An agenda for the national leader

9

“It is from numberless diverse acts of courage and belief that human history is shaped. Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends a tiny ripple of hope, crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, these ripples will build a current that will sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.”
—Attorney General and Senator

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Robert Fitzgerald Kennedy
2016 is a year of decision for me. I have decided to quit the practice of law, except for a very few important cases which do not go beyond five and will not take so much of my time. I am abandoning one of the loves of my life which Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes described as his mistress—the law. I have finally decided to pursue the first love of my life, which is the country, which has grown in intensity since my years at the Misamis Oriental High School at Cagayan de Oro through the wonderful and magical portals of the University of the Philippines and up to this day and beyond.

I am afraid I have had enough of the system in the country. Everyday in this country is a painful experience of injustice, oppression and inequality. Thus, in the spirit of the above quoted statement of courage, hope and daring, from my friend on the level of the heart and of the mind, Bobby Kennedy, I have decided to “stand up for my ideals to improve the lot of others and strike out against injustice” in our land. And in so doing, send “a tiny ripple of hope” that could, together with other ripples from others, “build a current that will sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance” in this country.

A program devoutly to be wished
I am not a candidate for President of the Philippines. I am just a dreamer who has been dreaming dreams for our country. But I am not the Man of La Mancha who dreams of impossible dreams. A number of people of this country whom I have known for sometime – Doy Laurel and Ninoy Aquino – who loved listening to the song “The Impossible Dream,” died without realizing their dreams. Since I have never heard them defining their dreams in terms of a vision for the country, their defined programs to render reality their vision, consistent with the perception of others on them, I supposed that their dream was to become president.

One does not have to dream to become president of the Philippines. That should be a given for every Filipino who has gifts of leadership – real or imagined. During my time at the University of the Philippines, and that was not long ago, if long ago is defined in terms of my energy, my dreams and my looks, the graduating class used to vote informally on who among the members of the graduating would become president of the Philippines. In my class, I was not present when the voting took place but the late columnist Art Borjal of the Philippine Star documented the vote. The man who won the vote is still alive and kicking. For as long as he kicks right to the point, he might just become the national leader, not necessarily the president because by then we may have shifted to the parliamentary system and the national leader is the prime minister, not the president.

So what should be the agenda of the national leader? With a great degree of immodesty, what comes after this sentence should be the start of the agenda of the ideal national leader.

On education    
In a developing country like the Philippines, the fundamental element in the approach to the problem of poverty is education. It is the greatest leveler. A man who goes through the correct school and gets a well-designed appropriate education will very likely earn a gainful profession or work. He will develop a sense of pride in himself, not by just finding his field of expertise but imbibing the correct human values – primarily the inviolable character of the human person; that he is his brother’s keeper; that he has an indelible commitment to his God, country and people; that whatever is his line of work, he is to care for his fellowman because he is a part of mankind, not just being a citizen of the Philippines but as citizen of the world.

To achieve these, the following program must be established and institutionalized.

1. Free education from the elementary school up to the university level, especially for the poor and the middle class, who do not have the opportunity to acquire the desired education simply because the price of education is beyond their reach.

2. Totally reform the current curriculum by doing the following: design a curriculum that is proposition-oriented with stresses on the development of human values, character, love of country emphasizing the greatness of this country in terms of its natural resources and the achievements of outstanding personalities in the past and of the present.

3. Limit the number of years for the students to stay in schools, instead of lengthening the period of their stay.

a. Five years for elementary school with the first two years devoted only to character training, formation of the correct human values and developing a deep love of country and her people as they do it in Japan and look how Japan has developed to be a power in the world – highly nationalistic citizens; very inventive population by what is described by CNN as make, create and innovate.

