Gawad KWF sa Sanaysay 2021 (Viewable Copy ng Sanaysay na Nagwagi ng Ikalawang Gantimpala)

Mainit-init pa!

Pasasalamat sa Panginoon sa ipinagkaloob na kakayahang magsulat!

Pasasalamat sa pamunuan ng KWF at sa mga hurado ng Gawad KWF sa Sanaysay 2021 para sa malaking karangalang ito.

Pagbati rin sa Mananaysay ng Taon 2021, ang aking kaibigang si Dr. Jonathan Vergara Geronimo, at sa nagkamit ng Ikatlong Gantimpala, isa sa mga pinakamasipag na mananaliksik sa UP System sa larangan ng Araling Pilipinas, si G. Axle Tugano.

Dahil sa dumaraming request na mabasa ang aking nagwaging sanaysay, narito na po (viewable muna dahil sa pagkakaalam ko ay opisyal na ilalathala rin po ito ng Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino/KWF bilang organisador ng patimpalak). Ang sanaysay na ito ay scholarly version ng isang kabanata ng “Ang Mabuting Balita Ayon Kay San Juan”/AMB na di ko pa rin matapus-tapos at pahaba nang pahaba (‘yung orihinal na AMB ay Filipino na ma-Ingles at mas tunog-Bob Ong; sinubukan kong gawing mas pormal at mas scholarly at ang sample chapter ay ito ngang nagwaging sanaysay; di pa ako makapagdesisyon kung ano ang lenggwaheng pangingibabawin sa pinal na AMB, ang lenggwaheng mala-Bob Ong o ang lenggwaheng mala-pormal na sanaysay; bahala na).

Narito na, in the meantime, ang aking sanaysay. A luta continua!



Senate Bills I’ll File If I Were A Senator

Today, I turn 25 for the 11th time (ala-“In Time”). Thanks be to the Supreme Being for all these years.

And yes, I’m mulling over a senatorial run for some reasons:

1) Those who have confirmed their intention to run in 2022 and the top senatoriables in recent surveys are mostly slim pickings ranging from dynastic scions, lackluster returnees, political has-beens, and sundry entertainers, compelling people to say in exasperation: “WALA NA BANG IBA?”

2) Few of the top senatoriables have known advocacies, let alone, specific & substantial legislative plans.

3) Few of the top senatoriables can actually write draft Senate bills and/or do research on their own.

4) Humanity and/our country theoretically face imminent annihilation – if not through more virulent variants of COVID-19, possibly through global ecological collapse – thus, we should all seek alternatives to representatives of the status quo.

5) People are longing for the good old days of the Senate – when the likes of Claro M. Recto, Jose W. Diokno, Lorenzo M. Tañada, Jovito Salonga etc. – way back when there was gravitas in its famed halls.

Hence, say no more. Perhaps you may consider including a young full professor (with a PhD and now working for a second PhD) – with more than a decade of combined training and experience as a teacher, advocacy campaigner, volunteer writer for NGOs, partylist nominee, legislative consultant, and researcher, in your senatorial list if he would be able to file his COC and if COMELEC approves his candidacy?

Others ask why.

I ask, why not?

Here’s a list of some of the Senate bills that I’ll file if I were a senator:

1) Free Health Care Act [100% Libreng Serbisyong Pangkalusugan Mula Gamot Hanggang Check-up, Operasyon, Hospitalisasyon atbp.]

