The Jeepney Murders, Chapter 11

Inspector Lee spent his weekends doing what he called “Sherlock Expert Exercises” or SEE. He would sit down for hours in one of the sidewalk benches in Universal Studios on Sentosa Island and watch adult tourists taking selfies beside Sesame Street characters. He would pick out a number of these tourists in his mind and guess their nationalities, ages, occupations, and hidden desires. Of course, he could never confirm the correctness of his deductions, but it was good practice in case he had to use his observation and reasoning skills as Singapore’s version of Sherlock Holmes to solve some intriguing case that no one else could solve.

This morning, however, he could not focus on his SEE. He kept thinking of the woman who did not belong and, therefore, of the green jeepney driver. Instead of looking up and around, as he would usually do, he looked down at his computer tablet and started surfing “Green Skin.”

His search turned up quite a number of things that had been missing from his education.

There were old beliefs, for example, that identified green skin with female virgins. The misogynist prejudice was so widespread that, as late as 1887, male physicians in England believed that adolescent girls having their very first menstrual period turned green. They offered what at that time looked like a rational scientific explanation: the loss of menstrual blood caused a deficiency in iron, which would then turn the color of blood from bloody red to something more or less green.

It wasn’t too implausible, Lee thought, recalling the lectures in forensic medicine that he had to attend to qualify for inspectorship. The color of blood came from a protein called haemoglobin, found in red blood cells. The cells contained iron atoms. Iron, of course, was colored red, and therefore gave normal blood its color. The color had something to do with the wavelength of the light that illuminated the skin, but physics wasn’t his strong suit. He didn’t really understand what a wavelength was and how it determined color. He preferred intuitive but intelligent guesses to the mechanical though exact formulas of physics.

He knew, nevertheless, that the medieval physicians and physicists were pretty good in optics. That was, after all, long before Einstein or computers ruined the blind faith of scientists in their neat models of the universe and the human body. When light hits the skin at a certain angle, the red color of the blood changes to blue or blue-grey. That theory of the medieval physicians he knew to be accurate because he had seen blue blood himself during his training sessions in Europe. He smiled to himself when he remembered how naïve he had seemed when he asked a question during a seminar about blue blood and nobility. The instructor, a German academic with no sense of humor, very much unlike the friendly German cops he drank blue-labelled Rachmaninoff with after the seminar sessions, answered him gruffly, “Everybody has blue blood if seen from right angle. Nobility just a myth.”

What about green blood, Lee wondered. Was there such a thing? To his delight, he discovered that, indeed, there was green blood, but not in human beings. Some worms and leeches had something very similar to haemoglobin, but it wasn’t red but green. It was chlorocruorin. He loved the word. It was a word you could read but never speak, because it was unpronounceable, at least as far as he was concerned, despite his facility with different languages.

The skink lizard in New Guinea also had green blood. Human livers routinely recycled haemoglobin into green biliverdin and red bilirubin, but the skink lizard couldn’t handle bilirubin, causing their blood to remain green. Lee regretted that he didn’t pay enough attention in his high school zoology and chemistry classes. He preferred reading detective fiction to figuring out why the whale is not a fish or which elements had valences that were negative. He spent his book allowance on books by Ellery Queen and Agatha Christie, not on books about Madame Curie and Rosalind Franklin. He thought that the questions his chemistry teacher asked were as inane and useless as the questions his philosophy teacher would ask whenever the class would get unruly, which was how many angels could dance on the head of a pin.

Maybe, just maybe, Lee thought, it was possible for someone’s liver to stop processing biliverdin and, therefore, have green blood, which would then show through the skin. He made a mental note to ask a chemistry professor at the National University of Singapore about the possibility.

Lee kept surfing. The mainland European male physicians were more upfront about their prejudice against – or desire for – female virgins. In the sixteenth century, they thought that green skin was a condition due to lack of sexual intercourse. That bias persisted all the way to the nineteenth century, when the Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue, published in 1811, defined “green sickness” as “the disease of maids occasioned by celibacy.” The cure for this alleged disease was, needless to say, sex. Lee could not help smiling at the not-so-hidden agenda of the male physicians, who must have been obsessed with being the first to penetrate young girls.

Lee discovered that there was an even more sexist interpretation of green skin. Some male physicians thought that, being virgins, adolescent girls masturbated excessively, causing their iron levels to decrease and their skin to turn green.

Although he had momentarily given in to his basic instincts in Manila, when he had hoped that he could finally experience orgasm that he had not himself caused, Lee was not convinced of the curative value, nor even the sheer pleasure, of sex with women. He had enough gender sensitivity sessions to realize that many of the so-called diseases of women were nothing but manifestations of the male fantasy that women lacked penises and, therefore, craved for them.

He was fascinated, nevertheless, with the etymology of the word chloris, which was from the Greek term for green. Chlorosis was the name given by the Renaissance to what they thought was the disease of adolescent girls. The scientific name of the condition, which after the First World War was finally no longer considered a disease, probably because too many male soldiers having their Rest and Recreation realized that asking young girls if they were virgins was not the best way to get laid, was hypochromic anemia. Lee learned that the condition was demythologized by, he should have guessed, the Harvard Medical School.

Lee looked up from his tablet just in time to see a group of schoolgirls walking towards the entrance of The Lost World. He stared at the girls. They were just at the right age to be having their menarche. But he couldn’t see any tinge of green in their faces. He kept watching young girls and even older girls as they filed past him. He did not see a single one with any touch of green on their skin at all.

He went back to his tablet. There really was such a thing as hypochromic anemia and it was indeed due to iron deficiency. So the medieval doctors with their dirty minds were on the right track, Lee thought. They were just wrong in their attribution of the cause. Green skin was not caused by having sex alone or by not having sex with a man. It was caused, Lee discovered from a medical website, by a variety of possible causes – bacteria, heat, injury, radiation, exposure to heavy metals, and yes, of course, changes in hormonal levels.

Since the jeepney driver he saw was male, that ruled out menarche and hormones. It was certainly hot in Manila, but if heat were the cause, then everybody, including himself, would have turned green. Radiation had to be ruled out, because it would not have been limited to the driver, but certainly would have affected the passengers sitting beside him. Bacteria could have caused it, but Lee did not have the results of the autopsy, and he even doubted if an autopsy had been performed, because as far as he knew, autopsies were not routinely done in the Philippines. Anyway, bacteria would have spread just like radiation. As for injury, he had not seen any wound on the driver that he examined.

That left only heavy metals.

Lead was well known for poisoning little children; a concentrated amount of lead could kill an adult. Other heavy or almost heavy metals could also be the cause, such as arsenic or mercury. The metal – and it didn’t have to be heavy – could have been capable of incapacitating the liver, making the body retain biliverdin. But the driver was in full view of everyone, including him. Nobody could have injected the driver with any metal, heavy or not heavy, without someone noticing it.

Lee had eliminated all the possibilities. It was time, he realized, to apply the dictum of Sherlock Holmes to accept the implausible. Now, what exactly was implausible now that he had eliminated everything as impossible? There was nothing that remained!

One of Lee’s mobile phones rang, interrupting his thoughts. This was the mobile phone dedicated to the AIP.

“Lee,” he said.

The voice on the other end of the line was frantic. “You need to go now, okaay. Fugitive heading Singapore.”

