Friday, October 31, 2008

The Chemistry of Love

I got this from a certain website when I tried to give a scientific explanation to a question once posed in friendster: "How on earth are you ever going to explain in terms of chemistry and physics so important a biological phenomenon as 'love at first sight'?"

I posted back on that Friendster site this answer on the chemistry of love:

There are a lot of chemicals racing around your brain and body when you're in love. Researchers are gradually learning more and more about the roles they play both when we are falling in love and when we're in long-term relationships. Of course, estrogen and testosterone play a role in the sex drive area. Without them, we might never venture into the "real love" arena.

That initial giddiness that comes when we're first falling in love includes a racing heart, flushed skin and sweaty palms. Researchers say this is due to the dopamine, norepinephrine and phenylethylamine we're releasing. Dopamine is thought to be the "pleasure chemical," producing a feeling of bliss. Norepinephrine is similar to adrenaline and produces the racing heart and excitement. According to Helen Fisher, anthropologist and well-known love researcher from Rutgers University, together these two chemicals produce elation, intense energy, sleeplessness, craving, loss of appetite and focused attention. She also says, "The human body releases the cocktail of love rapture only when certain conditions are met and ... men more readily produce it than women, because of their more visual nature."

Researchers are using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to watch people's brains when they look at a photograph of their object of affection. According to Helen Fisher, a well-known love researcher and an anthropologist at Rutgers University, what they see in those scans during that "crazed, can't-think-of-anything-but stage of romance" -- the attraction stage -- is the biological drive to focus on one person. The scans showed increased blood flow in areas of the brain with high concentrations of receptors for dopamine -- associated with states of euphoria, craving and addiction. High levels of dopamine are also associated with norepinephrine, which heightens attention, short-term memory, hyperactivity, sleeplessness and goal-oriented behavior. In other words, couples in this stage of love focus intently on the relationship and often on little else.

Another possible explanation for the intense focus and idealizing view that occurs in the attraction stage comes from researchers at University College London. They discovered that people in love have lower levels of serotonin and also that neural circuits associated with the way we assess others are suppressed. These lower serotonin levels are the same as those found in people with obsessive-compulsive disorders, possibly explaining why those in love "obsess" about their partner.

Remembering My Lola Edding


I miss my Lola Edding. Very much. The last time I saw her was when we finally laid her to rest in a very simple 6-foot by 4-foot grave. I was the one who gave her the final prayers and blessings being a lay minister myself.

My Lola Edding brought me up since Grade 1 until I graduated from elementary. At my very fragile age, she taught me how to live simply. Her sun-scorched hands were her only weapons to go on with life itself. She cooked some cassava and rice cakes for a living. She would brave the scorching heat of the sun in the cornfields so she could bring home a handful of corn as her share for a week's labor. She would dig deep into the loose soils of peanut farms down in the delta of Lal-lo so that she could augment more her little income from hard labor. Lola Edding practically tilled the soil, which is not even hers, so that she could have every precious centavo that we would need to continue breathing on earth.

Lola Edding filled my heart with a lot of lessons in life. She used to say that the only thing that she would be so happy for us to have would be education. She did not stop dreaming for us. I guess I occupied a very special place in her heart because I am her first grandchild. She must have been so proud of me, why with my extraordinary performance in my elementary school. Each time that I was a part of any program or special number, she was always there preparing the things I needed. She would remedy every single costume I must wear during our Garden Days where we used to have Field Demonstrations. With little money to buy my needs, she would sew the available clothes to ensure that my costume would look similar to those being worn by my classmates.

My Lola, I guess, never finished any course at all. I can still remember how she reacted one time when I asked her to buy me a protractor. "Where on earth can I ever produce money to buy a hand tractor!" she exclaimed. To our laughter!

Being young, my brother and I were always at odds even on little things. We would quarrel to our hearts' delight. Our Lola Edding can only sigh in frustration. At the height of her scoldings, she would blurt out, "Agawid kayo man laengen. Apo, pagsakduan kayo ti basol!" Then my brother and I would run to her and embrace her so tightly.

For so many years after I left her for high school in Sanchez Mira where my parents are, and after having finished college in faraway Tuguegarao, I rarely visited my Lola. I knew she missed me, too.

I was able to visit her again when I introduced my ex-girlfriend to her. That was also so many years ago. Then I brought our first K to her when he was yet a little boy. I knew her eyes were failing her. My Lola would often ask any one who converse with her to repeat what he or she was saying. My Lola Edding was growing grey hairs fast. And her sight and hearing were getting a toll on her.

