Monday, August 30, 2010

Get to know your Nominees for U.P. President

Editor's note: As more information becomes available over time, the Diliman Diary will continue to provide updates to these initial profiles of the eleven (11) nominees for the 2011 Search for a New U.P. President which we have put together from a combination of our own reporting as well as secondary sources. For subsequent updates to the profiles, please click on this link: http://diliman-diary-sidebars.blogspot.com/2010/08/updates-to-profiles-of-eleven-11.html

Update: For our analysis of the outcome of the University of the Philippines (U.P.) Board of Regents (BOR) selection of a new U.P. President, please click on this link: http://diliman-diary.blogspot.com/2010/09/editorial-unless-3-malacanang-midnight.html

The nominees

1. Alaras, Consolacion R.

(Photo by: Chanda Shahani)

Dr. Consolacion R. Alaras was born on September 1, 1941 and is the former Chair of the Department of English and Comparative Literature (DECL) at the College of Arts and Letters, U.P. Diliman. She has a Ph.D. in Philippine Studies from U.P. Diliman. Dr. Alaras was a previous nominee for U.P. President during the 2004 Search for a new U.P. President. Dr. Alaras' 2004 vision can be gleaned (Editor's note: the 2011 vision statements and updated curriculum vitae of all eleven nominees will soon be uploaded by the University of the Philippines Administration at the U.P. website at: http://www.up.edu.ph) from the U.P. website's sublinks in 2004:

“Covenant with UP community

“My advocacy is to restore the intellectual tradition of spirituality in education, governance, development, and diplomacy,” said Dr. Consolacion Rustia Alaras, Professor at the Department of English and Comparative Literature (DECL), College of Arts and Letters, UP Diliman, and one of the nominees for the UP presidency.

Known for her strong spiritual beliefs and quick-witted remarks, Alaras credits her advocacy to the Kapatiran Katipunan Rizalistas, a non-government organization that advances the concerns of the marginalized and the poor and whose ideals are anchored on Dr. Jose Rizal’s teachings. This former DECL chair joined the group in 1979.

Alaras is also known for her deep sense of national pride and it is quite fitting that she wrote her vision for UP last August 29—National Heroes Day. Re-erring to it as her covenant with the University community, Alaras stated that this pact “seeks to make all UP sectors co-creators in the learning, teaching, researching, and writing the intellectual tradition of spirituality in education, governance, development, and diplomacy.”

The next UP presidency, according to Alaras “will be an occasion to consolidate all the gains made by the previous UP presidents in making a difference for the nation.” She added, “This time we hope to provide the nation a radiant experience of transformation and unity for peace and development.” She also emphasized, “We have to provide our students a radiant experience of a shared vision and direction” (Source: http://www.up.edu.ph/oldsystem/search_candidates.htm).

2. Azanza, Patrick Alain T.
(Photo by: Chanda Shahani)

Dr. Patrick Azanza holds a Juris Doctor (JD) degree (2008) from the UP College of Law at U.P. Diliman and a Ph.D. In Educational Administration (2003) from the U.P. College of Education at U.P. Diliman. He is the recipients of three UP Presidential Scholarship Grants at the B.A. M.A. And PhD. Levels. He graduated with a B.A. Sociology Degree from U.P. Los Banos.

He is currently a senior lecturer at the U.P. College of Education.

He is a recipient, Lingkod Bayan Award (highest award conferred by the President of the
Republic of the Philippines to outstanding civil servants) given in his capacity as Director of the Human Resources Development Office of the UP System on the occasion of the 96th Anniversary of the Civil Service Commission at Malacanang Palace, September 13, 1996 and is currently President/CEO, Winsource Solutions Inc., WBSI Epicor-Philippines from 2009 to the present, Chairman of the Board, Intergritas Inc., 2009 to the present and President, Center for Community Preparedness and Development Inc., 2010 to the present and Chief Operations Officer, AMA Computer University, September 21, 2005 to October 2008.

His published works include: “The Legend of Mandaluyong,” Central Books Supply Inc., 2008, “Human Resources Management,” Goodwill Bookstore, 2000, “Human Behavior and Society: An Introduction to the Social Sciences,” National Bookstore, 2001, “Economics, Society and Development,” co-author, National Bookstore, 2002, “The Socio-Political Dimensions of Economic Planning and Development,” co-author, UP-ISMED, 1996, “Japanese Influences at Work: Perspective from Selected Filipino Workers, in Image and Reality: Philippine-Japan Relations Towards the 21st Century,”co-author, UP Law Center and Japan Foundation, 1997 and “Entrepreneurship,” co-author, KATHA Press, Inc., 2003

Here is an excerpt from his vision paper as U.P. President, entitled, "Ang Unibersidad ng Pilipinas sa Panahon ng Pagbabago" (Posted here with his permission):

“Ang UP ay dapat na nagbibigay-diwa sa sambayanan. Ito ang tagapagmulat at pangunahing tagapagsulong sa pag-unlad ng ating bansa. Subalit sa ngayon ay inaakusahang nawala na ang diwa ng kahusayan (sense of greatness) ng UP at nakikita itong alienated mula mismo sa lipunang dapat nitong paglingkuran. Tila umano ay naglaho na ang tatak ng UP bilang isang komunidad ng mga iskolar na may nakaatang na dalisay na responsabilidad bilang tagapagdalumat para sa ating bansa. Wika nga ng iba: UP should think for the nation. Dahil mismo sa compartmentalization ng mga pang-akademikong sangay, nawawalan ang UP ng coherence upang makita ang pangkalalahatang kalagayan at interes ng ating bansa na siya nitong dapat na isinusulong.

Napag-iwanan na ang UP. Madalas na ito ang komento hindi lamang sa labas ng kampus kundi mismong sa loob ng ating Unibersidad. Marahil, kailangan nang mamulat tayo at tanggapin ang komentong ito bilang katotohanan upang higit nating mapagtuunan ang pagbalangkas ng mga tamang hakbangin tungo sa pagwasto sa nalilihis na landas ng ating mahal na institusyon. Kailangang matukoy agad kung ano ang tunay na ugat nito. Bunsod ba ito ng salat na pag-arok at paghahanda para sa papadating na mga suliranin? O ng mabuway na liderato at pamamalakad? O hindi kaya dahil sa mga maling prayoridad sa loob ng nakalipas na dekada?”
 
3. Briones, Leonor M.

Dr. Leonor Magtolis Briones is the Former Treasurer of the Philippines under the term of former President Joseph E. Estrada, lead convenor of Social Watch Philippines and the former President of the Freedom from Debt Coalition, former Vice President for Finance and Administration of the University of the Philippines System, former Secretary to the Commission on Audit, former Chair of the Board of Trustees of Silliman University, lead convenor of Social Watch Philippines and member of the faculty of the National College of Public Administration and Governance (NCPAG) of this university.

Dr. Briones has established her reputation through her research, teaching and writing of textbooks, monographs, papers and articles. Her fields of specialization are in general public administration, including fiscal administration, local government and public enterprises (government-owned or controlled corporations).

Prof. Briones’ book, Philippine “Public Fiscal Administration,” is used in all schools of public administration in the country. Her case studies and other papers on corruption continue to be used in the John F. Kennedy School of Government in Harvard University as well as in other schools.

A petition nominating her to the U.P. presidency said she has “the political will and the political skills to defend and promote academic freedom and institutional autonomy. Her record during the Martial Law regime and her participation not only in the defense of academic freedom but also democracy in the country is well established. As Vice-President for Finance and Administration, she assisted the university president in defending and increasing the university budget before the Department of Budget and Management, as well as before the two houses of Congress without compromising academic freedom and institutional autonomy.”

“Prof. Briones has been with the university since 1960—first as a graduate student, then as researcher and eventually as a faculty member. Her participation in the life of the university under different administrations as well as different political environments has enabled her to form a clear and inspiring vision of UP’s role in the 21st century. Such a vision is based in actual historical experience as well as an assessment of changing expectations and roles for UP as a national university.”

“Democratic governance has been the hallmark of Prof. Briones’ style of work, whether in government or in civil society organizations like Social Watch. As Treasurer, she activated the Employees Union which had earlier been immobilized, and conducted regular dialogues with employees. As Lead Convenor of Social Watch Philippines, she advocated for participatory budgeting. A bill is now pending in Congress to allow citizens’ organizations to participate in the budget process.”

