Monday, June 27, 2005

Green Award for Ayala's Trash


Ayala waste management system cited in World Bank report
Posted: 5:10 PM Jun. 26, 2005 by Christine A. Gaylican, Inquirer News Service
Published on Page B2-4 of the June 27, 2005 issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer

A MONITORING team led by the World Bank has declared Ayala Foundation as Environment Champion, besting other companies with its effective solid waste management system implemented throughout the Ayala group.

The corporate social responsibility arm of the leading business conglomerate was chosen from among Filipino companies that made it to the final list of individuals and groups cited for their contribution to save the environment.

According to former Environment Secretary Elisea Gozun, who is now part of the World Bank's team of consultants for the annual World Bank Environment Monitor Project, this was the first time that the group was giving out awards to these stewards of the environment.

"This is the first for the Philippine Environment Monitor to acknowledge companies and individuals for their exemplary effort to save the environment," shares Gozun.

She notes that mall owners have a big problem with managing wastes produced by tenants with food establishments, but the Ayala Group and its foundation was able to deal with it well.

Ahead of the pack
By as early as 1996, the Ayala Foundation sought the assistance of the Metropolitan Environment Improvement Program and begun implementing an ecological waste management in four buildings it owned in Makati City.

Building residents were encouraged to segregate their waste at source. As building administrators, the company provided a system for the recovery of biodegradable and non-biodegradable components of the waste.

Relationships with buyers of the recyclables were formalized during the same year.
Working with environmental nongovernmental organizations, the Ayala Foundation provided orientation and training to the building occupants on how to segregate waste.

"All the tenants of the Ayala Commercial Center were also required to segregate their waste and implement ecological solid waste management even before the law requiring it was passed and contained in the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2001," Gozun points out.

"They are ahead in this league and it is one of the key points that has to be recognized," she adds.

Extending the campaignBy 2001, the campaign has been expanded to other buildings and firms in Makati City's central business district.

Ayala Foundation sought the cooperation of the Management Association of the Philippines, the Makati Commercial Estate Association and the Ayala Center Association to push the project forward.

The collaboration between the Ayala Foundation, MAP and the Makati Commercial Estate Association and the Ayala Center Association was originally to reduce the non-recyclable wastes by 25 percent in two years.

"Nevertheless, this has been exceeded with waste produced decreasing from 80 tons to 24 tons a day," notes Gozun.

As of July 2002, 160 buildings in the Makati business district have been implementing waste segregation and six buildings were doing their own composting.

There is now an average of 34,600 kilograms of recyclable materials produced every month from this collaboration, Gozun adds.

"It is also worth noting that a Material Recovery Facility (MRF) has been set up within the commercial center--a first in the country--where anyone can bring waste materials for composting or recycling," she says.

The Ayala Town Center in Muntinlupa City, the Ayala Center in Cebu City and the Cebu Business Park had all adopted similar waste management practices.

More firms
The World Bank study also acknowledged other private sector activities engaged primarily in ecological solid waste management.

The Polystyrene Packaging Council of the Philippine is a group of 21 foam polystyrene producers who have set up a recycling plant. The council advocated localized recycling of packaging wastes and as of the year 2003 has recovered 8,000 cubic meters of materials.

Coca-Cola Bottlers Philippines Inc. (CCBPI) manages a major campaign to promote the recovery of non-returnable but recyclable soft drink containers such as cans. These cans are processed into aluminum sheets and tubes, which can be manufactured into other consumer products including mobility aids for people with disabilities.

In 2002, the CCBPI also began recycling plastic bottles. The recycling program recovered 4.1 million aluminum cans and 3 million plastic containers. In a related effort to its subsidiary Coca-Cola Bottlers Philippines, San Miguel Corp. is establishing three recycling facilities for plastic bottles.

SMC has recently entered into an agreement with the DENR and the Department of Education to institutionalize the recovery of plastic bottles from public schools in Metro Manila.

The Pulp and Paper Manufacturers Association is collaborating with various sectors to improve the recovery of wastepaper. Several government agencies have an ongoing wastepaper recycling program with Recyclean Foundation.

The foundation collects the wastepaper based on a pre-agreed schedule and returns paper products needed by these government offices.

The Philippine Recyclers Inc., Bantay Kalikasan and the DENR have launched an advocacy campaign to improve the recovery and recycling of lead-acid batteries.

An estimated 30 percent of the 200,000 lead-acid batteries sold in the country are not properly recycled. With more than 50 companies now actively participating in the campaign, there had been 204 tons of lead-acid batteries collected in 2003, 340 tons in the first three quarters of 2004. These are equivalent to 73,759 liters of sulfuric acid and 590 tons of lead prevented from polluting the environment, the study said.
©2005 all rights reserved

Init sa Tag-lamig: Geothermal Energy Development

this story was taken from www.inq7money.netURL:

Going for No. 1 in geothermal energy
Posted: 5:08 PM Jun. 26, 2005 by Gil Francis G. Arevalo, Inquirer News Service
Published on Page B3-1 of the June 27, 2005 issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer

BACON, Sorsogon-Three to five years from now, the Philippines is seen becoming the world's biggest producer of geothermal energy.

From a current geothermal capacity of 1,500 megawatts (MW), the country hopes to eventually generate 5,000 MW of electricity from geothermal energy.

This would make the country account for more than half of the world's total geothermal energy production of 7,297 MW, according to Liberato Virata, newly appointed resident manager of the Philippine National Oil Company-Energy Development Corp. (PNOC-EDC) Bacon-Manito geothermal plant here.

Virata tells the Inquirer that the country needs to generate 500 MW to 700 MW more from geothermal energy to take the number 1 spot away from United States. The US currently produces more than 2,000 megawatts from geothermal energy.

"Right now the Philippines is the second largest producer of the said energy for electricity in the world. This is the very reason why the PNOC-EDC is very much determined to further develop all explored geothermal areas all over the country in order for us to further maximize the whole percentage of potential geothermal energy. It can be noted that only about 25 percent of total megawatts capacity at present are being harnessed," he says.

Among those geothermal areas that have been continuously developed are some areas in Bac-Man, northern Negros geothermal field in Negros Occidental with a capacity of at least 40 MW or more, Cabalian in Southern Leyte with 110 MW and Mt. Labo in Camarines Norte with a potential 120 MW.

"All of these can be developed in the next three to five years, and then by that time, the Philippines could be already the number one," Virata says.

He further discloses that in Bac-Man alone, the PNOC-EDC was enthusiastic about harnessing 100-150 MW of power in Tanawon, Sorsogon and Tayabon, Manito.

But he admits that to tap these areas, they need investors or at least loans from banks that continue to support PNOC's cause.

The Tanawon project is projected to generate 40-70 MW, which approximately costs P5.2 billion, while the Tayabon is said to have enough geothermal reserves to generate 30-60 MW of electricity.

"Based on our recent assessment, Bac-Man as one of the consistent and promising PNOC-EDC own geothermal projects in the country that can generate up to 300-350 MW at most. But at this point in time we need to rehabilitate some of the power plants of Napocor here, which will take from six months to one year to begin the exploration for potential commercially viable energy resource," he adds.

The Bac-Man geothermal reservation area was established through the Presidential Proclamation No. 2036-A issued in November 1980. It includes part of the municipalities of Sorsogon, Bacon and Castilla in Sorsogon province and Manito in Albay province.

PNOC operates the steam field and supplies steam to the 150 MW power plants of Napocor that are connected to the Luzon grid. Its operation began in 1977.

In 1994, the on-line continuous steam purity monitoring system was perfected in Bac-Man.
And in 1998, the silica deposition inhibitor geogard SX was developed and used commercially in Bac-Man, the only successful silica inhibitor in use in the world.

The Department of Energy has once again stressed that geothermal energy was the future of the country's energy resources.

Aside from being cheap, it appears sustainable because of the reservoir and environmental management programs that are implemented to ensure the sustainability of the geothermal field for the benefit of the present and coming generations.

The country has eight geothermal fields that have been operating since 1979.

These include geothermal plants developed by PNOC-EDC such as the Tongonan geothermal plant in Leyte (112.5 MW), Palinginon in Negros Occidental (112.5 MW), Kidapawan in Cotabato (with 110 MW), Leyte-A with 202 MW for the Cebu grid and another 440 MW for the Luzon grid, and also those being developed by the Philippine Geothermal Inc. such as Tiwi in Albay (with 330 MW) and Makban in Laguna (with 425.7 MW).

In a statement, the PNOC-EDC said it would like to pattern the operations of different potential geothermal energy sources in the country after the successful geothermal operations in Lardello, Italy for, since its pioneering operation in 1904, its geothermal field is still operating and is a favorite tourist attraction.

"Technically and scientifically speaking the life-span of geothermal energy in the country is about 25-50 years. But we really hope that this could be sustainable even up to 100 or more years. For, aside from the royalties to be paid among the stakeholders, it's proven that most of the geothermal plants managed by PNOC-EDC have proven to be very helpful in any social and community livelihood projects and reforestation of trees and other concern areas."

©2005 all rights reserved

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Hello Kitty teaches business to Pugad Baboy

Hello Kitty's guide to business success
By Michael Kanellos Story last modified Tue Jun 21 14:53:00 PDT 2005

Who would have guessed that Hello Kitty was a teen rebel?

The cartoon icon--which has festooned everything from laptops, cell phones and USB hubs to $2 thermoses and a $40,000 Airstream trailer recently on sale at eBay--became a success in part because it came out in the mid-'70s. At that time, it was a fad among teenage girls to act younger than they were, according to Ken Belson, co-author of "Hello Kitty: The Remarkable Story of Sanrio and the Billion Dollar Feline Phenomenon."

"They'd speak in really high voices, write in curlicues. It was the kind of stuff that made parents say, 'Act your age," Belson told an audience at the Japan Society of Northern California on Monday. "Kitty morphed into this symbol of rebellion."

Since then, of course, the feline has gone corporate and played a big part in Japan's surge in design and entertainment. Sanrio pulls in about half of its $1 billion a year in revenue from the character. At any given time, the silent cat can be found on 22,000 different products worldwide. Every month, 600 new Hello Kitty products come out and 600 others are extinguished.

