What’s Wrong With Us?

What’s Wrong With Us?


By Apolinario Villalobos



Man is a rational being, intelligent and at the center of his consciousness is the conscience which guides him in his decisions. God has reasons for His creations, each with a place in the universe. More so with us whom He created in his image We are like Him. We should exude his image which bursts with goodness. But what is wrong with us?


Without regard to what will happen next, some of us just let go of our lustful emotion that bring forth, what are called “unwanted” children. Unprepared mothers throw the innocent bundle of joy away – leave it in garbage dumps, in waiting sheds, or flush it down the toilet! What a crime in exchange for a few minutes of happiness! When allowed to grow, the child is neglected. Everyday we see many of them roaming the streets begging or picking morsels of food in garbage bins and dumps.


The lucky child who comes forth into this world with the proverbial silver spoon in his mouth grows up pampered by his “loving” parents. These parents mistake pamper for love. They forgot that the growing child needs to be developed and this effort concerns all aspects of his personality. If a child grows in a pampered atmosphere, it will be ingrained in his consciousness that he can get anything he wants. His childish demands overwhelm the values that the parents are supposed to have taught him. Add to this the influence of the environment. A child who recognizes the golden arch that heralds fried chicken, spaghetti and burghers as it appears on TV ads is cute. But is the same child made to recognize the taste of more nutritious fresh fruits and vegetables? Later on, the parents become frustrated when the same child would raise hell when served foods other than those advertised. Or the parents wonder how their child could become sick when he does not go hungry at all with all those spaghetti or hamburger or pizza or fried chicken given to him every time he asks for them. Poor “loving” parents! Before they knew it, they are faced with sky-high cost of medicines and hospitalization for the child!


Some wives seem lazy to try other options to be able to reduce their home expenses. Yet, they pester their husbands for additional allowance. Some of these same kind of wives never miss regular treks to the beauty parlor for weekly make-over including the clipping of their nails complete with  fresh swabs of expensive polish. One was seen on TV being interviewed about the issue on rising prices. As she wiped her tears, she inadvertently displayed her fingernails polished in blazing green with dots of black, one of the fingers sporting a ring with sparkling gems and from her wrist dangled a gold bracelet. Do we wonder now why some wives are abandoned by their husbands?


Despite a small take home pay, some still have “enough” for several bottles of beer every Friday or Saturday and then cry their heart out when the pay time for the rent, electric and water bills, kids’ tuition come. At the end, the government gets the blame for their misfortune after leaving their provinces to live in depressed areas in Manila, supposedly to seek a greener pasture. Is it the government’s fault when their family bloats with many offspring because of lust and for these children grow on empty stomach? Is it the government’s fault when those who grumble, deliberately miss some job opportunities by spending more time with their drinking buddies in street corners?


When shopping either for clothes or grocery, why can’t others check first those with drastically cut price, instead of going straight to the regularly priced sections? Why insist on preparing meat-based meals almost every day of the week, when it can be alternated with fish and vegetables? At the end, they wonder why they have developed diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and many other illnesses. Or cry to heaven about the high prices of commodities. There has been so much brouhaha over the rising prices of rice. But the varieties of the rice in question belong to the high- end level, sweet smelling rice that are intended for the filthy rich, while most of the regular well- milled rice are still pegged within the same range of old prices. Or better yet, why not resort to some kind of resourcefulness by mixing NFA rice with the regular milled rice? Why can’t some of us just live within our means?


Home remedies in the form of condiments, herbs and vegetables that may prevent sicknesses are just lying around for our use anytime. Vegetables considered before as just food, are now regarded as preventive cure for diseases. Information about these proliferates in the internet and shared by friends even verbally, but why do others refuse to try them? Why wait until diseases have developed into advanced stages in their body before they think of trying the alternative prevention? Are they just playing dumb to the high cost of western medications that will eat up a big slice of their budget later on? Or they can’t just imagine themselves partaking of  the lowly yet nutritious vegetables and fish, thereby, choose to indulge in the greasy  lusciousness of  hotdogs, adobo, barbecue, ham, etc?  Well, realization and regrets always come late – at the time when an appointment with the dialysis machine, or scalpel and the operating table becomes inevitable!


For some office workers, Mondays are days of called-in sick leave, late arrival in the office and worst, outright absence. Why? Because the day before was Sunday – family day or gimmick day! Too tired yet, they want to have more rest on the first day of the work week – Monday. Then, there’s the Friday sickness that again necessitates called-in excuses in the desire to start a long weekend. If they are serious with their jobs why not treat those days just like the rest of the work days? Why vehemently refuse to accept the fact that regular work week starts with the Monday and ends with the Friday or Saturday? Why not see to it that enough time for rest is allotted every Sunday even without sacrificing the gimmick or activities with the family? Why can’t some inject a bit of common sense into their lives?


Before the arrival of computers, students were contented with books, magazines, journals, newspapers and other printed materials as references for their research and thesis. Now, there is the internet which flashes information as soon as tags are encoded in search bars. The internet is a great bank of information that in one instance, the researcher can have as much information as he wanted. But why do students prefer to  devote more time in browsing the pages of peers in social networks such as facebook for posted photos,  or play games, than enhance their knowledge on matters taken up in school by surfing the electronic web for information so that when asked for reports they will not scramble at the last minute for these to be “copied and pasted” to comprise their submission? Why do professors allow this to happen? Can’t they tell the difference between an honest-to-goodness write up and a copied one? Or are they guilty, too, of this crime called plagiarism? A question of a viewer about my blog on plagiarism is this: “what if the teacher plagiarizes the work of his student?”. The viewer must be a student whose work was plagiarized by his teacher but could not do anything about it. I deliberately did not answer the question to check the reaction and comments of other viewers on his question. When I checked again days later, the guy who asked the question, deleted his post, afraid perhaps that it will reach the attention of his teacher. For now, all I could do is draw a long heavy sigh from my heavy chest.


