Friday, June 01, 2007

I'm back! (or I have returned)

That expression I think is most apt for the moment.

It means two things. First, that I'm back in the blogsphere. And second, that I'm back here at the Department of Education. (which explains why I said I have returned)

Since I left the Department in 2005, a part of me always wanted to return. When I accepted an appointment in the Office of the President, I thought I would stay there for several years but little did I know that three months later I would transfer to the Office of the Solicitor General.

But after working hard and trying to make a difference in the OSG, my stay there was abruptly cut when my principal, now Justice Nachura, was appointed to the hight court. And then the DepEd beckoned to me again, calling to me in the manner mermaids enthrall wayward sailors and here I am.

Those familiar with J.R.R. Tolkien's TLOR trilogy are familiar with the ending of the Return of the King where Sam Gamgee (after sending off the Baggins in the Gray Havens) returns to his wife and kids and simply says "I'm back." That ending, so simple and sweet, was so abrupt. It made you yearn for more. You could not believe that the story was over. You wanted more but there's none to be had.

I guess I'm saying "I'm back" because I yearn for me. My stay here as Chief of Staff to then Secretary Florencio Abad came to a sudden halt that I was jolted. Everything was a haze that I had to stop and pause to get my bearings.

I know that here I can contribute. I can make a difference. And so, Chapter II of my DepEd career has began and it begins with "I'm back!" :)

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Mark in Manila

I'm here in Batangas today with my nephew, Mark Malaya, the handsomest Malaya in San Francisco!

Mark is 13 years old and he's studying at Synergy School in California. He's the eldest son of my big brother, Ed Malaya.

He's here visiting us and having a vacation in his native land. He's here beside me and here's what he has to say. Take it away, Mark! --

Dear publics and commitees, homeless and yadda yadda yadda. I am not who you think I am. I am a cerial eater. I love to eat shortbread. Shortbread likes to eat me. By reading this you have given me brief control over your feeble minds, so therefore I am better than all of you.

I am your ruler from now on till an eternity has past. How long is an eternity you ask?............... I dont know so go to your local dictionary and look it up yourselves. The Philippines is my home for the rest of the 2 weeks I am staying there.

I have been in kokbangers {Bangkok} for five days and I saw my little cousin Michael, he is the whitest pinoy I know. We went on a tour to the "death bridge" (bridge over the river Kwai) but it was a pile of dirt. The tour could suck worse but it remainded so-so and I had a bad headache after the first 20 minutes in the "bus". The tour guides were all blargianthropnars. That is the end of my propaganda for the year.

That's what Mark has to say. Thanks, Mark!

Monday, July 24, 2006

The Cradle of the Revolution

Last night, I appeared on the Mel and Joey show on the Kapuso network to talk about "Pamana." It wasn't about the usual pamana of properties or good looks. It was about the various barangays that Quezon City inherited from Caloocan. It is not commonly known that most of what is now Quezon City was carved out of Caloocan by virtue of two laws passed in 1939 and 1949.

Now, how come I know about these things? Why all of sudden have I become knowledgeable about Caloocan history. For one, I'm not even Tagalog. I'm a red hot Bikolano and proud of it.

Well, I guess its all because of my fascination with the Philippine Revolution and the Philippine-American War. I have long been enamored with places, people, and events that played a role in the building of the Filipino nation. As a history buff, places like Malolos, Kawit, Alapan, Cabanatuan, Bayambang, Tirad Pass, and of course Caloocan fascinate me to no end.

As a matter of fact, my interest in Caloocan inspired me to write a book (nearing completion) about Caloocan's role in the Revolutionary period. Through the help of Mayor Recom Echiverri and the support of my wife, Lanie, I am almost finished writing "Caloocan: Cradle of the Revolution" which I hope makes a contribution to the writing of our history.

Once the book leaves the press, you will be the first to know :)

Excerpts from my forthcoming book

"The story of Caloocan is the story of the Filipino Nation.

"The outbreak of the Philippine Revolution, the fiercest battles of the Philippine-American War, the beginnings of nationhood, all took place in this historic city.

"Andres Bonifacio, Tandang Sora, Apolonio Samson, Emilio Jacinto, Gen. Antonio Luna, Col. Jose Torres Bugallon, Balintawak, Pugad Lawin, and La Loma are all associated with Caloocan. In fact, Melchora Aquino, Gregoria de Jesus, and Apolonio Samson and many more of our country’s heroes were born and raised in Caloocan.

"This book is a humble attempt at paying tribute to some of the personalities, events, and places that have figured in the history of this nation and have earned for Caloocan the honor of being the “Cradle of the Revolution.”

“We need to revisit Caloocan’s rich and colorful past if only to nurture a love among our people of their historical and cultural heritage.

“This book which chronicles the role Caloocan played in the struggle for freedom and independence will go a long way in promoting patriotism and national pride not only for the residents of Caloocan but for the entire Filipino nation.”

From the Foreword of Mayor Enrico “Recom” Echiverri

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Rating Presidential Performance accdg to FVR

In today's issue of the Manila Bulletin, I was fortunate to have been quoted by former President Fidel Ramos in his article entitled "Real Performance and Results more than the SONA."

Ramos makes a compelling argument that a SONA is more about accountability than a presentation of the state of the nation. Indeed, a President will have to account for her performance and convince the nation that our country is going somewhere in the next few years.
The support of FVR towards the success of our book, So Help Us God, has been tremendous. Ramos (together with Cory Aquino) was present during our book launching two years ago at Club Filipino. He wrote the foreword of the book and most importantly, he donates copies of the book to schools, institutions, and offices here and abroad.

