Archive for the Current Affairs Category

RX 93.1 Monster Scholar Program

Posted in Current Affairs on October 8, 2010 by hangingbridge

During the days when I’m still allowed to drive, I always listen to either DZMM or Monster station in the car.  One morning, I wasn’t up to political events and rants so I tuned in to Monster radio to get pumped up for work.  I tuned in just in time to hear a bit of their previous interview with an aspiring scholarship contestant.  I was crying while driving.  I couldn’t help it.  I just felt so much sympathy for the candidate who is almost begging on air for the scholarship.  She was also telling their family’s sob story.

While I was still in school, I thought I was just doing time.  I had no choice but complete my tasks for compliance purposes.  I can’t wait to get out of school.  I love learning like the next person.  But somehow, I found real education outside the university walls.  I have to add though, that I wouldn’t have survived outside the walls of my home and my school if I wasn’t paying attention in school. 

I’ve been out of school for the past seven years.  I thought I wasn’t going to miss it once I graduate but even after 23 years being under pressure of getting on to the next school level, I somehow long for the carefree life of a student.

After hearing a couple more of the Monster Scholarship Program, I don’t think it has been a walk in the clouds for every student.  I’m aware even before that not all can go to school because not all parents can afford to send their children to school.  But only one year ago that I realize how much the deprived young people really want to attend school like the rest of us.  It made me so ashamed that I have taken my “free” education for granted.  I don’t think I have even thanked my parents for working so hard to send me to a good school and allowing me to even go further as much as post graduate studies. 

I have to applaud sponsors for scholarship like the one RX 93.1 radio station is giving out.  Somehow, airing the charity program does not only affect those who are receiving the scholarship but also listeners like me.  This way, the messages reach out to more people that there are kids who are thirsty for a good education.  It reaches out even to the students who are in school who take their education for granted.  Sometimes, when we have too much of a good thing, we tend to take them for granted like being able to go to school without worrying about anything besides getting good grades.

I have to say that I’m scared for my baby.  Will I be able to afford a good school for her education someday?  With tuition hikes every year, by the time she needs to go to school, I’d be up to my neck with bills already.  I do hope I’d be able to provide as well as my parents did to us.  And I also hope there are more programs like this that can reach out to those who have nothing but dreams of a good life someday.

Manila Taxi Drivers

Posted in Current Affairs on September 28, 2010 by hangingbridge

They’re not only extremely awful drivers.  They are also bad business people. 

Not so long ago, Manila taxi drivers had their cheating exposed.  Taxi operators had set up their gas pedals in a way that it can be pumped multiple times so as to increase the meter charges.  As I recall, the taxi meters has been calibrated and sealed by – correct me if I’m wrong – the Land Transportation Office so that commuters will only have to pay what they owe.

For the past four or five years that I have been driving, taxi drivers are one of my pet peeves in the road.  My opinion of them didn’t improve even now that I’m commuting around Manila.  Somehow, I see them as the most obnoxious professional drivers.  They make all these unbelievable excuses why they can’t have you as a passenger. 

Not only that, they think their sedan can accommodate the same number of passengers as a public Toyota FX.  In taxi station, they try to get a couple of passengers going to the same area to ride in their cab.  If a person chooses to ride a taxi, it just means that they prefer to have the privacy a taxi can offer instead of what other public utility vehicles can provide.  What is worse about this set-up is each passenger has to pay the same amount that the meter flashes.  So if the taxi had four passengers inside, he will be able to extort four times the amount they’re supposed to get. 

They’re also used to asking passengers for an additional payment as tip as much as twenty percent of the amount flashed in the taxi meter.  Sometimes, they don’t understand that passengers are crimping money even if they just hired a taxi.  That means, passengers are hoping to get their exact change.  You cannot expect taxi drivers to give it to you.  They hold on to it without asking the passengers first. 

There was one instance that proved to me that some taxi drivers are really difficult people to deal with.  This one time left me terrified of these people.  My company just boarded a cab.  After asking where we were headed, he told us to add extra.  When we told him that we will give what was on the meter to be fair to him and to us.  He then got frustrated and mad at us.  Well, while he was getting mad, I was getting mad myself.  If only I wasn’t pregnant, I would have planned to get off the taxi at that time.  The way he demanded from his passengers for additional payment was like he was mugging his passengers.  He was very threatening. 