Sanrio makes approximately 6,000 of these products itself, but the rest come from manufacturers that license the image. A winery, for instance, has sold a Hello Kitty beaujolais. Mitsubishi sold a champagne pink minicar for $600 for six years in Japan.

"There is also a samurai Kitty," Belson said.

Sanrio was founded by Shintaro Tsuji, a frustrated bureaucrat whose political connections helped him start a silk company in 1960. Later, Tsuji got the right to distribute Snoopy items in Japan--and Barbie, too. Then, said Belson, "he figured out that animals were big."

Tsuji also realized that making the products cheap--for a few dollars--would allow kids to buy them on their own. A few characters came and went before Kitty came out in 1974, first showing up on a petite purse. Sales at Sanrio doubled for three years in a row.

Over the past three decades, and under the guidance of three separate designers, the character has remained stable. Subtle changes, however, do occur. For a while, the company replaced the hair bow with flowers. "I was tired of it, and if I was tired of it, she must have been tired of it too," one of the designers explained to Belson. Contrary to popular belief, the cat also has a mouth. "It is just buried under the fur," the designer said. (Other little known Kitty tidbits: She lives in London and her weight is equal to that of three apples.)

Hello Kitty's success has tended to overshadow the company's more than 400 other characters.
Cinnamoroll the dog and Chococat are a distant second and third.

Sanrio faces other challenges, as well. Eighty-five percent of Hello Kitty revenue comes from Japan, and Japan's population growth is almost at zero. Piracy is also a huge problem--nearly $800 million worth of counterfeits, mostly from China. TV shows and theme parks have been
only sporadically successful.

There are also detractors who see the character as an embodiment of crass commercialism, antifeminism and Japanese aggression.

Still, the merchandise mill keeps churning out new wares. Last November, when Kitty officially turned 30, one company produced 200,000 commemorative coin sets. Another made $30,000 solid platinum statues, and all 12 were sold, said Belson. In Singapore, McDonalds' customers rioted while waiting in line for Happy Meals featuring Kitty and Dear Daniel, her often absent companion.

"Sanrio will stick Kitty on practically anything," Belson said.

The only three products Kitty won't grace are tobacco, alcohol (except the beaujolais) and firearms, though Sanrio did make a keychain on which she holds a skeet-shooting rifle. It even produced the infamous Hello Kitty vibrator. ("They called it a personal massager," Belson explained.)

What is the secret of the success? "Her eyes are very wide apart, which is safe for kids. Her nose is not beady," Belson said. "When Mickey Mouse came out, he looked more like a rat, but they softened him up."

Copyright ©1995-2005 CNET Networks, Inc. All rights reserved.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Mahangin talaga: Wind Power in Ilocos

This story was taken from

Wind blows Ilocos Norte onto power map
First posted 05:09am (Mla time) June 20, 2005
By Cristina Arzadon, Inquirer News Service

Towering on a strip of shoreline along Bangui Bay are wind turbines that have started generating "clean power" for the province of Ilocos Norte under the Philippines' first wind farm.
The wind farm will feed an initial 7 megawatts (MW) to the Ilocos Norte Electric Cooperative (INEC), equivalent to 40 percent of the province's power requirement.
A first in Southeast Asia, the wind power plant is composed of 15 turbines, each standing 70 meters or equal to the height of a 23-story building. The wind farm can generate a maximum capacity of 25 MW.

"Tapping abundant wind resources in the country's vast coastlines is a significant stride in an environment-sensitive, clean-and-green energy program for the Philippines," said Niels Jacobsen, a Danish investor and president of Northwind Power Development Corp. (NWPDC).

The firm's officials led Philippine energy officials and national and local leaders in a ceremonial switch-on on Saturday of the Northwind Bangui Bay Project along a 3-km shoreline in Barangay Baruyen facing the South China Sea.

Luzon grid
The turbines, all connected to the Luzon power grid, began delivering power to INEC last month.

"As stated in our energy sales agreement, we will extend a 7-percent discount (lower than National Transmission Corp. [Transco] rates) to INEC. This will reduce the power charges being paid by Ilocos residents," said lawyer Ferdinand Dumlao, NWPDC chair.

Dumlao said the firm would put up five wind turbines next year to generate 8 MW of electricity and meet 50 percent of Ilocos Norte's power requirement.

INEC, which has a total power requirement of 26 MW, will continue buying its remaining energy demand from Transco.

Model for country
Governor Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said the country's first wind power plant would serve as a model for more renewable energy sources around the Philippines.

"Ilocos Norte has always been at the end of the supply line (when it comes to power delivery). With the operation of this plant, we look forward to being at the other end of the supply line and avoid the difficulties that we had in the past," he said.

Marcos' mother, former first lady Imelda Marcos, attended the affair to support her son.
"I congratulate my son. He always surprises me. He continues to impress me. I think he is following the great footsteps of his father," Mrs. Marcos said.

"What we need now is energy that is environmentally friendly. The Philippines has no reason to be poor. We've got it all," she said.

Wind power
The wind farm should have started commercial operations early this year but bad weather prevented the firm's technical staff from landing their equipment at Bangui Bay. Most of the turbine materials were shipped from Denmark.

This windswept town was found to be one of three areas in Northern Luzon and of nine other islands and inner corridors across the country that can produce up to 70,000 MW of power.

"The wind is [normally] too strong out here. You don't see it today, but this is one of the very rare days when there is virtually no wind," said Jacobsen, as the rotor blades made a sluggish swirl on Saturday.

The wind in the Bangui coast blows at a speed of 7 meters per second (mps). A wind mapping study conducted by the United States National Renewable Energy Laboratory has found Bangui Bay to be one of the areas across the country where 10,000-sq km of windy land exist with good to excellent wind resource potential.

First in RP
The NWPDC, composed of Filipino and Danish businessmen and engineers, led the way in setting up the environmentally friendly and economical source of power in response to the government's call to establish new and renewable sources of energy.

Former Energy Secretary Vicente Perez Jr. said the Bangui wind farm is a big step toward energy independence while the Philippines is targeting to reach a 60-percent self-sufficiency in energy generation by 2010 by promoting wind power.

"We are on our way to making the Philippines a leader in wind power [in Asia]. Let it not be forgotten that the epicenter of that goal started on the sandy shores of Ilocos [Norte]," Perez said.

After the wind farm in Bangui, 16 other areas will be offered up for investment with a total capacity of 345 MW.

The Philippines has been found to have potential wind power of 76,600 MW, leading other wind
power-producing countries like Germany (14,000 MW potential wind power), Spain and the US (6,000 MW each), Denmark (3,000 MW) and India (2,100 MW).

©2005 all rights reserved

Power to the People: Micro Hydro Power Plants

This story was taken from

Ifugao power plant finalist in Global Environment Awards
First posted 02:47am (Mla time) June 20, 2005
By Gobleth Moulic, Inquirer News Service

A micro-hydro power plant that helps sustain the world-renowned Ifugao rice terraces is among this year's seven finalists for the Global Environmental Awards.

On June 29, Prince Charles will present the Ashden Awards for Sustainable Energy to the Save the Ifugao Terraces Movement (Sitmo) in a reception at the Royal Geographical Society in London for its "outstanding, inspirational and innovative local sustainable energy scheme that protects the environment and [improves] the people's quality of life."

Picked from 80 other projects worldwide, the Sitmo initiative will share the 200,000-euro prize with other finalists from Bangladesh, Honduras, India, Nepal, Nigeria and Rwanda.
Louis Cabbigat, an Ifugao farmer with no formal training in engineering, designed the micro-hydro system for Sitmo. It diverts the water flow through a channel on the terraces in Barangay Gode in Hungduan town to a small turbine on the riverbank.

Gode villagers helped build the 3-kilowatt plant.

Other Ifugao villagers have developed various designs for micro-hydro plants. One is called the "firefly," which is used to charge 12-volt batteries to power lights and recharge small household appliances such as transistor radios.

Another is the "dragonfly," which provides electricity to more than 30 families in the village of Bokiawan in Kiangan town.

Established in 2000, Sitmo is a nongovernment organization staffed mainly by Ifugao volunteers. It was created through the initiative of the Philippine Rural Reconstruction Movement in Ifugao province.

For the Ifugao people, the award is the fruit of their hard work to save the centuries-old terraces amid scant resources from the national government.

Positive recognition
"This is the most positive recognition of the efforts of civil society groups in Ifugao who have been in the sidelines too long in the development arena," said former Ifugao Governor Teodoro Baguilat Jr., now Sitmo president.

"The award and the fund it carries will provide us the impetus to continue our work since we are the only agency, government or nongovernment, that is doing something constructive for the rice terraces," he told the Inquirer in an e-mail message.

Baguilat said the micro-hydro project was "exclusively the brainchild of Ifugaos."

"It helps us realize that we don't always have to run to the government to sort out our problems; we can do it ourselves," he said.

He said the prize money would be used to train local associations to maintain the project.
The micro-hydro project is a cheap, renewable and environment-friendly power system developed by Ifugao's "barefoot engineers" with assistance from foreign volunteers, Baguilat said.

The project was conceived after villagers realized that their precious heritage, the rice terraces, was being abandoned by Ifugao youth who preferred to seek greener pastures in other towns or abroad.

Baguilat said once farms were neglected, the owners were tempted to either sell the timber or were unable to prevent it from being stolen.

With the forest gone to logging, Ifugao villagers noted that the supply of water in the terraces had dwindled. Rains that hit the bare hills had triggered landslides and floods that destroyed properties in lowland areas.

"The micro-hydro project galvanizes the community to enhance its watersheds, thus providing water to the terraces. It is anticipated that power can spur economic development in the rural areas," Baguilat said.

"With the development of more livelihood opportunities, Ifugaos will be convinced to stay in the terrace areas," he said.

National pride
Appealing to national leaders for funding, he said the Ifugao terraces had become a symbol of national pride. They are also among the prime tourist destinations in the country.
Baguilat also urged Ifugao families to make a "collective choice" to have at least one member of the family stay in the province to take care of the terraces.

