Posts Tagged ‘PCSO’

Church for the Poor

July 15, 2011 Leave a comment

Church for the poor

by: Harvey S. Keh

The Manila Times



AS much as I would like to show some sympathy to the bishops who are now being grilled by the public for receiving vehicle donations from PCSO, I believe that they are also at fault for being placed in this dire predicament. It was admirable that the CBCP issued a statement wherein they apologized on behalf of the bishops who accepted the vehicle donations from PCSO. The sad part about this is that the wrong decisions made by these 7 so called “Pajero” bishops has not only affected them but also the Roman Catholic Church as an institution. As a devout Catholic, I still believe that majority of our Church leaders are still pious and upright but it will need to be more strict in policing its own ranks if it wants to avoid similar controversies that may eventually turn off more of its followers.



Quid pro quo


One of my frustrations during the past administration was despite all the graft and corruption scandals that then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo was embroiled in, many of our Church leaders chose to just stay quiet. I would always remember that the reason that they gave was the separation of the powers of Church and State but if this is so then why would some of their bishops request SUVs from our government? This has led many Filipinos to think that in exchange for their support, the Arroyo administration continued to shower these bishops with gifts. Perhaps this is also the reason why we have Butuan Bishop Juan de Dios Pueblos calling for the immediate resignation of President Noynoy Aquino because he knows that in this present administration there will no longer be “gifts” that will be bestowed upon his holiness. Our Church leaders are supposed to be our moral compass and should always take the high ground. They should never be beholden to just a few selfish and vested interests.


Church for the poor and powerless


Aside from writing for The Manila Times, I also write a regular column for Abante and one of my readers reacted to a recent column saying that it was very sad to hear that while thousands of very poor Filipinos have to line up for several days just to get medical treatment support from PCSO, we have bishops who drive around on SUVs given by PCSO worth more than a million pesos. I think this is a sentiment that is being felt by many Filipinos right now. We need a Church that will become more responsive to the needs of millions of Filipinos who live in poverty. Even Jesus Christ himself showed a preferential option for the mar-ginalized such as the poor, the sick and the sinners during his time here on earth as we can read from the Bible.


The Jesuit-run Ateneo de Manila University where I studied and am currently working in has also made it a priority to develop students with a passion for excellence and service. This can be seen in Ateneo’s involvement with public education reform initiatives such as Pathways to Higher Education, Synergeia Foundation and the Ateneo Center for Educational Development (ACED). Under the leadership of its former President, Fr. Ben Nebres, S.J., Ateneo was also very active in promoting Gawad Kalinga and has in fact helped build hundreds of homes in Payatas and Nueva Ecija.

Aside from Ateneo, there are also many Church leaders like Bishop Sofronio Bancud of the Diocese of Cabanatuan who has been at the forefront of working with civil society groups and schools in Nueva Ecija towards promoting good governance in their province.


This just shows that in any institution there are always good eggs and bad eggs but the challenge that our Church now faces is how it will be able to show Filipinos that they are an institution that is not insensitive to the plight of the poor and the powerless as they are now being perceived to be. They can start by living more simply and following the example of Jesus Christ who lived not among the rich and the powerful but among those who most needed his love, care and attention.



PNoy at Pinoy: A Year After


The Asia Society Philippines Foundation and the Asian Institute of Management (AIM) together with The Manila Times will be hosting a pre-SONA forum, PNoy at Pinoy: A Year After, on July 22, 2011 (Friday), 9:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. at the GLDC Room, AIM, Legazpi Village, Makati City. The forum aims to assess the first year in office of President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III. President Aquino will be assessed on the following, Politics and Governance by Mr. Mon Casiple of the Institute of Political and Electoral Reforms (IPER), Social issues by former Department of Education Usec. Mike Luz and Foreign policy and international relations by Mr. Roland Simbulan from the University of the Philippines-Manila. This event is open to the public and is free of charge. Seats are very limited. Those who wish to attend need to register by calling Nash Cordero of the Asia Society at (02) 752-4374.


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Black Propaganda

June 17, 2011 Leave a comment

Black Propaganda

by: Harvey S. Keh

The Manila Times


AS the new school year began last week, problems such as the lack of classrooms, teachers and textbooks continue to occur in our public schools. As much as the Department of Education (DepEd) led by Secretary Armin Luistro would want to solve these problems overnight, this simply cannot happen given the fact that our past leaders have neglected our education system for several decades now. The good thing about this new administration is that it is constantly seeking private organizations and companies to work with the DepEd in bringing better facilities and services to our students. The private sector knows fully well that if our education system continues its decline, businesses will be at the losing end given that there will be shortage of well-educated and competent manpower that can work for their companies. Our big companies should realize that by investing in education now, they are also investing in their own future given that improving our education system will allow our country to produce more skilled workers such as accountants, engineers and managers which companies constantly need.