In the olden days, seventh grade graduates were teaching in the first three years of elementary school. They produced good citizen students who had developed expertise in their own field of choice. I should know. My father, Pedro Adaza, Jr. was a legendary mayor of our town – Catarman, Misamis Oriental (now Camiguin) for about twenty years. He only finished grade seven. He taught in the grade schools after graduation. He was also sanitary inspector, chief of police, provincial motor vehicles registrar, chief of staff of Congressman Fausto Dugenio, the lone congressman in the whole country from the Nationalist Citizens Party of outstanding senators Claro Recto and Lorenzo Tañada.

b. For high school, limit to three years with stresses on skills, humanities and world developments and having languages as electives. There is no use staying for four years in high school. In my experience in my public high school in Cagayan de Oro, the content of the curriculum was excellent that my two years of preparatory law in the UP College of Liberal Arts was virtually a review of my high school subjects. I breezed through my subjects in UP like a walk in the park. So why spend four years what you could learn in three years – an additional year is a waste.

c. In the university, preparatory courses like in law should be brought back to two years. Four years is too long for a preparatory course – it is a waste of time and a waste of opportunity. There are more bum lawyers produced by the four-year preparatory course than those produced by two. It is again an issue of the content of the curriculum and to a certain extent, the excellence of the teachers. There is absolutely something wrong with the orientation of teachers these days. Like in the other professions, they teach for money not for the love of educating students and training them to be exemplary citizens and good human beings with the correct values and orientation.

d. The content of the curriculum in all schools from the elementary to the university, public or private, should be the same – the text books and the prescribed readings except for the electives. Other countries have done this successfully, why could we not do it here.

e. Elevate the salaries of teachers, professors, directors and those who work in schools to make them focus on their work.

Limit of time and space need a series on the agenda. The rest will come in subsequent columns.

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9 Comments

  1. Why our country and our people still left behind by our neighboring asian countries??
    Ang daming daming ninyo mga abugado na mulat mulat pa alam na ninyo ang tunay na dahilan.. Bakit hindi ninyo subuking kumandidato sa pag ka Presidente???at iaply ninyo and inyong kaalaman Para malaman ni Juan Dela cruz , kung karapat dapat nga kayo na maging Presidente..
    Sa dami dami ninyo ng mga pulitical analysis hindi pa rin umunlad ang buhay ni Juan Dela cruz.. Bakit ang Japan maunlad na bansa, nila?? what is the main reason. Para sa akin napakasimple lang..DISCIPLINE mayroon sila…. HIndi sila bolero.

  2. Focus on education is nice but the overhaul of the system will surely eat at least six months. In the meantime, Juan dela Cruz needs to eat and his son is sick and needs medical care badly. There are temporal issues that have to be settled immediately. I have devised a program to address all of these and much more and it should be ready for implementation within the next six months. Surely, we do not need a president nor a PDAF/DAP to do all of these.

    By the way, if I am not mistaken, Bono is working on the Tallano case and this is one case he must never forsake. We need people with balls to pursue this matter because it is the heart of our continuing feudal system. Only when the question of land ownership is settled can we really move forward in crafting agricultural policies and land development parameters.

  3. One thing that is needed is a school bus system so the poor children can get to school, growing up in a first world country we had no idea who was rich and who was poor as transportation was provided by the government school bus program.

    We didn’t have to pay for school projects due to the school providing all the materials needed. We didn’t have to chip in for a fan for our classrooms.

    This was a public school by the way, the government allocates our taxes to provide these services.

    In the Philippines only 2.4% of the budget goes for education which explains why there is no bus system, classrooms are over crowded, no air conditioning, nothing provided to the students.

    Congress is stealing billions every year, instead of improving the country they are improving their net worth.

    Suggestions.

    1. Clean house on the corrupt government that are enriching themselves and the top 1%.

    2. Clean house on the Justice system, they are just hired guns for the ruling political party.

    Identify infrastructure programs that will improve the lives of the people, building toll roads for their 1% buddies is not it.

    Enforce zoning laws at the city planning level, Pay for impact studies.
    No point to building a giant mall right next to a road system that can’t handle the traffic. Building malls should mean building new access roads but not in the Philippines just plop it down next to the busiest road around. Probably a case of corrupt city planners and agencies issuing the permits.

    Building huge universities without parking areas that turn the streets around it into huge traffic jams a couple times a day is also not a good idea.

    Have the city provide the jeepney service with professional drivers, ban the private jeepney’s to outside the city limits.

    Ban the trikes from inside the cities limits.

    Establish a first class mass transit system.

    How about some reliable electric power ? All anyone has to do is look outside at the telephone poles and the mess of wires to see what the problem is, No long term plans in effect to fix anything, just fix everything for the moment.

    Substandard water service even in the cities, substandard electric service, substandard education system, substandard prison system, substandard mass transit system. The result is rising poverty, crime, unemployment, underemployment, low wages, long hours, no benefits, no future.

