Mainstream shit

BAKIT PA NGA BA TAYO  nagtataka nang sinabi ni Dan Brown na ang Maynila ang “Gates of Hell”, samantalang napaka-iresponsable nating mga Pilipino?  Lalo na ‘yong mga tiga-Maynilang katulad ko.  Sa pananaw nga ni Lourd de Veyra, too soft a term pa ito.  Irresponsible journalism, irresponsible entertainment, at irresponsible citizens.

Katulad nga ng sinabi ni dating MMDA Chairman Bayani Fernando, “Walang urbanidad”.

Lagot ka ngayon. (photo grabbed from pinoymovieblog.com)

Hindi na kailangan daanan muli ni Arnold Clavio ang media ethics para malaman niyang hindi tamang ginamit niya ang isang programa para depensahan ang kanyang bossing, at pulaan ang pagsasalita ng komedyanteng si Vice Ganda tungkol sa pagtakbo ni Senator-elect Nancy Binay.  Una sa lahat, karapatan niya ‘yon –– freedom of speech, ang karapatang magbigay ng pananaw ukol sa mga importanteng isyung pambansa.  Hindi ba’t ito rin ang ipinaglalaban ng mga media practicioners?

Sa kabilang banda, mukhang kailangang-kailangan ni Vice Ganda na dumaan muli sa kursong GMRC para malaman ang tama sa mali.  Kung sakali man, sana ay maipaalala ng kanyang guro na kung walang magandang lalabas sa kanyang bibig ay mabuting manahimik na lang.

Kahit pansamantala lang.

Dati, may ginawa akong artikulo na umiikot sa kakulangan ng pag-ibig sa bansang ito.  Hango ang pamagat nito sa lyrics ng kanta ni Franco Reyes na A Mass for the End of TimeWe only want the love in you.  At sa artikulong ito, mukhang nahulaan ko ang pinaggagawa ni Vice Ganda sa ‘sold-outconcert niya:

“Sabihin niyo nga sa akin, sibilisado bang maituturing ang isang mayamang lalaki na nanakit ng isang kaawa-awang traffic enforcer dahil sa sinita lamang siya nito?  Edukado ba ang tawag natin sa kolehiyalang namamahiya sa isang gwardya, sapagkat walang karapatan ang huli na sitahin siya dahil halos langit at lupa ang agwat ng kaalaman nilang dalawa?  Pamamahayag pa rin ba ang pamamahayag kung mayroong tatlong kolumnista ang nagkataong nagkapare-pareho ang isinulat tungkol sa pagtutol sa pagtaas ng buwis sa alak at sigarilyo?  Komedya ba ang tawag sa palabas kung saan ay ginagawang katatawanan ang kakulangan ng ibang tao?  Musika na ba ang panibagong pamamaraan ng pambabastos?  Flattery na ba ang paggamit ng ideya ng iba, nang walang pahintulot?  Sining ba ang walang kwentang pagtakip sa mural ng isang bayani?”

Mukhang may kulang sa hula ko.  Hindi kakulangan ang ginawang katatawanan ni Vice Ganda; sa halip, itinuon ng komedyante ang mga tirada niya sa pangangatawan ng beteranong brodkaster na si Jessica Soho.  Ayon sa kanya, sa tuwing tatapak sa timbangan si Soho sa timbangan, umaangal ang timbangan at nagsasabing, “One at a time.”  At kung bold star daw si Soho, “gang rape” daw ang eksena.

Para sa mga miyembro ng LGBT na pilit ipinagtatanggol ang ginawa ni Vice Ganda, aba, binigyan niyo kami ng panibagong dahilan para kamuhian kayo.  Kayo ang mga tipikal na tao na kahit mali ang ginawa ng kamag-anak, kaibigan o kalahi, ipagtatanggol pa rin hanggang kamatayan.  Walang iwanan.

Hindi ba’t kayo rin ang mga tao na sumisigaw ng pantay na trato, ano pa man ang kulay, lahi, itsura, at sexual orientation?  Ngayon, pinagtawanan ng isang binabae ang pagiging mataba ni Jessica Soho.  Ano ang gagawin niyo?  ‘Wag na ‘wag niyong masabi na ito na ang resulta sa pambu-bully sa mga bakla, sapagkat walang gustong bumangga sa pagtatalak ni Vice Ganda.

