Bam Aquino/On honesty
FROM THE STANDS - Domini M. Torrevillas (The Philippine Star) - April 23, 2019 - 12:00am

So many college graduates have difficulty finding employment. The good news is that re-electionist Senator Bam Aquino vows to work for the passage of the Trabaho Center Bill to help ensure jobs for graduates.

Bam has committed to work for the passage of a measure that will help ensure job availability for K-12 and college students once they receive their diplomas. This commitment is a follow through to the Free College Law of which he was the principal sponsor. 

Bam says the next step after the passage of the Free College Law is working for assuring employment for the college graduates through the Trabaho centers, of which Bam is the principal sponsor.

He already began working for the passage of the Trabaho centers in the  17th Congress (Senate Bill No. 1278 or Trabaho Center Bill) which seeks to establish job placement offices in public high schools and state universities and colleges (SUCs). The passage of the bill in the coming 18th Congress will be his priority.

The measure mandates the establishment of a Trabaho Center in every public high school and SUC with main services that include: 1) industry matching, 2) career counseling, and 3) employment facilitation.

The legislation aims to address the skills mismatch and ensure employability of students upon graduation by using feedback from employers to better develop the school’s curriculum and training programs.

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A concerned observer of the current political landscape sent me his reflection on the need for voters today to think “a hundred times” about whom they are voting for in the May 13 midterm elections.  

“When we think of the Philippine Senate during its glory days, we think about the most respectable names in the country debating, exchanging ideas and crafting meaningful laws that were beneficial to the Filipino people.

“During the Old and Independent Senate, we remember names such as Ninoy Aquino, Lorenzo Tanada, Jose Diokno and Raul Manglapus, among others.

“Some of these names dominated the plenary and made headlines with their nationalistic stand. They were known as daring, respectful, thoughtful and most of all, honest lawmakers.

“Some of them lost the best years of their lives, with one sacrificing his life, just to defend the country and help restore democracy that we enjoy today.

“Now, the memory of the Old Senate is in danger of being trampled upon, unless the voters won’t take it upon themselves to pick the right candidates in the May elections.

“Looking at the current surveys, the Senate is in danger of losing its prestige with the names of the top candidates for the May elections.

“Imagine the 18th Congress with names of thieves, plunderers, liars and lapdogs on the roster of senators.

“If this happens, many of the respectable lawmakers will be rolling in their graves in disgust and disappointment.

“However, a glimmer of hope still remains. And this hope is in the hands of the Filipino voters.

“Before we troop to the polling places and fill the ovals in the ballots, we should think a hundred times regarding the choices that we are about to make.

Why don’t we select candidates based on their honesty and integrity?

“If we do this, there’s still hope for our country.

“If Filipinos really want honest officials, why candidates embroiled in corruption issues and other controversies still dominate the race for the 12 available seats in the Senate, while candidates known for their honesty, integrity and solid track records are languishing in the cellar.

“Have Filipinos learned from the message of Pope Francis when he visited the country four years ago?

 “In his first public speech during his visit to Manila in 2015, Pope Francis called on “Filipinos to reject corruption and urged political leaders to uphold honesty and integrity.

“Pope Francis stressed that corruption in government diverts all resources from the poor and into the pockets of erring politicians.

“During the campaign for the presidency in the United States, former President Barack Obama, who is known for his honesty and integrity while in office, insisted that honesty ‘is absolutely necessary’ for a leader to build trust with the people.

“Obama believes that the trust the leader has with the (American) people is ‘currency that can get depleted and is hard to build back up.’”

“I am fervently hoping that the Filipino people will learn from Pope Francis and former US President Barack Obama.

“This is non-negotiable. We need leaders who are honest and with integrity, and not those mired in corruption issues, lie about their credentials, and other controversies.”

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After writing about the accomplishments of the Centro Escolar University Alumni Association Foundation several times due to the friendly persuasions of my colleague Betty Lou Penera, formerly with the Philippine Information Agency, I finally met the CEUAAF president Dr. Paz Lucindo. She is an educator par excellence, serving  for 20 years at CEU as dean of education, liberal arts, music and social development. 

 Under her leadership, the foundation raises funds to support scholarships of deserving CEU high school graduates. Its latest project, the “Dirty Old Musical,” was very successful, she said.

CEU started operation as the Escolarina for girls in 1907. In 1920, it opened its first college course, pharmacy. In 1937, it became coeducational, with its boy enrollees including the late Sen. Doy Laurel in the elementary school, and former President Fidel V. Ramos, a high school standout. 

Dr. Lucido finished her bachelor’s and masters degrees in education at the University of Santo Tomas and her doctorate at CEU. Her late husband, Jose R. Lucido, an Ateneo philosophy-political science graduate, was the first male teacher at CEU high school. It was at CEU that he and Paz met.

Dr. Lucido, now retired, is actively serving as vice chair of the Board for Professional Teachers (PRC).

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