He said with this commitment from Ifugaos, the agriculture cycle and the accompanying traditions and customs tied to the rice terraces would continue.

In return, those who have gone abroad or are living well in the cities and other urban areas should subsidize the needs of those who have stayed behind so they will continue to safeguard the Ifugao heritage, he said.

Baguilat said the people who started Sitmo in 2000 have remained with the group because they believed in the vision of tapping community support and resources to preserve their heritage.

©2005 all rights reserved

Pagtitiis: Isang Panibagong Konsepto sa mga Politiko

This story was taken from

Pilosopiya ng pagtitiis
First posted 00:01am (Mla time) June 20, 2005
By Manuel L. Quezon III, Inquirer News Service
(Mensahe sa 107-Anibersaryo ng proklamasyon ng kasarinlan, Tierra Bella Homes, Quezon City.)

NOONG nag-aaral pa ako sa Unibersidad ng Pilipinas, isa sa mga tinatakdang kurso ay ang buhay ni Rizal. Habang dumadaan ang mga buwan, nahalata ng aming propesor na nahihirapan ang kanyang klase sa mga teksto na pinapabasa sa amin. Pinagalitan kami nang isang araw noong halatang-halata na hindi namin kayang pag-usapan nang matino ang mga konseptong pampilosopiya ni Hegel, isang Alemang intelektwal. Noong pinagalitan kami, sinabi agad ng isang kaklase ko: "Pambihira naman si Ma'am. Sa ibang Rizal course, hanggang Noli, Fili, at Josephine Bracken lang ang kanilang tinatalakay sapagkat itinatakda lamang ito ng batas." Hindi ko makakalimutan ang sagot sa amin ng aming propesor. Pinaliwanag niya na walang karapatang makilahok sa buhay ng lipunan ang mga indibidwal na nagpakita ng kakulangang intelektwal sa buhay at mga prinsipyo ni Rizal. "Huwag ninyong kalimutan," sabi niya, "na ang buhay ng ating pambansang bayani ay nakaukit sa tatlong prinsipyo: kaalaman, katalinuhan, at pagtitiis." Ang problema daw sa kabataan, minamahal lang namin ang kalayaan. Binasa niya sa amin ang sinulat ng isang makatang Kastila, si Miguel de Unamuno:

"Si Rizal, isang napaka-relihiyosong kaluluwa, ay nadamang ang kalayaan ay hindi isang layunin kundi isang pamamaraan; na hindi sapat para sa isang tao o sambayanan na naisin ang maging malaya kahit na walang tiyak na pagkaunawa ang mabuo kung ano ang magiging silbi ng kalayaan sa kalaunan.

Malinaw naman sa atin na ang buhay at diwa ni Rizal ay tungkol sa kadakilaan na nadudulot ng isang buhay na nagpapakita ng pagmamahal sa kaalaman at katalinuhan, ngunit ang hindi kapansin-pansin ay ang kahalagahan ng kabutihan ng konsepto ng pagtitiis. Sa aking sariling pagsusuri, nakita ko na ang konsepto ng pagtitiis ay hiniram ng aking propesor sa yumaong manunulat na si Leon Ma. Guerrero. Sa isa sa kanyang mga sanaysay, ito ang sinulat niya:

Maari natin itong tawaging pilosopiya ng "pagtitiis." Hindi ito naglalaman ng padalos-dalos na pakikiharap na napapaloob sa Pilipinong konsepto ng "bahala na," na maaring magtulak tungo sa pagkilos, pwedeng padalos-dalos, hinahayaan na lamang ang kalutasan sa Maykapal, ngunit gayonpaman ay pagkilos pa rin, at sa tanong na "Ano ba ang kailangang gawin?" ay maisasagot, "Maaring ito o iyun, o yung isa pang pagpipilian, subukan lamang natin at tignan kung ano ang mangyayari, wala namang mawawala sa atin." Ikinatatakot ko na maari akong bumalik sa aking sinasabing pagka-ordinaryo, at ilarawan ito bilang pilosopiya ni Bonifacio at Aguinaldo, ang pilosopiya ng himagsikan.

Ang "pagtitiis" na mensahe ni Rizal ay kakaiba. Sinulat nya "Kailangan nating makamtan ang ating kalayaan sa pamamagitan ng pagiging karapat-dapat dito, sa pamamagitan ng paghahasa sa isipan at pagpapataas sa dangal ng bawa't isa, pagmamahal sa katarungan, sa kabutihan, sa kadakilaan, kahit hanggang sa kamatayan. Kapag natarok na iyan ng sambayanan, ang Diyos na mismo ang magbibigay ng sandata, at ang mga diyos-diyosan at malulupit na panginoon ay babagsak na parang bahay na gawa sa baraha."

Sa tanong "Ano ba ang dapat gawin?" sasagutin muli ni Rizal: "Magtiis, magtrabaho, at maghintay sa paggabay ng Diyos."

Ano ang ibig sabihin ng pilosopiya ng pagtitiis? Ang sakripisyo at kahirapan na naidudulot ng isang purong pagmamahal sa kaalaman at katalinuhan ang kailangan nating batayan sa pagkakaintindi sa pilosopiyang ito.

Sa ating sariling lipunan, ang isa sa mga pinaka-ginagalang na miyembro ng komunidad ay ang guro. At sa milyon-milyong pamilyang Pilipino, ang isa sa mga pinakamatibay na tradisyon ay ang pagtitipon ng kakayahan ng pamilya upang pag-aralin ang isang kasapi na maging propesyonal, katulad ng ginawa ng kapatid ni Rizal na huminto sa pag-aaral upang magtrabaho para mapag-aral ang kanyang kapatid, o kaya ang pagiging isang kawani sa kompaniyang pangangalakal ng mga dayuhan, katulad ni Andres Bonifacio, o pagiging abogado ni Apolinario Mabini. Ang kaalaman at katalinuhan ay bunga ng paghihirap at pagsusubok. Maraming kailangang daanan ang isang tao upang makatikim ng bunga ng kanyang pag-aaral. Sa hanay ng mga magulang at mga kapatid, maraming taon ang lilipas bago nila makita ang bunga ng kanilang mga sakripisyo, at kahit dumating man ang araw na naging isang doctor, abogado, guro, o inhinyero na ang kanilang anak o kapatid, hindi pa rin nila masisiguro na palaging magiging maginhawa ang buhay ng kanilang angkan. Ngunit, ayon kay Rizal, at sa pananaw ng nakakarami sa ating kapwa Pilipino, mismong ang pagsisikap tungo sa kahusayan ang lumilikha ng tinatawag nating kalinangang panlipunan: ang pagsasabuhay ng kahalagahan ng pagtitiyaga, disiplina, kamulatan, at katapatan hindi lamang sa pamilya kundi sa buong sambayanan.

Ayon kay Guerrero, minana natin sa mga Kastila ang kakulangan ng kalinangang panlipunan.

Ayon nga sa opinyon ng nakararami, ang pamamalakad ng gobyerno at ang paggamit ng kapangyarihan sa ating lipunan ay kopya ng mga kakulangan ng mga Kastila: pulitika bilang laro; kapangyarihan bilang paraan upang mapaunlakan ang mga mabababaw na kagustuhan. Namana naman natin sa Amerika, ayon kay Guerrero, ang materyalismo-ang pagmamahal sa mga bagay at hindi mga prinsipyo, at ang pananaw na ang mga kasangkapan ang nagpapatunay ng kagalingan. Ang pilosopiya ng pagtitiis ay ang kaisa-isang paraan kung paano natin maiiwasan ang nakalalasong pamana ng mga dayuhang naghari sa atin; at ang paraan kung paano natin malulutas ang problema ng kawalan ng pag-asa.

©2005 all rights reserved

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Ecological Megamall: Henry Sy should read this

N.Y. megamall aims to run on clean energy
$20 billion project would include world's largest solar power site
By Amanda Griscom Little
Grist Magazine
Updated: 3:45 p.m. ET June 10, 2005

Reproduced from Grist's Muckraker column on environmental politics and policy.

As the Senate deliberates over the Bush-backed energy bill and enviros send out another round of distress signals over America's obdurate fossil-fuel dependency, who would believe that the next big thing in renewable energy is being driven by a tenacious commercial developer with strong GOP affiliations and 25 megamalls under his belt?

Picture a gargantuan shopping complex in upstate New York — a so-called "retail city" big enough to make Mall of America look like a five-and-dime — with thousands of shops plus restaurants, theaters, hotels, a high-tech research park for commercial R&D, and a sprawling, climate-controlled biosphere for recreation. Yet another environmental abomination, you say?
Not so fast.

Shopping-mall titan Robert Congel, one of the world's biggest commercial real-estate developers, is about to begin building a multibillion-dollar, 800-acre shopping and entertainment complex with all of the above-mentioned amenities, but without — and here comes the part that strains belief — so much as a barrel of oil or a kilowatt of fossil-fuel-generated power. That's right, folks, a 100 percent clean-energy megamall. He vows that it will be the closest thing to an "Apollo Project" for renewable energy that America has ever seen — one that grows the economy, strengthens national security by encouraging energy independence, and protects the environment.

Biodiesel bulldozers
Congel's bulldozers — fully powered by pure biodiesel, along with the rest of his construction equipment — are scheduled to begin leveling the development site in early June on a massive brownfield in Syracuse, N.Y., formerly dubbed "Oil City" for the giant tanks of crude it once housed. On it he plans to erect the optimistically named "DestiNY USA," a retail complex powered entirely by wind turbines, solar panels, fuel cells, and biofuels.

Despite skepticism from a number of Syracuse locals, commercial-development analysts, and renewable-energy experts that the immense and unprecedented scheme can be pulled off, Congel doesn't hesitate to make grandiose predictions for DestiNY, claiming it will attract tourists from around the world and become a paradigm-shifting catalyst for the nation's renewable-energy markets. Muckraker heard these forecasts firsthand during a lavish investor symposium in February at the developer's 6,000-acre retreat an hour north of Syracuse where, in the interest of full disclosure, room and board were provided for a night.