Why do some of our countrymen scramble for elected posts in the government? Why do they spend millions way beyond what is allowed during the campaign period and deny this violation when found out by the COMELEC? Why do they hold on to their post despite the COMELEC’s finding a reason for them to come down? Is it because of the people’s money waiting for their taking without questions due to the loopholes in the control system of the agencies which are supposed to protect it? And, their opportunistic perception saw the possibility that people who are supposed to protect it are, themselves involved, too? Why do elected and appointed government officials blatantly deny their corrupt practices, a denial that insults the intelligence of the Filipinos? Is it because they have a feeling  that nothing will come out of the investigations being made or yet to be made? Is it because if a serious investigation shall be made resulting to the booting out of the guilty, only a handful honest officials will be left? That this crisis situation shall never be allowed to happen? How in the world can all those vanloads of testimonies be checked to prove the crime that is now hugging the limelight? Are all these investigations just for show? I am wondering if not only the eyes of the Lady Justice are covered, but her ears, too,  because even the obvious lies of lawyers who earn millions from corrupt clients, sound true to some unsuspecting Filipinos.


What is wrong with the Congress? the Senate? the President? Why did it take several long years for  Freedom of Information (FOI) Bill to be discussed by the Senate with seriousness? Is it because with such to become law later if it luckily gets the fancy of the President, the media will be able to access more revealing records about mishandled funds? Who are being protected by whom? What happened to the Ninoy/Cory magic? Went pufffff? Where did their ideals go?… ideals that were made as the foundation of the Filipinos in scrapping Martial Law? What went wrong in the administrations that followed Cory’s? Why can’t some of the elected officials be contented with moderate SOPs (commission) which virtually is an accepted norm in any government anyway? Before,  the commissions were rebated, hence, “kicked” back to the concerned parties, after projects were implemented, covered with turnover documents or accomplishment reports. Today, they are given in cold cash even before a project is implemented – given by the project fund “shoppers”. But worse, some projects are only on papers – ghosts, though, with authentic and appropriate approvals.


The Philippines is not the only country beset with corruption, a grave political disease.  That is our consolation –  our country is not alone. The big difference, however, is in the way investigations are conducted. In other countries, honest- to -goodness investigations are conducted by the government followed by the swift imposition of the penalty to the guilty party… there is urgency. In the Philippines, before anything is done, a press conference is held, announcing to the world the discovery of the anomaly, the probability of violation, yes, probability!…and what the investigators will do to arrest the culprits. As expected by even a simple – minded Filipino, before these limelight- hungry and “wise” investigating guys could again blink their eyes, the suspects are out of the country!


If ever investigators are quick enough to do their act, not a single day is missed for the photo opportunities and press conferences where plans are proudly fed to the media, an idiotic act of exposure contrary to a sound investigative strategy. When something goes awry along the way, they foolishly ask themselves what happened.  It is a sickening display of amateurish acts of some agencies in our government.


Lately, the Chairman of the poor Filipinos’ cooperative umbrella, the SSS, under the supposedly protective management of the government, announced the need to increase monthly premium or contribution of the members. The “revenue”, being much needed to raise the ceiling of loanable amounts by members. Unfortunately for the agency, information on the millions that it appropriated to its executives and employees as their bonus leaked to the media, putting it in an embarrassing situation. The executive who faced the media justified their questionable decision with statements such as, the bonuses being needed by the employees to be competitive with other private agencies and as a reward for doing their job well – performance bonus. How can he invoke “competition”  and “performance” when what the SSS is getting as clients are considered belonging to the “captive market”, meaning, whether they like it or not, prospective members are required to become such before they can even apply for any job? The SSS does not belong to an industry where components such as  airlines or shipping lines or communications service providers, etc. cut each other’s throat in a fit of sales competition!  Worst, many, many, many members until now have not received their IDs after applying for it one or two years ago, yet! When a member applies for pension or other appropriate benefits, he gets the feeling that what he is asking for is not due him as a member. The snooty attitude of its employees, makes the  SSS give an impression that it does not operate on the members’ money. Arrogance has just taken over the agency! Seldom can a member see a smiling employee to make him feel at ease. It has acted like a dog that bites the hand that feeds it. Where is the diligent performance that SSS is professing? Those guys running the people’s SSS are presuming that the members are dumb!


At the rate things are happening for us Filipinos, we might find ourselves one day, totally under the economic bondage of another country. Intrusions in this regard are very evident around us – from the bustling business enterprises and malls  that have mushroomed and owned by foreign proprietors, to our marine boundaries that we cannot even protect. Our country is reach in natural resources and that fact is acknowledged by the world, a reason, enough, for others to throw us a covetous glance. Those concerned must change their ways before it becomes too late for us to show the world that we are a cohesive nation of respectable race. We cannot just let others perceive us as a people with disheveled values, otherwise, we shall be forever asking, what is wrong with us??!!




Gratitude and Success

Gratitude and Success


By Apolinario Villalobos



Outside our family circle, there are people who have touched and influenced us towards our quest to fulfill our purpose in life. In my case, some of them are still around, some even tagged within the web of the facebook network, some are now with the Lord. But I have no idea where the rest are. If the facebook has been able to connect the lives of people who for years are not in touch with each other through the photos that viewers innocently, though, happily post, I am praying and hoping that a simple post in prose like mine will also have a good result. Perhaps, viewers can help by mentioning this to those whom I am grateful, and whose names are highlighted.