“In all the organizations she managed, Prof. Briones is well known for her fairness in dealing with all constituents. She never resorted to persecution of those whose views were different from hers and discouraged factionalism.”

(Sources: http://fdc.ph/index.php?option=com_docman&task=doc_details&gid=74&&Itemid=89,
http://www.blogger.com/profile/17340627366939749381 and http://www.petitiononline.com/briones/petition.html).

4. Cabral, Esperanza I.


Esperanza A. Icasas Cabral, M.D., was the Secretary of the Department of Health in the Philippines. She took office in January 2010 replacing Dr. Francisco Duque after his appointment as head of the Civil Service Commission. Before her appointment as Secretary of Health, she was previously the Secretary of the Department of Social Welfare and Development, replacing Corazon Soliman. Dr. Cabral is married to Dr. Bienvenido Cabral, an ophthalmologist.

Dr. Cabral, who is a cardiologist and clinical pharmacologist, graduated from medical school at the University of the Philippines. She extended her medical and pharmacological training at the U.P. Philippine General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Massachusetts General Hospital, and the Joslin Clinic in Boston, Massachusetts.

Dr. Cabral has long served as an educator and leader in Philippine medicine. At the University of the Philippines College of Medicine, she was a professor of medicine and pharmacology. She served both as Director of the Philippine Heart Center and Chief of Cardiology of Asian Hospital and Medical Center. She authored and co-authored more than 85 scientific papers on hypertension, cardiovascular pharmacology and clinical and preventive cardiology. She educated the public as a TV show host on "HeartWatch" on IBC Channel 13 and "InfoMedico" on NBN Channel 4.

She served during the administration of President Corazon Aquino as Director of the Philippine Heart Center. She also consulted for the Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB), the Bureau of Food and Drugs (BFAD) and the Department of Health. Earlier she served as Commissioner for Science and Health on the National Commission on the Role of Filipino Women.

She has earned a number of awards. In 1981, she received the National Outstanding Young Scientist for Medicine Award from the Department of Science and Technology. In 1982, the Philippine Society of Experimental & Clinical Pharmacology's Achievement Award. In 1986, she was named the Outstanding Woman in the Nation’s Service for Medicine. In 1991, she received the first Dr. Jose P. Rizal Award by the Philippine Medical Association. She has also been named the Most Distinguished Scientist by the Philippine Heart Association in 1993, the Outstanding Alumnus for Research for 1993 by the UP College of Medicine and the Distinguished Researcher for 1998 by the Philippine College of Physicians.

(Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Esperanza_Cabral)

5. Cao, Sergio S.


(Source: http://www.facebook.com/?ref=home#%21/album.php?aid=14990&id=133344730040995&fbid=140193652689436&ref=mf )

Dr. Sergio S. Cao is currently the 8th Chancellor of U.P. Diliman and was elected Chancellor of U.P. Diliman by the UP Board of Regents at its 1193rd on February 24, 2005. He has been serving as U.P. Diliman Chancellor since March 1, 2005, and is currently completing a second consecutive term of office.

Chancellor Cao, 43, has a doctorate degree in mathematics from U.P. Diliman (1991) and is a professor at the College of Business Administration. He served as University Registrar for UPD from 1993 to 1997 and as Vice President for Finance for Planning and Finance of the UP System from 2001 to 2004. He was elected Faculty Regent in 2004.

Dr. Cao's field of expertise is in finance. Dr. Cao's recent publications in the field of finance include the following: “Cost-Volume-Profit Analysis.” In Management Accounting and Control: Text and Philippine Cases, 2002, “Value at Risk: An Introduction.” DCF Technical Notes. Vol. 1, No. 1, April 1999 “Credit, Derivatives and the Global Financial Crisis.” Professorial Chair Lecture, 2008.“Public Financial Management Module on Financial Performance Monitoring and Evaluation.” Professorial Chair Lecture, 2007, “Control Issues on Selected Budgetary Items in UP Diliman.” Professorial Chair Lecture, 2006.

Dr. Cao's vision statement for U.P. Diliman Chancellor can be accessed at this link: http://www.up.edu.ph/images/chancellorship_2008/sscao_vision.pdf

(Sources: http://www.upd.edu.ph/~cba/F-cao.htm and http://www.up.edu.ph/oldsystem/cao_investiture.htm)

6. Diokno, Benjamin E.


Dr. Benjamin E. Diokno (born March 31, 1948) was Secretary of Budget and Management of the Philippines in the administration of President Joseph Estrada, from July 1998 until Estrada's ouster in January 2001. Diokno also served as Undersecretary for Budget Operations at the Department of Budget and Management, form 1986-1991, during the administration of President Corazon Aquino. he has a Ph.D from Syracuse University.

During the Aquino administration, Diokno provided technical assistance to several major reforms such as the design of the 1986 Tax Reform Program, which simplified income tax and introduced the value-added tax (VAT), and the 1991 Local Government Code of the Philippines.

During the Estrada administration, Diokno initiated and instituted several reforms that would enhance transparency and improve the efficiency of the delivery of government services. The first major reform instituted was the "what you see is what you get" or WYSWIG policy that is a simplified system of fund release for the General Appropriations Act (GAA). This allowed agency heads to immediately plan and contract out projects by just looking at the GAA, which is available in print and at the DBM website, without waiting for the issuance of an allotment authority.[6] Diokno initiated the reform of the government procurement system (GPS) through the adoption of rapidly improving information and communications technology. He secured technical assistance from the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) to help the GPS develop an electronic procurement system along the lines of the Canadian model. By August 1999, the DBM had two documents necessary to initiate reforms in public procurement. In early 2000, Diokno and USAID successfully concluded a substantial technical assistance program for the DBM's budget reform programs, which now included procurement reform.Other budget reforms instituted by Diokno concerned procedures for payment of accounts payable and terminal leave/ retirement gratuity benefits. The release of cash allocation were programmed and uploaded to the department's website while payments were made direct to the bank accounts of specific contractor.

The growing budget deficit was of large concern during Diokno's tenure, with the National Economic and Development Authority director citing it as the government's biggest problem. The government ended 1999 with a budget deficit of P114 billion, overshooting its target of P101 billion which had previously been increased from an original target of P68.4 billion. The government missed its target by a far wider margin the next year, set an original deficit target of P62.5 billion for 2000, yet occurring a full-year deficit of P130 billion. This is higher than the P126.5 billion "worst case scenario" figure from the International Monetary Fund.

As a professor at U.P. Diliman's school of Economics, Dr. Diokno provides policy advice and conducts research in the following areas: public economics (with focus on structure and scope of government tax policies and tax reform; government expenditure analysis; national budget, deficit and debt; and decentralization and intergovernmental relations),public expenditure management, resource economics (with focus on public policy on water and oil), and economic development (with focus on ASEAN transitional economies).

(Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benjamin_Diokno and http://econ.upd.edu.ph/faculty/bediokno/about/

7. Diokno, Ma. Serena I.


 (From left to right: Dr. Diokno and U.P. President Emerlinda R. Roman. Source: http://www.up.edu.ph/)

In her own words, in “Summary of Work Done,” a paper written by her to support her nomination for U.P. Diliman Chancellor in 2004 Dr. Diokno describes herself as a professor from the department of History at U.P. Diliman and is a faculty affiliate of the Ph.D. Philippine Studies Program and the Center for International Studies. Dr. Diokno has a Ph.D. in History from the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London.

Since 2000 she has had seven international publications, including an anthology of articles coe-edited with an anthropologist from the National University of Vietnam-Hanoi. Most of her publications are chapters in books published by university publishers in the U.S., U.K., and Oxford University Press in New Delhi. Her articles have dealt mostly with Southeast Asian history and the Philippes during the American colonial period. In 2004 she she contributed two articles to the book, “Managing a Modern University in the Philippines,” edited by Ester Garcia (U.P. Press): “Planning, Design and Review of the Curriculum,” and “Assessment of the Academic Performance”. Howeverm she says history is her true passion and is the author of one volume (Up from the Ashes, vol. 8) and co-authored another (Life in the Colony, vol 4) of the ten-volume series, “Kasaysayan: The Story of the Filipino People (1998) and has written mostly on the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Dr. Diokno is one of twelve cenennial Fellows named by U.P. President Emerlinda R. Roman. Previous awards include U.P. International Publication Awards (2006, 2005, 2002, 2000 and 1999); Outstanding Professional in Education by the U.P. Alumni Association (2000); U.P. Outstanding Book Award for the three-volume series on Democracy and Citizenship in the Philippines, the first volume of which she contributed to and edited (1998) and the Dona Aurora Aragon Quezon Peace Award (1995).

