“Biggest Scam” Awards, Philippines

Analysis and Opinion

By Joe America

Excellence is driven by constant self-assessment. Transparency. Objectivity. Rigorous study. But the Duterte Administration does little of this. Energy is spent blaming people, making excuses, hiding data (the price of Sinovac; how intelligence funds are spent), and snowing citizens with propaganda.

The Government takes credit where blame is due. It promotes a ‘scam’ agenda that is plainly untruthful and dysfunctional, accepting of corruption and incompetence (recycled failed executives), and undermining the high ideals of a constitutional democracy.

What are some of the biggest scams undertaken by the National Government? In the interest of this poor, dilapidated, accountability-starved nation, we seek to identify them and thereby impose a little accountability, from the outside looking in.

The Nominees

The nominees for “Biggest Scam” competition in the Philippines are listed below, in no particular order. A brief statement of the Government’s acclaimed ‘excellent achievement’ goals for each nominee is also shown.

  1. Drug war: drugs are eliminated; usage and supplies dwindle.
  2. China friendship: friendship produces significant social, economic, and security advantages.
  3. Covid model country: covid is substantially eliminated from the Philippines as a health risk.
  4. Anti-terrorism Law: terrorist threats are eliminated.
  5. Build Build Build: significant infrastructure building is started and construction churns out projects and jobs.
  6. Intelligence funds: funds are used to keep government informed and the people secure.
  7. Bong Go: the Presidential Assistant is a positive catalyst for the Nation’s growth and success.
  8. Presidential excellence: the President drives the Philippines to prosperity, unity, and security.
  9. Core need security: food supplies, electricity, health care, and water are abundant and reasonably priced.

These performance targets were identified through examination of the gap between braggadocio and results in National Government activities. I floated a preliminary list of ‘scams’ on Twitter and Facebook and received some additional nominees that are now included.

The Performance Categories

Well, any award competition requires categories of excellence, rather like bikini, gown, or talent performance at Miss Universe. And since these are “scams”, we will be looking for bad performance and deceits.

Judging will be on a five-point scale where a 1 means the assessment wasn’t too bad, and a 5 means it was horrible.

The four categories of excellence in bad achievement are:

  • Results: The degree of failure against objectives: Complete, partial, or just a bit.
  • Monetary cost: Did the effort waste billions or hundreds of millions or just a little?
  • Lives lost: How many people died? Thousands, hundreds, or just a few?
  • Damage to the Constitution: How abusive to Constitutional principles was the effort? Huge, moderate, or just little?

The evaluations in each category can be considered preliminary, or open to adjustment, based on comments in response to this article.

The Evaluation Summary

Hear they are! The top scams!!

The following table shows the scores ordered from biggest scam to smallest scam. Discussion follows.

The biggest scam is “Presidential excellence”, followed by the “Drug war” and “Covid model country”. Build Build Build is the least harmful scam based on the cited ratings.


The buck stops with the President, so all the damages from other areas roll up to him. President Duterte’s legacy is one of Incompetence, financial waste and corruption, loss of lives, and break-down of Constitutional principles. He is popular, so his poor results are tempered by the fact that people generally are taken in by his charm. That’s the scam, isn’t it?

The Drug War is worse than a failure. It’s a disaster. Drugs have not been reduced or controlled, hundreds of millions of pesos have been spent, and thousands have been killed, 8,000 by police alone. Constitutional due processes are abandoned in favor of police as executioners. No big drug lords are arrested, after five years. The costs, pesos and lives, are huge. It is a master scam.

The Covid Fight has been one of casual National Government arrogance. The disease was taken lightly from testing through vaccinations. The Senate was misled in every hearing. At no time has there been a clear sense of urgency and purpose. With billions spent, the economy is in shambles, over 25,000 are dead, yet Government’s position is that it has handled the battle well. This is a total scam. The latest Bloomburg ranking has the Philippines ranked number 52 among 53 rated countries.

Intelligence funds are secret parking places for billions of pesos. There is no accounting, no transparency, for these funds. Most are in the Office of the President, but agencies have them, too. It is suspected that some of the money is used to fund police killings (bonuses) and buy political loyalties. The biggest failing is the total lack of intelligence emerging from intelligence budgets. Policies and decisions are ad lib, seat of the pants decisions. Science is ignored. A huge scam.

Bong Go is everywhere, totally unaccountable to anyone, an ethical abuser of Constitutional values, betraying the Philippines to China, meddling in places where he ought not, and having an unknown – but likely substantial – influence on policies. Former Senator Trillanes has identified possible corruption benefitting his family’s construction companies. Trillanes says 6 billion pesos have been directed there. Go is the Chairman of the Senate Health Committee, a job substantially abandoned during a health crisis. Bong Go is a walking, talking scam.

The Anti-Terrorism Law is not used to pinpoint real terrorist threats. It is, from all appearances, used to intimidate critics, jail students and journalists, and shoot indigenous people, apparently to clear them off of lands sought by mining companies. Red-tagging is used as a broad “guilt by list” form of justice, a total breakdown of Constitutional protections. The army is warring on citizens. Police are protecting no one. The Philippines has just dropped to the bottom of ‘the safest places on earth’. Huge scam.

China friendship is a deceit aimed at keeping a few people – notably Duterte, Go, and oligarch Dennis Uy – rolling in riches, favor, and power. The policy has pushed the resources of America away from AFP and the people while gaining few funds from China for investment in Build Build Build, and allowing China to maraud freely in Philippine Seas. It seems to have pushed high-quality American vaccines away while bringing in huge amounts of high-priced, weak Sinovac as the vaccine of choice. All this makes no sense at all, for Filipinos. Huge scam.

Core need security is a mess. Water shortages, transportation gridlock, diseased pork and pork shortages, rice imports, electricity brown-outs, and rising inflation. Regulators favor the entitled – the cartels. They do not serve the people. Every involved agency is an incompetent, entangled rat’s nest of vested interests. Gross scam.

Build Build Build is an empty shell. The Admin arrogantly shelved Aquino’s successful PPP model in favor of foreign funding. But they got nothing from China and the ‘dream’ projects got bogged down in planning, reality checks, and bidding. They couldn’t get going on big projects so they started targeting smaller projects . . . but couldn’t get them done, either. The only thing left is to grab credit for the Aquino projects coming to completion. Build is a bust, a total scam.


Most concede that glorious campaign promises from President Duterte were hyperbole. Showmanship. But to come up empty handed after five years, to talk big but deliver small? I think few expected that.

But the truth is in the results. The awards are in.

Filipinos are victims of scam artists.

173 Responses to ““Biggest Scam” Awards, Philippines”
  1. Karl Garcia says:

    Those they can”t scam, they demand a public apology.

    • Their demands for apology make my eyeballs roll up into my skull. Briones takes the cake.

      • Karl Garcia says:

        The arrogance of the Scam Artists. Duque until today thinks he is doing a good job, why on earth would he resign? He serves under the pleasure of the president.
        Bong Go thinks he should also be number one on the scammers list because wherever the president Goes he Goes.

        • The arrogance of incompetence vs the humility of problem-solvers. Those who can’t do, scam. Yep.

        • kasambahay says:

          karlG, another scam I heard is the news report that filipino children are having hypertension, o suffer high blood pressure without giving data of the exact blood pressure reading. and if health sec duque is real doctor, he ought to refute the statement. and if there are pediatricians around our country, they too ought to refute the statement and not just keep quiet. I’m starting to think tuloy, they are all complicit in this and have much to gain hence their silence.

          I can see health scam coming up: children soon to be medicated with hypertensive drugs to bring their high blood pressure down, and someone is going to make big money on the sale of hypertensive drugs.

          of course, children even newborns have high blood pressure, their bodies are small and blood circulates around their bodies quicker than those of adults.

          parents ought to be wary about doctors’ motives and having their young kids medicated for hypertension. and not have their kids’ health compromised before they reach adulthood.

          • kasambahay says:

            p.s. it’s normal for young children o younger children from toddlers to babies to have high blood pressure, their bodies being immature and not yet up to adult standard. even the babinski reflex in young children looks abnormal when compared to those of adults.

            anyhow, all this is explained to mothers giving birth at hospitals. there ought not be confusion, maliban lang kung there is misinformation going on.

            • Karl Garcia says:

              Thanks for this kb.
              I understand that once you start with the maintainance meds for hypertension it would be for life due to damaged blood vessels.

              So it is also wake up call to watch what our children eat and not have the “you are still young, you can eat anything you want”attitude.

              • Karl Garcia says:

                But got to make corrections on my comment.
                My First paragraph is wrong.
                Hypertension is reversible.
                To attach the phrase “for life”to pediatric hypertension is just so wrong. My bad.

            • NHerrera says:

              Thanks too, kb.

              • LCPL_X says:


                While researching this DFA child passport fiasco, I stumbled upon this relevant bit https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_trafficking_in_the_Philippines#Child-organ_trafficking

                “In 2008, the National Bureau of Investigation alerted the public over the rampant smuggling of human organs in the Philippines. The NBI said smugglers are now targeting children who are kidnapped and taken abroad where their organs are sold to foreign nationals.The World Health Organization has identified the Philippines as one of the five organ trafficking hotpots. However, a 2008 proclamation by President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo has markedly decreased the frequency and ease of the commercial organ trade industry in the Philippines.”

                Being smuggled out of the country i can understand, not the passport issuance.

                But kasambahay maybe onto something here when he said, ‘parents ought to be wary about doctors’ motives and having their young kids medicated for hypertension. and not have their kids’ health compromised before they reach adulthood.’ it maybe just a ploy to get their kids organs. is this Trese stuff.

              • Jesus, you are going deep now. Next you’ll be telling us virus shots make forks stick to your forehead. Anecdotes are not science. Guesses and feelings are not science. Slandering earnest people is not science.

              • Organ trafficking is indeed one of the most aswang aspects of international organized crime, the 2002 movie “Dirty Pretty Things” which plays in London deals with that. Though there the Nigerian who is in the illegal sweatshop business and his Turkish girlfriend played by Audrey Tatou (“Amelie”) turn the tables on the organ trader by drugging him and sending him into the illegal operating room to have his kidney taken..

                The gritty German crime movie “Nur Gott kann mich richten” (only God can judge me) has a lady cop tempted into taking and selling seized drugs to finance a black market heart for her daughter. Her credit line at the bank is used up as she guaranteed for loans her divorced husband made and her daughter just has a year max to live, donor organs are few but her doctor offers her an Eastern European black market heart for 30K€. The other part of the story is a thug just out of jail who wants to do “his last job”, typically trope, but the donor organ black market here is something widely reported for many years.

                Now if even well organized police like in Europe are having issues dealing with that kind of stuff, organized crime in general, though here cross-border police intelligence leads to highly reported simultaneous multinational busts that often include the FBI and Europol, imagine how hard it is for a country that has only one forensic pathologist, the Philippines, to go after branches of organized crime that certainly have huge resources and of course an inhuman ruthlessness that scares the wits out of many a witness..

              • That reminds me that they just found hundreds of kids’ bodies in Canada in the yard of a private school. Canadians must be vile people. Or those American school shootings. Wow.

                The Philippines has enough problems without making up new ones. I’m resisting the modern trend of fallacious reasoning. It’s nonsense and stupidifies all of us.

              • I think a certain very small percentage of people worldwide are truly evil, a somewhat larger percentage are indifferent to those outside their personal circles, and many are weak and are either tempted or look away. Those who are good and very brave in the mold of Trillanes are a rare breed anywhere in the world. It takes alliances of good people to keep evil from taking over, and systems that encourage good and deter evil.

                There are probably way more bad eggs in Filipino customs than in DFA which IS a good institution, and many many more bad eggs in PNP which had started to clean house somewhat during PNoy’s time, by all indications.

