opinion

No accountability, transparency with Bambi

November 30, 2019

NARITA Airport, Tokyo---As I write this with no small effort, Misamis Oriental province can look forward to a budget that can either result in programs beneficial to them or to those allied with the incumbent administration of Misamis Oriental Gov. Yevgeny ‘Bambi’ Emano. Last I heard, the budget cuts to the office of Vice Gov. Jigjag Pelaez were substantial but no thanks to Bambi’s majority bloc in the Provincial Board, there is nothing that Pelaez can do except to grin and bear it. Unless of course if Pelaez has legal basis to elevate his complaint to the Office of the President or the Department of Interior and Local Governments (DILG) but then again, the people of Misamis Oriental deserve better than a reenacted budget. In fact the people of Misamis Oriental deserve a much better health care program than Emano’s MisorCares which was supposed to pay for health care services and medicines for the province’s poorest of the poor but whose funds reportedly went to the pockets of bootlickers loyal to the governor and his Padayon Pilipino party. In his third and final three-year term in the Capitol Bambi is, sadly, following the trajectory of his father, the late Cagayan de Oro City mayor and former Misamis Oriental governor Vicente ‘Dongkoy’ Emano who started out strong in the city in 1998 but eventually exited City Hall and was unable to recover his former glory in the wake of his defeat to incumbent Mayor Oscar Moreno. Bambi’s continued evasion and failure to put to rest the controversy surrounding his administration’s questionable and irregular deal with the head of a group of tenants now occupying a substantial portion of the Capitol grounds will certainly hound him should he decide to run in Cagayan de Oro. There is no small irony to Bambi’s current situation given that in his first few days in the Capitol, he took pains to accuse his predecessor, Mayor Moreno of irregularities during his incumbency in the province only to be proven dead wrong after the string of cases against Moreno were dismissed in the following years since. Again, Bambi’s supposed deal with the head of the group of tenants didn’t pass muster with state auditors of the Commission on Audit (COA) and yet he stubbornly insists that he on his own volition can approve or reject deals without even securing approval from the Provincial Board. In terms of transparency and accountability, Bambi miserably fails the litmus test expected of any elected public official and yet he has the gall to accuse a former ally turned political enemy of corruption without any substantial evidence to back it up. Truly a case of sour-graping and resentment that is tragically reflective of the country’s political climate and culture.   Yet it’s still some time to go before the 2022 elections and anything can happen so I can only join the others in hoping and praying that the people of Cagayan de Oro and Misamis Oriental elect better, more accountable, responsible and  transparent officials than those holding the majority at the Capitol. **************** On another topic, there are some questions I’d like to raise concerning the campaign on colorum taxis waged by the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB-10) in Cagayan de Oro City after the board asked for additional personnel from the city to augment their drive. First off, can city residents reasonably expect to see substantial results on the campaign with the added muscle given by the city to the LTFRB-10? Second, as some city councilors pointed out, is the LTFRB-10 cracking down on its own people who issue franchises to taxis left and right in exchange for cash or any other favors? Third, and this is a bit complicated, is the LTFRB conducting an honest-to-goodness assessment of the actual number of taxis operating in the city to see if they are actually transporting a good number of passengers to and from their destinations or they have difficulty finding passengers due to local competition and thus their presence in the roads and streets only serve to aggravate the existing traffic congestion in Cagayan de Oro? There are an estimated one million people passing through Cagayan de Oro for work or leisure in the day time and of that number, how many actually ride taxis or prefer to ride cheaper passenger jeepneys or have their own cars? These are questions that I feel the LTFRB needs to answer.

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Being old fashioned?

