Well Done PNoy! – Thoughts on SONA 2015

It may not be the best presidential term. It may have been riddled with criticisms and missed opportunities, but, for the most part, it was a good term.

Having lived through 5 presidents (Cory, Ramos, Erap, Gloria and PNoy), PNoy’s term is, by far, the best. He was able to accomplish more than all the 4 past presidents combined. It took 5 presidential terms to finally curb the adverse effects of Marcos’ dictatorship. After the Martial Law, we have spiralled downwards as the poverty of our country was slowly exposed. Corruption remained rampant and people, despite the nationalistic spirit during EDSA Revolution, remained apathetic and impassive – already disillusioned with the state of our government.

I recall how we, as the youth, were constantly urged to be more aware of political affairs; to care more for the country and who we vote and what reforms took place. Yet I will hear many in my generation simply refuse to care, choosing instead to dream of going abroad towards greener pastures. They long to take courses that will secure them a work abroad. Many became nurses and left the country.

But the case is different now. I see more of my generation becoming aware of the current state of our nation. I see more people beginning to care.

And this is because PNoy has given us hope. Hope that there could be a better Philippines.

He has shown us that good governance is possible. That it is possible to rise up in the middle of corruption, criticisms and dissents. He has inspired us that a TUWID NA DAAN is possible.

Oh yes he is not perfect. Yes he has his lapses. There are many things that could have been better. Yolanda and Mampasanao are his recent blunders. But for every blunder he made, there are many other praiseworthy items worth noting. The improved credit ratings due to increased trust by investors, the number of PPP projects which totaled to 50 vs the 6 in the past 3 administrations and the K-12 Program which to me, when given the chance, will put our education at par with the world’s standards (after all, before K-12 we are one of the only two nations not implementing K-12).

He knew it will be a tough job to lead this country coming from the blunders of the past administrations. But he still took the challenge. I can recall how he ascended to presidency right after his mother died. He must have been in grief still at that time when he took on the challenge. It was Mar Roxas who was supposed to be LP’s bet for President. I was all geared to support Mar. But the sudden turn of events saw Noynoy running for President.

I voted for him. And I was not disappointed.

There are many things I still wish would happen like the passage of the FOI Bill but six years is indeed a short time to implement all the good things the country needs. I also know that sometimes, in the pursuit of goodness, there would be certain decisions that will make you unpopular. Decisions that for now, the public may not understand, but when the right time comes everything will be made clear.

PNoy’s term is coming to an end. But his projects and what he accomplished will remain for long. The 2016 Elections is just around the bend. At this point, we should all be diligently doing our research on who the rightful candidates should be.

Instead of criticizing, let us think of solutions. And then determine who’s the leader who can best implement them.

We cannot expect perfection but we should demand excellence. And our next leader should be someone who will do his best – whatever it takes – to serve the country, and not himself.

Indeed you did Mr. President. You did.  -PNoy quoting 2 Tim 4:7
Indeed you did Mr. President. You did.
-PNoy quoting 2 Tim 4:7

Related Articles from around my blog:

PNOY: Lonely at the Top?

Where is PNoy?

Related Articles from around the web:

Aquino’s Legacy: His Final SONA by CNN Philipipnes

SONA 2015: Legacies and Missed Opportunities by Rappler

Full Text of SONA 2015 in English (courtesy of Rappler)

Great Insights of Friends working with the PNoy Administration

aika raffy

Week 2: Science in Action – the National Science and Technology Week

If last week was science in theory, this week it’s science in action. I was supposed to go visit the National Museum and explore the nearby derelict places of interest but instead I opted to attend two timely events. 

The first was DOST’s National Science and Technology Week held at SMX MOA. It’s a free event where the latest technological innovations by Filipino scientists are displayed. It’s like a giant science fair. I already saw this event last year but it was only this year that I got to attend. 