In terms of administrative experience, She was Vice-President for Academic Affairs (1999-2005) where she helped conceptualize and implement the following: the revitalization of the General Education Program; the establishment of a range of incentives to support academic excellence such as international publication awards and research grants and the modernization of laboratories, including the establishment of multimedia centers in every campus of the U.P. System.

She was also Associate Dean of the College of Social Science and Philosophy (1992-1998), Director of the Third World Studies Center (1995-1999), and Director of the Program on Peace, Democratization and Human Rights of the U.P. center for Integrative and Development Stufies (1995-1999), as well as sitting on its Executive Committee.

Dr. Diokno was elected by the Univesity Council to its Executive Committee (2008-2011), a position she was also elected to in the mid-1990s up to the time she was appointed VPAA. She also served on various department, College, University Council and U.P. System Committees.

In her vision paper as a 2004 nominee for Chancellor of U.P. Diliman entitled, “U.P. Diliman as a Learning Commons,” she said that: “In trying to please our many constituents, we are faced with a whole range of decision-making binaries: between the academic and the pragmatic or politically acceptable, between standards of scholarship and humanitarian considerations, between firm leadership and congeniality, and so on. Submitted to a vote, it is easy to see which might win. But in the learning commons I wish Diliman to become, the only authority that counts does not come from one’s position or title but from the reasoned, informed understanding and analysis of any given problem or issue. Such authority, I concede, does not always win votes ...


If collegiality is eventually expressed in terms of the majority vote, the assumption is that the vote was arrived at through open, reasoned discussion. It is the intelligent discussion that confers value upon the decision made by the majority and not the other way around as in a polity.”


8. Pangalangan, Raul C.

 

Aside from being a professor of and an expert on Constitutional and International Law, Former UP College of Law Dean Raul Pangalangan Pangalangan is also an advocate of judicial reform as Chair of a non- government organization, Bantay Katarungan where he helped in the petition to Commission on Election to release the names of partylist representatives which they also won. He has also been engaged in what he calls a public interest practice of law doing pro bono work on cases involving public interest. He considers these two involvements his greatest contributions to the court when appointed.

In his two- term stint as Dean of the UP College of Law, he said that one of his accomplishments was his efforts to improve the quality of life of the students by raising funds for scholarship from donors with whom he made clear that the only thing he could give in return was a thank you.

His greatest challenge, on the other hand, was when the Supreme Court appointed him as amicus counsel in the impeachment of then Chief Justice Hilario Davide. While he believed that CJ Davide was innocent from the impeachment charges and that the case was not ripe for adjudication, he was also aware that there were rules to follow. He said he was glad that the case did not prosper.

Although he spent many years in the academe, he said that he is also familiar with the actual practice of law since he has done the works of a practicing lawyer in the early years of his career and with the limited private practice allowed by UP. His one foot, he said is in the academe and the other, in the actual practice. One of the biggest cases he handled was the reclassification of San Miguel Corporation stocks.

(Source: http://www.tan.org.ph/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=107:get-to-know-the-next-supreme-court-associate-justice-part-ii&catid=50:supreme-court-appointments-watch&Itemid=89)

9. Pascual, Alfredo E.
 (From left to right: Alumni Regent Pascual and Staff Regent Clodualdo "Buboy" Cabrera. Source: http://www.facebook.com/?ref=home#%21/album.php?aid=14990&id=133344730040995&fbid=140193652689436&ref=mf
 
Alumni Regent Alfredo E. Pascual (“Fred”) is an international finance and development professional with 37 years’ track record as banker, consultant, and academic. Having retired from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) in late 2008 after 19 years of service, Fred now spends his time combining volunteer work in the Philippines with consulting in the Asian region. 

He was recently elected President of the University of the Philippines Alumni Association (UPAA) for a three-year term and inducted as Regent on the Board of the University of the Philippines also for a three-year term.

In ADB, he served as Director for Infrastructure Finance, Director of Capital Markets and Financial Sectors, Advisor for Public-Private Partnership in Infrastructure, Senior Investment Officer, among other positions. He managed/supervised/led the development and financing several financial institutions and infrastructure projects across Asia, including Afghanistan, Bangladesh, China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan, Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam.

Prior to joining ADB, he had worked in banking and academic fields. For eight years, he held senior executive positions in internationally-affiliated investment banks in the Philippines, such as First Metro Investment, Philippine Pacific Capital (now RCBC Capital), and Bancom. He spent nine years as professor of finance at the Asian Institute of Management (AIM).

(Source: http://www.plaxo.com/directory/profile/8589935096/f711ac5f/Alfredo/Pascual)

10. Teodosio, Virginia


Dr. Virginia A. Teodosio, has a Phd in Economics (Political Economy, The Univesity of Sydney) and is a professor at the School of Labor and Industrial Relations (SOLAIR) at U.P. Diliman. She is the Chairperson, UP Employees Housing Cooperative (UPEHCO), Founding Director, Philippine Cooperative Center, Founding Director, Women in Shelter and its Environment and Board Member, Social Weather Stations (SWS) and Administrator, Cooperative Development Authority (August 2000 – January 2005).

Some of Dr. Teodosio's researches and publications include: "Globalization, Social Change and Cooperatives," Provincial Cooperative Congress, Albay Astrodome, 14 October 2000, Legazpi City, "Public Sector Employees and Privatization: Emerging Realities and Challenges in the 21st Century," Government Employees Symposium on the Impact of Privatization on the Public Sectror, Provincial Capital, Puerto Princesa City, Palawan, 7 August 2000, "Challenges and Options for Philippine Agriculture Cooperatives, Roundtable Meeting on Globalization and Liberalization. Challenges and Options for Agriculture Cooperatives," 29 January-2 February 2001, Bangkok, Thailand., "Cooperatives and the Social Economy," April 2001, University of Barcelona, Spain, "Capacity Building of Agriculture Cooperatives in the Philippines," FAO-NEDAC Round Table Meeting, 24-27 September 2001, Beijing, China, "Ownership and Empowerment: Mainstreaming Vulnerable and Marginalized Groups, National Conference on Prosperity Building for the Poor," W. Sycip Policy Center, World Bank and Konrad Adenuer Stiftung, 25 June, 2001, AIM Conference Center, Makati City, How Entreprenuerial are Philippine Agriculture Cooperatives? Development of Business Planning Management Skills for Viable Entreprise Development by Agriculture Cooperatives, 20-30 April 2003, New Delhi India, "Agriculture and Philippine Cooperatives: Some Initiatives, Seminar on Information Technology and Computerization of Agriculture Cooperatives," 29 October-1 November 2003, Kathmandu, Nepal and "The Role of ICT in Philippine Cooperatives, Agriculture Cooperatives and Information Communication Technology: Advancing Sustainable Social Entrepreneurship in a Global Economy," 24 April 2004, Changmai, Thailand.

(Source: http://www.upd.edu.ph/~solair/profiles/VAT%20profile-2006.htm)

11. Velasco, Luis Rey


Dr. Luis Rey Velasco is an Associate Professor at the Department of Entomology, College of Agriculture (CA),and has been Chancellor of U.P. Los Banos since November.1, 2005.

Dr. Velasco obtained his BS in Agriculture (1978) and MS in Entomology (1982) degrees from UPLB, and his PhD degree in Entomology (1990) from the University of Queensland, Australia. His professional career spans more than two-and-a-half decades of administration and management, college teaching, conducting research and extension, and rendering technical services to various government agencies, mostly in the agriculture sector.