Una, mali ang bumuo ng komedya mula sa isang bagay na makakasakit ng ibang tao.  Maaaring hindi maaapektuhan si Soho, na masasabing may karunungan kumpara kay Vice Ganda, sa ganitong pang-aasar, pero ito ba ay magandang ehemplo para sa mga bata?  Hindi ba’t ang dami nang kaso ng mga estudyanteng nagpapakamatay dahil sa bullying?

Pangalawa, hindi magandang biro ang gang rape.  Ano kaya ang mararamdaman ni Vice Ganda kung ma-gang rape, sa totoong buhay ang kapatid niya?  O ang mga kapanalig niyang bakla?

O gusto ba nilang ma-rape?

Nakakaawa naman ang Pilipinas.  Kung iniisip natin na titino pa ang tao at bayan sa mga susunod na taon, at kung magkakaroon pa ng ‘golden age’ ang show business sector ng bansa, mukhang nalagpasan na pala natin ito.  Tapos na ang mga araw kung saan ang mga biro ay hindi lang umiikot sa katauhan ng ibang tao, at tapos na ang araw na kung saan ay mas tatangkilikin ng taumbayan ang matatalino at nakakatawa kumpara sa nakakatawa lamang.

Sabi nga ni Dong Abay, mabuti na lang daw at humorist siya at hindi comedian.  Dahil kadalasan, ang katatawanan mula sa isang humorist ay pinag-iisipan, at kaladasan din, ang katatawanan mula sa isang komedyante ay hinugot sa kung saan-saan lamang: hindi pinag-isipan ng malaliman.  Ang importante, matawa ang marami, kahit pa umiiyak ang iba.

Teka, bakit pa nga ba ako nagtataka?  Tambay ng Caloocan ‘to si Vice Ganda.  Hindi pa siya sikat, napanood ko na siya.  At ang ginamit niya para sumikat, ang walang kwentang pagtatalak niya.  Pero anong magagawa ko, natin, kung mas marami silang pumapalakpak sa kanya?

God bless Philippines.

Of stupidity and pride

AM I WRONG IN ASPIRING SOMETHING BIGGER FOR MY FELLOW STUDENTS?

Some of the people I am helping think so.  Time and time again, I looked like a ‘kontrabida’, mainly because I was hoping to see improvements with an organization that I left behind.  It seems that in their minds, I am a staging a destabilization effort to alter the schemes of an organization.  It seems that in their minds, I am bragging at where I am.

I don’t get it.  Am I wrong?  Are they mistaken?

Sometimes, I get confused with what should I do.  Should I be mum and act as if I don’t care, or should I tell them that they look like fools clinging to a lifeless academia?  Why emphasize that the students have the hand in carving out their futures, when we know that the future is dark as long as they stay there?  Why reason out that it is an organization to be taken care of, when the organization does not even care what your names are?

Sometimes, I find it stupid and funny that I have to plead to people for them to see things like the way I see it: panoramic view, 1080p, 60fps.

But I have to. We have to.

We should not enclose ourselves to what standards a community has been accustomed to: rather, we should strive for excellence on a daily basis, because the task at hand is not simple. It will never be simple. In reality, the responsibility is too big to handle, and the transition from dreams to reality is too fast. Who among you was not shell-shocked after stepping out of your doorways?

I was not so shocked. A few were not. It is not because we were born aware of our surroundings; instead, we grew in an environment conducive for human development. I grew up in a balance of poverty and luxury, of good and bad, of stupidity and brilliance. The people around us molded our heads and placed eyes behind our backs, above our ears, and above our toes, in order for us to see through every angle of life.

This is not a question of upbringing, or an insult to their wisdom — it is about a vicious cycle of ignorance regarding what is right and arrogance in accepting what is right. We were lucky to have people who are well-mannered, understanding and bright, and we, or I, want that open-mindedness to spread from within, especially in an organization vital in shaping the nation’s mindset.

We condition the minds of the people. But how can you do that if your mind is not conditioned?