In the news tonight, Senator Bong Revilla Jr is issuing a law regarding taxi drivers to be penalized if they continue to extort their passengers.  I had to applaud in the sofa while watching the news.  There are barely good news everyday but this was something I had to look forward to.

69,000 and Counting

Posted in Current Affairs, Health with tags , , , , , , on September 11, 2010 by hangingbridge

Southeast Asia which includes the Philippines has been noted to be hyperendemic of the Dengue virus.  It is more common in the urban than in the rural areas.  This is probably because of the head count and the dirty surroundings which becomes appropriate for vectors which are active during the day to live and multiply.

Currently, most hospitals are crowded with febrile patients and almost all are getting screened for Dengue infection.  In the news today, children are occupying hospital beds at least two at a time.  And hospitals cannot anymore accommodate patients.  Only the urgent cases gets to share a bed with the rest of those already confined.

The local and national government hasn’t done anything drastic to address such problems despite the number of those affected.  The Department of Health is the only institution working on a national level.  The growing number of those affected and the hospital conditions people are experiencing right now (i.e. shared beds already situated in the hospital corridors) can make someone wonder if they are doing enough.

Dengue virus has been known to exist in the country since the 1950’s brought about by the mosquito species, Aedes.  A person can get Dengue virus four times and creates immunity to each one after each infection.  Infection of any of the four types of Dengue virus may manifest as Dengue fever, Dengue shock syndrome or Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever or may not manifest any signs or symptoms at all.  The manifestations worsens as you get infected by more than one type of Dengue virus.

Fever with chills and flushing is a significant set of symptoms for Dengue virus infection.  The virus affects dendritic cells, reticuloendothelial cells and hepatocytes therefore, it is affects almost all of the systems in the body.  As the infection progresses, we may see other signs such as bleeding tendencies or leaking of fluid out of the vascular system.  This may be seen as pleural effusion (fluid in the thorax which is also seen in pneumonia), ascites (fluid in the abdominal cavity which is also seen in those with beer bellies), menorrhagia (increased menstrual flow), melena (black stools due to blood in the gastrointestinal tract), hematemesis (vomiting of blood), purpuras and petechiae (rash-like because of leaking of blood vessels in the skin) and many others. 

Since there is loss of body fluids, body circulation needs to compensate.  Heart is trying to pump more blood hence there is tachycardia.  There is fast and weak pulse.  The body organs are compromised because it is not supplied by enough body fluids.  There is hypotension in severe cases. 

Laboratory findings will include high hematocrit levels but low platelet count.  Liver problems are also reflected by the low albumin levels, high AST and ALT levels and coagulopathies (deranged PT and PTT). 

The best thing to do before someone gets infected is make the environment less susceptible to further infect individuals.  Aedes doesn’t reside in cool environment.  Unfortunately, this is a tropical country and a damp, warm climate is perfect for the mosquito species.  Mosquito spray and lotions outweigh the harsh chemicals it may contain and may affect man’s health in these scenarios.  Mosquito nets at night time may have no use at all. 

Trying to minimize the clutter in the surroundings is also helpful – less eye sore in the environment, less likely mosquitos will live in that area.  The problem with most (of my fellow) Filipinos is they don’t want to throw anything away.  As much as possible, they keep what isn’t useful to them, hence, homes are more like a storage space.  If people are not able to throw things away, they have to make sure it’s inside a closed cabinet. 

Taking in Vitamin C may (or may not) also help prevent deadly manifestations of the infection.  Since Vitamin C is good for healing connective tissues, the effects of the virus in the body may be somewhat hindered by the vitamin C stored in the body. (Note: The body cannot create vitamin C hence, it should be taken daily.)  It is good to remember that vitamin C doesn’t cure or prevent infection. 

When someone gets infected, it is important to have visited the doctor to have the specific tests done to monitor someone’s level of infection.  There is no cure for the infection.  Once infected, the person will have to undergo the progression of the illness.  Physicians can only monitor and provide ways in which the manifestations may be addressed immediately before it permanently destroys organs in the body.

