Saturday, April 29, 2006

The Circus Rolls On

Some political pundits are saying that there is a major push on to have the government of the Philippines changed from the American Presidential style to a parliamentary form of government, known locally as Chacha, in place by July this year.

In July the Congress & the Senate can have another crack at impeaching the President. It is this safe guard that is the weakness of the American Presidential style of government.

If you have the numbers you can tell what ever lies you like, a la GWB, and end up killing thousands and attempting to bankrupt your country and its full speed ahead. If you don’t have the numbers a sexual indiscretion and a silly porky pie, a la Bill Clinton, will see you hauled over the coals.

With politicians being the breed they are, any advantage that scores them some points will be taken. If in the process it stuffs up the government of the country, well you can’t make an omelet without breaking eggs or some other inane cliché will be trotted out in defense of their actions.

What the Philippines is desperate for is accountable government that is allowed to govern. Perhaps with a parliamentary government and an appointed head of state, a la India, the plight of the country could be turned around.

It is a given that there are vested interests that have no interest in disturbing the status quo, but removing one arrow from their quiver of disabling ammunition will be a step forward

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Another Brownie Point for Arroyo

The Easter announcement by the Philippines’ President Gloria Arroyo of 1280 death row prisoners’ escape from the lethal needle to a life of state sponsored confinement is another step along the road to enlightenment.

Back in the early days of the Iraq war when Arroyo decided to pull out the Philippine Military contingent from the coalition of the willing to save the life of one Filipino OFW, despite the posturing of the bully boys, was another moment of enlightenment.

It, along with a score of personal reasons, helped me make the decision to abandon the country of my birth and adopt the Pearl of Orient as my home. This Easter decision confirms the rightness of that decision.

This Easter decision and Arroyo’s announcement that she will work towards removing the death penalty from the statute books will I suspect will be politically neutral. Unlike the Iraq decision which had broad popular appeal in the domestic electorate, this decision will have as many detractors as it has supporters.

Already anti-crime activists are up in arms rallying against the decision saying it will only encourage criminals.

The deterrent value of the death penalty is at best questionable and at worst counter productive. The deteriorating peace and order situation indicates that neither the death penalty nor imprisonment act as a deterrent. In fact that the State, under certain circumstances, can kill a citizen only re-enforces the notion that killing is an appropriate course of action.

It really is a case of wanting to have your cake and eat it at the same time.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Graduating to What?

The streets of Manila and no doubt the rest of the Philippines are currently awash with ankle biters. It is the long summer holidays. The cadence of “No more pencils, no more books, no more teachers’ dirty looks” broke out at the end of March and will remain in place until the beginning of June when the new school year begins.

Never one to miss a sales opportunity, stores of various kinds were offering congratulations and special deals to the 2005/2006 graduating students. With certificate frames for those coveted pieces of paper being prominent in the promotions. The start of April is the graduation season.

Elementary schools, high schools, technical colleges and Universities all hold their farewells to the students who are moving on to their next phase of education or out into the work force.

My stepson graduated this year after four years of study with a Bachelor of Science in Hotel and Restaurant Management, along with five hundred of his peers, from the University of Santo Tomas’ College of Education. With the seven colleges and eight faculties at UST combined with some twenty five Universities and Colleges of Advance education throughout Metro Manila the number of new graduates looking for jobs is staggering.

It does make one wonder how many will still be looking for work in their chosen field when next years graduates enter the market place. One suspects that the tenacious graduates with a real urge to follow their calling will succeed. The others will languish on the side lines or travel the OFW route and take menial work in another country whilst their framed degree’s gather dust on distant, familiar walls.