Last minute analysis: Everybody loves Nancy Binay

FIVE OF THE LAST SEVEN Philippine presidents have had sons and daughters that ran or are running for public positions.  The exceptions are Former President Fidel Ramos, whose daughters were appointed instead of being elected, and our current head of state, President Benigno Aquino III, who is yet to have a wife and a child.  And in case you consider the late Fernando Poe Jr. as the winner of the 2004 Presidential Elections, watch out: former Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) Chair Grace Poe is running for senator.

Make that six out of eight: a 75% clip –– staggering numbers that speak louder than dynasties.

Filipinos adore these children as much as they adore the children’s parents.  In fact, there is no secret to how PNoy bagged the presidency: the death of her mother, democracy icon Former President Corazon Aquino, propelled him into Malacañang.  So strong the ‘Cory Magic’ that Mar Roxas, Manny Villar, and Former President Joseph Estrada could do nothing to stop it.

If they are not revered in a nationwide basis, such in the case of the Marcoses, then at least, they are still appreciated in their own areas.  Governor Imee Marcos and Senator Bongbong Marcos are still untouchables in the Ilocandia, even if their parents Former President Ferdinand Marcos and Former First Lady Imelda Marcos left an insidious reputation.  Estrada is a household name in San Juan, and Former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s family consider Pampanga their safehouse.  Actually, Arroyo’s identity as a presidential daughter served as an impetus for her political career.

 

From dynasty to dynasty

Vice President Jejomar Binay would never want to be left behind.  His family has been in Makati since the older Aquino appointed him as Mayor of Makati after the EDSA Revolution, and they have not faced an opposition strong enough to topple them off the helm.  For 27 years, one name has ruled the city –– what’s ironic is that the dynasty was born because the people ended a treacherous dynasty.

In fairness to VP Binay, he never needed to resort to vote-buying in order to secure the mayoralty.  And even when he ran for vice presidency, all he needed to win was a Chiz Escudero ad.  The country, as reflected in the approval ratings, is almost unanimous in saying that Binay has done so well with regards to governance, and as a token of gratitude, they will never allow the government to run without a Binay within it.

 

Senador ‘agad’

Well, except for his daughter, senatorial bet Nancy Binay.

A lot of people who use social networking sites are bullies.  The victims range from celebrities, politicians, and particularly unknown people: Daniel Padilla, the ‘Amalayer’ girl, and COMELEC Commissioner Sixto Brillantes –– this time, it’s Nancy Binay getting all the love.

The bullies can be anybody as well.  They can be ordinary college students, activists, journalists, and even primetime artists.  Recently, ABS-CBN’s It’s Showtime! star and comedian Vice Ganda commented about Nancy Binay’s lack of experience, and how the she seems to ride on the rise of his father.

’Yong wala kang background pero mataas agad, parang ’yung mga pulitiko lang ngayon, walang background pero senador agad,” the comedian said.  When asked who he was talking about, Vice Ganda made mention of Binay.

Binay countered by saying that she was on a “20-year on-the-job training” by being the person behind the success of her parent’s political careers.

Kung si Kris Aquino nga, sinabi niya mag-o-on-the-job training siya to prepare herself, ako I’ve been doing the on-the-job training for more than 20 years, with my mother, with my father, lalung-lalo na ngayon na naging vice-president na ‘yung father ko,” Binay remarked.

 

Why the hate

Debate-allergic?

Debate-allergic?

Is there something wrong with Binay gunning for a seat in the Senate?  Here are the qualifications set by the 1987 Philippine Constitution:

The qualifications for membership in the Senate are expressly stated in Section 3, Art. VI of the 1987 Philippine Constitution as follows:

  • No person shall be a Senator unless he or she is a natural-born citizen of the Philippines, and on the day of the election, is at least 35 years of age, able to read and write, a registered voter, and a resident of the Philippines for not less than two years immediately preceding the day of the election. 
  • The age is fixed at 35 and must be possessed on the day of the elections, that is, when the polls are opened and the votes cast, and not on the day of the proclamation of the winners by the board of canvassers.

Nancy Binay celebrated her 40th birthday a few days ago, can read and write, is a registered voter at Makati City, resides at, and has been living at the country for several years.

She can be hated so much, but the fact is, she can pursue any public office.

So what’s the fuss all about? Nancy Binay is a late replacement to whistleblower Joey de Venecia, which implies that she was not meant to be in the senatorial line-up of the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA).  And aside from that, she ranks at the upper part of the surveys effortlessly: according to the University of the Philippines’s BS Sociology students, she has not attended a single debate.