Since my elementary days, I have been fond of writing poems. It was only when I was in first year high school that my English teacher, Mr. Elmer Festin, noticed my interest in writing. He made me edit our high school organ, The Green Ember, despite my being a neophyte. Life was not easy for me in my effort to finish my studies. I had to practically do odd jobs even in college to earn my allowance. It was when I was at this stage that the Department of Social Welfare opened a branch in our town to handle the ever increasing number of evacuees from neighboring towns due to the Muslim-Christian conflict. Mr. Claudio Estante who was sent by the DSW Regional office in Davao to do the task, hired me to help him after asking around for references. He allowed me to work only on Saturdays and Sundays because of my full time studies.


One day, a certain Mr. Virgilio Manocdoc who was an acquaintance of my friend came for a short visit. He casually mentioned that he was working as ticketing clerk of PAL in General Santos. I kidded him for an information in case of a vacancy. I forgot all about it until months later I received a telegram from him telling me to proceed immediately to General Santos and bring pertinent documents, for interview as PAL was hiring. Fortunately I passed the interview in General Santos, as well as the final one conducted in Davao City.


After passing the rigid training in Manila, all trainees were called to the Administrative Offices Building (AOB) for a briefing. Posted on the bulletin board was the list of  stations with vacancies to be filled up: Davao, Zamboanga, Cagayan de Oro, Manila, Tablas. I loudly thought about Tablas, if it was OK to be assigned there. Mrs. Mila Limgenco who holds an important position next to the Director of Luzon Sales Area approached me and smilingly convinced me to take it. She told me about the abundance of vegetables and fish there as though she knew about my vegetarian diet. I took it and later, the decision proved to be just right. While in Tablas my patience was tested in preparing tickets, handling irate passengers who were bumped due to limitation in view of unfavorable wind during take off, signaling to pilots as the plane was taxiing in and out of the tarmac, weighing cargoes for appropriate assessment of rates. I could have not done all those had I been assigned in a big station where I would be limited to a single function. It was also there where I unknowingly was able to project a good image of PAL which resulted to my being invited by Looc National High School as a convocation speaker after a few months of my arrival. I spoke before the students in their dialect.

While in Tablas, Mr. Bien Alvaro, the supervisor, Celso Dapo, Load Controller, Oswald Alamo and Sonny Garcia III, senior ticket and freight clerks, unselfishly guided me. A certain Mrs. Nena Gacura who at first feared me because of the Muslim tobaw that I was wearing on the day I arrived became my foster mother later on, her family, my foster family. The same gesture was given to the rest of the PAL staff. One of her daughters, Bel, married another PALer, Boy Loquias who gave me moral support when we were boarding together in Baclaran.


Not long after, I was fortunate to fill up a vacated position in Tours and Promotions Division headed by Mr. Vic Bernardino as Manager. He trusted me with the editorship of TOPIC Magazine which promoted touristic destinations and activities to entice local and foreign tourists to travel around the country. The break gave me the chance to finally express my longtime passion in writing. The job was part of my responsibilities as Tours and Promotions Representative. Just like the rest of my colleagues in the office, I was also required to be part of project study groups, join researches and spoke in tourism-related seminars organized by agencies, including the Department of Tourism. It was a great exposure for me who, despite a tough competition from equally deserving applicants, was given the favor by Mr. Bernardino. My colleagues in the office also gave me full support: Ed Buensuceso, Jun Luz, Thelma Villasenor, Mayee Santos Cuenco, John Fortes, Ed Ramos and Reggie Constantino. We were a family in the office.


Life in Manila was not easy due to the high cost of living. Mr. Ed Guatelara, supervisor of Standards and Coordination Division, after learning from others about my difficulties offered another room in his apartment which could still accommodate one more bed space. The rate for the space included meals which came out way below what I had been spending for my board in Baclaran.


From being a Tours and Promotion Representative, I moved on as Sales Account Officer and eventually rose to the position of Administrative Manager for the Philippines and Guam Region, the opportunity given by RVP, Mr. Archie Lacson. The trust he gave me bolstered my effort to prove my worth.


The Regional Vice President for Philippines and Guam, when I joined PAL was Mr. Ricardo Paloma. When he finally retired, his position was Senior Vice President for Finance. While packing up his things, he invited me to his office for a cup of coffee. At this juncture, he brought out a stack of clippings from newspapers and magazines and jokingly asked if I was familiar with them. I was surprised because they were clippings of my articles and poems that saw print in dailies and magazines! I learned that he instructed his secretary to religiously check subscriptions for my published contributions. He had them Xeroxed, giving me the duplicates. Though no longer with PAL, at least once a week, he would call me to join him for lunch in his favorite French restaurant in Greenbelt (Makati). It was during one of these meetings that he gave me the study he made on how tourism could still be further developed as an industry. It was nicely bound into a book form. He said it was one of his treasures and told me to use it. When I spoke at the Lyceum of the Philippines University (Intramuros) on September 14 about tourism in the Philippines, I used the book of Mr. Paloma as one of my references. My great respect to him developed upon knowing from senior PALers how he started his career in PAL – as a porter. This could be the reason why he would always tell me that I was lucky to have joined PAL as ticket and freight clerk, while he worked his way up the rung of PAL hierarchy as a porter. The last advice he gave me was to “go on writing whatever happens”,.


It is only through diligence and contentment that we can be happy in what we are doing. There is no ultimate success, yet, while we do our best to survive as we embark on the journey of our life. Where there is happiness in what we do, there is success. We should never think about what we could have done as that thought tends to compare our achievement with that of others. It results to envy if we fall short in comparison. We should always be thankful of any opportunity that comes our way and thank those who have been part of that opportunity. We should look at the past to appreciate the present and work for a better future if need be. We should never think of failure. Every falter along way should be regarded as challenge for us to move on. Again, every happiness that we feel along the way should be regarded as success. As an important note, many high ranking corporate executives switch to lesser jobs upon retirement “for a change”, resulting to their satisfaction and happiness – success. The quest for success does not follow an upward trend.