Congel so relishes the symbolism of his project that he is working with a bipartisan cohort of politicians to get a provision into the energy bill that would call on the president to select and recognize "renewable and sustainable megaprojects that can move America toward energy independence," as Rich Pietrafesa, a DestiNY managing director and policy adviser to Congel, explained it. The measure does not entail any subsidies or tax breaks for the venture; it's purely symbolic. "If the White House says, 'This kind of project is fundamental to the future and safety of America,' it will go a long way to accelerate the commercial acceptance of (renewable-energy) technologies," Pietrafesa said.

Tax breaks available
That's not to say that the complex isn't getting any tax breaks. On the contrary, the DestiNY team has managed to secure a staggering raft of tax benefits at every level — city, county, state, and federal — with the help of New York politicians on both sides of the party line, including Sens. Hillary Clinton (D) and Charles Schumer (D) and Gov. George Pataki (R). On the federal plane, Clinton and Schumer went to bat last year to add $231 million to the corporate tax bill to finance $2 billion in "green bonds" for eco-friendly shopping developments. DestiNY is expected to reap a significant portion of these funds due to its unparalleled size.

That is, of course, if the developers can meet the bond requirements, which will be no small task, according to Ashok Gupta, the senior energy economist at Natural Resources Defense Council. "The green guidelines for these bonds are as stringent as I've seen — hardly a giveaway from a policy standpoint," he said. Gupta said he was impressed by the DestiNY team's enthusiasm for the strict guidelines, but wasn't sure the mall builders knew what they were in for. "I have a hard time believing that the DestiNY executives can deliver on their green promise," he said.

"These are not developers who have ever attempted a green project, and it's not clear to me that they understand the extent of their commitment, financially and practically." Even developers who have worked on multiple green buildings would find a project of this scale to be extraordinarily challenging, he said.

Rick Fedrizzi, president of the U.S. Green Building Council, who consulted with the DestiNY executives on their green-building goals, was less skeptical. "At first, it had a lot of us in disbelief. I had never seen anything of this magnitude," Fedrizzi said. "But the DestiNY team kept pushing us further and further to develop a plan that not only meets but exceeds LEED standards," the council's green-building guidelines, considered the benchmark for the industry. Fedrizzi added that Congel "clearly knows how to execute," as evidenced by his decades of success as a developer. "This is his legacy project. He's dead serious about making this into a world-class showcase."

Largest solar project in world
Congel's renewable-energy goals for DestiNY are world-class indeed. To take solar, DestiNY would produce and consume "at a minimum 32 megawatts of solar electricity," according to Pietrafesa. To put this in perspective, 32 MW would not only be the world's biggest solar installation, it would account for one-third of the total solar capacity installed annually in the United States.

The complex would also consume a minimum of 28 MW of electricity from fuel cells (with hydrogen derived from renewables), said Pietrafesa, which in turn would increase the total amount of installed "electricity-generating" fuel-cell capacity in the country by roughly 60 percent. DestiNY would also rely on a minimum daily feed of 120 MW from biodiesel and biomass combined, and 44 MW of wind power — both mind-boggling numbers as well.

Congel has gone so far as to predict that DestiNY could accelerate economies of scale to the point where the price of renewable energy would become cost-competitive with fossil fuels in as little as a decade, thereby revolutionizing the energy industry far sooner than experts forecast.

Renewable-energy advocates are more circumspect. Thomas Leyden, a vice president with the solar-development firm PowerLight Corp., one of DestiNY's potential energy partners, said, "It may be the biggest solar installation and renewables project in the world, but there's no way DestiNY will move markets to that extent within a decade, or even move markets in any substantial way." Leyden pointed out that Germany is adding 600 to 800 MW of solar a year and Japan is in the same ballpark — meaning that DestiNY is a drop in the bucket in terms of global economies of scale. "Nevertheless," he quickly added, "I applaud Congel's vision, and want to be a part of it."

Pietrafesa countered that the megamall's long-term impact on the energy economy will stem from its role as a trendsetter. Congel's team is in discussions with developers nationally and overseas who are eager "to create, as it were, their own DestiNYs," he said. He also predicted that the DestiNY model will "inspire visitors to make clean-energy decisions in their own lives," in turn moving markets from the grassroots.

Cars, consumerism outweigh benefits?But could a trend in green megamalls backfire, if it means more people traveling farther distances to shop? Gupta pointed out that there's a contradiction inherent in a fossil-fuel-free tourist destination that requires a huge volume of fossil fuels to deliver the hordes of visitors expected daily — whether by plane, train, car, or tour bus.

"There's just no way around the fact that the energy associated with traveling to the mall would offset the environmental benefits of a fossil-fuel-free destination."

And then, of course, there's the obvious fact that it's a mall — a massive temple to American-style hyperconsumerism.

Still, all this doesn't negate the breathtaking ambition of Congel's plans to construct a zero-energy retail mecca — a powerful symbol that profits and cheap fossil fuels aren't inextricably entwined. Who else in this country is willing to commit the staggering sum of an estimated $20 billion to such a vision? Who else is willing to grandstand for renewables with a project as eccentric as a zero-energy megamall? At a time when Republican leaders are pushing a myopic, five-year-old energy bill with massive handouts to Big Oil and King Coal, Americans should applaud the optimism and sheer audacity of Congel's dream.

Grist columnist Amanda Griscom Little writes Grist's Muckraker column on environmental politics and policy and interviews green luminaries for the magazine. Her articles on energy and the environment have appeared in publications ranging from Rolling Stone to The New York Times Magazine.
© 2005, Grist Magazine, Inc. All rights reserved.
© 2005

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Apple: To boldy go to Intel while leaving PowerPC

Blogger's Note:

New life for the old 'Star Trek' project
By CNET Staff Story last modified Mon Jun 06 14:41:00 PDT 2005

The possibility of running the Mac operating system on Intel PCs isn't new. In his book "Apple Confidential 2.0," author Owen Linzmayer recounted a drive in the early 1990s to do the same thing--a project dubbed "Star Trek." (Indeed, the idea was initially broached as far back as 1985). The chapter, titled "The Star Trek saga," is reprinted here with permission from Linzmayer and publisher No Starch Press.

The idea of porting the Mac OS to run on Intel processors wasn't new (Dan Eilers, Apple's director of strategic investment, first proposed the idea in 1985), but it gained a renewed sense of urgency after Apple shipped System 7 in May 1991 and it failed to make headway against Microsoft Windows 3.0. Ironically, it wasn't a determined Apple engineer or insightful executive who finally got the ball rolling. That honor goes to a company that few outside of the industry have ever heard of: Novell of Provo, Utah.

Networking giant Novell wanted to provide an alternative to Windows by creating a Mac-like interface for its DR-DOS that ran on Intel-based IBM PC clones but feared getting sued by Apple (at the time, Apple's copyright infringement suit against Microsoft was still very much alive). Rather than risk an infestation of lawyers at its headquarters, Novell decided to find out whether Apple was willing to work together on such a project. On Valentine's Day 1992, Darrell Miller, Novell's VP of strategic marketing, met with several Apple software managers to reveal his company's plan. Excited by the possibilities, the Apple contingent obtained CEO John Sculley's blessing, and the two companies immediately began working together on a project that came to be called Star Trek, because it would boldly go where no Mac had gone before: the Intel platform. When Bill Gates heard of Apple's plan to put the Mac OS on an Intel machine, he responded by saying it would be "like putting lipstick on a chicken."

A group of 4 engineers from Novell and 14 from Apple was put together by Gifford Calenda in suite 400 of a Novell marketing office called Regency One in Santa Clara, directly across the street from Intel's headquarters. That was no accident. Sculley had met with Intel CEO Andy Grove, who agreed to help the Star Trek project because, ever paranoid, he didn't want to be so dependent on Microsoft. Each Star Trek engineer was given an office with a Mac and a 486 PC clone donated by Intel.

On July 17, the Trekkie team was given until Halloween to come up with a working "proof of concept." As an indication of the importance Apple placed upon the project, each engineer would receive a bonus of between $16,000 and $25,000 if they succeeded. "We worked like dogs. It was some of the most fun I've had working," recalls team member Fred Monroe. Free of managerial meddling, the small team not only succeeded in getting the Mac's Finder to run on the PC clones, it also managed to get QuickTime and some of QuickDraw GX working, as well as the "Welcome to Macintosh" startup greeting. Having met their deadline, the Trekkies collected their bonuses and took off for a well-deserved vacation in Cancun, Mexico. In their minds, they had laid the groundwork for a product that could save Apple by allowing it to compete head-to-head with the inferior Microsoft Windows on its own turf: Intel-based computers.

Now it was up to team leader Chris DeRossi and Roger Heinen, VP of software engineering, to convince Apple's executive staff that Star Trek was worth pursuing. On December 4, they presented the Star Trek prototype to the assembled staff, many of whom couldn't believe their eyes. From all outward appearances, here was the fabled Mac OS running on an Intel computer; Star Trek had managed to penetrate deep behind enemy lines. Fred Forsyth, head of Apple's manufacturing business and hardware engineering, saw his career flash before his eyes. If Apple was successful in getting the Mac OS to run on Intel, demand for Apple's hardware would likely slump. Furthermore, the company was committed to moving the Macintosh to the PowerPC, and the Star Trek project was perceived to be a threat to that effort as well. How would it look to partners IBM and Motorola if Apple was porting the Mac OS to Intel processors at the same time it was collaborating on the PowerPC? Over these objections, Heinen was given the go-ahead to have his team attack the detail work to make Star Trek fully functional.

Armed with the executive staff 's approval, Mark Gonzales, the project marketing manager, made the rounds of PC clone vendors to gauge their interest in bundling Star Trek on their systems. Most were intrigued, but argued that they couldn't afford to pay much for it because their contracts for Windows 3.1 forced them to pay a royalty to Microsoft for every computer shipped, regardless of what operating system it contained. (This anticompetitive practice eventually landed Microsoft in trouble with the Department of Justice.)