Although the Constitution states these requirements, which anyone can easily pass through, there are public-conceived notions and preferences regarding whom they should vote.  For example, a legislator is expected to be knowledgeable with the law, and local government officials should be well-versed in public governance.  Both are expected to be studious and present not only on important proceedings, but also on regular days.

 

Too ambitious and arrogant

Remember this: in transferring to a higher echelon, the masses would want a politician to do it slowly.  A quick transition from no one to someone is intriguing and arrogant, to say the least.  Political changes similar to that are made by either money or influence.  Or both.

Obviously, Senator Lito Lapid has no prior knowledge of the law and Grace Poe never set foot on any elected post before this poll, so, why is Nancy Binay despised so much?

Lapid is a level or two away from stupidity, but he never made the ambitious jump that Binay wants.  Lapid took it slowly, securing the vice gubernatorial and the gubernatorial posts of Pampanga, before advancing to the Senate.  Binay held no governmental post before –– the closest he got to was being both of her parent’s personal assistance.

When it comes to work ethic, Lapid is near to being unmatched in the Senate.  He is in the fifth spot for the most number of bills filed, while Binay, showed reluctance when she evaded every single debate against other senators, particularly the challenge by Team PNoy stalwart Risa Hontiveros.

Well, like Binay, Grace Poe has never been elected, but even if they are both loathed, Poe has the upper hand: Binay has a BS Tourism degree in UP Diliman, a far cry from public service, while Poe, aside from being an adopted daughter of an FPJ, she has a BA Developmental Studies in UP Manila and a Political Science degree from Boston College.  And she is not jumping from nothing at all.  Poe has done well in her time at the controls of MTRCB, reiterating the importance of the quality of the movie and television industry.

 

Goodbye Philppines

So, should the people vote for Nancy Binay?

It is a matter of personal decision.  Opinions will come and go, Nancy Binay’s detractors can be right or wrong, but this is what’s important: a public office is of the people, by the people, for the people.  If a person thinks that she is not fit for the senate just because of her credentials, then by all means, the person has no right to vote at all.  Anyone can run for public office, and by barring someone from doing should be tantamount to the cancellation of his or her own right to suffrage.

Yet people must also take this into consideration: she is part of a growing dynasty, and having similar bloodlines on the national executive level, on the legislative level, and on the local government scene is a danger, because it creates an easier path for rampant graft and corruption.  This is not to say that the Binays are corrupt, rather, the check and balance between the branches and sub-branches of government will be dramatically lessened.

In addition to that, the person has not proved anything.  How will the country know the truth behind her ‘OJT’ if they have not seen it?  What if all the talk she used in her campaigns are plainly propaganda?  Should the people give her a chance?  But how will the country know what she can do if she never gave herself the chance to showcase it in a debate?  Should the voting population rely on name-recall as the basis for a person’s over-all capability?

If the country does, then the electoral process has really gone to the dogs.  And it will really be more fun in the Philippines.

When is that flight to Mars again?

2016: Krissy for president

OKAY, BAGUHIN NATIN: baka makasuhan pa ko ng libel.  Hindi naman talaga sinabi ni Kris Aquino na tatakbo siya para sa pagkapangulo sa 2016 National Elections; sa halip, pagka-gobernador ng Tarlac ang “inaasam” niya.  Bakit sa Tarlac pa, at hindi sa Makati, kung saan siya nakatira?  Aminado siyang hindi niya kayang patumbahin ang pamilya Binay.

O baka naman hindi niya kayang labanan ang taong pinakamamahal niya?

Teka, ‘wag tayong showbiz.  Sinabi ng pinakabatang anak ni Ninoy at Cory Aquino sa isang press conference sa Cebu ang tangka niyang pagtakbo.  Ayon sa kanya, kukuha pa nga siya ng post-graduate course na tungkol sa pamamahala.  At siyempre, sino pa ba kung hindi si Senator Chiz Escudero ang kanyang mentor.

