opinion

SEASON AND HOMESICKNESS

February 8, 2018

A  little bit more than two weeks. Christmas again.    Much could be told or written about all the wonderful places worldwide. A lifetime would not be enough to discover the whole world.  Millions of Filipino migrants are still working and living in many countries all over the world. But those  Filipinos are so occupied and tired with work, that on a half-day of not working, they don't even have the energy to go out anymore. They prefer to rest instead. They work until dawn. There's even no more time letters or send emails anymore. They get up early next day  to do the same activities. Again and again...  They fail to appear on dates or appointments even schedules were already set. On the last minute going out on a free half-day, but suddenly guests arrive who need to be served for example. All these and more make it difficult for the OFW's to find time for themselves.  Christmas time should let us remember and remind of our beloved ones somewhere out there. Being "there somewhere abroad" is something like being in a garden of roses. Everybody is free to pick up flowers, but surely everybody will not find that easy because the roses are on top of the thorns. Being abroad is even more complicated then that. Indeed, much has been written and talked about homesickness of mind and heart - especially during Christmas season and the time between "yesterday and tomorrow".  Many Filipinos stay in countries, where deep winter is reigning right now. Wearing three jackets a day, warm winter clothes and, from the start one must be always in top form, not only lively but also elegantly. Homesickness usually attacks, when "your people abroad" receive unpleasant notices from home, as I heard many saying before :"Problema at magpadala ka ng pera!" The loved ones oversea even try to save a little amount for airfares just in case they need to come immediately to their families in the Philippines. Many times they consider the difficulty and complication in sending money home. Many times they can't afford to visit the Philippines for a long time... . Homesickness comes, when we hear that one if the boys at home doesn't want to go to school anymore. Homesickness comes when misunderstandings between husband and wife or closed friends arise.  How about me? Sure, homesickness comes also for me, especially during this time. Even living in the Philippines for good since 1999, I am still missing my home country Germany and many people there. Even or especially a cold Holy and Silent Night with deep snow while walking to midnight mass. Season and homesickness... . Email: doringklaus@gmail or follow me in Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter or visit www.germanexpatinthephilippines.blogspot.com or www.klausdoringsclassicalmusic.blogspot.com .

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CHRISTMAS IS JUST AROUND THE CORNER

February 2, 2018

Christmas evokes memories and sentiments that travel with us treasured gifts of our hearts. It is the time for reflection of the year past, of things we've done to make a difference in the lives of others. It's indeed a time for thanksgiving for the blessings received, and for the trials and pains that helped shape, strengthen, and mold us to become better persons. "Hay nako" - the typical Philippine expression, I adopted many times since living in the Philippines for good. What on earth am I here for? The more I look around the world, the more people I'm able to observe: stranded people, but many still having the optimistic smile on their faces. People, who are losing more and more of their bearings and are getting muddled in their lives.  If several political leaders globally confuse us more instead of leading us on the right way, we cry out for a satisfying answer through the institution church. It doesn't matter what season we are in: wars, climate change with natural disasters, helpless politicians at the present G20 - conference trying to portray a positive outlook with their picture taking... . Yes, "hay nako" ...! Modesty will never get them what they actually deserve. Charity and brotherly or sisterly love, as the bible teaches us, are becoming foreign terms. moral and human values are badly needed to drive and out energy and vigor in our daily life as we stroll into painful indifference and peppered egoism.  Our daily ill feelings regarding all parts of our life can't be or can't remain as a permanent state of affairs. Incompetent and incapable leaders, who are still being able to continue in their own monstrous, unhindered and impertinent style are every country's poison and reason for decline. During the last weeks I received innumerable religious and philosophical literature and invitation from several institutions. I must confess, that I have been confused many times. I am sorry and I really wish to apologize, if I reject most "of this stuff", and, if I decide NOT to answer such emails or text messages. Sure, it's is Christmas time, but... . May the love and humility the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ signified remain etched in our hearts. Let not the frenetic gift-giving and seemingly endless merriment becloud the pristine message that Christmas imparts. Email: doringklaus@gmail.com. Visit: germanexpatinthephilippines.blogspot.com or www.klausdoringslcassicalmusic.blogspot.com  or follow me in Facebook, Linkedin or Twitter .  