Education solves poverty

Investing in education is also good for our government and the economy since if we are able to produce the best workers in our region, more foreign companies will want to establish their operations here thereby bringing additional dollars and jobs that will easily prop up the economy. More jobs would also mean better opportunities for every Filipino to be able to improve their quality of life. Take for example, an average call center worker can easily earn a monthly salary of P20,000.00 which would be more than enough to cover for the day to day expenses of a family of four. Right now, many call centers have started to complain that they are finding it hard to fill up the vacancies that they have given the lack of skilled and competent applicants that are currently in the job market. I have always said in my past talks that if our basic education system is good, our high school graduates need not anymore go to college just to be able to qualify to work at our call centers.

Filway and AHON bring books to schools

AHON Foundation adopted public elementary school library

One company that has invested heavily in helping improve the quality of our public education system is Filway Marketing, Inc. which in 2006 set up the Acts of Hope for the Nation (AHON) Foundation. AHON helps promote literacy and reading among public elementary schools through the development of adequate and functional libraries. If one will visit our public schools, one would lament the fact that majority of the books in their libraries (if they have one) are usually very old books that can no longer be used by the students. Therefore, it is not suprising that many of our students graduate from Grade 6 with reading comprehension skills of a Grade 3 student. AHON works with different stakeholders in the community such as the parents association, the teachers club and the barangay to help renovate and improve the library. Each stakeholder does their own share to make the library a more conducive place for reading and learning. AHON then donates P350,000 to P600,000 worth of brand new reference books, encyclopedias, dictionaries and story books to the library. Last week, AHON formally opened four new public school libraries in Nueva Ecija to bring to 45 the total number of adopted libraries that the foundation has helped through the years. Aside from this, AHON also works with the Rizal Library of the Ateneo de Manila University to provide training to the librarians who are assigned to manage the libraries. This training will ensure that the libraries are used properly by the students and even their co-teachers.

Supporting Purisima and Juico

PCSO Chairman Margarita Juico

On another topic, I am very disturbed by the black propaganda that the allies of the former administration are doing to discredit good people in the current administration particularly Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima and PCSO Chairman Margie Juico. I personally know Puri-sima given that he was one of our first supporters when we launched the Kaya Natin! Movement for Good Governance and Ethical Leadership in 2008. Since then Purisima has been actively engaging us in efforts to curb graft and corruption in the revenue generating agencies such as the Bureau of Internal Revenue and the Bureau of Customs. The opposition is saying that Purisima should be investigated because he has been filing charges of tax evasion against people associated with the past administration particularly Ang Galing Pinoy party-list Rep. Mikey Arroyo. What is wrong with filing charges against those who committed violations of our law? If Arroyo did in fact not pay taxes then he should be penalized for that. It will be our judicial bodies who will decide if Arroyo is guilty or not and not Purisima. If Arroyo can show proof that he is indeed an honest tax payer then there is nothing that he should be afraid of.

I also don’t see anything wrong with the decision of PCSO to move their office from the old, run down Quezon Institute (QI) to the PICC. Clearly, structural engineers have already declared that the QI is no longer a safe place given that there is a strong possibility that it would collapse should a major earthquake occur. Given this scenario, why is former PCSO Chairman Manoling Morato, another known ally of the previous administration going to town telling everyone that Juico made a wrong decision to transfer? Would the public rather believe him or the structural engineers? Will he be willing to be held responsible for all the lives that would be lost should the worst case scenario happen? One reason that I see is that he is trying his best to take away the public’s attention from the spate of anomalies committed by the previous PCSO board which Morato was part of that the current PCSO board has uncovered.

Reports have shown that during his time at PCSO, Morato knew that there was rampant corruption that was happening from advertising and public relations placements which ran up to almost a billion pesos but he didn’t do anything about it. Is he perhaps also in cahoots with these perpetrators? The new PCSO board has now put an end to this malpractice and has even rescinded several anomalous contracts that the previous board has entered into. Apparently, Juico is dead serious in following our President’s call for righteous governance and this has stepped on several toes including that of Morato.

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