As for the ultimate success, only God can determine if we have achieved it at the end of the road that we are taking…the end of our journey in life.




Ripples in the Stream

Ripples in the Stream

 By Apolinario B Villalobos


(A special reblog for Anna/oneanna65)


I have always been fascinated

by the stream –

mesmerized by the murmur

that the flowing water makes

as a pebble is thrown into it,

and as the current hits a rock,

as if protesting the presence

that hinders

its smooth journey

along the crevice of the earth.


The gentle touch of a dragonfly,

the sudden appearance of a fish’s snout,

the splash of swimming children,

the soft touch of a falling leaf,

the sudden gust of wind,

the trickles of incessant rain –

cause the ripples that rupture

the earth’s gently flowing stream.


Now that I am old,

I realized

that God has reasons

for  everything,

so He gave us intelligence

to understand them all

without any misgiving.


Indeed, just like a stream

that gets dented with ripples,

challenges and trials

make us cry in anguish;

and like a stream

that just keeps on flowing

there is nothing we can do

but go on living…


If the stream can keep on flowing,

so should we  –

let our lives flow

along the crevice of destiny.


Just like a stream

that joins the rest down its path

giving life along its way

towards the sea,

so must we …

help others with sincerity

as we meld with them

towards our destiny.

 (At 65, Anna lives in pain due to swollen joints and other parts of her body. Fearful to receive radiation and drug prescriptions if she goes to a doctor, she tries her best to make do with natural remedies. Sometimes she does not know if she will ever wake up to another day. But her courage and strong faith in God gives her the strength to draw sustaining breath of life despite the accompanying pain.)

A Paghusga ay sa Diyos Lamang

Ang Paghusga ay Sa Diyos Lamang

Ni Apolinario Villalobos



Sa sinapupunan pa lang, ang tao’y may bahid na ng kasalanan

Kaya walang karapatan siyang  maghusga sa may kapansanan

Hindi siya dapat magpadala sa panlabas na anyong maganda

Dahil ang tunay na pagkatao ay sa busilak na puso nakikita.


Ang mga nakikitang kapansanan ng iba’y karaniwang nililibak

Pilay, bulag, komang, mali-mali – sila’y walang awang hinahamak

Dagdag pa diyan ang pagka-alanganin, katumbuya’t kabaklaan

Na mula noon, hanggang ngayon saan ma’y talagang pinupulaan.


Kasalanan ba ng isang tao kung may mapupuna sa kanyang kakaiba?

Ang isilang siya sa mundo, sa mahal na nagluwal, hiningi ba niya?

Kaya ang husgahan siya dahil sa kakaibang hitsura at alanganing kilos –

Ay hindi makatarungan, hindi makatao at labag sa batas ng Diyos!


Di dahil ang isang tao’y  tomboy o bakla, hindi  na pagkakatiwalaan

Di dahil ang isang tao’y tomboy o bakla, wala na siyang kakayahan

Huwag sanang iba’y padalus-dalos, sa kapwa tao ay agarang humusga –

Kung isang daliri, sa iba’y itinuro niya, apat naman ang nakaturo sa kanya!


Sa isyu ng kasarian, ang bagong Santo Papa, malinaw na nagpahiwatig

Sino ba daw siya upang humusga ng mga alanganin dahil sila’y tao rin

Sila ay nilalang din tulad ng iba pang may buhay  sa ibabaw ng mundo

May karapatang mabuhay nang maaliwalas, minamahal at nirerespeto!

Eid al Adha

Eid al Adha and Islam

By Apolinario Villalobos


By submission one seeks the way to God with strong will

As shown by Abraham consenting to sacrifice his son Ismael

Essence of faith at later days spread by inspired Mohammed

To ensure that life in glory, all of us by God’s grace we’ll lead.


A day of repentance… a day of sacrifice

For a year of one’s life may just be a thin slice

Crucial day one must not let pass just like that

If this happens, woe to him who will miss a lot!


Let this day then mark the start of a journey

On a path towards Him, a blinding light of Mercy

Just like Mohammed guided by angel Gabriel

Let’s surrender if we don’t want the fire of hell!

Song of Hope for Zamboanga

Song of Hope for Zamboanga


By Apolinario Villalobos


Zamboanga Hermosa! Beautiful Zamboanga!

Splendid and sweet, thanks to the blooms of Pasonanca

But look what they have done to the once blissful land

For days, gripped with fear, trampled by a heartless band.

Torrents of gunfire ripped the placid and lucid air

Smoke darkened pockets of modest now burning lairs

Homes to sundry assiduous  malong-clad populace

Which fate,  on them, painted a grief-stricken face.


Cramped in gyms, huddled in tents on flooded ground

Comfort from countrymen  these thousands quickly found

Food and clothes, water and sympathy poured in day by day –

Show of love, lightening up their lives that turned to grey.

Laden with letters from pupils, a teacher from Albay appeared

Though from distant province, not a sigh of weariness was heard

With a big smile, to the children, with measured gait she went

To give hugs, letters of love, and read stories – this heaven sent!


Filipinos, these Zamboangueños are, hence, strong in will and spirit

Pliant as the bamboo that they can bend to sway to avoid being hit –

Hit by misfortunes such as what has just befallen their sorry lot

But surely, they will again proudly stand, gently sway, just like that!

