Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Typhoon Pedring UP Diliman Aftermath

Typhoon Pedring did not just reduce the Baywalk on Roxas Boulevard into rubble, it made UP Diliman a disaster zone as well.

Fallen tree branches were cleaned up as soon as it was possible to do so.  In one YouTube video taken by RJfromSD, one can see how destructive Typhoon Pedring was –not sparing of course the University Avenue and the academic oval we always see as clean and in order.

Yesterday, as photos from different people who live nearby UP Diliman and former students who still visit the university from time to time posted photos of the aftermath on social networking sites Twitter and Facebook.

As of 4 AM today, Typhoon Pedring is already moving northwest of Baguio City and by 11 AM it is officially moving away from the Philippines.

Suspension of classes today at U.P. Diliman

Advisory from the Office of the Chancellor: To facilitate on-going efforts to restore UPD back to normal status, classes at all levels are suspended on 28 Sept 2011 from 7am to 1pm. Please disseminate this advisory, Thank you.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Awitin Mo, Isasayaw Ko On October 2

On October 2nd, you can get your groove on at the Musikapella 2011 hosted by the UP Economics Society. The annual event will be held at the University of the Philippines Diliman’s University Theater.

Battling it out in this prestigious competition will be 12 of the capital region’s best high school chorales and they will be entertaining the judges and the audience with pinoy pop songs such as Macho Gwapito, Annie Batungbakal among other pinoy pop hits.

Musikapella is a major fundraiser for the UP Economics Society’s scholarship project. The event, now on its sixth year, is one of the most awaited choir competitions in the history of high schools in Metro Manila.

For inquiries please call Ticketworld at (63 2) 891- 9999.

Save Diliman Creek Program

Short AVP on the Save the Diliman Project under the Adopt-an-Estero Program of the Dept of Environment and Natural Resources. The project is a partnership of the EMB-DENR, Quezon City Government, Philippine Mine Safety and Environment Association (PMSEA) and Sagip Ilog Pilipinas Movement (SIPM). The project involves the 33 barangay communities along the Diliman Creek.

More response to Monsod: From UP Cebu Student Council

Response to Monsod

The UP Cebu dean’s ouster movement did not come from made-up stories and unfounded complaints. It is rooted from seven years of the dean’s patent autocratic leadership. The campaign was not launched and participated by only a handful. In fact, over 70% of UP Cebu constituents signed the manifesto in favour of Dr. Avila’s ouster. On March 8, 2011, UP Cebu held a one-day strike participated by hundreds of constituents.

Under the UP Charter provision on democratic governance in the University that should be based on collegiality, representation, accountability, transparency and active participation of its constituents, Dr. Avila failed to involve full participation in the design of the program of UP Cebu's autonomy.

The dean’s unpopular and recurring decision to abolish the high school was opposed not only by UP Cebu students and alumni but also by the Cebu community. UP Cebu high school provides quality and accessible education to poor but deserving students. To abolish the high school because it is non-income generating only proves that UP is geared towards trekking the road to commercialization where deserving kids from poor families do not have a place.

Dr. Avila proved his autocratic leadership when he granted non-voting members of the Executive Committee voting power to favourably cause the closure of the UP High School of the Professional Education Division (PED). Immediately after, the committee sent a proposal to abolish the high school to the Office of the University Chancellor. Without waiting for the Chancellor’s reply, the dean issued a memorandum directing the high school to stop accepting applicants. Worse, he issued another memorandum ordering the high school to request permission to hold all activities from the Office of the Dean to suppress further opposition from the constituents and the alumni.

Dr. Avila did not listen to his constituents despite the vehement calls for genuine leadership and democratic governance. Instead, he stood firm on his unilateral decision to remove the student representative from the Executive Committee. He even declared it as final and non-negotiable. He reasoned out that we were only following the 2006 Revised UP System Code wherein no student representative is in the committee. He also added that UP Cebu is the only campus in the UP system that has a student representative in the Execomm. Instead of viewing this as a problem, he should be proud. He is in the position to encourage other UP administrators to follow the example of UP Cebu and to include the students in its decision making so that we may march towards progress and democratic governance.

The student representative plays a vital role in representing the students, airing out their concerns and upholding their right to take part in the decision making of the college. With the sole representative of the students gone, how are we supposed to inform the administration of our problems? How is the college able to perform and march towards progress when it refuses to listen to its constituents?

Dr. Avila also hired then Supervising Administrative Officer Al-sidry Shariff despite his lack of credentials and complaints against him for qualified theft. He did not act on reported issues of harassment by Mr. Shariff against university staff and security guards.

We suggest that Prof. Monsod visit UP Cebu. She should take a look at the now defunct soccer field beside the Arts and Sciences building. Dean Avila has allowed the developer Green Peaks to dump their excavated material on the field without benefit for the college other than five trucks of garden soil. His non-action on the encroachment of Green Peaks on UP Cebu property now endangers the UP high school from land slide due to softening of the soil as caused by heavy rain.

But the last straw was the retrenchment of the 15 guards. We could not understand how his administration could dare to do it to honest and hardworking men who worked for years to ensure the safety of UP Cebu constituents. The winning bidder was willing to absorb all 15 guards. Even UP Cebu Security Committee Chairperson Prof. Karl Roque was supportive of the retention of the UP guards. Dean Avila and his crony Supervising Administrative Officer Al-Sidry Shariff, however, refused the retention of the 15 UP guards for the unfounded reason of inefficiency. Such excuse to terminate the UP guards was clearly shallow and can readily be remedied. Moreover, the replacement of guards does not necessarily ensure efficiency.

The students of UP Cebu urge Prof. Monsod to not base her assertions on few documents provided by one party only. As a professor who served the university for 40 years, she should be sensible enough to ask for documents from both parties so she could formulate her opinions scientifically. We challenge Prof. Monsod to know all the things behind every complaint filed by UP Cebu constituents against Dr. Avila. It is clear; however, that Prof. Monsod’s stand on Dr. Avila’s dismissal as dean is driven by her utter dislike to the new UP President Alfredo E. Pascual.

UP Cebu Student Council 2011-2012
Nagkahiusang Kusog sa Estudyante (NKE)
League of Filipino Students (LFS)- UP Cebu
UP Cebu students

Sunday, September 25, 2011

A quote from Solita C. Monsod's "Unworthy of U.P."

Editor's note: We are doing our best to relay both sides of the story on the issue of the dismissal of U.P. Cebu College Dean Enqique C. Avila, retired U.P. Diliman College of Business Administration Professor Eresnto C. Pineda and U.P. College Budget Officer Alsidry Sharif. We have also given the side of the complainants as embodied in the letter of Phoebe Maria U. Sanchez which the Diliman Diary has uploaded as well (pls. see: Excerpts from the column of School of Economics Professor are embedded below:

"As far as I am concerned, the structural message of the Abueva, Nemenzo and Roman letter was that their successor, incumbent president Alfredo E. Pascual, did not exercise the required circumspection and fairness, thus their letter to the BOR. Nemenzo’s position is particularly significant because he served as Roman’s program development adviser on Cebu, and the new president kept him in that post. The bombshell is that he just recently resigned from it (per the UP grapevine), presumably prior to signing the letter. One bombshell after another—at least for the UP community."