                It is all a matter of seeing things I proper relation and proportion.

              • LCPL_X says:

                “It takes alliances of good people to keep evil from taking over, and systems that encourage good and deter evil.”

                From my experience this doesn’t happen all that often, those “good” people that “keep” evil from taking over, is because of their own interests (many times lesser evils). Altruism may exist in the animal kingdom, lesser so amongst humans, Ireneo. work with those interests and you get to a manageable working congruence (like we can all agree children should not have passports and their organs should be intact). no good vs. evil. just simple fixes that lead to bigger ones over all.

              • Hmm.. so Anton Trese’s idea of balance (which looks weird from a Western and/or Christian/monotheistic perspective) is more realistic? 🤔

              • LCPL_X says:

                “Canadians must be vile people. Or those American school shootings. Wow.”

                School shootings are random occurences, sure 2nd amendment can be thrown in as solution but that’s another issue. Another debate.

                But Canada (and also here in the US) that was of a bygone policy to indoctrinate american Indians, by christianizing them. granted I think Canadians are better at addressing and redressing their own history re Indians w/ current policies than the US;

                but what we did to native populations here, like annihilation of California indians, is something we have to come to terms with. slavery too. both these issues the world should vilify us to eternity. none of that city on a hill crap that you and NH were talking about below, Joe.

                reckoning is universal. Should be applied whole. No apologizing for DFA if even only one such occurrence occurs, Joe. that’s how you hold people and organizations accountable, your favourite word.

              • Accountability at DFA is important, as it is for name-callers to recognize they do damage if they have it wrong.

              • LCPL_X says:


                Have you ever watched the film Trishna? great movie, if you can get a Filipino to adapt it to Filipino film , even better. This movie is sooo Filipino, though set in India.

                OFWs leaving the Philippines should be made to watch this movie before departing abroad,

                “The movie is dominated by the performances of the beautiful Freida Pinto, who since her appearance in Slumdog Millionaire has become an international star, and the handsome Riz Ahmed, who got his break in Winterbottom’s The Road to Guantánamo. Both are actors with striking presences playing people uncertain of their identities, discontented with their lots and seething with doubts about their roles in evolving India. Jay feels rootless, adrift between England and India. Whenever she’s troubled Trishna heads for the traditional certainties of her remote village, but it steadily becomes a place where she is no longer at home. Her three worlds are firmly registered by different musical idioms – traditional folk music for the village, a romanticised 19th-century score with waltz themes for the grand hotels where she’s employed, and commercial Bollywood dance music for Mumbai. A sentimental song from the movies is reprised to make an astringent comment on her fate in the final scene.”

              • Movies are conspiracy theories so I don’t watch them. Well, unless they are comedic, then they are factual. I so admire OFWs, frankly, and think most are wholly capable of making their own movie selections and will walk directly into foreign cultures eyes wide open or shut tight, no matter to me. Most will grow enriched and send money back, propping up an economy that takes care of the rest of us with fine malls and eating places. It’s all good.

              • There are indeed some recent Filipino movies that cover the migrant/OFW experience:

                1) Meet me at St. Gallen – this is about the modern Filipino middle class and it is the woman (an artist) played by Bela Padilla who migrates to a new life in Switzerland with a foreign boyfriend after her incidental romance with a Filipino veterinarian. He tries to run after her but it is too late and he ends up in the Christmas scenery of St. Gallen, crying and freezing.

                2) Hello, Love, Goodbye – about a romance in HK that a young Filipino couple make clear is not a long-term thing as nothing in HK is about love or making a home. Eventually the woman paves the way for her family to move to Canada – and recalls her lost love.

                3) Barcelona – a story of an architecture student coping with the death of his girlfriend in Manila, only to meet a lookalike, a failed law student. She discovers her talent for dramatic acting during her illegal stay, finds her way back home to her family and her father forgiving her for getting thrown out of law school and accepting her true vacation. The man stop clinging to his dead girlfriend, goes home to the new woman and woos her. The only one of the three stories that has the old kind of happy end.

                4) Sunday Beauty Queen – a documentary about Filipina maids in HK who hold their own Sunday beauty contest.

                5) Kita Kita – an unusual love story in Japan that Will reviewed.

                More: https://www.pep.ph/guide/movies/144935/pinoy-ofw-movies-through-the-years-a720-20190731-lfrm

                So the consciousness of being abroad has already reached Filipino movies. These movies may not be “great art” yet or attract an international audience like Trese does.

                Though I found the struggles of the migrant family of the Filipino architecture student in Barcelona very authentic. Including the distance of the young man to his mother who left his father to live with a rich Spanish man. Things that really happen in such contexts.

                Outside movies there are real life road movies like this and other videos of Filipino trucks drivers in Europe. As Filipino culture is mostly visual not written (let us remember the political influence of Tarantadong Kalbo) this is where new awareness is spreading.

                The artsy movie directors and the novelists still lack the connect to the masa or middle class to make a strong message that comes from their experience and reaches them. Truly great art is a mix of skill and empathy. Maybe some day Filipino art will get there. Sunday Beauty Queen might come close – haven’t seen it yet though, Meet Me at St. Gallen does, Bela Padilla having learned a lot from Koreans might have helped there.

              • LCPL_X says:

                Thanks, Ireneo. Will check if all this is in Netflix.

              • Welcome. What may also interest you on Netflix is Goyo which is the sequel to Heneral Luna, it is about Gregorio del Pilar but also very much about Aguinaldo’s failure:

                How amateurish the new republic was is seen in this scene dealing with Americans:

                It gives a good feel of that period, more than all the Filipino historical dramas before it. Of course as we talked some years ago this is also due to generous Ortigas funding. The script for Part 3 of the trilogy, Quezon, is already done and filming might start soon..

      • i7sharp says:

        “Briones takes the cake.”

        Very saddening and alarming. I know very little, if at all, about Sec. Briones.
        I visited this just now:
        The article closed thus:
        Secretary Briones is a member of the United Church of Christ in the Philippines and President of the Manila Concert Choir.

        How bad are things at the DepEd?

        • World Bank criticized Philippine educational programs without giving a preview to Briones’ staff before publishing. She criticized WB and demanded an apology. Today they took the report off their web site. It’s still circulating, I believe. I’ve not read it. I found Briones demand for apology consistent with Duque’s, or about any agency that is criticized. Denying accountability. Education is severely stressed with millions of kids dropping out. I’d like to read the WB report and will rummage about tomorrow to see if I can find it.

          • LCPL_X says:

            I’m surprised Briones didn’t just rule out WB-IMF entirely as hegemony (as Micha would say). She’s NPA, was in charged to arranging boy and girl as married couple to infiltrate this and that gov’t entity. Indoctrination arm also. I imagine if there’s a theme to her education it would be plutocracy bad stuff, just like Micha, but on steroids. Which I tend to agree also being a Bernie guy.

            My point i think she’s good for education, given her experience in the NPA. whether that’s good for Philippines i dunno.

            • LCPL_X says:


              Not NPA per se but Communist party.

              Specifically the Moscow types, not Chinese communist.

              So intellectually driven.

              Unlike other NPA heads who came back into the fold post Marcos, she came back into the fold during Marcos time like early 80s.

              But that whole arranging ops is significant, she’s not just an intellectual.

              My point again, is she could’ve simply thrown WB-IMF under the bus. as illegitimate.

              but then again DU30 would be in need of loans too. how to balance. But Briones is no joke.

              • Briones based on her Wikipedia entry isn’t a leftist but still is quite formidable.

                UP NCPAG (where Popoy once taught and Trillanes occasionally taught) plus international credentials including Leeds, a Harvard PhD, ADB and UNDP.

                Meaning someone tough as nails I think in the classic UP game of protecting one’s turf and with the background in international organizations to play their game like the best of the Marcos technocrats did, with not an ounce of mercy.

                Was in Estrada’s cabinet too, so I guess more UP nationalist than UP leftist.

                Her age (80) means she is of a generation that will play the old Filipino game of face and power that Joe once observed exceeding well. Even if she has bad cards in her hand.

              • LCPL_X says:


                “Others are Social Welfare and Development Secretary Judy Taguiwalo, who in the 1980s was even a CPP central committee member; Agrarian Reform Secretary Rafael Mariano, chairman of the communist peasant organization Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas; Anti-Poverty Commission head Liza Masa, a former representative of the Red Bayan Muna party; and Joel Maglungsod, a former NPA commander and Anakpawis party-list representative, as labor undersecretary. I am not sure if she retains her Marxist ideology, but Education Secretary Leonor Magtolis-Briones together with her husband was a member of the Soviet-influenced Partido Komunista ng Pilipinas. There are a few other communist former or active cadres in sub-secretary positions, although most of these haven’t publicly disclosed their past or present affiliations.”

                I suspect there were different waves of Communist/NPAs that returned to the fold. Briones as a Marcos era returnee, would for sure tell us she knows when to fold and when to play.

                How that translates to the post-Marcos returnees, I assume they’d be more Yellows, wherein the Soviet Communists would be more go with the flow type ideology, long game strategy. I’m sure one’s ideologies also change over time, but for sure she was communist in the 80s and her resume was informed by those ideals.

                As for female/male recruitment and fake marriages, this was common practice among Soviets and Cubans.

                I’d love to see examples of this amongst Filipinos within the Filipino system. I’m sure over time it became fixed marriage, or just a “fun” assignment. Whether or not one was paired with someone hot.

                Briones taught here in the early 80s.


              • Thanks. Then she fits the mold of Luis Taruc, Huk former leader who fought from the Japanese occupation onwards and surrendered to Magsaysay. Taruc held a minor position, I think in the Agrarian Reform Department – UNDER MARCOS.

                The DAP or Development Academy of the Philippines was known to be a very Marcos kind of place in the 1970s. Briones’ International credentials remind me of Marcos’s Labor Minister Blas Ople who had a stint at the ILO. Such people know the big game.

        • Here are some highlights, via Twitter.

          • Karl Garcia says:

            Another beef is the use of old data.
            We gave them that data, even our statistics offices have delays in releasing data.
            And I read that WB took down the report not as an apology, but because they released it too early.

            Maybe they will release it when Briones is out of DEPED.

            And when the decency, humility and servant leadership returns and let that be just a few months.

            • Right, it was an apology for releasing the report prematurely, not for the critical content.

              • LCPL_X says:

                Over here the buzz is that University of California, cancelled ACT/SAT tests for applications (you can use it say if you’re homeschooled K-12, and wanna say that you can ace these tests, but its not requirement any longer).

                My point here is that these metrics, from IQ tests in the past, to standardized tests now, Ireneo mentioned cancelling bar exams there too, these things are being reevaluated. As gateways, or gate keepers, means to keep certain people down and keep ’em from certain opportunities.

                So whos to say that WB, which is tied to loans (forget all the criticisms agains China’s loan shark programs in the 3rd world, WB takes the cake!) and politics historically, is also not in the wrong when it comes to their education metrics?

                Now the UC schools are trying to come up with their own tests, because frankly its really hard to figure out qualifications without the ease of numbers, so for 2022 they’ll have to read a bunch of essays, because no more numbers to go by. The students admitted in the fall of 2023 should be followed closely,

                see if ACT/SATs do ensure quality or not. My hunch is you’ll have the most creative intellectually 18 to 22 year olds admitted in fall of 2023.

                Eventually they’ll get their metrics again, I’m sure… my point is simply that these metrics are arbitrary. So essentially, Briones has a point, but i thought given her background, she’d be better off attacking the WB’s legitimacy or these notions of metrics, than demanding for apology.

              • Karl Garcia says:

                She once led the Freedom from Debt Coalition.
                That goes way back to Marcos WB-IMF loans


              • LCPL_X says:


                Good link, yeah that should be the point. ie. you evaluate me, no no no sir I evaluate you!!!