Lee said, “Han nah han nah. So what?! Like that also want to see.”

The voice said, “Very jialat. Suspect in serial murders in Philippines. Victims turn green. Fugitive name Grace King.”

Lee stood up. “Har? Kanna sai. I go airport den call you.”

Lee went at once to Chiangi Airport, wondering if duty and pleasure were about to mix.

The Jeepney Murders, Chapter 7

Police Chief Inspector Johnny Santos of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group of the Philippine National Police was as bored as his men playing cards in the adjoining room. He had solved just about every major crime involving prostitution syndicates in the National Capital Region, to which he was assigned. He had received the expected medals and merit increases, risen in rank, and been interviewed ad nauseam by rookie reporters just aching to get out of their obligatory police beat. About the only thing that got him excited these days, except for the anticipation of his nights with his five girlfriends, one for every day of the week, the weekend being reserved for his wife, was his increasing portion of the month’s protection money from illegal gambling syndicates.

He had even been nominally assigned to be the AIP liaison. The Philippine National Police couldn’t care less about the AIP, but the Philippine Secretary of Foreign Affairs had signed the ASEAN General Agreement on Security, and somebody had to host all the foreign AIP officers that were on acculturation visits. Since Santos was the best cop not only in terms of reputation, but also in terms of English language ability, he became the one-man Philippine AIP contingent.

When AIP Inspector Lee emailed him about some green jeepney driver, Santos sat up. When AIP officers came to town, all Santos had to do was to brief them a little bit about the human trafficking syndicates, the crooked politicians, and the big-time smugglers, and that was that. He never heard from them again. For him to receive an email from an AIP officer after a visit was definitely unusual. Maybe, his mind raced ahead, maybe he was going to be invited to a command conference in Singapore, a nation with huge malls selling the latest electronic gadgets that he loved to spend his ill-gotten wealth on.

“Any developments on the green jeepney driver?” went the email on his smartphone.

He did not want to admit that he knew nothing about a green jeepney driver, but he could not pretend either that he knew something about it, not to a Singaporean cop, not to an AIP officer.

“Haven’t heard about that. Will investigate,” he typed on his smartphone.

Santos loved the unusual. He fancied himself the main character in all the crime series he followed religiously on cable television. He adored Sherlock Holmes and often quoted the famous detective’s “When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.” At one point, he even wore a deerstalker. He dropped that only when his five-year-old daughter from his second mistress told him that he looked silly.

He loved replaying in his mind the most famous case he handled, that of the beheaded politician. He got a presidential commendation for that one. Although it had nothing to do with prostitution, he took it on because it happened in a café in downtown Manila, just a few blocks from where his fourth mistress lived. It took him less than six months to figure it all out. He had followed the book all the way during the innumerable press conferences – blaming terrorists, criminal gangs, political opponents, the jealous spouse, equally jealous lovers, just about everybody. He could not find any solid evidence implicating anyone wanting to kill the politician, who was reputed to be a shoo-in for the vice-presidency in the next national elections. He had to think outside the box. Eventually, he hit upon the idea of examining the kitchen of the fast food place next door to the café. There he found the clue to solving the mystery. The rest was police history and urban legend.

Santos racked his brain to see if he knew anything at all about a green jeepney driver. Yes, he suddenly remembered reading some headlines in the tabloids about it. He never really read tabloids, but their headlines screamed at him from the hands of the newspaper vendors that roamed the streets.

In the Filipino language, the headlines had read, “Driver Becomes Martian,” “Driver Turns Into Frog,” “Mystery in Heavy Traffic,” “Jeepneys are Death Traps,” and stuff like that. He had heard casual remarks about it from his staff. Sometime in the last month, a jeepney driver had turned green in the middle of traffic and had died. Bystanders had brought him to a nearby clinic, where he was pronounced dead. The police had arrived too late to save him, if he could really have been saved. No one knew how or why it happened, and no one really cared to find out who did it, if it had been done at all by someone or something.

Until it happened again. And again. Santos did not know how many times it had happened, and he hadn’t really cared before. He did not handle cases involving ordinary people or non-entities, as he called them. He handled only cases involving highly visible people, such as politicians,  movie stars, and bishops caught in the arms of call girls or boys. In every one of these cases, he either got a lot of publicity as The Living Robocop or a lot of money to look the other way. Besides, he was too busy nowadays trying to appease one of his mistresses who had accidentally met another one. He could not understand why his lovers wanted him to be faithful to them, when he was married and was obviously a born cheat anyway.

Santos shouted to one of his men who was playing cards in the other room.

“Efren, come here.”

Private First Class Efren Santiago came running, still holding some peso bills in his hand.

“Do you know anything about the jeepney drivers who turned green?” asked Santos in the vernacular.

Santiago stuttered, also in the vernacular, “Yes, sir. There was news about one on radio just this afternoon. I think it was the seventh driver so far.”

Santos hated the news. If he had believed even a fourth of the news on radio or television, he would never have solved any cases. He knew that quite a number of news reporters were on the payroll of organized crime. They were being paid to lead police investigators through time-consuming paths to nowhere. The only times he really bought a newspaper were the times his picture or his name appeared in a news story. Even in those stories, he was almost always misquoted, but bad publicity was still publicity and he let all the inaccuracies pass. He loved public attention on his good deeds, because it covered up his misdeeds.

Santiago stuttered, “The cops in Station Five found the cause of the deaths. It was the exhaust of the jeepney that seeped into the seats of the drivers. The fumes killed the drivers. They were nobodies. Nobody bothered to file a complaint or a case or even a request for an investigation of any of those deaths. The cases were closed on the same days the drivers died, Chief.”

Santos never believed what other people told him, and certainly not what his underlings said. He made his reputation being a total sceptic.

“That can’t be,” he said. “If exhaust fumes killed the drivers, then the drivers would not have turned green. And the passengers beside him would also have died.”

Santiago shrugged. “Just quoting the reports, Chief. They were just jeepney drivers, Chief. Nobody cares about them. We don’t care about them, unless they don’t fork over their daily goodwill.” Santiago smiled broadly, showing his teeth blackened by cigarettes.

Santos waved him away. Yes, he thought, that was rather strange. A man does not turn green. Poisonous gas may turn a man black, but not green. He wondered what shade of green it was. Maybe it was dark green, almost black. Maybe the witnesses were just color-blind. He had long ago stopped believing witnesses, because they were either bribed, threatened, or just plain dumb.

He googled “green jeepney death Manila” and came up with nothing. He logged into the AIP files. As the AIP Manila officer, he had access to all the confidential files of AIP. AIP had tapped into the computers of all the police stations and hospitals in the ASEAN region. The Singapore data scientists had created analytics software that was able to take big data from everywhere in ASEAN and find patterns that might be helpful to security officers.

A check into the police records of a recent murder – which happened just that morning – came up with a name, Dean Grace King of Saint John Paul University. She was at the scene of the crime in the morning and left her business card with an AIP officer. The AIP officer was not named, following standard procedure; in case the AIP site was hacked, the undercover officers would not be compromised. Who was this Dean Grace King? Probably just some do-gooder who wanted to do the right thing by volunteering to be a witness, in case there was someone to be charged with the crime, if it was indeed a crime.

The Alert icon on the computer started blinking. Anything remotely suggesting criminal activity activated the Alert icons of all the AIP officers.