As dean of the CA from 1999 to 2002, he provided the leadership for the reorganization of the college and spearheaded the development of curricular proposals for BS Landscape Architecture and BS Agrobiotechnology. He likewise reorganized the National Crop Protection Center (NCPC) and established three units as director from 1995 to 1999. He has contributed to the country’s agricultural development as chair, member, adviser, and consultant in various committees and programs of the Department of Agriculture (DA), Philippine Council for Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resources Research and Development (PCARRD). He is Chair of the Technical Panel for Agricultural Education of the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) since 2005. He has led researches and published papers on agricultural enterprise, surveillance and detection of pest, pest control, and IPM. A member of six professional associations, he has served as president of the International Society for Southeast Asian Agriculture Sciences (2001) and as board member of the UP Alumni Association for the last five years.

(Source: http://old.uplb.edu.ph/news/uplb-news/the-uplb-horizon/314)

The Current State of the University of the Philippines and the Challenges to the New UP President under the Aquino Administration: Multi-sectoral conference sponsored on September 2 to 3, 2010 by U.P. Sectoral Regents at SOLAIR, U.P. Diliman

 (To enlarge the graphic, just click on it)

First UP Sectoral Regents -sponsored System-wide, Multi-sectoral Conference on September 2-3, 2010 to be held in the SOLAIR Auditorium in UP Diliman.Theme: "The Current State of the University of the Philippines and the Challenges to the New UP President under the Aquino Administration". In cooperation with:the All UP Workers' Union,  All UP Academic Employees' Union, Katipunan ng mga Sangguniang Mag-aaral sa UP (KASAMA sa UP).

Objectives:
1. Lay down the situation of the four major sectors of the University, the students, the faculty, REPS and administrative staff based on the reports of the sectors themselves;
2. Discuss and critique the current direction of the university as it relates to performing its “social responsibility of service to the people and to humanity” as stated in the 2008 UP Charter and to propose programs and policies consistent with this social responsibility;
3. Come up with resolutions to be presented as challenges to the various nominees for the UP Presidency as well as resolutions to strengthen solidarity among the sectors of the university.

Retracing the Campaign Trail: Assessing Media's Role in the 2010 National Election Coverage on September 3, 2010 at CMC, U.P. Diliman

(To enlarge the graphic, just click on it)

Friday, August 27, 2010

U.P. Board of Regents Search Committee accepts 11 nominations for next U.P. President

The University of the Philippines (U.P.) Board of Regents (BOR), constituting itself as a Search Committee for the Next UP President at its 1259th meeting held on August 27, 2010 at the Mintal campus of UP Mindanao accepted the nominations for the next UP President today, according to a statement made on the Facebook page of U.P. Faculty Regent Judy M. Taguiwalo, and an announcement also made on the U.P. website at: http://www.up.edu.ph/. Here are the 11 nominees:

1. Alaras, Consolacion R.

2. Azanza, Patrick Alain T.

3. Briones, Leonor M.

4. Cabral, Esperanza I.

5. Cao, Sergio S.

6. Diokno, Benjamin E.

7. Diokno Ma. Serena I.

8. Pangalangan, Raul C.

9. Pascual, Alfredo E.

10. Teodosio, Virginia S.

11. Velasco, Luis Rey

Full information and vision statements will be uploaded at the University of the Philippines System website soon at http://www.up.edu.ph/.

Hong Kong Anime reenactment of August 23, 2010 Quirino Grandstand Hostage Taking Incident



This anime reenactment of Philippines hostage crisis was made by Hong Kong Apple Daily. It shows what happened on the bus during the hostage crisis.

It looked like a hostage rescue in slow motion: Police creeping up on the bus with sledgehammers and smashing first one window, then another, then trying and failing to rip open the door.

When they finally got inside, authorities said, they found nine bodies: eight Hong Kong tourists and the ex-policeman who had seized the bus to demand his job back.

The bloody denouement to the 12-hour drama in the heart of the Philippine capital, witnessed live on TV, rattled a country already accustomed to kidnappings and violence blamed on Muslim rebels. It provoked demands from the Hong Kong government for an explanation, and an acknowledgment from Philippine President Benigno Aquino III that his police need more training and equipment.

It was 10:15 a.m. Monday in Manila when Rolando Mendoza, 55 and married with three children, hitched a ride with the tourists as they visited historic sites in the city. He wore a camouflage uniform and carried an M16 rifle but didn't seem unusual in the heavily policed capital.

Then he announced that he was taking the travelers hostage to win back his job.

According to newspaper reports, the former senior inspector was among five officers who had been charged with robbery, extortion and grave threats after a Manila hotel chef filed a complaint alleging they falsely accused him of using drugs to extort money. Mendoza was fired last year but claimed he was innocent.

With the bus parked on a Manila park parade ground, Mendoza stuck leaflets on windows, handwritten in English, saying "big mistake to correct a big wrong decision," demanding media attention and threatening "big deal will start after 3 p.m. today."

At first, matters proceeded peacefully. The hijacker freed nine hostages — three women, three children and two men — leaving 15 tourists on board. Police sealed the area and brought food for the hostages, along with fuel to keep the bus' air conditioning running in the 32-degree-Celsius (90 F) heat.

Then negotiations began to go awry. Mendoza demanded a signed promise that his case would be reviewed, but its delivery was delayed for hours, in part by Manila's notorious traffic, and when it finally arrived he rejected it as insufficient.

The hijacker's brother Gregorio, a policeman, was flown in to talk to him through the driver's window but grew so agitated in claiming Mendoza had been unfairly sacked that police hustled him away, fearing he would inflame the situation.

That apparently angered Mendoza into firing a warning shot. Police made an initial attempt to board the bus, and the hijacker shot and wounded a police sharpshooter, said Nelson Yabut, head of the assault team. Single shots, then a burst of automatic fire, echoed through the night.

The Filipino bus driver managed to escape and, according to police officer Roderick Mariano, reported that Mendoza had fired at the tourists.

A freed hostage who gave only her surname, Ng, told Hong Kong reporters that she saw her husband killed by Mendoza after he tried to take him on.

"He was very brave. He rushed forward from the back of the bus. He wanted to prevent the gunman from killing people. He sacrificed himself," she said.

Yabut, the assault commander, said that "when he started shooting the hostages, that's the time I gave the signal to my sniper to shoot when there is a clear view." He said Mendoza died of a single shot to the head.

Shortly before 9 p.m., police lobbed tear gas into the bus and commandos approached the vehicle, crouching beside it and ready to storm it. They smashed windows and the back door with sledgehammers. Once aside, they found only the dead, one of them slumped on the bus steps.

The Hong Kong government did not hide its displeasure at the handling of the incident. It issued a warning against travel to the Philippines, canceled planned tour groups to the islands and asked Hong Kong tourists still in the country to leave.

The bloodbath happened in front of a grandstand where Aquino had been sworn in as president on June 30. After midnight he was back there, staring at the bloodstained, bullet-riddled bus.

(Source: http://www.youtube.com)

U.P. College of Mass Communication Dean, Faculty and Students score Media, Aquino Administration for bungled performances in Quirino Grandstand hostage taking incident

This is a press statement from concerned faculty members, students and staff from the University of the Philippines College of Mass Communication (UP CMC).

Journalists and media workers should know crisis reporting,
Aquino administration must be held accountable for disorganized police
Statement from 10 faculty members, 155 students and 4 staff
from the UP College of Mass Communication led by Dean Roland Tolentino
dated August 27, 2010

As the police need to review the handling of crisis situations, it is necessary for journalists and media workers to reflect on the strengths and weaknesses in reporting the hostage-taking last August 23 which left nine dead (including the hostage-taker) and seven wounded. Even if the media’s role is to help shape public opinion, the reporting of relevant information should be also in the context of ensuring the safety of civilians.
While our friends in the media should be commended for providing up-to-date information on what transpired, some media organizations should be criticized for the same reason because they ended up giving TOO MUCH information.

Commendation, however, cannot be given to the police as it failed not only to properly coordinate with media but also to ensure the peaceful resolution of the hostage-taking. Those responsible for the failed operation should even be punished. The disarray in the police operation reflects the disorganization and chaos in the Philippine National Police (PNP), the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the Aquino administration.