    A whole lot of infrastructure projects that will also provide jobs. Win/Win for the people.

    Where to start ? scroll up to number 1 in the suggestions.

  4. Your column was a blinding glimpse of the obvious. We are where we are today commensurate to the deterioration of our educational system. More power to you sir.

  5. Your love for our Philippines is well defined in your writings. We need more Filipino with
    huge nationalism like you but they should stand by what they dream or else a good idea becomes worthless. Let us stand for what is right and never give up.

  6. If the country will progress we have to pattern our education after a country like Japan.
    Since the turn of the century in 1900 our universities and colleges produced lots and lots of lawyers that in turn becomes politicians. I think a law course must be at least 10 to 12 years before you can graduate and you don’t need to pass the bar.

  7. SENATE BILL NO. 2016-_____

    Authored and Proposed by : Pedrito M. Nepomuceno
    Introduced by : Senator _____________

    TITLE: RURAL DEVELOPMENT ACT

    AN ACT CREATING A DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM TO ACCELERATE PROGRESS IN RURAL AREAS THRU STRENGTHENING AND INSTITUTIONALIZING THE DEVELOPMENT COUNCIL PROCESS AS PROVIDED UNDER THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT CODE AND ALLOCATING AND UTILIZING FUNDS FROM THE ONCE KNOWN PROGRAM AND NOW DEFUNCT PRIORITY DEVELOPMENT ASSISTANCE FUND (PDAF) AND THE DISBURSEMENT ACCELERATION PROGRAM (DAP), WITH LESS DEVELOPED PROVINCES HAVING PRIORITY IN FUNDING THEIR IDENTIFIED DEVELOPMENT PRIORITY PROJECTS AS APPROVED AND RECOMMENDED/ENDORSED BY THE REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT COUNCIL AND THE NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY (NEDA).

    Whereas, due to lack of funds and other resources, rural areas, particularly provinces in far-flung areas, are left behind in terms of development and as such they need assistance from the national government in terms of completion of their infrastructure requirements, such as roads and bridges, school buildings, hospitals and medical supplies and equipment and other basic needs;

    Whereas, there is a process called the Development Council process as provide under the Local Government Code of 1991 wherein priority projects must be identified and priorities by local government units, from Barangay to Municipal to Provincial and the Regional Development Council; it is, however, disheartening that this process are being ignored by Local Government Officials to the disadvantage of lower class Local Governments Units (LGUs);

    Whereas, PDAF and DAP, since its declaration as unconstitutional and removed from the disposition of Senators and Congressmen, are now concentrated in the office of the President and since the Development Council process is not functioning, the President has the sole authority to identify projects and allocate funds as he pleases, a not so fair disposition of funds as it is prone to political play and favoritism; such situation disadvantaged the poor provinces especially when the Governor or Mayors are not in ally to the Administration; a strengthened Development Council will insulated priority development projects from politics; politics must be removed in choosing priority project if we are to realize speedy development of rural areas;

    Whereas, for a free identification of priority project from political intervention including allocation of funds, a law must be created strengthening and institutionalizing the Development Council process; allocation of funds must be automatic and without prejudice ; we must level the playing field and a law must provide protection from political patronage for equal distribution of our country’s wealth for development purposes;

    Enacted this ___ day of _________ 2016.

    • Mr. Nepomoceno, your proposed Act is not relevant to Mr Adaza’s column on values needed for a humanitarian person or leader.

      Further, your proposed Act is substantially deficient as it fails:
      (1) to specifically identify which or what specific agency of the National government has the responsibilities to enforce and implements the remedies or actions that needs to be done!; (e.g., DILG in coordination with NEDA or any other agency);
      (2) what are the specific acts or responsibilities the principal tasked agency must do or perform ( like allocation of funds for a specific purpose like funding a certain local unit for developmental projects in the community like, school buildings local roads or bridges under its jurisdiction.
      Then the Act must clearly provide the creation of or naming the particular agency tasked to carry out the specific acts or duties allocated by the law enumerated in the Act itself, such as:
      “This act mandates DILG etc… To perform the tasks heretofore provided as etc..etc.”
      Want to be lawmaker then write like one!

      Sent from my iPad