Santos looked closely at a record that was being typed into the computer of a small police substation in Manila. The name of the person being interviewed was Grace King, Dean Grace King of Saint John Paul University. There was a marker beside the name, indicating that the police officer doing the interview was wary about the behavior of the woman, who was either just a witness or perhaps even a suspect.

Santos called the station immediately. They still had Dean King in custody. He told them to hold her until he could get there. His instincts told him that there was something there. Perhaps, at the very least, a trip to Singapore.

The Jeepney Murders, Chapter 1

CHAPTER 1

I smell of oatmeal, she said to herself, as she vainly tried to hail one cab after another on the crowded Makati street. She hadn’t had time to moderate the amount of oatmeal-based skin lotion that her dermatologist had prescribed for her pruritus – a fancy word, as far as she was concerned, for the itch that violated her entire skin every single blessed day of her harassed life. What really got to her was not the itch on her external skin, the largest organ of her body, but the itch down there, on the most sensitive organ of her body.

She wouldn’t have been on the street this early, or this late, had it not been for her driver who had texted that he had a bum stomach and could not come in today. She would have been, as she had every single weekday for the last ten years, sitting comfortably on the back seat of her old Mercedes Benz, putting on her make-up, sifting through the papers that she had brought home from school, getting a few more minutes of much-needed sleep. Her work as Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences of Saint John Paul University was not really that much, but with six hundred teachers and five thousand students knocking on her office door at least once every semester, she had no choice but to work in the car. The two-hour ride to the university – which should have been only a half-hour, were it not for the traffic that defined and defiled the streets of Metro Manila – was a chance to rest or to work or to daydream.

Daydreaming had become her most precious escape from having to read through undergraduate theses that she had to sign as Dean. There was really no need for her to torture herself with the two-hundred-page manuscripts – most of which had been cut and pasted from various Web sources anyway – that students had routinely submitted as partial fulfilment of the requirements of their degree programs, as the formula went, but she had unthinkingly issued a memo last year to all teachers that she wanted personally to see if her university had become a diploma mill. It was her fault that she wanted to micromanage, or as she once overheard her secretary say, she was nothing if not obsessive-compulsive.

She had to get to the university board room in less than an hour. The Executive Vice President of the holding company of the richest tycoon in the Philippines was going to meet her, together with her own Executive Vice President. The tycoon wanted to get an honorary doctorate from the university, in exchange for a library building that he would build named after himself. She wanted to be there to object to such an obviously mercenary arrangement. She would have every right to object, because the degree would be Doctor of Arts and Sciences, and that was the very name of the college she managed. There was no such degree to begin with, but then, there was no library building either. My loyalty to my university ends when my loyalty to academic excellence starts, she repeated as a mantra to herself.

At the moment, however, she had to think not of academic excellence but of getting to the university at all. I have no choice but to ride a jeepney, she told herself, and jumped up the first jeepney that looked like it could squeeze in an extra forty-year-old female. She shouldn’t have worn her favorite skirt, but it was the first thing she could get hold of in her stuffed closet. Had she worn slacks, she would not have felt so exposed with her pale legs, still shapely as her driver kept flattering her when they were in bed, attracting so much attention among the males in the jeepney.

There were eighteen of them passengers in the jeepney, two more than the jeepney could accommodate comfortably. It was rush hour, and it was not unusual for two or three men, sometimes women, to hang on for dear life standing on the step board. The jeepney had two seats, more like benches, that faced each other. Everybody stared past each other, pretending not to notice that they were not only packed like sardines, but smelled like sardines. Well, she didn’t smell of sardines, she thought, but of oatmeal.

The jeepney wound like she expected it to through the streets of Makati. Makati’s streets were, at least, still recognizably streets, where motor vehicles could move faster than joggers. When the jeepney got to the city of Manila, however, the streets ceased to be streets but more like parking lots, with vehicles hardly moving, if at all, and people moving around the vehicles in steady streams. There were more people on foot than in vehicles; these were beggars, vendors, pickpockets, snatchers – the very people she wanted to avoid by moving to upscale Makati.

There were pedestrians who at least looked like they were really going somewhere, but it seemed to her that most of the street dwellers were just moving around the virtual parking lot, selling various things to the passengers of jeepneys, tricycles, buses, delivery trucks, horse-drawn carriages, and cars. One can buy anything on Manila’s streets, one American tourist had once written, leading to massive protests on social media from Makati’s rich residents, who had never been on a jeepney ride through Manila and who were in complete denial of the state of poverty in the metropolitan center. She had followed the barrage of insults on Facebook both against the American and against the Manila mayor, but it was only now that she saw, just a few inches from her face, a real street vendor selling not cigarettes, not bottled water, not newspapers, but condoms.

Then there were the beggars. They came in very imaginative forms. One had an amputated leg and walked around with an umbrella for a crutch. One had an eye that was obviously supposed to be blind, because there was a massive red spot where the eye should have been; she could not tell if the red spot was only red paint, but it sure was gory. Another was really blind, or at least pretended to be really blind, and had a tree branch that served as her walking stick. One had a baby in her arms; the emaciated baby did not look anything like the presumed mother, who was much fairer and had larger eyes. She had heard of beggar syndicates that passed babies from one woman to another, or even deliberately blinded or maimed beggars to make them more pitiable. She knew, however, that it was against the law to give money to beggars, so she did not budge when one of them nudged her.

A passenger got off at every street corner, apparently because no one wanted to walk one meter more than necessary, but someone would immediately come up and fill in the space. To pay the driver, passengers had to pass their money up the benches through the hands of other passengers. Nobody seemed to mind, she thought, as she herself took a fifty-peso bill and passed it on to the passenger nearer the driver. I have to tell my mathematics professors to research on the native way of counting, she reminded herself, for surely jeepney drivers must have a system of remembering who went in and who went down, how much the fare was according to the number of kilometers each passenger stayed on board, not to mention deducting discounts due to students and senior citizens. Since she was neither a student nor a senior citizen, she did not expect any discount. Not knowing how much the fare would be, she decided just to give a large bill and hope that the driver would not give her change in too many small coins.

A street vendor came up and sold the driver a garland of flowers. They were sampaguitas, common white flowers easily made into necklaces by the homeless. She noticed that the driver gave the boy too many coins for such a paltry necklace. The driver hung the necklace on the rear-view mirror. She had heard of the contributions the police extracted from every jeepney driver, and this must be it, she thought.

After what seemed like an hour but was really only five minutes, the jeepney driver suddenly uttered what seemed like the cry of an ape standing over a fallen prey or Tarzan finally beating the poacher in one of the old movies she loved watching on television.

“Aaaagggg!”

Then the driver spat something yellow on the windshield. It didn’t look like sputum, because it looked rock solid, like a piece of food that one would cough out after having been subjected to a Heimlich choking rescue maneuver.

The driver must have slammed on the brakes, because the jeepney lurched forward and she was pushed against the woman to her right.

“Sorry,” she instinctively said, but no one paid attention to her, not even the woman, because they all saw what was happening to the driver.

The driver had suddenly turned green, literally, then crumpled like a rag doll.

Article of Zeus Salazar in Freundschaft / Pagkakaibigan

Petisyon

Silabus sa Techno Teach DLSU Unang Traymester 2014

TechnoTeach 1 2014-15

Bakit maraming mahirap sa Filipinas?

