Higher education for poor Filipinos: Two Cents from a ‘Filipino Traitor’

public_educationMy last article got me accused of being too anti-Filipino for my stand against giving poor Filipinos the opportunity to get a university degree. I was told that to deny the poor Filipinos the same opportunity that I had, to get to where I am in life right now, is not only cruel but also unpatriotic. Education will pave the way to uplift the lives of many poor Filipinos and ultimately the country, as claimed by my critic. In addition, the fact that I chose to contribute my skills and knowledge for the benefit of another country instead of the Philippines, where I benefitted from public education, makes me a traitor to the Philippines. I submit that too much idealism and patriotism is non-sense.

First let me be clear. I am not about denying the poor Filipinos the opportunity for higher education. What I am against is the State funding of higher education (for the poor or otherwise). The opportunity is always there. Financial constraint is merely a roadblock but it isn’t a show-stopper. There are other avenues one can take to get to a destination. State funding of higher education does not necessarily have to be the only avenue for the poor. Anyway, going back to the topic of my “treason”, I am reminded of a Youtube video that went viral a few years ago showing Professor Winnie Monsod’s last lecture prior to her retirement from the University of the Philippines in Diliman. Here is the video:

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When I first viewed the video, I was entertained by the Professor’s way of teaching her students an ideal she holds very dearly. If I was one of the students in her class, I would have been quite attentive because of the energy and humor of her litany. Nevertheless, although I admire the Professor’s delivery, I do not support her contention as I do not see any solid philosophical and moral ground on her arguments nor do I see any sense in heeding her call on a pragmatic view.

The fundamental question, I guess, to ask is: ”Do Philippine public scholars have a moral obligation to stay in the Philippines and use the knowledge they have acquired from public schools to benefit the country that supported their education?” To ponder on this question, I would like to use an analogy that is simple yet close to our senses – the relationship of parents and children. With this, of course I am equating the Philippine government as the parent and Philippine public school scholars as the children.

Most parents value and love their children. As a parent myself, I want the best for my kids. So I work and invest time, money, and energy on ventures that would result in the greatest benefit for my family, especially my kids. Is this an admirable “selfless” thing of me? Well, it is admirable but I do not think it is entirely “selfless” although there is a great deal of work on my part for the benefit of others (my wife and kids). I find my act rooted on “self-interest” because my wife and kids are what I value in life and I will do everything to take care of them. Because of my love for them, I will do everything to ensure emotional, financial, and psychological support for them. So really, my love, itself, is a “self-interest” emotion.

So given that “self-interest” isn’t inherently bad, should I ought to hold it against my kids if they choose to do something that would benefit their own family first (when they have their own kids to take care of) instead of mine, considering that I took care of them when they were still young? I do not think so. Surely it will be nice if my kids would take care of me in my twilight years but I also recognize that they have their obligation to attend to their self-interests first (i.e. to take care of their own family) before mine. I certainly would not label my kids as traitors for choosing to attend to their self-interest first before mine.

So the point is – I think it is absurd to take it against State scholars who choose to leave the country to seek better opportunities or a better life. Surely it would be nice on the Philippine scholars to remain in the Philippines and use the knowledge they have acquired from the country’s public schools for the benefit of their homeland. But where should a person prioritize his or her moral obligation – to self or country? If a Philippine scholar has a family to support and a better life for his family lies outside of the country, why would the choice to leave the Philippines be morally wrong?

A schoolmate of mine (from one of the Philippine Public schools I attended when I was still in the Philippines) contends that Prof. Monsod’s stand is supported by “Christian and Buddhist philosophy” which morally obligates the “rich” to help the “less fortunate”. If that is the case, then shouldn’t Professor Monsod have addressed the students of the De La Salle University and the Ateneo de Manila University, instead? Given that most products of these universities come from the Philippine society’s “rich”and given that these universities come from the religious fold – Christianity? But what makes someone “rich”anyway? Suppose I make $150,000 (USD) a year and Jollibee Foods makes $1.7 Billion (USD) a year, should Jollibee be morally obligated to give me free “Chicken Joy Meals” or hamburgers, at the very least, considering that I am “less fortunate” compared to it? So why should I be morally obligated to help someone who makes, say, $125,000 (USD), considering that the other guy is “less fortunate”than I am in terms of money? Is there a definitive line drawn on what separates the “rich” and the “less fortunate”? Is there a Biblical verse or a Buddhist chant that we can refer to that shows this definitive line?

What is in it for me to follow this purported Christian moral obligation if I do not subscribe to the idea of my soul’s eternal salvation come “Final Judgment Day”? What’s in it for me if I do not subscribe to the idea of attaining a higher form of life in my next life when I get re-incarnated? Why should I even prioritize the benefits that I will supposedly get from these fantastic religious claims on what lies ahead of this yet-to-be-proven afterlife over the immediate benefits for myself, my wife, and my kids? Again, even with a religious twist, I find my schoolmate’s contention absurd.

Why should Philippine scholars who graduate from publicly funded schools in the Philippines stay in the Philippines especially if there is little opportunity for a fulfilling job in the marketplace or a decent quality of life there? Why should Philippine scholars be obligated to endure a less promising and secure life in the Philippines when the Philippines does not necessarily foster a culture of fair play?