                WB is crap if you really look at it. no different from China’s program really. only difference is the UN “feel” of it all.

              • Karl Garcia says:

                So long as my comments or links to you is not weaponized one way or another.

                I just mentioned the word minor and you turned the world upside down.

              • Hmmm. I did? I have no idea how.

              • Karl Garcia says:

                I was talking to lcx
                Sorry, I forgot to adress him as @LCX,

                I meant that I mentioned the word minor and a series of child trafficking comments followed.

  2. Two tweets that show how the country is sinking:

  3. NHerrera says:

    JoeAm, nice and timely!!! It adds to the current trending news about PH, pouring in like a stormy rain. But those are foreign interference, hehe.

    The bookend scams, I say are accurately placed. And so are most of them — though nitpickers may quibble on some placements.

    You must have used a lot of virtual marbles and bins to assist in writing this blog topic. 🙂

    • Tarantadong Kalbo made this comic about Briones and DepEd:

      This is the context amidst numerous awful DepEd learning modules:

      Add to that Sec. Bello’s recent suggestion to abolish all bar exams.

      • i7sharp says:

        I have not seen the latest findings on how “makakantot”
        got its way into the teaching modules for children.
        In any case, it should be enough to cause great alarm.

        Arguably, more insidious is this case about “Not My Idea”:
        $55K-a-year Corlears elementary school in Manhattan is among dozens in the US teaching children from book featuring ‘whiteness’ contract with the devil

        It probably would not be surprising if we discover that “assault” on the education of children is worldwide and things could get even worse before they get better.

        Perhaps the Philippines (through the leadership of a President Pacquiao whose children are of school age) will find ways for the rest of the world to follow?

      • LCPL_X says:

        LOL! i do understand the word kantot!!! LOL!

        But seriously though, Sec of Education should not be blamed that far down in the heirarchy. I don’t know if this was a prank at the local level or simply a typo (i wouldn’t know what the correct word intended would be if it was a typo).

        If you really wanna evaluate Briones as Sec of Education, study her track record. I’m not privvy to that, but if one was really passionate about the level of quality in Filipino education. these funny typo or pranks at the local level (there’s a bunch of these funny memes too in the US , Google funny 1st grad answers, etc.) are just funny memes.

        You’ll have to follow her track record. For example, what sort of education policies is Briones known for, did she tout the whole Tagalog only by Marcos, or naming everything in Tagalog, because that was a silly policy which probably set the Philippines back a few decades,

        is she more into creativity as the point of education, like what Scandanavian countries realized lately? or rout learning.

        More importantly, what Marxist stuff was injected into the Filipino education system, and did any of it pay off. meaning did it address Ireneo’s post about rich Filipinos on the other blog; because if Briones was all about infiltration in the 60s and 70s, you’d think that would be her life’s mission.

        And I’m a fan of Marx, so not encouraging anti-communist witch hunt here, just simply for evaluations sake, balance positive or balance negative, was Briones good for the Philippines.

        That’s a better use of our time when it comes to Briones. not this low blow meme stuff.

  4. NHerrera says:

    People … no longer agree on the nation’s purpose, values, history, or meaning. Is reconciliation possible?

    Without the missing words, one may not know that the missing words refer to the United States. But it may refer even more so to the Philippines.


    • I think Republicans have lost the thread of unity and public interest. McConnell’s agenda to just block Biden initiatives is the spite that rules the day. A lot of Dems have also lost the thread. And a lot of conspiracy theory has supplanted knowledge. We use the internet poorly.

      • NHerrera says:

        No longer that inspired idea, of a “shining beacon of the city on the hill,” that people worldwide look up to — a model of democracy and good governance. Very sad.

        • LCPL_X says:

          It was never a model of democracy, nor of good governance, that’s just cold war propaganda.

          But for sure the US is better than most countries in comparison. I’d say the best.

          This sentiment connects with Micha’s perfectly. America is good for Americans; Philippines is suppose to be good for Philippines. this notion that America is also supposed to be good for Filipinos is a mistake.

          Makes WB-IMF important; makes ASEAN along with WB enforce a grades 11 and 12 where Filipinos were already doing well w/out said 11 and 12. So Briones is still correct, I know that 11 and 12th grades mandatory inclusion was before Briones, but hey she’s making the best of what was compelled upon the Philippine education system.

          So I’d argue that like Micha’s MMT, Filipino education should be for Filipinos, don’t impose others ideas of education upon it. especially like the 11 th and 12 th grades ones that would negatively affect Filipinos.

          • Well, Filipino K-12 was a good idea in general but the devil is always in the details.

            The Bologna educational reforms that caused the Bachelors Degree to be introduced in Germany showed how hard it is to change existing educational systems.

            Or for that matter the K-12 introduction in some West German states after reunification, eagerly wanting to have a year less than K-13 like the East German states – some states went back to K-13 after trying to change and meeting stiff opposition from many groups.

            • LCPL_X says:

              I’m thinking along the lines of if it ain’t broke why fix it;

              so I think the rest of the world just wanted to cut the Philippines down a notch (2 to be exact) by imposing 2 more grades thus delaying professional careers, thus giving others in SE and other 3rd worlds a leg up.

              I for one think more focus should be in attaining business sense like the article you shared in the other thread, wherein the As get up ended by Bs and Cs. like this entrepreneur:


              No other country on earth, regardless of the media blitz right now, can do this, constantly renew As with Bs and Cs. and even Ds and Es!!!

          • NHerrera says:

            Lance, re your first para:

            It was never a model of democracy, nor of good governance, that’s just cold war propaganda.

            I understand, especially if one reads Noam Chomsky — regarding US plans after WWII where countries other than selected countries in Europe, etc were to serve as fodder for the economic machine of the US.

            • NHerrera says:

              Which, by the way, is what China is doing, and what other empires old or new have been doing, come to think of it.

              • LCPL_X says:

                Exactly, NH.

                China’s loan program bad; but the US’s WB stuff best for the world? its silly really.

                Everyones better off thinking along the lines of Micha’s MMT or gian’s Bitcoin, because that at least is all about separating yourselves from all this world affairs crap.

                Playing as pawns or the bigger pieces. play the bigger pieces is best. No one wants to be anybodies’ pawn.

  5. This is also quite scandalous:

    Especially this and other parts of the thread:

    Things are truly going down South with the Philippines.

    • NHerrera says:

      Scandalous indeed!

      • LCPL_X says:

        I suspect the same offer given to Filipinos in Libya, where they said No thanks! we’d rather take our chances here. In Syria though , more Filipinos were non-professionals.

        • LCPL_X says:

          I noticed also that most of these Filipina servants worked for rich Sunnis; and not Catholic (or just Christian) Syrians. I wonder if the Catholic Syrians offer support to Filipinos, or whether these Filipinos attend mass there; other places in ME where Filipinos can freely be Catholic is Israel and Oman.

          But Syria especially after the Arab Spring would be different. Very interesting, there was also a surge of prostitution that trickled out of Iraq, Iraqi women as prostitutes/refugees, on top of the Russian prostitutes the Syrian military imports (officers only). So totally possible Filipinas as servants initially would become prostitutes.

          • Karl Garcia says:

            Everything is possible LCX.
            Some started their life there as minors.
            Recruited illegally promised a different job in another place like Dubai.
            Some are trapedd for years never allowed to leave or contact their relatives.
            Those are not the ones who would rather stay there in Syria.
            But of course some would rather stay willingly.
            You have seen it all, I am just adding additional 2 cents.

          • LCPL_X says:


            Welcome back to the blog!!!

            Yeah, that’s a good point, but remember just simply leaving the Philippines to go abroad is already quite a feat.

            Hence why I added “nonprofessional”, most Filipinos will actually take advantage of a countries’ immigration or work policies to suit them, the opposite of countries taking advantage of individual Filipinos is not the norm.

            Take for instance all the illegals in North America; Australia, W EU , Israel, etc.

            B ut i agree, there will be non skilled Filipinos that will get flung from one country to another. or in the case of Gulf states and Saudi Arabia consistently, servant jobs that end in horror, I’d like to see stats of these types of cases with Filipinos now flooding China’s caregiving sector.

            With Syria specifically, since you have the whole war going on, around the time of the stories being reported. it does seem like the ones interviewed for this story, took their chances in staying, becuz i’m sure a similar offer given in Libya was also made available in Syria,

            they probably took take their chances (like i said, it looks like they were there pre-Arab Spring), then when their luck ran out lately, they went to their embassies, and there they got ill treated (which means the Libya Filipinos were probably correct all along, best to take your chances else where away from Philippines).

            But that’s my hunch, that they elected to stay, and only lately did their luck run out. I hope Teddy Boy releases the Philippine embassy’s version of events.

            • LCPL_X says:

              I personally, would like further info on that 12 yr old girl, karl.

              I mean not everyone gets to bring their kids on these work visas. Israel and say Ireland you can. US dept of state contracts Filipinos as maids for their employees in the 3rd world, i think maybe those folks can too. but my point its really hard to leave the country as a minor, much less to be an adult parent plus children to go abroad. so how did that 12 yr old end up in Syria.

              That the only aberration , because it does seem like the WP reporter was being fed a bigger than life story in general, not discounting true events, but there seems to be big fish stories thrown in there. Why you guys should be pushing for Teddy Boy to clarify. Filipino officials taking advantage of Filipinos is already a given.

              I’m just saying clarify some of the elements of the stories, especially the 12 year old girl.

              • LCPL_X says:

                Okay, i just read that the 12 yr old, falsified her papers to leave the Philippines. Then that’s an NBI, DFA issue again. I know bargirls there who insisted they were 1 year older than the info on their ID because they were born in the province to midwifes and paperwork didn’t happen until 1 year later. stuff like that.

                Again Teddy Boy has more need to clarify.

              • LCPL_X says:

                I assumed these were regular Filipinos , not Muslims from Mindanao. I’d never saw Muslim Filipinos in servant positions in the ME, Muslim Filipinos in the ME tended to be professionals in the ME and Tausugs.

                The excuse that these girls were cleared as adults because of their hijabs is silly.

                Is the DFA the entity there that grants passports or is it BI, because over here the State Department is the entity that grants passports, and all documents are cleared thru them. The biggest fault here isn’t what happened to the girls in Syria, not really.

                But that the Philippines failed their children (what’s new) in letting them go abroad. I can’t imagine that happening here, where a US passport is granted based on fake documents. I mean passports can be faked, more expensive now with all the tech imbedded,

                so who ever grants Filipino passports needs to answer for all this.

              • Karl Garcia says:

                I was about to ask you if you tried to engage Sec. Locsin, but 🤣🤣🤣 on your answer to Joe.
                He will ask you to gtfo and return here.

      • LCPL_X says:


        Here’s a 2012 article i found.

        The 263 Filipinos who returned home, many shedding tears of joy, had sought refuge at the embassy compound until Philippine Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario traveled to Syria last week to organize their evacuation.

        “I was scared and I really wanted to go home. Now that I am home, I am very happy,” said Sasulaya Abdula.

        Some of the women were crying and were comforted by others as they waited for their papers to be processed by officers from the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration, a government agency in charge of nearly 10 million Filipinos who work overseas.

        After welcoming them at the Manila airport, del Rosario said up to 600 more want to return home.

        The rest of the estimated 3,000 Filipino workers decided to stay in Syria for the time being, he said.

        Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.


        • LCPL_X says:

          here’s another article, but for Jordan,


          Every week, ads aired on the radio in Jordan offer “one-month trial” periods and “cash on delivery” options for employers who want to hire migrant domestic workers. Online ads via social media also boast offers like “Delivery in 30 days,” and “Enjoy a month of discounts on maid.”

          For $200 a month, these ads promise domestic workers for hire who can clean, cook, take care of the children, the elderly, and the disabled.

