• Some people still write letters on paper


    I pause today to acknowledge and reply to some letters in response to some columns that I wrote recently.

    It’s no longer usual for me to receive letters that are written or typed on good old physical paper, and then are sealed, signed and delivered. Nearly everyone communicates by email these days, including yours truly.

    So whenever I receive a letter in the flesh (as it were) that has something to say, I think it obligatory to acknowledge and reply. Noblesse oblige.

    My Saturday slot looks like a good time for correspondence. So I devote a little space today and every Saturday henceforth to letters received.

    I will begin with two letters from two personages who hold weighty positions in the government.

    Will he catch the moment?

    From Vice President Jejomar Binay:

    19 October 2015

    “I read your article in the Manila Times, “Party of Yes vs. Party of No vs. Party of Maybe.” (Times, Oct. 13, 2015), and I concur with your opinion that “the presidential race belongs to the candidate who can catch the moment.

    “Indeed, elections should be all about the people and their concerns, about platforms detailing how candidates can address the problems, and proof that they have the competence to get the job done.

    “Yet I must point out that while I am the candidate of the opposition, being a candidate of the ‘party of No’ may be too general a statement.

    “I am not one who overturns everything done by my predecessor. In Makati, I continued the good programs of the former mayor, but I also introduced reforms. Should I be elected president, I will continue but reform several programs of this administration. The Public Private Partnership (PPP) is a good program but it has been hobbled by inefficiency and delays. The Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) is another good program but it needs to be complemented by public spendings in health and education. Measures should also be put in place to ensure that only qualified beneficiaries are enrolled. The campaign against corruption must be pursued but it should not be selective. It should apply to all, regardless of political affiliations or family ties.

    “I am one with you in hoping that our people will take one positive step towards making our democracy better by choosing their leaders based on merit and beyond personalities.

    Very truly yours,
    Jejomar C. Binay”

    The Vice President shows a keen understanding of the importance of public policy, and an appreciation for the need to get the policies right in order to solve problems. I did not hear in his words any fondness for sloganeering.

    Instead I detect a tone of confidence and civility that should stand him well in the coming campaign.

    Answering Misinformation on K-12 reform

    From Br. Armin A.Luistro
    Secretary of Education:

    23 October 2015

    “I read your article published last October 19, 2015, entitled “K-12: Not whether we are ready, we must,” containing your points of view and stance on the arguments raised by various personalities and groups on the K to 12 Program.

    “I would like to personally thank you for shedding light on the prevailing misinformation on the K to 12 Program. Your article will enlighten the minds of readers, young and old, on the necessity of this education reform and encourage them to have a deeper understanding of the program.

    “Enclosed with this letter are K to 12 materials for your future reference.
    “Again, thank you very much for your initiative.

    Very truly yours,
    Br. Armin A. Luistro, FSC
    Secretary Department of Education”

    Secretary Luistro’s enclosures were most informative and revealing to this journalist.
    They clarified and filled some holes in my understanding of the program and the preparations of DepEd for the full implementation of K-12 next school year.

    One item that caught my eye was a department press release and announcement last October 15 that the department is opening applications to interested teachers, professionals, practitioners, and experts to apply for full-time and part-time teaching positions for Grades 11 and 12 for the school year 2016-2017.

    Expected salaries will range from P19,940 to P39,493.

    An interested applicant should be a Filipino citizen. No need to be natural-born. So foundlings can apply.

    The primer on senior high school looks very good.

    This packet should be sent to Sen. Antonio Trillanes, so he will comprehend what he is opposing.

    I think the teacher groups that are loudly opposing K to 12 should restudy their position and specific objections to the program.

    They are fighting a lost cause. Disrupting the system will get them nowhere.

    They should refine those parts of their position that mark them out as reactionary.

    This is one reform implemented by the Aquino government that gets my unqualified and enthusiastic support.

    The nation cannot wait for the objectors to have a change of heart before moving on.


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    1. Walter Paul Komarnicki on

      I used to write letters once upon a time on paper, I even wrote Christmas cards to people I knew, but no more, alas. Since entering the digital age back in 1994, and now living in these tropic parts for over 7 years, paper makes little sense to me – in this humidity, it doesn’t work, like my CD player and bathroom door.
      But the discipline of writing well is just as demanding in these trying times, and I rather enjoy keying – you say ‘encoding’ – on a laptop rather than hammering it out on an Olivetti.
      But good writing doesn’t quickly fade into obsolescence, but tends to linger ever longer.