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How to Recognize the Well-Managed Schools

October 16, 2017

Besides the best curriculum and the best teachers, other hallmarks for measuring whether the school is well managed or not need to be discussed for public topic. Along time ago, all schools were recognized by public through the printed media. But, today it is not enough. The shift of old paradigm into the new one has become very important to know by the policy makers and the leaders of any schools anywhere. In Indonesia, for example, the private schools almost have the same status, even the private ones that have been well-managed have higher level of quality, in terms of public-point of view: their image. Thus, building the schools’ image is the most important strategy, after all the fulfillment of requirements of the schools’ best criteria. A school which is well-managed can be indicated by their established curriculum and their best quality of the teachers. Besides that, the well-managed schools include their infrastructures related to the teaching-learning media. However, it is not enough. They have to get well known by public, even the world public. To do so, the school leaders should make their schools recognized by public. The way to make them well-recognized by public is by exposing their specific characteristics, especially their best corporate culture. They can build their best image through media such newspapers, magazines, and the related media that can boost the image through the digital society and community. Holding seminars and workshops can also be done by the schools. They can collaborate with other schools for holding such academic activities. Then, they can also expose all these to public. The news media can cover all the activities to make them exposed, not only their best curriculum, teachers, but also their varied ways of academic activities. This can make the schools well-recognized by public. The leaders of the schools must be versatile in doing any activities, being the model for other teachers but also being the best communicators for the schools. This can be done by making the schools exposed, showing the best activities, learning strategies, and infrastructures facilitating the learning process to the world public. This is a must for the private schools, and also for public schools. All these need to be exposed to media. There are some activities that needs to be exposed to public. First, it can be the best practice of the schools’ learning process. This is related to the most beneficial activities such as the students’ winning the competition in the schools’ areas. Being the winners of any competition in any educational activaties is also important to be recognized by public. Second, it can be the teachers’ activities joining the seminars or workshops. After going back to schools from the workshops, they should write a report and then expose it to public through media. Another activity is the school’s events, such as the school may hold a seminar or workshop and then expose it to the media. By doing such a public exposure, the schools can be recognized by public, and preferably the best practices can be well-known. Dr. Djuwari Sarkawi is the managing editor of the journal and book division, STIE Perbanas Surabaya. He is also the guest lecturer at Ottimmo International Master-gourmet Academy, Surabaya; The advisor of Indonesia Association of Press Practitioners/ Journalists in East Java province (HIPSI), Indonesia. He is also the president of the International Association of Scholarly Publishers, Editors, and Reviewers (IASPER)].

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Germany’s exit on the use of coal