We need to remember some basic rules in covering hostage-taking incidents. First, journalists and media workers should refrain from interviewing a hostage-taker and reporting the latter’s statements while the situation is not yet resolved. Second, broadcast news anchors and field reporters who give live reports must not engage in speculation and innuendo as they try to “kill time” during a lull  in their reportage. Third, journalists and media workers should avoid interviewing elements of the police (e.g., snipers taking aim of their target) while an operation is ongoing. Fourth, they cannot report a hostage-taker’s state of mind or mental condition while there is still a standoff because it can make the situation worse. Fifth, they should be very careful when interviewing family members or friends of a hostage-taker as their statements could either even more agitate the latter. Sixth, they cannot give a live, blow-by-blow account of actual police operations as doing so eliminates the element of surprise in ending the crisis.

In analyzing the media’s coverage of what happened last August 23, there was  information that proved to be relevant not to the public but to the hostage-taker as he became desperate and ended up killing the hostages.

That media covered live the arrest of the hostage-taker’s brother apparently did not help in resolving the situation.

It is appalling that the live coverage was done not to help the public make sense of the situation but only to milk it for all it is worth. The competition for higher ratings among broadcast stations was evident as they tried to provide “exclusive” reports, even going to the extent of interviewing another hostage-taker in 2007 who expressed no remorse in what he did. He even claimed that he did it for the country.

Just like the police, media should use the time to reflect. Journalists and media workers, after all, should not allow themselves to be held hostage by their  ignorance of ethical practice because they will end up doing a disservice to the victims and the public. And on the part of the Aquino administration, it should be resolute in resolving crisis situations affecting not only visiting tourists but also the majority of the Filipinos.

President Aquino's 2011 Budget Message

COA Reports, Civil Society and NGOs inputs are given greater weight by the Aquino administration in determining the zero-based budget budgetary process

Message

of
His Excellency BENIGNO S. AQUINO III

President of the Philippines
to
The Fifteenth Congress of the Philippines
on
The Budget for 2011

[August 24, 2010]


Ladies and Gentlemen of the 15th Congress of the Philippines:

Through the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, I have the honor to submit for your consideration the proposed budget for 2011.

This is the first financial blueprint of my Administration. It has been formulated to turn our vision for social reform into a tangible reality for our fellow citizens.

The Filipino people have placed on our shoulders the responsibility to make their government more responsive to their needs, to reduce poverty and eliminate waste. With the help of Congress, we can harness the restored confidence in our country as a result of this year’s national elections. We have a new mandate from our people. It is now incumbent on all of us to live up to that mandate.

When I accepted our people’s call for me to run for office, I pointed out that the presidency is about the efficient allocation of resources. The call of our times is for reform: to make this possible, we are submitting a budget and corresponding resources to the programs and policies that make real the changes we need to revitalize our economy, while leaving no sector behind.

A CALL FOR GENUINE CHANGE

The P1.645 trillion National Budget we are proposing for Fiscal Year 2011 will be our vehicle to pursue these necessary changes.

Despite the meager increase of 6.8 percent from this year’s appropriations, the proposed budget will nevertheless bring forth vital outcomes that will make a difference in the lives of our fellow Filipinos.

The 2011 National Budget focuses funds where they are most needed and where these will yield the most benefits. We have redesigned the budget to ensure that every centavo will be put to good use. We are seeking new appropriations of P1.0 trillion, inclusive of P66.9 billion of unprogrammed Appropriations.

At the opening of the present session, I said in my State of the Nation Address that the budget will accurately identify problems and will give attention to the right solutions.

We reviewed the crucial programs and projects of major departments aided by the results of empirical studies, observations from the field, and reports from the Commission on Audit (COA).

We arrived at priorities, with the concurrence of my Cabinet, to address critical gaps in social services for the poorest segments of our population.

We made some bold decisions to correct glaring inefficiencies, terminated programs that no longer delivered their intended outcomes, and reduced funding for programs that require redesign.

We fleshed out the use of lump sum funds for greater transparency, and buckled down to working on implementing necessary reforms.

All of this was done to uplift the lives of our countrymen who are in the direst need of government’s compassion and support – the poor, the disadvantaged, the marginalized.

(To read the rest of President Aquino's 2011 Budget message, please click on this link:  http://diliman-diary-sidebars.blogspot.com/2010/08/president-aquinos-2011-budget-message.html).

Chai: Travel Poems by Marc Daniel Nair


 
(Photo by: Paul Lee)

By Paul Lee

There is no doubt that travel is one of life’s best teachers and the way we see the world changes the moment we get off into the beaten track and embrace all the new and unfamiliar sights and sounds that await on the other side. 

As we return from our journeys we regale to our friends and family the sights, the sounds and the smells that leave an impression on us over beers and coffee and thanks to modern technology blog them online. 
Otherwise what would have fired up the literary muses of every literary traveller from W. Somerset Maugham and Joseph Conrad to your average backpacker toting his/her laptop and digital camera other than that sense of wanderlust and discovery? Thus the traveller inspired enough to put his journeys and experiences into words adds a new twist courtesy of Singapore-based poet Marc Daniel Nair in his travel anthology; Chai: Travel Poems. 

In his verses, Nair adds a novel twist to the travel writing genre as he describes those that seemed both familiar and yet strangely distant in his treks down both his ancestral India and the disparate countries of Southeast Asia; bringing both the traveller’s sense of wonder and the intimacy at the places he visited and the people he encountered. Whether describing distant villages in all their rustic ambiance ("on the island of fish sauce/motorbikes churn the roads/the sun brings a smile/and sand-flies leave their calling cards"), liaisons between foreign men and local women amidst seedy urban backdrops ("he lives on the small change of their sex/a woman’s last gamble at feeling wanted/this easy coupling of wine glass and sallow skin"), encounters with both fellow travellers in the remote fastness ("while waiting in Bondoc for a jeepney/we talk in fractured English/he twists off the end of a long baguette/spreading pate with a penknife") and the ordinary folk eking out a living ("women weave baskets around
themselves/spilling bamboo shoots into the narrow passage") as well as ruminations through long trips into half-forgotten landmarks and persons ("the gods of Gianyar line the road to Denpasar/Buddha next to Ganesh next to Rama next to Sita"); Nair brings an intimate sensitivity in his verses in describing his journeys marrying both the cynical bustle of the cosmopolitan sprawl with the pastoral timelessness of the backwaters of Southeast Asia; worlds that seemed disparate dwell in the same universe of poetry. 

On the other hand; Nair reserves some irony in describing his native Singapore ("I have seen the progress of the city/while being constantly photographed /with a skyline always under construction") as well as a longing for his ancestral India ("I am drinking chai in the land of my fathers/steeped in the aroma of time and place"). Though Nair’s trips across Southeast Asia provided enough grist for his verses; it is his first and final series of poems that resonates at his most personal and are thus the most distinct in his anthology.

(Paul Lee is a freelance writer. An Ateneo graduate, he is currently finishing his master's in creative writing at U.P. Diliman). 

(Editor's note: "Chai – Travel Poems" will be available at major bookstores at the end of August. You can order a discounted copy directly from Marc if you pop by his website at http://marcnair.com/. You can also email him here.)

Videos dissect Quirino Grandstand Hostage-taking Incident

How "Manila's Finest" Special Weapons and Tactics handled the hostage-taking situation on August 23, 2010 at Qurino Grandstand, City of Manila



How the Serbian Special Forces tackle a hostage situation in a bus



(Source: http://www.youtube.com/)

FREE ADMISSION to "Annie" on September 21, 2010 at U.P. Diliman


Leapin' Lizards! The popular comic strip heroine takes centerstage in one of the world's best-loved musicals.

Featuring some of the musical's most beloved songs: Tomorrow, Maybe, and It's A Hard Knock Life!

"Annie" is a spunky Depression-era orphan determined to find her parents, who abandoned her years ago on the doorstep of a New York City Orphanage run by the cruel, embittered Miss Hannigan. In adventure after fun-filled adventure, Annie foils Miss Hannigan's evil machinations, befriends President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and finds a new family and home in billionaire Oliver Warbucks, his personal secretary Grace Farrell and a lovable mutt named Sandy.

CATCH US ON:

September 21, 2010, 7:00 pm

@ The Engineering Theater,

Melchor Hall, UP Diliman

ONE NIGHT ENGAGEMENT ONLY!

FREE ADMISSION!

