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Political Dynasties in the Philippines: In My Opinion

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The semester break's about to end and in a couple of weeks, it will be enrollment time once again. It's time for parents to snatch some moolahs from their pockets once again for their children's education.


In this part of the globe, education is something really valued. Many say that education is one’s wealth that cannot be stolen by anybody. I concede that education is the primary opportunity for upward social and economic mobility. In our present society, you cannot get a decent job without having, to the least, a bachelor’s degree.

This thought is also parallel with the human capital theory that “the economic development of a nation is a function of the quality of its education”. This means that the more and better educated the people, the greater the chances of economic development.



I taught at college for almost three years. And please don’t get me wrong if I tell you that I see our educational system a bit far-off from our Asian neighbors. I just believe that pointing out these defects will help us realize more about ourselves and hopefully would provide solutions to our leaders. A senior Department of Education official agree to this as he described the quality of Philippine school education as “failing to teach the competence the average citizen needs to become responsible, productive and self-fulfilling. “We are graduating people who are learning less and less", he said.





Have you met a person not able to read and write?
I did.

We fondly call him Binig. He is a Tiruray, a lumad from the mountains of Maguindanao Province. My father hired him to work for us in our little fruit farm. He stayed at our house and with this; I grabbed the chance of teaching him his ABCs. I tried to explain to him the advantages of literacy and the joys of being able to read. For a week, I taught him (and the pronunciations) of the letters in the alphabet but after a few days, he gave up. He said he doesn’t want to learn anymore. As he said this, I was able to see truth in his eyes. He was ashamed of himself being taught by someone younger than him. He was 27, I was 19.

People like Binig are not so rare in the Philippines. According to the report of the National Statistics Office, two out of ten Filipinos are not functionally literate. The Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao, (where Binig is from), has the lowest rate with 4 out of 10 not able to read and write. This would give you an idea that we are not that literate after all.

The main reason why we have a poor education system is the very low budget allocation. Our education expenditure is only 2.5% of the Gross Domestic Product (2005). Did you know our appropriation’s rank compared to other countries in the world? 158th. And oh, in case you’d want to ask, we’re 12th – in world population.

To give you an idea how small this appropriation is, let’s take the report of Federation of Accrediting Agencies of the Philippines (FAAP) President, Dr. Epitacio Palispis: In 2005, the Philippines spent only about $138 (Php 6,900) per pupil. Compare this to $852 (Php 42,600) in Thailand, $1,582 (79,100 PhP) in Singapore, and $3,728 (Php 186,400) in Japan.

The very low budget results to the underpayment of teachers. (I bet my professors in MSU-IIT, as well as teachers in high school would agree to this). In Singapore, they pay their teachers about Php122,000. Here in the Philippines, the basic salary is Php12,026 (excluding mandatory deductions like GSIS, Pag-ibig, PhilHealth, and witholding tax). That's the reason why we definitely have no summa cum laudes teaching in public schools. There should be a fair compensation that would give way for the competent ones to teach. Good thing many of us teachers still see teaching as a vocation and not a mere profession.

Another problem that arises from our measly budget is the lack of proper facilities in our schools. I believe this to be true for I was educated in public schools. I remember in our high school biology class, a bunch of us would take turns peering what's on the glass slides because of the very few microscopes available. Much of the things instructed were left for us to “imagine” as we can’t learn and experience those first hand. (That's the one and only time I've touched a microscope).

In our high school, I was fortunate to be in the “higher section” as we tend to receive “special treatment and better instruction” from teachers. What I worry is for those belonging to “lower majority sections”. Fifty to sixty students clump to poorly-ventilated rooms there. This sight is not exclusive to our school in South Cotabato. This holds true to the other 14 million youths studying in public schools all over the country.

Schools in the Philippines are also “commercialized”. More and more parents are made to believe that getting their kids in a privately owned school increases the chance of their children to become of top-notch caliber. Enrolling in private schools are very expensive but we can’t blame these parents. Most private schools tend to have superb facilities and comfortable rooms. Especially in the primary and secondary schools, the private school is a better choice for well-off parents not amenable with the 150 to 1 toilet-student ratio in the public schools. Most of the time, a conducive environment offered by private schools, ushers the better learning.

Because of this scenario, our educational system created a “social divide”. Rich people go to private schools while poor people have no choice. As one Filipino columnist wrote “Education has become part of the institutional mechanism that divides the poor and the rich.”

This very social cleavage gave way to a “knowledge gap”. I remember replying to a forum about the elections: “While many of us here on the internet exchange burning ideas about our aspired leaders, we forget the fact that the non-calculating masses still dictate the elections”. Most people in the grassroots fight for Erap, Villar and Aquino where it should have been a fight between Gordon and Gibo. The recent elections should have been a battle of leadership, intent, and platform; but the results have proven that stellar popularity is the masses' determining factor (thirty percent of a hundred actors who run for office won).

