Education and Romulo
FROM THE Internet, something to perk up your day.
Blood types of presidentiables:
- Rodrigo Duterte—cold blood
- Grace Poe—half blood
- Miriam Defensor Santiago—high blood
- Mar Roxas—blue blood
- Jejomar Binay—dinuguan
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We have less than a month to go before we head for the polling booth to choose the next president. At this point in time, you probably have already decided who will get your vote.
The menu before us is not that attractive. None of the candidates are truly outstanding. Each of them has their strong points; all of them have shortcomings and weaknesses. One thing certain—the vast majority of our people have no say on these candidates.
In the United States, the vetting process for possible presidential contenders is a yearlong exercise. It includes debates, town hall meetings, caucuses, and primaries where state voters choose their delegates to the party national convention where the final candidate is selected.
The GOP (Grand Old Party) or Republican Party started with over 10 candidates for the nomination. These included senators, governors, a businessman (Donald Trump) and a company CEO (Carly Fiorina). After months of debates and campaigning in state primaries and caucuses, only three remain in the race.
The frontrunner, Donald Trump, the New York businessman, promises to build a wall that would separate the United States from Mexico, and get Mexico to pay for it. The other two are Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, a Cuban-American who was born in Canada and is the favorite of the Tea Party wing of the GOP, although not of the establishment; and John Kasich, the current governor of Ohio who is trailing badly in the delegate count, but is hoping for a brokered convention should Trump fail to get the 1,237 delegates needed to win the nomination outright.
In the case of the Democratic Party, originally there were five candidates for the nomination. Today, there are only two: Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and former secretary of state Hillary Clinton.
Clinton is leading in the delegate count, but Sanders has been winning most of the latest contests and could secure the nomination if the outcome of an FBI investigation in the e-mail problems of Clinton turns against the former first lady.
As you can see there is a continuous vetting of possible candidates for the nomination. By the time the respective presidential conventions come up with their choices, the American people would have clear alternatives in the choice of their next leader.
Who nominated Vice President Jejomar Binay, Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, Sen. Grace Poe, former interior secretary Mar Roxas, and Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago? Who decided that they should be candidates for the presidency?
We need to go back to the two-party system, at the same time strengthening it to prevent political butterflies from changing parties when they find themselves on the losing end of an election. Another option is to shift to the parliamentary form of government. We should be open to change especially since some of our next-door neighbors have done well under this system.
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While I have not endorsed any of the presidentiables, I would like to see some new blood in the Senate. From recent poll surveys, it appears that most of the leading candidates in the magic circle of 12 are reelectionist senators or were senators in the past. Except for a few, we have no problem with this situation. But rather than voting for someone like Manny Pacquiao (he is reportedly in the magic circle or within striking distance), perhaps we should consider others who may not have the popularity or the machinery for a winning campaign but can offer much more in terms of service to the people.
Pacquiao has brought much glory and honor to the country and has carved for himself a special place in our pantheon of heroes. But the Senate is not for him. My suggestion is that he put up a sports academy not necessarily for boxers but for athletes who may have the special skills and the mental attitude that he himself brought into the world of boxing. This would form part of his legacy and, perhaps, the fruits of his efforts, rather than a woeful stint in the Senate, would be better appreciated by a grateful nation.
If we are to move forward in our development as a nation, we need to invest more in education. It is education that will provide our people with the means to improve their lives and possibly raise their fortunes. It is education that will also level the playing fields that so far have been monopolized to a large extent by the affluent class.
Without education we cannot grow and empower the middle class. Without education, the country will remain in the hands of oligarchs, the less than 1 percent of the population that controls more than 70 percent of the nation’s wealth and resources.
Rep. Roman Tecson Romulo has been involved for much of his legislative career in bringing about reforms in our educational system as well as changes that have benefited mainly the poor and the needy.
As chair of the House committee on higher and technical education, Romulo was the principal sponsor and author of several laws that provide free college education for members of the marginalized sectors of society.
One such piece of legislation is the Iskolar ng Bayan Law. Under this law, the top 10 students of every graduating high school class (in 8,000 public high schools servicing 42,000 barangays all over the Philippines) or some 80,000 graduates, are provided with free tuition and other fees. The law further mandates that admission to any of 112 state universities and colleges of their choice within the region is automatic and needs no entrance examination. For public high schools with more than 500 graduates one more scholarship slot is awarded to the school.
Romulo has also batted for increased welfare benefits for indigent senior citizens. Indigent seniors refer to Filipinos 60 years and above, who are without regular GSIS or SSS pensions, or are lacking a permanent source of income, or regular financial assistance from relatives. At present, they receive a P500 monthly stipend from the Department of Social Welfare and Development. Romulo seeks to double this amount to P1,000 monthly.
As the principal sponsor and author of Republic Act No. 10649, Romulo was instrumental in bringing about increased burial assistance for our veterans—from P10,000 to P20,000.
The youth and senior citizen sectors of society, along with our veterans, have every reason to support Romulo’s candidacy for the Senate.
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