The theme was Philippines: A Science Nation Innovating for Global Competitiveness. The hall was divided into various sections so researches can be grouped into agricultural sector, IT sector, industry sector and etc. In every exhibit I visited, I can recall my Pisay days whenever we had to present our IPs (investigatory projects). The entire hall looked like a massive IP presentation. 

Audience

There were A LOT of students. As in, A LOT. I went alone and was glad I did. There was just so many students it was dizzying. Many of the exhibitors were also actively engaging with students so it was kinda hard to talk to them. These are high school students btw. 

I got a sense that the exhibit was mainly for the students – perhaps to inspire them to pursue science and technology; perhaps to complement what they learn in the classroom. It catered to other professions too and there  were even separate registration booths for entrepreneurs but if there were fellow entrepreneurs there, they are very hard to spot. 

  
I just hope that entrepreneurs and private businesses would also attend the fair. It’s because they will be the ones who can breathe life to the inventions of these scientists. As scientists their role is to invent better solutions – faster machines, better agricultural products, etc. They conduct groundbreaking research reminiscent of our thesis days. However, their study will remain a study if no enterprising business would get it and build it to scale. 

If their inventions don’t see the light of commercialization, how can it serve for the betterment of the people?

Philippines – A Start-up Hub

Good thing there are companies like Ideaspace who are ready to invest in solid groundbreaking ideas. 

Ideaspace has invested in Croo, a device that can be embedded in accessories so that when you’re in danger you can just click it and it will automatically send an SMS to your loved ones. They also invested in iHarvest, a technology by an Adamson student that seeks to hasten the milling process. 

  

Ideaspace is a startup incubator by PLDT where pioneering ideas are given the chance to flourish through fundings and an entrepreneurship mentoring setup. If your idea like those above are selected in the competition, then you have a chance to market them to the public because resources are made availble to you. 

Schools as Breeding Ground for Start Ups

When I attended the APEC’s Startup Summit (Slingshot MNL) they stressed how important it is to create a startup ecosystem in the country mainly in the universities. 

Going around the exhibit hall, I saw how possible it is to have a startup ecosystem in the country. 

  
  
The UP Diliman booth showcased their winning car in a Shell competition and their innovative guitar. I, of course, felt the UP pride but it was upon seeing the FEU booth that made me realize how truly innovative Pinoys are and that we can definitely compete in the global invention arena. 

The Hamis is an invention where in order to turn on your motorcycle, your helmet must be in place. The ignition is connected to the helmet. There is also the automated book drop collection where every book dropped is automatically linked to your library file. It follows the same logic as the resume scanner which can intelligently scan every paper resume. PUP was also innovative with it’s bamboo power generator. 

To me FEU and PUP were able to identify real world problems and come up with ingenious solutions. Now I hope they present it to Ideaspace and get funding to develop further. 

The Government’s Efforts

The government is also doing its part to innovate and provide better solutions. 

I particularly liked the concept of One Lab. It seeks to simplify lab testing of your products via any DOST lab. As manufacturers or budding entrepreneurs we need to have a product tested – for chemical content, biochemical reactions, etc. One Lab is an online platform that allows you to see what tests are availble in which lab, how much they costs and if vying for certain accreditations what tests are needed. Further, if the lab you chose cannot accommodate you for some reason, they will simply be the one to forward your samples to another lab but they will remain as your primary contact. 

  

  
Another government project I hope sees the light is the use of TV Whitespace as wifi signal. I’m not sure how it actually works but the government also has an initiave to digitalize everything – from obtaining records to transacting with government agencies. 

Perhaps the most impressive government initiative would be the Hybrid Road Train. It seeks to address the massive transportation issues in Metro Manila. I tried the demo ride and it’s a smooth vehicle. It can accommodate 240 passengers in one go and it runs with a mix of diesel and Lithium batteries. It’s environmentally friendly and 100% Pinoy made. It doesn’t need a track to run into but it will require a dedicated lane in the highway. It’s not yet clear when it can be implemented as they still need major investors to fund the initiative. 

   

This is how the train would look like on the road. The unusual roof drew flak in social media.
 
The concept is very similar to the tram except that this version is modernized. 

Addendum 

I saw this giant poster about statistics of S&T Human Capital throughout the years and I’m proud to say I’m part of the Pisay statistics. 

  
I also saw this research that when implemented will solve one of the Millenium Developmental Goals – higher access to potable water. 

It’s a candle-type ceramic water filter formulated with red clay that filters microbial contaminants in the water making it potable. 

  
Another innovation that caught my eye is this loom. It’s intended to improve the use of local fabrics like abaca, jute, pinya and cotton. I remembered Mr. Kengkoy, the social enterprise from Bicol that sought to provide better livelihood to mothers in a town in Albay by using their woven jute cloth as raw material for backpacks. 

  

There are many researches in the area. So many in fact I am confident that the solution to many of our country’s problem lies in the hands of these scientists. All they need is decent funding to bring their inventions to the masses. 

Note: My second adventure for the day was the Inspire Everyday event at the Ayala Museum but I was late and wasn’t able to enter anymore. 

Reflections On Friendship

Today I lost a friend. He was battling leukemia. The news came as a shock because I was just asked to pray a few minutes before I was eventually informed that he didn’t make it. He was young. He didn’t seem the likely candidate for the sickness; let alone death. 

Although I know he is now in heaven with Jesus still I feel the grief of someone who just lost a dear loved one. 

Yet the curious thing about this is that, although he was a friend and we did spend time together back in college, he wasn’t really what I’ll call a dear friend. I knew him but we weren’t really close. Under normal circumstances we will never really meet again unless there’s a reunion of sorts. 

I don’t even really follow his Facebook feeds. 

Which leads me to ask: of my thousand plus friends in Facebook, how many are people I will really see again in this lifetime? Facebook calls them my friends but I know for a fact only a handful fits the description. Which begs the question – what are friends really? 

I’ve had people who were close to me at one point in my life. We shared so many things you would think we would be unseparable. But life happens and we both spread our wings and flew to where our destinies will lead us. As time passed and life took its natural course, we lost touch save for the occassional chit chat in Facebook. 

Then I have friends also who I may not really have been close with – merely shared bits and pieces of myself. But as the years passed, the tidbits accumulated and soon we find ourselves in constant contact 10+ years down the road. 

Friendship is a curious thing for me. Time in this world is so finite to meet all the past friends who’ve been a part of my life and to meet new people to forge relationships with. 

If you’re that friend who I spent an incredibly close season of my life with but now life has drifted us apart, I want you to know how grateful I am for that season we shared. And though we try our best to meet, I think for the moment we have to accept the course that life leads us to. 

If you’re that friend who, despite the years, I’ve seen and continued to share bits and pieces of my life with I’d like to think you’re a friend who’s here to stay. For despite the seasons of our lives, we’ve managed to always bridge the gap and find, whatever precious little time we can spare to connect. 

And if you are that friend who, as of this moment, the one I share my life with; the one who knows so much about my day to day life, then I hope that life will lead us to remain friends for years to come despite the separate directions we may take in the future. And if life chose to bring us apart then know that I treasure every moment we now spend together. 

I don’t think it will be physically possible for me to reconnect with all my friends in this lifetime. I have to accept that majority I may no longer really see. Before, when Facebook was still new, I would post in each friend’s individual wall a holiday greeting followed by a follow-up chikka question. But as my friend list grew that became insanely impossible. 

But there is still hope. If one day, when the time comes, I’ll see all this friends I care about in heaven. Where forever exist, where time becomes immaterial and where there are countless opportunities to catch up, relive old memories and forge new ones. 

So friend, I sure hope I see you in heaven someday. Getting there is easy. It’s a matter of accepting Jesus as Lord and Savior. 

But then again, this is just my belief. My faith. I cannot force you into it. And if you know me well enough, I will never force this on you. Yes I want to see you in heaven but I won’t force you to believe what I believe. 

I can only share what I know. It’s still your decision. But know this – I love you no matter what you choose.