OPINION: 'Most Ignorant' plus 'Most Confident'

Buddy Gomez — Cyberbuddy

Posted at Dec 20 2019 09:15 PM

The immaturity of an electorate is always a reflection of the people’s level of political literacy.

Immaturity is reflected through resultant choices made or are cajoled to make, especially during elections. And perhaps even of the human values they nurse, thus dictating attitudes toward life itself.

There is wisdom and proof to that thought. Too, there are questions that beg to be asked. Among which: Is it fair that our theme/title for the weekend is devoted to a likely epithet that will attach to the name of Juan de la Cruz, and sticking for yet a long time to come?

“Most Ignorant” and “Most Confident” unavoidably leads to a simple summation: “confidently ignorant.” I did not concoct these phrases. These are quoted conclusions from the very surveys already reported by media. Nudged by a little critical rephrasing a bit more and we can conclude: “Opinionated Ignoramus!” Now, that one is mine!

Not quite long after the inauguration of Rodrigo R. Duterte as the 16th President of the Philippine Republic, (and not because of it) a UK-based international research organization, Ipsos MORI, revealed that Filipinos are the “3rd most ignorant people in the world” or ignorant of the facts or are misinformed.

Furthermore, their study concludes that “Filipinos are among the most ‘Confidently Ignorant’ about issues. In other words, despite the advent of information technology (IT, OnLine news, FB and Twitter), the survey reflected that most Filipinos speak confidently about issues they are really ignorant about.”

Labeled “Perils of Perception 2017 Survey,” the Philippines scored high in the scientifically calibrated “Misperceptions Index.” Our country, third from the bottom! South Africa rated the most inaccurate in their perceptions followed by Brazil and the Philippines. Scandinavia with Sweden, Norway and Denmark on the superior end of the scale bannered the rating described as “most accurate in its perception of issues.”

Ipsos MORI has unimpeachable credentials as a global leader in market research. They conduct surveys for a wide range of major organizations that provide a “true understanding about Society, Markets and People.” There is a cautionary note to studies like this, though. It recommends a consideration of “the impact of how much propaganda is present in the country surveyed.”

There is sufficient temptation to conclude that these are effects we are now afflicted with by the experience of sustained barrage from the tax-supported keyboard ‘trolletariat’ dispensing daily disinformation. An orchestration under “The Regime of the Untruth,” perhaps?

And then comes another dismal deprecation. It was a bombshell that seems to shore up and confirm, or in the least has relevance to, the earlier Ipsos MORI conclusions. It now behooves our apparently beleaguered educational system to undertake profound introspection and stocktaking.
“Filipino children ranked last in reading comprehension and second to the last in mathematics and science.”

For those who may have missed this jolting piece of news, we are speaking of the “Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA),” under the aegis of Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), to which the Philippine government is a subscriber and member. PISA conducted a worldwide study evaluating national educational systems, the objective of which is to assist countries, enabling them “to improve their education policies and outcomes.” Data collection covered 15-year-old school pupils’ scholastic performance and was done throughout 2018. The results released in early December.

The study concluded: “The results are dismal for the Philippines. Students in the Philippines scored lowest in reading and second lowest in both mathematics and science.” This ought to demonstrate that basic education in the Philippines has serious problems.

Now, from far out of left field, let me posit: Would it be apt and fair to use Senator Emmanuel 'Manny' D. Pacquiao as an exhibit in bolstering our passing commentary on the Philippine educational system’s surfacing frailties?

Don’t we all know it! The University of Makati (UMak) announced, with fanfare, the academic conferment of the degree of Bachelor of Science in Political Science upon, and the graduation of, Manny Pacquiao. The University proudly announced that the multi-titled world boxing champion turned politician completed a four-year course in just three months! And without going through high school!

UMak did not offer any evidence that Manny ever graced a classroom even with a day’s presence. He may have had to go to the University campus, though, to collect his student I.D. card. But there is no class attendance record.

Here is a salient backgrounder. Manny Pacquiao barely finished his Elementary education. But by sheer determination and by admirably redirecting his energies and talent, he became one of the world’s all-time greatest professional boxers. It is an honor, an accolade no other Filipino can ever equal. And because he was a boxing champion, he was elected Congressman and subsequently elected Senator. Could there have been any other reason?
Ambition and determination prodded Manny to take the high school equivalency examinations which he passed. This means skipping what otherwise would have been a four-year classroom attendance. There is no evidence of how he passed the exam or if he personally, physically took it himself. Neither do we question the wisdom of the high school equivalency policy. Thus, the Department of Education awarded him with a high school diploma. This made him eligible to pursue a college education, if indeed he wished to further his educational attainment. It is reasonable to contemplate that the high school equivalence policy does not give an awardee a pass to breeze through and collect a four-year college degree by the use of another short-cut artifice, without classroom presence.

But this is exactly what happened. That other artifice was invoked by the University of Makati. Pacquiao’s academic degree was achieved through what is known as the “Expanded Tertiary Education Equivalency and Accreditation Program (ETEEAP). It is further claimed that ETEEAP is a creation of the Philippine Councilors League-Legislative Academy, “which allows qualified Filipinos to complete collegiate-level education via informal education system.” Has national education policy become a victim of Philippine political vagaries?

After all, it is the system that has produced out of a boxing champion, billionaire politician salivating for the Presidency, the monumental phenomenon of Philippine pedagogy!



Tomas 'Buddy' Gomez III began his professional media career in ABS-CBN's (previously Chronicle Broadcasting Network) DZQL-Radio Reloj in 1957, after which he spent 25 years with the Ayala Group.

In 1986, the then Pres. Cory Aquino appointed him Consul General to Hawaii and later served as her Press Secretary.

During the Ramos administration, he was chairman and president of state-owned IBC-13 Network.

After government service, he became an ‘OFW’ in the U.S., working as front-desk clerk and then assistant general manager of a hotel. He also worked as a furniture and antique restoration specialist.

He is now retired and lives in San Antonio, Texas.

Disclaimer: The views in this blog are those of the blogger and do not necessarily reflect the views of ABS-CBN Corp.