"Did Pascual exercise circumspection and fairness? My previous column noted that he approved the Administrative Disciplinary Tribunal’s (the ADT) recommendation of dismissal from service on the same day that he received it (Aug. 26). The letter to Avila announcing his summary dismissal was sent on the same day."

Read the rest here.

A rebuttal to Prof. Solita Monsod's "Kicked out on trumped-up charges"

By Phoebe Zoe Maria U. Sanchez

The Reader’s Advocate
Philippine Daily Inquirer

Dear Madam/Sir:

In her article, “Kicked out on trumped-up charges,” published in the September 17 issue of the Inquirer, UP Diliman professor and Inquirer columnist Solita Collas-Monsod made gross misrepresentations and baseless assertions, bordering on malice.

I do not only disagree with her irresponsible opinion which for the most part seemed to merely echo the defense legal brief. As one of the original teacher-complainants against Dr. Enrique Avila, defendant in UP ADT Case No. 2011-01, I also question Collas-Monsod’s integrity in accusing us and other UP officials of making trumped-up charges against Avila.

By her accusation, Collas-Monsod is implying that: our witnesses lied under oath, we fabricated our evidence, and UP officials ignored the basic tenets of due process despite the possibility of judicial review.

According to her, “the guilty verdicts were handed down by an Administrative Disciplinary Tribunal (ADT) after only four days of hearings, one of which was devoted to procedural matters.” This is misleading.

The contextual fact is, on March 17, 2011, a complaint sworn under oath was filed against Avila, Ernesto Pineda and Alsidry Sharif by seven teachers and two workers of UP Cebu (two teachers joined later in the amended complaint). On March 30, both parties were heard during a preliminary investigation hearing. Nearly two months later, on May 26, probable cause was found on six of the 11 charges in the complaint.

None of the six charges that were elevated to the ADT relate to the following issues that Collas-Monsod speculated on in her column as having to do with Avila and Pineda’s dismissal from service: the planned closure of UP High School Cebu, removal of student representation in the college’s executive committee, streamlining and rationalizing of course offerings and curricula, changing the campus security guards, among others.

On May 30, the respondents were served notice of their 90-day preventive suspension. The administrative tribunal marathon hearings were held on July 13-15, which was scheduled for almost the entire working hours of each day. This covered procedural matters, presentation of prosecution witnesses to attest to the veracity of their judicial affidavits, cross-examination by the defense, and examination of physical evidence. On July 26, another hearing was scheduled, this time in UP Manila where Avila and Pineda were supposed to present their witnesses who were based in Manila.

The entire process followed faithfully the spirit and letter of our administrative disciplinary procedures, specifically the Uniform Rules on Administrative Cases in the Civil Service (URACCS) – for a “speedy, fair and judicious disposition of cases.” Notably, no categorical objections were raised by Avila and Pineda’s defense counsel on most procedural matters, and they even manifested from the start that they too reject dilatory tactics. Yet they also asked the Court of Appeals to issue a Temporary Restraining Order to stop the administrative disciplinary process – to no avail.

On August 31, about a month after the termination of the hearings and formal investigation (even past the 15-day period prescribed by the URACCS), the ADT found Avila guilty of gross neglect of duty and Pineda guilty of grave misconduct. They were found to have violated rules and regulations in the disposition of University property when they granted, without compensation to UP, a request by a private condominium developer to use a portion of UP property as temporary facility site and to dump excavated construction soil at the campus football field; that with unusual dispatch Pineda recommended approval, Sharif favorably endorsed and Avila approved the request, all in three days!

Avila was also found guilty of grave misconduct, this time for appointing an unqualified person (Pineda, who is only a lecturer/consultant at UP Cebu) in a Bids and Awards Committee of the college, in violation of Sec. 11 of R.A. 9184. Also, he was found guilty of gross neglect of duty for using tuition increment in paying for personnel bonus. Pineda was likewise found guilty of gross neglect of duty for purchasing materials and causing the repair of two buildings in the college without public bidding and through the shopping (reimbursement) method sans sufficient justification.

Thus, contrary to Collas-Monsod’s claims, Avila and Pineda were kicked out not “for doing their jobs too well” (to use her words). They were kicked out in the regular course of the administrative disciplinary process that found them guilty of those specific charges which already form part of the records of this case and which, curiously, Collas-Monsod seemed to have deliberately missed out in her column.

Collas-Monsod wrote that aside from plowing through documents provided by Avila and Pineda, she also talked to university colleagues in Diliman and in Cebu. Whom did she talk to in UP Cebu? I challenge her to name her sources, or at least to identify them by affiliation.

I also challenge Collas-Monsod to come to UP Cebu and spend some time to look at the physical (object) evidence, examine our case documents, and immerse with the UP Cebu faculty, staff and students. She should not simply rely on the say-so of accessible or tainted sources – like Avila’s former underling Prof. Raymund Fernandez. From the start of this issue, Fernandez has been unethically and shamelessly using his column space in Cebu Daily News (an Inquirer affiliate) to defend Avila, without disclosing to his readers the underlying personal and professional interests he has in the outcome of this case.

Thank you very much.

Yours sincerely,

Prof. Phoebe Zoe Maria U. Sanchez
Assistant Professor 7
Social Sciences Division
University of the Philippines Cebu

Saturday, September 24, 2011

NCPAG Student Council 2011-2012 Official Statement of Solidarity Against Systemic State Abandonment

NCPAG SC 2011-2012 Official Statement of Solidarity Against Systemic State Abandonment

In the heat of UP striking back together with other State Universities and Colleges, the Student Council of the NCPAG Student Government joins the call for greater state subsidy. We are one in solidarity with the demand against systemic state abandonment of education and other social services.

The NCPAG Student Council, however, must clarify our non-usage of the term "budget cut" as to comply with proper terminologies discussed in the field of Public Administration, as the term budget is associated with the already formally legislated appropriations as opposed to what is commonly referred to budget proposal.

Despite this difference in semantics, we still stand among appalled students as we express our dismay against the blatant lack of importance that the Aquino administration is giving the education sector.

The NCPAG Student Council believes that investing in education is tantamount to investing in human capital development. The government has no excuse to not subsidize education, especially the State Universities and Colleges, when there are various way to realign the budget to augment the one for budget for it to meet the internationally recommended standards.

The proposed 2012 budget accounts for only 3.17% of our GNP, just a little over half of UNESCO's recommended 6%. As such, the NCPAG Student Council also supports the call for the legislation of the automatic appropriation of six percent of the country's GNP to the education budget.

We, iskolars and aktibistas of the nation, stand in solidarity as we demand for our right to greater state subsidy.


Friday, September 23, 2011

U.P. Diliman Recyclables Fair

Isko Cleans UP and Ayala Foundation invite you to turn your TRASH into CASH
in the sem-ender UP-Ayala Recyclables Fair

Thursday, 29 September 2011 - Sampaguita Residence Hall Parking Lot
Thursday, 6 October 2011 - College of Engineering, Melchor Hall Lawn - with the Engineering Student Council (ESC)

You may sell the following items:
E-wastes, ink cartridges, paper, plastic and metal

For proper disposal only:
Tarpaulin, household batteries, polystyrene (Styrofoam), mobile phones and chargers.

