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Entitlements

THERE is an American quote apropos for my subject, “It is hard to put the toothpaste back into the tube, once you squeeze it out”. This serves as a caveat to proponents of bleeding-heart but small minded entitlements, and how they have managed to influence matriculating a most expensive policy as part of expected benefits granted by government. I recall back in a post-graduate course in the late 90s, a professor from a premiere State University propounded her resistance to “free education for all”. Aware of the activist milieu she was mentoring, I was a bit surprised, and that is an understatement, how her position was 180 degrees separated from the predatory voices around her and the provision of the decades old Cory Constitution granting general schooling for everyone.

My professor was advocating for reinforcing generational and tested Filipino values embedded in our families, and Philippine society, by recognizing deserving individuals, and those who have shown promise in their academics, to have greater access to expanded scholarship programs and free education. Meaning our children must work hard in their studies first, for them to deserve qualifying for State appropriations. The concept of reinforcing “burning the midnight candle” remains an enduring cultural mantle, before a reward system kicks-in as an entitlement. Sadly, this has been taken-over by the “in aid of election” thinking that government must pay for everyone’s education in public schools and State educational institutions. Most often, the attitude is one of a “free lunch”, when there are no free lunches! Productive sectors and the tax payers dig into their pockets for what is now a costly but common privilege.

The budgetary hemorrhaging worsened by providing marginalized families monthly stipends to keep their children in school! A program of “free feeding” to be introduced in State schools? Imitating the US with unpaid Voucher System running into the billions of dollars. Examining the nutritional content of food served, and spending more? Free school uniforms? Free school bus services? Free land? Free Housing? Etc. (Erik Espina)

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