TANONG: Bakit ba maraming mahirap sa Filipinas?

SAGOT: Maraming dahilan. Halimbawa’y kulang tayo sa industriya. Malagim ang kasaysayan natin bilang koloniya lamang ng Espanya at Estados Unidos. Kulang ang kalye at bapor. Wala tayong malakihang langis sa ilalim ng lupa. Kung nagkakaroon tayo ng maraming pera ay kinukupit lamang ng ilang masasamang loob na politiko o negosyante. At marami pang iba.

Pero may isang dahilan na kaya nating baguhin.

Ito ang kawalan ng trabaho ng maraming mga kababayan natin.

May mga nawawalan na ng pag-asa na makukuha sila ng matinong trabaho dito sa atin, kaya nangingibang-bansa sila. Mahigit nang sampung milyon daw ang mga kababayan natin na nagtatrabaho ngayon sa ibang bansa. Pero hindi trabaho sa ibang bansa ang lunas sa ating kahirapan.

Ang talagang sagot sa kahirapan ng higit na nakararaming mga kababayan natin ay trabaho dito mismo sa ating bansa.

Ngayon, kung pupuntahan ninyo ang website ng DOLE, makikita ninyo na ang dami palang trabahong naghihintay dito mismo sa ating bansa.

Halimbawa’y Call Center Agent, Service Crew, Salesman/Saleslady, Production Worker o Factory Worker, Technical Support Staff, Cashier, Sales Clerk, Driver, Production Machine Operator, at Customer Service Assistant. (Ayon ang listahang ito sa DOLE.)

Bakit nahihirapan ang mga kompanya na makahanap ng mga empleyadong puwede sa mga posisyon na ito?

Dalawa ang dahilan.

Una’y maraming mga kababayan natin ang nag-aakalang maliit lamang ang suweldo sa mga trabahong ito kaya gusto nila ng ibang trabaho. Pero ayon pa rin sa DOLE, ang isang Production Supervisor o General Foreman ay mas malaki pa ang sahod kaysa sa isang Actuarian na nakaupo lamang sa isang desk sa isang insurance company o bangko.

Sa totoo lang, ayon sa DOLE, halos pareho na ang suweldo ng isang General Foreman na hindi naman kailangang nagtapos sa kolehiyo sa isang System Analyst na kailangang nakatapos ng B.S. Computer Science.

Sa madaling sabi, hindi naman talaga kailangan ang digri mula sa kolehiyo para makakuha ng malaking suweldo. (P36,000 bawat buwan ang karaniwang suweldo ng isang General Foreman.)

Samakatwid ay mali ang akala ng karamihan ng mga kababayan natin na naghahangad ng digri sa kolehiyo na makakukuha sila ng puwestong mas mataas ang suweldo kaysa sa mga nakatapos lamang ng hayskul.

Ikalawa’y mali kasi ang mga itinuturo sa hayskul (o kahit na sa kolehiyo) sa mga estudyante. Hindi handa ang gradweyt (ng hayskul man o kolehiyo) para makuha kaagad ng mga kompanya.

Ito ang tinatawag na “mismatch” o hindi pagiging tugma sa pangangailan ng industriya ang kurikulum ng mga paaralan.

Mabuti na lamang at nagbago na ang kurikulum ng mga paaralan. Ito ay isang bunga ng K to 12 na reporma ng gobyerno. Kasama ang industriya sa pagburo ng kurikulum, kung kaya’t akma na ang itinuturo sa estudyante sa hinahanap ng industriya.

Kapag may trabaho kasi ang isang gradweyt ng hayskul (o kolehiyo), siguradong may maiuuwi na siya sa kanyang pamilya. Magkakaroon ng pera ang pamilya na maaaring ikain nito o, mas mabuti, ipondo sa isang maliit o malaking negosyo. Kapag may hanapbuhay ang isa o higit pang miyembro ng pamilya, siguradong uunlad ang pamilya. Hindi na ito magiging mahirap. (10 Marso 2014)

Marjorie Evasco

This is my introduction to the lecture on “Learning the Lesson of Meaningful Silence” by Marjorie Evasco, held on 21 March 2014 at De La Salle University in Manila:

How tell the singer from the song? How capture, in 300 seconds, a human existence that, even on the surface, in the words of Myrna Peña-Reyes in her review entitled “Reality of the exquisite in Marjorie Evasco’s Skin of Water,” “hides essences”? The word “exquisite” might even be too gross to describe the poetry of our speaker’s life or the scrutable life of her poetry. We might do better parodying her ars poetica, by stating that our speaker is a crane, whose poems, when they unfold, are always both, at the same time, empty and full. An introduction to her life would be a real garden with imaginary toads in them, even if the toads protest that they are nobodies in a life fully lived.

Having been born in Bohol, a province now better known for its earthquake than for its previously symmetrical limestone hills, having graduated magna cum laude as an undergraduate in Divine Word College in Tagbilaran, having been honed in the English poetic register by the Tiempos during and after her graduate work in Silliman University, having returned to her vernacular roots first in her dissertation on Cebuano poetry at La Salle and later in her own poems, our speaker has written her own life as a poem, whose meanings may be unearthed on several existential, essential, geologic levels.

One level would be the numerous awards she has gathered casually, almost routinely, such as the Carlos P. Garcia Award, the Ani ng Dangal Award, the Metrobank Outstanding Teacher and ACES Awards, the National Book Awards, the Don Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards, the Gawad Pambansang Alagad ni Balagtas, and the SEAWRITE.

Another level would be a journey that, on the earth’s surface, traverses Australia, Cambodia, Canada, Colombia, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Nicaragua, Singapore, Taiwan, the UK, and the USA to read or to discuss poetry; on literature’s surface, poetry of course, but also creative nonfiction and screenwriting; and on academe’s surface, department head, journal editor, workshop director, and competition judge.

Gather her books and scholarly articles, add the translations of her poems into Filipino, Estonian, German, Japanese, Kannada, Mandarin, Romanian, Spanish, and Vietnamese, and you might have a literal jade mountain as green as La Salle and the environment, two of her so many passions.

No, there is no way to introduce such a life, lived in silence punctuated by words, or words punctuated by silence. In her case, George Bernard Shaw was wrong: “the poetry that lies too deep for words” does not lie too deep for the words of our speaker today. For her life as poetry speaks as much as her poetry as life. There is only one possible answer to the conundrum of which comes first, the life or the poetry, and that is meaningful silence.

Silent we have to be as we learn the lesson of meaningful silence from our speaker, University Fellow, Professor, Doctor, Poet Marjorie Evasco.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pViIAZUDsLs

Not again! CHED resurrects a vampire.

http://criticplaywright.blogspot.com/2005/11/quality-assurance.html

Time to repeat myself, because CHED today is in danger of falling deeper into exactly the same ridiculous hole they fell into in 2005.

The Randall Scandal (The Philippine Star, 3 March 2005)

Once upon a time, a false god rose in the British isles. His name was John Randall.

He started the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA), an accrediting body established in 1997 whose mission, according to its website, is “to safeguard the public interest in sound standards of higher education qualifications and to encourage continuous improvement in the management of the quality of higher education.” As the first teacher to raise the alarm against the Randall idolatry put it, however, “the QAA is part of the UK government’s bureaucracy for controlling education.”