With lack of management competencies and systemic corruption, it’s no question why we have a lot of incompetent graduates yearly. While that is already saddening, add the “human capital flight” where our good technically skilled people have gone outside the country for greener pastures. And what is left is a big gap between the rich and the poor. The learned and the dumb.

Our government should focus on education. It is the key for progress. Our educational institutions should be backed up by opportunities to prevent this brain drain as it’s the only way to bridge the large economic gap.

Ito ang kailangan natin nang hindi naman mahiya ang mga estudyanteng nagtapos sa Mababang Paaralan sa Mataas na Bukid. 



Author's Note: This article is from my old blog, originally written in 2010.
by: Kristine Anne Urquia

Mandated to give every Filipino child the basic right to quality education and the right to a quality life, Art XIV Sec 2 of the 1987 Philippine Constitution states that, “The State shall establish, maintain, and support a complete, adequate, and integrated system of education relevant to the needs of the people and the society.” To attain such purpose, the present administration has implemented the K+12 Curriculum. If it weren’t for such, the Philippines should be the single country in Asia and among the three remaining countries in the world that applies a congested 10-year basic education cycle.

But then, what is the K+12 Curriculum?

“K+12 means extending basic education by two years, so instead of having a high school graduate at 16 (years old), we will have high schoolers graduating at 18,” explained Prof. Lorina Calingasan of the College of Education in UP Diliman. Kindergarten points to the 5-year old child who undertakes the standardized curriculum for preschoolers. Elementary education refers to 6 years of primary school (Grades 1-6) while secondary education means four years of junior high school (Grades 7-10 or HS Year 1-4). In addition to this, two years will be allotted for senior high school (Grades 11-12 or HS Year 5-6). Simply put, the program makes kindergarten mandatory and adds two years to the past 10-year basic education.

However, as Woodrow Wilson once said, “It is easier to change the location of a cemetery, than to change the school curriculum.” Issues raised towards the new setting were based on parents additional burden on educational expenses, teachers’ and school administrators’ readiness, availability of instructional materials and issues of adjustments to be made by tertiary institutions. Nevertheless, these reasons did not stop the implementation of K+12 which was launched April 2012 and has already begun its implementation for the first time in June by the Department of Education.

In an interview made by The Philippines Inquirer with the Secretary of Education to elucidate the sense of the modification, Br. Armin A. Luistro, FSC provided the following reply:

“Filipinos often reminisce about the era until the 1950s when the Philippine economy was second only to Japan in Asia.

In the decades that followed, the Philippines watched itself being overtaken by countries that rebuilt themselves from war, instability and poverty, as our own continued to sink into the quagmire of disunity, destructive politics and corruption.

Correlated to the country’s economic decline is the neglect and deterioration of its educational sector. Is it any wonder that today our country has fallen from its former prestige to the bottom of most global rankings of progress and development?

The Department of Education’s K to 12 Program is one concrete response to reverse this steady decline and to move toward its goal of long-term educational reform and sustainable economic growth.

The central feature of the K to 12 Program is the upgrading of the basic education curriculum to ensure that learners acquire the relevant knowledge and skills they will need to become productive members of society. It seeks to introduce relevant skills development courses and special interest subjects that will suit the personality, strengths and career direction of each learner.

With the participation of the Commission on Higher Education and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority, the program has the capability of offering professionally designed classes and apprenticeships in sports, the arts, middle-level skills, entrepreneurship, and applied math and sciences.

Whereas the old system overemphasized the value of a college degree before employment, the new program is designed to equip every learner who graduates after senior high school (Grade 12) with the opportunity for improved employment and entrepreneurship while ensuring that the high-school graduate has the necessary competencies to pursue a college degree either immediately or at some later stage.

With an upgraded and better-equipped pool of human resource, industries will be able to find better and more qualified matches in their labor requirements.

For graduates proceeding to tertiary education, the K to 12 Program puts them at par with their international counterparts and makes them more competitive in colleges and universities both here and abroad.

Higher education institutions will gain the flexibility to offer more enriched and specialized courses in every degree program since a number of its general education courses would have already been completed in high school. This greatly advances the graduates’ chances of landing 21st-century careers and acquiring self-employment skill sets.

As in any worthwhile investment, returns are reaped only after enough time and effort.

The K to 12 Program is just the beginning of what we hope to be the answer to the Philippines’ comeback to the global stage, and a sustained path toward progress and development for its people. If we want to see our country back on the right track, we must dare take that first bold step today.”