During one of Noynoy Aquino’s earlier visit to the United States as President, then-US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said:

”Let’s be honest here, too many of Filipinos feel that they cannot progress in their own country. Too many of them feel that the elite in business and politics basically call the shots, and there’s not much room for someone who’s hardworking, but not connected. Too many of them believe that even if they get the best education they can, that there won’t be an opportunity for them, and so they take that education and build some else’s economy, very often here in the United States!”

That message was right on the money! If a scholar has no prominent political or business pedigree there is very little chance for the person’s talent to be rewarded and for the person to move ahead on equal ground.

Filipino-American doctor, Joy Antonelle De Maracaida, says that:

”Filipinos overseas are self-exiles. We chose to leave our homeland when this became intellectually, politically, financially, artistically or philosophically limiting or oppressive. We are drawn to another country because of the vitality of its intellectual, scientific or artistic scene, its support and tolerance for innovation, progress and intellectual energy, and by its high regard for the immigrant who brings in new talent and skill, allowing him or her the freedom to achieve success, find his or her identity and express his or her ideas. Self-actualization in another land is not a crime. And Filipinos back home, who seek their own success, would be well-served to rejoice in ours. We are no different. We are just far from home.”

I agree with Dr. De Maracaida. In addition to promoting our self-interest in achieving “Self-Actualization” (amongst the highest form of need according to Maslow), the life lived abroad by a successful Filipino scholar will produce much needed financial support to the Philippines from the remittances sent to loved ones in the country. Why these Filipino scholars, who choose to live and work away from their homeland, ought to be deemed as “traitors” is beyond me.

I feel that Filipinos (such as Prof. Monsod and my schoolmate) who hold too much idealism and patriotism are simply out of touch. Not only is their idealism standing on shaky ground, it is also very unjust. A system that binds someone to a duty to forego self-interest in order to pay back the education it provides, I think, is oppressive. A nation that dismisses as traitors its people who choose to live and be successful elsewhere is seriously misguided in my book.

52 Replies to “Higher education for poor Filipinos: Two Cents from a ‘Filipino Traitor’”

  1. The best possible education is not only critical for the individual but clearly beneficial to the future growth and prosperity of the country – providing it is planned, of sufficient quality, and harmonises with macroeconomic/development strategies.
    Integrated and holistic approaches, whether in education or other government functions are largely non-existent in the philippines, so it is no surprise that the country has a mis match of over and under-education, both of which are undesirable.

    Low skills = bad job
    Wrong skills = no job
    High skills = foreign job

    The philippines as one would expect takes the easiest route, when there are a host of ways to address the problems, but ostensibly all policies seem to come back to – ‘fend for yourself, and work abroad. Problem solved’. Remittances remain the foundation stone of the economy. To me that represents economic failure, and is shameful that a govt pushes policies which causes such social distress/ family dysfunction or does not actively and creatively seek to reverse the trend/dependence.

    Who can blame the ofw from whichever end of the employment spectrum to seek opportunities abroad, and few will want to return given the chance, not simply because of finances but also i suspect the sense of respect, continuous learning, further opportunities and appreciation in western corporations. ( maids in middle east are a special case).

    1. Hi Libertas,

      As Dr. De Maracaida avers, it’s about Self-Actualization. Sadly, the Philippines does not (or cannot) satisfy this need for a lot of Filipinos with ambitions in life. Speaking for myself and my case for Canada, I left Canada because there are little opportunities for me there to spread my wings. Although I have benefitted from public education in Canada, America gave me the opportunity to be the best that I can be. I see the same case for a lot of Filipinos who decided to leave the Philippines even after having benefitted from public education there… and I do not blame them for choosing to leave. Thanks for reading!

  2. I agree with this to a point.
    My thing is this, if there is financial assistance PROVIDED BY THE GOVERNMENT, then one should damn well better stay and pay off that debt either financially or through services.

    If one succeeds ON THEIR OWN without nary a peso of help from any governmental entity at all, please,
    feel free to wave bye and seek better opportunities elsewhere.
    Shit, I’ll help you pack.

    1. Hi Aramis,

      I still wouldn’t take anything against those folks who benefitted from government financial assistance should they decide to leave the country for better opportunities. However, if they choose to leave and be productive elsewhere, I just hope that he or she becomes very successful in their chosen country and be model citizens so that they can serve as great citizen ambassadors for the Philippines. Thanks for reading!

  3. I’d say, college and university education are for getting *better* jobs. But if even high school graduates could still get better jobs that make ends meet, that would be fine. That was how US society I believe had operated since then. College in the Philippines is more of a prestige thing, “payabangan,” following the Filipino cultural flaw of amor propio or high sense of pride.

    1. Which is why you get underpaid engineers who have work counting nuts and bolts instead of doing real engineering jobs.

    2. Some companies here are weird.

      Some of them require college diplomas for certain positions doing things that are remotely related to their diplomas (Not really a bad thing but why require it in the first place).

      Others require candidates to have diplomas related to the position but have employees doing nothing after being hired (IMO, a waste of time and money). I know some people like getting paid for doing nothing but this is simply stupid for me.

      1. Hi johndoenymous,

        Yes it seems really quite stupid. In my last article I think I provided a link to a few schools that offer 4 year Bachelors degrees in fields like welding and “hospitality management”. I mean come on, do we really need 4 year degrees for those, right? Thanks for reading!