Proper types of fluids are given in the hospital.  IV fluids and blood components is administered in some cases.  There will be a lot of instances hospitals need to draw blood daily to monitor a patient’s progress.

It is no excuse that this is a tropical country that is why there is hyperendemic periods during the year.  The rural areas are also more tropical than Manila.  The difference lies in the overpopulation and the clutter each citizen makes.  Local government needs to address these problems or else, funds will be spent only for this single type of infection when there are still more problems in the country that also needs spending.

Cloak Of Shame

Posted in Current Affairs, Politics, Travel with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 30, 2010 by hangingbridge

Even Ms.Universe Fourth Runner-Up Venus Raj’s triumph or Charice Pempengco’s role in Glee or Pacquiao’s world title will not be able to redeem the country’s honor from what former police officer Rolando Mendoza has done to tourists visiting our country and from what our incompetent government officials has failed to do on that ill-fated 23rd day of August, 2010.

The dust of the hostage aftermath has not yet completely settled down but the bits and pieces of facts are beginning to paint a clearer picture of what transpired that day. It was all premeditated by Mendoza.

The now infamous Mendoza travelled early morning that day from Tanauan, Batangas to Manila which was around 3 hours ride. Carrying with him were weapons, blank placards and pen. The drama started 9 ‘o’ clock in the morning when the hostage-taker boarded his pre-selected ride to Libingan ng mga Bayani (but opted to hold his mission in Quirino Grandstand). He chose a tourist bus to take him where he intended to go. And as the world now knows, the tragedy ended nine lives, including that of Mendoza’s and probably also ended Filipinos’ relations with Hong Kong nationals.

The underdog has no good excuse for what he has done especially now that everyone knows it was all in his plan. Mendoza has been alluded to be someone who was honourable to his work and has been a victim of injustice in our social system when he was mistakenly charged for something that he claims he has nothing to do with. As Filipinos try to analyze what has led this upstanding citizen to commit drastic measures to gain back his lost compensation, I am still not convinced that he was that good of a citizen, much more a former man of law.

Some of those directly involved in the hostage-taking states that Mendoza was asking around a million Pesos to finally compensate his lost pension. Was it all about money? Was it his aspiration all along? I’m quite certain it wasn’t to clear up his name because to take a number of lives hostage wouldn’t do him any good on that aspect.

How many times have people, not only Filipinos, taken lives in their own hands just for money? Countless of times. In this country alone, crime rates are mostly because of financial reasons to be able to provide the needs that most of our fellowmen lacks – even the basic ones. My problem with Mendoza was that he had caused all this tragedy because of pride and probably, money. It was not because he was already dying of hunger.

If he wanted to get a message across, he could have surrendered and not taken any life at all. After surrendering, media will do its job to peel everything on its way to get to the core of things – a review of his misjudged case. I think he already sensed it when he saw the crowd and media coverage he was getting. He already knew he got our full attention. He was being interviewed until almost at the end of his shift as a hostage-taker.

Why did he chosoe a group of tourist to vent out his anger over the government? The tourists can do nothing about his problems. They probably didn’t understand even when he explained himself to them. The twenty-five passengers of that bus was looking forward to a relaxing day travelling all over Manila. It was very unfortunate for them that they were chosen to sacrifice their lives for something they don’t understand. It has been an unspoken rule throughout the world that tourists are not to be harmed in the country they are visiting. In return, they are not supposed cause mischief in the country they are visiting.

When real tourists take interest to visit the Philippines, it is a big deal. For the past decades, “tourists” are mostly military men, men who condone prostitution in the country, foreigners who have business interest in the country, international social workers and so on. It is only recently when people come here to enjoy themselves with what the country has to offer without the need to damage our self-respect.

I am personally fond of visiting Hong Kong and has been there thrice or four times now. I have enjoyed all of those trips even if the bus tours they offer go to almost the same places each time. Even if Filipinos work there as housemaids or equally undignified (for some), it is rare that citizens of Hong Kong will treat tourists badly.