Worse than the clone makers' tepid reception to Star Trek was Heinen's defection to Microsoft at the beginning of 1993. Without Heinen around to protect the Trekkies, in February the project was moved back onto Apple's campus at Bandley 5 and placed under the control of David C. Nagel, then head of the Advanced Technology Group. The project ballooned from 18 people to 50, and most were forced to write detailed specifications and white papers instead of concentrating on writing code. Then COO Michael Spindler instituted a round of belt tightening. After Nagel had allocated his budget to revising the OS for the PowerPC and updating System 7, there was not enough money left over to fund the completion of Star Trek, which was estimated would take 18 months and $20 million by some accounts. Nagel considered merging Star Trek with another project just getting under way. Code-named Raptor, it was an alternative to the Pink OS mired in the bickering at Taligent and was intended to run on any CPU, not just Intel or Motorola processors. However, the merger plan was deemed infeasible, and Star Trek disappeared into a black hole in June 1993. Work on Raptor would continue and eventually evolve into Copland, the long-promised, never-shipped sequel to Mac OS (see "The Copland Crisis").

Even if the engineers had managed to complete Star Trek, it wasn't as if suddenly every existing Mac application could run on Intel computers. Star Trek was designed to be source-level compatible, not binary compatible, with the Mac OS, meaning Mac applications would have to be recompiled by their developers to run on Intel processors. Those programs that directly addressed the Mac hardware would have to be rewritten. Needless to say, many software publishers were skeptical about the amount of work that would be necessary to port their products to PCs running Star Trek. Besides, a working demo of Star Trek isn't the same thing as a finished product. Remember, Apple engineers cobbled together pretty impressive proof-of-concept demos for Copland and Pink, too, but they never shipped either.

Just because Apple docked Star Trek doesn't mean you can't run Mac applications on other computers. In October 1995, Apple said that adapting the Mac OS for IBM's PowerPC Reference Platform (known as PReP) would be a technically daunting challenge and used that as an excuse to promote its variation, CHRP. That didn't stop Quix Computer, a company outside Lucerne, Switzerland, from succeeding in making the Mac OS work on PReP systems with just a half-dozen engineers. Despite the potential widespread demand for such a product, Apple refused to license the Mac OS to Quix, and as a result, Quix moved on to develop technologies for more receptive companies. Apple couldn't quash Executor as easily. A small company called ARDI in Albuquerque, New Mexico, managed to reverse-engineer the Mac OS and Toolbox to create a version of System 7.0 called Executor that can run on Intel 486, Pentium, and DEC's Alpha processors. Executor is far from a perfect port. It doesn't support PowerPC code, it has no serial port access (meaning AppleTalk and modems won't work), sound input/output is primitive, there are no provisions for internationalization, and neither extensions nor control panels can be used. Nonetheless, Executor runs many standard Mac programs on PCs. Imagine what it could have done with Apple's support.

In late 1997, many of the Star Trek engineers held a reunion in Cupertino following the expiration of their five-year non-disclosure agreements. Rumor had it that there was a new Star Trek NG (Next Generation) project involving an emulator that allowed Mac OS applications to run on Intel hardware under Rhapsody. As the years have passed with no new word on Star Trek NG, it appears to have gotten lost in space again.

Copyright ©1995-2005 CNET Networks, Inc. All rights reserved

Apple fails to meet (a columnist's) expectations
By Michael Kanellos Story last modified Mon Jun 06 14:43:00 PDT 2005

Who ever thought Apple would convert to Intel?

Not me. Eighteen months ago, I wrote that such a deal wouldn't occur because it would potentially allow clone makers to produce cheap Macs and make price comparisons easier between Macs and Windows-based PCs. (I also predicted that IBM services would begin to teeter, so I wasn't a complete bonehead.)

When news of deals began to surface last month, I wrote another article quoting several analysts downplaying any budding relationship. They say animals can sense things early, but I completely ignored the fact that two weeks ago my cat started drinking coffee and fiddling with the band saw.

Still, the predictions weren't that bad. It won't be an easy transition. Sales will likely decline between now and June 2006 when the first Intel-based Macs come out, because few will want to buy a computer out of a product line heading for the tar pits. Clever PC makers and software developers, particularly in emerging markets, will be able to figure out how to put the Mac OS on white-box PCs.

Nonetheless, many decisions are fraught with risk and difficulty. The Austro-Hungarian empire originally didn't enforce its will on the Serbs in 1914 because of the all-consuming importance of the sheep-cheese trade in the Balkans. But fear of losing prestige, worries about Russia and pressure from the Kaiser in Germany all pushed them toward a precarious course of action.

With PowerPC chips, Apple found itself grappling with an ever-widening performance gap. Although PowerPC was somewhat comparable to Intel/Advanced Micro Devices processors in the first part of the decade, those chips began to pull away. Intel and AMD also came out with new, faster, cheaper versions at a faster clip.

The troubles began to come to a head with the G5, the IBM processor that debuted in 2003. Benchmarks from Apple touting the superiority of the G5 were widely questioned.

Apple also began to include a liquid cooling system in its PCs for the processor. Apple fans claimed the cooling system underscored the company's visionary sense of engineering. Dan Hutcheson, CEO of VLSI Research, saw it differently. The liquid system added about $50 to manufacturing costs. Historically, liquid cooling is also a sign that the processor line won't be around for long.

When Apple began to publicly complain about the G5 on conference calls, the companies had entered a danger zone. IBM doesn't cotton well to criticism, particularly from allies. "We invented the cash register! We came up with fractals! We sponsor Christmas specials," is sort of IBM's attitude toward the rest of the world. Big Blue started to hang out with game console makers and listen to old Springsteen records on the car stereo. Divorce suddenly loomed as a possibility.

"As we looked out toward the future, we envisioned the kind of products we'd like to build, but we didn't know how to build (them) with the future of the Power PC road map," Apple CEO Steve Jobs said at the company's developer conference.
Oddly enough, Apple has been gaining market share in the past few quarters despite the G5 issues.

Intel has power consumption problems with the Pentium 4 too, but a shift to dual core cures some of that. Future notebook and desktop chips (Yonah, Merom, Conroe) will further reduce power consumption, which in turn will let Apple come out with sleek, small systems.

There will be other benefits too. Intel increasingly is performing more of the internal engineering work required in getting servers and other computers out the door. It makes reference designs and lines up component manufacturers to adopt certain specs. By taking advantage of some of this work, Apple can likely reduce the delta between its computers--which tends to be about $300--and a similarly configured computer from a PC company.

On the other hand, Apple will have to live with being one of many. The red carpet was unfurled Monday, but a year from now, Apple will be lumped into the same courtesy shuttle as Toshiba, Sony, Gateway and the other "not in the top five" PC makers. Acer sells more computers than Apple and therefore will likely qualify for higher volume discounts.

Apple will also lose one more aspect of its uniqueness, which the company seems to crave, so who knows what will happen next? Feeling a bit dejected, Apple may start casting about again. Look, there's Hector Ruiz of AMD, the company might say to itself. He talks quite a bit about the importance of the emerging market. They're sort of an underdog....

Copyright ©1995-2005 CNET Networks, Inc. All rights reserved.

Apple throws the switch, aligns with Intel
By Ina Fried Story last modified Mon Jun 06 11:04:00 PDT 2005

SAN FRANCISCO--After years of trying to get people to switch to Macs from Intel-based computers, Apple Computer itself has switched.

CEO Steve Jobs announced Monday that Apple will gradually shift its Mac line to Intel-based chips over the next two years. The move confirms a timetable first reported by CNET

Jobs' announcement formed the centerpiece of a keynote speech to Mac programmers attending the company's annual Worldwide Developer Conference here. The conference, expected to draw some 3,800 attendees this year, is a traditional venue for Apple product launches.

In his speech, Jobs revealed that Apple has been developing all versions of OS X since its inception to run on Intel and PowerPC chips.

"Mac OS X has been leading a secret double life the past five years," he said.

The move to Intel marks a tectonic shift for Apple, which has used processors from IBM and Motorola (now Freescale Semiconductor) throughout the life of the Mac. However, the company has changed architectures before, shifting in the 1990s from Motorola's 68000 family of chips to the PowerPC architecture jointly developed by IBM and Motorola.

Jobs also noted the significant effort required earlier this decade when Apple moved from Mac OS 9 to Mac OS X. Although the operating systems are only a digit apart, he noted that the move to a Unix-based system was a major shift. "This was a brain transplant," Jobs said.
The CEO showed a demo of the Tiger operating system on an Intel-based machine, saying, "We've been running on an Intel system all morning."

As for why Apple was making the shift, Jobs pointed both to past problems and to the PowerPC road map, which he said won't deliver enough performance at the low-power usages needed for powerful notebooks.

Two years ago at the same conference, Jobs introduced the first G5-based Power Macs and promised developers that the company would have a 3GHz PowerMac within 12 months. The company still doesn't have a machine that fast. "We haven't been able to deliver," he said. Nor has Apple been able to introduce a G5-based laptop--something Jobs said "I think a lot of you would like."

Things weren't looking better in the coming months, Jobs said, saying that IBM's PowerPC road map would only deliver about a fifth the performace per watt as a comparable Intel chip.

Jobs said there are a lot of products Apple envisions for the coming years, but "we don't know how to build them with the future PowerPC road map."

Jobs added that most of the necessary OS work has been done, but developers will have to do some work to make their applications work on Intel-based machines.

Transcoding tool to the rescue
Programs written will require various amounts of effort--from a few days of tweaking to months of rewriting--depending on the tools used to create them.

Some software that's insulated from the underlying chips, such as widgets and Java applications, will work without modification, Jobs said.

Going forward, Mac developers will be able to create universal binaries of their programs that will run on both types of chips.

In the meantime, Apple has a transcoding tool called Rosetta that will allow programs written for PowerPC chips to run on Intel-based machines. "Every application is not going to be universal from Day 1," Jobs told the audience.

A Microsoft executive said the company would create universal binaries with future versions of Office for the Mac. And Adobe Systems CEO Bruce Chizen told developers they can be "absolutely sure" his company would support Apple's transition.

"The only question I have, Steve, is: What took you so long?" Chizen said.