April 12, 2017

NO other country burns excessive coal as Germany. Around a quarter of German electricity comes from the carbon-heavy fuel, also known as brown coal.  Coal is cheap,  mined domestically and  responsible for around 20 percent of  Germany's greenhouse gas emissions. If Germany is dead serious about its target of cutting  emissions to half what they were in 1990 by 2030, dirty coal has to go. That said, the  Movement for Blackout-free Mindanao is sending this distress call  to President Duterte:  make Mindanao  completely free as well on the excessive use of coal-fired source of power  under your watch.     Mindanaoans have suffered so much, Mr. President.  We badly need your intercession  to address with a sense of urgency the island’s power headache by presenting renewable power solutions acceptable to the people of Mindanao. After all, Mindanao is your adopted homeland. You promised us about the changes we fought side by side  during the campaign, and one of those was to provide Mindanao with sufficient, adequate, sustainable, environment-driven  and reliable power supply for the island’s inclusive growth. But to address Mindanao’s power lack  through the  dumping  of coal plants all over the island is another story and something we are dead serious about. We feel worried about what this coal would  bring as far as protecting our people from the discord of environmental collapse.  Fact is,   there are new coal-fired power plants being built right now in Mindanao, some are already in, while others are in the pipeline.  Given this development, these plants would definitely translate into additional capacities the island would need to meet its growing demand in the next five years and beyond.  But in this case, Mindanao consumers would have   to pay the price of development:  toxic emissions and greenhouse gases. Now, we  would like to invite the President to take a pause and  think for a moment. Do we really need these coal-fired  power plants for Mindanao?  We the Movement for a Blackout-free Mindanao, as volunteer watchdog for the efficient and uninterrupted delivery of electricity in Mindanao  supports this move of ridding the island free from dirty coal unconditionally. A win-win solution is what it takes to strike a sustainable, efficient and environment-driven power supply for Mindanao.  The previous administration had been working on a 30-30-30 fuel mix goal to reduce the country’s coal dependence. The remaining 10 per cent comes from oil-based power plants.                                               -more- Unruffled/2222…… The country’s energy  policy is primarily focused on sourcing out about  30 per cent of its energy requirements from coal, 30 per cent  from renewable energy, and another 30 per cent  from natural gas. Energy sources has revealed that 70 per cent  of the 5,000 megawatts (MW) of power-generating capacity that are being built and will be built until 2020 are coal-based. To date, some 20 coal-fired power plants are operating in the country today. Yet, some of the developed countries are slowly getting away  from the use of coal.   Environmentalists  had openly opposed for the use of coal, it being tagged as “dirty energy” because of its toxic emissions.   The use of fossil fuels like coal as an energy source is the number one driver of global warming being a top emitter of greenhouse gases. We are all aware that the cheapest of all fossil fuels is natural gas, and this kind of power source is aplenty  elsewhere in the country.  Why have  we not tapped fully the geothermal sources of electric power? Mindanoans deserve the full attention of the government.  Imperial Manila’s second class treatment is a thing of the past. Let’s not relive this culture of arrogance and deceit. (ruffy44_ph2000@yahoo.com).    

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Government as employment agency

December 22, 2015

The government, whether the national or local government, is the country’s biggest employer and as such it’s no wonder that red tape is rampant owing to its bloated bureaucracy. And when government is stuffed with personnel, it not only delays but deprives its constituents of basic services. Without warning, a bloated bureaucracy can “blow up” a government’s budget, resulting in some sacrifices made in the delivery of projects and services. But this is the new normal for Philippine governnance. I thought about the government’s bloated bureaucracy on reading a post about bonuses, 13th month pay, cash gifts, anniversary bonuses and another bonus which is new to my ears called “productivity bonus.” On reading this, I assumed that the salary of an average government employee is P15,000 a month. Add the bonuses and incentives and then it would total P70,000 by Christmas. Awesome it would really be for this government employee and his or her family that they would be guaranteed a merry Christmas and New Year. With such bonuses, it would be fun to work in government then. Don’t get me wrong here, I also know that salaries in the Philippines could hardly cope with providing a family nowadays. I only want only to get a simple, layperson, non-academic explanation about why people see government as a lucrative source of employment and why this is considered normal. Not everyone gets the chance to work in the government. Only the very few who are blessed with connections to incumbent officials and are careful not to flaunt it lest they be caught by the Ombudsman or some such government watchdog. There are those, sorry to say this, dumb or ignorant enough not to know what a productivity incentive is and are simply content to receive anything that comes their way even if they didn't work hard or never worked at all for it. In any case, government as job placement agency had been going on in Philippine governance either on the national or local governments. It is more apparent in local governments where patronage is the ticket to being employed in the bureaucracy. I have more questions on this, first of which is what happens now to an expensive education being fostered on the youth as the ticket to gainful employment when the local job market is inundated with openings for skilled workers other than those listed in four year degree courses? What about those who took time and sacrificed a lot to pass government licensure examinations? Government employees in years past were hired for their eligibilities and qualifications. In fact before only the smartest found employment in the private sector. It was only later that everybody wants to be employed in the government where patronage politics is crucial to landing a government job. Hiring and promotion in government was based on educational qualifications and eligibility. The principle on whom you know had been around in the 70s but it is more pronounced these days. That was the time when degrees on master’s degrees were really earned. Those in government service want to continue their education with the assurance that should the time come for opportunities for advancement those who are in would be ready to be promoted. Since it is only during the elections when supporters go all out to make sure their candidates win with their end goal of being employed in the town or city hall or at the Capitol, I don't blame them for doing so if only to ensure their livelihood.