Here are some excerpts about what FVR said about assessing presidential performance:

Measuring performance and results

How can performance and results (or the absence of the same) be objectively measured? Indeed, there are all kinds of comparative statistics, trends and research findings readily available to our decision-makers and public managers as that they can strategically address and resolve our pressing, recurring problems. Let me suggest a readily available and practical approach, and that is SHUG. "So Help Us God" (SHUG) is a book about the 14 Philippine presidents, including PGMA, which has been in circulation since 2004 but, maybe, is not yet known to many of us. Fortunately, it is still available in our major bookstores.

This is one valuable reference on Philippine history, especially for those who want to learn more of the evolution of the state of our nation these past 100 years. SHUG was written by brothers J. Eduardo and Jonathan Malaya who utilized a unique approach — by comparing an incoming President’s commitments to the nation expressed in his/her inaugural address and the significant results of his/her administration.

Ed is a career foreign service officer with the rank of MinisterCounselor, who has served foreign tours of duty in the Philippine Consulates in New York, Chicago and San Francisco, and in our Embassy in Brussels. Jonathan, on the other hand, is a professor of Public Speaking, English Literature, and Political Science in three Manila universities and serves as Chief of Staff in the Office of the Solicitor General. He was president of the UP Debate Society as well as writer for the Philippine Collegian. He likewise authored or edited several other books prior to SHUG.

By way of introduction, the authors wrote: "For much of the last hundred years, the Filipino people looked to a president to lead in facing the nation’s challenges and opportunities.... The starting point of this stewardship is Inaugural Day — an occasion invested with pomp and solemnity. This book aims to put readers into direct contact with the original words spoken at the inauguration of the fourteen Philippine presidents to date, well aware that many of these stirring words have been misconstrued, if not altogether lost to today’s generation. The authors hope to discern trends and continuities in our national leaders’ platforms and visions, examine their challenges and achievements, and with these as underlying threads, weave a concise history of the Philippine presidency. This book is thus three elements rolled into one — oratory, public policy, and history.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

SONA. .. What's in a Name?

The State of the Nation Address (SONA)


· Derived from the State of the Union Address of the President of the United States

· First delivered during the Commonwealth Period by Pres. MLQ, 1935 during the Opening of the First Session of the 1st National Assembly.

· Its first title was “On the Country’s Conditions and Problems.” MLQ's message covered the following issues:

o Relations with America
o Gold Reserve funds and Excise Tax on Oil
o Our Foreign Relations
o Peace and Order
o Social Justice
o Previous Legislative Enactments
o Public Instruction
o Civil Service
o The National Language
o New Taxes

· These were officially “messages” and were followed by the submission by the President of her recommended budget (National Expenditure Program).

The last such message during the Commonwealth period was delivered by Roxas who did so in June 3, 1946: “Message to the Second Congress of the Commonwealth”

Legal Basis of the President's SONA:

· Article VI (Legislative Department), 1935 Constitution. The Congress shall convene in regular session once every year on the fourth Monday of January, unless a different date is fixed by law.
· Article VII (Executive Department). The President shall from time to time give to the Congress information on the state of the Nation and recommend to its consideration such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient.

SONA in Recent Times

· The first “SONA” was delivered by President Roxas (“Message on the State of the Nation” January 27, 1947 to the 1st Congress of the Republic of the Philippines.

· Thus began the tradition of calling it “SONA.”

· But the use of “address“ instead of “message” belongs to President Quirino who gave his “Address on the State of the Nation” January 22, 1951. The SONA in its present form derives from this time.

· The SONA as a ceremony of state began in the late 1960s with the rise of student protests.

The SONA as an Exercise of the Powers of the Presidency:

1. The Informing Power (Sec. 23, Article VII) – The President shall address the Congress at the opening of its regular session. He may also appear before it at any time.

Sec. 15, Art. VI – Congress shall convene once every year on the fourth Monday of July, unless a different date is fixed by law…

2. Limited Legislative Powers:

* Power to set a Legislative Agenda (through her SONA and agreements made in LEDAC)

* Call Congress to a Special Session (Sec. 15, Art. VI)

* Power to approve or veto bills (Sec. 27, Article VI)

* Power to certify to the urgency of bills (the necessity of its immediate enactment to meet a public calamity or emergency) which dispenses the requirement of three readings on separate days.

* Budgetary Powers (Sec. 22, Article VII) – The President shall submit to Congress within 30 days from the opening of every regular session, as the basis of the general appropriations act, a budget of expenditure and sources of financing, including receipts from existing and proposed revenue measures.

Elements of A SONA

· Accountability – the President has to make a good account of herself, an account that will impress the people with its substance not only form. There is no substitute for solid accomplishments.

· Policy Direction/Vision for the Country – “Strong Republic” (2002 SONA), Priorities in the coming year

· Legislative Agenda – what Congress should prioritize; advocates for the enactment of laws

· Advocates for budgetary allocation to implement these priority programs and projects

Blogging My Way Through Life


Hmmm. Ive heard about it but never got to do it.

But checking out MLQIII's blog site and the blogs of some of my friends from KALIPI inspired me to come up with this site.

I don't know how this will look but who cares. Today is independence day. A new sovereign entity is born. Mabuhay ang Republic of Malaya! :)

Today, Ive just come from ABS-CBN after guesting on The Explainer, ANC's new show hosted by Manolo Quezon. The discussion on the President's SONA as an art form and as a ceremony of state was compelling and interesting.

But before I get into the details, I wanna check out how this thing will look.

So...Ciao for now!