Home to Badjaos, Samals, Tausugs, Muslims and Christians

Zamboanaga’s splendor sparklingly shimmers under the searing sun

As they have survived the wars since Spaniards came years before

The crisis will just be a thing of the past as they live on…for sure!



By Apolinario Villalobos



Zamboanga Hermosa! Beautiful Zamboanga!

Splendid and sweet, thanks to the blooms of Pasonanca

But look what they have done to the once blissful land

For days, gripped with fear, trampled by a heartless band.

Torrents of gunfire ripped the placid and lucid air

Smoke darkened pockets of modest now burning lairs

Homes to sundry assiduous  malong-clad populace

Which fate,  on them, painted a grief-stricken face.


Cramped in gyms, huddled in tents on flooded ground

Comfort from countrymen  these thousands quickly found

Food and clothes, water and sympathy poured in day by day –

Show of love, lightening up their lives that turned to grey.

Laden with letters from pupils, a teacher from Albay appeared

Though from distant province, not a sigh of weariness was heard

With a big smile, to the children, with measured gait she went

To give hugs, letters of love, and read stories – this heaven sent!


Filipinos, these Zamboangueños are, hence, strong in will and spirit

Pliant as the bamboo that they can bend to sway to avoid being hit –

Hit by misfortunes such as what has just befallen their sorry lot

But surely, they will again proudly stand, gently sway, just like that!

Home to Badjaos, Samals, Tausugs, Yakans, Muslims and Christians

Zamboanaga’s splendor sparklingly shimmers under the searing sun

As they have survived the wars since Spaniards came years before

The crisis will just be a thing of the past as they live on…for sure!

Ang Trahedya ng DAP

Ang Trahedya ng DAP


Ni Apolinario Villalobos



Nagsimula sa kung tawagin ay “masaganang” PDAF

Na nagdala kay Napoles sa kulungan pero nagla-laugh

Sino ba naman ang hindi, eh ang iba’y mugto ang mata –

Sa pagpuyat, hanap ng mga ebidensiya laban sa kanya!

Akala ng iba, dahil nagrorosaryo na’t nag-iisa si Napoles –

Doon sa Sta. Rosa kung saan nakulong din ibang herodes

May isa pang trahedya na nagpakalog sa ating mga isla

Nang isang araw nag-privilege speech si Jinggoy Estrada.


Banat dito, banat doon ang kanyang ginawa, safe naman kasi

Kaya’t mga kalaban walang magawa kundi manggagalaiti

Maraming nagtaas ng kilay sa binulatlat niyang mga sikreto

Ng mga akala mo mga santong tao sa kongreso at senado.

May mga binunyag na kinulimbat sa bayan ay nakakakilabot

Mga halagang pangarapin man ni Juan ilang beses di maabot

Pati siya ay umamin din na may malaking perang natanggap nga –

Pag-aming kasama siya sa tropang ibinoto nguni’t namantala.


Sa kanyang pagtatalumpati na tumagal at puno ng suspense

Mukha ng mga senador sa TV nakita, mukhang walang defense

Iisang mukha ang nakita sa mabunying mga taong ito sa senado –

Kung paano sila makahabi ng makatotohan at makulay na kwento.

Ilang oras lang pagkatapos ng talumpati ni Jinggoy na nakangiti

Hinagilap ng mga reporters ang mga taong nabanggit sa talumpati

Pilit hiningan ng paliwanag kung ang narinig ay may katotohan –

Katotohanang dapat malaman ng nagmamaktol na taong bayan.


Si Abad simpleng umamin, meron ngang perang naipamahagi

Subali’t hindi suhol sa mga senador at kongresman sa pagkampi

Ang tinutukoy niya ay ang kaso ni Coronang mabilis nahusgahan

Na sa gobyerno ay di na makakapagtrabaho  magpakaylan man.

Ito daw ay “Disbursement Acceleration Program” o di kaya ay DAP

Mabuti’t mabuti, yon lang ang nabuo, hindi ang salitang HOLDAP!

Ano ito? tanong ng iba, eh di pundong magpapabilis ng mga proyekto –

Yon sabi ni Abad, na nakakalito yata tingnan man sa lahat ng anggulo.


Kung ang gusto lang ay mapabilis ang mga proyekto ayon sa Pangulo

Dapat tukuyin ay mga aktibo, naantala’t nakatiwangwang na proyekto

Dapat itong DAP ay ginamit na isang kautusan, isang memo ng pangulo

Dahil maliwanag, gusto nito, “bilisan ang mga proyekto”, hindi labas-pondo!

Sa ating mga Pilipino, trahedyang maituturing itong masalimuot na DAP

Hindi maiintidihan ni Juan na bumagyo man o bumaha, pilit nagsisikap

Makabili man lang ng NFA rice na nangangamoy ng pampatagal na gamot

Upang sa noo ay mawala ang iginuhit ng gutom at pagod – na pangungunot!


Ang Bagong Sistema ng Edukasyon ng Pilipinas

Ang Bagong Sistema ng Edukasyon

Ng Pilipinas


Ni Apolinario Villalobos



Nakakakuba ang mga libro ng mga bata sa elementarya dahil sa bigat ng mga ito na kailangang dalhin araw-araw dahil bawa’t katapusan ng tsapter ay may mga tanong batay sa mga napag-aralan. Kaya mas angkop na tawaging “work book” ang mga ito. Pero, may magandang layunin ba ang pagbago sa porma ng mga textbook? May magandang layunin – para pagkitaan! Maliwanag ang dahilan na ito ay para pagkitaan ng mga tiwaling opisyal na nakipagsabwatan sa mga suppliers. Pati junk shops kumikita dahil ang mga librong ito na hindi na mapapakinabangan pa sa mga susunod na pasukan dahil sa mga tanong sa bawat katapusan ng mga tsapter ay hahakutin sa kanila para ibenta por kilo.


