Sunday, November 17, 2013

Where we want to be

“Mere recommendations not enough,” wrote Rey Gamboa, The Philippine Star, 12th Nov 2013. “It would seem a waste of time [The 39th Philippine Business Conference] by our business leaders to hunker down and discuss economic and business issues for three days . . . If our business leaders are serious about wanting to see a tiger economy by 2050, it would help to institute follow up measures that would ensure that issues and concerns raised . . . are properly addressed at the soonest possible time. If serious review and follow up are not carried out, for sure this country will never get to where it wants to go.”

“An old issue . . . is the proposal urging the national government to prioritize public and private initiatives to modernize the agricultural and fisheries industry . . . In the area of power, three issues remain outstanding . . . the need to speed up . . . energy and power generation projects . . . to tighten the power program in Mindanao . . . to fast track the establishment of the ancillary reserve market . . . and the mechanism for transparent procurement of ancillary services.” Not surprisingly, in a separate but related challenge, “Phl needs P2.3 T to fix transpo system – JICA” [, 13th Nov 2013.]“JICA project manager Shizuo Iwata said that based on a roadmap prepared by the agency for transport infrastructure development in Metro Manila and surrounding areas, the investment would be used for projects to address the worsening traffic congestion in the area.”

If Mr. Gamboa sounded alarmed, the Manila Bulletin, in its 11th Nov 2013 editorial wasn’t: “Editorial: Agenda for sustained, inclusive growth. The 39th Philippine Business Conference . . . approved a 41-point resolution urging government to ensure that economic growth gets to reach the grassroots to achieve inclusive growth . . . We congratulate the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry . . . in their partnership with government to craft competition policy that will ensure maximum benefits for marginalized people and communities . . .”

Why the contrast in the treatment of one and the same event? There is such a thing as positive reinforcement” – but it is not always a good thing. “Positive reinforcement involves the addition of a reinforcing stimulus following a behavior that makes it more likely that the behavior will occur again in the future. When a favorable outcome, event, or reward occurs after an action, that particular response or behavior will be strengthened.” [Kendra Cherry,] “An important thing to note is that positive reinforcement is not always a good thing. For example, when a child misbehaves . . . some parents might give them extra attention . . . Children quickly learn that by acting out, they can gain attention from the parent . . . Essentially, parents are actually reinforcing the misbehavior. In this case, the better solution would be to use positive reinforcement when the child is actually displaying good behavior.”

Could it be that the Manila Bulletin editorial is acutely aware of the “values that are uniquely and positively Filipino” especially our high “regard for personal honor and dignity” which it editorialized on 31st Oct 2013? “Values are the root of traditions that Filipinos find important in their day-to-day events. They are instilled early in life, are deeply ingrained, and are resistant to change.” On the other hand, Mr. Gamboa raised “old issues” that have remained outstanding; and which is consistent with “the better solution” – and that “would be to use positive reinforcement when individuals are actually displaying good behavior.”

Consider: “Pope Francis doesn’t want cultural warriors, he doesn’t want ideologues. That’s the new paradigm for us, and it’s making many of us think,” said Archbishop Blase J. Cupich of Spokane, Washington. “Bishops Select Two Leaders Who Reflect New Tone Set by Pope” [The New York Times, 12th Nov 2013.] “They voted a day after hearing an address by Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, the Vatican’s ambassador, or nuncio, to the United States, who spoke of Francis’ vision for the church . . . The nation’s Roman Catholic bishops on Tuesday chose as leaders of the bishop’s conference two prelates whose pastoral approach evokes the new tone for the church set by Pope Francis.”

If American bishops (and they do have values that are deeply ingrained?) could be made to think because of a new paradigm, what does it say of us Pinoys or what we profess as our values, the root of traditions, deeply ingrained and are resistant to change? The world is not going to wait for us?

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