Penoy

So let’s see, what has Aquino managed to do so far? Chase after his predecessor using slipshod, ill-advised legal tactics, check. Throw a hissy fit after a co-equal branch of government catches his mistake, check. Throw another hissy fit after the same co-equal branch of government decides to finally give the land that his family has claimed for decades to the people who actually own it, check. Throw a massive tantrum and pick an unbelievably childish fight with same co-equal branch of government, check. Send his spin doctors all over the media to widen his bullying efforts, check.

Promise to gradually disavow public tertiary education and focus instead on creating a workforce of merely employable sub-professionals—and thereby giving up on national development efforts—check.

This whole Corona impeachment issue has revealed Aquino for whom he truly is: an inexperienced, whiny, inconsolable brat with more hubris than hair. Even this early on, we know that Aquino is a forgettable President.

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On fairness, balance and the worldwide Interwebs

Noemi Dado wrote about a video that recently made the rounds that claims facts about the Cojuangco-Aquino family. It’s a treasure trove of biting accusations, dubious data and water-cooler fodder. You can watch it here.

The merit of the video is another matter. All I’ll say about it here is that it looks like propaganda to me, so I won’t accept what it says at face value.

I hoped that Ms Dado would have, too, especially since she wrote the post for BlogWatch, a reputable online “citizen media” site that, in theory, should be fair and balanced. In fact, she said on Twitter that she wrote the post in the interest of fairness and balance.

However, when you look at her post, you can tell where she’s leaning towards. She begins with “Thou shalt not be ignorant,” then proceeds to reproduce, in full, the description of the video, which explains the motivation behind it and where it sources its facts. After posting the entirety of the description, she inserts excerpts of comments about it by historian Xiao Chua. Not the entirety of Chua’s Facebook note, just the first few paragraphs. In fact, the body of Chua’s reaction, which Dado excluded from the post, largely disproves the arguments of the video, but she makes no mention of it. This is followed by a long list of tweeted reactions to the video, the overwhelming majority of which were approving of it.

You’ll have to read her post yourself, but I think you’ll find that she herself approves of the video. The tweets she posted about the issue reveal her stand, too.

Fielding criticism from bloggers, she said she posted about the video in the name of fairness and balance. Her aim, she said, was to present all sides. But the post itself betrays a lack of will on her part to keep the discussion fair. Furthermore, her tweets, more than anything else, challenged the Cojuangco-Aquinos and their supporters to disprove the video.

Of course, we all have our own personal biases, human as we are. But the lack of balance in Dado’s post, which (I will repeat) she wrote in the name of fairness and balance, is a disservice to her readers and to the discourse on the matter. She says she presented both sides, but instead she presented one of them, then inserted excerpts from the other. Inserting Chua’s comments was a nice gesture, I guess, but I think it was a cop-out, a token act. It didn’t balance her discussion of the issue.

I pointed this out to Dado on Twitter (in much fewer words, obviously), and she said, “Well if you think I was not balanced, maybe you can make a blog post about it and share it here instead of splitting hairs.” She suggested I curate my own Twitter reactions, and added, “Sorry na lang if that is all I found. Verify it yourself.” I found her response disappointing, especially since I only pointed these out to her because she had written the post in question for want of fairness.

In short, she said she was fair, and I (and many others) begged to differ. The discussion kind of disintegrated from there.

These are the times we live in.

Tonight I thought I’d stop by AS on my way to dinner to find out what was going on. They’re having a cultural night, with performances from various artists that depict the history of the struggle of the university and its students.

What an auspicious way to spend the night before the university makes history once more. Tomorrow, UP students and administrators will walk all the way from Quezon City to Mendiola, along with other state and private universities, to signify their opposition to Noynoy Aquino’s abhorrent policies. They will march in opposition to yet another hefty budget cut the national university is poised to sustain. They will march in opposition to cuts to the budgets of state tertiary schools. They will march in opposition to Aquino’s gross underfunding of the Philippine General Hospital (PGH) and of public health in general.

Simply put, UP will march all the way from Diliman to Mendiola because our President has neglected his responsibility to his nation’s youth and people too gravely.

Frankly, I do not think Aquino will be shaken in the least by tomorrow’s demonstration. His policy—to gradually drop quality tertiary education from the list of his government’s responsibilities—has been rock solid since last year. No matter how resonant our call is—and more fundamentally, how crucial quality college education is to the development of a nation—he will probably not listen to it.

But what will matter is that he will know that we know what he is doing. He will know that we won’t forget, neither will future generations, and neither will history. He will know that even as he has not been in power for two years, we already know what he will be remembered as: the President who shirked his responsibility to the nation’s future.

UP is on strike.

Starting yesterday, the University of the Philippines Diliman went on strike to oppose the Aquino government’s continuing neglect of its responsibility to state universities and colleges.

San Juan Representative JV Ejercito paid a visit to the AS steps, where youth leaders, UP officials and some of his fellow congressmen spoke for greater state subsidy. He said more than 100 lawmakers have signed a manifesto supporting the call for state support for tertiary schools.

Student Regent Kristina Conti said such a manifesto, though nice, is really an empty gesture because there isn’t any overt action accompanying it. Sure, you want more financial support for state universities, but where’s the money?

Kabataan Partylist Representative Mong Palatino, meanwhile, said that however determined Congress might be to increase the budget of SUCs, Aquino will still have the final say. Even if both houses of Congress agree to add to the budget of state schools, when the budget bill reaches Aquino’s desk he can still choose to veto such additions. This is why it’s a good idea to pressure Malacañang and the Department of Budget and Management about state subsidy for SUCs, he says.

In 2010, Aquino said, “We are gradually reducing the subsidy to SUCs to push them toward becoming self-sufficient and financially independent” because they had the “ability to raise their income.” By income-raising ability, he probably means leasing public lands meant for academic use in shady and nonbeneficial deals, or shifting the burden to supposedly state-funded scholars by charging them higher tuition and laboratory fees.

The sad truth is that Aquino’s outlook on quality state-supported tertiary education in the Philippines is this: “I don’t give a shit.” He does not care about training and creating our future engineers, social scientists, artists, journalists, filmmakers and novelists. He does not care about securing the country’s industrial, cultural and social future.

He does not care about the future of this country.

His communications team will, of course, say that he does, and will point to his myopic programs—the Conditional Cash Transfer and Public-Private Partnerships—as evidence. Perhaps some will believe their drivel.

But those of us who know what’s really at stake, who really understand why there is such an uproar over Aquino’s admitted policy on quality tertiary education in this country, know that he has no sense of history, that he has a complete lack of ability to see beyond the horizon. Any president who looks at quality college education as an unwanted burden on the state does not understand what quality college education really means, especially if that president went to a private university and is a rich haciendero.

It’s only been two years since his ascent to power, but we all know that for all the history and prestige he used to climb to the top, he will be a forgettable president.

We will not forget.

I’m Dean and I am for an intellectual Reproductive Health debate.

I really don’t care anymore if you’re for or against the Reproductive Health bill. The debate has rotten to such a level that I’m willing to talk to anyone about the bill so long as they don’t drag “moral” or religious arguments into the discussion. So long as you don’t quote the Bible, the Koran or Oprah Magazine on me or invoke your favorite saint or the friendly creature that lives in the tree in your backyard, we’re good.