After the tragedy in the Hong Thai Travel bus transpired, I’m in no disposition to travel anywhere in Asia. There is both shame and fear that once they knew I was Filipino, they would probably give me a hard time. How can a Filipino go around Hong Kong or China when we have clearly done harm in a number of their citizens? We can all sense their loathing over Filipinos after what happened. Hopefully, they would come to know that we, ourselves, are embarrassed by what happened. And even if the people directly involved in the hostage-taking last August 23, 2010 are trying not to own up to their mistakes, the nation feels truly sorry for what has happened.

The 26th

Posted in Current Affairs with tags , , , , , , , , on October 5, 2009 by hangingbridge

Thousands of families are in numerous evacuation centers around the country at this very moment.  All in a helpless state.  Once with homes and basic needs within reach, now they only got the clothes they were wearing in that forsaken 26th day of September, 2009.  Some of them got lucky – the members of their own family are all alive.  And some were not – only one member was left to tell the nightmare.

The nightmare of those trying to get out of the window and reaching their rooftops so as not to drown.  The nightmare of carrying the young and the old away from the threatening flood waters.  The nightmare of watching people get swept away by the current while they were on their roof torn off their houses being carried off by the flood themselves.  The nightmare of seeing other people tumbling off their roofs and into the waters until they were gone.  The nightmare of spending the night on their roofs because rescue couldn’t get to them due to the danger of the currents.  The nightmare of having no one to call for help.  The nightmare of darkness befalling them the second time because they weren’t still found.  The nightmare of going hungry and cold and thirsty at the same time for more than twenty four hours.  The nightmare of seeing dead bodies, mostly of children, floating all around them when the sun comes up.  The nightmare of losing people you found and trying to desperately look for them.  The nightmare of finding their bodies kilometers away from their homes, bodies dangling on wires, bodies buried in mud.  But the nightmare doesn’t stop there.

The murky waters rose even if they were already on their roofs.  It was easy to see death was reaching out for them.  And when the flood couldn’t get too them, it got to their belongings.  All of which they kept in their homes.

The home of a Filipino is his haven.  This is where he keeps his treasures.  He pours all of his hard work and time in order to have his home suitable to his needs.  It is where he would rather be than anywhere else. It is where he lay out his plans and dreams until something like this happens.

After a disaster as extensive as this one, everything now is about survival.  The resources are now scarce to almost empty.  And victims are at the mercy of the volunteers and charity donations.  There’s no need to reiterate how hard it must be for the victims who was once self-reliant to be one of the most dependent of citizens at this moment.

After the heavy downpour and the flood it left the metropolitan, the Filipino was left with nothing but ruins.  Some of those were lucky enough to have the wrecked structure still intact in its posts.  But some were very unlucky to have seen their homes on the television being swept away by the torrents of the flood on that unforgettable day.

Thousands of families are now living on charity.  They are getting ill from living in crowded evacuation centers where there is not enough space to sleep, enough food to eat, enough water to drink, enough portalets to sit in when nature calls.  People are now infected with all kinds of diseases due to unhygienic causes.

Many people, those who were both affected and unaffected by the calamity tried to help.  But it will never sustain them.  The number of victims this big will end up unsatisfied, angry and may come to a point, become destructive themselves – due to frustration and helplessness.

Now, floods have subsided in some of the areas.  People are now starting to visit the home they left behind for their lives.  They are not only overwhelmed with the destruction that held their site but the stench that reached the depths of their stomachs.

Inches of mud covered the streets.  People have to walk for miles to get to their homes because some roads are still flooded and those that are not are covered with mud.  All types of vehicles have piled on top of one another.  It would be hard for someone to look for his own car that he left that day because it might have reached another part of town where the water carried it.  The only consolation was no one was inside the cars while they were carried by the flood or drowned by other cars during the 26th.

The victims who can afford are looking for a new home and are not coming back to restore their old ones.  But most victims are persistent to live in the same house as before.  They are pulling out the wrecked furnitures and trying to save them by washing off the mud.  But most of these furnitures end up in the streets.  Hence, the streets are piled up with hills of trash.

After paying a visit to some areas (while delivering some relief goods), there were more to throw than to save in the homes flooded that day.  Some fortunate streets were smelling of damp mud.  But the unfortunate ones smelled of death, not of human bodies but that of animals and even hundreds of domestic pests.