Join the Isko Cleans UP Facebook page for the price list and latest updates.

* This event is open to ALL, including non-UP students.

UP Isko Cleans UP (ICU) is a student-led movement supported by the Office of the Vice-Chancellor for Community Affairs and student organizations. Its main objective is to turn the University of the Philippines-Diliman, the flagship campus of the premiere state university, to be a zero-waste, self-sustaining campus by June 2011. This project is based on the Ecological Solid Waste Management (SWM) Act (Republic Act 9003).

For inquiries, please contact JD at 0919-219-7576, Vicky at 0915-213-1238, or email

Skype: ahnnabanana

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Mat Project for the UP Pep Squad

By Eloi Hernandez

Grace Gregorio and I are spearheading this project so our champion team can train on new mats. Each mat (1mx1m) costs P900+ and the team needs 300 pcs. We are soliciting pledges for the MAT Project. If you want to show your appreciation to the UP Pep Squad, you can certainly express it by making a pledge now.

Thank you!

Please make deposits to Banco de Oro (BDO). Account name UP Varsity Pep Squad, CA #1078012117, Pls take a photo of or scan the deposit slip and email to

Grace Gregorio is the former Vice Chancellor for Community Affairs for UP Diliman. She is an associate professor at the Institute of Chemistry and teaches Spanish also. I am an associate professor at the Department of Art Studies. We are also known as MamG and MamE to a lot of UP varsity kids and UP Pep “mommies.”


The Diliman Diary donated PhP 5000.00 today for new practice mats for the U.P. Pep Squad. Attached is the response of Professor Gregorio. We encourage other interested individuals, including U.P. alumni to do likewise:

Dear Chanda,

I am with the UP Pep Squad right now and Coach Lala thanks Diliman Diary profusely for the generous donation. These mats will not only benefit the present squad but as well as future champions.

Thank you for your very prompt response. This means a lot to the team. More power! UP Fight!

Grace Gregorio

Sent from my iPhone

On Sep 21, 2011, at 6:49 PM, diliman diary <> wrote:

Dear Ma'am:

This is to confirm the donation by the Diliman Diary of PhP 5000.00 for new practice mats for the U.P. Squad. As a U.P. alumnus, I am very proud of our team!

The deposit slip is attached here as a file.

Thank you very much.

Sincerely yours,

Mr. Chanda R. Shahani 
Mabuhay! Have a Great Day!
Chanda R. Shahani
The Diliman Diary


As of September 22, 2011, donations for 277 out of the required  300 mats have been obtained, so additional donations are welcome for that final kick to cross the finish line!


As of September 23, 2011, the entire amount of PhP 300,000.00 has been raised already, but the U.P. Pep Squad has a need for further expenses, so potential donors please contact the contact persons above for more information.

2012 U.P. Budget Cut Protests: Freeze Mob at Tambulang Bayan.avi


September 21-23, 2011
Palma Hall (AS STEPS)
College of Social Sciences and Philosophy
University of the Philippines Diliman


Tuesday, September 20, 2011

UP Diliman Strikes Back, Continuous Run At UP Diliman from 6am to 6pm

Today at the University of the Philippines Diliman, UP students and alumni are running around the academic oval as a sign of protest against Noynoy Aquino’s UP budget cut.

UP is striking back for a higher budget and as always the means of doing so is quite different. This time, UP decided that there will be continuous running around the academic oval from 6 in the morning to 6 in the evening.

 The budget for the university has always been a big issue not only in recent times but also during past administrations. What is sad is, it is not only quality education that is being sacrificed because of the budget cut but also affordable health services. The Philippine General Hospital (PGH) is also dependent on the budget allotted for the University of the Philippines.

The Diliman Diary forays into the PSE's Stock Market Trading Game as part of its financial education advocacy

By Chanda Shahani

Announcement: As part of the Diliman Diary's advocacy in promoting financial literacy for beginners, we are announcing today the launch of a new blog entitled "Asian Equities" and we will also be launching our own index named "Diliman Diary Index (Philippines)" whose performance is intended to be matched with the Philippine Stock Exchange Index

By September 30, 2011 we will open a new virtual trading account with PhP 1 million in virtual money under the Philippine Stock Exchange's Stock Trading Game. Our portfolio  will be named Diliman Diary Index (Philippines). We hope to track our performance versus the Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi). We hope to do this as part of our advocacy in promoting financial literacy in Asian stock markets. Since I am based in the Philippines, I will first start with Philippine stocks, but plan to include more Asian countries as time goes by (these will be named as an index after each additional country). Changes to the portfolio will be done utilizing the principles of fundamental investing and due to time constraints, will only be done only on a monthly basis. We plan to update our analysis of stocks on a weekly basis.

We will be making more announcements on our planned series free basic financial  seminars to be held in the Diliman area. Abangan!

To enlarge the graphic, just click on it
Readers will notice that the portfolio is currently trading at a loss; but this is not a problem from a fundamental trader's perspective with months and years as the relevant time horizon. This short list of stocks was arrived at by employing only one financial screen (we computed for positive alpha stocks with betas higher than one) and is admittedly extremely arbitrary since we need to employ more additional screens that will add more rigor to the stock selection process. We will do this as a process of discovery with our readers, and will appreciate any feedback. Nevertheless, our vision is to show to the average reader that fundamental investing is neither speculation nor gambling, and that one's personal wealth can be compounded on a continuous basis by setting aside a fixed amount every month (no matter how small) which can be put into stocks which will let your wealth appreciate without your having to work extremely hard for this.

There is one caveat, however. Financial literacy assumes that its practitioners have the discipline to do some basic research on stocks and other financial instruments on their own. Our blog, Asian Equities is intended to be your virtual companion as you embark on your own journey to financial independence; and we will strive to impart the basic tools. Our blog will also serve as a constantly evolving reference as we continue to update our research findings about the Asian stock market. We theefore encourage you to check out our new blog, Asian Equities.

(Chanda Shahani is an A.B. Comparative Literature graduate from U.P. Diliman. He has a Master in Entrepreneurship (M.E.) degree from the Asian Institute of Management (AIM) and is a former business reporter from the Philippine STAR).

Monday, September 19, 2011

Ms. Universe 3rd Runner-up Shamcey Supsup: From U.P. Diliman to the People

Ms. Universe 3rd Runner-up Shamcey Supsup paid a courtesy call today to U.P. President Alfredo E. Pascual and various U.P. officials in Quezon Hall, U.P. Diliman. Ms. Supsup graduated B.S. Architecture (magna cum laude) from U.P. Diliman and topped the architectural board exams.

Photo from U.P. System Information Office
Photo from U.P. System Information Office

From U.P. Diliman, Ms. Supsup proceeded to her high school alma mater, Makati High School, and then on to Ayala Avenue. Despite the fact that Ms. Supsup did not bag the Miss Universe crown, she emerged as a winner in the eyes of her countrymen and women who view her as, in the words of U.P. President Alfredo E. Pascual, "a combination of brains and beauty." Equally important to those in U.P. Diliman was that she faced a critical board of judges in San Paolo, Brazil, and stood up for a principle she believed in, which was to proclaim strongly her faith as taking precedence over the choice of a significant other and that that significant other had to conform to the principles of her faith, if he truly loved her. But this answer also resonated outside U.P. Diliman, throughout the deeply Catholic Philippines where openly proclaiming faith in one's Lord is its own victory; a victory that is as old as Christianity itself.