Also on Monday, Jobs said the next version of OS X, called Leopard, will be released in late 2006 or early 2007. That is the same time frame as Microsoft's next Windows update, dubbed Longhorn, he noted. Microsoft has said Longhorn will be released by late 2006. After Jobs' presentation, Apple Senior Vice President Phil Schiller addressed the issue of running Windows on Macs, saying there are no plans to sell or support Windows on an Intel-based Mac. "That doesn't preclude someone from running it on a Mac. They probably will," he said. "We won't do anything to preclude that."

However, Schiller said the company does not plan to let people run Mac OS X on other computer makers' hardware. "We will not allow running Mac OS X on anything other than an Apple Mac," he said.

Copyright ©1995-2005 CNET Networks, Inc. All rights reserved.

The brains behind Apple's Rosetta: Transitive
By Stephen Shankland Story last modified Wed Jun 08 04:00:00 PDT 2005

A Silicon Valley start-up called Transitive is supplying Apple Computer with a crucial bridge to enable the move to Intel-based computers, but skeptics worry about performance problems that have plagued similar products.

Transitive is providing the engine used in Apple's Rosetta software, which translates software for its current machines using PowerPC processors so it can run on forthcoming Intel-based Macintoshes. "We've had a long-term relationship with them," Transitive Chief Executive Bob Wiederhold said Tuesday.

As a program runs, Rosetta translates its PowerPC instructions into corresponding x86 instructions. Although there are limits to what programs it can translate, the software promises to ease the transition that current Apple customers and software developers face. Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs on Monday demonstrated Rosetta during a keynote address, showing it running PowerPC versions of Adobe Photoshop and Microsoft Word and Excel--three applications essential to the success of the Macintosh line.

News.contextWhat's new:A Silicon Valley start-up called Transitive is supplying Apple Computer with a crucial bridge to enable the move to Intel-based computers.

Bottom line:Apple and Transitive face performance challenges. Success has been elusive for computer makers trying to support one chip's software on a machine with a different chip.

Jobs' Rosetta demonstration went smoothly--he loaded and edited several documents--but both Apple and Transitive face performance challenges with Rosetta. Success has been elusive for computer makers trying to support one chip's software on a machine with a different chip.

"History says that binary translation basically doesn't work," said Illuminata analyst Gordon Haff. "The day may come when someone can do a good enough job with it, but that concept has been thrown out there many times in the computer industry, and it's always fallen flat on its face."

But Los Gatos, Calif.-based Transitive is willing to set high expectations when comparing software compiled natively for the new processor to that compiled for the older processor and running on the new one.

In the case of Transitive's first customer, Silicon Graphics Inc., software for the older processor generally reaches at least 80 percent of the speed of native software, Wiederhold said. But that high score stems partly from the fact that the SGI systems are used for graphics tasks, which have little or no translation penalty, he said.

With more computationally intense tasks, the performance of translated software is between 60 percent and 80 percent of native software, Wiederhold said.

Another skeptic is Nathan Brookwood of Insight 64. "Everybody always has said 50 (percent) or 60 percent and delivered 30 (percent) or 40 percent," he said. Among those who have tried: Digital Equipment Corp.'s FX!32 to run x86 Windows programs on computers with Alpha chips; Hewlett-Packard's Aries software to run HP-UX software for PA- RISC chips on Itanium; and Intel's IA32-EL software to run software for x86 chips on Itanium.

Jobs was satisfied, though. During his demonstration, Jobs said translated software runs "pretty fast," though his presentation's slide said performance is "good (enough)." His demonstration computer had a 3.6GHz Pentium 4 and 2GB of memory.

Apple, though not known for bending over backward to support users of older Macs, has some experience helping users with processor transitions. When it changed from Motorola 680x0 processors to PowerPC in 1994, it included emulation software that would let users run the older software on the newer machines.

And Wiederhold is delighted to have Apple as a customer. "Like many start-up companies with breakthrough technology, there's a lot of skepticism about the technology itself--whether we can meet the claims we discuss," he said. "Getting proof points out there is very important to our success."

One thing that's unclear is whether Rosetta will work in the other direction--translating x86 software for use on PowerPC Macs, something that could significantly expand Transitive's revenue sources. That feature, by ensuring future Mac software will work on older-generation machines, could help convince potential PowerPC-based Mac customers not to put off their purchases.

Transitive last fall released a version of QuickTransit that would support such a feature, but Wiederhold wouldn't comment on whether Apple plans to use it.

However, Apple hopes programmers will create what it calls "universal binaries"--software that includes versions for both processors in one package. Doing so would significantly increase the size of a program, but if programmers followed this practice, an Intel-to-PowerPC translator wouldn't be needed.

Apple has been reluctant to discuss where Transitive fits into the Rosetta technology, though Jobs did confirm in a New York Times interview that Transitive is playing a role.

In an interview with CNET, Apple Senior Vice President Phil Schiller declined to say how much of Rosetta was developed in-house. "I'm not going to talk about details, but it's Apple technology," Schiller said.

Transitive has about 65 employees, with all engineering staff in Manchester, England. Founder and Chief Technology Officer Alasdair Rawsthorne developed the technology in 1995 at the University of Manchester and built a company around it in 2000.

The company has raised $24 million in three rounds of investment--in October 2000, in February 2002 and in September 2004, Wiederhold said. Investors are Pond Venture Partners, Crescendo Ventures and Accel Partners.

Six major computer makers are Transitive customers, and some new ones should be announced in coming months, Wiederhold said. Later this year or early next, the company wants to start selling products to a second class of customer: software companies that can include QuickTransit as a quick way to bring products to new processors.

QuickTransit can be used to bring software to Itanium, PowerPC, and x86 from Intel and Advanced Micro Devices. It can translate software from computers with x86, mainframe, Power or MIPS chips.

AltiVec and other limitations
While Rosetta will work to translate many Mac programs, it does have some important limitations.

"Many, but not all, applications can run translated," Apple said in a paper for developers.

"Applications that run translated will never run as fast as they run as a native binary because the translation process itself incurs a processing cost."

Apple said that Rosetta is "designed to translate currently shipping applications that run on a PowerPC with a G3 processor and that are built for Mac OS X."
Complete coverageApple's new core

However, Apple said Rosetta can't run several types of code: that written specifically to use the PowerPC's AltiVec instructions; that which requires a G4 or G5 chip; programs written for Mac OS 9, which today can run with Mac OS X's "classic" environment; kernel extensions; applications that depend on kernel extensions; and code that inserts preferences in the System Preferences pane.

"How compatible your application is with Rosetta depends on the type of application it is," Apple said. "Applications that have a lot of user interaction and low computational needs, such as a word processor, are quite compatible. Those that have a moderate amount of user interaction and some high computational needs or that use OpenGL are, in most cases, also quite compatible. Those that have intense computing needs aren't compatible."

Apple said that there are no visual indications that an application is being translated. A dialog box in the Finder can be used, though, to see whether an application exists only in a PowerPC binary.

Copyright ©1995-2005 CNET Networks, Inc. All rights reserved

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Basketball Basics: Beyond Dunk, Team First

Blogger's Note: The 2005 NBA Finals is bringing basketball back to what it should be: a game of two teams composed of five players each rather than superstars. A match of coaching strategies worthy of the match between Kasparov and Karpov, rather than the very boring isolation plays of basketball superstars. May the best team wins!

Pistons-Spurs showdown for the hoops purists
Few superstars in an NBA finals where teams focus on defense, passing
The Associated Press
Updated: 5:05 p.m. ET June 7, 2005

SAN ANTONIO - The NBA Finals will be more about substance than style, more about matchups than minutiae.

Neither the Detroit Pistons nor the San Antonio Spurs are all that sexy on the surface, but both are a sight to behold for basketball purists. And if one looks deep enough and factors in a few special subplots, there might just be that little extra something that draws in the masses.

One team is the defending champion. The other was the reigning titlist a year ago.

The only superstar in the series, Tim Duncan, seems dull but is quietly charismatic. The coaches, Detroit’s Larry Brown and San Antonio’s Gregg Popovich, are such good friends that “Pop” was the best man at the wedding of “L.B.” They speak on the phone nearly every day.

Both teams have made defense and team play their calling cards. Neither has a player who will make your jaw drop.

But for those who need a little va-voom to get interested, at least there’s Eva Longoria, the attractive star of the television show “Desperate Housewives” and the current flame of San Antonio point guard Tony Parker. Her show is on ABC, and the finals are on ABC, so we should see more than a little of her.

And then there are the cities, San Antonio and Auburn Hills, home to the Alamo and The Palace, scenes of two of the most epic fights in American history.

You’ve got Detroit’s Rasheed Wallace with his foul mouth and his championship belt, and San Antonio’s Manu Ginobili with his South American flair and his Olympic gold medal.

There are backup point guards from Slovenia and San Juan, wizened veterans in the far corners of each locker room, public address announcers with unique and distinct styles.

See? It won’t just be about X’s and O’s.

“I think you’re going to see another great series,” Detroit’s Chauncey Billups said after the Pistons defeated the Miami Heat in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals to earn the right to face the well-rested Spurs. “It’s going to be a tough challenge. You know, I just can’t wait, man, I can’t wait.”

Game 1 is Thursday night, and Game 2 is Sunday. The series then shifts northward for Games 3, 4 and 5.

All subplots aside, it shapes up as a fair match — maybe even the kind of series that will last seven games, something that hasn’t happened in the NBA Finals since 1994.

San Antonio has been waiting around since finishing off the Phoenix Suns last Wednesday night, and the Spurs finally got to go through a practice Tuesday knowing exactly who stands in the way of them winning their third championship in seven years.

That team, Detroit, is a formidable obstacle.

Start with Ben Wallace, because with the Pistons you can really start with anyone. They are a team built around the concept of being a team.

Big Ben stands 6-foot-9, or 6-11 to the top of his hair on nights when he blows out his ’fro. He’s just coming off a series in which he had to defend Shaquille O’Neal all by himself because he plays for a coach who double teams about as often as he makes lifelong commitments.
Wallace was the NBA’s defensive player of the year, and now he’ll be asked to stop a two-time MVP in Duncan whose low-post offensive game is much more refined and multifaceted than O’Neal’s.

“Duncan is a great player. He’ll eventually be a Hall of Famer. You know, Shaq is Shaq, man. That’s a tall task,” Wallace said.

