internet Nation has become properly introduced.”

For his part, Remoto was upbeat about the launch and how the internet was able to disseminate the event exponentially. “Skycable showed the complete proceedings that night of July 10, and we also had coverage from two radio stations, two newspapers and the Sillimanian college paper as well as its website. Not to mention the many blogs of the bagets from Silliman, which are now being read and re-sent and re-read all over the borderless world of cyberspace. ”

Moreover, Congressman Tanada emphasized the need for dialogue between the young batch of political leaders and the youth. He said that it is important for the youth not to lose hope and for them to assert their rights. Remulla asserted that there is still hope and it resides in the youth, and the young generation should not be afraid to stand for what they believe in.

On August 26, 2008, the Young Turks will visit the University of the Philippines National College of Public Administration and Governance from 1-5 p.m. This will be followed by a tour to University of the Philippines at Los Banos in September. xxx

Young Turks go to UP NCPAG, August 26


The University of the Philippines’ National College of Public Administration and Governance (UP-NCPAG) is celebrating its 56th year, along with UP’s 100 glorious years of existence. In recognition and support to the important responsibility of the said institutions in developing future leaders, the College’s Student Council plans to hold a forum dedicated to the youth sector entitled “What about YOUTH (Answering Queries of the Young)” on August 26, 2008, 1:00-5:00 P.M., at the NCPAG Assembly Hall.

The forum aims to inform the youth of the issues that confront them today. It also wishes to provide a venue for students to voice out their different concerns, engage them, and hear possible answers to their issues. Moreover, the said event seeks to educate and empower the students as part of the youth sector by making them realize that they can do something for our country and by rekindling the hope in their hearts.

In this light, the Student Council is humbly requesting your presence as one of our guest speakers. We hope that your group, the Young Turks, will consider our College as the second stop of your nationwide campus tour.

Looking forward for your favorable response. Thank you and more power.

In service of the students,

Shiela Mae M. Sabalburo Pebbles B. Sanchez
Chairperson Socio-Academic Affairs Administrator
0927-7881134 09275282080


Dr. Leonor Magtolis-Briones
NCPAG Professor


Title: What about YOUTH (Answering Queries of the Young)

Date: August 26, 2008, Tuesday

Time: 1:00-5:00 P.M.

Venue: Assembly Hall, National College of Public Administration and Governance, University of the Philippines, Diliman, Quezon City

I. Description:
“The youth is the hope of the fatherland,” our national hero, Dr. Jose P. Rizal once said.

In the present times where our country and our society is experiencing turmoil and crisis, the call for the youth to voice out their opinion and concerns, actively participate and get involved is even louder. The youth is considered as a powerful force in the society, considering that they compose a big bloc of the Philippine population with a total of 26.6 million as of 2007. They are the next generation who will lead our country, so it is only proper to let their voices be heard and address the issues they are currently facing to equip them and provide ammunition to better serve the country in the near future.

A group of young politicians who call themselves the “Young Turks” is calling on the students to organize among themselves and help in forming a new political environment that would be directly advantageous for the youth sector. As part of this call, they are conducting nationwide campus tours. As head start, they have visited Silliman University last July 10 and 11. They engaged the students of Silliman in forum discussions that addressed the issues and concerns on education, politics, economics, culture, gender equality, and Filipino diaspora, among other concerns of the youth.

The Young Turks is composed of Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Manila (PLM) President Adel Tamano, also spokesperson of the United Opposition (UNO) and an alumnus of UP NCPAG; Representative TG Guingona III of the 2nd District of Bukidnon; Representative Lorenzo “Erin” Tanada III of the 4th District of Quezon, the son of former Senator Wigberto Tanada and the grandson of nationalist Senator Lorenzo Tanada; Representative Gilbert Remulla, a former congressman, broadcaster and television personality; and Danton Remoto, chairman of Ang Ladlad Party List and professor of English at Ateneo.

It is their call that the youth must actively engage in government and society and that there should be room for everyone regardless of faith, religion, or sexual preference. With this, What about YOUTH (Answering Queries of the Young)*, is the second leg of their nationwide campus tour that has the following Objectives:

1. To inform the students of the issues that confront the youth of today
2. To provide a venue for the students to voice out their different concerns as youth, engage them and hear possible answers to their issues
3. To educate and empower the students as part of the youth sector by making them realize that they can do something for our country and by rekindling the hope in the hearts.

*The title “What about YOUTH” intends to inform the young with the realities and situations concerning them. In addition, it aims to suggest that the youth should be taken into consideration in solving various issues either on the individual, relational, national, or global level. The title entails a challenge to the youth sector as well.