In Ayala Avenue throngs of crowds waited to greet her with emotion and excitement - and pride - and joy.

Moreover, Ms. Supsup has declared that when her 18 month contract is over, she wants to return to the University of the Philippines at Diliman and teach, as her way of returning something back to the country that subsidized her U.P. education. This move strikes a deep chord among U.P. graduates, where a culture of service to the country is ingrained in its graduates. In so doing, Ms. Supsup follows in the footsteps of other academically accomplished U.P. graduates such as Mikaela Irene Fudolig, the youngest summa cum laude in U.P. Diliman's history who is now teaching at U.P. Diliman's Institute of Physics and John Gabriel Pelias, a summa cum laude from U.P. Diliman with the highest grade point average on record, who is now teaching at the Institute of Mathematics at U.P. Diliman.

Ms. Supsup's plans to teach at her alma mater, in an era of massive budget cuts to her alma mater from the administration of President Benigno S. Aquino would be unsettling, if it was not already established that she is motivated beyond mere financial considerations; as she could easily earn large amounts of money by devoting most of her time to the private sector. This is especially poignant, since the budget proposed by the U.P. System to the Aquino Adminsitration was PhP 17 billion, but it has now been reduced to PhP 5.1 billion by the Department of Budget and Management in its submission of the entire national budget to Congress.

U.P. President Alfredo Pascual has argued that U.P. should not be treated as a cost, but as an investment in the country's future, which along with other State Univesities and Colleges produces thousands of qualified and competent graduates who can help in the country's national development.

Picture of slogan taken at Shopping Center, U.P. Diliman protesting the 2011 U.P. budget cuts
(Remaining pictures and text by Chanda Shahani)

UP Pep Squad Takes Home The Crown, UP Students and Alumni Jubilant

Supporters of the UP Pep Squad may want to dye their hair blonde because the squad took home the crown for the cheerdance competition.

Photo Via

The Pep Squad’s performance was flawless, intense and original –a homage to the Queen of Pop Madonna, done for the first time in the history of the UAAP. One can’t really miss the Pep Squad even when not blonde but their matching hair made quite an impact to the audience and obviously to the judges of the competition. This of course is not the reason why they won though because no one can deny that their stunts are just, for lack of a better term, awesome.

With Shamcey Supsup, an alumna of the university being the 3rd runner up in the recent Miss Universe pageant and the UP Pep Squad winning the cheerdance competition, UP people are in a celebratory mood. The mood is not only felt inside the university though but also in the infamous group Taga UP Diliman Ka Kung (TUDKK) where everyone seems to be talking about either Supsup’s answer or the blondeness of the Pep Squad. 

The Catholic Position on the RH Bill: Call to Prayer

Editor's note: Even though we support the RH bill editorially, we are nevertheless posting the link below which supports opposing the RH bill. We do this in the interests of providing as much balanced coverage on any issue as possible. The Diliman Diary welcomes all points of view and all perspectives, and readers are encouraged to email us at: Attention: The Editor.

Read the rest here:

Saturday, September 17, 2011

[HD] UAAP Cheerdance Competition 2011 - UP Pep Squad

Dulaang Laboratory / PULSES

Dulaang Laboratoryo presents


a new play inspired by people living with HIV

Written by Icarus & Iscariot
Direction by Pat Valera

Sept. 22, 23 & 24, 2011
Teatro Hermogenes Ylagan (THY), Faculty Center
University of the Philippines Diliman

"PULSES is a play that weaves personal accounts, monologues, scenes, songs and poems. By creating a tapestry of whispers, cries and clamor, PULSES is a play that asks everyone to be aware - and to understand. It is a prayer for love, hope and acceptance."

Friday, September 16, 2011

Letter from the Student Regent: Invitation for all professors to strike!

16 September 2011


Dear professor,

Next week is strike week, the highlight of this season’s campaign for greater state subsidy. Our unities are now beyond opposition to this year’s P800 million UP budget cut. Through sharp analysis, we have interwoven the many concerns of state college and universities and the school sector and now stand against the chronic education crisis.

In response, student councils and organizations, multisectoral alliances Kilos Na Laban sa Budget Cut and Ugnayan ng Mamamayan Para sa Karapatan sa Edukasyon (Umaksyon) across the UP system have agreed to conduct alternative activities and massive mobilizations to heighten the atmosphere of protest in the university. We will strike with utmost vigor especially on Wednesday, the anniversary of the declaration of Martial Law. We invite you to participate in the following activities:

Tuesday, 20 September
 9-12 NN – forum on the budget with Chancellor Saloma and system officials

Wednesday, 21 September
AM – college walkouts and programs
1130 AM – march along acad oval and declaration of strike
PM – common program at AS steps
6-8PM – interactive fashion show
8-11PM – film showing and cultural night        

Thursday, 22 September
AM - Alternative classes (AKLAS) at AS
1-5PM – station of the cuts, per sector situationer
6-11pm – retro night “Walastik, dehins sa cuts repapapips”    

Friday, 23 September
7AM – almusalang bayan
9 AM – march to Mendiola

Tuesday, 20 September
Teach-ins, educational discussions       

Wednesday, 21 September
3PM – dodgeball event against budget cut        

Thursday, 22 September
AM – solidarity program
LUNCH – common program at PGH; boodle fight
PM – film showing; cultural night with smores bonfire             

Friday, 23 September
AM – morning exercises; solidarity program
10AM – march to Mendiola

Tuesday, 20 September
10 AM – Forum on budget hearings with Rep. Mong Palatino  

Wednesday, 21 September
Discussion groups on UP, education and youth situation           

Thursday, 22 September
6-9 PM – “Camp  fire”, a culminating activity of different sectors         

Friday, 23 September
Black shirt day
AM – ecumenical service, org activities
LUNCH – boodle fight
PM – march against the cuts

Los Banos         
Tuesday, 20 September
Visual, cyber and verbal prop 

Wednesday, 21 September
Black shirt day
AM – mob on Martial Law anniversary              

Thursday, 22 September
AM – prop action
PM – film showing; videos on the budget cut to be aired during class days            

Friday, 23 September
Solidarity program

Visayas (Iloilo and Miag-ao)                                    
Thursday, 22 September
10 AM – All-Panay SUCs student leaders press conference       

Friday, 23 September
Black shirt day
PM –big protest in Iloilo City with other schools

Wednesday, 21 September
PM – multisectoral mobilization at city proper                             

Friday, 23 September
PM – consultation with President Pascual
5 PM – Candlelighting

Thursday, 22 September
Cultural activities at the atrium
LUNCH – solidarity program             

Tentative schedules subject to adjustment.