    2. I was about to know that even our Vice President Binay and our Secretary of Education is still using the antiquated communication thru normal letter that we are using before. Now , we are at the new mellenium of computer age or net world wide,
      we can communicate and access anywhere in the world as long as you have an EMAIL ACCOUNT. I suggest to you sir Vice President Jejomar Binay, that you made your personal email ads , in able you to communicate anybody or anywhere as long as you had your Personal email ads. You had a lot of people that can teach you , to make your personal email for any purpose…

    3. We will see when start the campaigning period… dito natin makikita kung sino at ano talaga ang makabayan at makabayan. at ano ang kanilang plata porma para sa solusyon sa problema ng bansa. Hindi basta pangako lang at walang sense ang kanilang mga pinagsasabi.. gising kayo mga kabayan.. masapalan ng kayo ng kaunting pera,kapalit ng kahirapan ng maraming mamayan..POE at escudero ay Tuta ng mga dilawan na elista na kaalyado ni Abnoy pnot.
      Kaya no to Grace Poe at Escudero… Mga elista at dilawan din itong mga tao na ito..
      Wala nmn ginawa si Poe about Mamasapano massacre, paano tataas ang rating niya ay kamaganak din ni Poe ang nasa SWS survey.. kaya we dont believe of what you said. Mr..???LAMON…nice name (greedy)

    4. Leodegardo Pruna on

      The K-12 program is truly a good program as it will keep us up in competitiveness in a fast changing and fast shrinking global world. Except for the rather incoherent and last minute nearing deadlines preparation needed for smooth implementation, the program would have made a dent. The DepEd should do something to ease the pressure on teachers who are already saddled with their major work in the classroom but are pressed to prepare the workbooks , materials , source books, etc. when these are supposed to have already been prepared and distributed for use by the teachers and pupils. God bless the Philippines.

    5. I totally agree with the K1-12 program being implemented in the country. With the old program, we Filipinos have been behind in education compared to other countries.

      Here in the US, when you apply for a job, they count the number of years of schooling, not just the fact that one has Bachelors degree. Unless one has a Master’s degree or higher degrees, one may not even be considered a college graduate because of the deficiency in the number of years of schooling.

      So I applaud this reform.


      Nangunguna ang tambalan nina Sen. Grace Poe at Sen. Chiz Escudero sa
      pani­bagong presidential survey na isinagawa ng Radio Mindanao Network
      (RMN) noong Oktubre 25 hanggang Nobyembre 2, 2015.
      Sa pinakahuling RMN presidential survey, si Poe
      ay nakakuha ng 47.5% ng total percentage of votes. Siya ay lumamang ng
      mahigit 24% sa sumusunod na si Vice President Jejomar Binay na may
      Si Sen. Miriam Defensor-­Santiago ang
      pumangatlo na may 14.82%, samantalang si Sec. Mar Roxas ay nasa malayong
      distansiya na naka­kuha lamang ng 9.6%.
      Sa tanong na kung sino ang iboboto nila sa
      pagka-bise presidente, kung ang halalan ay gagawin sa naturang survey
      period, ay nanguna si Escudero na nakakuha ng 53.72% ng total percentage
      of votes.
      Pumapangalawa naman ang kasamahan sa Senado na si Sen. Bongbong Marcos, na may 17.07%
      Pumapangatlo naman si Sen. Alan Peter Ca­yetano na nakakuha
      ng 12.07% at si Rep. Leni Robredo na may 5.26% sa pang-apat na puwesto.
      Nakuha naman ni Sen. Gringo Honasan ang
      pang-limang puwesto na may 5.18% at si Sen. Sonny Trillanes na may 3.16%
      sa pang-anim na puwesto.

      Ang mataas na percentage ratings na nakuha ni
      Poe sa RMN survey ay nagpa­pakita na hindi siya na­apektuhan ng mga
      isyung ipinupukol sa kanya, lalo na ang sunud-­sunod na
      dis­qualification ca­ses na isinampa laban sa kanya sa Commission on
      Elections (Comelec). Magugunita na ni­lampaso rin nina Poe at
      Escudero ang mga kalaban sa nakaraang surveys na isinagawa ng Pulse Asia