I was telling myself, I hope I could still visit Lola Edding before she will bid us goodbye.

One day while I was at work, my brother called me up over my cellphone, which he usually does not do.

"Will you be coming home?" he asked.

"Why?" I answered back.

"Lola Edding is gone."

My tears rolled uncontrollably. I was speechless. My Lola Edding already left us. My wish that I should still see her alive did not come true anymore. And at that moment, all I could utter in silence was "May she rest in peace..."

I rushed back home to Camalaniugan to pay her my last respects. Upon alighting from the bus which led me to the old place where I spent my childhood with my Lola, I let go of a heavy sigh. I walked a little towards the old familar place. I was still able to see the mango trees. This time they had grown bigger and older. Their branches became so towering that they provided shade to where I was trekking.

Then I saw light bulbs. I saw the little bungalow house that served as my playground for six long years with my Lola. There she was. In white coffin lit by two yellowish bulbs. My mother was beside the coffin seated on her wheelchair. As I approached and peeped at the face of my Lola, I couldn't hold my tears rolling profusely. I cried silently while looking at her. She seemed to smile back at me perhaps knowing that I was already there. I am her first apo. I must have been her first love. I cried some more knowing that she died without all the glamour in life that others enjoyed. She only knew her backyard garden. She only knew her little beds of vegetables. She only knew her stick to guide her through the bushes around her. Her fingers and palms turned so callous digging the soil, cultivating her few rows of vegetables, gathering some twigs for cooking, and weeding out her precious garden. As I peeped at her so thin body peacefully resting inside her coffin, I wanted so much to embrace her tight for the last time and whisper to her I love her so much and I wish to thank her for all the lessons in life that she taught us and for her unconditional love for us, tears rolled some more.

Ahhh... my Lola. She lived literally poor. She died literally poor. She was not even able to see her complete grandchildren before she left.

We prayed the Rosary for her as we waited for her special Mass which we pre-arranged. Then we finally laid her to rest in her lonely grave after walking beside her coffin.

My Wish

I wish that we shall always be
The sweethearts that we used to be
Two hearts that beat as one can see
Together we will always be

I wish that love abounds always
No hurts, no sorrows, no tears, no waste
I wish you see all, my ways
All meant for you, my wife, my life, my grace

My love shall always be for you
A love that’s yours, a love that’s true
Forever it is yours ‘til time is through
My heart. It is just meant for you!

panyo

puwede bang humingi
ng isang panyo mo
yung gamit na gamit
totoong sa iyo
pinampahid sa pawis
at luha ng iyong puso
gusto kong magkaro’n
ng alaala nito…

take my hand with you...

please don’t take your hand
off from mine
don’t go yet
don’t go down
my heart bleeds
to see you go
can you just take my hand
just take it with you.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Please listen...

Could you just pause
and listen to me?
To the truth of my heart
I wish you could see
Please pause for a while
I beg you dearly
Listen to my heart
please, listen to me…

Don’t listen to the song
that you hear
Listen, instead, to my heart
that is near
Don’t listen to the words
I have to speak
Listen, instead, to the
signs that I keep.

Please listen with your heart
and not with your ears
For if you do there are things
you will miss
Look into my eyes, look straight
make it deep
Read between the lines
and you know what it means...

Naiwan sa Batulao

Naiwan sa Batulao ang aking paa
Kaliwa at kanan, may iniwan sila
Himutok at pait, sugatan kong dibdib
Naiwan sila sa hagdanan ng langit.

Bawat hakbang pagbaba ng burol
Sa gilid ng bangin wari’y hinahabol
Tuluyang iniwan ang yapak ng puso
Mabigat, masakit, simpait ng apdo.

Pupunta ka rin ba sa bundok ng Batulao?
Tignan mo’ng paa ko kung tuyot na ng araw
Kapag nandun pa ang mga bakas doon
Marahil hindi pa naghihilom iyon.

Sa Gilid

Sa gilid ba ng burol ‘ka mo
And lugar na pinuntahan mo?
Sa gilid ban a nakaharap
Sa dambana ng mundo?

Sa gilid ba ng bangin
Ang tinunguhan mo?
Matayog, matarik
Napakalalim nito.

Sa gilid ba ng bundok
Sa dambana ng Poon?
Puso mo’y naiwan
At lumutang doon?