As a starter for this year, the kindergarten was made a mandatory requirement for all 5 year olds prior to preschool level which is necessary before proceeding to elementary education. Those who have just graduated from elementary during the previous scholastic year will be the first batch who will be called as Seventh graders and those who are Tenth Graders will still be graduating during the end of this school year. Thus, only the labeling has been changed. DepEd Assistant Secretary for Programs and Projects Elena Ruiz said high school freshmen next year are planned to enter Grade 11 by school year 2016-2017 under the K+12 implementation plan. “By 2016, we will have our first batch of senior high school, or Grade 11 … That’s the batch entering first year high school (Seventh Grade) in June. By March 2018, we will have our first graduates of the two additional years in senior high school,” Ruiz said. Therefore, mean there will be no high school graduation on March 2016, as all “fourth year” high school students will shift into senior high school.

There will definitely be a lot of ups and downs due to adjustments parallel to this vulnerable issue along the way, but the new landscaping of the educational curriculum is for the students to acquire academic skills and competencies relevant to the job market and an even chance at succeeding in becoming more fruitful and useful citizens of the country. May we all support the government’s action to further the Philippine’s quality of education. As accountable future lawyers, let us not just look and marvel in the midst of alterations but instead, be attentive, active and responsive because we should not forget, the youth will always be our future.

AUTHOR'S NOTE:
Kristine Anne "Krauss" Urquia is a law student and contributor for The Nexus. This article appeared in MSU College of Law - IIT Extension's publication last semester.
CARSON, California - The ‘Filipino Flash’ Nonito Donaire, Jr. brought the Japanese ‘Speed King’ Toshiaki Nishioka down the canvas 1:54 remaining in the ninth round to retain his IBF & WBO Super Bantamweight titles and capture the vacant The Ring & WBC Diamond Super Bantamweight titles in the jam-packed The Home Depot Center.

At the outset, both fighters felt out each other to the dismay of the Californian crowd who just witnessed the electrifying undercard see-saw match between Brandon Rios and Mike Alvarado.

At the second round, the aggression of the Filipino fighter became obvious as he unleashed his 3-punch combinations to the face of the Japanese. This went on until the third round where the snappy punches of Donaire intimidated Nishioka.

On the fourth round, Donaire continued to make his presence felt by hitting the Japanese in the body to the idle Nishioka. During the fifth round, the feet of both fighters occasionally tangle due to the fighters’ differing stances. The crowd had occasional boos clearly asking for more action from Japanese pugilist.

On the sixth round, the punch-thrift Japanese responded to Donaire’s punches but a solid left uppercut to Nishioka’s face sent the Japanese to the ground. In the seventh, the Japanese continued to backpedal clearly in respect to the Filipino’s firepower and quickness. Up until the eighth round, the Japanese continued with his defensive style of immediately covering up after unleashing snappy jabs to Donaire.

The patient Donaire finally reaped the better end of the match with a cruel right straight while the Japanese while pinning him against the ropes. Referee Raul Caiz stopped the fight after the World Junior Featherweight Champion Donaire landed an uppercut following Nishioka’s second knockdown.

Donaire clearly showcased his punching prowess with a hint of tactical precision to redeem himself, improving his record to (30-1, 19 KOs) ending the eighth year no-loss streak of the Japanese boxer.
Picture Credit:
On this sixth Word of Thanks entry, like the usual, I am extremely grateful to everyone’s support for myblog. My thank-yous go to those netizens who kept on sharing my articles to their friends. It has been my pleasure to be featured on the following Facebook groups who featured my articles:

Thanks to our friends at Pinoy Nostalgia TV!

University of San Carlos in Cebu features my article on Martial Law. 

Watchdog West Philippine Sea / Scarborough Watch features my article, "To Whom Does Scarborough Shoal Belong?"
And if I may insert this one, about two weeks ago, Iligan City celebrated “Diyandi Festival” and thanks to our friends at the Iligan Bloggers Society, some of my kababayans where able to pay the city a five-day visit. I was able to squeeze my time to meet up with South Cotabato website admin and friend, Reynard “Nanardxz” Navarro and Doc Remo Aguilar of TacurongCity.net.ph. I certainly enjoyed their company as part of introducing them to the city. I was also able to see IBS members and other bloggers from various parts of the archipelago, too.
L-R: Doctor Remo Aguilar, me, and Reynard Navarro at
Rene’s Diner and Pension House at Mahayahay, Iligan City.
My heartfelt thanks also go to the Tacurong City’s Talakudong 2012 Feature Writing Contest. I’m one of the three winners (and the only non-Tacurongnon to be selected by the judges). My 3rd place article can be found here
 

