Philippine Basketball & Philippine Economy : A Sad Analogy

While the rest of the world has caught up with the Americans in the sport of basketball, we, on the other hand, steadily declined. Filipinos always take pride in their history of the sports, saying that during this decade and that decade, we were the powerhouse in Asian basketball. Nobody can beat us. Well, wake up people, that was a long time ago, before most of us reading this were even conceived. We can compare the current state of Philippine basketball with the current economic state of the country. Before, we were second to Japan in terms of economic power. We were a model country to our neighbors on how to become economically strong. We were one of the wealthier nations, if not the wealthiest, in Asia. But now, I don’t really have to list the specifics. You can just go outside, or read the news, and you know where the Philippines are currently situated. If we were a model country before for economic reasons, we’re still a model today…on how not to run a country to stink economically. As we have stunk in the sports, and so is our economy. Instead of improving, we deteriorated. Instead of a global vision, we stuck ourselves with the same old rules, when we already know that those same rules don’t apply anymore. In this age where one can be anywhere virtually, when knowledge is just a click away, there is no more excuse not to improve. That is why I don’t watch the PBA games as of late. I just can’t stop comparing our players to NBA players or to any other international players for that matter. We have 6’4 guys playing in the PBA, and yet, they couldn’t even touch the rim with the tip of their fingers, while in the NBA, even 6’0 people dunks over 7-footers.  People will say, “Oh, it’s the NBA, this is the PBA. It’s a different league.” Is it? Tell me the difference. Is the way they play basketball there any different than the way we play it here? We were always hoping that we are the first country in Asia to have a player played in the NBA. Now, even Taiwan has outdone us in having one. In terms of the economy, during the first part of the 1990’s, we were one of the tiger cub economies, destined to be the next tiger economy. We were toe-to-toe with Malaysia and Thailand during that time. Now, even Vietnam is outpacing us in terms of foreign direct investments (FDI), and Vietnam was not even projected during that time to become as what they are now today. We have really reached a low point in our economy, not to mention national pride, and the government is still doing nothing to address the situation. Do we still have any pride, or we only have misplaced one? While our South East Asian neighbors compete for more FDI’s, we, on the other hand, tries so hard to upgrade our credit ratings, so we can borrow some more.  While the rest of South East Asia wallows in their respective economic successes, we could only take pride at what Pacquiao or Charice was able to accomplish? We are so pathetic. Really, what Paquiao or Charice has done are their personal accomplishments, nothing more. We cannot take pride on what is not ours. Are you not envious that these people have achieved much, due to hard work, dedication and faith in God? For me, God is merciful, but He abhors laziness. We pride ourselves as the only Catholic/Christian nation in Asia, yet we are still one of its poorest. Look at the other Christian countries in the west, the only similarities that we have is in faith, nothing more. We are the only democratic nation in South East Asia, but, who has more freedom?

What I am trying to imply here is that, we need to assess ourselves on a global scale where we want ourselves in the future. Are we going to stuck ourselves with the same old rules, even though these rules doesn’t help us at all in solving the root cause of our problems, especially in today’s information age? Or are we going to be bold, and apply new rules, that even though unpopular, will help us move forward towards the goals that we have been longing for, for our children’s sake? The election is already over, we have voted whom we think are the right people for the job. One year after, we are still stuck in the same mire as before. I do not want another “People Power”. We already know through history what “People Power” has done to our country. What we need is to fix our priorities in solving the root cause of our problems (not apply a “band-aid” solution to a gaping wound), accept competition in the country which means liberalize our economy, work to become better when we already are the best, gain as much knowledge and skills as we can comprehend, don’t make stupid excuses, vote wisely, strive hard to become what you want in the future the honest way and trust God and in His grace and mercy. We’re a country of dreamers. How about we take those dreams into reality for a change? As the saying goes, “Nasa Diyos ang awa, nasa tao ang gawa.”

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DFA’s New [Dis]Appointment System

Last Monday, I went about the Internet to browse on the DFA website (www.dfa.gov.ph) to look for some info on how to apply for a lost passport.  I have read that they are implementing this new appointment system, meaning you have to set an appointment first with the DFA before you could start your application.  The worst thing was, since I need a replacement passport immediately, that my appointment is on June 16.  That is almost more than 45 days from now and that is not possible.  I tried calling them, but there lines were always busy (or they just hang up the phone because of numerous calls because of this stupid system).  I even went to the new Consular office but you can only talk to the guards there who knew nothing at all.  I was dismayed, disappointed, angry, you name it.  Who wouldn’t be?  With this kind of service, there would be another EDSA revolution.

So I went to my agency and talk to them about this.  They told me they couldn’t do anything about it because DFA is strict in enforcing this new system.  But they suggested to me to go to any DFA provincial offices and maybe try my luck if they are still accepting walk-in applications.  I went to browsing again the internet and chance upon DFA Lucena City and DFA Batangas City.  I decided to go to Lucena City instead, because my wife’s family is living is San Juan, Batangas and Lucena is just an hour’s drive away from their location.  Last Wednesday, I arrived at around 630 am and there are people already waiting in line.  I was number 53 on the line.  They are only going to accept the first 300 applicants per day.  Around 9 am, they let us in, by our number, to the DFA office.  Sadly, they are not accepting any walk-in applicants anymore but they are also implementing the appointment system.  But, the good side of it was that, I don’t have to wait until June 16 until I can submit my requirements so that they can start processing my passport.  I was given the May 5 1pm schedule.  Though it is not what I expected, I am still relieved to have a much earlier schedule than what I got when I applied in DFA Manila.  So, on May 5, I will be in Lucena again.

I don’t know how did the DFA come up with this system, but it really sucks, big time.  I know that this is a new system, only implemented last March 8, but it doesn’t help at all the Filipino people, especially the OFWs.  It would have been much wiser that before they implemented this system, they implemented it on a more systematic approach, not with the, “starting March 8, we are implementing a new apposintment system, blah, blah, blah” because the Filipino people is already suffering too much, and with this system, they are alleviating it a notch higher, level way up.  My suggestion is that they implement this system for the first-time applicants first, then proceed with the next steps (renewal, lost, damaged, etc.)