An invitation to a UNESCO talk regarding ethics, energy and climate change

“Beyond Fukushima: Ethics, Energy and Climate Change”
Consultation Meeting with UNESCO Bangkok RUSHSAP in cooperation with the National Commission of the Philippines to UNESCO, and the Department of Philosophy of Ateneo de Manila University
Ethics and Climate Change in Asia and the Pacific (ECCAP)
8:00 – 12:00, 30 April 2011

Venue: Ching-Tan Room of Ateneo Gokongwei School of Management
Ateneo de Manila University, Loyola Heights, Q.C.



Humanity Photo Awards 2011

Deadline:April 15, 2011


Aiming to record the world’s folklore cultures, theHumanity Photo Awards(HPA) 2011, organised by the China Folklore Photographic Association (CFPA) and UNESCO, invites worldwide participation in this contest.

Entries are accepted until 15 April 2011.

HPA, launched in 1998 by CFPA, is a biennial photography contest which calls upon worldwide photographers, professional or amateur, to record, spread and share the diverse cultures among mankind. HPA has been greatly supported by UNESCO since the year 2000.

So far, HPA has collected over 130,000 folklore photos from 141 countries taken by photographers from 108 countries. Common humanity in diversity is what the contest is trying to express.

Source: Culture360

BSAIII action plan on education

10 Ways to Fix Philippine Basic Education

Action Plan on Education

Philippine education is in crisis and we need not argue that point. What we need is a president with a basic education agenda, willing to make the hard decisions. This is what needs to be done.

12-Year Basic Education Cycle

We need to add two years to our basic education. Those who can afford pay for up to fourteen years of schooling before university. Thus, their children are getting into the best universities and the best jobs after graduation. I want at least 12 years for our public school children to give them an even chance at succeeding.

My education team has designed a way to go from our current 10 years (6 elementary, 4 high school) to a K-12 system in five years starting SY 2011-12. Kindergarten (K) to Grade 12 is what the rest of the world gives their children.

I will expand the basic education cycle in this country from a short 10-year cycle to a globally-comparable 12 years before the end of the next administration (2016)

Universal Pre-schooling For All

All over the world, pre-schooling is given to all young children as the first year of basic education. We don’t solve this deficiency by renaming day care centers as pre-schools. We need to build a proper pre-school system and make this available to all children regardless of income.

All public school children (and all public schools) will have pre-schooling as their introduction to formal schooling by 2016.

Madaris Education As A Sub-system Within The Education System

Our Muslim brothers and sisters ask for an education system that respects their culture while providing a technically sound curriculum in English, Filipino, science and math. Madaris education with subjects in Arabic Language and Islamic Values Education can be integrated in our public school curriculum as additional subjects with the view to keeping our Muslim Filipino children in school.

I want a full basic education for ALL Muslim Filipino children anywhere in the country.

Technical Vocational Education As An Alternative Stream In Senior High School

Half our high school graduates want to work upon graduation but do not have enough technical education. We need to provide an education alternative to better prepare students for the world of work. Technical, vocational education must be re-introduced in our public high schools with trade tests and skills rating (TESDA or other acceptable work standards) as the final examination for students looking at HS as their terminal course.

I will re-introduce technical-vocational education in our public high schools to better link schooling to local industry needs and employment.

“Every Child a Reader” by Grade 1

At the core of our children’s non-learning problems is the inability to read properly. By the end of the next administration (SY 2015-16), every child passing pre-school must be a reader by Grade 1.

Essential to this, we must build a library infrastructure in our schools, procure reading books (from our Philippine publishing industry to support local authors and publishers) and train our elementary teachers on how to teach reading.

By the end of the next administration, every child must be a reader by Grade 1.

Science And Math Proficiency

We need a strong science and math curriculum that starts as early as Grade 1 with instructional materials and properly trained elementary teachers. To build a culture for science and math, I will bring back the science and math clubs movement with elementary and high school science/math fairs.

I will rebuild the science and math infrastructure in schools so that we can produce more scientists, engineers, technicians, technologists and teachers in our universities so that this country can be more globally competitive in industry and manufacturing.

