Antonio Calipjo-Go is one of the heroes of this country as far as I am concerned, yet, like everyone who tries to highlight corruption or inefficiency in the Philippines (ask Acsa Ramirez of LandBank) he is being slandered by people who have a vested interest in maintaining the same old crappy system.
Before we come to that, yesterday’s International Herald Tribune carried an article pointing out the numerous idiotic errors in Philippine school textbooks (errors that have been pointed out many, many times over the past couple of years):
"The city's voice is soft like solitudes."
"He found his friend clowning himself around."
"He seemed to be waiting for someone, not a blood relation, much less a bad
Such phrases, lifted from government-approved textbooks used in Filipino public schools, are reinforcing fears that crucial language skills are degenerating in a country that has long prided itself on having some of the world's best English speakers. At a time when English is widely considered an advantage in global competitiveness for any country, many fear this former U.S. colony is slipping.
Perhaps inevitably, today’s Inquirer contains a counter-attack from the very people responsible for the nonsense being presented to Philippine children.
The charges boil down to these.
(1) Go has made himself unavailable for meetings (a charge he denies).
(2) He is fronting for some people interested in Education Secretary Jesli Lapus’ post (the notion of someone acting from a spirit of public service is obviously so alien to these people that they have to impute some base motive to Go’s campaign).
(3) Many of his allegations are not true, according to Director Socorro Pilor of the Instructional Materials Council Secretariat (which is no doubt why a “guide” correcting 269 errors has had to be distributed by the publishers — Go claims there are in fact many more than 269 errors in the textbooks).
It really is depressing to see what public-spirited individuals have to go through in the Philippines if they try to improve matters (see for example the Winner Foundation’s efforts to establish a forest park in our polluted city). No wonder so many give up or don’t even try in the first place.
Still, the good news is that Antonio Calipjo-Go shows no sign of giving up his quest. Three cheers for him and two thumbs down for the civil servants who allowed such nonsense to be put into textbooks in the first place and, instead of devoting their efforts to correcting them, are trying to slur the man who has drawn attention to them. Shame on you.