Then there’s Richard Hamilton, the Pistons’ leading scorer. Never has there been a faster player on a slow-paced team, a guy who sprints 2 to 3 miles when he feels like having a good offseason workout. The man in the mask has scored at least 20 points in all but one of the Pistons’ 18 postseason games, and he gets his points the old-fashioned way by coming off screens and knocking down mid-range jump shots.

But Hamilton has a formidable obstacle trying to stop him, too, in Bruce Bowen, the Spurs’ defensive specialist who will try to stick to Hamilton like a sweat-drenched T-shirt.

It’s one of many matchups that will make this series so interesting from a tactical standpoint.

Centers will be guarding forwards, forwards will be defending guards, and the adjustments that will be made by the two wise old coaches will go a long way toward determining which team emerges on top.

Oddsmakers installed San Antonio as a slight favorite to win the series, a factor that the Pistons will undoubtedly seize upon as the latest sign that people still question their legitimacy.

“You know, we won the championship last year and people still didn’t give us that much of a chance in this series (against Miami),” Billups said. “I think our balance is what inevitably hurt them and beat them.”

Indeed, the Pistons have five starters who play well together, each of whom can hurt an opponent in different ways on any given night. Aside from Ben Wallace and Hamilton, there’s the floor leadership and steadiness of Billups, the inside-outside game of Rasheed Wallace, and the long-armed menace of small forward Tayshaun Prince.

The Spurs are built along the more traditional lines of what constitutes a championship team, their fortunes more often than not riding on the talents of Duncan rather than the contributions of their secondary scorers, Ginobili and Parker.

The Spurs proved in the Western Conference finals against Phoenix that they can adapt to the style of their opponent and still succeed, but now they’re about to go against an opponent that plays defense with the same abandon as the Suns did on offense.

“It’ll be a tremendous challenge for us. They’re the champs, and they’re the champs for a reason, so we’ve got our work cut out for us, that’s for sure,” Popovich said.

© 2005 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

© 2005

Spurs vs. Pistons
By Michael Ventre contributor

RESULTS, SCHEDULEGame 1: Detroit at San Antonio, June 9, 9 p.m. (ABC)Game 2: Detroit at San Antonio, June 12, 9 p.m. (ABC)Game 3: San Antonio at Detroit, June 14, 9 p.m. (ABC)Game 4: San Antonio at Detroit, June 16, 9 p.m. (ABC)Game 5: San Antonio at Detroit, June 19, 9 p.m., if necessary (ABC)Game 6: Detroit at San Antonio, June 21, 9 p.m., if necessary (ABC)Game 7: Detroit at San Antonio, June 23, 9 p.m., if necessary (ABC)

OUTLOOKThe Spurs and Pistons are ranked 1-2 in the NBA in defense, respectively. That should give you an idea of what type of series to expect.

Although these clubs pride themselves on defense, they also have exceptional balance. Each team has an array of offensive weapons. And both teams are experienced. The Spurs have the series’ lone superstar in Tim Duncan, but the Pistons have enough overall strength to compensate.

San Antonio might be the hungrier team, since it is coming off a disappointing showing against the Lakers last year in the conference semifinals. Duncan’s sore ankle seems to be holding up. He isn’t 100 percent, but he’s close, which is bad news for opponents, including the Pistons.

The Pistons, though, have a lot of pride. They’re the defending champs. They don’t always seem as if they’re peaking at the right time, but they manage to get the job done, as they did against Miami when they won the final two games, including a gutty performance on the road in Game 7.

These teams are almost mirror images of each other in terms of style, so it will come down to which works for the best shots, executes and doesn’t turn the ball over against the opponents’ frenetic defense.

SEASON RECORDSSpurs: 59-23 (1st in Southwest Division)Pistons: 54-28 (1st in Central Division)

SEASON SERIESSeries tied, 1-1Dec. 3: at San Antonio 80, Detroit 77March 20: at Detroit 110, San Antonio 101

HEAD TO HEAD PLAYOFF HISTORYNever met in playoffs.

KEY INJURIESSpurs: No serious injuries.Pistons: No serious injuries.

VEGAS ODDS TO WIN NBA TITLESpurs: 8-5Pistons: 2-1


PISTONS (Complete team statistics):F Tayshaun Prince: 14.7 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 3.0 apg, .487 FG%, .807 FT%F Rasheed Wallace: 14.5 ppg, 8.2 rpg, 1.8 apg, .440 FG%, .697 FT%C Ben Wallace: 9.7 ppg, 12.2 rpg, 2.38 bpg, .453 FG%, .428 FT%G Richard Hamilton: 18.7 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 4.9 apg, .440 FG%, .858 FT%G Chauncey Billups: 16.5 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 5.8 apg, .442 FG%, .898 FT%

SPURS (Complete team statistics):F Tim Duncan: 20.3 ppg, 11.10 rpg, 2.64 bpg, .496 FG%, .670 FT%F Bruce Bowen: 8.2 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 1.5 apg, .420 FG%, .634 FT% C Nazr Mohammed: 9.5 ppg, 7.6 rpg, 1.12 bpg, .480 FG%, .556 FT%G Tony Parker: 16.6 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 6.1 apg, .482 FG%, .650 FT%G Manu Ginobili: 16.0 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 3.9 apg, .471 FG%, .803 FT%

TOP BENCH PLAYERSPISTONS:F Antonio McDyess: 9.6 ppg, 6.3 rpg, .513 FG%, .656 FT%G Carlos Arroyo: 6.6 ppg, 1.5 rpg, 4.0 apg, .389 FG%, .799 FT%

SPURS:G/F Brent Barry: 7.4 ppg, 2.3 rpg, 2.2 apg, .423 FG%, .837 FT%F Robert Horry: 6.0 ppg, 3.6 rpg, .419 FG%, .789 FT%

COACHES:SPURS: Glenn Popovich (455-232 overall, 65-38 playoffs)PISTONS: Larry Brown (987-741 overall; 97-85 playoffs)

SPURS: Tony ParkerHe has a quickness advantage against the Detroit guards, especially Chauncey Billups. When Parker is in a groove, he’s almost impossible to stop. The Pistons surely will come up with some sort of scheme to limit his penetration. But you can only hold Parker down for so long. If he asserts himself and has a superb series, it could make all the difference for the Spurs.

PISTONS: Ben WallaceOne of the keys to beating the Spurs is controlling the boards, and Big Ben is the Pistons’ best rebounder. He will be battling both Tim Duncan and Nazr Mohammed for rebounds. He has to keep Duncan from getting second shots when the Spurs have the ball, and he has to try and get as many putbacks on the offensive glass as he can. A formidable showing by Wallace inside will help prevent the Spurs from getting second chances, one of their strengths.

SPURS: They will have had more rest than the Pistons, having dispensed with the Phoenix Suns in a fifth game of the Western Conference finals last Wednesday. Sometimes that works against a team, turning it stale. But in this case, Duncan’s ankle could use the time off. A healthy Duncan will be needed if the Spurs hope to outlast the tenacious Pistons.

PISTONS: Conversely, the Pistons will go from a Game 7 victory in Miami on Monday to Game 1 of the NBA Finals on the road at San Antonio on Thursday. For the Pistons, this is a good thing, because at times in this postseason they have seemed flat and uninspired. So turning around and having to play in three days will help to maintain Detroit’s competitive edge.

PREDICTIONThis is one of the most evenly matched NBA Finals in years. The teams are accomplished on both the offensive and defensive ends. And both are experienced. But although the Spurs have the home court, the Pistons will prevail, although it probably will go the full seven.
© 2005 NBC


Friday, June 03, 2005

An Energy-efficient House is a Greenhouse

Blogger's Note: A pleasant introduction to a Green House. Read on.

A green house is a healthy home
First posted 11:09pm (Mla time) June 03, 2005 By Amado de Jesus, Inquirer News Service

A COMMON misconception regarding green architecture is that it is expensive to apply its concepts on small-scale projects and even just houses. People think that it is only practical for the developed countries and they cite that highly sophisticated "green" homes will not be within reach of the Third World's limited means.

Nothing could be farther from the truth! Practicality has always been a guiding principle behind "green" architectural practices. It is only a matter of finding the most practical techniques that will make a certain project "green."

In addition, green architecture is an effective answer to many of the environmental problems that plague communities all over the globe.

For example, not too many people are aware of the health benefits of a green home.

Healthy home
The first basic feature of a green home is that it is a healthy home. By this, we mean that occupants do not get sick by staying indoors. In many cases, the air indoors is more polluted than outside air.

A green home has good indoor quality. It has very good ventilation flushing out stagnant air and pollutants that might harm its occupants. In short, it is bright, airy and cheerful.
Indoor air quality is particularly acute in bathrooms and kitchens with very poor ventilation due to excess moisture in the air. This in turn condenses on cold surfaces where mold is formed. Molds cause various respiratory illnesses.

One way to improve conditions is by installing large window openings or installing exhaust fans. Another way is to put ceramic wall tiles only in wet areas such as shower stalls and around the lavatories. A common practice is to put wall tiles from floor to ceiling. This has the same effect as a hermetically sealed bottle that can cause molds and a "stuffy" feeling due to lack of ventilation. By leaving many walls without tiles we allow the walls to "breathe" making occupants more comfortable.

Electromagnetic field
A green house is kept as far away as possible from high-voltage power lines to avoid exposure to electromagnetic fields. This is done to protect its occupants. Studies have shown that people who live near these power lines, especially children, are more likely to contract leukemia.

A green home is designed to eliminate exposure to EMF indoors. EMF indoors is caused by many electrical appliances and devices that are used inside the home. Whether in the living room, the den or the bedroom, electromagnetic fields radiate and cause people to get sick without their knowing it. Electrical devices that are known to produce high electromagnetic fields are computers, microwave ovens and hairdryers.

The bedroom is one area where people are most likely to be exposed to EMF as these devices are located around the beds and extended periods of time are spent close to them. For example, using an electric thermal blanket means exposure to a very heavy dose of EMF.

An effective way to reduce or remove this threat in bedrooms is by positioning the electrical devices as far away as possible from the sleeping areas, especially around the headboard.