Assistance To Private Schools As Essential Partners In Basic Education

Private education must be a partner in producing quality education in the country. I intend to expand GASTPE (Government Assistance to Students and Teachers in Private Education) to a target of 1 million private HS students every year through education service contracting (ESC) while doing away with the wasteful education voucher system (EVS) of this administration.

I will expand government assistance to private education. A strong private school system will strengthen our public schools by providing parents an alternative and not adding to the overcrowding.

Medium Of Instruction Rationalized

UNESCO has proven that young children learn best in their mother tongue before moving on to English in higher grades. I fully support the UNESCO-tried and tested formula on mother tongue instruction. From pre-school to Grade 3, we will use the mother tongue as the medium of instruction while teaching English and Filipino as subjects.

From Grades 4-6 (7), we will increasingly use English as the medium of instruction for science & math and Filipino for Araling Panlipunan (social studies). For High School, English should be the medium of instruction for science, math & English; Filipino for AP, Filipino and tech-voc education.

My view: We should become tri-lingual as a country.

  • Learn English well and connect to the World.
  • Learn Filipino well and connect to our country.
  • Retain your dialect and connect to your heritage.

Quality Textbooks

Poor quality textbooks have no place in our schools.

I will not tolerate poor textbook quality in our schools. Textbooks will be judged by three criteria: quality, better quality, and more quality.

Covenant With Local Governments To Build More Schools

We need to address our continuing classroom shortages. And if we are successful keeping more kids in school, the demand for more classrooms will be even greater. Here, we need a covenant with LGUs not only to build more classrooms but to establish more schools on land provided by LGUs. We do not need more overcrowded schools; we need more schools with smaller populations so that teachers, students, and parents can form a real learning community.

I will build more schools in areas where there are no public or private schools in a covenant with LGUs so that we can realize genuine education for all.

If we fix these ten concerns, we will fix most of the problems in our education system.

If we fix basic education, we fix the long-term problems of the country.

And if we fix the country’s problems, we will build a truly strong society we can proudly call the Philippines.

[Archived from the official campaign web site of President Benigno S. “Noynoy” Aquino III]

UN body calls for conversion of NBN4 into public broadcast system

UN body calls for conversion of NBN4 into public broadcast system
VERA Files

THE United Nations Educations, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) National Commission of the Philippines (UNACOM) came up with a 16-point policy recommendation for  presidential and vice-presidential candidates in the 2010 elections that included the conversion of government media network into a public broadcasting system that would serve the people rather than the government.

UNACOM said, “In the current setup, government stance is prioritized over the information needs of public and sectoral interest groups whose input and partnership are needed to sustain national welfare.”

“The new administration should study re-engineering the current ‘monolithic’ government broadcasting system and adopt the community-based concept,” said UNACOM, which monitors the roles of education, science and culture for the UN.

The proposals, which aim to “reduce the gap between what is and what should be”, were divided into three major concerns: Environment, Human Resources, and Cultural Framework for Sustainable Development.

Other recommendations include climate change and coastal management, freedom of information policy, promotion of conduct becoming a Filipino.

The signatories  were chairpersons Vilma Labrador, Committee for Education; Mel Velarde, Committee for Science and Technology; Felice Sta.marica-Pridente, Committee for Social and Human Sciences Committee; Carmen  Padilla, Committee for Culture; Florangel Rosario-Braid, Committee for Communication;  and Preciosa Soliven, secretary-general.

They appealed to the candidates to “set the example for positive transformation.”

“Anchor your action on a knowledge-based society that values learning throughout a lifetime. Anchor your action on the promotion of a Philippine culture that is a lasting legacy of excellence and nobleness in all we make and in all we do,” they said.

Nation building on IOUs

Nation building on IOUs
By Juan Mercado
Philippine Daily Inquirer

Come June, Benigno Aquino, Gilbert Teodoro or Manuel Villar will be president. Whoever is elected will inherit three “inevitables,” Viewpoint asserted earlier. These are: death, taxes—and nearly 93.9 million Filipinos.

Please make that four “inevitables.” To the first three, kindly add a fourth: utang or debt.

Philippine foreign debt amounted to just $1 billion when Ferdinand Marcos pledged, at his 1965 inauguration, that he would make “this country great again.” “Bisag niwang bastang walang utang,” says the old Visayan proverb. No matter if you are skinny, provided you have no debts.