And saving one of the most memorable for last, thanks to fellow scholars Anna Issabele C. Amores and Janina Marie C. Capistrano of the University of the Philippines – Diliman in citing my article for their thesis entitled Pills Be With You: A Comparative Content Analysis of the Coverage of Reproductive Health Bill Issues by the Philippine Daily Inquirer and the Philippine Star from 2008 – 2010. These B.A. Journalism students graduated just this April. This maybe late but I am extending my congratulations, still. (Their thesis can be accessed here

Buti naman at hindi Sinotto. :)
Thanks to UP scholars Anna Amores and Janina Capistrano who cited my blog as a reference to their thesis last April.
Thanks to our friends in Tumblr, too!
To our readers from Multiply, salamat din po!
Thanks to everyone who supported my articles. I wouldn't have made this without my faithful readers. A few peeks and the blog will be crossing its 100,000th view. Shukran. Maraming Salamat po!
I finished my degree in Bachelor’s degree in Political Science at MSU-IIT in 2009. A couple of days ago, I searched the Internet for a list of people who also had the same major, but to my dismay, I found none.

I then took the matters into my own hands and single-handedly searched the educational background of some famous people who also happened to have the degrees in Political Science. Together with law, these degrees seem to be the most popular for current and aspiring politicians, but the fact is, people pursue to all sorts of careers afterwards.

So here’s My List of Thirty Famous People Who Majored in Political Science (#20 to #11). You might want to check out those who made it to the 30th to 21st spot, here. The Top 10 can be read hereAnd as how we chant it at MSU-IIT - Sikhai PolSci!

 
20. Karl Rove

Born on December 25, 1950, Rove is an American political consultant and policy advisor. He was Senior Advisor and Deputy Chief of Staff during the George W. Bush administration until his resignation in 2007. Since leaving the White House, Rove has worked as a political analyst and contributor for Fox News, Newsweek and The Wall Street Journal.

He was the ex-consultant to President George W. Bush. His intellectual political tactics led to the triumph for the Bush government. In his 2004 victory speech Bush referred to Rove as "the Architect". Through his college years, he was unsuccessful to complete his graduation at the University of Utah, but moved forward to become character of the most esteemed political scientist around the world.
 
19. Michael Ignatieff

He is a Canadian author, academic and former politician. He was the leader of the Liberal Party of Canada and Leader of the Official Opposition from 2008 until 2011. Known for his work as a historian, Ignatieff has held senior academic posts at the University of Cambridge, the University of Oxford, Harvard University and the University of Toronto.

He became a senior resident with the University of Toronto's Massey College, where he teaches courses in law and political science for the Munk School of Global Affairs, the School of Public Policy and Governance, and the Faculty of Law.


 18. Vice Ganda

Jose Maria Borja Viceral (b. March 31, 1976), widely known as "Vice Ganda",  is a famous Filipino stand-up comedian and actor.

An openly gay comedian, he was under heavy criticism in May 2013 due to his jokes on rape and his use of insult humor. Despite the controversies, he starred in the two of the Philippines' highest-grossing films. Viceral took Political Science at Far Eastern University.

 
17. Samuel P. Huntington

Huntington was an influential American conservative political scientist whose works covered multiple sub-fields of political science. He gained wider prominence through his Clash of Civilizations (1993, 1996) thesis of a post-Cold War new world order.

 16. Madeleine Albright

She was the first woman to become the United States Secretary of State. She was appointed by US President Bill Clinton on December 5, 1996, and was unanimously confirmed by a U.S. Senate vote of 99–0. She was sworn in on January 23, 1997. She currently serves as a Professor of International Relations at Georgetown University's Walsh School of Foreign Service. In May 2012, she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by US President Barack Obama.

Korbel obtained a position on the staff of the political science department at the University of Denver in Denver, Colorado. He became dean of the university’s Josef Korbel School of International Studies, and later taught future U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

 
15. Fareed Zakaria

(Born Fareed Rafiq Zakaria) is an Indian-American journalist and author. From 2000 to 2010, he was a columnist for Newsweek and editor of Newsweek International. In 2010 he became editor-at-large of Time. He is the host of CNN's Fareed Zakaria GPS. Zakaria is also a frequent commentator and author about issues related to international relations, trade and American foreign policy.

He has been nominated five times for the National Magazine Award, and won it once, for his columns and commentary. His show has won a Peabody award and been nominated for several Emmys.

He later earned a Doctor of Philosophy in political science from Harvard University in 1993, where he studied under Samuel P. Huntington and Stanley Hoffmann, as well as international relations theorist Robert Keohane.
 
14. President Oscar Arias Sanchez

President Sanchez was known for ending Civil War in Central America which led him to earn the Nobel Peace Prize in 1987. He has received numerous prizes for his contribution towards the progress of humanity. He is the recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, Martin Luther King Jr. Peace Award, the Liberty Medal of Philadelphia, among others. He has also received approximately fifty honorary doctorates from colleges and universities such as Harvard, Princeton, Dartmouth, Oberlin, Marquette, and Washington University in St. Louis.