Sa gilid din na iyon
Ang pinuntahan ko
Dinama ang haplos
Ng hangin ng siphayo…

Sa gilid din ng bangin
Nag-isip, tumayo
Wari’y sinusukat
Ang lalim nito…

Sa gilid ng bundok
Puso ko ri’y tumibok
Gusto kong lumundag
Pababang pabulusok!

This place

This place is
a mute witness
of a memory
of a sunrise
and a sunset
of a hug…

This place
is a monument
of a sweet sorrow
of the birth
and death
of an embrace…

This place
is the sunset
of a sunrise
of a sorrow so sweet
the embrace of a friend
a hug of a heart
death of sin
and a birth of life…!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Please Hold On...

Please don’t! Just hold on…
It won’t be long
That he’s gone
Let the bird fly freely
To horizons unexplored
Please hold on
Don’t give up
Your heart may ache
But just for a while.
No! Please don’t!

Hold on. Keep it.
I’m here, a hand
A heart, an ear.
Please hold on
Please don’t.
I’ll wipe your tears
That fall
And hug you tight
With a loving hand.
No! Please don’t.
Just hold on!
Please don’t!

it pains me

it pains me
for your not listening
to the promptings
of my heart…

it pains me
losing your trust
because
you believe only
yourself…

it pains me
oh, it hurts
it aches, it throbs…
it agonizes me..

it pains me
it’s a torture
am tormented
by the sore and tenderness
to my heart it brings…

it pains me
it cuts a bruise
to my innocent heart…

it breaks me…

the arrest

thump… thump… thump…
army marching
wrr… wrr… wrr…
‘copters hovering
“innocent! innocent! innocent!”
people chanting

sounds of unrest
at polk street
a man of power
now under arrest!

truncheons blow
as bottles flew
metal against fists?
not hundreds
but thousands
in uniform
to escort a man

an overkill?
ahh…!
the man has thousands
shielding the grounds, too
vowed to avert
the arrest
of a man
charged with plunder…!

The Card was Rona's Heart

I can’t contain the overwhelming joy I had
For the card Rona on Teachers’ Day gave
It was the best, a most touching one
Truly a treasure even when she’ll be gone!

But it’s not the card that counts the most
It’s the thought, the love, the immeasurable cost
It’s the effort, the care, the sincerest note
It’s Rona, not the card, which counts the most!

If Rona only knew the joy she gave to me
I wonder if stars could twinkle to eternity
Rona will forever be in the bottom of my heart
Not even the strongest storm could set us apart!

You touched my life in a special way
Your thoughts, your love, your heart, your care
My Rona you are a gem yourself
A diamond so bright, so precious, it’s yourself!

Rona this poem I wrote for you
Is nothing with the card that came from you
To me the card was not the card
With it were YOU – your very HEART!

pagsusulit sa chemistry

Piniga ang utak
'Gang sa huling katas
Gusto ng mabiyak
Sa dinanas na hirap
Mukhang 'di papantay
Inubos na galak
Pagsusulit na tunay
Gusto kong maiyak!

Pagsusulit din ang pag-ibig
Pag ito'y totoo
Di mo rin masukat
Ang lalim nito
Pag ika'y nagmahal
At bukal sa puso
Pagsusulit mang tunay
Haharapin ito!

Sa Hagdanan ng Overpass

ulan ma'y bumuhos
hindi papansinin
araw may tumurik
hindi iintindihin
bukas ang mga palad
magaspang, makapal
marumi niyang baro'y
sindumi ng kanal!

langaw ma'y dumapo
sa katawan niyang pagal
nguni't dapat na mabuhay
sa maruming lansangan!

makapal na tao
nakakita sa kanya
bihira ang maawa
minsa'y inaalipusta
sa kapansanang
di siya makakita
sindikato'y siya'y ginamit
mga mapagsamantala!

ulan ma'y bumuhos
araw ma'y tumirik
bukas ang kanyang palad
sa awa ng langit
siya'y isang pulubi
luhaang pumikit!

Baka Ka Antukin

Huwag ka ng maghintay
Baka ka antukin
Maiinip ang diwa
At sasalingin
Ang himutok ng dibdib
Sa upuan mong bangko
Kumupas na ang kulay
Sa katandaan nito
Naghihintay ang hapag
Di ka pa kumain
Sa ingay ng diwa
Gustong mabiyak
Ang puso mong aba.
Huwag siyang hintayin
Siya ay wala na
Isang patay na bituin
Magawa mo na lamang
Ang siya'y tingalain!
Huwag ka ng maghintay
Baka ka antukin!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Missing Rona

The word miss to indicate for the longing on something or on someone has become so overused especially here in the Philippines. It has become so ordinarily used that it has lost its meaning. And when you already use the word so sincerely on someone, you wouldn't know if that someone ever really reads or understands it the way you wanted to convey it.

