FROM MY WINDOW
By NENITA FUENTEBELLA-PEŇONES
The Peñafrancia fiesta is fast approaching and being the tercentenary (300th) year of devotion to our Ina, Our Lady of Peñafrancia, we can expect more than the usual thousands of devotees and tourists coming. I learned that more than three hundred Archbishops and bishops from different parts of the world are coming. Foreigners and Filipinos, especially Bicolanos who are Marian devotees are also coming.
This is primarily a religious celebration and we should prepare not only on physical matters but also spiritually in order to achieve change in ourselves for the better. For giving birth to Jesus, Mama Mary gave the world our Redeemer who came for our salvation. It is just right and proper that we love and venerate her. By doing this, we also please Christ because she is also His Mother. Mama Mary is our intercessor to Jesus.
Let us show our love for Ina by participating in the church activities.
Vice President Jejomar Binay reportedly proposed “Global Filipino” instead of Overseas Filipino Workers as the new name for the more than eight million Filipinos overseas. Binay said it gives more dignity to Filipinos abroad. “OFW may emphasis pa dun sa workers. Tawagin na lang nating Global Filipino para maganda-gandang pakinggan.”
“They are the reason why we still have a stable economy. We could have encountered bankruptcy if not for them” the VP said.
I like this name “Global Filipino” for OFWs. I remember the program of GMA’s administration called “Super Maids.” For me, the name was undignified even if you call them “Super”.
As concurrent chairman of the Housing and Urban Development Coordination Council (HUDCC), VP Binay ordered frozen the implementation of six months in advance contributions for housing from overseas Filipino workers before they can be issued Overseas Employment Certificate.
This mandatory contribution was a pre-condition to the approval of their departure for jobs abroad by the Home Development Mutual Fund (Pag-IBIG) Fund and the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) under the umbrella of the HUDCC shelter agency.
This order is right. The OFW has not yet even started working and the government will already require a cash advance for six months. This is heavy burden to our OFWs, Binay ordered PAG-IBIG and the POEA to conduct a thorough legal review of why OFWs should be compelled to advance their contributions as a pre-condition for overseas job posting.
The action taken by VP Binay will endear P-Noy’s administration to the OFWs and their families in contrast to the reaction of the people on the imposition of VAT and toll on the north and south expressways. The important thing here is that it is fair and humane to the poor workers who are going abroad due to lack of job opportunities here. Maybe, the PAG-IBIG and POEA can collect when the OFWs are already employed but not six months in advance. It should be the same as other PAG-IBIG members.
Education Secretary Armin Luistro announced the administration’s plan to add two more years to the ten-year basic education program to provide a simplified and competency-driven curriculum aimed at producing professionally competent and skilled high school graduates.
This objective is good but it should not be rushed because there are more urgent things that he should give his priority attention. The President of the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) Antonio Tinio reportedly said there is a classroom shortage of 61,343 classrooms, 54,000 teachers and 816,291 school desks. These are basic needs beside books, toilets and lavatories, laboratory equipments, etc.
The DepEd should focus first on giving quality education by solving the above problems. Students cannot learn much from the two or three shifts shorter classes because of lack of classrooms. Even teachers are already overworked. The 10 years basic education has also produced many good professionals who are working here and abroad. Let’s fix the problem first.
By adding two more school years, the government will be adding more problems to parents for their children’s transportation, baon, shoes, uniforms, etc. Because of the present financial hardship, many students may drop out. That may create more social problems.
Sec. Luistro who was formerly the head of the La Salle, Greenhils, should also consider the plight of the poor who compare majority of the population.