          Domestic workers arrive in Jordan as part of the Kafala system, a form of sponsorship first introduced in Gulf states to regulate the entry of migrant workers. The system is common across the Middle East.

          Related: This woman says she was trafficked by a diplomat

          An estimated 50,000 registered domestic workers live in Jordan, in addition to tens of thousands of undocumented domestic workers. Most of them are women.

          Most come from the Philippines, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and Uganda, attracted by the opportunity to escape grinding poverty in their home countries. Some come through agencies that offer two-year contracts with promises of lucrative incomes that will allow workers to send money home. Others find direct contacts with families. But many end up trapped in situations of abuse and exploitation.

          • LCPL_X says:

            MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday called for the “complete” abolition of the controversial Kafala scheme, a sponsorship system that monitors and restricts the migrant laborers’ movement.

            In a taped video message aired during the virtual forum on labor mobility and human rights, Duterte said the Kafala system is “unjust” and “exploitative” as it places thousands of migrant workers “in the most vulnerable situation, unseen, unheard and unable to defend their dignity as a human being.”

            “We cannot justify the denial of basic human rights and the fundamental freedoms of every individual regardless of status. That is why the Philippine government strongly called for a complete abolition of a kafala system sooner rather than later,” Duterte said.

            Kafala originated from the Arabic word which means “sponsorship.”

            The Kafala Scheme is a mechanism in the Gulf nations used to monitor migrant workers, usually unskilled workers through a sponsor, including household service workers, construction workers, and service industry workers.

            Under the system, the sponsor is usually the employer who is responsible for the immigration status and visa of the migrant worker.

            Workers cannot leave without their employers’ consent, making them vulnerable to abuse.

            Duterte said the “unjust” Kafala system must be dismantled in order to end inequities and suffering “once and for all.”

            “We are all familiar with the very painful stories of abuse from inhumane working conditions to nonpayment of wages, from restriction of movements to denial of healthcare from sexual exploitation to outright murder,” he said.



            I dunno if Joe would consider the above another scam, but it sounds like a good start. Now i understand why Maguindanaws end up there. Maranaos too apparently.

            Oman used to be the hub of this in the 1800s. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indian_Ocean_slave_trade , I guess its Dubai now. First learning of this Kefala system. very interesting topic.

    • LCPL_X says:


      This one’s not about Kefala (probably worst, this time involves Ireneo’s peeps), but since it intersects with WB/Briones topic also worth mentioning… more ammo for Briones against WB (and UN) , lol!


      Mendoza’s ordeal began in the summer of 2014, when the Koehlers responded to her posting on greataupair.com, according to a 2017 civil lawsuit filed by Mendoza and Pahagas. (The lawsuit was dismissed in November 2017, on the grounds of diplomatic immunity.) The family was looking for a domestic worker to take care of their four children and home in West Harrison, New York. During Mendoza’s phone interview with them, and reading the contract they sent, the job seemed very appealing, according to a complaint filed as part of the lawsuit.

      The Koehlers and their lawyer declined to comment, and directed me to the spokesperson at the German mission. “Please be aware that we are unable to provide further details on this matter out of respect for the privacy of those involved,” wrote a spokesperson from the German mission in a statement sent over email. “We provided all information about this legal employment to the appropriate U.S. authority, the United States Mission to the United Nations, Office of Host Country Affairs.”

      According to the complaint, Mendoza was attracted to the job because of an advertised 35 to 40 hour weeks, at $10.02 an hour, between 7 a.m. and 9 p.m. on weekdays and a Saturday weekend shift, with time-and-a-half pay for overtime. Sundays off, vacation, and transportation. A good job with a diplomat. At the time Koehler was an official with the Delegation of the European Union to the United Nations. Since 2016 he has been a counselor to the Permanent Mission of Germany to the United Nations. Koehler’s job at the UN, according to Emily Brease, the communications coordinator at Damayan, was specializing in human rights and child welfare.

      Because of Koehler’s employment, the family would be sponsoring her for a G-5 visa, designated for personal domestic workers of an employee working for an international organization, such as the United Nations or the World Bank. His status in the United States offered him another right: diplomatic immunity—the legal privilege that means that diplomats and their immediate family members are exempt from criminal prosecution and most civil actions in the country to which they are posted. Originally established because of the need for diplomats to be able to conduct their business freely without fear of retribution by a foreign government, it can in practice mean diplomats enjoy enormous legal freedom unrelated to their immediate work—including, even, freedom from laws that regulate how people must treat those they employ in their own homes.

      She was working around 90 hours per week, more than double what she was supposed to, and she wasn’t getting overtime pay. Her health started to deteriorate, and she began to get headaches where it felt like her head would go numb, she told me.

      (karl, granted headaches are better than rapes any time. but still exploitation, IMHO.)

      Mendoza’s experience places her in a small group of victims of labor abuse who arrive on visas for employees of international officials. Research by Polaris, a national anti-trafficking organization that runs the National Human Trafficking Resource Center Hotline and the BeFree Textline, identified 16 potential victims in a one-year period between 2014 and 2015 on the G-5 visa or the similar A-3 visa (which is for the staff of diplomats on an A-1 or A-2). All 16 victims were females doing domestic work, most of whom were located in the Northeast, and 25 percent were Filipina. (Twenty percent of all A-3 and G-5 visas issued over the past five years were to Filipinos, according to Polaris.) All of the victims were domestic workers.


      • DFA is one of the honest, earnest departments working hard to benefit OFWs. President Duterte is doing as DFA recommends.

        • LCPL_X says:


          What changes based on the Syria incidents with minors using fraudulent documents to obtain Filipino passports is Teddy Boy instituting?

        • Yep, it is. I have seen firsthand how the DFA changed from what it was in the Marcos era – essentially a way to send favored bootlickers abroad – to a highly professional organization, even more than what it was before the Marcos era. Though there were highlights in that era too like Leticia Ramos-Shahani, FVR’s sister who stayed true to the diplomatic profession of their father Ambassador Narciso Ramos, a man I think Sonny has also mentioned. But the pre-Marcos DFA was exceedingly elitist, also due to need, I was told Ambassadors to places like Paris and London in the 1960s had to be rich to shoulder the cost of living and rent there, the Third Republic didn’t have that much money
          but then again there were hardly any Filipinos abroad then except in the United States.

          Martial Law era was about forced remittances in the beginning, as the official exchange rate for the Peso was unfavorable to foreign currency earners a mandatory part of that money had to go via PNB and the official rate to keep wage earners abroad from going via the then quite strong currency exchange black market that tourists also often used – that was abolished though as not even Martial Law kept OFWs from loudly protesting.

          Still that era was somewhat sleazy or as LCPL_X would say dirrrty, with stories of Labor Attaches in cahoots with recruiters and Consulates not really helpful. Around Cory’s time one had former journalists like Malaya editor Antonio Modena joining the service, there was also Elmer Cato who joined later – these people were a new generation of diplomats who were hellbent on helping fellow Filipinos. Elmer Cato was in Libya, Modena in Israel.

          As for the Middle East, lots of grim stories there including that of Sarah Balabagan, a story LCPL_X might want to look into. Philippine Consulates in Europe regularly have Filipinas working for Gulf Arabs who seek refuge. Consulates in Arab countries have shelters for those who leave their employers, though Mocha and Thinking Pinoy made trouble in Kuwait some years ago by a “rescue mission” for Filipinas that got Kuwait mad and disrupted the delicate balance that Consulates had been working to build for years.

          Hmm.. UN and Western diplomats are a probably a mixed bag, just like there is an entire spectrum of situations when it comes to European-Filipina marriages. My impression is that Americans and Filipinos get along better as there is more common ground. The Euro attitude can appear arrogant at times even to Americans what more for Filipinos. Still the Arab region is a more difficult area for Filipinos, with Moros and Balik-Islams somewhat better regarded there. Even then duty free at Dubai Airport has 90% Pinays working there.

          • LCPL_X says:

            What the hell, so this papers falsification has been the norm?

            I hope Teddy Boy does something about this practice. thanks, Ireneo.

            The DFA is complicit here for awhile now it seems.


            Balabagan grew up in a poor Muslim family in Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao in the Philippines. She had 13 brothers and sisters but only six survived. Her siblings died due to disease and because of her family’s financial constraints, which prevented them from availing adequate medical care. She worked for relatives at a young age to support her studies. She only managed to reach the fifth grade. She has implied that she was abused by an uncle as a child.

            At age 14, Balabagan decided to work abroad. Her recruiter listed her age as 28 and managed to secure a job for her. She learnt of this falsification only when she was already on her flight to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. She was tasked by contract to work for a 67-year-old widower with four sons. Balabagan was anxious of the employment and convinced herself that her employers would respect her since she and they were Muslims.

            • Tragic results of good intentions are exceptions rather than the rule. As long as there are human endeavors, there will be aberrations. While every effort should be undertaken to eliminate this, taking one case and leveraging it as representative of the norm is, of course, fallacy. The Philippines has cut off OFWs to some countries until they agreed to protections (Kuwait, Saudi Arabia). The next severe step would be to ban OFWs to various countries. That would be hugely punitive to OFWs. So DFA keeps working for the betterment of work conditions. It has been a kind of hell during the pandemic.

              • LCPL_X says:

                This isn’t about other countries though, Joe.

                Seems to me Teddy Boy just needs to ensure DFA stops giving away passports so easily.

              • It is about other countries if they, by procedure, cultural norm, and process, are allowing abuse of domestic workers. “Easily” is a word that needs statistical definition. Until then, it’s just a theory. Certainly the OFW volume imposes demands other nations don’t have.

              • LCPL_X says:

                “Perhaps money was paid. I know DFA has loudly warned people not to use fixers.”

                I’m sure corruption is a big part of this, Joe. and certainly money changed hands. The DFA is certainly complicit here.

                But my point here is one needs to simply look at the underaged minor and say hmmmmmmmmmmmmmm… she’s 12. there’s no hiding age that young.

                both fixer and corrupt DFA official, that’s fine, but again the obviousness of said crime is in the face of the 12 yr old, passports being documents that get seen over and over, thru various entities before even getting out of the country.

                that is a big hole in the system. I refuse to believe that most Filipinos there don’t know what a 12 yr old girl looks like.

                So a simple whistle blower reward for DFA or BI officials to spot minors and report them to higher ups. Maybe get a gift card. i dunno, but after that initial fixer and corrupt DFA /BI official, there are plenty of other officials that get to examine that passport prior to leaving the Philippines,

                so why not reward those that report narc on minors leaving the country. i’m just spit balling here, but you get the point, this should be an easy fix. you look at a passport and say Hey! you look 12 here. detain them get their parents or barangay officials to vouch.

                ask who the fixer was, who the corrupt gov’t officials, etc. etc. all before they fly out of the country.

              • DFA is not complicit. Individuals may be. How they are dealing with it is outside my knowledge, and yours. The presumption that they are not dealing with it is anti-knowledge.

              • LCPL_X says:

                Even if you look 30 yrs old here, you can’t buy cigarettes and liquor, w/out having to show your ID. Its pretty obvious that you’re above 18, but to cover their butts because ABC https://www.abc.ca.gov/law-and-policy/ laws are constantly seemingly applied, meaning buy /bust operations happen.

                But see most police depts don’t really do buy/busts that much, but the punishment so severe for stores and clerks selling to minors, and the word of mouth of such severity travels. it just might as well be urban legend.

                Maybe something like that, opposite of gift cards, but if you let a minor out of the country, you get penalized. again just spit balling here, offering solutions for Teddy Boy.

              • I don’t think he reads here. You might have to try Twitter.

              • LCPL_X says:

                “The presumption that they are not dealing with it is anti-knowledge.”

