The Stupid Surveys

The Stupid Surveys

By Apolinario Villalobos


Nowadays, there are so many surveys conducted by various survey firms which are of course paid for by parties that will benefit from the “expected” favorable results. Big companies, political units and even nations spend so much money for the flattering and self-serving favorable results. Surveys can be effective only if the whole targeted responders are captured, but if not even 1% of the total has been interviewed for their views…then, the survey results should better be told to the Marines!


How can for instance a survey, give assurance that a certain candidate will surely win during an election when the majority of the voting population has not been interviewed? To top it all, their assurance is based on a further confusing mathematical formula. So, there’s the trick – the more confused the ordinary citizens become, the better for these survey firms to insist that they are right, and the more that they make their clients happy. They want the ordinary citizens to believe that the results are products of “highly intelligent” surveys…conducted by “intelligent” people!  While some surveys are based on personal views and opinions, others are on perception which make the results more “imagined”….unrealistic. Simply stated, how can a personal view become representative of the rest, opinions as truthful, and perception as generally realistic?


The way I see it, these surveys are the workings of “research” firms that have run out of anything to do and clients who trust them. They have come up with this novel idea that can flatter egoistic groups that we call business firms, political groups, educational institutions, and governments. These surveys are also the result of the marketing strategies that need to be updated to make them attractive to clients. Schools want to attract enrollees, business firms want more clients, political groups want more donors and followers, and governments want a “third opinion” that would qualify their claim for success in their administration…all selfish objectives which at the end are supposed to be satisfied with self-serving survey results, that would later find their way in advertising spaces!


What the clients should do, instead of squandering millions in surveys for self-serving results, is require their advertising agencies to gather hard data from records that are available, to support their contentions. The truthful and realistic information shall no longer cause a single eyebrow to be raised every time the reports are splashed on the front pages of dailies, as well as, broadcasted on air lane and TV screen….at least, the doubting Thomas can be directed to the records on file.

A Closer Look at the Filipino “Nationalistic” Groups

A Closer Look at the Filipino “Nationalistic” Groups

By Apolinario Villalobos


Even during the administration of Ferdinand Marcos, there were already problems with China as regards the South China Sea/West Philippine Sea, separatist movements and kidnapping in Mindanao, as well as, with Malaysia as regards Sabah, and most especially, corruption in the government. The same problems were inherited by subsequent administrations. But the “nationalistic” groups were more concerned in shouting invectives against America in front of the US Embassy and in burning effigies of American and Filipino presidents. They did not lift a finger in helping the government in its effort to recover Sabah, and not a single rally was held in front of the Chinese Embassy to express their revulsion over the issue on West Philippine Sea. Not even a question was raised as regards the effectiveness of the military against the separatist movement and kidnappings in Mindanao because of its inadequate facilities due to misused funds intended for its modernization. These groups cannot even lay claim on the success in deposing Marcos, because the religious groups and ordinary citizens were the ones responsible for such success.


Despite the open reclamations of China in the West Philippine Sea, these groups were silent, although, belatedly, they somehow held a lightning rally or two, after such, nothing was heard from them again. Despite the ongoing activities of the Abu Sayyaf and separatist groups in Mindanao, they remained silent. The overly grisly Maguindanao and Mamasapano massacres did not entice them a bit to make a move to show their support to the victims. Despite the moving of justice system at a snail’s pace and unabated proliferation of foreign “investors” who are exploiting the natural resources around the country, nothing is heard from them, too.  And despite the blatant control of domestic medium-scale trading in the country by these foreign “investors”, still nothing is heard from these groups.


After the announcement of the Supreme Court’ decision favoring the legality of the US military presence in the country, these groups suddenly came to life. They maintain their claim that such decision shall lead to the construction of the permanent US bases in the country when in fact, nothing of that sort is mentioned in the agreement.


