Flexing of muscles: will they prove atrophied or not? Metro braces for transport strike.
And the limits of collaboration and cohabitation: Estrada ready to make up with Arroyo but will fight Cha-cha.
The news item on the presidential corruption survey (Survey: Arroyo most corrupt, Aquino cleanest of 5 prexies) is interesting, not precisely because of what the survey says, but the limits the survey reveals, in terms of the public’s frame of reference (and not Palace: Respondents too few to say Arroyo is most corrupt).
But first, in Inquirer Current, John Nery provides a closer look at the data, and makes a cautionary note in his blog, Newsstand, both about the limits of the imagination of respondents, and the risk the findings might get oppositionists salivating again:
While the question is asked against a considerably longer horizon (“sa kasaysayan ng Pilipinas”), note that the options are limited to the last five presidents: Marcos, Aquino, Ramos, Estrada, and Arroyo.
Under such limits, Arroyo is a clear “winner” over Guinness-record-holder Marcos (the national numbers have the standard margin of error of plus or minus 3). Definitely not good news for Malacanang.
But before we wave copies of the latest Pulse Asia survey in the streets, remember that this very survey found that only a quarter of voting-age Filipinos were willing to take to the streets to force the resignation of a corrupt president. The limits of outrage, indeed.
I’m glad though Nery pointed out that the survey asked people to rate presidential corruption in terms of the history of the Philippines, but that respondents on the whole, limited their comparisons to Marcos and his successors. This tells us that for most Filipinos, history is only what’s occurred within living memory; and for this reason I find the survey worthless. Such a limited framework is no framework at all.
But still, politically speaking, this is quite a shocker. Worse than Marcos? Wow. As for how seriously the Palace takes it, see [email protected]:
First reaction? The Fortress downplayed it, saying that the survey was commissioned by former senator Serge Osmeña. Since that was not enough, here’s another: the survey was unfair, baseless, and based on perception, which is not reality, says Cerge Remonde, who also blamed the “vicious” (his word) opposition. Then, the Fortress says the respondents were too few. And another factotum said that the perception was due to a media blackout on government’s action versus corruption.
Anyway, the problem with the Fortress is that they are downplaying surveys that are negative in impact for the Arroyo regime. Yet, at the tail end of the 2004 campaign, the Arroyo campaign kept on harping about Arroyo edging the late Fernando Poe Jr. at surveys. Heck, when the Hello, Garci erupted, they used these surveys to prove that Arroyo won fair, square, and Garci. This line of defense is a two-edged sword, it cuts both ways.
Off hand, I think the reason FM did better than GMA is because of what I called The “vision thing” in October, 2005. Marcos could at the very least, present himself as a leader with “the vision thing” in spades:
The thing is, the “vision thing” is, in many ways, everything. Without it, the prize is less easy to keep, and the stage occupied by a shallow, and not particularly convincing, production number. The President’s critics (and supporters, too, depending on the internal factions they belong to at any particular time), have often criticized her for being unable to either grasp the vision thing, or for her tendency to keep changing it, as if it were a pair of fashionable reading glasses. Political strategy can-and should-change, depending on circumstance, but the vision thing is supposed to remain, well, clear and never blurry…
The problem is, aside from existing posters, some license plates, and walls painted prior to the elections, the Strong Republic has been junked long ago and replaced with other “vision things,” each one weaker than its immediate predecessor. There was the “10-Point Agenda,” then the “Rule of Law” and “Let’s Move On,” and — if the President’s former close associates are to be believed — the real one: the “Fear Factor.”
But how does one demonstrate, much less, articulate “Fear Factor” as a “vision thing”? Particularly in terms of where our presidents tend to be bottled up most of the time, which is in the Palace? This kind of vision only promotes a greater determination to take away the prize; it isn’t much of a vision to communicate from the pulpit. Of course, the President can invoke St. Michael the Archangel to make mighty swipes, figuratively or literally, with his fiery sword at the administration’s critics; however, the “eternal hellfire-and-damnation” kind of preaching is really the specialty of people like evangelist Bro. Eddie Villanueva, whom the justice secretary wants arrested. Even Catholic bishops no longer seem to indulge in that kind of beatific vision thing.