                Joe, the same exact thing happened in 1994, then lately this Syrian story 2021. Safe to say between 1994 and 2021 this has been happening. Same MO, child gets a passport and voila child gets exploited overseas.

                I can’t even wrap my mind as to how this happens. Sure here in the US we have more documents, starting with county birth certificate then a state ID card, drivers lic. etc. which will get you a US passport.

                What’s the minimum threshhold then to obtain a Filipino passport?!!! a barangay clearance paper? a nice smile? money under the table?

                The ramifications is that most Filipino passports are fake. That’s why this is so serious.

              • One requirement is definitely birth certificate. Since the late 1980s or so the National Census and Statistics Office has built a database of births, marriages and deaths. It did help catch married Filipinas trying to marry foreigners is one unverified rumor I heard.

                Also before that affidavits certifying when someone was born, maybe in conjunction with a baptism certificate, were often used especially if the municipal hall had “burned down with all documents”, something it seems was not uncommon until the 1960s or so.

                Now DFA offices aren’t in every city, but at least now no need to go to Manila to get a passport which I think used to be the norm, now the questions are 1) do these passport issuing offices have the online connection to check with NCSO if a birth certificate is real and 2) how do they verify that the person matches the birth certificate and isn’t just using that of someone else? Filipina illegals occasionally swapped passports with legals in Europe in the 1980s when they “all looked the same” to white officers is an old rumor, that was before most passports even Filipino ones had biometrics so it might be true. Nowadays the international norm is facial geometry which doesn’t change from a certain age onwards, fingerprints are in a lot of passports as well except for the Men in Black.

                And yes, the new Filipino passport is no longer “hand-made” like it was way into the early 1990s, as the tweet above of the first Philippine passport in 1946 shows. It has been machine readable and centrally produced for a while so a check with NCSO is possible. The old passport was centrally pre-numbered but imagine what a gang could have done with stolen batches and all. Again there exist rumors of how numerous Marcos loyalists were able to get out of the country post-86 with fake passports. One might wonder how.

                Of course it still might be easier to pass a teen in the “boondocks” (the American word that is imported from Tagalog, 1898 vintage) as her aunt and use her birth certificate than to do that in developed environments where people have all kinds of ID like school etc. – don’t know what is the threshold for the first valid ID, from what I am reading online regarding the national ID they are rolling out in the Philippines now the threshold there is absurdly hard but I don’t know details. Maybe that is to close a few “open barn doors”.

              • I believe the statement that “most Filipino passports are fake” is way off base and another contribution to your fine compilation of anti-knowledge. Try statistics rather than anecdotes, and if there are none, grant good faith.

              • Fully agree with that Joe, and as I have been telling Lance in my usual lengthy way, fake passports are way less likely nowadays than decades ago.

                Also for Lance: voter IDs in the Philippines are with biometrics nowadays. I suspect that the Philippines only needs to properly implement the national ID system and fix a few possibly holes in the system and bad stuff will get very rare. I guess it already IS rare.

              • My driver’s license also has biometric data.

              • LCPL_X says:

                “I don’t think he reads here. You might have to try Twitter.”

                Well, i think Trillanes’ people do, so too D5’s staff. I’m sure Inday Sara reads this blog. Let’s fix this problem. Stop child trafficking by not giving them passports, folks! Simple.

              • No harm in asking. Throw enough words against the wall, maybe a few will stick.

              • LCPL_X says:

                Hahaha… I wouldn’t dare post on his Twitter, Joe. He’ll probably clap back something like GET THE FUCK OUT , LCpl_X! Go back to Joe’s blog!

          • LCPL_X says:

            Thanks, Ireneo, all noted.

            Joe, thanks for your patience too, but I’m coming from the angle that one 12 yr old girl is one too many; and for the above child organ trafficking , one is too many also— but smuggling is a crime more difficult to catch whereas passport issuance should be easy.

            I’ve no doubt that documentation is better now than in the 90s, but still we see more than one 12 yr old girl in that WaPo story. I’m not arguing statistics here or even science or some ideation of knowledge (anti-knowledge? i’ve just choked on Googling all this stuff), but Joe just the simple notion of Hey

            if its an easy fix, fix it, the principle here being easy fixes and not statistics or science or lets really study and brain storm this. One too many. Thus nip in bud.

  6. mk says:

    I would include the war against corruption.

    • Ah, agree. Huge omission from the list. It would not have losses of life, but huge wastages of money. Poor success. Some constitutional damage. Probably score in the mid-to lower range.

  7. OT: “Scotty” or William Henry Scott, WW2 veteran, Episcopalian missionary and greatest researcher on Philippine indigenous people as well as the pre-colonial Philippines, was born in Detroit exactly a hundred years ago. His advocacy for IPs (he objected to their being called “cultural minorities” for instance as they were back then) had “Makoy” or Marcos jailing him for a while and nearly deporting him. He is now buried in Sagada.

    • LCPL_X says:

      All anthro weirdly, Ireneo, can be boiled down to this BF Skinner experiment https://pigeonsuperstition.org/skinner/

      One of Skinner’s experiments examined the formation of superstition in pigeons: A hungry pigeon is in a cage with a button and a closed door. The door shields the pigeon from a bowl of seeds. Like most other living creatures, the dove quickly associates the push of the button with a reward. But when a timer opens the door every 20 seconds, the dove starts to wonder: “What did I do to deserve this?” If it was flipping the wings on at the given moment, it will continue to flap the wings, convinced that it’s actions has a decisive influence on what happens. We call this “pigeon superstition”.

      With the experiment Skinner showed how creatures – including humans – tend to construct meaning. Even when cause and effect don’t have an evident connection, we want to create one ourselves. The principles Skinner used to influence the pigeons are similar to techniques magicians use to trick audience’s perception.

      • Well, one thing people have always tried is to make sense of the world. The ancient Filipinos believed lunar eclipses were due to the sea serpent Bakunawa, for instance.

        Though as Yuval Noah Harari said, people are also driven by ideas they believe in.

        If those ideas seem to lead to success they are believed in firmly, if they seem to fail to then people start questioning them is of course the positive/negative feedback loop. So I guess yeah one could reduce all we do to dust in the wind aka just behavior conditioning.

        • sonny says:

          Irineo, OT. Recommend 1970 movie CROMWELL, when & how King of England is stripped of power & authority in favor of the Parliament and the people. Would luv your take.

          • LCPL_X says:

            sonny ,

            just a quick aside here, I’m a fan of the Outlander series (mostly because of Caitríona Mary Balfe, she’s hot), so have been researching the Jacobite revolts, and read this Cromwell and Locke connection awhile back relevant to your post above;

            “Cromwell ruled 1653-1658; Locke’s first known writings on government, the aforementioned Two Tracts, were written after Cromwell’s death, and weren’t circulated outside Oxford that we know of until their rediscovery in the 20th century. Moreover, Locke was a strong royalist partisan during his time at Oxford in large part due to his detestation of Cromwell and the republicans, whom he viewed as turbulent religious fanatics. I think it would be difficult to find a ruler whose “policy” was more hostile to Locke’s “principles” than Cromwell; it’s not much of a stretch to say Locke supported the rebellion against James II largely because he saw James as a Catholic version of Cromwell – a man willing to tear apart the fabric of society out of loyalty to a narrow-minded religious enthusiasm.”


            The term Jacobite comes from the Latin for James.


            I hope Joe writes a blog about conspiracy theorists, IMHO Yuval’s idea about ideas can be dumbed down further into that BF Skinner experiment, meaning our ideas tend not to be so reality bending after all, no new ideas really, everything thought about have already been thought of in 500 BC or earlier, only difference is our ability to record (lenses and cameras, plus beyond spectrum of light) and disseminate ideas.

            But nothing new really. Since man first ingested magic mushroom we’ve always known we were God stuff. its the constant forgetting that’s the problem, IMHO.

            • sonny says:

              LC, I watched CROMWELL just like I read Classics Illustrated, i.e. I’m totally in for the ride of the abridged version – easy to get at the gist. MAN FOR ALL SEASONS was a more compelling piece bcoz Bolt generously provided the historical material in a raconteur’s style. CROMWELL’s timeline is 11 yrs from capture of Charles throne to Cromwell’s reign as Lord Protector. Quite convincing depiction of power/authority transfer from royalty to subjects.

              • LCPL_X says:

                Agree. sonny. The Borgias (from Showtime) is really good too, but its all the Googling to verify that’s the most fruitful. Did you know Machiavelli and DaVinci were both friends of Amerigo Vespucci as well, common friends, all from Florence.

                Marvel’s WHAT IF?… series is coming up, can you imagine Florence taking lead instead of Spain and Portugal, it would be a totally different world today.

              • Well, the Italian city-states of then were all pretty powerful. The big trading empires were Genoa and Venice. “Rise of Empires: Ottomans” on Netflix (drama with historical commentary) gives an idea of Genoese power – ships, armaments and fighting skills.

                The likes of the Genoese pirate-mercenary Giustiniani who defended Constantinople as its own troops were pitifully inadequate are proto-conquistadores in weapons and tactics, the might of Genoese galleons in 1453 is also shown there.

                Venice didn’t rush in to help Constantinople and the Genoese trading post of Galata across Istanbul proper played a double game, so eventually Constantinople fell.

                One factor that weakened Venice and Genoa was the Ottomans raising the mark-up on Oriental spices as they had full control of all routes eastward. That of course led to Genoese Columbus and Magellan with Venetian Pigafetta looking for another way.

                Of course Italy paved the way. The countless wars of that time for instance led to rapid advances in armaments that benefitted the Iberians against others. An Italian family named Beretta started manufacturing arms in that period. Of course one mustn’t forget 1453 and it’s opposite, the fall of Granada in 1492. Iberian military power was there and looked for new places to conquer. The Ottomans indeed held the gateway to the East from 1453 onwards, but the seaways the Iberians opened made that advantage obsolete.

                Just like the new colonial trade made Italy and Germany fall relatively behind.

              • LCPL_X says:

                Yeah, but I think the Florentians at that time were the best situated than any other Italian states, and with those trio DaVinci and Machiavelli and Vespucci to include other more Renaissance men (meaning not beholden to Church dogma), the notion of Florence overtaking Iberian powers is an interesting What If…?

                Because at the time of the Borgias, the Church was just another family.

              • I guess the Iberians had one thing going for them – direct Atlantic access.

                States that used to be the southwestern edge of Europe suddenly advantaged.

                The middle of Europe geography of Germany and Italy, the central Mediterranean position of Italy suddenly became a disadvantage as the big money was being made elsewhere, the Venetian rivalry with Constantinople and their abetting its destruction from the 4th Crusade onwards when they sacked the place – many of the nice things now in Venice are loot from then – proved to be a boomerang in the end. History is full of reversals of fortune and this is one of them. And sometimes powers reach their peak and decline.

                A more interesting what if would be – what if historical fortune that brought gunpowder and cannons to the Malay world during the Mongol invasion of the 13th century, plus other events in Europe that delayed development had led to a faster arms race in SEA?

                Would the conquest of the Americas have been initiated by the Kingdom of Cebu? Yes it does sound absurd but a lot of history is blind fortune. What if Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II had been poisoned by a rival and the Ottomans hadn’t conquered Constantinople? Would the impetus for exploration due to a spice trade monopolized by Ottomans have been that strong, the business case as compelling as it turned out to be? A few hundred years later a Spaniard reaching Cebu might have met a fully organized Sultanate.

                Although Koxinga might have conquered Luzon instead of Taiwan as there would have been no Spanish forces to repulse him. But then again, what happened, happened.

                https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aristotle_and_the_Gun is a great piece of what if sci-fi. A time traveller tries to give Aristotle more advanced ideas. That literally backfires and he ends up in a New York still called Paumanok (the old native name of Manhattan island) and run by the Sachem (chief) of the Lenape. Why? Aristotle went full reactionary due to his intervention, a lot of intellectual development in Europe never took place and the few settlers in America didn’t have the firepower to displace native chiefdoms.

