Monday, February 2, 2015

A Filipina’s View of 2015 SOTU

   I did not vote for President Obama because I have not voted for anyone since I found religion some two decades ago.  Beyond those years I had a very politically conscious past.  “Political consciousness” was a term that was popularized at the University of the Philippines in the late 60’s.  Yet there have been rare occasions when I was touched by current politics.  The 2015 State of the Union address of President Obama was one. 

The President said
I say

Our unemployment rate is now lower than it was before the financial crisis. More of our kids are graduating than ever before; more of our people are insured than ever before…
My daughter arrived in California in 2011, 3 years after the 2008 mortgage crisis.  She didn’t have car and walked long distances.  She worked hard without a promise of promotion.  Within only 2 years she rose from the ranks and was promoted to Store Manager. 

We believed we could reduce our dependence on foreign oil and protect our planet.  And today, America is number one in oil and gas.  America is number one in wind power.  Every three weeks, we bring online as much solar power as we did in all of 2008.” 
I have dreamed of getting solar power used widely in the Philippines, the country of sunshine, even when it’s raining.  Solar power would bring the energy price down making it affordable in the urban poor areas where they resort to stealing electricity by illegal tapping.  Illegal tapping is done by non-electrician/non-engineers and has killed many.

America thrived in the 20th century because we made high school free, sent a generation of GIs to college, and trained the best workforce in the world. But in a 21st century economy that rewards knowledge like never before, we need to do more.”
My father got his Dentistry degree courtesy of the GI Bill in the early 50’s.  That benefit provided a good life for my brothers and myself.  My father did not practice Dentistry outside of the US Navy.  He retired in his early 40’s to devote the rest of his days to the family he left in the Philippines.

“By the end of this decade, two in three job openings will require some higher education. Two in three. And yet, we still live in a country where too many bright, striving Americans are priced out of the education they need. It’s not fair to them, and it’s not smart for our future.  That’s why I am sending this Congress a bold new plan to lower the cost of community college – to zero.” 
The Philippines does not have educational loan.  Children are sent to college by their parents.  For those who can’t afford to do so the children take a job to support their own education.  Literacy list says:
Cuba    99.8%  age 15 and over can read and write in Spanish
Philippines       95.4%  age 15 and over can read and write in English because the medium of education in the Philippines is entirely in English.

“Today, we’re the only advanced country on Earth that doesn’t guarantee paid sick leave or paid maternity leave to our workers. Forty-three million workers have no paid sick leave.”
The Philippines provides maternity and paternity leave, solo parent leave, bereavement leave, calamity leave and Magna Carta for Women which gives 60 calendar days leave to all female employees who goes into surgery due to gynecological disorders.

   It brought me to tears to realize the comparison between the State of the Union and my own grasp of my country’s 'state of the nation'.  

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