Wala namang mali dito (kahit mukhang mayroon): Pilipino siya, botante, nasa tamang edad (bagamat parang hindi siya umaakto ng ayon sa edad niya), at higit sa lahat, may makinarya para sa pangangampanya at sa pagkapanalo.  Marami mang naiinis kay Kristina, isa ring katotohanan na marami ang sumusunod sa kanya.

Pero maaalala natin na dati, sinabi niya na hindi siya maki-halubilo sa pulitika. Ngayon, nagkakatotoo na ang kinakatakutan ng mga kritiko ng administrasyong Aquino: ano bang malay natin kung ang sinabi niya noong isang araw e kunwari lang?  Sa 2014 pala, senador; sa 2015, bise-presidente; at bago matapos ang taon, pangulo.

Hindi ito malabong mangyari, lalo na at sa isang iglap, naging numero uno ang kuya niya sa mga survey sa pagkapangulo noong taong 2010.  Dahil sa pagkamatay ng kanilang nanay, si Benigno S. Aquino III nga ang kasalukuyang presidente ng Republika ng Pilipinas.

Kung susuriing mabuti, parang scripted na scripted ang mga pangyayari –– animo’y eksena sa pelikula eh.  Ilang linggo pa lang ang nakakaraan, nag-aksaya na naman si Kris Aquino ng airtime sa 24 Oras at TV Patrol ng GMA 7 at ABS-CBN.  Matunog na matunog na naman ang pangalan niya, at dahil nagsampa pa siya ng kaso laban sa dating asawa at basketball player na si James Yap, nagmukha siyang kaawa-awa.  Sa pamamagitan ni Bimby, hawak niya na naman ang simpatya ng madla.

Sinabayan pa niya ito ng anunsyo na lilisanin niya na ang mundo ng showbiz, na ayon sa kanya ay para na rin sa kapakanan ng mga anak niya.

Inosente lang ang nagtataka.

Bakit nga ba tayo nagtaka pa, eh ganito naman talaga ang nangyayari sa mga artistang lumalayo sa paggawa ng pelikula at palabas sa telebisyon –– nagiging pulitiko.  Sa lansangan at sa mga opisina dinadala ang nakuhang talento.

Pero ito, mainit ang usapin sa mga social networking sites tungkol sa worst case scenario: papaano kaya ang magiging sistema kung si Kris Aquino ang naging pangulo ng Pilipinas?  Bago ba ang State of the Nation Address niya, tutunog muna ang Program ID ng Kris TV?  Si Praybeyt Benjamin ba ang magiging Chief-of-Staff ng Armed Forces of the Philippines?  I-eendorso ba ng Department of Health ang paggamit ng Maggi?  Ano ang gagamiting language of instruction sa paaralan, Ingles ba, Tagalog, o ang kombinasyon nito?

Sa kabilang banda, nakaka-aliw siguro kung maging pangulo si Kris Aquino.  Kumbaga, may “light moments”.  Isipin niyo, kung siya ang maging presidente, si Boy Abunda ang spokesperson niya, at siyempre, interactive ang interview.  Sa sobrang interactive, sa pakiramdam ng reporter ay siya na ang iniinterview. Wag ka lang magugulat kung ang sinabi mo kahapon ay lalabas sa Linggo, sa The Buzz.

Sa 2016, siguro naman may trabaho na ako.  At naiisip ko na ang mangyayari kung maging pangulo si Kris Aquino, at sa Malacanang ang beat ko.

AKO: Mr. Abunda, ano po ang katotohanan sa isyu na nais ng ating pangulo na gagawing ‘pink’ na ang pintura ng buong Palasyo?  Ayon din daw ho sa mga nakausap kong sundalo, balak din daw gawing ‘yellow’ ang main pattern ng camouflage ng mga uniporme at sasakyan: totoo po ba ito?

BOY ABUNDA: Napakagandang tanong, Mr. Lalu: ito ay isang tanong na kaunti lang ang may kakayang magtanong; I mean, hindi siya naiisip ng ibang tao.  Tungkol sa mga pagbabagong iyan, ah, totoo nga na pink na ang magiging kulay ng Malacanang. Alam mo naman si Krissy, may pagka-kikay talaga kahit medyo matanda na, A-hi-hi-hi-hi-hi-hi!

AKO: Eh ‘yong tungkol po sa AFP?  Wala pa po ba tayong kumpirmasyon doon?