Dati, ang mga magulang ng mga bata na magkakasunod ang pagtuntong sa mga antas o grado ay nakakatipid dahil namamana ng mga nakakabatang mga kapatid ang mga librong nagamit ng mga nakakatanda basta pag-ingatan lang, ngayon hindi. Obligado silang bumili ng mga bagong libro o magbayad sa mga eskwelahan na siya na ring nagbebenta ng mga ito tuwing pasukan. Bakit ang ganitong sitwasyon ay hindi maunawaan ng mga opisyal ng kagawarang responsable? Malaking halaga ang dahilan!


Maraming librong ginagamit ngayon sa elementarya, kaya sa halip na may matutunan ang mga bata, lalo lang nagdudulot ng kalituhan kaya wala ring silbi. Ibig sabihin hindi makatotohanan ang sistema. Bakit hindi tanggapin ang katotohanang ang mga magulang ang gumagawa ng mga takdang aralin ng mga anak nila pati na mga project? Kung ang inaasahan ng mga guro ay “follow – up instruction” itong maituturing, mali sila, dahil kadalasan, habang nagtutuluan ang ganggamunggong pawis ng nanay sa pagsagot ng mga tanong sa takdang aralin at paggawa ng project, ang mahal na anak naman ay nagko-computer o di kaya ay nanonood ng TV!


Ang dagdag kalbaryo sa mga bata at mga magulang ay ang karagdagang antas na kailangang tuntungan ng mga estudyante pagkatapos ng Grade Six. Hindi pinakinggan ang reklamo ng mga guro na siyang apektado, na hindi nakahanda ang sistema ng edukasyon. Una, kulang ang mga silid aralan sa mga pampublikong paaralan, at pangalawa, walang nakahandang kurikulum or “module”. May nakausap akong nanay na nagkwentong ang anak daw niya ay tinuturuang mag-manicure at mag-pedicure, magamit lang ang panahon na ginugugol nila sa paaralan.


Ang kailangan ay kagalingan sa pagtuturo na makakamit kung may mga programa sa pagpapakadalubhasa ng mga guro at may kaakibat na suporta ng sapat na budget, hindi dagdag na antas. Nakakalungkot isipin na upang madagdagan ang kaalaman, may mga guro na para lang makadalo sa mga training o seminar o makabili ng mga libro, ginagamit nila ang sarili nilang pera. Hindi maaasahan ang budget ng mga eskwelahan dahil kadalasan, pambili nga ng chalk ay inaabunuhan pa ng mga guro. Upang makabili ng mga walis at iba pang gamit panlinis, nag-aambag ang mga estudyante at mga magulang.


Lumabas sa TV ang isang dokumentaryo tungkol sa Kalayaan Island. Maganda na sana ang napanood dahil may ipinakitang paaralan at klase ng mga estudyante pero nakakadismayang marinig sa guro na hindi daw sila “credited” ng Kagawaran ng Edukasyon. Nguni’t dahil gusto ng gurong ito na may matutunan ang mga anak ng mga sundalo at iba pang mga tao na nagtiis tumira sa Kalayaan Island upang maipakita na pagmamay-ari ng Pilipinas ang isla, tuluy-tuloy lang ang pagturo niya sa mga bata. Bakit hindi ito inaasikaso ng Kagawaran ng Edukasyon?


Sa iba pang liblib na lugar, may mga paaralang butas-butas na ang bubong, halos wala nang dingding. Mayroon ding mga akala mo ay leaning Tower of Pisa ang porma dahil hindi diretso ang tayo, gawa ng mga kung ilang bagyong humagupit. Kung interesado ang Kagawaran na makakita ng iba’t ibang sitwasyon, maganda siguradong humingi sila ng kopya ng mga dokumentadong report ng GMA7, ang istasyon ng TV na matiyagang gumagastos upang maipakita at aktwal na maitala ang mga tunay na kalagayan ng mga eskwelahan sa iba’t –ibang panig ng Pilipinas.


Ngayon, magtataka pa ba tayo kung bakit mahina ang pundasyong edukasyonal ng mga kabataan? Mga kahinaang madadala nila sa paglaki nila at maging bahagi ng lipunan. May mga matatalinong bata ngunit hindi nabibigyan ng pagkakataong ito ay malinang sa pamamagitan ng tuluy-tuloy na pag-aaral. Ang dahilan ay kakapusan sa pera ng pamilya nila, wala silang magawa kundi tumigil sa pag-aaral. Pinalala ito ng kawalan ng suporta mula sa pamahalaan.


Ang mga kabataang nakakapag-aral sa malalaking bayan at siyudad, bihira ang nakikitaan ng pagkaseryoso sa pag-aaral dahil sa mga nakakalat ng computer shops na ang iba nga halos ilang dipa lang ang layo sa mga paaralan. May mga batas na nagbabawal sa pagtatayo ng mga shop na ito malapit sa mga paaralan, ngunit ano ang ginagawa ng mga lokal na opisyal? Wala! Hindi nga nila maipasara ang mga bilyaran at beerhouses na animo ay kapitbahay lang ng mga paaralan, computer shops pa kaya? Ano ang ginagawa ng Kagawaran ng Edukasyon tungkol dito? Wala rin, dahil para sa kanila trabaho ito ng mga alkalde. Ngunit kung tutuusin ang apektado ay mga estudyante na dapat hinuhubog ng Kagawaran sa pamamagitan ng mga paaralan.