I miss Rona. Oh so very much. She's someone I could call a 'soulmate' who knows the intricacies of my being. More than mere bestfriend. She is more than it. But don't ever think that there is a relationship way beyond friendship between the two of us. Nope. And never in my thoughts and in my wildest imaginations. It's just that Rona complemented the other missing parts of my being.

Rona is one best friend that I ever dreamt of. My spirit soared each time that she was around. I don't even have to say anything. She did not even had to say a single word. We just had to look each other in the eyes and there's peace. There's life. There's presence.

Rona is now thousands of miles abroad. She now has her own world. She has begun finding a niche of her own. From time to time, she would come home. She would send messages. But the short moments with her only makes my heart long for more. The joy is eternal. The laughters linger on. But in my heart, there's sadness. But in a way, it makes my heart long for her more. Absence makes the heart grow fonder, so to speak.

If there would be someone in my deathbed aside from my own children, my wife, and my family members, I would wish it would be her. To leave would be so peaceful and blissful. Because I know, I would live in all of them, especially in Rona.

I miss Rona. And I wouldn't stop missing her. She is my anak. And I am her Dad. I am a Dad because of her. She made me a dad to everyone. And I know, she loves me the way that I am.

I am missing Rona, again. And again. And again.

Friday, October 24, 2008

If Tomorrow Never Comes

No. This is not about the song you might have heard before. But nonetheless, it found its inspiration in its music.

The thought that tomorrow may never come makes me shiver both with faith and hope, and uncertainty. With faith that the promised life after death will bring me to a new dimension beyond the realms of human capacity to comprehend. With hope that it will be to the eternal life and bliss in heaven where angels and saints reside with God - the source of all good and love. With uncertainty because death could mean the end of one's short stay and existence in this known universe with the slimmest chance that I could be resurrected again, whether as same human being or as another form of matter other than dust. One thing is almost sure - my body will rot, decay, leave some calcium matter, and be part of the soil. The molecules and particles may disintegrate and transform themselves into other forms of matter or be made into energy.

Perhaps for most people, dying and death is something to be feared. There is a natural fear of the unknown. When one crosses another frontier that he is uncertain of, there is almost an instant hesitation to go on and continue. If I were to end this day, I probably will have mixed feelings - anxiety, anticipation, fear, peace, surrender, love, serenity, joy, sadness, loneliness, anger, frustration, etc. But only God knows when that dreaded fateful day will come. Unless we make incidents ourselves that would cost our life as they happen.

If tomorrow never comes, please be my voice. Tell my children (Kevin Paul, Kamille Marie, Karen Jobelle, Kathleen Joy) I love them so much. Tell my wife, Sue, I love her so and thank her for the much love and support. Tell my family members (Tatang, Nanang, Dante, Arnel, Epie Rey, Mae) I've tried to live the best life I could so that I could also be of help in any way I can. But my best wasn't good enough.

Tell my closest friends they are always in my heart and in my memories because I love them so much, too. May I whisper them to you: Rona, Karen, Jhoan, Joycee, Jellie, Jenissa, Julieanne, Aiana, Jackie, Allen, Marissa, Patricia, Tricia, Michael, Ma. Teresa, Joanne, Ikay, Erika, Pauleen, Mila, Alyanna, Harlene, and all those countless faces and nameless figures who have made a difference in my life. If tomorrow never comes, I hope they will miss me, too.

Tell those others whom I failed to mention that their memories would be brought with me as I continue life's journey into the unknown.

To all those whom I have hurt, in one way or another, please accept my sincerest apology. May you be able to forgive me of all my shortcomings with you.

Thank you to all. If tomorrow never comes, let that tomorrow be buried with me so that you would remember only my yesterday with you.

I love you all!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

From Karen

I received a forward from Karen where I hardly couldn't control myself from laughing. It tickled the funny bone inside me. Here was it:
Cabinet Meeting:

GMA: Kung sino man ang tamaan ng bolang i2 ay xang mgreresign.

[initsa ang bola, tumalbog pblik sa knya.]

GMA: Oh, praktis lng un! Time first, Wag tyong excited! Ulet, Ulet...