2) Tax Reform Act for the Masses and the Middle Class/TRAMM (Income Tax Reduction, Abolition of Value-Added Tax/VAT on Food, Medicines, Utilities) [Pagpapababa ng Buwis sa Kita ng Masa at Middle Class, Pagtatanggal ng VAT sa Pagkain, Gamot, Kuryente, Tubig, Internet]

3) Urban Land Reform Act/Homes for Every Filipino Act [Pabahay para sa Bawat Pamilya]

4) Nurturing Entrepreneurship With Incentives Act/NEW Incentives Act [Suporta sa Maliliit na Negosyo]

5) People’s Initiative Revitalization & Mobilization Act/PIRMA (People’s Legislation Through Online Petitions) [Pagmumungkahi ng Panukalang Batas sa Pamamagitan ng Online na Petisyon]

6) Fast and Cheap Internet Law (see my related paper on this issue) [Mura at Mabilis na Internet]

7) Repeal Rice Tariffication Act (see my related paper on this issue) [Pagbabasura sa Taripikasyon ng Bigas]

8) Green New Deal for the Philippines Act (towards transitioning to 100% renewable energy use for the country; see my related paper on this issue) [Batas para sa Lubusang Paggamit ng Enerhiyang Solar Atbp.]

9) National(ist) Industrialization Act (NAIA) (see my related paper on this issue) [Batas para sa Pambansa/Makabansang Industriyalisasyon]

10) Magna Carta for Private School Teachers (we contributed to the final draft of this bill’s version in Congress; see notes we made on this legislative piece) [Batas para sa mas maraming benepisyo para sa mga guro sa pribadong paalan]

PLENTY MORE TO FOLLOW. Come October, I’ll make my final decision.

Domine dirige nos.


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English Translation of Pete Lacaba’s “Tagubilin at Habilin”(“Instructions and Lessons to Keep”)

(“Instructions and Lessons to Keep”)

by Jose “Pete” Lacaba

“Tagubilin at Habilin”

(“Instructions and Lessons to Keep”)

by Jose “Pete” Lacaba

(English translation by David Michael M. San Juan)

Live on, my friend!
Live on!
That’s my first and last instruction:
Live on!

In my age, I can give a lot of advice.
I am rich in life’s lessons.

Wash your hands before eating.
Wash your hands after eating.
But do not wash your hands to escape blame.
Do not wash your hands when people are being oppressed and you have the power to help them.

When in the bus, give your seat to the elderly and those who have a baby.
Give thanks to those who do good.
Learn from the experiences of the seasoned ones.

But don’t get yourself tied down by outdated mindsets.

Don’t force yourself to sleep when sleep evades you.
Don’t waste your time on those who don’t remember good deeds done unto them.
Don’t quarrel with the stupid ones, or else some may take you for a fool.
Don’t whisper in silence in times when shouting is needed.

Don’t put your trust on rumors.
Don’t dilly-dally under a feast of hanging prizes.
Don’t be slow to act.

Sing when you’re alone in the bathroom.
Sing when you’re with friends.
Sing when you’re sad.
Sing when you’re happy.

Just be forewarned.

Don’t sing “My Way” in a videoke bar for you might get shot.
Don’t light a cigarette in a gasoline store.
Go slow in steep paths.
Go slow in rocky roads

And most of all, I repeat:

Live on, my friend!
Live on!
That’s my first and last instruction:
Live on!

Many things in life are disappointing.
Live on.
The world has a lot of problems which seem to have no solutions.
Live on.

In times of poverty, in the face of defeat,
You may feel like you would prefer to just die.
You want to slit your pulse when broken-hearted.

You want to drink poison when you got nothing to eat.

You want to strangle yourself when your burden seems unbearable.

You want to blow your head into smithereens when many things bother your mind.

Don’t let yourself lose. Do not surrender.

You have heard what’s been told in a song:
“Wake up and arise from slavery,
Wake up from deep slumber.”
Wake up when love beckons.
Rise up when the poor voice out a call for action.

Others say: “Brave is a man who fearlessly fight.”
I say, instead: the truly brave ones are those who fight
even if they are afraid.

Fight when you have been dragged into the mud.
Rise up when you are being trampled upon.
Fearlessly fight for your principles
Even if you’re not sure to win right away.

Live on, my friend!
Live on!
That’s my first and last instruction:
Live on!

