Gearbox (Autocar Handbook, 13th ed, 1935) HUis a milestone for the Philippines – something I did not expect. Kudos to Senator Bam Aquino. Thanks to the others who had the sense not to torpedo it. Inspite of Aquino. The Philippine educational system may soon be able to produce the right kind of people for every level, thanks to having K-12 as well. You don’t only need the high-level theoreticians and academics. They are needed, but you need the other levels to distill the theory into useful practice – engineers, managers – and skilled workers.

Different skill levels are needed

K-12 was luckily not grounded by President Duterte, neither was K-12+ which is the special pilot project in cooperation with Germany. Yes, it produces skilled workers for German firms in the Philippines. Leftists, please protest. Call them exploiters. Do you prefer to have people in sweatshop jobs, begging for houses like Kadamay? Even the Russians knew how to build an industrial landscape within just a generation. The Chinese needed two, but Filipino leftists are for the most part I think too stupid for that.

Bavaria where I live has Fachhochschulen or Polytechnic Universities in unlikely places like Deggendorf, Rosenheim or Regensburg. I know some excellent IT people from these polytechnics, people of relatively humble peasant origins. Bavaria was a mainly agricultural state back in 1945. One level “below” engineers you have technicians. On the job training, the German dual system called Lehre – or the K-12 TVET or K-12+ which are similar – makes for highly skilled workers. Industries need these people.

Examples of tropical countries that excel

Or what would BMW in Munich be without all the levels of people in it? Or MBB in Hamburg, which had Indonesia’s Dr. Habibie in a leading position (link)? Finally, it was Habibie who was among those who got companies like Indonesian Aerospace (link) off the ground. Off course they geared up essential skills by building planes in license for MBB and the Spanish CASA which also once started off subcontracting for German firms – and is now part of Airbus Military, building the A-400M (link).

Of course the capability to build airplanes is a test of how an economy is able to get people to work together productively – something Filipinos still need to learn – FAST. Even Brazil has its own airplane manufacturer – Embraer – and I can attest to their planes being good. Or add to Indonesia and Brazil the space program of India to show that mastery of own complex industries is not something people in tropical zones cannot do. It is not just Europeans, North Americans and North Asians who can excel.

Working with the right partners

Will China ever help the Philippines jump-start anything industrially the way the German MBB and Spanish Casa, both Airbus now, did for Indonesia Aerospace? First of all, the country has to have the will to get started, nobody will spoon feed you. Filipino old-school leftists, stop complaining about exploitation, that is an old story. Second, the senior partner has to respect you. Germany respected Dr. Habibie, a former MBB VP. And Chinese often look down on brown Southeast Asians, that is well known.

Japan has been a good partner to the Philippines after the war. I even believe that neighbors like Indonesia and Vietnam would work together well with Filipinos. All that Filipinos have to do is shed their notorious prima donna mentality at all levels – with one another and especially towards fellow Asians. I do not really wonder why Rizal placed the Biblical quote “vanity, all is vanity” on the cover of El Fili. Modesty, and decades of quiet work bring results. Not jumping for Beijing loans and flattery.

Irineo B. R. Salazar
M√ľnchen, 5. August 2017