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Oct 08

Life Goes On

By Joel T. Fagsao

It seems that with every renewed hope for the Philippines to rise up, it gets itself into a mess.  The unfortunate hostage taking incident got us a black eye, at a time when the Philippines seems to be gathering steam for lift off under a new administration then, boom, we’re back to square one.  There are a lot of angles to look into; there are a lot of questions to ask, like why are the members of the SOCO (Scene of the Crime Operatives) able to smile in front of the bus where lives earlier on were snuffed?  Why are students from nearby schools having their pictures taken near the crime scene-again in front of the tourist bus?  Have we become calloused as a nation that we now look at tragic events as an ordinary occurrence everyday of our lives?  There are a lot of lessons to learn from the tragedy.  Nobody asked for this tragedy to happen, no country would have wanted this to happen to its visitors.  The healing shall begin with a thorough investigation and shall bank on the government’s assurance that the investigation shall be quick and without whitewash.   And so life goes on.

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The Department of Labor recently launched a website for the benefit of the unemployed and underemployed.  Again, technology comes to the fore as various media available to us such as mobile phones, the Internet are exploited to the fullest to serve our needs.  And so eager to look at the contents of www.dole2917.com.ph, hoping to write something for the thousands of unemployed, I am directed to the domain name registry of the Philippines-meaning, the website is not yet registered (?) or not working at all.  Job seekers might as well move on to the http://www.jobsdb.com.ph website to post your resume and hopefully receive an e-mail or call from a company that is in need of people to hire.  And so life goes on.

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How much does it really cost to educate a student in a public school (elementary, high school or college)?  Well, do the math.  Select a school as your base.  Add the total salaries of teachers and other school staff members include other expenses such as utilities, maintenance of building and equipment, textbooks.  The result could be mind boggling, better for the government to really widen the tax base and get more of tax collections to fund education.  On the other hand, subsidies to private schools that perform well shall also be encouraged.  Not all private schools are profitable, but still they are able to deliver.  Private schools also provide employment and getting them into the loop of government assistance will encourage investments in education.  At present, private high schools get tuition vouchers while private higher education and technical vocational schools also get tuition subsidies.  Funding for research and teacher training programs shall also be made available to private institutions.  To date we still have a mismatch in terms of what the industries need and the courses our students are enrolled in.  And please let us not call students “scholars” when all they receive is a P2, 000.00 in allowance.  I look back to the days when government scholars were provided a monthly allowance, book allowance and full tuition payment.  To be a scholar then at that time, you have to pass a qualifying exam, maintain a certain average and if you fail or your average falls below the limit, say goodbye to your scholarship.  The Private Education Student Fund Assistance (PESFA) in its early implementation provided for a semester allowance, book allowance and tuition subsidy until the student who is enrolled in a private technical-vocational institution completes his or her education that ranges from 1 to 3 years.  Today, because of a change in policy, all that a student gets is a tuition subsidy (competency based) that will only be good for a semester.  Let us encourage our policy makers to reflect and return the “dignity” befitting that of a real government or state scholar.  And so life goes on.

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MS Office 2007 Tip:  If you cannot find the command buttons or the ribbon in Microsoft Word 2007, it sure has been minimized.  To get to display your command buttons point and right click on a blank space in your toolbar (containing the menus), right click and select Minimize Button.  The ribbon (containing command buttons should display).  And so life goes on as we continue to explore what else we can do to be productive in daily interactions with the computer.