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Jane Uymatiao

Jane T. Uymatiao is known as @citizenjaneph. She spent more than 15 years as an IT auditor/consultant at an accounting firm and another 2.5 years as VP-Head of a bank's Corporate Planning Division. She has been blogging for about 15 years now and is one of the early adopters of social media. She believes in active citizen engagement, pushing for transparency and good governance, and is regularly tapped to speak on social media-related topics. Her personal blogs are: yoga and wellness (, tech (, lifestyle (, and personal ( Jane has a Master’s degree in Business Administration, major in International Business with a focus on Strategic Management, from the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania. She is also a certified yin yoga teacher. More details at Disclosure for Elections 2022: Jane is a second cousin of Alex Lacson, who is running for senator. Updated: November 2021

Why we need DepEd’s K-12 program

“We are the LAST country in Asia and one of only three countries in the world with a 10-year pre-university program.”(Source: SEAMEO Innotech 2011)

This was a statement in one of the K to 12 (K-12) slide handouts distributed by Department of Education (DepEd)Secretary Bro. Armin Luistro at a media press conference and open forum last December 12, 2011.

This came as a shock as we still hold with pride the fact that we are an English-speaking nation and that other Asian countries used to send their children to our country in the 60s and 70s to study since the Philippines was a premier educational destination. What has happened to us since then? How did we get from being the country of educational choice to last place? Why are our students now ranked among the lowest in Asia when it comes to key subjects like Math and Science?

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An open letter to the President

Dear Mr. President,

As of this writing, you have already visited the devastated areas of Cagayan de Oro, Iligan and Dumaguete and relief efforts by the government are in full swing. For that I am happy, knowing that this meant a lot for the Sendong victims who needed to see you.

So what am I writing this open letter for?

Because, Mr. President, whether we like it or not, this won’t be the last storm to hit us and with so many areas identified as flood-prone, compounded by climate change, it won’t also be the last time your leadership will be called to fore.

Mr. President, the wheels of your agencies may immediately go into action during natural disasters but I am afraid that that alone is not enough. We need to FEEL that you are one with us. That means being seen and heard at the onset of a crisis.

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CHEd….Weather Art Thou?

You’d think that after decades of typhoons and floods, we’d be experts by now, knowing when to call for class suspension. But why is it that every time we are hit with rains, parents are scrambling all over trying to find out whether classes will be suspended or not?

In the pre-internet days, one had to rely on radio and TV to learn if classes were suspended. Back then, radio and TV stations would call the schools to ask if they were suspending classes. Representatives of the schools would also call the stations themselves to relay this information.

But now with the internet, Facebook, Twitter and mobile phones, it boggles the mind why confusion still happens each and every time we are pounded by winds and rains.

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Tax evaders – beware!

April 15 is near and for many, this is when we bite the bullet and shell out precious, hard-earned money to pay our income taxes.

Those of us who are employed often grumble underneath our breath about dutifully paying taxes (automatically withheld from us) while knowing many get away without doing so. This, and the knowledge that so much of our taxes leak out into the pockets of corrupt officials, makes tax time that much more painful.

In a recent forum on Understanding Government Revenues, Department of Finance (DoF) Sec. Purisima said it is shocking to discover that the list of the top 1,000 taxpayers does not include people you’d expect there. He said he was particularly interested in what he calls the “Invisible 500”.

The day may not be long in coming, if this administration executes its plans as described by Sec. Purisima, when tax evaders will slowly fade away and revenue collection starts to improve and become efficient.

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Sec. Rogelio Singson speaks up on the Maynilad-PAGCOR issue

Recently, news broke out about an alleged expose on a “midnight deal” that supposedly happened between Maynilad (then headed by now DPWH Sec. Rogelio Singson) and PAGCOR.

In a briefer published by The Official Gazette of the Republic of the Philippines, the issue was described as “allegations that Secretary Rogelio Singson as then president of Maynilad Water Services Inc., participated in a water concession midnight deal between Maynilad, the MWSS and PAGCOR involving the Bagong Nayong Pilipino Entertainment City in Paranaque City that would have supposedly deprived the government of at least P3.6 billion in water fees.”

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BlogWatch gets media accreditation for inauguration

In a historic and unprecedented move, BlogWatch requested for and has been accredited by the Inauguration Accreditation Committee overseeing all the logistics for the inauguration on June 30 of President-Elect Benigno Simeon Aquino III and VP-elect Jejomar Binay.

Eight bloggers that included three production members were duly accredited by the Inauguration Committee. Noemi Lardizabal-Dado (Project Editor), Dine Racoma, Sonnie Santos, Brian Ong, and this writer were accredited as bloggers-writers while the production members accredited were Anton Sheker (blogger/photographer), Pocholo Gonzales (blogger for video coverage) and Peter Baltazar (videographer assistant).

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BlogWatch — Behind the Scenes

All you have seen of BlogWatch so far have been articles written by its blogger-writers on a vast range of topics on the different candidates, as well as various interviews or fora. Not much is known about what Blog Watch is really all about – ordinary citizens, who just happen to be bloggers, using technology within our means, to bring voter education to netizens (citizens on the net).

Tools of the trade

Let me take you behind the scenes and give you a flavor of what BlogWatch is all about.

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Know your ballot

I was invited to attend the Bagong Botante event last November 13 together with other bloggers. This was an event I was itching to go to because I wanted to see with my own eyes the counting machine and the ballot to be used in the coming 2010 elections. Yes, I had a lot of questions.

COMELEC and Smartmatic people came out in full force. Among those in the crowd were COMELEC spokesperson James Jimenez, Cesar Flores (President, Smartmatic-Asia Pacific Region), Rafael Cuenca (Smartmatic Voter Education Website Coordinator), Gene Gregorio (Smartmatic Spokesman & PR Manager) and Miguel Avila (also with Smartmatic).

If you’re one of those voting for the first time and you’re wondering whether voting is going to be complicated, or if you have some skepticism about the ballot’s being secure, I’ll let you in on some of the things I learned about the ballot that night.

What the Ballot Looks Like

The ballot is still in paper form just like the old ballot that we are used to. But it now looks more professional and is roughly the size of an A4 sheet of paper. The names of the candidates running for national positions are printed back-to-back. Here is a sample of the ballot.

(Ballot – Front – Click to enlarge)

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