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Processing ‘Ambisyon Natin 2040’ with the UN Agenda 2030

(Part II of a series on ‘Ambisyon Nation 2040’)

The UN AGENDA 2030 for Sustainability extends the UNMDG 2015 seventeen goals to give time allowance of another 15 years to accomplish the unfulfilled goals. What goals had the Philippines missed?

Goal 4 is Quality Education for All. Although our enrollment has increased, quality is missing.  Moreover, more women remain illiterate exposing them to oppression and violence. Goal 6 – Infant mortality continues to increase due to inadequate water supply, which exposes the very young to diseases. Goal 8 – Continuous lack of job opportunities and insufficient investment. Goal 16 – Access to justice for all and ethical police force. Building effective accountable institutions at all levels. Ambisyon Natin 2040, the NEDA Framework for National Development Values, must be processed to resolve these ills.

Unesco’s four pillars of the 21st education

The global attempt to eradicate poverty by increasing literacy provided the high point of the UNESCO 21st Century Education with its four pillars: Pillar I, Learning to Be – from birth to six-years when the infant spontaneously learn to speak and walk without the help of anyone. Pillar II, Learning to Learn – six to 12-years-old’s enormous reasoning power must be satisfied with a rich Cosmic Curriculum. Pillar III, Learning to Earn for 12 to 18-years-old who seeks to become economically independent and think for oneself. Pillar IV, 18 to 24-years-old – Learning to Live in Harmony with One Another.

From 1946 to 1986 the UN drive to attain human self-sufficiency was focused on the Decade of Literacy. As a member of the Executive Board, the Secretariat led by Director General Amathar M’Bow welcomed my demonstration of the Montessori Pagsasarili Twin project for village mothers and children. The display convinced them that there must be a shift from learning only the three R’s to realistic literacy with the family daily life practices of Grooming and Hygiene, Good Housekeeping, Child Care, Cooking and Nutrition – all convertible to backyard businesses.

By the 90’s, Education for All (EFA) meant to access education to many out-of-school young and adult people. “Functional Literacy” then became the central theme of the Decade of Education for Sustainable Development reinforcing the UNMDG 2000-2015.

What are the elements of our Philippine culture?

Who are we? How do we think? What do we do? 

Excuse me if I shift to Tagalog. Pantay-pantay ang karapatan ng lahat ng mga bansa ngunit may kani-kaniyang kalupaan at klima (geography), kasaysayan (history), at mga halaman at hayop (botany and zoology). The elements of culture revolve on the basic needs of life. The material needs are food, clothing and shelter while the spiritual are education, religion, the arts and entertainment. It’s unfortunate that the national curriculum has not interpreted culture this way. Meantime the National Commission of Culture and the Arts (NCCA) has associated culture with music and the performing arts, particularly the arts and crafts of our 110 cultural minorities. 

 Itinuturing tayong bahagi ng kontinente ng Asia Pacific. Mula sa Silangan ay ang India, Pakistan, Tibet, Bhutan at Nepal; Sa bandang Kanluran ay ang China, Mongolia, Japan at Korea.  Kung ihahambing natin sa kontinente ng Europe o Hilaga at Timog America na may apat na pagbabago ng panahon – summer, autumn, winter, spring – ang ating klima ay mayroon lamang tag-init at tag-ulan. Dahil dito, manipis ang damit ng taga Asia. Karamihan sa ating mga kababayang OFW ay natututo na lamang manamit ng makapal na lana, gwantes at botas sa ibang bansa.

Noong unang panahon, ang mga dayuhan na nakikipagkalakal (traders) sa atin ay ang mga taga China, India, Indonesia at Malaysia. Natutunan natin ang moda ng kanilang pananamit – kamisa tsino, sarong, pantalong manipis para sa mga lalaki, tapis at saya sa mga babae. Maging ang ating pagkain ay naging katulad nila, hanggang nagsidatingan ang mga Kastila at Amerikano.

The processing of self-sufficiency for the national development values of Filipinos

Ambisyon Natin 2040 perceives that values formation is a long, lifetime process. It should start with the birth of a child nurtured by the family and community. The first twin project of the Pagsasarili School for Village Mothers and Children started in Hacienda Faraon and Cadiz in Negros Oriental during the troubled period of martial law when sugar plantations were being burned by rebels. To help the impoverished farmers help themselves, I formulated a functional literacy course setting up the “prepared environment” of a home in a big multi-purpose bahay kubo built by Mayor Rowena Guanzon.  Conditioning the ladies to work required complete tools for Personal Grooming and Hygiene, Good Housekeeping, Child Care, Cooking and Nutrition in the living-dining room, adult bedroom separate from the children, with the kitchen and toilet/bathroom outside.  Punay Kabayao-Fernandez succeeded in encouraging seventeen plantation owners including Joseph Maranon to send their women-farmers to attend the two-week course, providing them with money for transportation and lunch which they learned to cook together.

Punay’s daughter, Tamsi, helped me polish an illustrated do-it-yourself Filipino-English manual. “The Pagsasarili Mothercraft Literacy Course for Local and Overseas Filipino Working Women” helped track the behavioral outcome of the trained mothers. The Cadiz State Normal College helped me set up the Pagsasarili Preschool in the bahay kubo. To this day the preschool exists and is financially sustainable. My teacher monitored the programs during the first year and reported how mothers set up their own carinderia at the bus stop and at the Cadiz seaport. Others had thriving piggery and poultry business.

The emergence of the “new man”

For 30 years we have tracked the behavior of Pagsasarili mothers and children with parents well-employed, well-groomed daily, maintain tidy homes and surroundings, able to cook and provide nutritious food, are capable of caring her children.  To envision the “new man” we must seek to be the “keepers of the flame burning brightly within the child, for one day it will light the destiny of the nation.”

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