November 28, 2019

MOST students take a laptop or smart phone with them to lectures. My students too. Although, these units are not allowed most of the time during my classes. I think, there are times when they might be better off taking a pad and pen? And honestly, more and more do so. Writer Claudia Hammond (I don't know her age, but I think age matters if we come to today's topic) says, " These days many people can type faster than they can write by hand, particularly if they’ve grown up using laptops. This is a hugely useful skill of course and allows you to take copious notes, quickly and easily, which must surely be a good thing, right?" Maybe not. In an experiment, run by Pam Mueller at Princeton University published in 2014,  students were given Ted talks to watch and were told to take notes. Half were given laptops and half took notes with a pen and paper. You might expect little difference in the notes, since students are so used to using a keyboard these days. In fact, there was. The students using a keyboard were more likely to type the lecturers’ words verbatim, while the students writing more slowly by hand had no choice but to engage with the information in order to allow them to summarize. Afterwards the students were given some tricky intelligence tests to distract them, and were then quizzed on the content of the lecture. Verbatim note-taking involves a shallower form of cognitive processing. You can even do it without thinking about the content at all should you choose to. But when using a pen and paper you process the information more deeply because you can’t possibly write it all down. The other advantage of using a pen and paper is that you can move around the page very quickly, circling, underlining or adding extra information in the margins.   When it comes to set and note new appointments or different scheduled work to do, and very import deadlines to be remembered, laptops are convenient, but turn out to be not the best option some of the time. My offices are full of note pads. ... Yes, I might be old fashioned... . Following Claudia Hammond, who says: surely in the long run if your notes are more complete,  help, when it comes to revision?  Maybe not. When the students were allowed to revise from their notes before being tested a week later, the pen-and-paper group still did better. The reason is that cognitively processing material more deeply while you listen, helps you both to understand it and to remember it later on. Even if you never refer back to your notes again, the process of creating them can be useful. The exception is with learning simple facts. Then taking notes on a laptop can work just fine. The advantage of not having to take notes is that you can focus your full attention on what’s you’re being told without worrying about writing it down. A more passive way still of keeping track of information from lectures is to record them so you can listen again or re-watch them later. But is there a risk that because you know everything is there for when you need it, you might not concentrate properly? Or does it free you up to concentrate fully on what’s happening because you’re not distracted by trying to take notes? Within psychology when a task like this is outsourced to technology, it’s known as cognitive off-loading. But does it help? If you want to remember your notes, research suggests you should be reaching for a pen. That's why, most of my students are asking for a minute to re-write such things, I pinned before at the white board. On the other hand the advantage of not having to take notes is that you can focus your full attention on what’s you’re being told without worrying about writing it down, because they can always listen again later. But the benefit of taking notes is that it forces you to process the information and think about it in order to work out the best way of summarizing it.   But there was one surprise here. When the students knew they could see the video later if they wanted to, they actually took more notes and drew more diagrams, which was something of a mystery. Of course, if you can type fast and you want a transcription, then a laptop is ideal, but if your aim is to understand the material better and not just to create a record of the material, then take notes by hand. And the other lesson from all of this, of course, is to make your notes concise. +++ Email: doringklaus@gmail.com or follow me in Facebook, Twitter or Linkedin or visit my www.germanexpatinthephilippines.blogspot.com or www.klausdoringsclassicalmusic.blogspot.com.

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Chinese as technical advisers of NGCP?

November 28, 2019

IN a statement issued lately, the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) has justified the presence of Chinese engineers employed in the country’s power transmission network as mere technical advisers, no more, no less. But to enlist  these Chinese engineers as technical advisers would translate to NGCP’s incompetence in managing the country’s transmission highway.   As NGCP technical advisers, the Chinese  has reportedly no access to the Grid’s control system. Yet no less than the National Transmission Corporation (TransCo) has declared these Chinese are  capable of shutting off the grid’s transmission facilities remotely at any given time. In a  recent Senate  budget hearing, the  Department of  Energy (DOE) has justified  as well that the State Grid Corporation of China which has a 40 percent stake in the power transmission system  can switch off  power grid remotely with devastating effect on the country’s national security. Further, reports  has disclosed that the State Grid of China allegedly changed portions of National Grid Corporation of the Philippines' (NGCP) system instructions into Chinese and allowed Chinese nationals to operate the transmission system - freely and with gusto! That said, the Movement for Brown out Free Mindanao is now calling the  Senate  for the immediate revocation of China’s 40 percent stake in the the country’s lone power transmission facility.   If the State Grid of China will go berserk, and  would want to jeopardize the country’s economy, it  will just have to switch off the entire transmission facilities - from Luzon to Visayas and Mindanao. This scenario  is not far-fetched because State Grid of China has a technical staff are embedded  at the very nerve of the transmission grid. Helpless as it were, what the NGCP has been doing through the years is just  applying  the ‘wait and see’ security measures  — monitor and record  from a distance China's stake in the country's vital power infrastructure. The entry of foreign partner into the country’s energy sector, in this case the power transmission facility was a product of shortsightedness  on the part of lawmakers who penned the RA 9316 otherwise known as the Electric Power Industry Reform Act of 2001 and RA 9511, granting franchise to NGCP, a consortium of Filipino and Chinese power players.   For reason of survival, NGCP  has again justified its existence by setting aside fears that its business alliance and technical partner State Grid of China would shut down the country’s  transmission highway. But the Senate message is loud and clear: it’s not about business, it’s all about the national security of the state. (ruffy44_ph2000@yahoo.com)