Kung may mga estudyante mang nagsisikap matuto sa kabila ng mga problema sa sistema ng edukasyon at kahinaan sa pagtuturo sa kanilang paaralan, iilan lang sila na maituturing na pag-asa ng bayan. Sana bago maging huli ang lahat ay mabigyan ng kaayusan ang kasalukuyang sistema sa edukasyon at pagtuturo na siyang inaasahan huhubog sa kasalukuyang henerasyon ng mga kabataan. Mga ilang taon pa mula ngayon, ang mga henerasyon na nakatamasa ng maayos na paghubog ng kanilang pagkatao ay mawawala na. Papalit ang kasalukuyang henerasyon, nguni’t may maaasahan ba sa kanila ang ating bansa? Nagtatanong lang.

Contentment in Life

Contentment in Life

By Apolinario Villalobos



Even what is good becomes bad when it is excessive. Food is good but could give us dyspepsia when we have taken much more than what our guts can take. Medicine when taken in overdose can be fatal. Even being overly religious can give us imbalance in sanity, making us believe that we have already become another God, even another Jesus.


Moderation is necessary. To be healthy, we must watch out for the calories of the food that we eat. We must read the direction on every label of medicine that we take. We should not even oversleep even if this ultimate rest is necessary for the regeneration of some cells in our body. Even too much love to the point of being too passionate can tip the balance of our emotional sanity and could be fatal.


To be reasonably moderate, it is necessary that we control our desire. To do these, we should let our mind prevail over our excessive emotion that is expressed in embarrassing actions that we fail to notice, putting us in unlikely situations most often. We become hysterical and unreasonable. All that we know is that we have to let out what we feel. A typical manifestation of  this kind of uncontrolled emotion can be observed in concerts of bands where fans shout and gesticulate to show their “love” to their performing idols. Also, in confrontations during which we let our pride prevail over reason.


During break ups of engaged couples or  married ones, some of those who are greatly affected and could not just accept the unfortunate reality either cry their heart out, indulge in food trip binges, drown their sorrow in shots of alcoholic beverage, commit suicide, or kill their partner who brought them such pain.  Blame too much love! The same thing happens when a dear love dies. Some of those who are left behind and who could not accept the departure lose control of their senses even for years, forgetting that they still have other loved ones to be cared for.


For us to be reasonably moderate, we should accept the reality that every thing in ourselves and in this world has limitations. For the physical limitations, no two persons are exactly of the same make up, not even twins. One could perhaps take 3 cups of coffee and not feel dizzy, but another may be good for just 1 cup. One may comfortably gobble up 5 cups of rice, but another is comfortable with just 2 cups. One may consume one whole cake with a smile, but another one could be running to the toilet after finishing 3 slices of the sweet confection. All limitations are part of God’s design when He created the universe and every thing in it including us. That is why there is harmony.


Every thing has its use for the sake of harmony. Some of the creations that may be harmful to us people, are useful to other creatures. In a coral colony for instance, some of the corals are poisonous to humans but provide protection to small fishes. Animals in the jungle that we find dangerous such as lions and tigers are there to help check the overpopulation of their kind by making use of some of the wild creatures as food. As for the criminals that roam the dark streets, they become such to represent what is bad, to open the minds of others, hence, not  emulate their acts. But these criminals have the chance to change their ways, that is why, man put up the correctional institutions.


Among God’s creatures, only man has the discipline because of his intelligence. As God’s design, this discipline is supposed to check his acts, tell him what is good and what is bad as his rational attribute is activated. That is why the head which encases the brains is on top of his body while the emotional heart is way down below but above the guts.


Discipline cannot be had if there is no contentment, the hidden force in ourselves that could spell harmonious life.


There are many things that we should be contented about. One is achievement in life. Some are not happy despite their having earned a degree. They still aspire to earn a master’s degree or a doctorate. But because of financial incapacity, this is impossible. This results to grumblings and self-pity. Some are not happy despite their having a loving wife and healthy children. They want more just like their neighbors who have cars and who go on regular out-of-the country vacations. But this is not possible because their salaries are just enough for the rent, food and education of the children. Some are not happy despite their having successfully guided their children to raise families of their own. At an advance age, they grumble.


For the blessings that God gave us, we must be thankful. If these blessings prosper, we should share them with others without expecting any reciprocal payback. We must feel contented for these blessings, not ask for more because there are many out there who are waiting to be blessed, too. For anything that we do for the good of the community, we must do our best. By doing our best as street sweepers we are doing an important role for the cleanliness of our community. By doing our best as tricycle drivers, hence, careful in bringing our passengers to their desired destinations, we are ensuring safety on the street. By doing our job as cooks in restaurants, we satisfy our customers and make them happy. The execution of our role to the best we can is a manifestation of contentment.


The desire for more than what God gave us transforms us into demonic creatures. Those who desire for more money at all cost commit robbery and in case they work in the government, become corrupt. Those who desire for more power make use of bribery as a means. Those who desire for more honors and adulation, commit plagiarism. Those who desire for more aesthetic appearance than others ruin their body due to excessive cosmetic surgeries and drugs.


Each role in life is a blessing from God. We should be contented with what we are, what we have and what we can do best for others. We should free our minds of the “should have been” qualms. What achievements others have but we failed to earn should not make us unhappy. Instead, we should be happy for them. We should learn how to be happy for others. There are reasons for every thing that happens in our life. Instead of asking God “why” every time we stumble on trials, we should be mumbling “ thank you, Lord!”. God will not let us face trials that we cannot overcome. He knows our limitations. We must remove the “self” from our mind and change it with His light so that we are assured of clarity in our decisions and actions as we live day by day. We should never let envy and pride hold us back. We should let the force of contentment push us on!