Randall had a gospel that he tried to ram down the throats of all British academics. He had a very strange idea that he did not want to sell to the academics, probably because he knew deep inside him that intelligent people would never buy it. Instead, he wanted everyone merely to follow blindly what he said just because he said it. He did not want consultations. He did not want to listen to anyone; he wanted everyone to listen to him. To his disciples at QAA, he was an angel sent from above, a god walking among mere academic mortals.

He thought that government should control – not support nor encourage – higher education. He wanted government inspectors to enter university classrooms, to check on teachers and students, to look at textbooks. He wanted all universities to document every department meeting and every class session, to follow standardized curricula, to adopt only one method of teaching – that sort of thing. In a country that prides itself on its academic freedom, this was, of course, anathema. Randall knew that nobody would agree with him, but using his position to full advantage, he was able to fool some of the people some of the time, but not most.

Being bright, most of the British were not fooled by Randall’s bull-headedness. The Association of University Teachers (AUT), the academic trade union and professional association of almost fifty thousand British teachers, launched a revolt against the dictatorship of Randall. The revolt was led by the heads of Oxford and Cambridge, the top universities not just in the UK, but probably even in the world.

The revolt spread not just like wildfire, but like fish and chips (or in these days, like Big Macs). Before anyone knew it, Parliament got into the act. On Jan. 17, 2001, Randall was summoned by the Select Committee on Education and Employment of the House of Commons. At the investigation, he was confronted by comments such as this: “You are part of the problem. University teachers are so worried about the time and expense and disruption caused by the QAA that they have hardly got time to provide quality education for their first year students.” He was warned about the QAA becoming “the great prescriptor.” (You can read the minutes of the entire interrogation at parliament.co.uk.)

The problem was really quite simple. Randall was no god, and his ideas were far from divine. In fact, he was dead wrong on many, if not most, issues. When the teachers demanded that they be consulted on his ideas before he did anything, Randall decided to resign. Consultation was the last thing he wanted. He did not want anyone questioning his ideas, for the simple reason that he had no answers to any questions, except to say that he felt he was right.

Upon his resignation on Aug. 21, 2001, he said to the press: “The Agency is moving to a new phase of its development, with consultation on the way in which the framework we have built will be used in external reviews and by institutions themselves. It is an appropriate time for me to consider the future direction of my career. There are challenges and opportunities that I would like to pursue outside the Agency.”

Randall, nevertheless, was unrepentant to the end. His last public comment was to compare universities to meat factories (Daily Telegraph, Aug. 22, 2001). Clearly, his desire to control universities was based on a deep disrespect and even disdain for teachers and students.

The AUT immediately released a statement: “John Randall’s resignation marks the end of an era of overly-bureaucratic and prescriptive regulation in higher education. The last five years have seen a hugely unsuccessful and morale-sapping experiment in higher education. The QAA failed to deliver a sensible balance between bureaucracy and accountability. The development of overly-bureaucratic regulation has antagonised those who work in the sector but has plainly failed to deliver a quality assurance regime that has the confidence of staff, students and the wider public.”

For intelligent teachers, students, and parents in the UK, Randall was dead. The false god had been unmasked and ridiculed out of office.

What opportunities did Randall pursue after his disastrous career in the UK? Lo and behold, Randall resurrected in the Philippines and became, in the eyes of our own Commission on Higher Education (CHED), the white god of education. CHED recently ordered all Philippine schools to follow the gospel according to Randall. Heaven help us!

The Randall Proposal (The Philippine Star, 6 October 2005)

This is a long-delayed sequel to “The Randall Scandal.”

On June 18, 2004, John Randall submitted to the Commission on Higher Education a proposal entitled “Quality Assurance of Higher Education in the Philippines.” Although CHED’s Commissioners have assured me that they are not going to implement the proposal in full but will remove impractical and inapplicable components, Randall’s final report to CHED (and to ADB and the British Council, which brought him to the country) remains the key document being used today to compel universities to toe his line.

As in any other government or consultant’s report, there are good and bad points in Randall’s proposal.

The best point in the proposal is Randall’s insistence on an “outcomes-based” assessment of universities. The jargon may be confusing, but Randall’s point may be illustrated by an example he does not use. When teachers apply for employment in a university, they are usually asked what their degrees are, how many years they have been teaching, and what research they have undertaken. In Randall’s terms, these data would be “inputs.”

“There is an assumption,” says Randall, “that, if adequate resources are present, quality will be guaranteed. This, of course, is not true, as much will depend on the effectiveness with which resources are deployed.” In our example, degrees, years of teaching experience, and publications may be irrelevant to teachers that face, let us say, a class of basketball players accepted primarily on the basis of their height.

Randall points out that universities are also evaluated in terms of their “processes (particularly the processes of teaching and learning).” In our example, teachers are usually judged by what their syllabi contain, what teaching strategies they use, how they fare in student evaluations, how they look to other teachers that observe their classes. Randall argues that evaluating inputs and processes is an immature act.

“Mature evaluation systems,” he writes, “are based upon outcomes, and in particular the learning outcomes that it is intended that students should achieve.” In our example, teachers applying for employment should be asked what percentage of their former students passed board examinations or found jobs. I myself often provoke literature teachers by telling them that they are bad teachers if their students do not, after high school or college, go on their own to a bookstore or library to read a new novel. As that often-misquoted Biblical verse puts it, by their fruits you shall know them. (Of course, during the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus was referring only to false prophets and not necessarily to everyone else; see Matthew 5:15-20.)

The problem occurs when Randall tries to apply the principle of outcomes-based assessment to the Philippine situation. Although he admits that “CHED, as the regulator of higher education, should be less prescriptive,” he actually ends up urging CHED to be more prescriptive. Randall submits, together with his general statements about the Philippine educational system, a very detailed “Operating Handbook” that is about as prescriptive as you can get. An example: “Formal meetings should always involve at least two members of the [visiting] team.”

In fact, it is not just the prescriptive portions, but the whole Randall proposal that is wrong, because it falls into the trap of self-contradiction. He starts off by saying, in effect, that Filipinos are doing the wrong thing when it comes to quality assessment. Then, when asked what we should be doing instead, he ends up saying that we should be doing exactly what we have been doing all along.

Since I belong to PAASCU, as well as to a CHED Technical Panel, I may be accused of bias when it comes to the Randall proposal. But I still have to find in his proposal anything that either PAASCU or CHED is not yet doing. In simpler terms, what Randall is saying is this: you are doing everything wrong, but everything you are doing is right.

In more intellectual terms, what Randall has done is to assume that he has a monopoly of wisdom. When asked what wisdom that is, he has done nothing else but to point to the wisdom that we already had decades before he arrived in the Philippines.

I am reminded of a similar argument I used to have with Americans not too long ago. They would tease me about always having a cellphone, saying that in the United States, since everybody had a landline at home and there was a pay phone everywhere you looked, Americans would never buy cellphones. Today, there are affluent homes in the United States without landlines and practically everybody there now has a cellphone. In short, we were (and still are) much more advanced than Americans when it comes to telecommunications. (If you don’t believe that we are more advanced than them, go to any cellphone shop in New York and see how primitive their units there are.) No American can teach us anything when it comes to cellphones.

