Showing posts from September, 2008

Mismanaging the milk contamination issue

This is my column today.

We all know that greed corrupts certain people into doing dastardly, even stupid things. As a result, there are people in this planet that could not be bothered by such things such as public health and safety, when these get in the way of business.

I’ve written in this space, for instance, about the unsanitary conditions that attend the production of certain food peddled in our streets. But the disregard for adequate sanitation of local businessmen behind the factories that produce dirty ice cream, taho, and other street food, sounds like kids’ play when compared to the abominable crime of the Chinese businessmen that deliberately spiked milk products with melamine. Melamine has been found to be a toxic substance that produces kidney stones among those who ingest it with their milk. At least five infants have died and thousands of children in China have been found to be suffering from ailments attributable to ingesting milk contaminated with melamine.


They are not kidding

Just got back from a conference. This was my column last Wednesday, September 24.

It seems Metro Manila Development Authority Chairman Bayani Fernando is not kidding after all. He is intent on running for the highest post in the land.

To be really honest about it, I really thought that the man was simply trying to be cute. Antics such as his latest foray into entertainment TV via Celebrity Duets is a trademark. In fact, there are times when he comes across as a copycat of Senator Juan Flavier.

I think we can all be forgiven for being skeptical about Fernando’s quest for the presidency. To begin with, he doesn’t have national following. In fact, there are many people who insist that his fan base is limited to Marikina City. Surely, anyone who wants to become President realizes that he or she needs to be voted into office by millions of Filipinos across the country.

Secondly, anyone who wants to be voted into office needs to get on the good side of the voters. Essentially, this means getti…

Reality versus drama on primetime TV

This was my column last Wednesday, September 17. Late post again.

Primetime television just got a little bit more interesting with the launch last Monday of two new breakthrough shows, which, unfortunately are competing head-on for viewership. The two shows were enough to make me stay up late glued to the television set and made the ordeal of having to watch our senators acting like children once again a little bearable.

Ordinarily, competition benefits consumers as the one-upmanship usually, though not always, results in programs that are generally of better quality. This time, however, local audiences are at a disadvantage because the two shows have been intentionally designed to compete with each other and are therefore on at the same time slot. Audiences were supposed to deliberately choose one over the other. I refused to be pegged as a victim, so I switched channels after every few minutes in an attempt to get a good grasp of what each show was offering.

GMA-7 launched last Monday…

Making Lakbay Aral more relevant

This is my column today.

The running joke around the customary school field trips, which have now been given a patina of contrived relevance and nationalism by the seemingly profound term Lakbay Aral, is that they are really designed to provide our students valuable lessons on consumerism and mindless entertainment. This is why students on these field trips invariably end up at some mall or at the set of a local television game or gossip show.

I expect the Ayalas, the Sys and the Gokongweis of this world to argue that their shopping malls are also ideal destinations for students who have ventured out of their classrooms to learn about the real world. As someone who also spends inordinate amounts of time in malls, I feel I am not qualified to argue against malls as venue for educational pursuits. I do grant that some malls have at least gone out of their way to put up science exhibition halls, mount entertainment shows that are not of the usual mindless variety that we see on television,…

Bar ops and street floods

This is my column today.

The bar examinations are ongoing every Sunday at the De La Salle University along Taft Avenue, Manila. I live near the area and the annual hoopla associated with the exams is one of those things that just do not make sense to me. During the four Sundays when the bar examinations are conducted, traffic in the area becomes hopelessly tangled as various universities and colleges, fraternities, student organizations, and, as can be expected, business enterprises, set up tents, stalls, or rent the garage areas of neighboring houses. Together, they transform the whole place into a giant festival. The whole atmosphere becomes that of a school fair, except that there’s unlimited alcohol available.

It’s called bar ops. The whole point of the exercise is supposedly to provide moral support and inspiration to the examinees. Law schools and student organizations put up tents along Taft Avenue and some even rent out business establishments in the area to serve as some kind …

See, hear and speak no evil

This was my column last Monday, September 8.

Those among us who struggled through the long years of the Marcos dictatorship and witnessed first hand the profligacy of the then first lady can only seethe at the fact that not only are the Marcoses back at their high perch in Philippine society but that Imelda Romualdez Marcos’ star seems to have found new luster.

There’s really not much we can do if the efforts to rewrite history and to reinstate the former first lady’s dubious distinction as cultural icon and role model for the young is being propped up by private institutions and organizations. This is still a free country after all, and everyone is still presumed to have the inalienable right to make an utter fool of himself or herself.

But when the effort is spearheaded by government itself, as in the case of her being invited as “guest of honor” yesterday at the annual National Leadership Training for Student Government Officers currently ongoing at the Teachers Camp at Baguio City,…

Petitions and salary increases

This is my column today.

In my haste to beat the deadline for my column last Monday, I left out a great deal of information that I wanted to share with everyone. There’s an online petition for people who want to manifest their support for the reproductive health bill and to make their voices heard over and above the din and dynamics of the ongoing debate.

Although there is already a sizable number of senators and congressmen who have already signified their unequivocal support for the bill, we know that we should not let our guard down given the intense pressure from the Catholic Church. In fact, the advocacy of the Church has precisely been focused on our legislators and the Church has not made secret its intent to apply all kinds of pressure on them even to the extent of threatening these lawmakers with excommunication.

So please sign up and let our legislators know that there is widespread support for the bill. The petition can be found at…

Hostages at Sunday mass

This was my column yesterday, September 1.In the last many weeks, going to mass has been a somewhat distressing experience for me and my family.
This has been because the priests at the church where my family and I go to on Sundays and who are rabidly against the reproductive health bill that’s being deliberated on in Congress have always found ways to insert their often irrational and illogical arguments against the bill into the Sunday homily. Regardless of the scripture that’s supposed to be the theme for the homily, the priests have made it their mandate to skirt the discourse so that they eventually get to talk about how the reproductive bill health is supposedly the worst curse to befall this country.
We’ve tried changing our regular mass schedule in the vain hope that the other priests would not be as vociferous in the advocacy as to hijack the Sunday service into another tirade against the supposed evil machinations of Rep. Edcel Lagman and the other supporters of the bill, but …