Directed by:

Mark Daniel S. Dalacat

Starring:

Jian Miranda,Victoria Manebo, Felicia Sison, and Ronah Rostata

U.P. Diliman's Sunken Garden makes it to Blog's Top Ten "Romantic" places of Metro Manila

The U.P.Diliman Sunken Garden
(Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/guapahon/1823877528/)

The Lifestyle blog, Spot, has given Sunken Garden in U.P. Diliman the dubious distinction as one of the top ten "romantic" places in Metro Manila in a short article, "Hot in the City: Top 10 Make-Out Spots in Metro Manila."  To understand the basis of this award, and to read the original article, please click on this link: http://www.spot.ph/top-list/44933/hot-in-the-city-10-make-out-spots-in-metro-manila/5

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

BREAKING NEWS: U.P. School of Economics August 24, 2010 Paper links Widespread Poverty to Gov't Corruption, other Factors


By Chanda Shahani

President Benigno S. Aquino III's controversial campaign slogan, “Kung walang corrupt, walang mahirap.” (If there is no corruption in the Philippines, then there will be no poverty), which was criticized by his critics during the May 2010 elections as being an overly simplistic diagnosis of the root causes of the country's problems of poverty, has found unexpected support from five professors from the University of the Philippines School of Economics (UPSE) and who have uploaded a discussion paper (http://tinyurl.com/3xnao73) on August 24, 2010 linking government corruption and other factors to widespread poverty in the Philippines.

Entitled, “The Philippine Economy and Poverty During the Global Economic Crisis,” and authored by UPSE Dean Arsenio Balisacan and UPSE Professors Sharon Piza, Dennis Mapa, Carlos Abad Santos and Donna Odra, the paper cited “highly inequitable distribution” of development opportunities” that “greatly muted the impact of economic growth on poverty reduction.” Contributing factors were the low economic growth rate coupled with a high population growth. However critical constraints to private investment and growth needed to be addressed by President Aquino and the national leadership in the following areas:

  • Address a tight fiscal situation due largely to weak revenue generation.
  • Address inadequate infrastructure, especially transportation and electricity.
  • Address weak investor confidence owing to governance concerns, especially corruption and political instability.
 (UPSE Dean Arsenio Balisacan. Source: http://www.upd.edu.ph/)

The report said that the new administration of President Aquino “must marshall political support for an inclusivegrowth and development agenda,” that includes the poor because “even though the poor form a numerically large group, they are in reality a weak lobby group in the balance of political power.”

The paper, which has drawn substantially from the authors' work for the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) assessed evidence and recent data of the impact of the global economic crisis (GEC) on the national economy and poverty and found that not only was it severe – but that it may linger for years to come – especially for the marginalized and disaffected sectors of Philippine society.

The Philippine poor were dealt a knockout blow by the Global Economic Crisis

It is within the context of the global economic crisis (GEC) which erupted in mid-2008 that the major economies of Asia, including China, India and Indonesia showed that they were on their way to recovery, the study said. Unfortunately, while the Philippine economy avoided recession, the impact of the GEC on poverty was widespread, as it was compounded by sharp spikes in global food grain prices in late 2007 and the first half of 2008 and poverty rose even though economic growth (4.8% a year) outstripped population growth at 2% a year, making the already vulnerable poor even more vulnerable.

The country's neighbors saw their per capita income more than doubling during the past three decades. In contrast, per capita income in the Philippines today is only roughly one fifth higher than it was 30 years ago. Even as the crisis badly hit investments and exports which wre the drivers for growth, on the other hand the philippine conomy itself has missed opportunities for economic growth in recent decades and thus the country has a rather weak capacity to cushion the impact of the crisis on the poor, whose numbers have increased substantially in recent years even before the onset of the crisis. The proportion of the population deemed poor rose from 31.3% in 2000 to 33% in 2006 despite the increase in GDP per capita of about 2.7% a year during the same period

 (The U.P. School of Economics based in Diliman, Q.C.
Source: http://www.upd.edu.ph/)

While the economy has escaped recession, substantial erosion in human welfare is likely to occur given the past failure to reduce poverty. The country's gross domestic product (GDP) fell from 7.1% in 2007 to 3.8% in 2008 and 0.9% in 2008. Considering the country's rapid population growth rate of 2% a year, thismeans the per capita GDP in the Philippuines for 2009 had a negative growth rate of 1.1%.

The study said that during previous crises, the agriculture sector was fairly resilient to shocks but the sector's growth substantially decelerated from 4.8% in 2007 to 3.2% in 2008 and then contracted sharply to 0.2% in 2009. The sharp 2009 drop was mostly due to the devastation in Luzon caused by three major typhoons in the second half ot he year; causing agricultural output to shrink by 2.5% in the fourth quarter of 2009.

Compounding the these effects were the continued aftereffects of the sharp food price shocks in late 2007 and the first half of 2008. For example domestic rice prices rose by about 40% during the period. Since rice accounts for about 25% of fod expenditures of the poorest 30% of the population, the price shock created a significant negative impact on the well-being of poor Filipinos, including small rice farmers, most of whom are net buyers of rice for household consumption.

Citing the quarterly household survey of the Social Weather Stations, the U.P. study said households experiencing hunger reached an unprecedented high of 23.7% in the last quarter of 2008 ever since SWS started monitoring the series in July 1998.

While the country avoided recession, the impact of the GEC on the economy was nevertheless severe. GDP growth rate was pushed down from its long term potential of 4.7% a year by 1.0 percentage point in 2008 and 3.8 percentage points in 2009.

The study also said that if the crisis had not occurred,average per capita income in 2009 wuld have been PhP 43,489 or about PhP 1650 more than the actual estimated income. This means a foregone income growth of almost four percent which can be attributed as an aggregate impact of the crisis.

Other effects of the Global Economic Crisis

  • The collapse of global demand and industrial production growth has resulted in a sharp drop in the country's exports of goods and services, especially electronics and semiconductors. While posting a robust growth of 5.4% in 2007 exports plunged in 2008 (-1.9%) and 2009 (-13.9%). Among the sectors, industry was the hardest hit, contracting by 2% in 2009 – a reversal from a quite respectable growth of 6.8% in 2007 and 5.0% in 2008. 
  • Of all the affected industries, manufacturing suffered the most unemployment, especially in the electronics and garments sectors, with the share of new entrants among those employed decreaing from 2.4% before the GEC to 1.5% in 2008 and further down to 1.3% in 2009.
  • On the other hand, formal sector employment rose during the crisis with its share from 50% on average in 2004 to 2007, to 51% in 2008 and to 52% in 2009. In comparison, less educated and less skilled workers, who made up the bulk of the self-employed and unpaid family workers and accounted for the bulk of the informal sector employment, declined from about 45% on average in 2004 to 2007 to 44% in 2008 and to 42% in 2009.
  • Gains in reducing poverty over the past three years have been negated by the GEC with the result that nearly two million Filipinos have been pushed to poverty.
Rent-seeking behavior by the Government corrupts the chances of the poor for a better life

The UPSE team also suggested that the country's comparatively high growth rate until the the advent of the GEC was an anomaly since there were problems in the "governance structures" which are basically structural and policy constraints which had they been positively addressed, would have provided a "high-growth path" and consequently the same kind of GEC-cushioning such as India, China and Indonesia;  which enjoyed torrid growth rates despite the GEC.

Citing other studies, they said that:
  •   Savings and investment rates are very low by the standards of the East Asian countries leading to lower available capital levels, resulting in low infrastructure development, especially in transport and power, and poor provision of key social services, especially basic health and education.
  • The country's governance structures, namely the judiciaryu, legislative and the executive branches of government have collectively created an environment of policy instability and fostered corruption as well as "all forms of rent-seeking activities across branches and layers of the government." Rent-seeking is the use of one's official position in government to benefit oneself in a material or financial way.

TheAdministration of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo tries to pump-prime the economy to address the GEC but loses its way

The administrationof former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo responded to the GEC by launching several programs and other interventions. While some of these were new programs designed to address the impact of the crisis, others were existing ones that were either expanded or intensified in terms of area of beneficiaries. However, the study focused on the Arroyo administration's foremost response which was its Economic Resiliency Plan (ERP).