May we note two shared activities where we specially need your help:
1)     Black or no to budget cut shirt days – We call on all sectors to display personal solidarity. Free t-shirt printing is available in Diliman, Manila and Los Banos; please bring your own shirts. Some organizations are also distributing merchandise at cost.
2)     Teach-ins, alternative class discussion – We hope to gather as many students as possible in the spirit of community teaching, and in search for holistic and responsive learning.
     a) Would you be amenable to sending your classes for alternative lectures? Kilos Na and Umaksyon teams would be glad to take them on.
     b) Could you bear the inconvenience of relocating your classes outside? We encourage all professors to conduct regular classes in the common areas if feasible (AS in Diliman, Los Banos and Manila, main lobby in Baguio).
Please do not hesitate to initiate your own actions to complement this schedule, to reach the widest audience for our campaign. In the midst of this crisis, we hope to be part of the solution by pursuing an education that is truly democratic, scientific, and geared towards serving the nation.

In solidarity and with thanks,

Maria Kristina Conti
Student Regent

Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago's Pick-up lines

University of the Philippines President reveals two-pronged strategy to cement U.P.'s status as First among Equals

By Chanda Shahani

University of the Philippines (U.P.) President Alfredo E. Pascual revealed yesterday a two-pronged strategy to cement U.P.'s status as the country's premier university during his investiture speech during rites held on September 15, 2011 at the University Theater at U.P., Diliman.

Pascual said that academic excellence and operational excellence were the two main strategies that would bring back to its customary role as first among equals of other Philippine universities

He said that academic excellence entails developing students, researchers, staff and faculty members into “a pool of responsible and competent leaders who create world-class innovative and practical technologies that can address the problems of the country with food, energy, environment, industrial development, livelihood and employment; who produce creative works that can uplift the spirit of our people and articulate the essence of our culture and national identity; and who conduct exemplary extension services that can transform our communities.”

As regards operational excellence, Pascual said that it is achievable only through administrative efficiency and financial sustainability, the quickest approach of which is to put in place “an integrated information and communication system that will tie our units together into one UP.”

Recognizing the need to have decision-making based on accurate and real-time information, he said that UP will soon launch the e-UP which will interconnect and harmonize ICT systems and infrastructure across all UP campuses.

Pascual explained that U.P., would only succeed with “the support staff, alumni, students and with the grace of God.” He added that while U.P. was once a great center of learning in Asia, “comparative surveys now show that U.P.'s preeminent position has failed.”

“U.P.'s path of greatness lies not just in the past but beyond,” he said, adding that U.P.'s role in national development was critical in helping to tackle problems which have resisted solutions for decades. “The magnitude is daunting.”

The remaking of U.P. as a great university can only be achieved with the collective labor of everybody involved, he said. “There is one U.P., seven (7) constituent universities and one autonomous college – but still One U.P.,” he said.

That One U.P. is actually enormous. Pascual said that the entire U.P. System is made up of 5000 faculty, 50,000 students , 10,000 staff and 260,000 alumni.

As the country's only national university, U.P. has to lead the country to national development and global competitiveness, he said. U.P.'s academic excellence were critical in solving the problems besetting the country, he said and called for students, researchers, and faculty to be combined into a pool of operational excellence.

Pascual identified mission critical areas for research for U.P. and the nation in the areas of food, energy, industrial development, livelihood, and creative works (national cultures and extension services).

Speaking amidst applause from a mostly U.P. audience, Pascual reminded them that U.P.'s track record of excellence remained: with 37 national scientists out of 39 being from U.P.; and with having 20 centers of academic excellence as certified by the Commission on Higher Education and Development. He also said that the U.P. faculty had the most number of publications in international and refereed publications

“But we can do more,” Pascual said. He said that he wanted to see more Iskos or Iskolar ng Bayans “regardless of economic status.”

“We need to review the U.P. College Admissions test (UPCAT) and the Socialized Tuition and Financial Assistance Program (STFAP) as well as improve scholarship programs,” he said. Pascual also tacitly acknowledged the seminal speech on the diminishing character of the University of the Philippines given on June 25, 2010 by former Faculty Regent Judy M. Taguiwalo at U.P. Diliman when he stressed that U.P. needed to take more steps “to improve the public character of the university.”

To buttress his point, Pascual said that U.P.'s general education program has to be improved so that ethics, civics, public and national concerns were included. It was also necessary to “give the students a global orientation,” he said. U.P. must also expose students to the basic tenets of entrepreneurship through business enterprises,” he added.

Amidst applause from the audience, Pascual said that U.P. will also finance advanced studies for junior faculty and provide educational materials. He said that it was important to confer the recognition of professors emeriti only from among the most outstanding professors in their fields.

Referring indirectly to U.P.'s inadequate budgetary allocation as submitted by the Department of Budget and Management to Congress, Pascual said that government support for U.P. should “not be regarded as an expense but as an investment that yields copious dividends for the country and the people.”

“Education should be accessible to the people and this is not because we have as reputation to protect, but because we have a country he said,” to warm applause from the audience.

In terms of strategic initiatives the land assets of U.P. needed to be maximized in a optimal manner, he said. There needs to be a proper appreciation of all properties and a master development plan for resource generation for the entire U.P. System is being worked on,” he said.

He also referred to the issue of intellectual property as the BOR has approved the revised UP intellectual property rights policy.

On the issue of raising resources independent of the budget from the national government, Pascual said the process of bringing a viable research finding from the laboratory to the market needs acceleration so that U.P. can better be able to generate resources to fulfill is mandate.

Pascual, a former Alumni Regent on U.P.'s Board of regents, said “there will be a seamless partnership between U.P. and the U.P. Alumni network in the service of the university. He said that the Univesity of the Philippines Charter of 2008 (R.A. 9500) granted 150% tax deductibility to donations to U.P., and “this can be considered a material inducement to prospective donors.”

Stressing the need for higher state subsidy, Pascual stressed, “Government financial support for UP is not an expense, but an investment that will yield copious dividends for our country and people.”

“We must continue to demand increases in state subsidy for (the University of the Philippines), increases in the pay of our faculty and staff, and the upgrading of our facilities deserving of a national university,” he said.

He said that the UP community will not waver in the efforts “to restore UP to its preeminent status in the world of higher education and to ensure that the education it offers is accessible to the least of our people.”

“As the national university, UP must lead our country toward true national development and global competitiveness while nurturing the spirit of our nationhood,” he said.

Another project is the Green UP which aims, among others, “to make…campuses environment-friendly while saving on the cost of utilities, such as electricity and water.”

 Describing the ideal that would lead to the formation of young minds from the bellows and forges of a U.P. experience, Pascual quoted from Murray Bartlett, the first U.P. President and an American, who stressed on December 20, 1911 that:

"The atmosphere of this place must be filled with those great ideals that throughout the pages of history have been the true cause of greatness of men and nations. The real wealth of the country is not to be found in its material resources, but in the strength and courage of its manhood and the purity of its womanhood. The university must be a training ground for the development of character. Our alma mater is not to breed aristocrats, but unselfish workers for the common good."