BOY ABUNDA: Wala pa namang nasasabi sa akin si Krissy, pero maganda siguro kung yellow ang kulay, para madaling makita ang mga nawawalang sundalo.  A-hi-hi-hi-hi-hi-hi!  Siya nga pala, totoo ba na ikakasal na raw kayo ng girlfriend mo for four years?!  Imbitahan mo naman sila?!  At totoo bang nag-live in kayo dati?

AKO: Wala pong katotohanan ang mga bali-balitang ‘yon, pawang tsismis lang po ‘yon.

BOY ABUNDA: Ah, ganun ba?  Eh totoo ba na––

AKO: Maraming salamat po Tito Boy! Salamat po sa oras niyo!

BOY ABUNDA: Maraming salamat din sa iyong pagpunta. At Jan Lalu, ikaw na!

AKO: No Tito Boy, Ikaw na!

Boon or bane?

IT MAY BE SAID that technology is at its peak nowadays.  With the internet, matters that took months to be completed will be ready in a few minutes.  Information dissemination and collection can take place within seconds, if not instantaneous.

It is hard to imagine how life would be if the internet is inexistent, but it might be harder to visualize the changes in case it was well-developed 30 years ago.  From a local standpoint, the Marcos dictatorship would have been halted earlier.

We can pattern the uprisings in Egypt to the country’s own people power: for those who do not know, Egyptian revolts were heightened by Twitter, a social-networking site.  Tweets by the country’s militant leaders were aimed to open the people’s awareness, aside from the obvious reality that instant messaging may have been used to mobilize the crowd against the state army.

Here in the Philippines, an uprising is needed when a person and their neighbors have nothing to eat.  When Lucio Tan’s businesses go south, we must step up.  If Ramon Ang has no beer left, then we have to be alarmed.

This country could have been spared from two decades of hell.

But that is not the point.  With the internet age, mass communication is treated like an ancient theory.  Who would care to use mass communication, a process that does not open a simultaneous communication, when you have the new media or the internet, which promises an interactive approach?

First, it was the radio.  We all know that majority of the local radio stations are horrible to say the least, but radio listeners are on a steady decline, and one does not even need to have the statistics to prove it.  If a person has an internet connection, he or she would opt to listen to YouTube, an online video sharing site, or to online radio stations.  I would really like to have a control regarding what I hear.

Radio is now limited to people who do not have internet connections, car drivers and passengers, and old people who listen to the AM band.

Next is the newspaper.  Circulations have lowered, basically because the main purpose of the internet is to be a real-time news outlet.  With twitter, individuals who follow the online resource sites will know what’s new in a few seconds.

This brings us at a question: will the television industry die as well?

There are tell-tale signs that there would come a day when traditional media isn’t needed at all.  According to a Socialbakers.com survey, the average Filipino uses at least 7.9 hours per day on social networking sites and on the internet.  And Filipino “netizens” number around to 35 million.

And if I’m an advertiser, I’d rather place advertisements online, where it is much cheaper and much viewed.  If I’m a viewer, I’d rather watch online, while tending to my social networking duties.

If TV’s main purpose will turn out to be for information instead of being for entertainment, then TV is doomed.  Newscasts, that is, video programs, are already available online on a daily basis.  The difference is, TV viewers cannot comment without the aid of the internet, while internet users have different avenues to voice out their concerns.

So, should we stop caring and studying about the technicalities and the art of broadcasting?

Of course not: we would never understand what is here and what lies ahead if we don’t know what happened yesterday.  There would be questions.  Our minds would never be satisfied.  We should learn from the mistakes and hardships of yesterday, in order to value what we have.

We must consider ourselves luckier than the radio jocks of yesterday, than the columnists of the Martial Law era, and the broadcasters of the earlier years.  Besides, styles change, but it does not change drastically.  The way a person communicates, whether through radio, print, TV, or internet varies little.  Everything has to agree with the rules of English grammar.  Everything has to agree with the ethics of public communication.

Multinational BPO company among Forbes’ “Most Promising Companies”

MANILA, Philippines –– Customer service and sales solution provider company [24]7, which operates in the Philippines and in five other countries, was recently listed by leading business news outlet Forbes as one of “America’s Most Promising Companies”.