He was enrolled in the London School of Economics in 1967 and received a doctorate degree in Political Science from the University of Essex in 1974. After renouncing the chair of President, Oscar Arias Sanchez associated himself with the non-partisan, non profit organizations working for the progress of mankind.



 
13. Robert Alan Dahl

Born on 17 December 1915 in Inwood, Iowa, is the sterling professor emeritus of political science at Yale University, where he earned his Ph.D. in political science in 1940. One of his lasting contributions is his explication of the varieties of power, which he defines as “A” getting “B” to do what “A” wants.

He is past president of the American Political Science Association and an honorary member of Manuscript Society. He received an honorary Doctor of Laws (LL.D.) degree from Harvard University in 1998. Dahl has often been described as "The Dean" of American political scientists. His book on Political Analysis is one of the most read political science books of all time.
 12. Miuccia Prada Bianchi

Born on 10 May 1949, Miuccia Prada Bianchi is a famous entrepreneur and Italian fashion designer for Prada and Miu Miu. Miuccia attended Teatro Piccolo to study and perform as a mime for five years. She was known to be a member of the Communist party and a champion for women’s rights during the seventies in Milan. In 1978 she entered into her family’s business of manufacturing luxury leather bags, a company established by her grandfather in 1913. She has a Ph.D. in Political Science [1]. 

11. President Jacques Chirac

Jacques Chirac is one of the most influential politicians in France. He is a former Mayor of Paris, former Prime Minister of France, and former President. Born on 29 November 1932, he is the second-longest serving President of France. Chirac entered French national politics in 1950s. His popularity increased after his opposition to George W. Bush's decision of invading Iraq in 2003 [2].

Jacques Chirac completed his graduation in in Political Science in 1953, from the Institut d'Etudes Politiques, which was one of the prestigious institutes of France at that time.



Reference:
[1] http://www.vogue.co.uk/spy/biographies/miuccia-prada-biography
[2] http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/france/6465773/Jacques-Chirac-former-French-president-charged-with-embezzlement.html

Picture Credits:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karl_Rove
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Ignatieff
http://coloradocollege.edu/Academics/Anniversary/Participants/Huntington.htm
http://www.theory-talks.org/2008/05/theory-talk-9.html
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/marianne-schnall/madeleine-albright-an-exc_b_604418.html
http://www-cgi.cnn.com/CNN/Programs/fareed.zakaria.gps/
http://costaricanpresidents.blogspot.com/2010/06/oscar-arias-sanchez-1986-1990-2006-2010.html
http://www.booksincanada.com/article_view.asp?id=4647
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/france/6465773/Jacques-Chirac-former-French-president-charged-with-embezzlement.html
http://www.newgenfashion.co.uk/miucca-prada-and-patrizio-bertelli-earned-14-million-each-last-year.htm

Author’s Note:
To all the political science majors out there, if you known a famous person (politician, actor, businessman, etc.) in your country who also took up Bachelor of Arts in Political Science, please add to something to this list by leaving it in the comment box below.
I finished my degree in Bachelor’s degree in Political Science at MSU-IIT in 2009. A couple of weeks ago, I searched the net for a list of people who also had the same major, but to my dismay, I found none.

I then took the matters into my own hands and single-handedly searched the educational background of some famous people whom I discovered having Political Science degrees. Together with law, these degrees seem to be the most popular for current and aspiring politicians, but the fact is, people pursue to all sorts of careers afterwards.


So here’s My List of Thirty Famous People Who Majored in Political Science (#10 to #1). You might want to check out those who made it to the 30th to 21st spots here; 20th to 11th spots, here.

And as how we chant it at MSU-IIT - Sikhai PolSci!



10. Joe Biden
He is probably best known for running along side US President Barrack Obama in the 2008 United States Elections. Biden studied at the University of Delaware in Newark where he received a Bachelor of Arts degree.

Biden went to law school at the Syracuse University College of Law and proceeded to receive his J.D. in 1968. Before becoming a lawyer, Biden majored in both History and Political science at the University of Delaware.

9. Henry Kissinger

Heinz Alfred "Henry" Kissinger is a German-born American writer, political scientist, diplomat, and businessman. A recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, he served as a national security consultant for Nixon's government. Kissinger was recognized for his astute and sharp policies through which he survived the notorious Watergate scandal that declined the complete Nixon administration.

A proponent of Realpolitik, Kissinger played a dominant role in United States foreign policy between 1969 and 1977. During this period, he pioneered the policy of d├ętente with the Soviet Union, orchestrated the opening of relations with the People's Republic of China, and negotiated the Paris Peace Accords, ending American involvement in the Vietnam War. Various American policies of that era remain controversial today.