In the news today, there were cemeteries where there were no tombstones left and some bodies in the graves have gone missing.  It is only horrifying to think where they can be found now.

All Filipinos are affected one way or another even if no rainfall has dropped on their roofs that day.  The rehabilitation programs is going to costs more than when we are building the cities in the Metropolitan.  For the clean-up to be more effective, we have to get our hands dirty.  All are going to take part in the rehabilitation.

There is no doubt that Mother Nature was trying to drive a point.  If it is left ignored, another Ondoy may soon come and visit and may be more vicious than the first one.  Acting fast and acting conscientiously may be the only way to stop storms like this one. And recovery may not be out of reach.

The ways in which to live our lives should aim for higher ground.

A Philanderer’s-Beater

Posted in Current Affairs with tags , , , , , , , , , , on September 8, 2009 by hangingbridge

In recent news, a governor has resorted to beating his domestic partner after she has cheated on him over and over again.

Interviews with the governor revealed his “wife” has been caught in the past cheating on her “husband” several times.  He stated in one of his interviews (in Umagang Kay Ganda) that he was not clinging on to the relationship but it was his “wife” who asked to stay with him.  He told the viewers that he saved all her text messages to prove the statement true.

And the most recent incident left her almost dead.

The governor allegedly whipped his “wife” after realizing that she was at it again.

Domestic Violence Victim

Domestic Violence Victim

He complained that he was financially supporting her every whim only to find out that she was spending it on her other lovers.  He caught her at his own home “entertaining” one of her lover.

And as expected of a normal person, something probably snapped.

Once is more than enough.  Catching your partner with someone else a couple of times is more than an insult, it’s an abomination.  Most people, when hurt, would like to go as far as possible from those which (or who) hurt them.  Some use force to hurt those which (or who) hurt them so as to stop it from doing more damage.  But only stupid people would go back and be hurt once more.

The governor has been stupid for a while to let his wife hurt him again and again.  He was asked (stupidly by a reporter) how much did his wife hurt him.  He wasn’t in the place to humor the reporter by answering the question.  Instead, he said that the reporter should experience what he had undergone to know.

It got to the point when he wanted to hurt that of which (or those of who) had hurt him.  But it could never be an excuse to physically hurt someone. It is inhumane to inflict physical damage to another living body no matter what the reason is.  Maybe for self-defense, yes.  But this was not a case of self-defense.  If it was, one hit that could cripple the other party is enough.

Domestic violence is defined as physical abuse that involves two parties wherein there is expected trust and security between them.  I guess his wife already did her part in breaking the code of trust.  Does it justify a rebuttal as brutal as the one her “husband”  inflicted on her?

The defense states it was a crime of passion.  According to the other side, it couldn’t be so because it only applies to married couples.

I came across this statement:

“Although emotional, psychological and financial abuse are not criminal behaviors, they are forms of abuse and can lead to criminal violence.”

Wasn’t the “wife” guilty of emotional abuse to her “husband”?  And wasn’t the husband just reacting to this type of abuse?

I am a woman and I do not think that women should be treated the way he treated his “wife”.  We are not as physically fit to take part in a physical confrontation the way men are.  I’m sure extremist will beg to differ that we are the (physically) weaker sex.

Rachel Tiongson was just physically weaker but did a tremendous amount of emotional damage to her husband.  I am not justifying the act.  I am just saying that the governor’s “wife” should have acted appropriately as a committed mother of his (I believe) three children, if not his wife.

A good mother will not be caught philandering with other men under the same roof that the father of her children resides.

Honestly, if I was her kid, I would get as far away from her as possible.  I would avoid her like the plague that she is.  I would not wish to be related to her.  Even though I know she doesn’t deserve to be physically beaten, I think she deserves something more drastic than that.  Take away what has been given to her – her children (along with their trust, respect and love), her material belongings and all the things that she enjoys.

She is ill-mannered and she turned her husband ill-mannered as well.

Many would probably hate me for seemingly taking the side of the wife-beater.  But they would be seemingly wrong to do so because I would not take any of their sides.  They are both in the wrong.