According to the list published in Forbes.com, [24]7 is the 31st out of 100 private companies based in the United States.  These companies were chosen based on the quality of its people, growth in hiring, strength of the board of directors, and on who its customers are.

The people behind Forbes said that creating the list was actually a daunting task.  They nearly disregarded the enlisted companies’ total revenue and instead, focused on the marketability of a company in the years to come.

“To produce our Most Promising list, we started with the premise that one metric—like revenue or valuation—doesn’t say much about a company’s overall health. Instead we strove for a holistic gauge, trying to pin down companies’ trajectories by looking at a slew of variables.” Forbes staff J. J. Colao said in his article.

[24]7 is the only business process outsourcing (BPO) related company in the Top 50 list that is dominated by IT and Software Services brands.  The company’s revenue totals to $180 million, and it has over 10,000 employees globally.

PV Kannan, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of [24]7 said in a press conference that they are “very proud and very pleased of the company’s accomplishment”.

It is also the first time that company’s twelve year history that it was included in the prestigious list.

“The recognition definitely helps, but it is not something that is seen in two months.” Kannan added.

Rienzi Ramirez, Chief Delivery Officer of [24]7 Philippines said that the recognition from Forbes is a testament to the innovations the company made in line with deploying products and services for its customers.

“[24]7 makes customer service and sales simple.  Our model is to drive business results.  We drive increased revenues, reduce service and sales costs, create [sic] satisfied customers.” Ramirez said.

Currently, the Philippine operation of [24]7 is the largest in the whole world.  The company has generated 4,500 jobs in its seven-year stay in the country, and is looking forward to add another 1,000 jobs for this year.  Aside from that, [24]7 Philippines has five working facilities, and is looking forward to add three more within the next three years.

Ramirez also said that “the attitude of the company has been very bullish, and very excited in terms of what can happen” after the citation.  He further stressed that the Philippine operation is one major factor why the company was enlisted by Forbes.

“Clients continue to give high regard on the Philippine operations.  This reflects on the quality of talents and delivery of service that the Philippines is able to deliver.  All these are among the reason why we made it to the Forbes list,” he said.

[24]7 takes pride on its state-of-the-art platform in delivering customer services, along with its innovative way of communicating with people.  The company is one of the biggest providers of real-time, visual customer assistance.

When the bully is the school itself

BULLIES WILL ALWAYS BE A PAIN in the neck of students, and a pain in the heart of parents.  In a normal scenario, schools will be doing everything they can to safeguard the bullied, and everything they can to hand down a just punishment to the aggressor.

The bad thing is, if you are not studying in a school that has a normal scenario and if you are living in a parallel universe.

And it has not been too ‘normal’ for the country’s State Colleges and Universities (SCU).  The country’s top educational institutions have been stormed by yearly budget cuts, politicalized scholarships, and professors tagged with plagiarism case.

And it is not yet over.

It is absurd and ironic, particularly in the case of Kristel Tejada, a Behavioral Sciences (BehSci) student of the University of the Philippines – Manila. Her experience was literally a pain in the neck.  According to the post on the Facebook page of The Manila Collegian, the Official Student Publication of the said university, Tejada, 16 years old, committed suicide after drinking a bottle of silver cleaner last March 15, Friday morning.

And the bully?  The Forced Leave of Absence (FLOA) enforced by the university on students that are unable to pay on time.

If a student died within the school, society will certainly cry foul; much more if the school is the main culprit.  But the recent circumstances are a perplexing one. Social media outlets and chairs may be on fire literally, activists may be lighting numerous candles, and individuals may be blaming the system, but something is still puzzling the public’s minds:

Of all people, why a modern-day “Iska”?  Isn’t she bright enough, especially that she is a UP student dealing with how people behave, to realize that there is more to life than these basic school matters?  Isn’t she sensible enough to understand that suicide deviates from the law of nature, aside from it being a selfish way to handle matters?

Tejada, first in a brood of five, should have known better.  She could have been her family’s only hope out of poverty.

People should understand that what she did, even though it was an eye-opener, is an act that should never be condoned or worse, dramatized.  With the way it has been, Tejada’s act has been “hero-worshiped”.  It will definitely be deemed as a light in the midst of a dark period for UP, but the truth is, it is very immature and impractical.