Another way is by installing a separate electrical line that can be switched off when we sleep and allowing only a few night lamps around the room. A very effective way to reduce exposure to EMF is by creating a wire-free area around the bed.

Natural materials
A green home is constructed of natural materials. This means, materials that do not emit toxic fumes that may harm the occupants. Time was when people had to content themselves with noxious fumes from strong paints and varnish. Today, more and more water-based, odorless paints are being used and this may be the type that will be commonly used in the future.

Strong toxic wood preservatives that contain harmful chemicals are not found in a green home. Besides being a health risk, these types of materials threaten the environment when they are disposed in landfills because they leach and this eventually finds its way into the aquifer, or underground reservoir.

Daylighting also helps protect the health and well-being of its occupants. Daylighting provides superior quality of light. Without sufficient natural light, people become subject to depression, gloom and sleep loss. The most effective cure is naturally exposure to more light. It is said that the room the sun does not enter, the doctor does.

Noise pollution
Noise pollution is a big source of stress in today's modern world. This is why many big cities install sound barriers to shield houses near the highways from noise.
A green home can use living screens like shrubs, earth mounds and trees.

Good design
Finally, the idea of a well-conceived green house design cannot be overemphasized. This can include flexibility, clarity in organization of the rooms, scale, proportion and openings that reveal landscaped areas.

A return to traditional craftsmanship can also contribute to the overall quality of a green house, rather than the mass-produced but poorly built houses that have sprouted in recent times.

(The author is vice chair of the board of judges of the Asean Energy Awards and is a practicing green architect. For comments or inquiries, e-mail Email

©2005 all rights reserved

Improving Philippine Education Through Synergia

Blogger's Note: The two articles in this post illustrates the problems and hopes for Philippine education system. The government-run colleges and universities must reengineer themselves and focus/target industry and market requirements while making themselves affordable and profitable at the same time. The University of the Philippines (UP), recognizing that even if 95% of the government - from the President of the Republic of the Philippines to lowly paper-pushing clerk - came from its bellows will never give it the funds to sustained it, must now learn to cull, combine and create new programs that would make it sustainable. For example, we have a European Languages program. It should be complemented by an Asian Languages program. UP should also recognize that given its sheer number of campuses, each one should be given the focus to specific groups of industries/markets to make it more sensible rather than every campus offerring the same program. An example is the duplication of engineering programs of UP Diliman campus (electrical, chemical, electronics and communication, industrial, mechanical, etc.) by UP Los Baños campus. I think UPLB should concentrate in agricultural engineering, geotechnical/geologic/geohazard engineering, biotechnical/medical engineering and combined chemical-sanitary-environmental-safety engineering (Environmental and Safety Engineering should be its name). This are mere suggestions and hopefully the powers-that-be can read this note for them to think about. How about Community Development program for UP Mindanao? Leadership and Teambuilding for UP Open University? I hope UP can be the innovate and dynamic university it once been.

First posted 00:45am (Mla time) June 04, 2005 By Inquirer News Service

THE COMMISSION on Higher Education has reported that 10 percent of college students who would have enrolled in private colleges and universities have gone to state and local institutions because of financial difficulties. These students could not anymore afford the prohibitive cost of tuition in private schools, which has been compounded by the financial troubles plaguing the pre-need industry. The phenomenon puts extra pressure on state and local colleges and universities (SCUs and LCUs).

In a way, the pressure may yet compel reforms in SCUs and LCUs. Public institutions of higher learning have no choice but to absorb the exodus because they are, by virtue of their being established by national or local legislation, precisely meant to widen access to education.
The exodus should not be viewed as an argument for setting up more SCUs and LCUs. Even the Senate committee on education headed by Sen. Juan Flavier has called for a moratorium on this. Many of these schools have been set up for political reasons. They basically are vote-getters while providing an excuse for legislators and other officials to tap into the national government budget. While they respond to problems of access to education, they hardly answer the need for quality education and sustainability.

In order to deliver quality education, SCUs and LCUs must consider the bottom line: whether or not they have the resources to deliver it. The problem of resources is what compels private schools to increase tuition at the risk of losing students.

If private schools have only tuition with which to mobilize resources, public schools have subsidies and tuition paid as a minimum counterpart by their clientele. It could not be otherwise.

No matter how much student activists argue that education is a right of citizens that should be provided free by the state, there's no gainsaying the fact that providing education entails costs that cannot be shouldered alone by the state. And since a college degree is a ticket to gainful living, education may be viewed as an investment that should be made not alone by the state, but also by the person who would ultimately benefit from the investment. Education requires a sharing of costs.

Student activists will always protest any increase in tuition especially in state universities, like the Philippines. But even the premiere state university should have the wherewithal, aside from the shrinking subsidy from the state, to provide sustainable quality education. Its socialized tuition scheme, in fact, hardly even begins to correct the fact that children coming from families that can afford to pay the higher tuition charged by private schools corner a disproportionate share of the freshman slots every year, easing out the children of the poor who are in most need of subsidized education. The highly political call for the University of the Philippines (UP) to stop increasing tuition, if not abolish it altogether, is purely politicking.

It is in fact politics that stops UP from delivering sustainable quality education. Its Diliman campus is noted for having buildings for just about every department or program (cottage industry and small and medium-scale businesses, industrial relations, etc.), funded usually with the help of politicians. Many are either half-empty or half-full, depending on how you want to see it, but the campaign to seek funds for new buildings just doesn't seem to end.

But once the buildings are set up, there's hardly any budget for their maintenance. So while new buildings are being constructed left and right in Diliman, the old Arts and Sciences building is decrepit and sagging, its rooms without locks, its toilets plagued by problematic plumbing and its ceilings crashing down in some cases. UP Diliman has achieved the impossible in Philippine education: building a school complex without educational facilities.

Proper resource mobilization and effective use of available resources will enable UP to deliver education that is both quality-driven and sustainable. Effective management will also allow the state education system to allocate more resources to other SCUs such as the Polytechnic University of the Philippines and the Philippine Normal University, which are by and large delivering good education but whose systems are saddled by too many students and too little resources.

Synergeia way
First posted 00:45am (Mla time) June 04, 2005 By Solita Collas-Monsod, Inquirer News Service

THE START of the school year always brings with it horror stories concerning the education sector. Complaints reach their peak about problems such as the lack of classrooms, buildings, textbooks, teachers, etc.-their poor quality especially -- as well the declining share of education in the government budget, the declining per capita expenditure on students. That's the bad news.

But let us focus on some good news, for a change. And that is that local communities, if they but realize it, have the power to improve the education of their children. What's more, the results can be seen almost immediately; the children are pre-tested and post-tested at the beginning and end of the academic year, respectively.

This is the message of Synergeia, a foundation that has made significant progress, despite its relatively young age (founded in 2002), in improving the academic performance of elementary-school children in the areas where it operates.

That is not all. In the process, empowerment takes place, not only for the children, who realize there's nothing wrong and everything right with them, but also for parents, who realize that they can have a large say in the priorities of school budgets and be active participants in their child's schooling, and the teachers, who benefit from professional teacher development programs.

What is the track record of the communities that have partnered with Synergeia in school reform programs? Take Naga City, whose mayor, Jess Robredo, sits on the board of Synergeia. In one year, the test scores of its students in the program improved by 17 percentage points in English, by 15 percentage points in Math, and by 15 percentage points in Science.
Naga is not a fluke. The same thing has happened in Lipa, where Mayor Vilma Santos is an enthusiastic participant. In 2004, the percentage of independent readers (those who can answer 5 out of 5 questions testing comprehension) increased from 25 percent to 54 percent, while the percentage of frustrated readers (cannot answer any questions) decreased from 42 percent to 13 percent.

There are other success stories, particularly in reading proficiency.

Considering how young Synergeia is, its progress has been phenomenal. Its Education Governance Program is being implemented in more than 250 municipalities, with 450,000 children enrolled in a Synergeia reading and mathematics program. This is expected to expand to 19 new areas this year.

What accounts for its success? Fr. Bienvenido Nebres, SJ, who has done a great deal of research on Philippine education (it was from him that I was first made aware of the education crisis in the country), has stated categorically that there are only two factors that explain the difference between a good school and a bad school in the Philippines: a good principal and a supportive local community. Synergeia early on realized that this was indeed the case, and has focused on the second factor and sought to create supportive local communities, using a participatory and community-based approach.

Further, it has learned that a supportive local community doesn't mean merely an abundance of financial resources from the local government. Makati City, for example, is one of the most well endowed with financial resources for education, yet its students rack up some of the lowest scores in the standard achievement tests. Adequate resources are certainly necessary, but not sufficient. You need the active participation of the parents, teachers, and local leaders as well. It is they who set the priorities and the targets.

The best springboard for getting all these, Synergeia finds, is through the local school boards. Hence, the move to "reinvent" them, so that they can be used to mobilize community support for the implementation of school reforms.

What is significant is that any failure of the national government in education doesn't have to spell doom for education reforms as far as resources are concerned. The Special Education Fund Tax (SEF), which is a one percent tax on the assessed value of real properties imposed by local governments to help finance public education, is on the average under-collected (only 54 percent of the potential amounts), and can be very inefficiently used. A proactive school board changes all that, as Bulacan Gov. Josie Cruz will tell you.

What is the first step in mobilizing the local community? I recently had the opportunity to see how it is done, at the launch of the Synergeia program in Upi, Maguindanao. About 600 townsfolk -- parents, teachers, school nurses, local officials and DepEd administrators -- gathered to participate in their first-ever Education Summit.

When Mayor Ramon Piang reported that 60 percent of Upi students drop out after Grade I, and that based on reading proficiency they are two grades behind, they were aghast. And in workshops, the consensus was that the survival rate must be improved to 90 percent, and learning scores should be increased to 90 percent.

How? Through a two-pronged approach: improved learning systems in the subject areas (i.e., teacher training, provision of workbooks) and strengthened community support by training parents to be active participants in their children's schooling.

I have no doubt whatsoever that Upi children are going to be doing much better in school, thanks to more active parents, better trained teachers, and enlightened local officials.

That has got to be good news.

©2005 all rights reserved