    3. Hi Chino,

      You know honestly, it really boggles my mind why blue collar workers generally make less in the Philippines. Here in North America a lot of these guys make a killing! Take for instance, an auto mechanic. The money a lot of these guys make can put a lot of folks with PhD’s to shame. It’s too bad that blue collar workers there like auto mechanics, for some reason, cannot command a higher compensation for their services. A lot of these professional white collar workers most likely don’t have a clue on how to fix their cars and their only recourse is to get the services of the blue collar auto mechanics. It’s too bad that the society seems to have determined the limits of how much an auto mechanic can charge there. Thanks for reading!

  4. This is where Filipinos prove how they do NOT read and understand what they read. To quote Act.14 Sec.1 of our constitution:

    “The State shall protect and promote the right of all citizens to quality education at all levels, and shall take appropriate steps to make such education accessible to all.”

    All have the right to education, in the sense that schools could not deny students (unless they do not have money to pay). And education IS accessible to all people.

    What people misread and misunderstand is that education is not WHOLLY the obligation of the state to the point that everything is free. It is still one man for himself. If you want good education then strive to study or if you have to work your way through your studies so be it. It is unrealistic, in our country that is, to let the government shoulder everything up. if that is a case you are creating a generation of dependents who would cry for everything that they need and not work for their own

    1. nobody understands the constitution since it was imported and it can mean anything at anytime.
      that is hardly the point, or the big picture.

    2. You are correct, the constitution says that education is ‘available’ to all. In other words you can not be discriminated against in applying to a particular school. You will not get in if you do not have the peso’s or the grades necessary to enter, but that is the only reason.

      Don’t listen to people who tell you that no one understands the constitution, it is easy to read and very easily comprehended.

      1. In Technological University of the Philippines, to avail of the government assisted education, you must have a certain passing grade in high school.

        If not, they will be the one to choose the course you’re going to take.

        Different from the time I enrolled in that university. Just pass the entrance exam and you’ve made it.

        The way I’ve heard it, a student who wished to enroll should have at least 85 passing grade in order to take exam for the government assisted education.

    3. Hi Rhyan,

      For me education is not a right. Although according to the UN Universal Human Rights declaration, education up to high school is a right. Higher education is no longer considered a right that member countries of the UN have to provide its citizens. Anyway, setting aside UN definitions, I believe that education is not a right in the same vein as, say, the right to free speech. My right to free speech does not impose a cost to someone else but when it comes to education it would because someone else would have to provide it and the provision of education cost money. Thanks for reading!

  5. Agree! I used to believe before that ‘skolar ng bayan’ should stay in the Philippines to serve or help first our country’s needs. But thing got changed, Filipino who self-exiled themselves can help the country through their remittances. Obviously and we cannot deny the ‘impact of remittances’ in our economy despite of recessions in Western countries, Philippines is resilient and less affected.

    1. Hi traffice2000,

      Although it would be nice for the “Iskos” to stay in the country and be productive there… better opportunities abroad can even present itself as being more beneficial for the country (and for the individual). The case of the OFW remittance that you mentioned is a good justification. Although of course we have to look at the societal cost involved when it comes to the effects of absentee parents/spouses on the family. It is never an easy decision to be apart from one’s family to earn a living but the realities of life in the Philippines often leave many Filipinos without better alternatives. Thanks for reading!

  6. Most, not all, countries view a Bachelors degree from the Philippines to be about as good as a High School diploma.That is really too bad. I have seen the business calculus texts-books that filipino students need to master to get the B.A. in Business Management. It every bit as technical as those in the West’s schools. But , then again, I have also seen Nurses who have come out of the Philippines with a B.S. in Nursing who are unable to draw blood or pass the board licensing exam in the country they arrive in.

    So until the Philippines imposes, on all of its schools, the Western standards necessary for licensing abroad, OR creates opportunities at home for these students: OFW’s will have difficult times abroad, be treated badly and at the whims of potential employers.

    To deny education to those who can’t pay is a harsh reality. No one paid my tuition, I paid for my education!
    Do whatever you have to do to get the cash, thats all!

  7. We have too many educated people; working as OFW household servants…
    Higher education is not a guarantee, as believed…
    I found a Doctor of Medicine here in the U.S., working as a Salesperson in a Furniture Store. He cannot pass the U.S. Board Exam. Another works as a Hair Stylist.

    1. Yes, you are right on about that! Until schools in the Philippines get with some type of standardization of cirriculum taught and passed with Western standards, those who earn degrees in the country will go elsewhere and will have gone to school in the Philippines for nothing. It just plain sucks that someone who takes the time, effort and peso’s to get an education in the Philippines and then goes to a ‘1st’ world country only to find he/she has received a sub-standard education. and for filipino’s at home these Dr.s and Nurses(and others) who are receiving the sub-standard educations are then practicing medicine on the filipino population and many times with catastrophic results.
      How a country can allow its schools to be such sub-standard institutions is the fault of the state and its regulatory agencies, if they have any. A national disgrace is what it is, and a ‘racket’ for the people who run the schools.

    2. Hello Hyden,

      You are correct… “higher education” is not necessarily a guarantee. I think it also depends on the caliber of such “higher education”. Focusing too much on the quantity of folks who get college degrees may compromise the quality of products the schools have. We have so many colleges and universities in the Philippines that produce graduates who are pretty much a bunch of duds. Thanks for reading!