(Text of the original available at:

Shaping the Agenda for the 2022 Elections: Building a National Health Services (NHS) for the Philippines Towards Achieving 100% Free Health Care for Everyone

Watch the lecture/soft launch of this paper at:

The author also appeals for voluntary contributions (any amount will help us in paying for this website’s annual renewal of domain registration, & placing some Facebook ads to broaden the reach of our advocacies): GCASH 0956-698-7486. Thank you very much.

Economic Relief in the Time of COVID-19: Rationale, Mechanics, Costing, and Prospective Impact of Temporary Value-Added Tax (VAT) Suspension and Income Tax Waiver in the Philippines

Preprint of a conference paper that has been accepted for presentation in the upcoming DLSU Research Congress 2021 at De La Salle University, Manila, Philippines from July 7 to 9, 2021.


The author also appeals for voluntary contributions (any amount will help us in paying for this website’s annual renewal of domain registration, & placing some Facebook ads to broaden the reach of our advocacies)GCASH 0956-698-7486Thank you very much.

A Review of Rice Tariffication in the Time of COVID-19: Rationale and Road to Rice Self-Sufficiency in the Philippines (preprint of an upcoming journal article)

Click here to view file

Note: The author is making this file publicly available – albeit not downloadable – as the final version of this paper is set to be published in the December 2021 issue of a Philippine journal. I have decided to publicly release this file as a viewable document, in view of President Duterte’s signing of Executive Order (EO) No. 135, series of 2021 which unfortunately reduced tariff rates for imported rice from 40% to 35%. This EO will certainly further ensure that rice imports will continue to flood Philippine markets, to the detriment of the local rice industry and the livelihood of Filipino peasants. Like Rice Tariffication Law (RTL), EO No. 135 must be opposed and reversed.  

The author also appeals for voluntary contributions (any amount will help us in paying for this website’s annual renewal of domain registration, & placing some Facebook ads to broaden the reach of our advocacies)GCASH 0956-698-7486Thank you very much.

Quick Literature Preview on COVID-19 Mass Testing and Contact Tracing: Lessons for Philippine Policymakers

Experts are united in emphasizing that the most basic weapons to help control (if not eradicate) the pandemic include mass testing and contact tracing.

Experts are also united in pointing out that the Philippines is far from achieving ideal mass testing goals and lacks an effective and unified contact tracing system.

Vaccination is important but no panacea for the pandemic. Even if all Filipinos were to be vaccinated in the next few months, mass testing and contact tracing would have to be maintained.

Hence, this quick literature preview (rather than review; as this note features mostly direct quotes from researches) is aimed at providing a summary of practical insights and/or recommendations culled from mostly peer-reviewed literature on mass testing and contact tracing – to help our policymakers “science the shit out of this” so to speak. All emphases are supplied.

“Bidirectional contact tracing could dramatically improve COVID-19 control” (Bradshaw et al., 2021)

  1. “…‘bidirectional” tracing to identify infector individuals and their other infectees robustly improves outbreak control…”
  2. The greatest gains are realised by expanding the manual tracing window from 2 to 6 days pre-symptom-onset or, alternatively, by implementing high-uptake smartphone-based exposure notification… 
  3. Hybridizing manual tracing with digital may offer an alternative path to high performance. In practice, almost no jurisdiction is proposing to exclusively control COVID-19 through digital exposure notification, but rather to supplement traditional manual tracing with digital tools. The two methods have complementary strengths and weaknesses: digital tracing is fast, scalable, and could be easily adapted to trace bidirectionally, but is highly fragile to network fragmentation; manual tracing is slower and more labor-intensive, but more robust. A hybrid of the two approaches might thus outperform either approach used in isolation.”

“Impact of delays on effectiveness of contact tracing strategies for COVID-19: a modelling study” (Kretzschmar et al., 2020)

  1. “…a contact tracing strategy will only contribute to containment of COVID-19 if it can be organised such that delays in the process from symptom onset to isolation of the index case and their contacts are very short…Reducing delay in testing individuals for SARS-CoV-2 should be a key objective of a contact tracing strategy…
  2. “For example, walk-in or drive-in testing facilities could be set up on a large scale and test results immediately communicated via the tracing app.”