Which brings me to Sylvia Mayuga’s engrossing review of Carmen Guerrero Nakpil’s latest volume of memoirs. Mayuga provides some interesting extracts from Nakpil’s book, concerning the Marcoses and how they handled the assassination of Ninoy Aquino. At one point, as Mayuga puts it, Nakpil found herself “atypically alone” with Madame Marcos:
I asked her whether she and the President had watched Ninoy’s funeral on TV, and she said, yes, they’d done so, together, in his bedroom. And that they’d been crushed, struck dumb by the enormity of what they were seeing on the video screen. She added that they had felt overwhelmingly humiliated because they had little inkling of the public mood, and that Marcos had said, ‘So, after all these years, all our efforts, our trying and striving, it has come to this?’
…Ninoy did not die that day on that sunny Sunday afternoon in August 1983 at the Manila International Airport, for that was when he began to live forever in the hearts of his countrymen. It was Ferdinand Marcos who died that day, and he knew it.
Mayuga’s account of a conversation she had with Nakpil during the launching of the book, where she pressed Nakpil on her views concerning whodunnit as far as ordering Ninoy’s killing was concerned, is very interesting, too.
Is there a “lechon manok” phenomenon, when it comes to OFWs? Ang Kape Ni LaTtEX tackles this, in response to the story of Gilbert Roque in Kabayan OFW:
Reading the whole article, there are simply too many things that make me scratch my head: the lack of the ability to recognize opportunities presented, the lack of any real passion or concern for career other than a means to make ends meet, the treatment of overseas work per se as a career option, the acceptance of an abusive, menial, meaningless job just as long as it pays higher than – a job that could be matched financially and attained locally if only people try.
Gilbert is not alone however; how many people get jobs as call center agents, or take up nursing and caregiving, even if they are not genuinely interested in developing their careers in those fields? How many people work for the sake of working? How many people tolerate 8-5 drudgery just to be able to pay the bills?
In the end, the OFW phenomenon might actually not be driven by simple poverty. Rather, it is being fed by a huge number of mismanaged careers, masquerading as a last resort to be able to feed and clothe one’s family when there are real alternatives that people simply fail to see.
On a cultural note, and related to the debate on our OFW’s, this notice from the Israeli embassy:
You can now watch the multi-awarded film, “Paper Dolls” at Cinema 1, Greenbelt 1 on Dec. 12,13,14,15,16 &18 2007. Screening Schedule:
“Paper Dolls” won 1st place at the Berlin Film Festival in 2006 and other honors in many international festivals including Cinemanila (2006). The film tells the plight of a group of transsexual Filipino caregivers working in Israel.
“Paper Dolls” is a documentary film which explores changing patterns of global immigration and expanding notions of family through the prism of a community of Filipino transvestites who live illegally in Israel. Cast out by their families because of their sexual and gender preferences, these people work 6 days a week as live-in, 24 hour a day care givers (and in many cases as surrogate children) for elderly orthodox Jewish men, in order to earn money to send to their families in the Philippines that had rejected them. On their one free night per week, they pursue their own personal dreams as drag performers in the group they call “The Paper Dolls” in the relative freedom of cosmopolitan Tel Aviv. Despite having to deal with often harsh working conditions, threats by street criminals, fear of terrorist bombings and the constant peril of deportation, The Paper Dolls demonstrate a rare generosity of spirit, humanity and lust for life.
Award winning filmmaker Tomer Heymann enters this unusual world and by coming to know and love these subjects unearths joy, sorrow and humanity which change his life forever.
This is the other side of the phenomenon -the pursuit of opportunities our society won’t permit to some.
My Arab News column for this week is Both Sides Resorting to Old Scripts. In his column, Manuel Buencamino roasts the Spanish monarch, the President, her cabinet, and little brown Americans.
In the blogosphere, smoke takes exception to my pointing out the current standing of on line petitions.
Wow Pare points to a report on the reading habits of Filipinos:
According to the 2007 National Book Development Board (NBDB) Readership Survey, 67 percent of respondents across the country read the Bible the most, followed by romance or love novels (33 percent), cookbooks (28 percent), comic books (26 percent) and religious or inspirational works (20 percent).