  8. A person with real talent would strongly prefer a system and culture that value talent and genuine meritorious activity rather than pedigree and pathetic circumstance. BS abNoy Aquino highlights precisely the latter—It’s not because of any real talent or ability, but because of his pedigree and pathetic circumstance (i.e. his mother Cory died), that he was catapulted into office. Consequently, he now depends on aggressive underhanded political tactics (using internet trolls and media connections for example) to keep up appearances and promote an image at the expense of other people’s (especially his predecessor’s) accomplishments.

    Instead of real talents who could serve as role-models to the rest of the people, the government now is run by dynasties—i.e. families whose political and personal survival come before any ability, desire and commitment, and wisdom to realize our country’s full potential. I shudder at the thought of the likes of Kris Aquino going into politics to be looked upon as role model to especially women in our country, not to mention Nancy Binay and many others. Real talents would rather go where people can actually tell the difference between them and merely media-hyped figures.

    Filipinos confuse individual accomplishments (e.g. Manny Pacquiao, Arnel Pineda, Lea Salongga, etc.) for collective accomplishments (e.g. nationwide efforts such as, say, winning wars on our own, putting together a pool of talents from all parts of the country to bring a man to the moon, or turning the country into an industrial powerhouse of innovation—none of which are existent in the Philippines). How much real and diverse talent can one expect our culture to produce if most of our kababayans would rather leave the required discipline, diligence, and handwork to a handful of these unfortunate individuals?

    1. Hi Felipe,

      “A person with real talent would strongly prefer a system and culture that value talent and genuine meritorious activity rather than pedigree and pathetic circumstance.”

      Amen to that! Thanks for reading…. 🙂

  9. “Do Philippine public scholars have a moral obligation to stay in the Philippines and use the knowledge they have acquired from public schools to benefit the country that supported their education?”

    First of all (and with deep regret) most newer generation of Filipinos are not taught by their parents of deeper sense of responsibility much more of deeper sense of gratitude.

    As broadcast by GMA News last night regarding the survey conducted specifically in Butuan City, Agusan Del Norte, was depressing but never surprising. Most young voters aged 18 to 30, are most willing to sell their votes only for load for their cellphones?!

    This is a clear example of the kind of irresponsible mindset of the so called modern “hope of the country” of the Philippines.

    They don’t have any sense of responsibility towards whatever and whoever, except for their immediate needs however irrelevant and insignificant it might be (like purely instinctive undomesticated animals).

    I’m not trying to specifically exaggerate on this point alone. Based on ocular and personal experience very surprisingly depressing gross irresponsibility of most Filipinos can be observed even just by taking a three-mile walk in the neighborhood.

    It seems that nobody (both old and young) among the majority of Filipinos, much more political leaders and government officials, are worthy of any confidence to use their initiative towards a far better educational method in changing the current rotten cultural mindset of all levels of society.

    Perhaps the most that much fewer decent and responsible Filipinos could do is to hope for some kind of miracles to happen.

    1. Hi eachhisown,

      I like the point you raised about personal responsibility and gratitude. Both are, of course, important. However, just speaking for myself… if I had to gauge the importance of the two, I would give more weight to personal responsibility than gratitude. I would rather prioritize personal responsibility for an act I will choose rather than gratitude. In some cases, acting out from “utang na loob” can even put us in a pickle. Thanks for reading!

      1. Right Hector. This is actually one of the major causes of the culture of corruption in the government – “utang na loob”.

        Having said that you would “give more weight to personal responsibility than gratitude”, I agree with you all the way.

        Thank you too.

  10. It seems the endless media stories of overseas filipinos/ofw’s doing well ( compared to filipinos here), are almost designed to subconsciously tell people – ‘ life is better abroad – please go ( and support your family through remittances)’.
    Few stories feature the hardship of the vast majority or even practical advice on adjusting to life abroad.
    Just as dick whittington thought the streets of london were paved with gold, filipinos seem to think the sidewalks of the US are covered in greenbacks, or cruise ships in endless dollar tips.
    Stay or go you are screwed. It is just a matter of by whom and for how much.

    1. Hi Libertas,

      Good point on the “Stay or go you are screwed. It is just a matter of by whom and for how much.” This reminds me of something I saw on the internet back in last US Presidential Elections campaign period. There was this picture of male porn star Ron Jeremy with a message that says: “Ron Jeremy for President. You’re gonna get screwed anyway so might as well get screwed by a pro!” 🙂 LOL

      Of course when I say or seem to suggest that life is better in American than in the Philippines, I am merely speaking for myself based on my experience and observations. Other people may have different views on their life in America as compared to their life in the Philippines. Some people who come from the very rich in the Philippines may find life in the Philippines better than in America. (For instance, those who are used to having maids and so used to being sort of worshipped in the Philippines.) But to each his own, I suppose.

    2. Libertas, the Philippine media’s effort to tell Filipinos “stories of overseas filipinos/ofw’s doing well (compared to filipinos here)” supposedly deserves appreciation. However, the way they present it just like the way they are perpetually focusing on those miserable poor living in the waste dump sites and in the very remote and poverty-stricken provinces is incredibly pathetic.

      All they’re after are for more sponsors to pay millions to air their documentaries and the prices and international recognitions.