Randall came into our country thinking that he knew better than we did about higher education. When he realized that we knew a lot more than he did, he had no choice but to recommend back to us everything that we had already been doing. In effect, he was a false prophet, and the fruit of his labor – his proposal – proves that that both the ADB and the British Council wasted their money on him.

Hello Again, Randall (The Philippine Star, 6 October 2005)

Once again, the Randall Scandal rears its ugly head.

First, a flashback. Since it was established in 1994, the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) has been quietly and effectively fulfilling its mandate to promote quality assurance among the 1,605 (as of latest count) higher education institutions (HEIs) in the country.

Soon after its establishment, CHED created regional Quality Assurance Teams (RQATs, called NQAT in NCR), which included volunteer experts in every discipline. These experts usually belonged to the CHED Technical Panels, which were the private sector’s contribution to the governance of higher education in the country. Among the projects of the Technical Panels was the selection of Centers of Excellence (COEs) and Centers of Development (CODs), which were then given funds by CHED to help develop teaching and research in the Philippines.

On Sept. 25, 2001, CHED granted autonomy to 30 private colleges and universities and deregulated status to 22 others. The criteria for selecting these HEIs were explicit: They were “established as Centers of Excellence or Centers of Development and or private higher education institutions with FAAP Level III Accredited programs; [they showed] outstanding overall performance of graduates in the licensure examinations under the Professional Regulation Commission; [and they had a] long tradition of integrity and untarnished reputation” (CMO 32, s. 2001).

The reference to accredited programs is important. The Philippines has a long tradition of accreditation, which is another name for quality assurance. Accreditation was first proposed by Congress in 1949, first implemented in 1951, and repeatedly endorsed in laws and memos relating to education (such as the Educational Development Decree of 1972, the Education Act of 1982, and CMO 1, s. 2005).

This commendable tradition of quality assurance or accreditation was radically disturbed when a certain John Randall came into the country and claimed that the Philippines had never heard of the term “quality assurance.” For some strange reason, CHED forgot that it had been using the term for years and agreed with Randall!

When I first wrote about what I called the Randall Scandal, I was asked by then CHED Chair Rolando de la Rosa, O.P., and then CHED Commissioner Cristina Padolina to meet with them. They told me that they were not taking Randall hook, line, and sinker, and that they would definitely take a second look at the so-called Quality Assurance Program that he had proposed. I wrote a second column giving fair time to the two commissioners.

Strange as it may seem, although I head the CHED Technical Panel on Humanities, Social Sciences, and Communication and am an ex-officio member of the CHED University Status team, I was not told that Randall had been resurrected in a memo entitled “Institutional Monitoring and Evaluation for Quality Assurance of All Higher Education Institutions in the Philippines,” shortened to IQuAME (CMO 15, s. 2005) and in a subsequent memo entitled “Evaluation of Higher Education Institutions Granted Autonomous and Deregulated Status in 2001” (CMO 18, s. 2005). Since I do not regard myself as someone that important in CHED, I kept quiet when I found out that autonomous and deregulated universities were beside themselves trying to figure out how to prove that they had quality when they had already been pronounced to have quality.

Last Aug. 3, 26 of the 30 autonomous and 17 of the 22 deregulated HEIs wrote a strong letter to the CHED Commissioners questioning CMO 18. Here are excerpts from the long letter:

“We join the many who have expressed reservations about IQuAME as given in CMO No. 15, s. 2005, and the consultancy work on quality assurance done for CHED by Dr. John Randall. We feel that Dr. Randall’s experience and background in the British educational system are very different from our Philippine educational system and situation. As everyone knows, eighty percent of tertiary education in our country is provided by the private sector without any government assistance. We join many who have questioned Dr. Randall’s basic contention that private voluntary accreditation in the Philippines today which is ‘program-based’ does not cover ‘institutional’ concerns and looks mainly on ‘inputs’ rather than ‘outcomes.’

“We feel that more time and consultation should have been spent validating Dr. Randall’s recommendations and the instrument to be used for IQuAME visits.

“We strongly feel that making use of a new and untested IQuAME instrument is not the best way to monitor and evaluate the HEIs granted special status.

“We feel that for the review of HEIs with these special status, CHED should use the same criteria [as in CMO 32, s. 2001].”

Guess what CHED did to respond to the letter? On Sept. 28, CHED called the heads of all the autonomous and deregulated HEIs to a meeting at Richville Hotel in Mandaluyong and, wonder of wonders, distributed to all the participants a “Primer on the Quality Assurance, Monitoring, and Evaluation of Higher Education Institutions,” with this explicit note at the end of it: “This primer is based on materials prepared by Dr. John Randall, Quality Assurance Consultant, CHED Organizational Development, Asian Development Bank (ADB) Philippines 2004.”

Why CHED is allowing itself to look silly when it already looked good is something only we Filipinos living in our self-destabilizing world can understand.

Quality Assurance and CHED (The Philippine Star, 3 November 2005)

What is the difference between quality assurance and accreditation?

Nothing, if we are to listen to the vast majority of accrediting associations around the world. Here are three examples:

The Council for Higher Education Accreditation of the United States, with more than sixty American national, regional, and specialized accrediting organizations as members, uses the two terms interchangeably.

The German Akkreditierungs-, Certifizierungs- und Qualitätssicherungs-Instituts (Accreditation, Certification and Quality Assurance Institute) does the same thing.

So does the Swiss L’Organe d’accréditation et d’assurance qualité des hautes écoles suisses (Center of Accreditation and Quality Assurance of the Swiss Universities).

Of course, a few countries make a distinction between the two.

The Australian Universities Quality Agency (AUQA), for example, looks at accreditation as something universities do themselves and to themselves; quality assurance is what an outside agency does.

By and large, however, universities and governments around the world treat the two terms as synonyms, whether what they are talking about is program accreditation (meaning that only certain programs, and not whole institutions, are accredited) or institutional accreditation (which means that a whole institution is accredited, even if its programs are not all on the same level of quality).

There are only two groups that still are in the dark about the two terms – students in Europe and our CHED commissioners.

The National Unions of Students in Europe (ESIB) bewailed in 2000 that “at the moment there is no common frame in which actors of higher education can discuss quality assurance and accreditation. There are quality assurance systems actually doing accreditation and the other way around. Furthermore the aims and methods of quality assurance and accreditation differ from country to country and there are obscurities in the terms being used.”

Behaving more like students than the professionals they are supposed to be, our CHED commissioners are equally confused.

In 1995, CHED recognized that Philippine accrediting associations were already doing quality assurance or accreditation, both institutional and program. It did this through CMO 31, s. 1995 (“Policies on Voluntary Accreditation in Aid of Quality and Excellence in Higher Education”), which used the terms accreditation and quality in the same breath. CHED at that time also recognized that voluntary accreditation included both programs and institutions. CHED used the term Institutions/Programs even for Level I or the starting level of accreditation.

CHED actually had no choice in 1995 but to recognize voluntary accreditation, which was first proposed by a Joint Congressional Committee in 1949. The first Philippine accrediting association was formed in 1951, and the first actual accreditations were conducted in 1957.

By the way, the initial delay was due to something very similar to what is happening to CHED today.

