Erosion of English Skills

Australian business consultant, Peter Wallace said that the Philippines could be a major player in information technology, in the call center industry, and even in health care services and tourism.

“But only if it speaks English,” Mr. Wallace said as quoted by Carlos Conde in his article, Erosion of English Skills Threatens Growth in the Philippines [1].

In the same article, Conde mentioned the study conducted by the European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines. According to the study, 75 percent of the more than 400,000 Filipino students that graduate from college each year have ‘substandard English skills.

A survey by Business Processing Association of the Philippines (BPAP) supported the observation on “erosion” of English skills in the country. The BPAP survey indicated that most call center companies hired only 5 percent to 10 percent of the job applicants they interviewed, mainly because of inadequate English proficiency.

Furthermore, the U.S. State Department, in its “2007 Investment Climate Statement,” observes, “English-language proficiency, while still better than in other Southeast Asian nations, is declining in the Philippines.” [2]

The “Patch”

The Legislative-Executive Development Advisory Council certified House Bill 305 or the Proposed Act to Strengthen and Enhance the Use of English as the Medium of Instruction in Philippine Schools, filed by Rep. Eduardo R. Gullas, as a priority bill, says SunStar [3]. The bill revives English as the mandatory language for teaching in all school levels.

Under the Gullas bill:

– English, Filipino or the regional language shall be the medium of instruction in all subjects from pre-school to Grade 2;


– English and Filipino shall be taught as separate subjects in all levels of elementary and high school;


– English shall be the medium of instruction in all academic subjects from Grade 3 to Grade 6, and in all levels of high school;


– In the tertiary level, the current language policy as prescribed by the Commission on Higher Education shall be maintained;


– In addition to formal instruction, the use of English shall be encouraged as a language of interaction in school.

The organization of English clubs such as book, oratorical, debating, writing and related associations shall be encouraged.

HB 305 also proposes the use of English as the language of assessment in all government examinations and entrance tests in all public schools and state universities and colleges.

This is a good start, Honorable Gullas!

JGG|Mandaue City
Blog I author (Bisaya): Ambot Lang!|Contact: Send Mail

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War Against Software Piracy

The Pilipinas Anti-Piracy Team (PAPT) pursues all-out war against all forms of software piracy, SunStar Cebu (online) reports today. PAPT is a government-led initiative composed of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), the Optical Media Board (OMB) and the Philippine National Police (PNP).

According to the report, PAPT:

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The Biography of Antonio Trillanes IV in Philippine Senate Website

antonio-trillanes.jpgHere is the official biography of Senator Antonio “Sonny” F. Trillanes IV in the website of Senate of the Philippines. There is omission of significant facts though. In the last two paragraph, it does not mention about the role of Trillanes in the 2003 Oakwook mutiny. Why?

The last two paragraphs:

For his meritorious service to his country, Sonny has been awarded a total of 23 assorted merit medals, campaign ribbons and badges.

Finally, during the recent May 14, 2007 mid-term Elections, Sonny successfully launched a nationwide campaign from his prison cell as he ran and won a seat in the Philippine Senate on a shoestring budget. More than 11 million people voted him into office on a strong anti-corruption advocacy.

I propose that following paragraphs must be inserted before the biography mentions his victory during midterm elections.

In 2003, Trillanes ventured into radical adventure. He was one of the junior military officers who lead a group of 321 armed soldiers and took over the Oakwood Premier Ayala Center serviced apartment tower in Makati City [3] – thus the action is dubbed as Oakwood Mutiny. [third wave]

The mutiny failed. It lasted only 18 hours. The soldiers failed to rally support from the public or the armed forces. All soldiers involved surrendered peacefully and were charged in a general court martial. [third wave]

Full text of Trillanes’ biography:

Antonio Fuentes Trillanes IV, or Sonny to his relatives and friends, was born and raised in Caloocan City. He traces his roots to Ligao, Albay in Bicol where his late father, Antonio Sr., grew up. His mother, Estelita, hails from the province of Capiz.

Sonny is 35 years old; born on August 6, 1971. He is married to the former Arlene G. Orejana with two children namely: Francis Seth and Thea Estelle. Their third child, Alan Andrew, died of an illness while he was just twenty-one days old.

He studied at De La Salle University in Manila where he took up BS ECE from 1987 to 1991.

He formally entered into public service in 1991 as a cadet in the Philippine Military Academy where he graduated Cum Laude in 1995, while earning a degree in BS Naval System Engineering. Other awards he received while in PMA are the Mathematics Plaque, Physical Science Plaque, and the Tambuli Award for electrical/electronics engineering.

In 2002, Sonny took up graduate studies at the University of the Philippines and got his masters degree in Public Administration major in Public Policy and Program Management. For the duration of the masteral program, he received two University Scholar Awards for obtaining two semestral GPAs of 1.0 to 1.25 and a College Scholar Award for obtaining a semestral GPA of 1.25 to 1.50.

After graduating from PMA, Sonny went through all shipboard assignments starting from Mess & Supply Officer; Deck & Gunnery Officer; Engineering & Damage Control Officer; Executive Officer; and, ultimately as Acting Commanding Officer of a patrol gunboat.

During his five-year sea duty experience, his unit apprehended dozens of smugglers, illegal loggers, poachers, human smugglers and illegal fishermen in numerous maritime law enforcement operations conducted in the waters off Batanes, Ilocos, Cagayan, Isabela, Zambales, Scarborough, Quezon, Bicol, Palawan, Mindoro, Romblon, Iloilo, Cebu, Zamboanga Peninsula, Basilan, Sulu, Tawi-Tawi, Davao and Maguindanao.

Other shore positions he held were: Administrative/Personnel Officer of Philippine Fleet Patrol Force; and Procurement Officer/Instructor, Naval Education & Training Command.

Among the highlights of his military profession, was the daring search and rescue operation for the survivors of the ill-fated M/V Princess of the Orient at the height of a super typhoon in 1998. For this act of risking their own lives in the fulfillment of their duty, Sonny and his unit managed to rescue thirty-two (32) survivors.

He was also involved in numerous naval operations in support of ground operations directed against the Abu Sayyaf and other lawless elements.

As procurement officer of the Naval Training and Education Command, Philippine Navy, Sonny reformed the procurement system, which resulted to the accumulated savings of more than four million pesos in favor of the government.

He has participated in 22 naval exercises conducted with local and foreign navies.

For his meritorious service to his country, Sonny has been awarded a total of 23 assorted merit medals, campaign ribbons and badges.

Finally, during the recent May 14, 2007 mid-term Elections, Sonny successfully launched a nationwide campaign from his prison cell as he ran and won a seat in the Philippine Senate on a shoestring budget. More than 11 million people voted him into office on a strong anti-corruption advocacy.

I can’t understand why they need to omit some facts. Is this to portray Trillanes as hero?

Source: Biography of Senator Antonio “Sonny” F. Trillanes IV
Photo Credit: Senate of the Philippines, 14th Congress

JGG|Mandaue City
Blog I author (Bisaya): Ambot Lang!|Contact: Send Mail