In his speech, the U.P. President also quoted from Jose P. Rizal's "Letter to the Women of Malolos," written on February 22, 1899, where Rizal urged the women of Malolos to: 

"Awaken and prepare the mind of the child for every good and desirable idea – love for honor, sincere and firm character, clear mind, clean conduct, noble action, love for one’s fellow men, respect for God – teach this to your children. And because life is full of sorrows and perils, fortify their character against any difficulty, strengthen their hearts against any danger. The country should not expect honor and prosperity so long as the education of the children is defective, so long as the women who raise the children are enslaved and ignorant. Nothing can be drunk in a turbid and bitter spring. No sweet fruit can be picked from a sour seed"
Drawing the analogy between the past and the present, the U.P. President went on to praise such U.P. Diliman graduates as John Gabriel Pelias, who has had the highest grade point average of U.P. Diliman summa cum laude graduates and who went on to serve his country by returning to U.P. to teach. He also praised the 2011 Miss Universe beauty contestant, U.P. Diliman graduate Shamcey Supsup who graduated magna cum laude and who topped the architectural board exams. He called her a combination of "brains and beauty."

Pascual said that U.P. students' ingenuity were at the forefront of their being able to maximize their learning experiences at U.P. despite antiquated facilities and a lack of resources.

(Chanda Shahani is the editor of the Diliman Diary. He has an A.B. Comparative Literature degree from U.P Diliman and a Master in Entrepreneurship (M.E.) degree from the Asian Institute of Management. He is also a former business page reporter of the Philippine STAR).

Mandala Art & Contraceptives For Sexual Health in UP Diliman

Sex and Sensibilities or SAS together with DKT Reproductive Health will be holding a contest for mandala art to promote the use of contraceptives. The contest and the workshop will be held on September 26th to the 28th at the University of the Philippines Diliman. A cash prize is at stake but the main purpose of the group is to promote sexual health to the general public.

According to SAS, about 100 students from the university are expected to participate in the contest and their art will be mainly made out of birth control pills and Frenzy condoms –a rather interesting take on a very sensitive issue.

To register you mail contact +63917-851-0209 or +63917-836-0345 from September 1-22, 2011 or send an email to You may also follow @dash_of_sas on Twitter.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

UP MOA sets tone for new UP satellite campus at Bonifacio Global City

UP Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) sets the tone for new UP satellite campus at Bonifacio Global City.

Follow the story here:

Philippines Bases Conversion and Development Authority - News

Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago on the RH bill

"Experts estimate that it will cost government some P3 billion a year to implement the RH law. This is considered modest. In the context of promoting development in less developed countries, the higher cost-benefit ratio is obtained from family planning programs than from infrastructures investment. Similar hardware requirements for development are more lumpy, time-consuming, and demand longer gestation periods."

"The RH cost of P3 billion a year is only one-seventh, or 14.3 percent, of the P21 billion cost of the Conditional Cash Transfer program. The two programs should be compared. On the one hand, the RH program is self-targeting, meaning that typically, it is the poor who self-select to obtain RH services which they cannot afford on their own. The RH program is simpler and less costly to administer."

Read the rest here.

To also read the account of former U.P. College of Law Dean Raul C. Pangalangan's account of Senator Santiago's lecture today at Malcolm Hall, U.P. College of Law on the RH bill,please click on this link:

Miriam: Whoever says ‘darling, let us procreate’?

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Population and Economic Growth: Hans Rosling Lecture at UP Diliman

Hans Rosling, the statistician and public speaker behind Gapminder foundation will be holding a public lecture in UP Diliman at the School of Economics Auditorium, this Friday, September 16. Hans Rosling’s passion has been to make data, the facts that make up our human world, transparent to the layperson. Hans Rosling’s Gapminder foundation has created beautiful data visualization tools to bring out the stories hidden in large datasets. He will be talking about Population and Economic Growth, a topic which is very relevant to the Reproductive Health bill issue facing the country.

When: Friday, September 16, 8:30 AM
Where: UP Diliman, School of Economics Auditorium

Mr. Rosling is known to be a riveting public speaker. Here is a recent video of one of his TED talks on population growth:

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Miss Universe 2011 3rd Runner Up- MISS PHILIPPINES Shamcey Supsup - Q & A ;)

In time-honored U.P. tradition, Ms. Shamcey Supsup takes a stand - and pays the price for sticking up for her convictions. Thank you Shamcey for telling us that you want to do the right thing (by your system of beliefs) and damn the torpedoes!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Film Showing & Anti Human Trafficking Forum at UP Diliman’s NCPAG

There will be a forum on human trafficking on the 15th of September from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm at the National College of Public Administration and Governance’s audio visual room located on the second floor of the NCPAG building.  The film showing and the forum will focus on human trafficking within the Philippines and ways for citizens to help in the fight against the illegal trade.

Human Trafficking: A Global PerspectiveSex Trafficking: A Global PerspectiveMore Than Rice: A journey through the underworld of human trafficking

Although human trafficking is a big problem worldwide, the number of Filipinos being trafficked has grown in the past few years - trafficking of women and children being the most rampant. More often than not, trafficked human beings are traded for the purposes of sexual exploitation, reproductive slavery, and forced labor also known as modern day slavery.

An international agreement called the Trafficking Protocol was adopted by the United Nations Organization in the year 2000 to help stop human trafficking.

Rating University Quality

Editor's note: We received the following email from former University of the Philippines in the Visayas Chancellor Flor Lacanilao. We are posting this in view of its timeliness and newsworthiness regarding the topic of U.P.'s heroic attempts to buttres its international standings in research:
"Sharing my posted comment on the article in today's Inquirer (copied below) about university rankings:

The only way to start improving education in the country is to appoint people properly trained for the job. And the easiest way to find out if one has made any major contributions to one's field is with the ISI data base called Web of Knowledge. You can get nearly the same information (published papers and citations) from Google Scholar, by counting only those published in peer-reviewed international journals -- those covered in Science Citation Index and Social Sciences Citation Index

You will be surpised to learn that nearly all of those running our education institutions, including our major universities like the four mentioned in this article, lack such publications. That is, they are not properly trained or have not made any major contributions to their fields."
Read the rest here.

A Sri Lankan Anti-corruption Video

Sunday, September 11, 2011

The Trend Runner: 11.0 The Year of Trading Dangerously

Mr. Rex David C. Israel finished his MBA from U.P. Diliman and finished the Securities Specialist Course given by the Philippine Stock Exchange and Ateneo. Mr. Israel gives his insights in an exciting blow-by-blow account in his blog, "The Trend Runner"about what it felt like here in the Philippines when the Dow plummeted to its lowest level in months:

"I was transitioning from sleep to wakefulness when I was fully awakened by an incoming message alarm from my cellphone. I struggled to open my eyes and then reached out for my cellphone to check the message. It was from the free news service subscription. I thought it was just one of those ordinary days. I was wrong! Dead wrong! As I scrolled down, my jaw dropped and my eyes were wide shut as I read, "DJIA dropped by 4.31% highest since December 2008."

Read the rest here: The Trend Runner: 11.0 The Year of Trading Dangerously

Diliman Video of the Week: This Could Be Your Love Story

Palace: No apology to League of Filipino Students | Sun.Star

President Benigno S. Aquino III refused to back down and apologize to the League of Filipino students for remarks he made which compared the militant youth organization to the Marcos dictatorship for its demands that the budgets of State Universities and Colleges (SUCs) be increased.