With a total budget of PhP 330 billion (US $ 7 billion) or an estimated 4% of GDP, the ERP aimed to stimulate the economy through tax cuts, increased government spending and public-private sector projects that would pave the way for the country to participate in the global economic recovery. The ERP was a mixture of stimulus activities from off-budget and in-budget sources. Off-budget sources are those funded from resources of government-owned and controlled corporations. The in-budget sources are those identified by government agencies from projects and programs within their regular budget.

Of the earmarked budget for infrastructure-related projects, PhP 160 billion was to be usedto fund some 4000-5000 small projects geared toward quick job creation in 2009. Awards of contracts for long gestation projects was to be deferred while small community-scale projects that were labor intensive and with high local-value added was to be scaled up. Infrastructure spending was to be front-loaded in the first half of the year. After 2009, PhP 100 billion of the budget was intended to fund big ticket items under Public-Private Partnerships.

In fact, government spending accelerated in 2009, the study shows, with the growth of government expenditures as a proportion of GDP significantly higher by 2.8 percentage points than its long-term trend, with the acceleration occuring in the third and fourth quarters of 2009 with a likely spillover effect into 2010 and 2011.

The outgoing Arroyo administration directed all government agencies at the local and national levels to implement emergency employment schemes in all regions in order to pump-prime the economy, the study says. But results of Asian Development Bank (ADB) sponsored field studies conducted by Dean Balisacan and other authors in 2010 show that the “menu of interventions was very limited and implementation was heavily top-doqwn and unresponsive to local needs.”

The study noted that the Arroyo administration's response to pump-priming the economy during the GEC by government spending to generate more employment “did not seem to consider that the GEC negatively affacted the regions in different ways and extents. That is, given the country's very high spatial diversity, a location-specific, targeted approach to addressing the GEC effects could have delivered better outcomes.”

The UPSE team, referring again to the ADB field survey, noted that the pump-priming expenditures of the Arroyo administration "tended to be mere dole outs and did not build productive asserts that would form the foundation for a faster but more inclusive recovery and growth. The government's impulse to aspend on projects regardless of quality was doubtless made stronger by the fact that the May 2010 national and local elections were just months away."

Policy implications for the Aquino administration

The bottom-line for the Philippines as a nation is that poverty reduction remains one of the biggest challenges facing the national leadership, according to the study. Poverty remains very high and is widespread, while the pace of its reduction is very slow, compared to the performances of other Asian countries with roughly similar income levels. The low rate of economic growth  is a main contributor to the high levels of poverty, the study said and it is therefore of absolute importance for the national leadership to "a higher growth path" by continuing with or adopting policies that work and disregarding those that do not.

According the study, a serious attempt has to be made to address governance concerns, such as government corruption and political instability, which degrades investor confidence (both local and foreign) which could actually be at the forefront of creating more jobs. Additionally, the government needs to improve its revenue collection efforts which once again are stymied by by institutional corruption which results in a hemorrhaging of funds intended for the National Treasury and into the well-lined pockets of corrupt bureaucrats. This needs to be stopped decisively and rigorously. Also, government money needs to go into long-term infrastructure projects that will ensure sustained economic growth and not short-term politically expedient projects.

The study said that various social programs need to be reviewed in order to improve governance in order to reduce administrative costs, funds leakages and eliminating redundancies and overlaps. the study cited cited numerous assessments of the rice subsidy program, "which accounted for nearly 70% of the total government budget for social protectionin 2008, has not only been very costly to society but has also failed miserably in achieving its objectives. remarkably, tehre has not been a decision to reform the program in relation to social protection objectives," it said.

On a positive note, however, the study said the previous administration's Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) initiative under its Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipinong Program (4Ps) appeared to be effective as a vehicle for addressing short-term poverty and long-term human capital development impliedly suggesting that the new
administration should consider continuing it.

The study said CCT programs are widely implemented in many developing countries, particularly in Latin America and more recently in Asia. The World Bank says CCTs "provide money directly to poor families via a “social contract” with the beneficiaries – for example, sending children to school regularly or bringing them to health centers. For extremely poor families, cash provides emergency assistance, while the conditionalities promote longer-term investments in human capital" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conditional_Cash_Transfer).

 The UPSE study said that assessments of these programs show significant positive impacts on nutritional intakes, schooling performance,and reduction in poverty and inequality. "Of all the government's current subsidy programs, the CCT initiative holds perhaps the most promise for breaking the vicious cycle of poverty and, hence, is a good candidate for upscaling toward a national anti-poverty program.

(Chanda Shahani is the Editor of the Diliman Diary)

      U.P. Organization of Novo Ecijanos offer free extra rice at two CASAA Food Center stalls from August 26-27, 2010

      (To enlarge the graphic, just click on it)

      Commentary: University of the Philippines System Budget to be slashed for a 3rd straight year as indicated in proposed 2011 National Budget

      By Chanda Shahani

      According to a March 25, 2010 entry in the Facebook Page of University of the Philippines (U.P.) Faculty Regent Judy M. Taguiwalo, quoting Mr. Victor Lorenzo Villanueva of the office of Kabataan Partylist Rep. Raymond Palatino, the administration of President Benigno S. Aquino has submitted the proposed budget of the national government to Congress, which also includes the budget of the U.P. System.

      The Aquino Administration under Department of Budget and Management Secretary Florencio "Butch" Abad, has adopted a "zero-based budgeting" approach which essentially disregards a previous year's budgetary assumptions and forces the consumer of public funds (such as a government agency, a state university or a government controlled and owned corporation) to justify all elements of its budget from scratch. The net effect of such a unilateral action on the part of the Aquino administration, has been a drop in the proposed 2011 budget of the U.P. System by PhP 1.39B from the previous year. The U.P. System Budget was PhP 8.2 billion in 2009, PhP 6.9 billion in 2010 and PhP 5.5 billion in 2011.

      For the benefit of our readers, here is the link to the proposed 2011 budget of the U.P. System: http://www.dbm.gov.ph/NEP2011/SUCS/NCR/A.8.pdf

      This is to also to directly remind the members of the University of the Philippines Administration, whom we count as among our readers (although we admit that some of them may not exactly be our fans due to our non-stop coverage of rent-seeking behavior by government officials within the Diliman geographic area) that U.P.'s alternative sources of revenue need to be subjected to Commission on Audit (COA) oversight once and for all to ensure that these precious funds, in an era of dwindling budget funds from the National Government are not mysteriously "misplaced" or "lost" because the stakes are too high considering the welfare of our national university. The Diliman Diary has written extensively the tip of this potentially gargantuan iceberg on June 1, 2010 (http://diliman-diary.blogspot.com/2010/06/interlocking-directorates-between_20.html) and  August 1, 2010 (http://diliman-diary.blogspot.com/2010/08/coa-updates-diliman-diarys-readers.html).

      The Diliman Diary continues to pursue updates to this story as well as scores of others as part of our oversight function as citizen journalists. We also believe that the U.P. Administration will have to subsequently defend before Congress, during the 2011 budget hearings, the possible lack of its not granting cooperation to COA on the oversight over revenue generating entities such as private foundations utilizing U.P. and government facilities, considering the drastic cut in its proposed budget juxtaposed with the enormous donations and revenues collected through university-affiliated foundations, and which ultimatel defeats the principle of transparency.

      The previous complaints of COA were that they have not yet been granted access to these records. The Diliman Diary has requested COA for a copy of its consolidated audited annual report (CAAR) for 2009, to see if progress has been made regarding this problem, but this is not yet publicly available, so we are unable to determine if these foundations have already submitted themslves to COA oversight. However, the U.P. Administration can certainly clarify this before Congress, which has the power of the purse strings, if they have corrected this deficiency or not. The Diliman Diary promises to attend these budget hearings and submit the pertinent information to the members of Congress so that more light may be shed on this matter.

      (Chanda Shahani is the Editor of the Diliman Diary. He graduated with a bachelor of arts degree. in Comparative Literature from U.P. Diliman)

      PNoy Submits 2011 Proposed P1.645T Reform Budget to Congress

      Speaker Feliciano Belmonte, Jr. formally receives President Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III government's proposed 2011 P1.645T reform budget from Budget Secretary Florencio Abad in a simple turnover at the Speaker's office on March 24, 2010. Subsequently, the Speaker turned over the voluminous documents to House appropriations Chairman Joseph Emilio Abaya who vowed to work hard to pass the national budget before the year ends to avoid a reenacted budget. Witnessing the transmittal of the 2011 proposed General Appropriations act are Reps. Pangalian Balindong, Anna York Bondoc, Oscar Malapitan, Roberto Puno, Josephine Lacson-Noel, Gilbert Violago, Josefina Joson, Dakila Carlo Cua, Jocelyn Sy-Limkaichong, Thelma Almario, Zenaida Angping, Arturo Robes, Narciso Bravo, Nur Jaafar, Tomas Osmena and Edgar San Luis, among others (Source: http://www.dbm.gov.ph/index.php?pid=3&nid=2065).