      But what benefits do they ever give to their subjects – NADA (nothing)! Therefore, they are guilty of exploiting the poor, which make them no different than the double-tongue wily politicians in this country.

      Why don’t they make documentaries on the plights of the over exploited public school teachers (who spend huge parts of their salaries to finance the teaching devices and other accessories in their homerooms and plagued with unnecessary insurances and raffle tickets shoved to them by their superiors), street sweepers, traffic enforcers, line Army soldiers (who pay for their combat rations, shoes and other personal needs while in the front line).

      Is it because they don’t want to or scared s**t to offend the gluttonous government officials and politicians who are squandering the allocated budgets?

  11. The Philippines should be looking up to Finland for the best educational system in the world. Their schools cost less and school hours are even shorter than most countries- and yet produce the best out of their students. Their teachers there are really highly respected and government always prioritises education and as a result you have a productive society. Teachers there are experts in their fields and this is why they earn a high status in Finnish society. Look up Finnish education and you’ll see the urgency of why Philippines should really make radical reforms in the quality of our system of education.

  12. @hector
    i checked the page from the u.s. department of state website where you lifted the clinton quote,

    “But let’s be very honest here…very often here in the United States!”

    i just find it funny to find out that you forgot (or ignored?) these first three sentences,

    “I know how SMART the Filipino people are. I know HOW HARD THEY WORK. I’m not sure there’s any group of people anywhere in the world that work harder than FILIPINOS.” (CAPS are mine)

    and of course, this insertion, “(Applause.)”

    i just noticed, is there a strict protocol or a signed manifesto here in this blog that compels you (contributors/bloggers/non-journalists) to edit quotes for the purpose of misrepresentation? if not, then why is it so difficult for you and your grp patriots here to acknowledge the good qualities of the filipinos? hmm?

    in addition, the punctuation after the word “United States” was not an exclamation point (!). it’s just a period (.). i checked. so why don’t you recheck it to make your quotes more accurate.

    so here’s two cents from a grp “traitor”. 😉

    1. Hi johndoe,

      I didn’t use the U.S. Dept. of State website for the Clinton quote. I used Boo Chanco’s article from philstar.com. Actually, I first saw that quote from Nestor Mata’s article in Malaya. I had this quote in a previous article I wrote in my old Multiply website. The quote was directly copied from that Malaya article (yes, including that exclamation point after United States” that you seem to be so bothered about). Unfortunately, my Multiply blog is no longer available and the link to the original Malaya article is also no longer available. That is why I chose Boo Chanco’s link instead to capture the message of that quote. So go back to my article again and click on the link where I got that quote from. You will see that I didn’t lift that from the U.S. Dept. of State website. So the quote was not taken to misrepresent anything. It was meant to support a notion that it is the system in the Philippines (the system that gives more weight on pedigree and connections more often than fair play as merit based on knowledge, experience, and skill) that is problematic, not necessarily its people. So I think you are mistaken about that point and I also think that the part of Clinton’s speech that was not included wouldn’t really have made a lot of difference in the point regarding the flawed system we have in the Philippines. Sure, Filipinos can be good… but we still would have a problem if the system that Clinton criticized is still around. (And sadly, I think Clinton is correct that the conditions in the Philippines are heavily tilted towards those who have the business/political pedigree and connections.)

      In addition, my article also intended to drive the point that choosing to leave the country for better opportunities should not be viewed as treasonous or bad per se. So it isn’t about putting Filipinos down, as you seem to have taken the article’s intent to be. It is more about putting Filipinos who choose to leave the country in a better light than to be branded as traitors.

      But to your point, sure we can all pat ourselves on the back whenever we hear praises from folks like Hillary Clinton. But then again I don’t think it is good to delude ourselves to believe that we are the best in the world just because some big shot says we are. As Desiderata has taught us, there will always be greater and lesser persons than yourself. I think this can apply to nations and its people as well.

      I am not aware of any strict protocols or manifesto at GRP with regards to bashing Filipinos. But if you happen to think that GRP is all about putting Filipinos down, then I’m sorry to read that you don’t agree with the tone of the articles you read here.

      Thanks for your two cents!

  13. @hector
    fyi, i have no problem with filipinos working abroad to find greener pastures or whatever. it’s their choice and no one can impose them to stay in this country. so i also disagree with prof. monsod on that issue. about your “tone” (or literary device as one of you here mentioned), it’s already obvious so no need to stress that out. and i didn’t categorically say that the Filipinos are the “best”, but hillary clinton surely implied the filipinos were the most hardworking people in the world. read again her “complete” quotes from the u.s. state department website. 🙂

    may i say that it’s such a breeze to find any text by using the ever-reliable google. by just typing a few lines in the search engine box, i quickly found the original clinton quote from the official website. as they say, it’s a piece of cake. 🙂 so i find it quite odd for someone acting so clueless considering he call himself quote unquote writer. here’s the link…

    but you (on the other hand and for some “mysterious” reason) didn’t use the u.s. dept. of state website for the clinton quote as your primary source of information, and instead opted to use second-hand, edited quotes from local articles written by bs aquino critics? it sounds like any sloppy, unprofessional and amateurish writer would most probably do. it makes sense now. 😉

    speaking of the second-hand, edited quotes from local articles, the lines, “I know how smart the Filipino people are…” were…wait for it…not included. shocker! lol

    but wait, there’s more! i found nestor mata’s article in malaya.com, and saw that the clinton quote had no exclamation point! lol here’s the link…

    and i also checked boo chanco’s article in philstar.com, and guess what…no exclamation point, too! double lol here’s the link…

    so there’s none from both local articles, and none from the u.s. state department page, so where did you exactly get the bright idea of inserting that “magical” exclamation point, pinocchio? 😉