Read the rest here:

Palace: No apology to League of Filipino Students | Sun.Star

Saturday, September 10, 2011

UP Diliman Speech Communication and Theatre Arts Workshops 2011

There are a lot of things going on in UP Diliman and on October 15, 2011, the University of the Philippines Diliman Department of Speech Communication and Theatre Arts will be holding speech workshops for professionals, teens, and adults. Voice and diction, performance and presentation skills are included in the module and one can learn how to ace job interviews and improve public speaking skills through the workshops too.

The workshops will be held from 1:00 pm to 3:30 pm for teenagers and from 3:30pm to 6:00pm for adults on four Saturdays. For more information you may call Mr. Jose Carlo G. de Pano or Mr. Ronnie Amuyot at 924-8589 or 924-3224, or send the department an e-mail message at

UP Diliman : Home and CampusThird Asian Mathematical Conference

Manila Shopper: Freego, Vans & Team Manila BRAND SALE at UP Diliman

Manila Shopper: Freego, Vans & Team Manila BRAND SALE at UP Diliman: Freego, Vans and Team Manila BRAND SALE is happening NOW until Sept 11, 2011 from 9am to 6pm at Solair, UP Diliman! Get 30-50% off on Vans shoes and apparels and up to 70% off on Freego and Team Manila Lifestyle apparels!!

SOLAIR U.P. Diliman map

Friday, September 9, 2011

College Editors Guild of the Philippines to launch "Strike Lead"




Official newsdesk for the youth strike against the education budget cut

This is the season of strikes.

This month, students in several state universities and colleges will go on strike as a form of protest against the grossly insufficient allocation not only for education but also for other social services. As build up for the strikes, different sectors of the society will conduct an array of activities in various areas across the country.

As members of the press, it is important that we report on the campaign against the cutbacks on basic services because it is an issue of constitutional rights – right to education, right to affordable and prompt health services, among others.

For press releases, media advisories, schedule of activities, analysis, factsheets and backgrounders, you may contact Strike Lead, the information desk of the youth strike. Strike Lead was organized by the College Editors Guild of the Philippines, the widest and longest-running alliance of student publications in the country.

We are also accepting reports, media advisories and other notices from organizations that engage in the fight for quality and accessible basic services. If you want to be part of Strike Lead, you can volunteer as a correspondent/photographer/artist for the desk. For inquiries, contact Gidget Estella, CEGP national deputy secretary general, at 0915.335.2021.

Directory of the 15th Congress: Dear Readers please help us update this!

Editor's note: With the looming budget cut of the University of the Philippines System and other State Universities and Colleges, we are encouraging all of our readers to write all the Senators and Congressmen they know to restore U.P.'s and other SUCs budgets to their optimal levels. We have posted the directory of the Senate here. Unfortunately, in the case of the 15th Congress, there is not a lot of transparency, and we have only managed to piece together a partial list of Congressmen from primary, secondary and tertiary sources, because the House of Representatives secretariat itself has thrown a massive cordon sanitaire between the representatives and the people they represent by making their contact details (by email in particular) unavailable to members of the public.

Troubled with the thought of such a lack of transparency, we went to sleep over the problem and we woke up this morning with the bright idea of asking our readers to help us in this massive quest!

We would like to ask our readers to help us out in producing this definitive guide which is of great use to individuals, NGOs, people's organizations, foundations, etcetera to email their congressmen and women about SUCs budget cuts, the RH bill and other pressing matters.

The Diliman Diary has posted a Google link, which allows readers to edit the information by posting the names and contact details of the congessmen and women they know. If you have any contacts please go to the link and you will be able to edit the information. This is an incredibly precious resource for members of the public, so please help us out with this. You won't regret it!

Here is the link:

Knowledge Run at UP on September 25

The Knowledge Run or K! Run 2011 organized by the UP Library and Information Science Students’ Association and SLIS@50 will hold a fun run on September 25 at the University of the Philippines Diliman campus' Academic Oval.

2010-2011 Directory of the Philippine Senate

Interest groups and other citizen's organizations may access the directory of the 2010-2011 Philipine Senate from this link:

The Diliman Diary is surrently working on updating the directory of the House of Representatives (especially emails), and here is what we have so far.

Thank you and happy lobbying in furtherance of a more transparent and democratic Philippines!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Conditional Cash Transfers forum at CSWCD sheds light on flaws in CCT conceptualization and implementation

By Chanda Shahani

A forum held yesterday on Conditional Cash Transfers at the College of Social Work and Community Development (CSWCD) at the University of the Philippines (U.P.) at Diliman revealed deep problems with the Aquino administration's centerpiece project which is set to receive a significant chunk of the national budget in 2012.

The forum had four speakers: Professor Marivic Raquiza, of U.P. Diliman's National College of Public Administration and Governance (NCPAG), Sonny Africa, Head of Research of IBON Foundation, Christian Deloria, Focal Person, 4Ps Monitoring and Evaluation of Department of Social Work and Development (DSWD) and Rommel Millora, Focal Person, 4Ps Grievance and Address System of DSWD.

Dr. Rosalinda Pineda-Ofreneo, Dean of U.P. CSWCD gave the opening remarks. Also distributed during the forum were the results of the Roundtable Discussion of the UPCSWCD Social Protection Cluster, November 17, 2010 which gave in tabular format both the arguments for and against CCTs.

Mr. Africa, referring to the Philippine Development Plan from 2011 to 2016 which is essentially the development blueprint of the administration of President Benigno S. Aquino III, said the document specifically states that CCTs are to be given directly to the poor through the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program(4Ps) “which shall be the cornerstone of the government's strategy to fight poverty.”

Mr. Africa said that this approach will not solve poverty because it is being used as “a smokescreen” to cover more fundamental structural problems bedeviling Philippine society for decades.

He also criticized the CCT program for not having a clear exit strategy, since the program is destined to end in five years. He likened this to the Ozone Disco tragedy where 164 people died in 1996 in a disco club fire in Timog Avenue, Quezon City when they could not flee due to a blocked exit.

Setting the conceptual framework, Mr. Africa said that 20.9 million Filipinos were unemployed or underemployed. Of this number,4.4 million were jobless, 4.2 million were "unpaid family workers" and 12.3 million were "own account" workers. He said the average unemployment rate in the country was 11.2% from 2001 to 2010, with 65 million living on PhP 104 a day. He said according to the government's own definition of "poverty threshold," only PhP 46.00 a day per person was needed to remain above this threshold, which he said was clearly not enough.

He said problems with the implementation of CCTs including administrative concerns such as non-deserving beneficiaries receiving CCTs, including as those classified as non-poor who owned well-built houses, assets, tricycles and even stores. On the other hand, other problems had to do with deserving non-beneficiaries not receiving CCTs such as those living in remote areas or those not living in permanent or fixed households. Another problem, he said was lax implementation such as those who received CCT funds with unmet conditions or falsified compliance.

Unintended consequences of CCTs including putting additional burdens on their chief recipients - women upon whom the responsibility fell to ensure compliance; misspent cash transfers such as on gambling and alcohol and manipulation of extraneous conditions: granting or witholding of cash due to patronage politics or to discourage activism within a community. He also pointed out that if some people received cash within a community while others did not, friction would be created within a community due to jealousy. He also said that there was a lack of a convincingly strong health component to the CCTs: as those requiring medical help beyond a few pain killers did not have access to affordable quality health care.