Henry Kissinger received his A.B. degree summa cum laude in political science at Harvard College in 1950, where he lived in Adams House and studied under William Yandell Elliott.

8. Bill Simmons

William J. "Bill" Simmons III is a sports columnist, author, and podcaster. Nicknamed "The Sports Guy", Simmons gained the attention of ESPN with his web site; BostonSportsGuy.com. He currently writes columns and hosts podcasts for Grantland.com, which is affiliated with ESPN.com. He is a former writer for ESPN, The Magazine, and Jimmy Kimmel Live!.

He graduated in 1992 with a B.A. in Political Science from College of Holy Cross.


7. Condoleezza Rice
Rice is an American political scientist and diplomat. She served as the 66th United States Secretary of State, and was the second person to hold that office in the administration of President George W. Bush. Rice was the first female African-American secretary of state, as well as the second African American (after Colin Powell), and the second woman (after Madeleine Albright).

She was a professor of political science at Stanford University. In March 2009, Rice returned to Stanford University as a political science professor and the Thomas and Barbara Stephenson Senior Fellow on Public Policy at the Hoover Institution.

In 1974, at age 19, Rice was awarded a B.A., cum laude, in political science by the University of Denver. She obtained a master's degree in political science from the University of Notre Dame in 1975. In 1981, at the age of 26, she received her Ph.D. in political science from the Josef Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver.




6. Miriam Defensor-Santiago

or Miriam Palma Defensor, is the first Asian to be elected to the International Criminal Court. She is also a member of the Senate of the Philippines. She is a lawyer, former trial judge and lecturer on constitutional and international law. She served as the Commissioner of the Philippine Bureau of Immigration and Deportation in 1988 and the Secretary of the Philippines' Department of Agrarian Reform from 1989 to 1991. She is the founder and current leader of the center-right People's Reform Party allied with former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, and is a recipient of the Ramon Magsaysay Award for government service awarded by the Junior Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines.

In 1997, the Australian magazine named her one of "The 100 Most Powerful Women in the World." In later years, Miriam was keynote speaker of the international anticorruption conference in Sydney, Australia. As senator, she sponsored and secured ratification by the Philippine Senate of the UN Convention Against Corruption. Also known for as the “Iron Lady of Asia”, Santiago graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science, magna cum laude from the University of the Philippines Visayas in 1965.

5. Jerry Springer

Born Gerald Norman "Jerry" Springer on February 13, 1944, he is an American television presenter, best known as host of the tabloid talk show The Jerry Springer Show since its debut in 1991. He is a former Democratic mayor of Cincinnati, Ohio,[1] a former news anchor and a musician.


He earned a Bachelor of Arts majoring in Political Science from Tulane University in 1965,
4. Dick Cheney
Richard Bruce "Dick" Cheney served as the 46th Vice President of the United States (2001–2009), under George W. Bush.

He began his political career as an intern for Congressman William A. Steiger, eventually working his way into the White House during the Nixon and Ford administrations, where he served the latter as White House Chief of Staff. In 1978, Cheney was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives from Wyoming; he was reelected five times. Cheney was selected to be the Secretary of Defense during the presidency of George H. W. Bush, holding the position for the majority of Bush's term. During this time, Cheney oversaw the 1991 Operation Desert Storm, among other actions.

Cheney was chairman and CEO of Halliburton Company from 1995 to 2000. He attended the University of Wyoming, where he earned both a Bachelor of Arts and a Master of Arts in political science.


3. President Woodrow Wilson

President Wilson (December 28, 1856 – February 3, 1924) was the 28th President of the United States, from 1913 to 1921. He served as President of Princeton University from 1902 to 1910, and then as the Governor of New Jersey from 1911 to 1913. Running against Progressive Party candidate Theodore Roosevelt and Republican candidate William Howard Taft, he was elected President as a Democrat in 1912.


Back in 1883, he applied to the Johns Hopkins University to study for a doctorate in history and Political Science and began his studies in the fall [2].

2. Hillary Clinton

Born Hillary Diane Rodham Clinton (b. October 26, 1947), she is the 67th United States Secretary of State, serving in the administration of President Barack Obama. She was a United States Senator for New York from 2001 to 2009. As the wife of the 42nd President of the United States, Bill Clinton, she was the First Lady of the United States from 1993 to 2001. In 1965, Hillary Rodham enrolled at Wellesley College, where she majored in Political Science [3].

1. President Barack Obama

Currently the world’s most powerful man, President Barack Obama is the first African American to hold the office. He previously served as a United States Senator from Illinois, from January 2005 until he resigned following his victory in the 2008 presidential election.