    1. Johndoe,

      So you now see that I didn’t use the State Department website for that quote, contrary to what you said before where I got that quote from? But thank you for researching Nestor Mata’s article. I see that it didn’t have the “exclamation point” you are so upset about. But here’s the link where I based that quote from originally. http://www.malaya.com.ph/09302010/edmata.html So you will see that if you click that link, the article isn’t available anymore. So I wasn’t able to extract from the original article all the words and punctuations. I just went with what I wrote a couple of years ago when I first used the quote. The next best thing that I did was to use Boo Chanco’s article because I thought it captured the same message anyway. So I apologize for the sloppy effort in searching for the Clinton quote and for mistakenly putting an exclamation point in that quote as it obviously is making you really upset. I should have searched in the archives section of Malaya like you did after I found out that the original link I had is no longer available. Perhaps I also should have gone straight to the US State Dept website to capture the words and punctuations used by Clinton in her speech. But I figured, Mata’s and Chanco’s reference of Clinton’s words (and now even the US State Dept website, thanks to your correction) adequately supports my point that we cannot blame Filipinos for seeking greener pastures abroad because the system in the Philippines heavily favors those with political/business pedigree and connections. That it is absurd to label those Filipinos as “traitors” just because they seek better opportunities to spread their wings elsewhere. Whether Filipinos are smart and hard working according to Clinton or any other big shot, is irrelevant to the point of my article.

      By the way… you are correct… I am an amateur writer and I certainly do not do this blog writing thing for a living. It’s more of a hobby and we don’t get paid a dime at GRP for writing articles.

      I know Nestor Mata is a critic as most (if not all) of his writings concerning the Aquino administration tend to be critical of the yellows. But Boo Chanco? I’m not aware that he is an Aquino critic. From what I have seen in a number of his articles, he is yellow leaning. But you know what, it doesn’t matter… whether pro-yellow or anti-yellow… I don’t think anyone here is mandated to choose to go with either sides to support a contention in one’s article. Now let’s focus on the Clinton quote you are so upset about.

      So let’s grant that it ended with a “period” and not an “exclamation point”. Does it change the point of the article? I don’t think so. I think regardless whether how the sentence ended with whatever punctuation, you will still disagree with Monsod and that you will still have no problems with Filipinos seeking greener pastures abroad. Does the correct punctuation obliterate the fact that the system in the Philippines is tilted towards those with political/business pedigree and with connections? I don’t think so either.

      Now on to the next part that you are so upset about…. the part where Clinton praised how smart and hard working Filipinos are. Let’s grant that Filipinos are indeed all those and a bag of chips. Does that obliterate the fact that the system in the Philippines is tilted towards those with political/business pedigree and with connections? Again, I don’t think so.

      So I really don’t understand why you are so upset about this. Are you upset because I did not include any praises for the Filipino people? Are you attacking me for your disdain on the tone of the articles you see here at GRP? I’m sorry but I really can’t help you with your anger towards my tone or the tone of the articles of my fellow GRP writers.

  14. There are some people who take the stance “I rather be good in my own country than somewhere else. Admirable. Question is, does this country reciprocate? As much as the Its More Fun In The Philippines slogan annoys me. The truth is, there is less work.

    1. Hi Gogs,

      That’s true. Same case for me with regards to Canada. I could have tolerated the “cradle to grave” treatment there (as well as the rain in Vancouver) even if I tend to be politically conservative… I would have loved to apply my skills in BC where I got most of my education from… I would have loved to continue enjoying the natural beauty and relatively mild climate in Vancouver…. but the fact is, the opportunity for me in my industry in BC (and perhaps in Canada) is very slim, that is why I left for the good old U.S. of A. Thanks for reading!

  15. @hector
    i’m sorry to hear about the unexpected unavailability of your malaya article link as what happened to your unavailable multiply blog. they say, god works in “mysterious” ways. or whatever. the other nestor mata and boo chanco’s articles, and the u.s. state department page are still accessible. and from the latter, you’ve read the missing “I know how SMART the Filipino people…” lines, and realized that the “magical” exclamation point is without a doubt, non-existent. i’m glad you’ve finally seen the light, brother. hallelujah! lol and so for thanking me, i say, you’re welcome. you’re much grateful than the other quote unquote writer here. 🙂

    what? you don’t get paid here? no wonder the articles are sloppy; unprofessionally made and amateurish in structure and form. who in the right mind would work for free and expect him to do an excellent job? none i suppose. unless he is being threatened or totally brainwashed. well i should have known. i guess i must apologize to you, and to other wanna-be-journalists here. i shouldn’t have been too observant and too expressive of your flaws here. now it really makes sense to me. and i’m not surprised if you’re “upset” of this writing stint for not being compensated accordingly. the system here at grp is reflective of the system clinton was exactly pointing out. so now i’m wondering how could you put up with this “system”? hmm.