He said that there was no true empirical basis to allot such a huge number of household beneficiaries for CCTs under the 4Ps program. The breakdown was as follows with the following number of beneficiaries with corresponding amounts: 2007 (4600), 2008 (320,411), 2009 (734,691), 2010 (1 million and PhP 10 billion), 2011 (2.3 milion and PhP 21.2 billion), 2012 (3 million and PhP 39.5 billion). He added that from the period 2012-2016, a total of PhP 307 billion would have been allocated for CCTs.
Mr. Africa said the problem is that these huge expenditures were backed by skimpy data based on a January to May 2010 study from IPC Ateneo which only targeted 207 respondents from 18 barangays in three provinces, a January 2010 SWS pilot spot check which targeted 760 households, 57 schools and 16 health facilities from 33 barangays in one province and a November 2010 and February 2011 SWS spot check which covered only 8 towns of four provinces.

Professor Raquiza, who is also the co-convener of Social Watch Philippines said that  there were problems with CCTs from a women's rights and gender rights perspective; even if CCTs in fact directly  targeted women as the chief recipients of government funds.

A kind of a caste system was created by choosing some types of poor to receive government funds while other types of poor were excluded from receiving CCT funds, she said.

She said that just because women were the majority recipients of CCTs it did not mean they were its beneficiaries. She explained that the concept of CCTs was  problematic from a feminist perspective because the assumption of the government was that women were rational beings and will engage in optimal behavior which runs counter to the basic tenets of feminism which states that people and the relationships that bind them are determined by society.

She said that her conclusions were derived from an analysis of data which came from a Social Watch Philippines (SWP) study of the 4Ps and a recently held Visayan consultation organized by NCPAG and DSWD.She said she also relied on conclusions and findings from the papers of Corina Rodriguez Enriquez and SMERU Research Institute on women and CCTs in Latin America and Indonesia, respectively.

She said that there is a lack of consideration of gender in the design and implementation of the 4Ps in particular and CCTs in general.

She said that while an overwhelming majority of household beneficiaries of CCT programs including the 4Ps are women, this does not necessarily mean that CCTs are focused on gender or guarantee that these will contribute to the promotion of women's rights and gender equality.

She said that in the 4Ps apart from the goal of achieving Millenium Development Goals on maternal mortality, there are no other explicit program goals related to women's rights and gender equality.

Professor Raquiza also said that CCTs were "dole outs" that discriminated against those who did not have access to the labor markets, such as persons with disabilities. The DSWD estimates that at least 10% of the population is made up of persons with disabilities.

While she did admit that the situation in the Visayas showed that CCTs resulted in enhanced relations between spouses in households; these did not necessarily solve the structural problems leading to the disempowerment of women and other disadvantaged groups in terms of the creation of macroeconomic policies to create the right environment for job creation which will lead to a heightened demand for labor within the country, she said.

In terms of decision making over the cash grant, she pointed out that the experience of Indonesia's CCT Program Kelauraga Harapan (PKH) showed that CCTs did not bring about significant changes to the position of women or in intra-household gender relations. Moreover, the bargaining power of women in relation to her husband remained unaltered because while the wife decided on daily household expenses, the men decided on matters that were deemed more strategic or important including the more prominent expenses.

Professor Raquiza said that a fundamental weakness of CCTs in general and the 4Ps in particular was that women were singled out as being the main participants in the program leading to gender stereotyping of women such that women were forced into the role as primary caregivers within the family, thus freeing their partners from this responsibility.
She said this is controversial because it perpetuates the notion that women must be the primary caregivers within the family and reinforces the traditional gender division of labor which is at the root of gender inequality.

Professor Raquiza's colleague in Social Watch, its Convenor and NCPAG Professor Leonor Briones has also said in the past that CCTs by themselves are not capable of substantially addressing the issue of poverty. CCTs also need to be augmented with a package of other measures for there to be a real dent in levels of poverty in the country.

Meantime the DSWD's Mr. Deloria acknowledged that there were many criticisms regarding the 4Ps program. He added that the proposed funding submitted by the Aquino administration to Congress for 2012 had DSWD receiving PhP49 billion with PhP going to DSWD's traditional services and PhP39 billion for CCTs.

"CCTs are not the solution; but we recognize that the Aquino administration is really pro-CCT," he said, adding that "it was not a magic bullet," and that several politicians, such as Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago were not in favor of CCTs. Senator Santiago has questioned the premise for allocating such huge amounts of cash to CCTs at the expense of other legitimate and vital government expenditures such as allocation to State Universities and Colleges (SUCs).

He said that in 2012, 700,000 households would be the target beneficiaries of CCTs with the end goal of human capital development such that the behavior of the recipients would need to be changed in order for them to engage in more ideal behaviors leading to a greater probability of their becoming more successful in economic terms.

He said that cash was an ideal commodity as opposed to some physical commodity like rice because money does not spoil and can easily be transferred and disbursed throughout the banking system of the country. Money can be used for priority expenditures of households, he said.

Responding to Professor Raquiza's comments on CCTs not being gender-responsive, he said that CCTs and the 4Ps were not meant to be gender-responsive per se.

Mr. Deloria said that important evaluations of the success of the 4Ps would be done in November and December of 2011 where 8000 households would be surveyed. He also said the program was dynamic, and that after three years, there would be a mid-term assessment and an end-of-program assessment when the program is finished in 2016.

Mr. Millora, also of the DSWD said that any interested party could complain about the 4Ps program at the DSWD hotline at 0918 912-2183. He said that in general, money is not disbursed without the conditions of the transfer being met. "If we cannot monitor you, then the conditions do not exist for us to transfer cash to you," he said, referring to recipients of CCTs under the 4Ps program who had complained about not receiving their funds.

President Benigno S. Aquino III himself has said that CCTs are intended to infuse cash directly into the countryside creating a pump-priming effect benefiting the less advantaged sectors who cannot benefit from traditional trickle down growth expectations coming from economic growth.

A U.P. study co-authored by U.P. School of Economics (UPSE) Dean Arsenio M. Balisacan and released in 2010 found that CCTs worked well in their pilot form under theadministration of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and had the potential to help end the vicious cycle of poverty.

The UPSE study said that assessments of CCT 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," the study said.

Meantime, Lila Ramos Shahani, an assistant secretary of the national Anti-Poverty Commission in the Office of the President said in a letter to the Philippine STAR that was uploaded on September 8, 2011, that "for those who maintain that CCTs cannot be the cornerstone of the government's anti-poverty strategy, the fact of the matter is that, quite simply, they're not." Assistant Secrtetary Shahani's explanation of the government's conceptual framework of CCTs can be accessed here.

Notice of full disclosure: Assistant Secretary Shahani is the sister of this writer. Professor Marivic Raquiza is a contemporary from U.P. Diliman when we were both students there and Professor Leonor Briones is a personal friend of this writer's mother, former Senator Leticia R. Shahani. Nevertheless, every effort has been made by the Diliman Diary to present a balanced account of CCTs which remains a contentious issue that we will continue to cover at every possible opportunity.

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