                Well, what if I went in a time machine and taught the theocracy of Emperor Justinian of Eastern Rome to extract and use antibiotics against the Plague of Justinian, thus making sure his project of reestablishing Rome succeeded? Probably there would be a shrine to St. Ireneos (a name often used by Greek orthodox patriarchs) of Divine Healing. But that theocracy might have destroyed all rests of Greek philosophy still spared by those who destroyed the library of Alexandria a century before. Imagine a Europe without Catholic scholastics reviving ancient Greek knowledge. And a Roman Empire smug and stagnant in its miraculous capacity to stop the plague, a secret guarded by the monks of the holy cloister of St. Irineos of Divine Healing. Such a stagnant empire may have been a sitting duck to more dynamic powers, like China was after 1750. Before that it was still the world’s most advanced power. This is why what ifs aren’t really that productive.

              • LCPL_X says:

                The vogue now in intel is FICINT, essentially its What IFs, Ireneo.

                The basis of Loki (Disney +) is multiverse. Superposition stuff.

                The use of What IF…? is also I-Ching, I’m not sure if Sun Tzu wrote about it but the Chinese used it traditionally.

                Its essentially is just divination, and why the military now is encouraging its members to write FICINT.

                IMHO, very useful. playing around with history, playing around with the future. Quantum physics all. helps thinking too.


              • I used the I-Ching for a while – English translation, three coins 2x, 64 permutations.

                It was very early in my career when I had no damn idea of where I stood and where to go. Basically like throwing a coin at crossroads, in this case it was three coins – twice.

                What I Ching (and what actually came out of some decisions) did give me was a sense of possible permutations and options. Dropped it after life experience taught me more.

                I can see the sense of looking at possible future scenarios in business and statecraft. Studying what made certain things go a certain way is useful. In the IT business just look at numerous former big players now at the edge, and bit players now key players.

                Andy Grove in his book “Only the Paranoid Survive” mentioned that every business has “inflection points” where old leaders can lose their lead and new players can come in. He based it on a number of industry stories. Empires and nations will be subject to that too.

                I tend to think Asimov’s Foundation and Empire idea is significant. Not that I think we can ever have Hari Seldon’s psychohistory which predicts the rise and fall of entire civilizations, but the study of history and possible alternative outcomes may indeed give an idea of what is probable. Alexandra Trese in the comic explores the branches of the balete tree to see which of the versions of the sixth child prophecy are more likely. As in the anime she is surprised by the prophecy I guess she will go back into the tree for that.

              • OK, OK, I do admit I sometimes like what-ifs but I think they are useful only in a limited sense to understand certain variables better. For instance these YouTube shows by Metatron who is specialized in military history and,practiced some martial arts: (some of his stuff I find weird and over the top, but taking things with a grain of salt always is a way to expand horizons without following other people’s obsessions)

              • LCPL_X says:

                The FICINT that the military is espousing, actually mostly Marines and Navy are doing this. Theres parameters set, because one can take all this out of proportion. So for FICINT they tend to favor Sci-Fi and within 10 years so the current geopolitics tech and trends are taken into consideration.

                But i’ve always wondered why not also focus on historical fiction, but play within the variables in said timeline. Looks like what your boy Metatron is doing there. But specific scenarios like maybe more focused on engineering and consensus building.

                For example, if Machiavelli had more power, he’d have recruited Da Vinci to do more inventions and more funding for his ideas. Because if you think about it Da Vinci actually predates Francis Bacon in ideas, but most importantly in his works, Da Vinci’s tech. Da Vinci predate Bacon.

                Then couple that with what the Vespuccis were doing, one can What IF…? all this and say what if Machiavelli was able to convince Venice/Genoa to consolidate power but face West, subvert Spain and Portugal. Take the New World for them.

                For instance, let’s say without any violence Florence was able to do this , just thru influence, Machiavelli for example would’ve rendered Vespucci’s maps classified, then figure out what in Da Vinci’s notebooks of ideas would ‘ve been done in the New World. Instead of power and religion, because Florence is more a merchant power, you’d have less subjugation, IMHO, and more exchange of ideas.

                Like FICINT, you’d have wargamed history but with best possibilities scenarios teased out which can be applied to the future. Like had we known we’d pull out of Afghanistan with nothing to show, we shoulda never entered 20 years ago. So What IF…? this by saying hey W. Bush coulda just sent in SEALs kill kill kill and done, go back home.

                Trillions of dollars saved, still elect Trump in 2016, better roads and bridges. I’m simplifying the last scenario, but you get the point.

              • Sometimes one should just look at things that happened before and not succumb to the arrogance that it can’t happen to you. Good for the world of course that Hitler did NOT consider what happened to Napoleon before invading Russia.

                But the USA and Vietnam? See what happened to the French. USA and Afghanistan? What happened to the Russians, and the British before them? To check such things out is about as common sense as watching videos of a coming rival if you are a boxer.

                Metatron mentions the sense of invincibility the French knights had at Agincourt, making them lose against the theoretically less well equipped English. In IT projects we calculate risks and determine measures against them, of course war is more unpredictable. And decisions are made at a certain point in time with the information known then. So it isn’t always that easy to predict outcomes. History and life teaches humility.

              • LCPL_X says:

                Agreed. Hubris goes more hand in hand with globalists than nationalists, nationalists are more like hey you guys do what works for you, we’ll do what works for us. And collaborate where feasible.

                Sure keep an eye on the rest of the world for another Hitler, or Japanese empire or USSR, but no more of this nation building stuff.

                If you think about it, all we needed were assassinations and stopping fundings of Al-Qaeda, and that would ‘ve been it. Their terrorists vs. our terrorists.

                But for some reason it devolved into democracy and schools and building roads and stuff, and trillions of taxpayer dollars went down the toilet. Which tells me the past long wars were actually about embezzlement really.

                Antidote is nationalist policies and get rid (or severely cut down) globalist policies. That way when someone has a big idea of building infrastructure all the way in Afghanistan (or another country in the future), just simply and humbly say, we need roads and bridges and schools and infrastructure here too.

                That’s humility.

        • i7sharp says:


          I learned of Harari for the first time a few months ago from “Finxter” who hails from Stuttgart.
          He had been an online acquaintance since just after the beginning of the year.


          Value Creation

          I believe the best reason to create a coding business online is that you want to create value. You want to create value for other people, first and foremost, and you want to create value for yourself, your family, and your community.

          (And, yeah, you can make 10x even 100x the money of your peers if you own your thriving business.)

          It’s all a game – money is nothing but a “story” (to speak with the words of one of the greatest thinkers of this time, Yuval Harari).

          I heard of “creation of value” from American Honda more than ten years ago.

          • LCPL_X says:

            It’s all about CTR, i7sharp! LOL!

            • i7sharp says:

              Thanks, but frankly, I know nothing about CTR (and about many other things, for that matter).

              Yesterday, after listening to a 1999 interview by Michael Savage with Edward Teller (“Father of the H-bomb”), I thought of what Skinner, Teller, and other well-known scientists might have said about man (and God).

              Also, after coming across NHerrera’s post citing the Atlantic article by George Packer, I tried to learn more about the author (who I learned wrote for the New Yorker, my favorite magazine, till 2018). Packer seems to write about Trump the way David Remnick (editor of the New Yorker since 1998) does: with revulsion.

              I also thought about sharing more articles about children (or assault on children) but I decided to cut closer to the chase. I tried googling for “Otis Skinner ‘King James’ bible” – somehow mistaking “BF Skinner” with “Otis Skinner.” But it seems to have been serendipitous because I came upon a four-part criticism of the KJVO controversy.
              Here is part 1:
              Part 4 says this:
              I close with the words of James R. White. His very well-researched and documented critique of the KJVO movement finishes with these words:

              The reader may want to continue reading what James R. White has said but let me share this first about the aforementioned Mr. White:
              http://j.mp/i7-ado Enjoy!

              Of course, among many other people, Shakespeare knew about (and used) “ado.”
              Oh, Otis Skinner came to my mind probably because of … Shakespeare.

              • LCPL_X says:

                Thanks, i7sharp!!!

                Very relevant as Cromwell and Locke above transpired between James I and James II (Jacobites). I’m sure Cromwell would’ve had the Geneva Bible and not the KJV (this becoming popular much later i read, but i could be wrong Pilgrims in Mass. had the KJV with them). but the whole Puritan and Anglican style of KJV having kept the Catholics away from its writing process, adds colour to sonny’s question above on Cromwell.

                In the Netherlands around this time was Spinoza. Very interesting times indeed. His family having fled the Catholic a generation prior. Calvinism being the norm in the Netherlands.

              • Karl Garcia says:

                Re: Click through rate and your links.

                I saw a url that was not shortened up there.

                Maybe it would be better not to shorten the rest of your urls.
                Well, I already asked you before, and I am asking you again.

                If they are some sort of a bookmark for you to be used in the future, there are other ways to do that and our google phd can give you tips.

              • i7sharp says:


                I take this as a “warning”:
                “Maybe it would be better not to shorten the rest of your urls.
                Well, I already asked you before, and I am asking you again.”

                I will heed the warning … but let me just use an example:
                1. https://magilas.me/joeam-sanest
                2. https://joeam.com/2021/07/08/biggest-scam-awards-philippines/#comment-432940
                The two links take you to the same comment.

                “If they are some sort of a bookmark for you to be used in the future, there are other ways to do that and our google phd can give you tips.”

                Now looking forward to the tips of TSOH’s “google phd” regarding other ways.
                By the way, who is he/she?


              • Karl Garcia says:

                It’s not a warning, I just do not understand why you have to have a unique way of providing links. It is like double the effort, but if it is easier for you, then carry on.
                I do try to click on your links, but others may not want to click on the link because, they would not know if it is safe to do so. It is not just us reading the blog.

                If I sound arrogant, then I am sorry. Btw the google Ph.D. Is lcpl x.
                Forget about that, I know you can search even just how many time a word is mentioned.

                I will not bother you about the links again. Thanks.

              • LCPL_X says:

                I never click on i7sharp’s shortened urls. Might lead me to gay porn.

              • i7sharp says:


                “It’s not a warning, I just do not understand why you have to have a unique way of providing links.”

                Thanks, Karl.
                I doubt if I can explain it without raising more questions.
                You might have noticed I used to use j.mp or bit.ly for my shortcuts.
                This shortcut (“ja” is for Joe America) takes the reader to a topic related to GILAS (no, not the basketball team) from almost six years ago.

                For over a year now, I have instead been using “magilas.me” (a domain name I have bought).
                Clearly, it is longer (than “j.mp” or “bit.ly”) but there SOMETHING about magilas.
                For one thing “magilas” places “agila” (or eagle) in its center.
                Of course, we know the Philippine Eagle (endemic to the home country) is our national bird.

                Moreover, “magilas” can mean, in English, many GOOD things:

                just to name a few.

                In the absence of an accepted definition,
                magilas’ 7-letter Tagalog synonyms can include:

                “magilas” is a word unique to Filipino?
                Thus, “endemic” (so to speak) to the Philippines?
                Being unique can be good.

              • Karl Garcia says:

                I thought you forgot the tagalog for sharp.
                If you have an eagle you would name him or her “matalas”.
                Ok this would hopefully be the very last time I ask you about this. The last time I bothered you with this was when there was still yahoo groups.

          • LCPL_X says:


      • In my best Charlton Heston voice, arms spread in cricifixion style as I’m being dragged out, “People are pigeons! People are pigeons!” 🤣😂🤣

  8. Thanks, I will watch it at some point. Though Cromwell was indeed a religious fanatic akin to the Catholic Savonarola of Florence in many ways it might be enlightening.