In defense of Tejada, one cannot simply condemn her actions after digging deep into her story.  The stress, the embarrassment, and the numerous loan requests stripped her of sanity and happiness, and replaced a feeling of guilt and self-pity.  Life is valuable, but the issue has never been basic.

As a matter of fact, the issue is too complicated.  Such problems do not usually surface in a government-owned school.  These problems can only appear on costly educational institutions; otherwise, it is considered as a blasphemy.

How did this sort of “La Salle-like” and “Ateneo-like” problems surface within the country’s top State U?  How big of an issue is this FLOA that it prompted the poor girl into taking her own life?

Using the University’s Socialized Tuition and Financial Assistance Programs (STFAP), Tejada was placed in the “Bracket D”, which means that she has to pay PhP 300 per subject unit.  Not bad, considering the price of quality education nowadays.  A student who takes at least six subjects in a semester will have to pay less than PhP 20,000 annually.

But it is definitely ruthless for a family that is exerting every possible means to make ends meet.

STFAP, which aims to categorize students according to their capacity to pay, seems to have failed in judging Tejada’s situation.  It has drawn criticisms mainly because the bereaved family relies solely on her father who earns a living through driving a taxi cab.  Her mother is an ordinary housewife.

Many people despise UP basically because it has forgotten the difference between income and net income.  The STFAP indicates that a family which has an annual income of PhP 135,000 to PhP 200,000 would be situated under Bracket D, and will be given a 70% discount on base tuition fees, although the student would have to pay the miscellaneous and laboratory fees fully.

Sure, the student’s father could earn up to PhP 140,000 in a yearly basis. That is called ‘income’.  But sans all the money intended for expenses and the taxes, that would be called ‘net income’.  The question is, would the family have enough of the net income to send Kristel and her other siblings into school, while having a decent meal and a decent place to live?

Harsh as it can be, the reality is that his father’s meager earnings cannot sustain an expensive brand of education while supporting his remaining children.  That net income would be divided upon five stomachs to fill.  And in case her father was practical enough, he would have opted to use the money to buy the family’s basic commodities, instead of intending it for the deceased student’s tuition fees.

And that is why Kristel Tejada chose the University of the Philippines over the Ateneo de Manila University, the De La Salle University, and the University of Santo Tomas: because it has been known, that UP can provide her the best education at a price way lower than the private-sectarian universities mentioned.  In short, masa-friendly prices within a 322nd-ranking school in a top 400 universities in the world survey.  While UP’s quality has never been in doubt, the prices seem to be out of this world.

The common Filipino’s world, to be exact: the moniker “Iskolar ng Bayan” seems to be inappropriate for now, as UP’s parking spaces resemble car shows.  And from a “Toki-Toki” driver’s standpoint, you can tell that UP students nowadays tend to hail from rich families.  Jeepney drivers who used to roam the streets of UP Diliman complain of a lesser take-home-money compared to what they used to have a few years before.

A lot of the students’ families have the capacity to buy cars, and when I say cars, I do not mean second-hand automobiles.  I’m talking about cars fresh out of the showroom.  And people believe that the growing number of wealthy students led to the creation of the STFAP, in order to level the playing field.

I never said that it is bad if a son or a daughter of a rich politician or of a successful business mogul goes to UP and takes it by storm.  I never said that UP isn’t a place for development.  I never said that UP should tolerate poverty.  But the UP system, being a part of the government, should nurture the poor, and teach them to succeed, above all.

It would be a disgrace if UP fails to provide its student the education needed to be globally competitive.  It would be a disgrace if UP forgets the idealism and the patriotism it once possessed.  It would be a disgrace if UP fails to protect a student from all the things that may hurt him or her physically and emotionally.

But, it would be far shameful if the nation’s premier university causes the death of a student who only yearns to find a way out of poverty, and eventually, create a better life for her family.  UP is no longer a haven for the oppressed.  UP is now a bully who feeds on weaker individuals.

Kristel would not want the cycle to continue.  She wants it to stop with her.  She allowed herself to become a sacrificial pawn in order to open the eyes of our dormant society.  And for that, we thank you.

Rest in peace now, Kristel: forgive me for scrutinizing your actions.  We promise to keep an eye on UP, so that your death would not be in vain.