Francisco Dalupan and several other educators formed the Philippine Accrediting Association of Universities and Colleges (PAAUC) in 1951, preparing for voluntary accreditation done by private schools themselves, based on the objectives of each institution to be accredited. Then Education Secretary Manuel Carreon, however, following advice from a consultant named Pius Barth, wanted compulsory accreditation done by the government, based on so-called objective standards. It was only in 1957, when the Philippine Accrediting Association of Schools, Colleges, and Universities (PAASCU) started actual accreditation, that the impasse was broken. PAASCU’s efforts were officially recognized and endorsed by then Education Secretary Carlos P. Romulo in 1967. Since then, accreditation in the country has been private and voluntary.

Early this year, CHED issued CMO 1, s. 2005 (“Revised Policies and Guidelines on Voluntary Accreditation in Aid of Quality and Excellence in Higher Education”), which removed the word institutional from the different levels, but still recognized that quality assurance or accreditation itself was being done and should be done by the already existing accrediting associations.

CHED then famously imposed the so-called IQuAME, based on an expensive, but silly study by its consultant John Randall, in two infamous memos, “Institutional Monitoring and Evaluation for Quality Assurance of All Higher Education Institutions in the Philippines” (CMO 15, s. 2005) and “Evaluation of Higher Education Institutions Granted Autonomous and Deregulated Status in 2001” (CMO 18, s. 2005). Suddenly, despite having said that quality assurance, in the worldwide sense of program and institutional accreditation, existed in the Philippines, CHED said that there was a need for quality assurance!

How can the present CHED claim that schools should undergo quality assurance when many of them (though admittedly not all of them) have already been accredited and, especially in the case of autonomous and deregulated institutions, been recognized as having quality?

I have only two foreign words: ignorantia, as in “Ignorantia judicis est calamitas innocentis” (The ignorance of a judge is the misfortune of the innocent), and hubris, as in Oedipus and Macbeth. I could say that what we now have in CHED is pure tragedy, but if you know your Aristotle, there are no tragic figures in that otherwise rational government agency, just comic ones.

Posted by Isagani R. Cruz at 9:37 PM

 

Petition to the Philippine Ombudsman

On 24 March 2005, a hired assassin gunned down journalist Marlene Garcia-Esperat while she was having dinner with her family at home in Tacurong City. In 2003, Esperat, who was the Department of Agriculture (DA) Resident Ombudsman for Central Mindanao, had filed charges against DA officials on a P432 M fertilizer scam.

The ensuing investigation revealed a possible connection with the even bigger P728 M fertilizer fund scam, which implicated Janet Lim-Napoles, then a big supplier of liquid fertilizer.

Napoles is now reportedly at the center of the biggest scam so far that has been uncovered by investigative reporters – that of the P10 B scam that involved the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), better known as the pork barrel, of a number of former and current Senators and Representatives.

Whatever problems it was meant to address, the PDAF has proven itself a cure more destructive than the disease. No benefit can possibly justify the crimes it has spawned and the systematic corruption of public institutions and officials it has promoted.

Alleged operators like Napoles may have devised the blueprint for raiding the PDAF, but the greater accountability rests with the Senators and Representatives to whom the funds were entrusted. It was their responsibility to ensure that their PDAF went only to reputable NGOs proposing priority projects and that these projects produced the promised benefits.

The Senators and Representatives who channeled funds to fake NGOs were not political neophytes. They, and we, were not born yesterday. Patronage of fake NGOs, particularly when repeated, provides grounds for charging culpable negligence, if not complicity in corruption.

We ask the Ombudsman to investigate the grave misuse of the PDAF.

We ask the Senators and Representatives implicated in the scam to clear their names by voluntarily subjecting themselves to an impartial official investigation by the Ombudsman to determine the extent of their actual involvement in the P10 B scam.

We also ask the President to constitute a special committee composed of representatives of DBM, DOJ, and the private sector to review the PDAF process and to recommend safeguards to ensure that the PDAF is not further abused.

Our lawmakers should serve as models for compliance with the law. Only then can they have the moral authority to exercise oversight powers over the two other branches of government.

It is time for the people, with the help of the Ombudsman and the President, to prove that election to public office does not give officials a grant of impunity to plunder public funds.

For Reference:

Isagani Cruz
Former Undersecretary
Department of Education

Edilberto De Jesus
Former Secretary
Department of Education

Fulgencio Factoran, Jr.
Former Secretary
Department of Environment and Natural Resources

Vicente T. Paterno
Former Senator
Former Minister, Ministry of Industry

Jesus Estanislao
Former Secretary
Department of Finance

Publications

BOOKS

1. Beyond Futility: The Filipino as Critic (New Day Publishers, 1984) – study of Philippine literary criticism
2. Movie Times (National Book Store, 1984) – collection of essays and reviews of Philippine films
3. Josephine at iba pang Dula [Josephine and Other Plays] (De La Salle UP, 1988) – collection of five original plays in Filipino: Halimaw [Monster], Josephine, Marjorie, Kuwadro [Portrait], and Marissa
4. Tatlong Dula mula sa Southeast Asia [Three Plays from Southeast Asia] (Solidaridad Publishing House and Toyota Foundation, 1988) – translation into Filipino of three Southeast Asian plays: Utuy Sontani’s Si Kabayan, Usman Awang’s Tamu di-Bukit Kenny, and Lee Joo For’s Son of Zen
5. Once a Hunter, Always a Hunter: Jaime N. Ferrer as Public Servant (Jaime N. Ferrer Foundation, 1994) – biography of assassinated cabinet member
6. A Dictionary of Philippine English (Anvil Publishing, 1995) – with Ma. Lourdes S. Bautista; comic dictionary of Philippine english words
7. The Alfredo E. Litiatco Lectures of Isagani R. Cruz (De La Salle UP, 1996) – edited by David Jonathan Y. Bayot; collection of annual professorial chair lectures in Filipino and English
8. Building a Nation: Private Education in the Philippines (Fund for Assistance to Private Education, 1997) – coffee-table history of private schools
9. Pito-Pito (De La Salle UP, 2001) – Centennial award-winning sarswela (musical play); part of Centennial Literary Awards Series
10. Tao (De La Salle UP, 2001) – adaptation into Filipino of Everyman
11. Quest for Justice: The Testament of Anthony C. Aguirre (Anthony C. Aguirre Memorial Foundation, 2001) – biography of Banco Filipino banker
12. Bukod na Bukod (University of the Philippines Press, 2003) – collection of critical essays in Filipino; chosen as a University of the Philippines Press Centennial Publication, 2008
13. The Basic Education Curriculum in 17 Easy Lessons (Anvil Publishing, 2003) – collection of newspaper columns on the 2001 revision of the Philippine curriculum for elementary and high schools
14. The Lovely Bienvenido N. Santos (University of the Philippines, 2005) – anthology of two plays: The Lovely Bienvenido N. Santos and Bienvenido, My Brother
15. Ms. Philippines (De La Salle UP, 2005) – musical play on beauty contests
16. Tagalog-Filipino Glosari: Pantulong sa Estudyante sa Hayskul (C&E Publishing, 2009) – with Lakangiting Garcia; Tagalog-English glossary
17. The Other Other (Far Eastern University Publications, 2010) – edited by David Jonathan Y. Bayot; collection of scholarly articles
18. In Good Hands: The Metrobank Story (Metropolitan Bank and Trust Company, 2010) – coffee-table history of one of the biggest Philippine banks
19. Quezon City: The Rise of Asia’s City of the Future (Studio 5, 2010) – with Paulo G. Alcazaren, Felice Prudente Sta. Maria, Manuel L. Quezon III, and Regina A. Samson; coffee-table history and state of Quezon City, Philippines
20. Father Solo and Other Stories for Adults Only (Anvil Publishing, 2011) – collection of short stories
21. The State and/of the School: An Autobiographical Academic History (De La Salle University and C&E Publishing, 2012) – fourth volume in the series The De La Salle University Story; history of the university from 1970 to 2012
22. The Pepsi Challenge: A Journey of Remarkable Resilience (Studio 5, 2012) – with Janet B. Villa; coffee-table history of Pepsi-Cola Products Philippines, Inc.
23. Lucio C. Tan: A Gem of a Man (Xinhua Publishing House) – coffee-table biography with photographs of the second wealthiest Filipino (in press)

