by ERNESTO T. SOLIDUM
"Plans and Programs of our representative to the Congress of the Philippines" is the weekly Kapihan topic on November 26, 2011 at Smokehauz Resto & Bar. Guest was Mr. Ivan Patron, Jr., chief of staff (Kalibo) of Cong. Joeben T. Miraflores. Representative of Kasangga Partylist Congressman Teodorico T. Haresco did not come.
Priority projects of Cong. Miraflores are college scholarships, and financial assistance in the settlement of hospital bills of indigent patients said Patron. Education provides the excellent foundation for humanity to become adjusted and competitive in this modern world. Thus, since 2004 congressman Miraflores helped graduate 5,000 youth in various degree courses at Aklan State University.
Presently, there are 2,000 scholars enrolled under the Tulong Edukasyon sa Kabataan ng Aklan (TEKA) while 95 grantees are enrolled at TESDA with funding of P500,000. In 2010 a total of 108 graduated in Food and Beverage Services, Hairdressing, House-keeping and Security Services, declared Mr. Patron.
There is a need however, to call the attention of the beneficiaries that their scholarship status must be renewed for the second semester in order to effect remittance payment to schools.
Another vital service is financial assistance mainly extended to charity patients at Dr. Rafael S. Tumbokon Memorial Hospital. The actual amount varies from P1,000 to P3,000 depending upon the assessment/recom-mendation of DSWD.
Meanwhile, those NGO’s desiring to avail of aid under the Philippines Development Assistance Program (PDAP) must channel their requests through their respective LGU’s which will in turn endorse the same to the Office of the Congressman for action. This is the new protocol set by the Aquino Administration to establish validity of projects, Patron clarified.
Where college courses are concerned for 2011–12 school year, some two (2) million students are enrolled. However, in 2010, around 848,000 new and old college graduates were looking for jobs. Perhaps this year analysts predict will balloon to one million. Obviously, our drawback lie in the weak command of the English language, poor analytical and thinking skills and lack of mastery of any specialized discipline that will insure a job for graduates after graduation.
Statistics reveal that 80 percent of Pilipino college graduates cannot find jobs after graduation. Meanwhile, those short term technical courses TESDA offers often looked down with contempt are gainfully employed and working abroad as plumbers, electricians, radio/TV repairmen, refrigeration and air conditioning technicians, welders, cooks and automotive mechanics. Evidently, the winners are certified competent technicians by TESDA who man the wheels of industry. It must be underscored that we do not only teach skills in schools but also traits like values and positive work ethics. Undoubtedly, investment in vocational courses rather than college degrees is cost effective. (Vocational courses are of shorter gestation period than college degrees.)
Dr. Gabriel Delfin, Dean Institute of Policy Studies, NVC recom-mends to ASU, Banga to retain its primary function as flagship agricultural university on education, research, production, and extension; delete other academic disciplines like nursing and criminology. (Strengthen faculty and facilities to improve the quality of graduates, research results, production and technology utilization.)
Spokesperson Patron Jr. is assumed more or less knowledgeable about the intricacies of the Office he represents. He must be adept at discussing public work projects, tourism, agriculture and environment conservation. These are priority socio-economic projects of Cong. Miraflores. Limiting oneself to funding for scholarship and hospital aid is a great disservice to Aklanons. Transparency builds trust and respect.
(A congressman represents the people in his district to the legislative branch of the Philippine government, vis-à-vis, the House of Representatives which functions as the policy/legislative making body. Mr. Patron did not reveal any congressional resolution and bill Cong. Miraflores filed in congress, neither he informed the Kapihan how many resolutions and bills are approved into law?) /MP