A more detailed look is available through the National Book Development Board, which commissioned a survey in 2004:
The National Book Development Board commissioned the Social Weather Stations to conduct a survey on the reading attitudes and preferences of Filipinos. This is the most comprehensive study on book readership in the country. The survey was conducted from March 10 to 25, 2003 with 1,200 respondents composed of 300 voting-age adults from every study area: National Capital Region, Balance Luzon (areas within Luzon but outside NCR), Visayas, and Mindanao. The sample size has an error margin of +/-3% for the entire Philippines and +/-6% for every study area. Of the total respondents, 63.6% are from rural areas, while 36.4% from urban. Of the total respondents, 7.7% belong to classes ABC, 67.4% class D, and 24.8% class E.
Significant Findings of the Book Readership Survey Readership of the 7 -17 years old age group
Nationwide, 60% of the households surveyed have family members aged 7-17. Of these households, 35% have at least one member of the 7-17 age group who reads non-schoolbooks. Of the total family members aged 7-17, only 26% read non-schoolbooks, but most of those who read non-schoolbooks read at least weekly. Readership of non-schoolbooks among members aged 7-17 tends to be higher among females, classes ABC, those with a library at home, and those whose household heads have high education. The most popular non-schoolbooks read by the 7-17 age group are the Bible (22%) and romance novelettes (22%).
Readership of Filipino Adults
The good news is 94% of Filipino adults can read (simple words at least). 90% have read books at least some time in their lives. 68% have read nonschoolbooks. For those who read, 91% read to gain knowledge while 9% read for enjoyment.
Accessibility of Bookstores and Libraries
The survey reveals that many of the respondents (42%) are not aware if a library exists in their locale. 60% say that bookstores are not within walking distance from their residence, and 18% do not know if there is a bookstore in their locale. Data gathered from the National Library show that there are only 511 municipal libraries out of 1,496 municipalities, and 49 provincial libraries out of 80 provinces. Adult readership of non-schoolbooks tends to be higher among: ‘those with high levels of education, ‘those who attended private rather than public schools, ‘those from upper socio-economic levels, ‘those with higher personal monthly income, ‘those from urban rather than rural areas, ‘those younger in age, ‘those who are not married, ‘those who have libraries in their homes and offices, ‘those living nearer to bookstores and public libraries, and ‘those whose social networks (kith and kin) also like to read. While Filipino adults generally recognize the value of reading books, many (43%) can let a whole year pass without reading a single non-schoolbook. On the other hand, 15% read 2-3 non-school books, and 14% read at least 10 non-school books. Books are read more for gaining knowledge and information, and thus perhaps book reading is considered something to do when the need arises. Watching TV, movies and videotapes, listening to the radio, and going to malls seem much more fun to do. Perhaps parents, educators, publishers, and advertisers ought to do more to portray book reading as fun to do too. Filipino adults generally find books to be good gifts, and although considered costly, a book is not regarded as a luxury item but a necessity.
The survey shows that readership of non-schoolbooks is higher among Filipino adults from the the upper socio-economic classes who have reached high levels of education and attended private schools, are younger, either single or without a partner, and live in the urban areas.
oreover those who live near libraries and bookstores read more often. The Bible (38%) and romance novels (26%) are the most commonly read books by adult readers. The highest percentages of Bible-readers are from Mindanao (51%), class E (43%), females (42%), and 45 and above years old (49%). The highest percentages of romance novel readers are from Balance Luzon (27%) and Visayas (27%), class E (28%), females (37%) and 18-24 years old (46%). After the Bible and romance novels, females like to read about cooking (11%), while males read about politics (10%).
Manner of Acquiring Non-Schoolbooks
Allowing for multiple answers, the following are the means through which Filipino adults who read non-schoolbooks acquire them: borrowing from other people (52%), receiving books as gifts (40%), borrowing from libraries (24%), renting (18%), and buying (15%). Majority of respondents from all study areas and all socio-economic classes do not borrow from libraries.
The percentage of those who bought non-schoolbooks for personal reading in the past year increases with social class, educational attainment, and personal monthly income. 58% of Filipino adults who bought non-schoolbooks in the past year spent only a maximum of P200. 16% spent more than P1,000. Among classes ABC, 38% spent more than P 1,000.
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