BOOKS EDITED

1. A Short History of Theater in the Philippines (Philippine Educational Theater Association and Cultural Center of the Philippines, 1971) – anthology of research studies on Philippine theater
2. Manila: History, People and Culture: The Proceedings of the Manila Studies Conference (De La Salle UP, 1989) – edited with Wilfrido V. Villacorta and Ma. Lourdes Brillantes; interdisciplinary anthology of articles on Manila
3. Love Letters of the Fifties (Bookmark, 1990) – revised edition of Love Letters that Win the Heart (Capitol Publishing House, 1953), edited by Virginia Briones and Feli. Feliciano
4. 1001 Reasons to Stay in the Philippines (Aklat Peskador, 1993) – with Lydia B. Echauz; compilation of patriotic comments from hundreds of Filipinos
5. Reading Bienvenido N. Santos (De La Salle UP, 1994) – with David Jonathan Bayot; interviews and essays
6. DLSU 2001: De La Salle University and National Development (De La Salle UP, 1995) – with Trinidad S. Osteria; essays
7. Reading Cirilo F. Bautista (De La Salle UP, 1995) – with David Jonathan Bayot; interviews and essays
8. Creative Economists: Selections from Creative Writing Classes in the College of Business and Economics, De La Salle University (De La Salle UP, 1996) – with Elyria C. Bernardino; poems, short stories, and plays by economics students
9. The J. William Fulbright Memorial Lectures 1995-1996 (Philippine Fulbright Scholars Association, 1996) – lectures and directory of Filipino Fulbrighters
10. According to Raul Roco (Roco for President Movement, 1997) – with Edna Z. Manlapaz and Wilma Vitug Lacaba; excerpts from speeches and statements of Raul S. Roco
11. The Edith Tiempo Reader (University of the Philippines Press, 1999) – with Gemino H. Abad, Cristina Pantoja-Hidalgo, Alfred Yuson, and Edna Zapanta Manlapaz; selections from the works of Edith L. Tiempo
12. The J. William Fulbright Memorial Lectures 1997-1998 (Philippine Fulbright Scholars Association, 2000) – second volume of lectures of Filipino Fulbrighters
13. The Best Philippine Short Stories of the Twentieth Century: An Anthology of Fiction in English (Tahanan Books, 2000) – collection of fifty best stories in English by Filipinos
14. In Our Own Words: Filipino Writers in Vernacular Languages (De La Salle UP and Toyota Foundation, 2000) – anthology of interview transcripts and texts by Filipino writers writing in vernacular languages
15. PAASCU Directory (Libro Amigo Publishers, 2008) – directory of member schools of the Philippine Accrediting Association of Schools, Colleges, and Universities
16. Remembering Brother Andrew (Libro Amigo Publishers, 2008) – album of photographs and quotations of Brother Andrew Gonzalez, FSC
17. Philippines 2006 (Libro Amigo Publishers and National Commission for Culture and the Arts, 2008) – book on International Theatre Institute congress and festival held in the Philippines
18. Ageless at FEU: Lourdes R. Montinola (Far Eastern University Publications, 2009) – book in honor of Board Chair of Far Eastern University
19. Turning Back the Pages: Selected Miscellany, by Rosalinda L. Orosa (Manila Times Publishing, 2010) – personal anthology
20. The Palanca Hall of Fame Anthology (Libro Amigo Publishers, 2010) – collection of works by members of the Hall of Fame of the Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards in Literature

JOURNAL ISSUES EDITED

1. The DLSU Graduate Journal 12/1 (1987), 12/2 (1987), 13/1 (1988), De La Salle University Graduate School of Education, Arts, and Sciences
2. CETA Journal 5/1 (1988), College English Teachers Association; with Ophelia Alcantara Dimalanta
3. DLSU Dialogue: An Interdisciplinary Journal for Cultural Studies 28/1 (January 2003), De La Salle UP

TEXTBOOKS

1. Effective Communication in English (JMC Press, 1982) – with Araceli C. Hidalgo, Cesar A. Hidalgo, and Lina Picache Enriquez; first-year college English textbook
2. Ang Ating Panitikan [Our Literature] (Goodwill, 1984) – with Soledad S. Reyes; for college survey courses in Philippine literature; first textbook to include literary texts translated from regional languages and Chinese
3. Filipino para sa Pilipino [Filipino for Filipinos], 4 volumes (Phoenix Publishing House, 1989) – for high school; first textbook to use mostly canonical texts
4. Poems and Stories for College Students (De La Salle UP, 1995) – selected texts for the first course in literature on the tertiary level
5. Ang Literatura ng Filipinas / The Literatures of the Philippines (Commission on Higher Education, 1997) – handbook for teachers of the first literature course on the college level (Project Director)
6. Ang Literatura ng Mundo / The Literatures of the World (Commission on Higher Education, 1997) – handbook for teachers of the second literature course on the college level (Project Director)
7. Tekstong Patnubay sa Pag-aaral ng Florante at Laura, by Revimarc L. de Mesa (C&E Publishing, 2002); consultant
8. Chess for Filipino Children (Phoenix Publishing House, 2009) – edited; textbook for chess for Grade 3; by Rolando R. Dizon FSC and Jessie C. Sanchez
9. Mapusog na Bikolano 1: Reading and Writing in the Mother Tongue (C&E Publishing, 2012) – with Abdon M. Balde Jr. and Angelita G. Santos; textbook for Grade 1 for Bikol-speaking children
10. Baskog na Binisaya 1: Reading and Writing in the Mother Tongue (C&E Publishing, 2013) – with Grace R. Monte de Ramos and Angelita G. Santos; textbook for Grade 1 for Cebuano-speaking children
11. Nasalun-at nga Iluko 1: Reading and Writing in the Mother Tongue (C&E Publishing, 2013) – with Brenda B. Corpuz and Angelita G. Santos; textbook for Grade 1 for Ilocano-speaking children
12. Mabaskog nga Hiligaynon 1: Reading and Writing in the Mother Tongue (C&E Publishing, 2013) – with Genevieve L. Asenjo and Angelita G. Santos; textbook for Grade 1 for Hiligaynon-speaking children
13. Malusog na Tagalog 1: Reading and Writing in the Mother Tongue (C&E Publishing, 2013) – with Teresita V. Jacinto and Angelita G. Santos; textbook for Grade 1 for Tagalog-speaking children