      DBM Press Release, Wednesday, August 25, 2010

      President Benigno Simeon “Noynoy” C. Aquino III yesterday submitted to Congress the proposed National Budget of P1.645 trillion for 2011: the “Reform Budget,” which mirrors his commitment to lift the nation from poverty through honest and effective governance.

      On behalf of the President, DBM Secretary Florencio B. Abad on August 24, 2010 delivered the 2011 Budget of Expenditures and Sources of Financing and details of the spending plan to House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte, ahead of the constitutionally set deadline of August 25.

      In his budget message, President Aquino stressed that the spending plan was crafted after a thorough review of the government’s programs and projects, and after he and the Cabinet have arrived at priorities to address critical gaps in social services for the poorest of the poor.

      “The 2011 National Budget focuses funds where they are most needed and where these will yield the most benefits. We have redesigned the budget to ensure that every centavo will be put to good use,” he said, noting that the budgetary increase from 2010 is a meager 6.8%.

      The President said that the 2011 budget is anchored on these basic governance principles: transparency and accountability to make government productive; bias in allocating resources for the poor and the vulnerable; fiscal responsibility to reduce debt; public-private partnerships to spur growth despite lack of funds; and zero-based budgeting to prioritize activities with impact.

      Secretary Abad pointed out that P1.645 trillion, which represents 18.2% of gross domestic product (GDP), is a prudent level consistent with these governance principles the President set. He said a conservative 5% GDP growth rate is assumed even as government targets 7 to 8% growth.

      He said the budget deficit is expected to be reduced by 10.8% to P290 billion, or 3.2% of GDP as against 3.9% in 2010. This is in line with the goal to significantly reduce not only the budget deficit but also the public debt.

      “It would seem that we are reducing the size of the government, but what we are doing is to make government more relevant and responsive to the people,” he said.

      “Through the zero-based budgeting system, we were able to focus allocations on programs that are really intended to lift the lives and empower the poor. We are trimming the fat by phasing down programs where we think government has no business in doing or is bad at doing, including subsidy programs which apparently benefitted the rich instead of the poor,” the Budget Chief said.

      He explained that consistent with the goal to ensure ample education, public health, social protection, housing and land distribution for the poor, spending on the social services sector receives a significant share of P560.8 billion (34.1%) of the budget. Shares of other sectors are: debt burden (22.6%), economic services (22%), general public services (16.6%) and defense (4.7%)

      For instance, the budget of the Department of Education (DepEd), which continues to receive the highest budgetary allocation among all agencies, increases by 18.4% or P32.3 billion to P207.3 billion (12.6% of total budget). The increase—the largest in over a decade—is attributed to the construction of 13,147 classrooms and the creation of 10,000 teaching positions, among others.

      Meanwhile, the budget of the Department of Social Welfare and Development increased by 122.7% to P34.3 billion, primarily due to the increased provision for Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) to benefit 2.3 million households by the end of 2011.

      Relative to this, reforms in other subsidies were made: the DepEd’s food-for-school program was transferred to DSWD as it can better target beneficiaries; the Department of Agriculture’s input subsidies was reduced as it was found to have benefitted the rich; and the Kalayaan Barangay Program was eliminated as it is no longer effective. Savings were instead directed to the CCT, the DepEd scholarship program and the National Health Insurance Program.

      Aside from these reform-oriented decisions, other public finance reform measures were put in place in the 2011 budget. For one, some Special Purpose Funds have been gradually transferred back to the departments while others have been deactivated.

      Also, support for government operated and controlled corporations (GOCCs) has been reduced significantly to P23.3 billion (to 1.4% of the budget from 2.6% in 2010). This, while national government support to programs of problematic GOCCs like the National Food Administration, the Light Rail Transit and Metro Rail Transit Corporations, etc. are being studied.

      Responsible and prudent expenditure policies were also put in place in the 2011 proposed budget, such as: no creation of new positions except population-related positions such as teachers, uniformed and medical personnel; rationalization of allowances; a more limited increase for utilities, communications and supplies; no new building construction to prioritize completing construction; no acquisition of motor vehicles, among others.

      “This 2011 Reform Budget shows how President Aquino intends to pursue the fight he started during the campaign: Kung walang corrupt, walang mahirap (There is no poverty if corruption is eliminated),” Abad stressed.

      (Source: http://www.dbm.gov.ph/index.php?pid=3&nid=2065)

      Tuesday, August 24, 2010

      For all Filipino Citizens (and even those who are not): Briefer on the new website of the President of the Philippines

      (Source: http://www.gov.ph/, hosted at ASTI, U.P. Diliman)

      Briefer on the President's Website

      Prepared by the Presidential Communications Operations Office


      http://www.president.gov.ph/

      The Office of the President’s official website (http://www.president.gov.ph/) has been developed with the main intent which is to provide a feedback mechanism wherein the people can stay connected to the president and air their views. It is a platform wherein people can make their voices heard. It is an enabler wherein people can send a message to the president or any of his staff. The domain address of the President’s website has been changed from www.op.gov.ph to www.president.gov.ph to cater to our desire to be more attuned to the language that is used by the people.

      The Office of the President’s approach to New Media reflects the current trend in the use of available technology which is to engage and empower citizens not only in the online world but also offline. The website has been developed with a belief that people support what they help create. The website will be a partnership wherein content will be a shared responsibility between the president, the different government agencies, and the people.

      Here are the sections of the website:

      1. Three Key Banner Statements

      a. Piliin natin ang daang matuwid. – A people’s commitment to the nation.

      b. KAYO ang BOSS ko. – A personal commitment of P-Noy to the Filipino people.

      c. Iba na tayo ngayon, BAGONG PILIPINAS. – A leadership commitment towards rebuilding trust in government and weeding out corruption.

      2. Latest News – in this section, all the latest news that emanates from the Office of the President and related news on the activities of the President will be published. This can be in the form of text, link, photo or video.

      3. Panata sa Pagbabago – This section remains true to a vision of a Philippines with an empowered citizenry and where “people power” is harnessed towards nation-building and good citizenship – every Filipino can declare their “Panata” for change to the president and for everyone to see.

      4. My Cabinet – This section provides a listing of the president’s executive team.

      5. Photos and Videos – This section provides the photos and videos of the President’s activities.

      6. Tito Noy – This section shows a graphics design-driven page showing traditional Filipino values that we need to remember and teach our children—the future leaders of the country.

      7. Contact Us – This section allows every citizen to send a message to the President or his staff.

      8. Transparent Government – This section provides an avenue where both citizens and the different government agencies can exchange views on what a transparent government should look like and what the government is already doing to build transparency and good governance.

      Tips on how to lessen you personal carbon footprint from World Wildlife Fund Philippines

      (To enlarge the grahic, just click on it. Source: http://wwf.org.ph/howhelp.php)

      WWF Video: Coral Triangle: Nursery of the Seas 

      The 31st Manila International Book Fair: September 15-19, 2010 at SMX Convention Center

      (To enlarge the graphic, just click on it)

      The 31st Manila International Book Fair (MIBF): Words without Borders is one of the longest-running book fairs in Asia. For three decades now, the event has continuously contributed to the reading awareness of the Filipino people. It has become a venue for members of the book industry to address market demands – institutional buyers walk alongside bibliophiles, publishers' representatives negotiate their latest titles with booksellers, publishers promote their books with their authors and artists – all these under one roof.

      That's the Manila International Book Fair! Attended by over eighty thousand people, MIBF boasts of showcasing hundreds and thousand of books, magazines, periodicals, journals and other educational materials and equipment by 150 local and foreign exhibitors – it's the undisputed premiere book event in the country!
      To see the list of scheduled events, please click on this link: http://www.manilabookfair.com/schedule.htm

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