They claim that the continued presence of the American soldiers in the country will lead to the revival of sex- related industry which is not true. Even without the presence of US bases, there is uncontrolled proliferation of the sex trade via the internet, bars and massage parlors, even in the decent districts of Metro Manila.  But still, if they want, they can knock at the doors of Congress and Senate for laws that shall control this kind of industry, and which should be appropriate for the time. On the other hand, they are supposed to know that even the local government can control such industry. And, just what have they done on the issue of poverty that contributed to the fast growth of such industry in the country? They should caution the sex workers if they are really bent on helping their countrymen involved in sex trade which needs to be treated as a separate issue, instead of using this alibi in pursuing their “nationalistic” objective. They seem to be blind to the fact that various sex deals are flourishing even without the issue on the US military presence in the Philippines due to weak national laws and LGU regulations that reek with corrupt motives.


What dedication to advocacy are they talking about when some of them are even holding passports stamped with US visa?  If these groups are really serious in their advocacy, why don’t they hold rallies against the ongoing corruption in the country and the vote-buying, a political tradition that got deeply-entrenched in the Filipino culture? Why don’t they consistently hold rallies for the removal of department secretaries who are being questioned on the issues of smuggling, ghost NGOs, drug trafficking, illegal recruitment, and deplorable state of mass transit facilities such as LRT and MRT, etc. Why don’t they consistently hold rallies for the removal of the president, if they find him to be ineffective just like what was done during the time of Marcos? Why don’t they hold rallies against the unfulfilled promise of the government to modernize the military facilities after prime public properties were sold to foreign investors? Why don’t they picket outside the detention facilities where the Ampatuans are, to show their disgust over the hideous crime that they purportedly committed? These are what the Filipinos want to see and expect from them, as they claim to be “nationalistic” and pro-Filipino.


Obviously, the Philippines has been under a long-tested democracy which unfortunately proved ineffective due to its loop-holed system that led to the propagation of various forms of corruption. And, this is what the left-wing groups want to be changed to a more “nationalistic” system. But what do they mean by “nationalistic”?…a communism-inspired system?


By the way, I just want to make myself clear that not all nationalistic Filipinos have a communistic mentality.



Ang Tao, Kalinisan, Pagkain, at Iba Pa

Ang Tao, Kalinisan, Pagkain, at Iba Pa

Ni Apolinario Villalobos


Hindi maganda sa isang tao ang sobra-sobrang pagiging malinis, kaya makakita lang ng pagala-galang inosenteng ipis ay animo naholdap na kung magsisigaw. Hindi masama ang maging malinis sa paligid, lalo na sa tahanan at katawan. Dapat lang nating alalahanin na lahat ng bagay, mabuti man, ay may limitasyon, tulad ng pag-inom ng gamot at pagkain. Ang binabakuna sa katawan ng tao upang magkaroon ito ng panlaban sa virus na nagiging sanhi ng iba’t ibang uri ng sakit ay virus din, kaya ang unang epekto nito ay pagkakaroon ng lagnat hanggang “masanay” ang katawan sa pagkakaroon nito. Ibig sabihin, may mga mikrobyo ding napapakinabangan ng tao, kahit ang mga ito ay itinuturing na marumi at salot.


May isa akong kaibigan na sa sobrang kalinisan sa bahay ay palaging pinapansin ang nalulugas na buhok ng kanyang misis kaya tuwing magsusuklay ito ay sinusundan niya at pinupulot ang mga buhok na nalalaglag sa sahig. Isang beses sinabihan uli niya ang kanyang misis ng, “o, marami na namang buhok ang nalugas mula sa ulo mo”. Napuno na yata ang misis kaya sinagot niya ang mister ng, “mabuti…ipunin mo para maihalo sa scrambled eggs bukas!”. Pinayuhan ko ang kaibigan ko na hindi tinatanggap sa korte ang nalulugas na buhok ng asawa na kumakalat sa sahig bilang dahilan ng annulment ng kasal, nang minsang humingi siya sa akin ng payo. Sa halip ay sinabihan ko siyang kumbinsihin ang asawang magpakalbo upang maibili niya ng maraming wig na iba’t iba ang pagkaayos at kulay para umayon sa kanyang mood! Hindi ko na nakita ang kaibigan ko… sana hindi sinaksak ng misis!