Marcos & Co. didn’t heed that counsel. When People Power drove him into exile, the IOUs had bloated to $28 billion. Much of that was squandered.

Export-Import Bank bankrolled the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant. Constructed by Westinghouse, it straddled an earthquake fault. It never generated a single kilowatt. But cronies, like pseudo Austrian “count” Herminio Disini, made a killing.

Dirt poor Filipinos paid for this mothballed plant until 2007, when the last installment fell due. “Sumin utang kay ambayaran,” Zamboangueños say. There is no debt that is not paid.

Ferdinand Marcos Jr. is running for the Senate. He has taken a sabbatical from his consuming avocation: tracking down debts of welshing presidential buddies.

These IOUs are assets parked by the dictator with cronies. After the Edsa Revolt, most denied squirreling such windfalls. Their ill-gotten wealth were ours to start with, Bongbong and family gripe.

Don’t look at me, snaps taipan Lucio Tan. All his assets were whistle-clean.

Today, total external debt towers at P1.93 trillion. About 10 percent of gross domestic product services those debts. Out of very peso in debt payment, 45 centavos will go to foreign creditors, says Rep. Teofisto Guingona III. Domestic lenders claim 55 centavos.

Every man, woman and kid here today is strapped with an IOU of P47,968. That reflects a population that quintupled since the eve-of-World War II census tallied 20 million Filipinos

There were 88,574,614 of us as of August 2007, the census claims. But this seven-year late head count is seriously flawed. Gunslingers dictated tallies in Maguindanao and much of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. There were serious undercounts in other places.

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo signed the census proclamation in April 2008. That made statistical fiction official. The data are used for just about everything—from allocating schoolhouses, gerrymandering congressional districts, slicing slabs from the Internal Revenue Allotment to computing IOUs.

Unless the next census is conducted more reliably, the incoming president and his team will have an unreliable policy tool. Yet, from day one in Malacañang, the new president will be burdened by inherited debts.

The Philippines won’t wail “Don’t cry for me, Argentina” anytime soon. Remittances from overseas workers provide, for now, a safety net against default like Evita Peron’s country did on $140 billion in foreign debts.

The World Bank classifies us as a lower middle income country. That may soothe some egos. But it slams the door to access to, for instance, the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries Facility or the Multilateral Debt Relief Initiative. Look, meanwhile, at the pinched features of malnourished kids in slums or barangays.

The New Economics Foundation calculates that “the Philippines requires 63 percent debt cancellation.” Only then can government wipe out the backlog in unmet basic needs of its citizens, such as health, education and infrastructure.

Typhoons sapped tax collections by notoriously corrupt agencies like the Bureau of Internal Revenue and Bureau of Customs. We’ve also been peddling assets. That patches financial gaps but offers no long-time solution. And how do you tax four out of every 10 Filipinos who scrounge “below an ethical poverty line of $3 a day”?

Move beyond “motherhood statements,” the Freedom from Debt Coalition prods candidates. Sketch out, instead, concrete fiscal plans that will tamp down festering IOUs and address hunger, joblessness, etc. On her way to the exit, President Arroyo will leave a P290-billion budget deficit.

Fat chance. This remains a country where voters gawk at candidates warbling or dancing on the stage. FDC’s 12-point agenda won’t be debated in this campaign. The earliest these proposals will be dusted off is when the next debt crisis hits.

For now, the FDC proposals, like many thoughtful programs presented by NGOs and religious groups, can only be readied.

Among other things, FDC proposes a legislative overhaul, ranging from spiking automatic debt servicing, by repealing the Foreign Borrowings Act of 1966 and passing an alternative Official Development Assistance Act to regulating borrowings by local government units.

It suggests “automatic allocation measures”: six percent of GNP for education, as suggested by UNESCO; five percent of GDP for health, as recommended by the World Health Organization; and five percent for mass housing and settlement projects for the poor.

Other suggestions: Conduct an official debt audit. Scrap the R-VAT law. “Repudiate blatantly illegitimate debt cases.” “Rescind onerous contracts entered into by the national government.”

A country can’t be built on unpaid IOUs. “Never stand begging for what you have the power to earn,” the author of Don Quijote counseled.

(Email: [email protected])