Target Audience: 400 participants
Mechanics: A professor serves as the master of ceremony (onstage with the guests) while two students join the audience. The latter facilitates and solicits questions from the participants.

II. Tentative Flow of Program

PM (2-5pm) (1 pm Registration)

1:00 – 2:00 Registration
2:00 – 2:15 Musical Invocation Manila Concert Choir
National Anthem Manila Concert Choir
2:15 – 2:25 Welcome Remarks Dr. Alex Brillantes, Jr., NCPAG Dean
2:25 – 2:30 Opening Remarks Dr. Leonor Magtolis-Briones, NCPAG Professor
2:30 – 2:40 Introduction of Guests
2:40 – 3:05 Message to the Youth Atty. Adel Tamano, Rep. TG Guingona, Rep. Gilbert Remulla, Prof. Danton Remoto, and Rep. Erin Tanada’s message.

3:05 – 3:35 Talk Show Discussion
3:35 – 3:45 Intermission Manila Concert Choir
3:45 – 4:30 Continuation … Talk Show Discussion
4:30 – 4:45 Synthesis
4:45 – 5:00 Awarding of Tokens of Appreciation
Closing Remarks Shiela Mae M. Sabalburo, Chairperson NCPAG SC

UP failing to serve poor students, ADB study says

by Roderick T. dela Cruz
Manila Standard Today

STATE colleges and universities led by the University of the Philippines are not serving poor students as they are mandated to do, according to a study commissioned by the Asian Development Bank.

“Philippine education is in a deep crisis and sees little hope of recovery unless drastic reforms beginning with higher education are immediately implemented,” the report says.

The report is part of the bank’s technical assistance to the Education Department, and it found “a disproportionately small number of poor students in the state universities and colleges,” or a mere 6.7 percent of the student population.

It says one reason is that poverty prevents poor students from properly preparing for a college education, and the result is that many of them flunk the entrance tests given by state colleges and universities.

“The poor are discriminated more seriously in the better quality prestigious state universities and colleges like the University of the Philippines Diliman, for they do not possess competitive college preparatory education,” the study says.

It says the high and persistent incidence of poverty and income inequality also leads to inequality in education, as the poor appear less able to compete with their richer counterparts in state universities and colleges that have restricted admission.

Basic education has its own problems, the report says, noting that student performance is only about 50 percent in the national achievement tests for elementary and high schools, and in the international mathematics and science tests for 13-year-old students.

At the college level, the passing rate in the various professional board examinations except for medicine is below 50 percent.

“There is also evidence that majority of schools at all levels operate inefficiently,” the study says.

Resources in the public school system are concentrated in personnel inputs—representing 90 percent of the total—while financial support for learning materials makes up just 1 percent.

And as a result of poor education and training in high school and even in college, many graduates end up without jobs.

“The unemployment rate among the high school and college educated has persisted over the last two decades at 9 percent or more,” the study says.

“This is the gridlock of Philippine education.”

The report partly traces the problem to the government’s education policy, particularly that relating to higher education.

“Much of the problem is rooted in finance, especially the financial management of state universities and colleges,” the study says.

“Revolutionary reforms in the state universities and colleges’ finance would be required for dismantling the gridlock.”

Some Things Young Filipinos Can Do to Help the Philippines

by Harvey Keh
Manila Bulletin

1.) Stay informed and updated about what is happening in our country. It’s so easy to stay in our comfort zones and just turn a blind eye to what is happening to our country, especially if we aren’t directly affected by these problems. Find time to read the newspaper, watch the news on TV, surf the Internet or listen to the radio. Attend forums and discussion groups on the national situation.

2.) Organize discussion groups among your friends and peers to discuss current issues in our country. Don’t be apathetic and also encourage your friends to know more about what is happening to our country. By talking about these issues, you can make more people aware and ultimately be made more vigilant against rampant corruption in our government. The government is just waiting for us to stop talking about these major scandals such as the corruption-laden ZTE Broadband Deal, Hello Garci and the P780-million fertilizer scam. Let us not allow them to get away with it by ensuring that these issues are very much in the minds and consciousness of the general public.