    you and i both know the filipinos have good, if not, better qualities than other people in the world. if international institutions and foreign dignitaries could recognize our good or better talents and skills, why not this blogsite which is so lacking of support towards the filipino ingenuity? i’m not saying all filipinos are commendable because some are mediocre and even shameful. but to categorize all filipinos as imbecile is purely an ignorant or prejudiced remark. you know i can chat with morons and argue with intellectuals anytime. but i cannot and will not ever tolerate a “liar” or a “hypocrite”.

    i hope you get my drift. and good luck to your “hobby”. 😉

    1. Johndoe,

      No, I get your drift. I think I was the one unfortunate to have received your anger towards most of the writers here at GRP critical of Filipinos. But even if you are very personal about this and even though I think you went off too much on a mistake I had in a punctuation mark (which really doesn’t make any difference in the message of the article) of course you are free to critique it. But you know I’m not “upset” that I don’t get paid here. I get to express myself and get to discuss with different folks about issues I’m interested in. Some people like what I contribute, some don’t. So sloppy… unprofessional… amateurish… whatever… that’s fine. I guess I can take your criticisms to motivate myself to do a better job next time. So thank you.

      I’m sorry but I disagree with you on your take that Filipinos have better qualities than other people in the world. However, I agree with you that some Filipinos are good (and some are mediocre and shameful). This goes the same with other folks from different nations. To say that Filipinos (or any other people of different specific nationalities) are better (even just in some traits) is a bit of a reach to me. Folks may be better than other folks but I think that is more because of individual talent or skill rather than having necessarily to do with his or her nationality.

      With regards to your complaint that this blogsite is lacking in support of Filipino ingenuity, I cannot help you there. I can only speak for myself and for what I write. If you have an issue with the blogsite as a whole, perhaps it is better that you speak to benigno as he owns this site.

      Thanks for the good luck wish! 🙂

    2. It never ceases to amaze how so many Pinoys focus on the form instead of the substance of the article.

      I personally do not focus too much on the wrong grammar and even the incorrect use of punctuation marks of the commenters of this site. If their logic makes sense, that’s good enough for me.

      This johndoe guy obviously doesn’t have any other valid arguments to make about Hector’s or any of the articles here, which is why he is focusing on the grammar or the trivial stuff. Tsk tsk…

    3. @johndoe, obviously you have no concept of the notion of doing an excellent job regardless of compensation. For that matter the compensation one gets (whether it be in financial terms or in self-fulfilment terms) is none of anyone’s business. Your focus on that aspect (and a few-odd misplaced punctiation marks) says something about your character.

      Keep to topic.

      As the esteemed Eleanor Roosevelt was said to have said:

      Small minds discuss people;
      Mediocre minds discuss events; and
      Great minds discuss ideas.

      Knowing your type, you’d probably come back with a typical Pinoy-style response to all that. Here’s the thing though. Within this space here, you merely consume what we produce. So if you think our product is crap, consider yourself a fool for coming here to eat it.

      Here’s a challenge for you: If you really think Pinoys are so great, why not articulate in specific terms why you think so rather than going around stomping your feet like a two-year old insisting it is true just because you say so.

      GRP is a TALL monument to the simple reality that Pinoys have consistently failed throughout their entire history to prove in objective terms that they are a truly great people. Deal with that, dude.

      1. Uh oh…it won’t be long now before Johndoe claims he is a “victim” of bullying. That’s just how typical Pinoys react to a responses to their pathetic attempts at insulting GRP.

    4. I am very interested to hear what are these “better qualities than other people in the world”. Also could you please enlighten me about these international institutions and foreign dignitaries and what are these “better talents and skills”. I don’t want to be a too much of a nuisance but if you could elaborate on this “filipino ingenuity” that would be appreciated also. thanks in advance

    5. It seems you’re the bigger “liar” and “hypocrite” because you’re totally missing the point.

      Your stand that “Filipinos have better qualities than other people in the world” is more like debatable or even a lie. In fact, you have no idea how dysfunctional our culture is, unless we can take a paradigm shift.

      Here’s I wanted to say: The Philippines HATE critical smart people. They HATE efficiency. They HATE order and organization. They HATE the concept of strength and unity in diversity. All the smart people are gone since you can’t do anything with the archaic economical system established by the constitution. You can’t even say about the 25 years of MEDIOCRITY with flawed economic policies and even a flawed form of government. So much with that.

      If you’re gonna reply by playing the victim card, then you’re embarrassing yourself.

      1. “The Philippines HATE critical smart people. They HATE efficiency. They HATE order and organization. They HATE the concept of strength and unity in diversity.”

        It’s more appropriate to say that Filipinos admire and respect critical thinkers. We hold them up as heroes and role models and put their names in the paper. Ask them to be consultants and ask them to give seminars on economic, political and/or social strategy. Then comes the very public pronouncement that Filipinos hope to be able to implement the concepts that were taught during the consultants’ stay and thank you very much for your time.

        Filipinos appreciate the need for efficiency, order and organization. You’ll always hear how James Jimenez has done yeoman service articulating the processes by which the COMELEC hopes to make the NEXT election quick and efficient. And how his explanations always make it easy for everyone to understand COMELEC policy. You’ll always hear the media extol the grand efforts at “revamping” and “reorganizing” this and that government agency or department. “To better serve the public.”