    Even I need a break from history at times though, so it might not be too soon.

    • sonny says:

      Quite a striking resemblance to power struggle in the making come elections. IMO.

      • A lot of power struggles have common themes throughout history.

        English history was a process of nobility losing effective power to Parliament. The Magna Carta a foundation, the self-destruction of royalty in the Wars of the Roses, then not total outsiders but players from the fringes coming in as the old ruling groups had exhausted both vitality and credibility – the Welsh Tudors, then the Scots, Cromwell and finally William of Orange, not Villar Orange or course but Dutch Orange, then the German house of Hannover, the Georges. Finally the United States as an offshoot of all of that, Jefferson as the implementer of Locke and a graduate of William and Mary College, the influence of the exiled Puritans of England via the Mayflower. The latter not to be discounted as a lot of US Presidents traced their ancestry to the Pilgrim Fathers, the the Bush family being the last while I think Lincoln was the first who wasn’t. Of course the influence of the WASP East Coast elite on American politics which has waned by today.

        The Philippines also has its history of old and new players. Actually an equivalent to the East Coast US elite or Roman patricians is somewhat lacking in terms of being a virtual nobility of spirit, as the plutocracy article I posted noted the Philippines has relatively new players for the most part, even the intellectual elite does not have much of a continuous tradition and it’s true influence on leaders is still weak, far from the influence Greek philosophers had on the polis. A pity because thinkers and talkers do matter.

        Thought and opinion leaders give a polity direction and continuity beyond the power struggles that in themselves are just about power. For that they need to reach the rulers and the ruled alike, like Jewish prophets, Greek philosophers or the likes of Locke, Kant, Voltaire (or before them Macchiavelli and Della Scala of Florence) reached the polity. The influence of thought and opinion leaders on the Filipino polity only goes so far, with very different Facebook, Twitter and academic crowds in their own bubbles while the masses are on YouTube and the max intersection of woke and masa might be on Facebook.

        Thus the Filipino ship of state has little direction or maybe not even a compass today.

        • LCPL_X says:

          So in similar vein Trump upended globalists policies since WWII single handedly. Biden is following suit, difficult to continue globalism now that Trumps shown how the US can be w/out playing world police and holding everyones hand.

          Bernie Sanders too is now ascendant, his policies.

          All depends if AOC type Dems will follow these nationalist policies. Senator Sinema of AZ Green turned Dem certainly is. All within one presidency. Like Loki E5 the curtains have been opened no closing it back now.

          the difference in the Philippines is the curtain keeps closing and opening, no ones going thru it.

          • Hmm.. the USA also had a globalist (Woodrow Wilson) and an isolationist phase after WW1. I’m not too clear about what exactly happened after the early imperialist phase (McKinley, Teddy Roosevelt) that led to more autonomy for the Philippines in 1907/8. Philippine Senate being established in 1916 was already Wilsonian Zeitgeist. 1935 Tydings-McDuffie Act giving the Philippines independence was nationalist/isolationist and had as much to do with fear of immigrants as with withdrawal from Empire. Let us remember that California enacted race laws in that period to keep Mexican and Filipino men mainly from marrying white women. Economic difficulties (this was the time of Steinbeck’s Grapes of Wrath) similar to today also contributed to the more inward look.

            • LCPL_X says:

              I’m more focused on re-engineering America to be able to counter China, Ireneo. Skilled immigrants, so too money that wants to come in, should be welcome, anything that gives us advantage over China. But for sure I’m against open borders, letting everyone in.

              However we do this, i think CBDC and MMT will also come to play. universal pay, then a new economy based around most workers (who are already thought workers) to just stay home and do their jobs at home, means better internet connection.

              Its like when a guy breaks up with a woman, and says, It’s not you, its me, I just need to better myself. Usually when that happens a guy betters himself, either a better job, hobby or better women. My point, bettering yourself should be mantra also in global politics.

  9. VP Leni gives her opinion on the debate on Philippine education:

  10. This tweet also unveils the sheer lunacy of today’s Philippines.

  11. https://opinion.inquirer.net/141939/what-ails-philippine-education/ by Randy David:

    The below-average test scores of most Filipino students in Mathematics and Science that have been reported in various international assessments are all ultimately attributable to a reading comprehension problem. Our students simply can’t grasp the meaning of what they’re reading, or relate this to what they know, even when they may be able to utter the correct sounds.

    This is so, mainly because the language in which they are taught and tested, particularly in grade school, is foreign to them. It is vastly different from the language they speak at home. I am referring here not just to English, but also to Tagalog-based Filipino, the national language. It is not uncommon to find teachers who are also not proficient in the language they use in the classroom.

    This state of affairs has been repeatedly highlighted by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization or Unesco. Our own educational experts have known about this for some time. But our policymakers refused to acknowledge it until just a few years ago. They thought that to drop English as the language of instruction would be tantamount to giving up the one thing that American colonialism bequeathed to us—a head start in the mastery of a global language.

    Today, we are indeed known as a country where English is widely spoken. While this is an advantage to foreign tourists, it has not exactly made us a preferred tourist destination.
    Less known is what the stubborn insistence on English as the favored language of instruction has cost us. The damage is incalculable. It has distorted the learning process. Because of it, many of our people are unable to read and write, understand basic scientific concepts, or perform simple calculations. It has given us college graduates who are fluent neither in English nor in Filipino. It has widened the cultural divide between the well-off classes and the poor.

    Yet this situation has been effectively concealed by the ubiquity of English as a medium of communication in our national life.

    It is this problem that the Department of Education (DepEd) under then Secretary Armin Luistro sought to address with the introduction of the Mother Tongue-based Multilingual Education approach to learning. The MTB-MLE was the banner program of Republic Act No. 10533 or the Enhanced Basic Education Act of 2013, which ushered in the K-to-12 Basic Education Program.

    The plan was simple enough: “Learners begin their education in the language they understand best — their mother tongue — and develop a strong foundation in their mother tongue before adding additional languages… With the end goal of making Filipino children lifelong learners in their L1 (Mother Tongue), L2 (Filipino, the national language), and L3 (English, the global language), learners are more than prepared to develop the competencies in the different learning areas.”

    It is the implementation that is not easy. It requires sustained investment in time, resources, and creative effort. Teaching modules and competent teachers are not produced overnight. The evaluation of outcomes needs to be undertaken at every phase of the implementation so that calibrated adjustments in the program can be promptly made.

    I distinctly recall that the preparation and publication of teaching modules in the different local languages other than Filipino was one of the key challenges. This, plus the training of MTB-MLE teachers, was something that needed to be carefully planned for. I wish the DepEd concerned itself more with doing its work and issuing periodic reports on the progress of this vital experiment than with demanding apologies from multilateral institutions for not informing them beforehand whenever the latter issue reports reminding us of the enormity of the educational challenges before us.

    I understand that the present plan provides for the use of the mother tongue only until Grade 3, but studies have demonstrated the advantages of using it as the basic language of instruction for at least six years. Carefully documenting the actual outcomes of this momentous shift could give us a better idea of what works best for our children.

    But the theory is unassailable. It is not too difficult to understand why a child learns how to read and write faster when taught in a language that is already spoken by the child at home. The sounds of the words themselves evoke familiar meanings, making it easy to integrate them into the child’s existing fund of knowledge. Most children draw enormous delight from seeing how familiar words heard in the family are rendered in writing.
    Learning is fun, and always ought to be. But one can imagine how quickly the acquisition of essential literacy is at once transformed into a traumatic process when it is burdened by the mediation of a totally strange language. It demoralizes students and prompts them to drop out. The pernicious effects often persist beyond high school; they are palpable even among graduate students, who must wrestle with courses conducted entirely in English.

    Those who have the misfortune of going through the pains of this dysfunctional learning process inevitably test low in examinations that assume a certain level of reading comprehension — whether these exams are in science, mathematics, or literature. These students are not stupid. They are just miseducated, hampered by a foreign language that precludes them from making sense of the world around them and making use of their own experiences.

    IRINEO’S COMMENT ON THIS MATTER using Loresian enumeration:

    1) the gap between theory and practice (people saying one thing and doing another as well) is also a result of kids learning stuff in a language they don’t use at home.

    2) that gap is also due to rote memorization, not querying the use cases of a general theory learned to show it’s real life application. Might as well be teaching kids prayers in Latin to memorize. Sic itur ad astra, quo warranto et ab initio in saecula saecolorum.

    3) FILIPINO taught in school might as well be Latin as it diverges too much from what is really spoken or used on TV. I am not saying make slang the medium of instruction, but maybe accept real life words more than the stricter old school of Filipino teachers do.

    4) a lot of teachers in the Philippines don’t speak English well enough either. Probably the first batch that started in the 1930s and taught the likes of Sonny and NHerrera in the 1950s and 1960s were excellent but they retired in the early 1970s.

    5) as we know a lot of teachers become OFWs, even maids in HK, as the salary is LOW. The police and military got raises under Dutz but not teachers. What is left are I guess either idealists or those who aren’t as motivated or qualified as those who leave.

    6) MTB-MLE became a confused policy in Metro Manila, Twitter user @MaamSyj told me – she is a teacher and DFA division head in her late 50s. What people speak at home in MM varies widely. How do you deal with pupils whose parents move to another place BTW?

    7) the Republic should have either thoroughly Filipinized with English as a foreign language starting in Grade 5, or thoroughly taught English really well like India did and like India never mind having a funny accent. Neither was done with clear results.

    8) of course we know public schools were neglected from the 1970s onwards including no-fail policies that led to some of my friends from UP Balara dropping out totally when they reached grades where they no longer understood anything at all. We know that PNoy did a lot in building classrooms and Luistro did try to improve education but you can’t fix something that has been rotting from inside for decades in just one Presidential term.

    • LCPL_X says:

      His point, no such thing as learning styles, better to go multi media, show thru videos photos words and explanation no preference for any “styles”.

      I’m no good in math, but had math been taught in high school for me as competing theories and thoughts, with people behind them, i’d totally be interested. instead of just 2 + 4 = 6.

      Point of the video above, between 1 2 3 4 to infinity ; and between 1 to 2 is also infinity, but the infinity between 1 to 2 is probably greater. Both infinities though belong to eternity.

      My point here is there should be no excuse today with Google, so all the Philippine SecEd has to do is ensure internet speeds and that everyone knows how to Google. We’re already multi media.

      • LCPL_X says:

        Vox too is great,

        Linguistics of Rs and Ls in Asian accents.

        On why all Chinatowns look the same over here, redlining.

        • LCPL_X says:

          So if gian or his buddies (his generation) could become youtubers, all they’d have to do is translate whats already open source into Filipino.

          For example this Veritasium guy is now living off the money he makes as a youtuber. Why can’t Filipinos with similar backgrounds do this, fixing Ireneo’s article’s above’s problem. this is one solution. Get your A and Bs and high Cs to teach low Cs to Ds and Es!!!

          here’s another one of a female chess master, six figures doing twitch and youtube.

          • LCPL_X says:

            p.s. — of course you don’t want to be a slave to trends, so eventually you’d have to convert said popularity and money to something more sustainable, my point here is that education in the Philippines could totally be improved outside of schools.

            I am a PhD in Google.

            • Filipino nurses in Germany are already doing that on YouTube, putting up stuff to help the next batches understand what they are getting into: (that approach, approachable to most Filipinos, would work for a lot of topics back home)

              • LCPL_X says:

                Perfect! this can be applied to every subject, with more youtubers covering everything under the sun for Filipinos back home, watch this on how to go viral and gaming the youtube system and making money.

          • Karl Garcia says:

            Or Khan academy
            There are already Filipino volunteers.
            Khan Academy has 60 languages, but Filipino is not one of them.
            So maybe the existing Filipino base can translate them to Filipino.