3.) Share your thoughts and opinions to the public by writing blogs on what you think about these current events and national issues. Many young Filipinos maintain Livejournal, Blogger, Friendster, Multiply and Facebook accounts and these can be used to make many other young Filipinos aware of what is happening to our country. Use these Internet tools to post and promote statements by credible institutions and individuals on the current state of our country. You can even make a video blog expressing how you feel, thus sharing your thoughts with others. Whether you are pro-GMA or anti-GMA, it doesn’t really matter as long as you are able to take time out to think critically and share your thoughts with others. Visit my blog and read my thoughts at

4.) Take a stand and join activities that will promote greater truth, accountability, and reform in our government. A good friend of mine once told me that even if we replace our President, nothing will change in our country unless we put into place policies and mechanisms that will ensure truth, accountability, and reform in our government and its leaders. Examples of such are the lifting of E.O. 464 which bans any Cabinet member from appearing before Senate hearing without the President’s consent and revising the Government Procurement Act to ensure greater transparency in the use of taxpayer’s money. Billions of pesos are lost to corruption every year and that money can be used to send more students to school, build homes for the homeless and provide quality healthcare to every Filipino. Will we just allow this to happen?

5.) If you can, don’t leave the country. Many of our best minds like our teachers are leaving the country in search of better opportunities and the effects are already showing in our public schools where there is a lack of highly skilled English, Math and Science teachers. I totally understand and don’t blame those who come from very poor families who decide to work abroad to provide a better quality of life for their families. Some of them may have no other choice than to leave. But for those who have a choice and live a relatively comfortable life here, then I hope you can consider staying and working here to contribute towards moving our country forward. For those who decide to leave, I hope you don’t forget to give back to the Philippines by helping send a poor but deserving student to school or sending books that our public-school students can still use.

6.) Register and vote. In my conversations with my students, they told me that many of them failed to register for the last elections. Their reasons varied from being too lazy to stand in line to not being interested at all to vote. Our right and duty to select our leaders is one of the main pillars of our democracy and if many of us fail to exercise this right properly or exercise it at all then we have no right to complain about how bad our leaders are. By voting, we are given the opportunity and power to select the right leaders that will help solve our country’s most pressing social problems in the fields of education, health, shelter and employment.

7.) Write letters to your Congressmen and local officials. Many of my friends always complain about the services that our government provides and yet when I ask them have you brought these complaints to the proper authorities, they just shrug and say “no.” If we want something to change with how our country is being run, then we have to tell our leaders what we think they should do. Remember the reason that they are there right now is because we voted for them and at the same time, they are spending money from the taxes that we pay. Thus, I think we have the right to engage them by informing them about our stands on certain issues.

8.) Volunteer your time and share your skills for causes that are bigger than yourself. According to studies on what makes people genuinely happy, being able to help and take part in causes that are bigger than yourself is one of the most fulfilling and happiest experiences. There are so many non-profit organizations and foundations that are currently doing their own share in helping change the Philippines. But for them to reach more people and do more good work, they often need volunteers who can commit time to help in their activities. For example, Pathways to Higher Education-Philippines needs volunteer tutors who can commit 2-3 hours a week to help poor but deserving public high-school students gain access to quality higher education. Another example is Museo Pambata, which looks for volunteer tour guides and storytellers who can help in entertaining and educating children who visit the Museum. You can visit the Pathways website at or call them at (02) 4266001 local 4048.

9.) Pray, reflect, and act. Take time every day to pray for our country and ask God to lead you towards what you can best do to help our country. The challenge here is that we just don’t end with prayer and reflection, but rather, our prayer and reflection should lead us towards doing something concrete in helping our country. I have always believed a faith that does not do justice for the poor and powerless is nothing, since for us to be truly called Christians, we need to follow the example of Jesus Christ who not only preached social justice but more importantly, lived this out in His way of life.

10.) Pass this on to your friends. If you think this can help many other young Filipinos to actively take part in nation-building, then I hope you can pass this on to your family and friends.

*Harvey S. Keh is Director for Youth Leadership and Social Entrepreneurship at the Ateneo de Manila University-School of Government and a Lecturer at the Ateneo de Manila-Loyola Schools’ Development Studies Program and Department of Theology. Aside from this, Harvey is also the Executive Director of AHON Foundation (, a corporate foundation of Filway Marketing, Inc. that helps build public elementary-school libraries.

In dumaguete july 10-11

The Young Turks will be in Silliman University, Dumaguete City, tomorrow July 10 until July 11.

Professor Liling Magtolis-Briones, our tireless mother in Dumaguete, gave me this schedule for tomorrow:

10 am — meeting with History and Political Science majors, Odarve Memory Chapel.

2 p.m. — meeting with students from the College of Business Administration, Presentation Room.

4:30 p.m. — town hall meeting with students, teachers, administration, the public at large. Silliman Church.

I was at the Silliman Writers Workshop in 1983, returned as a panelist in 1998, and am coming back tomorrow as part of Young Turks.

The word here and everywhere is change. You are deaf if you cannot hear it. And a fool if you do not follow it.

Let us blaze a trail, change business as usual in politics, let us go.