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Security and the K 1 Visa by Susan Palmes-Dennis

December 13, 2015

Charlotte, North Carolina- House Republican leaders announced a new legislative proposal aimed at boosting national security by changing the nation's visa waiver program. They said the bill would get a vote by next week. A counterterrorism task force headed by the Republican committee chairman announced the bill on Thursday, and predicted it would pass with an overwhelming and bipartisan vote. The bill came on the heels of the carnage at St. Bernardino, California a week ago resulting to the death of 14 people and wounding 21 others. It is the first suspected terrorist attack in US soil after the infamous 9-11 and it kept me thinking about it for days as it involved the fiancée visa or K 1 Visa. I was reminded of my coming here in the US under the fiancée visa and because of what happened I recalled the process in my brain. I came to the US five years and six months ago under the fiancée visa. A fiancée visa is a visa issued to the prospective wife/husband of an American citizen. It is valid for 90 days after which the petitioned would return to the country of origin if marriage is not consummated. It is said to be the easiest visa obtained. The news media had a grand time talking about the fiancée visa that I was reminded of what happened to me inside the US Embassy and my observation of the system. The US K1 visa is not broken. There is no need to fix it despite what happened in San Bernardino but there is a part on the process overlooked by the US government. Tashfeen Malik, now the most popular Muslim woman of modern times came to the US on a fiancée visa which I supposed was issued in Pakistan, her country of birth. Tashfeen was one of the suspects in the San Bernardino carnage and is believed to have influenced Syed Rizwan Farook, the husband who was born and raised in the US. Many are of the opinion that Tashfeen radicalized Syed into committing the evil deed they did a week ago. But why did the US embassy failed to learn that Tashfeen had been to countries suspected of being inhabited by terrorists or those engaged in the radicalization of Islam? My take is that in every US embassy there are local employees and it was the local employees who interviewed, processed the papers and eventually recommending that it reach the US consul. In my case during my interview, the first two sets of interview were done by Filipinos who were employed by the US embassy. These local employees look at the papers like birth certificate, affidavits, other papers, passports. Those Filipinos who worked with the US embassy worked religiously scrutinizing any mistakes in spelling, dates and they would be happy to see any discrepancies on documents presented. And it is when everything is okay with the papers that the applicant is told to proceed to the US consul. Reaching the consul is no longer a problem. The ambiance is more relaxed just like on my case. I can remember how strict the Filipino embassy employee was when she interviewed me. She was so arrogant and asked vicious questions. That time I told myself, what kind of employees are these? Well now, I can think Filipinos employed at the embassy were doing their job by protecting US interests. Was it the same with the local employes at the US embassy in Pakistan who approved Tashfeen’s papers? Why these local employees failed to detect the places traveled by the petitioned when it can be seen in the passport or during the interviews? This I ask on the assumption that there are local employees in the embassy. In Tashfeen’s case, did the local employees of the embassy commit lapses and failed to see her connection to ISIS or Al Qaeda? These are among the questions to be asked. I see that in the next few days those who coming to the US through the K 1 Visa would have a hard time entering the country and the American citizens would be frustrated with the system. Personally I see no reason that time and resources would be spent discussing and finding loopholes in the K 1 visa. It is just simple- ISIS and Al Qaeda have partners and in this case partners within the system.

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