        We aspire to have strength in unity. This one’s no-brainer. If you listen to the regular Sunday sermon, around 90% of the CBCP pronouncements are a call for Filipinos to unite. “Unity” is also the byword of damn nearly everyone aspiring for public office and the maxim that those in office like to drag out when they want to push an agenda.

        It’s quite the opposite; Filipinos embrace all those ideas that you listed as virtues that we should adopt.


        The problem comes when we actually have to do the work. The moment things start getting difficult or even tedious, “ningas kugon” sets in. When emotion or passionate appeals enter into the picture common sense is forgotten and the rule book flies out the window. Next thing you know every Tom, Dick and Harry is asking for an exception. The name of the game becomes influence peddling. And Binay has a court order exempting her from debates because of “psychological reasons.” (Excuse me but that last one is BULLSHIT! BULLSHIT! BULLSHIT! BULLSHIT!)

        Inevitably, Filipinos do play the victim card — lamenting with all sincerity what went wrong and why the the poverty level remains at 26%. And, oh look, how our neighbors are doing much better; why can’t the Philippines be like that? Then follows the pronouncement from on high that that poverty situation will change by 2016.

        Eventually the cycle of consultants, seminars, the call for unity, and poor implementation starts all over again.


    6. Whatever unfavorable comments expressed here towards Filipinos is purely based on what have been physically observed and personally experienced on what’s going around and the attitude and reaction of the majority of people mingled with.

      If ever you haven’t experienced any of the nastiness of the product of this society then perhaps you are one among the political leaders and government officials who refuse to acknowledge that there’s something really wrong and needs most urgent action to do something urgently to rectify it.

      Or perhaps you’re among those who can be fully grateful with the politicians who can give crumbs to buy a one time load for cell phone.

      Liars are those who says that the solution to the flooding, uncollected garbage and neglect of the provinces are “still under study”.

      Hypocrites are those who refuse to acknowledge that if bank depositors’s money are being withdrawn by somebody else and that the bank and the law enforcement agencies could not help in resolving the probable theft and in ultimately recovering their money.

      Most of all a liar and hypocrite is he who refuses to acknowledge that there is something terribly wrong that needs urgent fixing.

  16. “The Philippines HATE critical smart people. They HATE efficiency. They HATE order and organization. They HATE the concept of strength and unity in diversity.”

    I agree with Johnny Saint that even the moron Filipino embraces this concept – at the tip of their tongues only. And for the hope that by “saying” that they support these concepts they would be called heroes – which they so fantasize most of the time even with their mumbling stomachs.

    Every time they blabber that they are the “most efficient and hard working” race in the world all these concepts got spit out with their drooling.

    “Ningas kugon” is primarily the main factor why Filipinos could not “think things through”. In the first place most of them don’t even have any idea what is really right and appropriate.

    If one would really observe discreetly the things that are happening every hour in the day – most politicians are primarily the ones responsible in accelerating much quicker the far deeper sinking of the already rotting values of the majority of the citizens of this country. Every time they open their mouths to speak they instinctively disseminate more new stinking values which the majority so love to catch and quickly adopt.

    I really don’t see any positive change in the horizon.

  17. the analogy to parent-child relationship is misplaced. the state’s instinctive objective is self-preservation, the parent’s instinctive objective is lineage preservation. so no analogy there. your parents care about you because that is how nature made them. your state care about you because you have something it needs.

    do you have any capital contribution to the philippines? like investments there? then you should be absolved. if none, you gotta work harder.

    also, jollibee pay taxes. that is how the state ensures it will last longer than jollibee itself. no need to demand charity – that is the state’s problem.

    btw. this website sucks.

    they talk about flawed philippine society as if they’ve talked to all other third world citizens. betcha it’s the same in peru, or moldova, or nigeria.
    there is nothing wrong with the society. this is the natural course of things when you are poor. try talking to an immigrant from another third world and you’ll get the “i know, right?”. then you’ll figure out after the conversation that your rants were pointless. like decimal numbers disappearing after rounding off (that is an analogy!).

    it’s the economy, nothing else. either we do not use our resources efficiently(ofw?) or we do not use our resources at all (mining?).

    be poor, everything will go wrong; look for ways to be rich, everything will fall into its right place. someone needs to figure out how to look for “these ways” and these blogsites will not help.

    re:smartness. the top 5% smartest filipinos will just be as smart as the top 5% smart egyptians or the top 5% vietnamese . so no need to use the adjective “filipino” – there is nothing special about us 🙂

    1. “be poor, everything will go wrong; look for ways to be rich, everything will fall into its right place. someone needs to figure out how to look for “these ways” and these blogsites will not help.”

      You’re absolutely right that any blogsite in the net could never help in any way the situation of the Philippine society.

      I sincerely believe that those participating in blogsites like this express their nasty views to their colleagues and friends hoping for change to the better. However, what can few people do against the majority who never want to change their ways much more their attitude, or never care at all about anything.

      As long as this majority can beg crumbs from politicians or fight with those whom they have borrowed money for refusing to pay, and have some money to buy load for texting, they don’t care if all the islands on earth would sink into the sea.

      Those running the government are in the forefront in opposing whatever change for fear that they will lose their major source of much bigger easy income.

      The poorest of the poor are contended in selling their votes and begging, and generating minute income through wily methods. These people are incapable or never have the stamina to think outside the box.

      What more can be done to this society? Just pure miracle.

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