May mag-asawa naman akong kilala na dati ay bugnutin pero hinayaan ko na lang dahil parehong mahigit 70 na ang edad. Pero nang makita ko uli ay sila pa ang unang bumati sa akin. Nang tanungin ko kung ano ang pagbabago sa buhay nila, ang sabi nila, “hindi na kami madalas maglinis ng bahay”. Noon kasi habang naglilinis sila ng bahay ay minumura nila ang alikabok, at maghapon silang nakasimangot lalo pa at nakikita nila ang pagkakalat ng dalawang apo. Nadiskubre din nila na mula noong hindi na sila madalas maglinis, tuwing umaga ay may dalawa hanggang tatlong ipis silang nakikita na nagkikisay. Sabi ko sa kanila ay malamang na-“suffocate” o nalason ng naipong alikabok sa sahig ang mga ipis na ginagapangan nila. Dagdag- paliwanag ko pa ay, kaya siguro mas gustong manirahan ng ipis sa cabinet at mga sulok ay dahil wala halos alikabok sa mga ito. Bilang payo, sinabihan ko silang mag-ball room dancing na rin.


Maraming ospital na hi-tech ang naglilipana ngayon saan mang panig ng mundo, kasama na diyan ang Pilipinas at nagpapataasan pa ng singil. Dahil sa kamahalan ng kanilang singil, ang nakakakaya lang magpa-admit ay mayayaman, na ang kadalasang sakit ay sa puso, kanser at iba pang sakit na pangmayaman.  Subali’t hindi maipagkakaila na ang mga sakit na nabanggit ay nakukuha rin sa mga “maruming pagkain”. Ito yong mga pagkaing ipinagbawal na nga ng doctor ay patuloy pa ring kinakain. Alam na ng lahat kung ano ang mga “maruming” pagkain kaya kalabisan na kung babanggitin ko pa. Upang pabalik-balik sa mga doktor ang mga pasyente, siyempre dahil sa kikitain mula sa mahal na konsultasyon, sinasabihan na lang nila ang mga ito na kumain ng mga dapat ay bawal na pagkain “in moderation”, o hinay-hinay, o paunti-unti. Obviously, ay upang hindi bigla ang pag-goodbye sa mundo….at tulad ng nabanggit na, tuloy pa rin ang mahal na konsultasyon!


Ang industriya sa paggawa ng mga pagkaing dapat ay “moderate” lang daw kung kainin ay tuloy sa paglago at pagkita ng limpak-limpak upang  masupurtahan naman ang gobyerno sa pamamagitan ng buwis na binabayad nila. Ang ilang mababanggit na produkto ay processed foods na may salitre o preservative, maraming asin, food coloring, na tulad ng hot dog, corned beef,  bacon, ham, smoked fish, at mga inuming may kulay at artipisyal na lasa.


Sa puntong ito, gustong ipakita ng mga Tsino na nangunguna sila sa lahat ng bagay kaya pati ang paggawa ng nakalalasong artificial na bigas, sotanghon, alak, at pati ang itinanim na ngang bawang ay inaabunuhan din ng isang uri ng fertilizer na nakakalason sa tao, upang maging “matibay” at hindi mabulok agad sa imbakan. Ang masama lang, artificial at nilason na nga ang mga pagkain ay nakikipagsabwatan pa ang mga Tsino sa mga walang puso at konsiyensiyang mangangalakal sa Pilipinas upang maipuslit ang mga ito kaya hindi napapatawan ng karampatang buwis. Kung sa bagay, paano nga namang maipapadaan sa legal na proseso ang mga produktong bawal?  Maliban lang siyempre…. kung palulusutin naman ng mga buwaya at buwitre sa Customs!


Ang legal namang buwis na nalilikom ay ginagamit ng gobyerno sa mga proyektong kailangan ng bansa at mga mamamayan sa pangkalahatan. Kaya masasabing may pakinabang din pala ang paggawa ng pagkaing unti-unting pumapatay sa tao…. isang paraan nga lang ng pagsi-self annihilate o pagpapakamatay…. upang makontrol ang paglobo ng populasyon…na ang ibang paraan ay giyera, kalamidad tulad ng bagyo, baha, lindol, at matinding tag-tuyot!


