Our resilience and an April Fool’s Day joke


THOSE who console us Filipinos whenever we are ravaged by a disaster say they are astonished by our resilience. Yes, most of us do have a marvelous ability to return ALIVE after calamities to our original, albeit miserable and desperate, condition.

Rafael Zulueta de Acosta’s early triumph of Philippine poetry in English hoped we Filipinos, when perfected as Jose Rizal dreamed we should be, would become “firm, resilient, staunch, / Rising on the hillside, unafraid, / Strong in its own fiber, yes, like the molave!” We are also pliant, and in that way resilient, like the bamboo tree whose trunks have been bent to almost breaking, and standing tall again in its poisoned corner of an almost barren rice field.

Yes, we recuperate, like the tubercular tricycle driver who has mercifully survived thanks to the better-off family who gave him medicine, food and some allowance for himself and his family during his six-month cure.

This resilience comes from our being wired in some way to a reality more powerful than the merely material. This is true about even those Filipinos who have turned away from their childhood faith and now call themselves agnostics and even atheists. We all know, somehow, that any tragedy that befalls us today will reap us a world of joy–if not tomorrow or the day after then in an afterlife of bliss that never ends. This awareness of the supernatural reality is in our subconscious and our souls.

We can laugh at ourselves when we are humbled and beaten by men or by circumstance. President Aquino seems acutely aware of our skill at finding humor in being crushed by our problems. That is why he could laughingly tell the Tacloban businessman whining about having physically suffered and lost everything, “Pero buhay ka pa! [But you are still alive!]” Others have attacked him for being insensitive. We don’t share that view. We think he was trying to cheer up the man, like a good father-confessor and spiritual director, who tells the tearful penitent, “Yes, my son. You have so many crosses to bear. But you are still up and alive, aren’t you. Thank God!”

When we have somewhat recovered from our grief, most of us do manage to look back at our calamities, blessing God and laughing as if what we had suffered was just an April Fool’s joke.

It’s almost as if, like Robert Frost—but with the naughtier spirit of Ogden Nash, we could say to God,

“Forgive, O Lord, my little jokes on Thee

And I’ll forgive Thy great big one on me.”

* * *

PNoy advances Grades 11 and 12 implementation

On the eve of today’s April Fool’s Day we learned of the President’s joke on high school students, teachers and school officials. It’s a crazy decision the Palace must have told DepEd to make: Advance the implementation of Grade 11 and Grade 12 this very June! This is two years ahead of the original approved schedule approved and begun in 2012.

This decision wreaks havoc on the plans school administrators and DepEd people had worked very hard on to put in place.

Students in the Science-Technology-Engineering-Mathematics track, who finished the old curriculum’s Fourth Year High School (which is their 10th year of schooling) do not have the knowledge and skills of those who have taken Grade 9 and 10 under the new K-to-12 curriculum.

The offering of Grade 11 and 12 when the school year opens in June will of course entice these old-curriculum public high school graduates to go ahead and enroll in Grade 11. It’s free anyway. And if they pass Grade 11 and then Grade 12, they would become perfect world-class graduates as defined by the Bologna Agreement. They would have no problems being questioned for having an insufficient basic pre university education.

The trouble is that Grade 11, for example, has Pre-Calculus, which assumes that the enrolled student has had all the math preparations—including Trigonometry.

Layers of experts designed the K-to-12 curriculum for effective implementation on a year-by-year process. Under this carefully planned process, Grades 1 (Elementary) and 7 (High School) opened in 2012, Grades 2 (Elem) and 8 (HS) in 2013, Grades 3 (Elem) and 9 (HS) will begin this June 2014, Grades 4 (Elem) and 10 (HS) in 2015, Grades 5 (Elem) and 11 (Senior HS) in 2016, and Grades 6 (Elem) and 12 (Senior HS) in 2017.

The first batch of K-to-12 graduates was to come out in March or April 2018.

The colleges and universities had geared themselves to have no freshmen in June 2018 and again in 2019. This is a sacrifice the process of upgrading our educational system to world standards needs.

But now Grades 11 and 12 will open this very June. What will happen?

Another chaotic episode in the presidency of President Aquino?

Don’t worry. We’ll survive.


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1 Comment

  1. Survivors all we are Filipinos. What with the list of our greatmen and women who stirred the helm of RP to great glory ….Aaaamen. FM, AquinoX2, the excon JE, shes is evil GMA, and Infidel. Yes Aquino TWA is already consigned to this list of great helmsmen leaders of RP.

    April 1, 2014….for the Fools