As president, Obama signed economic stimulus legislation in the form of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 and the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010 in response to the 2007–2009 recession in the United States. Other major domestic policy initiatives include the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, the Don't Ask, Don't Tell Repeal Act of 2010, and the Budget Control Act of 2011.

In foreign policy, Obama ended US military involvement in the Iraq War, increased troop levels in Afghanistan, signed the New START arms control treaty with Russia, ordered U.S. military involvement in Libya, and ordered the military operation that resulted in the death of Osama bin Laden.

In May 2012, he became the first sitting U.S. president to publicly support legalizing same-sex marriage. Back in 1981, he majored in Political Science with a specialty in international relations Columbia at University in New York City [4]. He was again re-elected as president for his second term.
References:

[1] "Springer, Gerald N." Tulane University Alumni Directory 2002, New Orleans: Tulane U. p. 761
[2] Mulder, John H. (1978). Woodrow Wilson: The Years of Preparation. Princeton. pp. 71–72.
[3] Clinton, Hillary Rodham (May 29, 1992). "Hillary Rodham Clinton Remarks to Wellesley College Class of 1992". Wellesley College. Retrieved June 1, 2007. Available at: http://www.wellesley.edu/PublicAffairs/Commencement/1992/speecheshrc.html
[4] http://www.college.columbia.edu/cct_archive/jan05/cover.php


Photo Credits:
http://dyn.politico.com/tag/joe-biden
http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/peace/laureates/1973/kissinger-bio.html
http://www.goldderby.com/emmys/news/1529/can-espn-score-at-emmys-with-'30-for-30'-documentaries-[video].html
http://dr-condoleezza-rice.blogspot.com/
http://psychicramta.blogspot.com/2011/12/senator-miriam-defensor-santiagos.html
http://www.celebritydetective.com/cmntyprofile-jerry-springer.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dick_Cheney
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hillary_Rodham_Clinton
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/wilson/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barack_obama
Author’s Note:
To all the political science majors out there, if you known a famous person (politician, actor, businessman, etc.) in your country who also took up Bachelor of Arts in Political Science, please add to something to this list by leaving it in the comment box below.

The Philippines has been recognized positively, mostly as the texting, social media and contact center of the world. However, at this modern era of ours, crimes are also taking another step in infiltrating the cyberspace.

According to the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) in the Philippines, we are still without any national policy for safeguarding this digital space from online threats like viruses and malware. Clearly, these issues necessitate a piece of legislation to protect our netizens.

 


At first glance the law is quite promising. It categorizes cybercrimes into three: 1) offenses against the confidentiality, integrity and availability of computer data and systems; 2) computer-related; or 3) content-related offenses. Illegal access to computer systems (such as hacking), illegal interception of data, data or system interference, as well as misuse or computer systems or data belong in the first category. In the same group is "cyber-squatting", which involves the acquisition of a domain name "in bad faith to profit, mislead, destroy reputation, and deprive others from registering the same." In case of businesses, these may include the use of a domain name "similar, identical, or confusingly similar" to registered trademarks.

Businesses are not the only targets of "cyber-squatters", as the law also covers the use of personal names "identical or in any way similar with the name of a person other than the registrant." Computer-related offenses, on the other hand, include the input, alteration or deletion of any computer data with the intent of forgery, fraud or identity theft. ‘Cybersex’, defined under the law as the willful engagement in online sexual activities, is included in content-related offenses; child pornography is also included. The anti-cybercrime act notes that punishment to child pornography committed through a computer system will be one degree higher than the sanctions in the Anti-Child Pornography Act.

Also named a content-related offense is the sending of unsolicited communication which advertise or sell products or services. Under this new law, firms may only send electronic messages if recipients who grant prior consent or to existing subscribers or customers for service announcements. As an enforcing arm, an inter-agency will be formed, "Cybercrime Investigation Coordinating Center" (CICC) to carry out the provisions of the new law.
But as I was poring over the provisions of the new law, I believe some provisions seemed legally unsound. I find the words of the late US President and thinker Thomas Jefferson relevant: “It behooves every man who values the liberty of conscience for himself, to resist invasions of it in the case of others”.

The laws seem to restrict the fundamental rights to free speech and the freedom of the press with respect to online content in the same way a totalitarian state like China, would do so. This made a lot of netizens feel unease with these newly-imposed restrictions. I find the following erratic:

Section 4 (c) [4] of the law criminalizes libel, not only on the Internet, but also on “any other similar means which may be devised in the future”. Section 6 raises by one degree higher the penalties provided for by the Revised Penal Code for all crimes committed through and with the use of information and communications. Section 7 provides that apart from prosecution under the assailed law, any person charged [with] violation of the said law the offender can still be prosecuted for violations of the Revised Penal Code and other special laws. Section 12 authorizes law enforcement authorities to “collect or record by technical or electronic means” communications transmitted through a computer system sans warrant. Section 19 authorizes the Department of Justice to block access to computer data when such data “is prima facie found to be in violation of the provisions of this Act.”