Kung hindi dahil sa nabanggit na mga paraan, baka pati sa tuktok ng mga bulkan ay may mga condominium at subdivision dahil sa dami ng mga taong aabutin ng mahigit 100 taong gulang bago mamatay…at  baka biglang mawala ang wildlife na magiging delicacy na rin dahil sa kakulangan ng pagkain…at baka magiging bahagi na rin ng pagkain ng tao ang minatamis na mga dahon at balat ng kahoy!


Sa Tsina ay delicacy ang talampakan ng oso o bear. Sana ang magagaling na Tsinong chef ay makadiskubre ng masasarap na recipe para sa buwaya, buwitre, at hunyango…marami kasi nito sa Pilipinas para mapandagdag sa pagkain ng mga Pilipinong nagugutom dahil ninanakaw ng mga walang kaluluwa ang pera ng bayan!


The Government should Review the Performance and Relevance of the Commission on Higher Education (CHED)

The Government should Review the Performance

and Relevance of the Commission on Higher Education (CHED)

By Apolinario Villalobos

There is an observed saturation of related courses in the colleges and universities which is the cause of unabated soaring of unemployment of yearly graduates in the country. Experts wonder what are causing the phenomenon which is a precursor of distress among the present generation. They look around, but failed to see the educational breeding grounds – the colleges and universities with their redundant courses.

When tourism boomed, for instance, there was an immediate scramble of colleges and universities in coming up with courses such as BS Tourism, Hotel and Restaurant Management, Airline Secretarial, and many others. All of them four-year courses, when all that the industry needs are people who can communicate well in different languages, especially, English, Japanese and Chinese. Hotels and restaurants need only waiters, bar tenders, cooks, front room personnel. Airline companies need only secretaries who are computer-literate, adept in filing and knowledge in office courtesy. Tour operators and agencies need only tour guides who are proficient in languages, as well as, office staff who can prepare tour packages, answer phoned-in queries, cut tickets, and make bookings. So why the tedious and expensive four years, then, when all the required skill can be had in two-years and several hours of on-the-job training?

The saturation of useless courses offering of colleges and universities is a clear sign that these institutions are not sensitive to what are happening in the country, especially, on the issue of unemployment. They just refuse to acknowledge the fact that their graduates languish in pitiful state of unemployment, after spending hard-earned money and time for four years. I wonder if the “intelligent” guys who run these diploma mills ever make simple analysis about the situation that even a simple cigarette vendor on the street understand. Yet, these institutions proudly display on tarpaulins outside their campuses, photos and names of their graduates who passed board and bar examinations….but beyond that, what?

Surveys are made about unemployment, but again, they never touch the source of unemployed graduates who have been idle for so many years and the shocked newly-graduates to find out why. The government mentioned something about “mismatching” of courses with the requirements of employers…and, the “concern” if ever it can be called such, ends there. Is the government so helpless, such that it cannot even issue mandates to colleges and universities to put a stop to their money-making ventures in the form of useless and redundant courses?

As a last recourse, why not just do away with CHED so that the money saved can be used in enhancing the programs of the Department of Education (DepEd) and TESDA?

All that the DepEd needs is a division or two to handle higher education or collegiate concerns which are all but, as mentioned, useless and redundant courses, while TESDA programs can be expanded to include specializations that may include trainings for flight attendants, cruise crew, flight ticketing personnel, airport check-in staff, reservations agents, tour package specialists, multi-lingual tour guides, in addition to what it already offers such as hotel servicing, development of building construction skills, and computer-related short courses. On the other hand, the colleges and universities should be mandated to streamline their course offerings that should jive with the demands of the current job requirements.

If “productivity” is what the government wants for the college and university graduates, then, a thorough review should be done if CHED is really doing its job or not. Unfortunately, it seems that such call is impossible under the present administration, as the latter is all praise to the agency for its “reports” that beautifully punctuate the SONAs of Pnoy.