            • Karl Garcia says:

              For the young ones they could use knowledge channel.
              Which is also in youtube.
              It is a mixture of English and Filipino.
              Maybe sustainability is the issue.
              But so far they have existed for two decades.
              And their being tied to ABS CBN might be a problem for now.


              Going back to Khan Academy
              Filipino volunteers.

              “Philippine Volunteers of Khan Academy- Innovating on the basic technology of programmed instruction, that provides free multimedia tutorials in different fields of science and mathematics, adhering the principles of KHAN ACADEMY to give World Class Education For Free”


      • LCPL_X says:

        I’m more of a Google/youtube guy, Ireneo, but supposedly TikTok is where all this learning is going on today,


        I can see Filipino teachers getting in on this action as well,

        but they have to really study multi media and editing and looking professional, basically

        becoming media themselves. or maybe that’s just my Western eyez but theres something about Filipino media aesthetics that’s really off putting to me. I can’t quite put my finger on it. Its not the talking, my ears are 3rd world adjusted, but the visuals is something i can’t adjust to. i don’t know what it is.

        It could be the body language maybe, for example i see it in those two nurse videos you shared. anyway that’s more my problem, but my point here is maybe if you fix whatever it is, a video or youtuber becomes viral globally with more audience. i dunno. Just a weird culture commentary i thought. but its something.

        • Hmm.. Filipino media aesthetics could be a reason why hardly a Filipino movie gets much of an international audience. Anyhow as for the nurse videos there are many different ones and the audience IS Filipinos and not US so we shouldn’t worry..

    • Karl Garcia says:

      “This is so, mainly because the language in which they are taught and tested, particularly in grade school, is foreign to them. It is vastly different from the language they speak at home. I am referring here not just to English, but also to Tagalog-based Filipino, the national language. It is not uncommon to find teachers who are also not proficient in the language they use in the classroom.”

      So English comprehension is not the only problrm.
      Even teaching in Tagalog maybe a problem for those not familiar with Tagalog.
      Thid means Ilocano, Cebuano, etc can not teach in Tagalog with ease.
      Will mother tongue instruction solve this?
      What about the migrants and or non permanent residents?
      For how many years should you use mother tongue instruction to transition to English or “Standardized Filipino” ?
      And we still have the problems enumerated by Irineo.
      One problem at a time.

      So we do have a problem that can not be swept under the rug and declare that everything is under control.

    • sonny says:

      Parallel thoughts on Irineo’s

      1) the gap between theory and practice (people saying one thing and doing another as well) is also a result of kids learning stuff in a language they don’t use at home.
      ME: This language feedback loop MUST be supplied at home: dedicated instructor must know the language; practice & apply using designated language zones at home enforced strictly; use and repeat as needed e.g. dining vocabulary, playing vocabulary any practical scenario; According to my uncle (language expert PhD UMichigan), 13 years old is generally the cut-off age for welding a read/speak a language never to be forgotten;

      2) that gap is also due to rote memorization, not querying the use cases of a general theory learned to show it’s real life application. Might as well be teaching kids prayers in Latin to memorize. Sic itur ad astra, quo warranto et ab initio in saecula saecolorum.
      ME: Incorporate Latin as book-learning – 2-yrs worth –> good discipline for English, Romance language practice; no escaping rote learning; My Chilean confessor came to the Philippines at 10 yrs old, zero-speak English, native Spanish speaker; he memorized English dictionary at his motivational pace, working at 100 words per shot also while learning Latin;
      Latin is a dead language but it is so alive in many other languages;

      3) FILIPINO taught in school might as well be Latin as it diverges too much from what is really spoken or used on TV. I am not saying make slang the medium of instruction, but maybe accept real life words more than the stricter old school of Filipino teachers do.
      ME: The benefits come through osmosis, i.e. high concentration flows into low concentration;

      4) a lot of teachers in the Philippines don’t speak English well enough either. Probably the first batch that started in the 1930s and taught the likes of Sonny and NHerrera in the 1950s and 1960s were excellent but they retired in the early 1970s.

      • sonny says:

        #4) … a lot of teachers in the Philippines don’t speak English well enough either.
        ME: Institutional intervention should be supplied, top-down. Dep-Ed certification needed like ESL (English as Second Language) format; Boilerplate language modules should be required by appropriate agencies who have oversight of employment overseas; this is basic and essential functionality in a foreign land.

      • My answers to Sonny’s comments:

        Re 1) yes think that was how some privately organized Turkish Saturday schools helped Turkish-German kids who didn’t speak German at home.

        Re 3) yes, one should keep a certain standard, but spoken Filipino has evolved so quickly in the past decades, kids reading the kind of Filipino we learned are almost as if US kids would be taught in 18th century English, gap too large.

        Re 2) Latin is great at an age when abstract thinking is already developed. The issue at the moment is the weak cognitive foundation laid in the early years.

        Re 4) teachers salaries should be raised so those with such qualifications stay.

        Re the stuff LCPL_X is mentioning a corporate trainer I highly respect said all people have a mix of three cognitive styles: visual, verbal and tactile.

        Classic education favors the verbal/written style, yet some are stronger in visual and tactile aspects. Though taking handwritten notes helps remember as it also stimulates the tactile. Corporate presentations especially for CEOs often have very strong visuals as a lot of leaders are highly visual, probably this is the warrior gene in many at the top of the pile. Sumerian Kings were certainly visual, their scribes verbal and the craftsmen tactile. Good engineers are often a verbal/tactile mix. Top managers are often a mix of visual and verbal aspects. Motivators usually are visual and tactile etc etc

        • sonny says:

          Re 1: Our (Irineo, sonny) observations, MTB-MLE pedagogy in the Philippines region by region can be studied and designed using the experience of global cross training in languages required by sending-receiving countries to optimize functional communication objectives;

          Re 2; Latin implementation benefit must be clearly stated and agreed to;once this is achieved, the when and the how can then be further explored with again a pedagogy in mind; Learning Latin has both rote, disciplinary and developmental demands that is the learner’s benefit forever;

          Re 3: Technology has a big part on this detail: the ubiquity of communication media can be leveraged to advantage at specific junctions of formal & informal education; The K-12 system of education must be fed quantity & quality from all sectors of governance units (viz municipalites) to attain a calibratable progress;

          Re 4: It is obvious that the evils that are currently pervasive in the management of public monies must be stopped from eroding public support and trust (viz graft & corruption);

          • Re 4) the aspect mentioned in the following Twitter thread is significant, it isn’t just it seems that teachers today in the Philippines are underpaid, they are overburdened with all kinds of additional duties they hardly have time to fulfill:

    • LCPL_X says:


      On the usage of English, the model should be Teddy Boy Locsin. That’s how you use English. Don’t use big words; over complicate sentences; trim paragraphs until only the important ideas remain. Period.

      As to speaking, reading, writing and listening, all are separate skills. But I’d venture that most Filipino’s listening and comprehension will be high already. Reading is tricky because unless you have a mind that will argue with the text presented, you’ll not be reading really.

      Now speaking, is the most forgivable part of English usage for Filipinos, listening to Sec. Briones is really difficult unless you have an ear for accents and style of talking. But unless you wanna be a news anchor, actor or int’l businessman, not really necessary.

      Speaking is at the bottom, thus schools can skip it.

      Which leaves us with just writing English. This is the only part of English Filipinos should focus on because this is the only one that will improve their Reading. So just write, and write and write… start ’em young. Since Filipino isn’t really a written language, or it shouldn’t be (redundant to have many written languages),

      adjust the curriculum to just focus on writing, then reading, listening is easy with all the multi media available now, then finally speaking.

      Speaking can be done outside school setting, as this is the least important one to master, because you already have a spoken language, either Tagalog or Cebuano, or the lesser languages there. Most there speak 2, if in Mindanao usually 3.

      Write simply. Write and Read in English. Speak in Filipino. Listen to both. The last two skills the schools don’t have to cover. Home can cover that.

  12. LCPL_X says:

    “3) FILIPINO taught in school might as well be Latin as it diverges too much from what is really spoken or used on TV. I am not saying make slang the medium of instruction, but maybe accept real life words more than the stricter old school of Filipino teachers do.”


    Academic English being difficult I can also sympathize with. Reading these academic papers or commentaries in Google and different sites, I can understand why say Intelligent Design would be popular in the Bible belt.

    My point here is there seems to be among academics a propensity towards more complex explanations when a simpler one or simple ones can be used.

    So I don’t blame Filipinos for not understanding complicated English. its too complicated. Great ideas can be expressed simpler.

    My suggestion would be read those books or tests again, and if they are too complicated, edit them. Be like Hemingway not academicians. Lots of writers who used plain English were able to impart complex ideas.

    So maybe have Filipinos read Mark Twain or Hemingway, etc. But Filipinos should demand that English be used simply. No big words no complicated sentences.

    • i7sharp says:


      I looked up
      “A participial phrase at the beginning of a sentence must refer to the grammatical subject.”
      and one of the results I got was this:
      One comment said this:
      None of the three is ungrammatical, but the first is unclear. What, exactly, do you think is wrong with the second? My advice is to ditch Strunk and White and find something better. …

      I happened to read, about three days or so ago, a New Yorker article related to E.B. White (the White in “Strunk and White”).
      I can try to relate it to the importance of the English language.

      I know I risk being kicked out of TSOH for saying this:
      Filipinos should keep using English if only because of this Most Difficult “s” (small letter or lower case “s”).

      • i7sharp says:

        This, below, is what I was referring to in regard to E. B. White (of the Strunk and White):
        The King of the Forest
        (slightly reformatted for easier reading)
        I want to bring back this sad, formidable man as he was in the early nineteen-thirties, when he and I and my older sister, Nancy, were living together in a narrow brownstone on East Ninety-third Street, with the steep front stoop of its time.

        We are comfortable enough there, God knows, with a succession of governesses to keep an eye on us kids, and a delightful French couple, Joseph and Edmonde Petrognani, living in the basement. Joseph does the cooking, while Edmonde, thin and beautiful, keeps house and waits on us at dinner. These are hard times, all the same.

        The Great Depression is deepening, and some of Father’s friends who come for dinner have lost their jobs and are silent with anxiety; now and then we take in a frayed banker or architect friend for a week or two, a man who has lost his house or apartment and his savings as well, and has sent his family off somewhere while he stays in the city and looks for work. New York has taken on a shrivelled appearance; nothing is painted or shined, and the people one passes on the sidewalk move slowly, with a stunned look on their faces. Our house is mortgaged, and the time comes when Father tells Edmonde and Joseph that he’s sorry, but he can no longer keep them on. They have no place to go, though, and so they stay on and, for the time being, agree to work for nothing. (Later on, he paid them back.)

        Our mother, Nancy’s and mine, has been gone some years since. There has been a bitter divorce—in love with another man, the young writer E. B. White, she went off to Reno. My father’s pride was injured, and he fought her hard, wore her down, until he won an agreement for joint custody of his children that would keep them under his roof, not hers; he swore that he would take her to court and shame her unless she agreed. A mistake all around: neither of them ever talks about this deadlock, and no wonder. Nancy and I don’t talk about it, either.

        We go off to school together each morning on the double-decker No. 3 Fifth Avenue bus, to the lively, faintly cuckoo Lincoln School, up near Columbia; we can hardly wait for the weekends, when we visit our mother and Andy White in their happy, sunlit apartment down on Eighth Street. They have a Scottie named Daisy and a new baby, our brother Joel; there is a Ping-Pong table in one room, and the place is full of laughing, chain-smoking young writers and artists from The New Yorker, where they all work.

        Something about “the Most Difficult ‘s’ ” to follow.

        • LCPL_X says:

          i7sharp, there’s plenty of How to use English books out there even videos, the point is simple. KISS.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: