Jose Carillo's Forum


If you have a great advocacy, you’re welcome to post it here

Advocacies, the newest section of the Forum, aims to be a lively medium for disseminating ideas or proposed initiatives of lasting value, interest, or significance to Philippine society in particular and to the world in general. Only advocacies by registered Forum members will be entertained here, and they must be written in proper English as well as lucidly and responsibly argued or presented. Forum members are welcome at all times to post responses to particular advocacies, but they must observe courtesy and decorum in their responses. The publisher of this site reserves the right to immediately remove rants; highly partisan, ideological, or sectarian statements or tracts; advertorials, publicity, and advertising; and the like whether coming from advocates or reactors. If in doubt about the suitability of an advocacy for posting here, the Forum member is encouraged to clear the material first with the site publisher by e-mailing it to

Dealing with Persons with Disabilities (PWDs)
By Miss Mae

I have always wanted to do something. I just cannot tell what it is and how it should be exactly. So for years I contented myself with knowing that I intend to do something for the Philippine society anyway. I just have to realize it. 

I finally did so four years ago.

At that time the Philippines had 942,098 persons with disabilities—473,332 of them women and 468,766, men. But these figures were based on a population count more than a decade before. They were cited by administrator Carmelita Ericta of the National Statistics Office during the 5th Annual Meeting of the Washington Group on Disability Statistics.

Low vision has been the most common disability in the country since 1995. The World Health Organization, however, said that “the most common disabilities are associated with chronic conditions such as cardiovascular and chronic respiratory diseases, cancer and diabetes; injuries, such as those due to road traffic crashes, falls, landmines and violence; mental illness; malnutrition; HIV/AIDS and other infectious diseases.” Worldwide, it is clinical depression.

Half of the PWDs in the Philippines are elderly people (60 years and over). The other half are below 49 years old. This could only mean that one in 20 households in the Philippines has at least one member with disability. Majority of them, however, remain confident that they could still work. In fact, one in three PWDs actually heads a household. The literacy rate among male PWDs is 70% and female PWDs, 69%.

So while it is true that there are administrative orders favoring PWDs in the Philippines, there is no current information that can tell how many of them are benefiting from these regulations (or if they are indeed benefiting from them). So while a number of organizations designed themselves to support PWDs, there is still a lack of awareness of the “social problem” that physical disability has come to be. So while there are freebies and donations to PWDs, not too many are willing to give the latter a chance to prove their worth.

An example is the act meant to facilitate mobility of PWDs. Batas Pambansa Blg. 344 has been approved five administrations ago but not all public establishments have heeded it. A budget airline recently disallowed a “special child” to get inside its craft. The 2000 Census counted some 57% of PWDs who hold a job because they can put up their own business, and 30% who work in the agricultural sector.

Special education should be integrated in all levels of schools in the Philippines.

“Equality is rooted not merely on charity or accommodation, but on justice for all.”—Former Philippine Supreme Court Chief Justice Artemio Panganiban


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The Philippine economy and the need to reinvent ourselves

This is a running exchange of views between Forum members Eduardo (Jay) Olaguer and Romy Encarnacion on the latter’s advocacy, “The Philippine Economy and the Need to Reinvent Ourselves,” posted in the Forum last March 11, 2011:

Eduardo (Jay) Olaguer (March 13, 2012) in response to Romy Encarnacion’s first posting:

Adding value is SO important, yet Filipino culture revolves around picking low hanging fruit. You see this in our barung-barong style education, which produces so many accountants and business majors, but very few technologists, scientists and engineers who know enough beyond the basics to innovate. Those at the top of the social pyramid prefer "safe" disciplines like law and finance, in which little value is added. Even our best private universities only reinforce the dominance of the risk averse and rent seeking class. Members of this class are little different from their 19th century counterparts who lived off the agricultural labor of others, and who sought only "decorative" knowledge that would distinguish them from the common person, the sort of knowledge vented by bullshit artists at cocktail parties and other social venues of the high and mighty. Until we confront this ugly fact of Filipino culture, we cannot progress beyond our sad and seemingly permanent state of economic disrepair.

Romy Encarnacion’s rejoinder (March 22, 2012):

I was tempted to respond straightway to a reaction to my posting. But on second thought, I opted to wait to see if there was a need to reinforce the points I was making.

In any case, after three years of doing my blogs, I have gotten the sense that people in general recognize that we need to do something about the economy. But the issue of the economy is pretty broad and thus people can’t intuitively identify a starting point, or if, in fact, any effort would even make a dent. For example, people talk about education reforms, but there is very little discussion about our inquisitiveness as a people. And so I wonder if initiatives like using Tagalog as the medium of instructions or moving to K-to-12 would in fact raise our inquisitiveness. Is our environment more about conformity? 

One measure of competitiveness, for example, is the number of patents issued to a country or its people versus those from other countries. And given that we have been awarded the fewest patents in the region, I wonder if our value system ranks conformity above that of inquisitiveness? And if we are not intuitively inquisitive, where will the urge to do something about the economy come from, especially it being a complex subject at that?

And even with competitiveness, the Chairman and CEO of Ayala Corporation recently came out with an essay and it stressed how encompassing the challenge is; that is, we all have a role to play. We seldom hear people identify and discuss a starting point.

And which is why in my blog I have talked about lateral thinking and the concept of dynamic. At lot of times, cause and effect is not linear but lateral and so it is really the interplay of a number of things that generate good or bad outcomes in an economy.

For example, everyone is talking about the need for our economy to grow at 7% because if we grow at a lower 4%, for example, it would take over 100 years for us to attain developed nation status. But at 7% we could do it in one generation, according to international agencies. But talking about GDP growth rates for an underdeveloped country like the Philippines is more a like a hit-and-miss proposition. And the reason is an underdeveloped country, by definition, is yet to erect the building blocks of the economy. In other words, without a tangible muscular engine, how could the economy run at a consistent pace?

And in our case, it starts with power generation (at adequate levels and competitive rates) and then our underdeveloped (basic) infrastructure, like roads and bridges and airports and seaports. And on top of that, we need strategic industries that will generate truly incremental products and services that would substantially raise our economic output. Until we have these building blocks in place, talking of a 4% or 7% GDP growth rate is simply a hit-and-miss proposition. 

At the end of the day, while free enterprise is supposed to be driven by the private sector, in an underdeveloped economy like ours, the experience of our neighbors is that government played a big role in fast-tracking these building blocks. We haven’t had the conviction to pull these building blocks together; instead, we have made the increase in the remittances of our OFWs and, more recently, the increase in the contributions of the BPO industry as the core of our economy.

And thus I have been talking about the JFC’s Arangkada program because it precisely addresses the gaping holes in the structure of our economy. Unfortunately, we have yet to demonstrate passion or conviction in truly fast-tracking Arangkada.

Eduardo (Jay) Olaguer’s rejoinder (March 13, 2012):

Perhaps one reason why the government lacks the energy and initiative to invest in basic infrastructure or implement radical reforms in education that go beyond mere symbolic issues is that government is oriented towards patronage rather than results. Because of this, it is severely bloated with mediocre employees without the knowledge or capacity for innovation. The large number of government staff keeps salaries low and therefore invites corruption, in addition to increasing the burden of useless “processes” to justify their presence.

A possible solution to this problem is to keep a core of high performing government employees and radically increase their pay in exchange for a high level of productivity and zero tolerance for corruption. Everyone else can be farmed off to various temporary government corporations that will have to sink or swim after a few years of subsidy. Moreover, NGOs should be encouraged to keep a watchful eye on government agencies, to the point of maintaining a presence in the government offices themselves, so that citizens can immediately complain about slackers.

I wholly encourage opening up the education sector to foreign investment and ownership so as to rapidly bring Filipino education to international standards. Those who complain that the costs of a university education are already out of reach should be reminded that having cheap diploma mills is ultimately more expensive for the country as a whole, because it generates a lot of unemployable people with substandard skills.

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