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Fake news and education

November 28, 2019

I WAS surprised when I received a message on the messenger from one of my friends, who did not want to be named. He was nervous about the fake news in newspapers in his country: the Philippines. I think it is different from that in my own country, Indonesia. Almost all of the fake news were predominantly disseminated by the social media and websites. They used their pseudo names, during the presidential campaign. In that case, I gave an opinion using education as the panacea. I once wrote an article about fake news, in Indonesia Post, in Indonesia, on 27/05/2017. It was during the presidential campaign with two candidates: the incumbent: President Jokowi and the opponent candidate: Prabowo Subianto. In that article, provided it with a panacea: Making the people literate. I believed that there are three possibilities for the people towards the fake news. The first possibility, I believe that the news may not be taken seriously. They don’t care or even they don’t read it. The second possibility, fake news can be very viral: rolling and bulldozing then framing an opinion. The readers can be, in a bigger number, following it and get trapped, thinking it as the real news. But, the third possibility is that some might respond to the news, but they analyze it profoundly. This is very special for the people with highly educated. Therefore, the response to the fake news depends on the ability to read individually. Reading skill has a level. The first level is Reading the lines, which is reading what the written sentences are. The ability to read only on reading the lines will be bad if the readers’ educational, social, and cultural backgrounds are very low. Finally, it ignites the emotion and blazing. The second reading ability is reading between the lines. A clever reader can judge the language of writing in the text not only what is written in each sentence. They are well literate. They can interpret words, sentences in a more complete context in a paragraph and even a whole text. For the readers of this ability class, they will produce a better analysis than the first-level readers. I believe they may not get irritated, but they may also be still in doubt: depending on how fanatical they are with their presidential campaign. The third, the readers who have the ability to read beyond the lines. This type of readers, not only literally understand the meanings of each word and sentence. They can precisely read beyond the lines. They are able to analyze the text being read with various references they have read: Global Knowledge Of course, they are not trapped. They will inform others to disseminate another good news or information: telling the public that the news is fake. So, it is only education to tackle the fake news in any country. The technology era has multi-consequences. As Alvin Toffler predicted in 1970— Future Shock—that there would be disintegration, shocks, discrepancies, chaos, and the like during the 21st century. And, today it appears to be the truth of that prediction. It is only education that can be the panacea: making the people literate. Dr. Djuwari is the director of language laboratory at STIE Perbanas Surabaya, the editor of some research journals in the Philippines and Indonesia. He is also a journalist in some newspapers in Indonesia; the president of international association of scholarly publishers, editors, and reviewers (IASPER).

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Raising the bar of business assertiveness

November 27, 2019

THE  first ever Philippine Industrial Summit has put  premium in raising the bar of business assertiveness in  the industrial sector.   Kodus to   PHIVIDEC Industrial Authority Administrator and CEO,  Lawyer Franklin Quijano who took the lead of placing Mindanao  in the pedestal of   industrial  revolution.    That said, the four day industrial convergence  which will culminate with a job fair at the USTP campus today had opened up opportunities among  key players and champions of industry, both from the local and global fronts.   Indeed the summit has kick-started in pushing the region forward to the next level of economic progress.   Through the years, there never was enough economic development in Mindanao  basically  aimed at improving  infrastructure, enhance connectivity and ensure balanced economic activity alongside other growth centers in the country.    As closely observed, captains of industries  has unlocked in unison their power to fuel Mindanao as the next mecca of industrial development  in three key areas of economic growth.   First, make Mindanao globally competitive by improving connectivity and access to local and global markets.   Second, invest in manufacturing, agriculture, electronics,  tech voc and other business related  programs   that will propel Mindanao’s march to sustainable socio-economic development.   And third,   make Mindanao globally-competitive through the placements  of advanced technologies and trends by luring   drivers of   industries to  locate permanently their investments in Mindanao.   The challenge is now up for Mindanao -- to pursue socio-economic development initiatives through the four development corridors: Northern Mindanao Development Corridor, Southern Mindanao Development Corridor, Western Mindanao Development Corridor, and the Bangsamoro Development Corridor.   These growth corridors are perceived as it were to provide  greater access and connectivity that can reduce transportation costs, raise the level of income, provide job opportunities and improve the competitiveness of farmers and producers alike.   Moreover, global industries that would generate jobs and infra projects  consisting of ports and airports improvements, inter-regional and intermodal roads, bridges, and roll-on, roll-off shipping facilities, among others are expected to highlight the last three years of the Duterte administration.    On one hand, the economic agenda and policies of the government viz-a-viz its build, build, build infrastructure mantra must be sustained for job creation and  opportunities for the country in particular, and the island of Mindanao in general.   Easier said, but it can be done.  What we need is political will. (ruffy44_ph2000@yahoo.com)

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Let us not lose as one

November 26, 2019

WE WIN AS ONE, this  is the official watchword  of the 2019 SEA Games.    But before the Games will formally open a few days from now, it seems we are already losing as one host nation.   Arrival and billeting including food preparations in hotels for visiting officials and athletes had hit a snag, thanks but no thanks to the organizers led by POC, PSC and PHISGOC.   Having said that, no amount of apologies and finger  pointing could cover up the apparent inefficiencies  foreign delegates have experienced upon their arrival in the country over the weekend.   To let them wait for about  8-9 hours at the airport and whisked them in the wrong hotel is no laughing matter.   First impression lasts.    Athletes  from Cambodia, Myanmar, Timor-Leste, and Thailand had suffered inconveniences even before the start of the Games.    Some of the alleged problems consisted  of transportation, accommodation, and travel issues.  All these were treated in a shabby manner from a host country being touted as the economic tiger of Asia.    Be that as it may, let us take  a closer look at how our  frontrunners of the Games play their  respective roles.    The PSC, along with the DBM – Procurement Service, is the main implementor of the funding and public procurement aspect of the Games.     On the other hand, PHISGOC is primarily responsible for the planning and actual preparations, organization, management and execution of the hosting of the 30th Southeast Asian Games while the POC takes charge of running the technical aspects of all sporting events.   Let the Games begin. But We cannot afford  to lose as one. (ruffy44_ph2000@yahoo.com)

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