The DAP and “Government Savings”

The DAP and “Government Savings”

By Apolinario Villalobos


It looks like the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) is a result of budget juggling in which the Department of Budget Management (DBM) is an expert. The DBM and just lately, the President himself, in a press conference told the world that the DAP is needed to bolster the seemingly lagging economy of the country, hence, “acceleration” is necessary, and another hence, more expenditures are needed. What!?!?


By its name alone, the DAP with “acceleration” in the middle is supposed to be a mandate. It would look better if presidential instruction is given to implementing Agencies and LGUs to “accelerate” or hasten or speed up or rush up or quicken existing projects for which budgets have already been allocated because as found out, the problem is the unreasonable pending of projects despite the allocated budgets which is a case of fund malversation on the part of implementing Agencies and LGUs.  The DAP as the name suggests does not call for “release” of more budgets which unfortunately DBM did just lately resulting to questions from the different sectors.


On TV, Abad mentioned that although there are purported budgets, these are actually appropriations. He must be referring to the DAP and Malampaya Fund. Does he mean, budget on papers? No cash available? If so, why were the legislators given millions months after the Corona case? – the money found to be from DAP. On Malampaya fund, he said that portions of the fund were used to purchase a patrol boat for the Navy and helicopter in view of the Spratlys/West Philippine Sea issue, and added, equipment for PAG-ASA. But what happened? And worse, though, still under investigation, how did  Napoles dip her fingers into it? Why are the Chinese are still happily constructing facilities within our territory? Why are the PAG-ASA people still complaining about their unpaid incentives and hazard pay? As a final statement to defend the President, he said that it is necessary for the latter to have a standby fund that he can use for emergencies. So there, he implied the discretion of the President in the disbursement of the fund – a pork with another face, that Malacanang vehemently denies.


As to the “savings”….how can all government agencies, for that matter, ever have savings when their budgets for the coming fiscal year is based on the budgets of the previous year? Reason dictates that previous spendings are supposed to tell the budget guys of the agencies that they need more money instead of having saved some. In fact, due to progressive needs of agencies, they are supposed to be in need of budgets for unexpected projects, therefore, not included for the current fiscal year. Simply put, for instance, the FY 2010 budget is prepared based on FY 2009 expenditures which may show sometimes, necessary additional budget for other projects that were not expected during the previous year or FY 2009. In this view, the 2010 budget is supposed to have a bigger amount in their proposal. During the presentation of 2010 budget, haggling is done resulting to reduction of the budget in some cases. Very seldom are submitted budgets approved as they are. In this example, it is expected that the upgraded 2010 budget as requested based on the  previous fiscal year will have been exhausted by the end of the fiscal year or the report may show some red due again to unexpected necessary projects. Therefore, how can agencies accumulate savings?


But sadly, as agencies are actually scrimping to incur savings because they expect their savings to be given back to them as incentive at the end of the year, this effort could result to the sacrifice of service quality and deficient procured equipment. It is now up to the agencies to make use of the incentive, whether to enjoy them as bonus for employees or procurement of additional equipment. So, this is how some of people’s money is spent.


The Philippine government as a republic has been in existence for so many years now. Since the day one of its being a republic, it must have identified projects that are necessary for its development in the name of progress. Why not come up then  with a list of these projects to which standardized budgets are assigned. For a example, a bridge with so much length should be assigned a budget, a school building with such a number of rooms and other facilities should be assigned appropriate budget, a national road with so much length should be assigned appropriate budget, etc. In other words a ceiling is necessary to prevent overpricing. The budget must be checked against current material costs to effect regular updating, then appropriately recorded as future reference. If a certain government agency was able to come up with a thick book of list of government positions complete with functions and salary grade/rate, then why can’t DBM come up with a similar reference? If there is already one, why are scandals on misappropriations still happening? What is DBM as an agency to “manage” government funds and budgets for?


It has been admitted by DBM that the DAP is where the savings went. Also, this “program” is the source of “incentives” for the agencies that incurred these savings, but why include the legislators who will serve as conduits for the disbursement in the implementation of their supposed projects? Why not appropriate the fund directly to the implementing Agencies which are supposed to coordinate with LGUs for “accelerated implementation of the projects? Why add a corner (legislators) in the flow of budget when it can just slow down the process? One need not be a university graduate to sense this flaw or loophole. Are the economist and technocrat advisers of the President doing their jobs?


With the scandals going on involving government agencies, is there any attempt NOW to take a closer look at HOW the government with ALL its agencies, LGUs and the two houses of legislators “operate”? There should be an overall homogenous operation. The Philippines is a republic and not federal. But the way the agencies and the two legislative houses do their acts, it is as if, each is on its own. Their operations must be inter-related to each other to ensure a smooth flow of actions on all issues. Information technologists call this as flow chart. Such operational chart will show what agency is doing on what issue and what action has been taken and what next action is expected from another agency and so on. Government people should pick it up from there. By all means, all actions must be explained and indicated in the flow.


The Philippines does not have that many projects so that the DBM has no reason why it cannot monitor where the people’s money goes. Projects in answer to the needs of the Filipinos practically concern the same areas: for education – school building, salaries for teachers, scholarship, research for educational program upgrades, etc.; for infrastructure – government roads and highways, bridges, etc.; for agricultural development – farming technology development, irrigation, silos, farm equipment, etc,.; health – hospitals, clinics, medicines, trainings of medical staff, etc. This is the only way to standardize the appropriation, so that questions shall not be asked why expenditure on a certain project in Mindanao is bigger than the same project in Luzon. 


But then, unless the Filipinos will not mature politically, corruption will still be with us. There can never be a “best”, “strong”, “intelligent”  leader for a throng of people in disarray because of selfishness….not even a dictator.