“Modelling the impact of testing, contact tracing and household quarantine on second waves of COVID-19” (Aleta et al., 2021)

  1. “a period of strict social distancing followed by a robust level of testing, contact-tracing and household quarantine could keep the disease within the capacity of the healthcare system while enabling the reopening of economic activities. Our results show that a response system based on enhanced testing and contact tracing can have a major role in relaxing social-distancing interventions in the absence of herd immunity against SARS-CoV-2.”

“Why Contact Tracing Efforts Have Failed to Curb Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Transmission in Much of the United States” (Clark et al., 2020)

  1. Reasons “why contact tracing efforts have failed to curb” the pandemic in “much of the United States” include: “A LACK OF NATIONAL COORDINATION” and “INADEQUATE TESTING SUPPLY”
  2. “Larger numbers of staff may be necessary as social distancing measures are loosened (or public adherence decreases) and case counts increase, or if technologic tools are not used for augmentation. Smaller numbers of staff would likely be necessary if local, state, and national public health agencies were able to communicate and coordinate effectively. Creation of a national contact tracing system could eliminate geographic restrictions for hiring and would increase procedural standardization.”

“Successful find-test-trace-isolate-support systems: how to win at snakes and ladders” (Rajan et al., 2020)

  1. Isolation is arguably the most important part of the test, trace, isolate process according to recent evidence. A team of community volunteer contact tracers in the UK published data  from a pilot in which it took approximately 80 minutes to manage each case, with many contacts were unwilling to isolate…Measures to support isolation are therefore an important ladder and in Denmark, Finland and Lithuania, people who cannot isolate are accommodated elsewhere… The same approach has also been used successfully to prevent outbreaks in care homes in South Korea. Without facilities to support vulnerable individuals to isolate, and especially to minimise any loss of income, it is likely that transmission will rise, another snake that could set back the entire process.”

“An Empirical Argument for Mass Testing: Crude Estimates of Unreported COVID19 Cases in the Philippines vis-à-vis Others in the ASEAN-5” (Cruz, 2020)

  1. …the empirical estimates buttress the argument that the mere extension of the lockdown without complementary mass testing is impractical…the inevitable policy direction for the Philippines is to aggressively implement the WHO recommendation of “test, trace, and isolate” to avoid long-term health and economic distress.

Other Commonsensical Ideas Worth Trying:

  1. Offer full wage/salary subsidy – from diagnosis until full recovery – to workers who will test positive to encourage people to undergo testing.
  2. In the duration of the ECQ, offer full wage/salary subsidy for workers in the NCR Plus areas to encourage those in industries allowed to operate with skeletal workforces to take a break and stay at home.
  3. In the duration of the ECQ, offer living income subsidy for informal economy workers (especially ambulant vendors and the like) to encourage them to stay at home.  
  4. Swiftly build makeshift hospitals for COVID-19 patients in NCR Plus areas and other areas where hospital occupancy rates are nearing 90%
  5. To expand health care workforce, train auxiliary health workers and offer all public health workers double pay at least during the pandemic.
  6. In the duration of the ECQ (and even better, beyond the ECQ), ban all international and domestic air travel – except for essential workers (nurses, doctors etc.) and offer full wage subsidy for affected workers

P.S. Yes, these are costly measures but we have the money (pandemic loans) and the alternative is worse: permanent pandemic and economic crisis.   


  1. Phrase “science the shit out of this” is from the movie “The Martian.”   
  2. Bradshaw et al., 2021:
  3. Kretzschmar et al., 2020:
  4. Aleta et al., 2020:
  5. Clark et al., 2020:
  6. Rajan et al., 2020:
  7. Cruz, 2020:
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