I agree to most of the punishable cybercrimes except for one: LIBEL. I believe the new law against cybercrimes must focus on scammers, identity thieves, hackers, online porno users or cybersex syndicates and those enumerated by the law – to focus on libel is not necessary.

Criminal Law basics tell us of ‘double jeopardy – a second prosecution for same crime. The R.A. No. 10175 contravenes this legal right by prosecuting for violation of the Cybercrime Act and the Revised Penal Code. A violation of the Cybercrime Prevention Act will impose a penalty higher than that of the Revised Penal Code but it does not preclude the prosecution for the same offense for violation of the Penal Code.

While Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte says that it is “up to the lawyers to define what online libel is”. It still isn’t a laughing matter where when we criticize, whether constructive or not, whether true or false, any party can deem it "malicious" and we can be sued and jailed 6 to 12 years without bail!

In the words of Senator TG Guingona, "Transplanting the RPC definition of libel without specifying who is liable exposes the owner of online newspapers, blogs, sites to liability. This is problematic because in the case of online communities, people are encouraged to actually participate (like in making comments, re-tweet, reposts on Facebook)".

We should also look at this provision:
Section 12. Real-time Collection of Traffic Data. - Law enforcement authorities, with due cause, shall be authorized to collect or record by technical or electronic means traffic data in real time associated with specified communications transmitted by means of a computer system.
According to UP Law IT expert JJ Disini, the following provision violates our right to privacy on the how the authorities can gather data on who one calls, time of call, and the websites visited by the person stalked. "Here, it's like having surveillance without court order".

“No limits are imposed upon either the PNP or the NBI since they can lawfully collect traffic data at all times without interruption. It is conceivable that the PNP and the NBI can at all times possess all traffic data on all internet, mobile, fixed line and related communications”, Atty. Disini adds in an ABS-CBN New interview.

Strangely, ‘cyberbullying’ is not included in the new law but according to Jerry Liao, a business technology analyst,it can be treated also as libel. If one posts a libelous status in Twitter or Facebook, it can be used as admissible evidence to the court. While it is right to have those who abuse their right to free expression answerable for injury which their libelous statements have inflicted to innocent people, the provisions of the law is just unbearable.

So with all the fuss about the Cybercrime law, what does it hold in store for us?

A lot. This sure gravely affect 40 million Filipinos who have access to the Internet and its 93.9% Facebook users (eighth largest in the world with 29 million users according to Socialbakers). Tweets and retweets of the tenth largest Twitter nation in the world (with over 9.5 million users) are also covered by R.A. 10175. This month, people can already be penalized in Facebook and Twitter because of this new law.

Blogger and Representative Raymond Palatino of the Kabataan Party-list hit it right in a statement: “There are several provisions in the new Cybercrime Law that posts threats to free speech, expression, and the right to privacy of Internet users. It's equivalent to imposing Martial Law online".
 
In wrapping up, this era’s new technologies give us new opportunities to connect with a lot of people not only in this country but all over the world. With this wonderful privilege, we should also be responsible on our statuses and comments.

But this new law is just too harsh and legally unsound that as of this writing, the petitioners are asking the court to issue a temporary restraining order on the implementation of the law due to the supposed vagueness of its provision on online libel. Protests now flood to urge the high court to stop the Department of Justice, Department of the Interior and Local Government, Commission on Information and Communications Technology (CICT), Philippine National Police and the National Bureau of Investigation from implementing the Cybercrime law. Filipino netizens in the social media, especially on Facebook, are currently protesting this “Black Tuesday” by having dark, sooty, and black profile pictures. Clearly, kinks have to be ironed out first before the law should have been implemented in the first place

In studying law, I realized that libel as a criminal offense has been used by past administrations as well as local officials today to harass and intimidate journalists. Too bad that even the Philippine alternative media is also under attack by same old tactics.
 
Political commentaries and blogs like PoliTikalon is apparently vulnerable to the harsh restrictions of the new piece of legislation. This made me think that while we should have been the bastion of democracy in this part of the globe, it seemed that this law shields the “powers that be” from being exposed and challenged by the majority. Could this be a re-emergence of a strong veil of impunity we have seen 40 years ago?





Photo Credit:
Protesting Kid on Funny.com
I Am a Blogger and I Oppose the Cybercrime Act made by me but the skull image is an original masterpiece of Damien Hierst entitled, "For the Love of God" (2007).