It makes me wonder how Pinoys can make funny stories. Perhaps we are the happiest people on earth. There's a lot of wit and humor in almost all aspects of Pinoy's life. Just on TV News tonight, Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago was fuming mad in the Committee Hearing on the so-called 'euro-generals'. She was a fighting tiger ready to devour DILG Sec. Ronaldo Puno. She was hot as a thousand chili when the hot 'euro general' snubbed the hearing by not showing himself up. She directed the Senate Sergeant-at-Arms to arrest him and bring his body to the Senate. The hearing must have been really so tense-filled. So hot and spicy. But Marc Logan of ABS-CBN was able to make a funny pun out of the situation in his light feature segment on TV Patrol World!

Truly Pinoy!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Do Not Stand At My Grave And Weep

I chanced upon this very beautiful and touching poem attributed largely to Mary Elizabeth Frye, (1905-2004), but of disputed origin. There had been several versions of this poem but this one old version got the poet in me.

The poem speaks of presence... of reminders... of memories. It speaks of eternity, of love, of life. Of the positive, of the NOW. It is the soul. It's more than the things felt in the absence of another due to the grave. When a person left behind realizes these, the one in the grave is loved so much... And I wish it would also be for me.

Do not stand at my grave and weep
I am not there; I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow,
I am the diamond glints on snow,
I am the sun on ripened grain,
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning's hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circling flight.
I am the soft starlight at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry,
I am not there; I did not die.

For Nation Building

I felt quite held-up by taxation lately. My withholding tax gobbled up my 3.9 grand last quincena. It used to be just over 1.5 grand twice a month. Now, with the looks of it, it will be a grand 7.8 per month! Even greater than my expected 7.3 overload per month. All I could do is whine against all the corrupt people who designed the tax table, whether old or new, to GENERATE MORE REVENUE so that the government can use all this money to RENDER BETTER SERVICES to the people!

C'mon! Good if the government is not riddled with a lot of scandals of graft and corruption. Good if all the money collected from taxation truly goes to the improvement of services in the government. Good if politicians never grandstand to claim that so and so projects are theirs as if the money spent on those projects really came from their personal pockets! Good if our government leaders, especially the politicians, honestly declare all their incomes and tax them all squarely like us who are mere employees honestly working so hard to earn every single centavo that comes to our pocket.

The 7.8 grand per month that goes to government tax would already be enough to provide for the needs of my growing family, especially my 4K. It can buy a sack of rice good for two months in our household, provide good food for proper nutrition of my 4K, buy decent school needs for them, give us some time to visit the airconditioned malls, and perhaps buy better clothes for us, or probably be saved for the tuition fee of my first K in Diliman. But no, the 7.8K goes straight to the coffers of the internal revenue bureau of the government, perhaps waiting to be devoured by the voracious, thick-scaled reptilians!

Who is not outraged when you learn that under-the-table transactions would go by the millions! And that it's so easy for those in government to simply hand-in literally bulks of money in the guise of alleged services for the people? That every single transaction means an S.O.P. is in the offing? And being in the corridors of power, it would be so easy for them to circumvent the bowels of the laws they themselves enacted or endorsed or revised or repealed!

Ahhh... my 7.8K is my 'humble' share in nation-building. Ooopsss, nation-building? Or pocket-fattening activities of a selected few?

Your guess is as good as mine.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Depression

Have you ever experienced episodes of worthlessness, lethargy, or unexplained tiredness? What about the feeling of suspicions, extremely low mood, loss of interest in the usual things you do, hopelessness, helplessness, and inappropriate guilt or regret?

You might have suffered from depression. And I am no exception to it. I have had episodes of it lately. I felt so useless. Rendered useless and worthless. I have spent so many sleepless nights because of this feeling. My head simply goes pfffft without any warning at all. Sometimes I feel painful spasms and burning sensations on my chest. As if my heart would go berserk that I have palpitations I don't know how to control.

There had been times I feel worthless to live. God forbid. At times I have thoughts of death and dying. But of course my rationality prevails. It should. I must. Because of a thousand and one reasons.

I don't know if people ever notice it. My eyes oftentimes go bloodshot due to sleepless nights. I stare blankly at walls or towards the horizon, often wondering what lies beyond what I could not comprehend.

I often feel so weak, despite my efforts of giving energy food to my body. It has been going on this way for quite a time now. As I write this blog entry, my mind is going somewhere else.

Depression is a serious state of being. Many clinical psychologists have conducted a lot of empirical studies trying to understand this kind of malady that had claimed so many lives. I guess, people around someone in this state of worthlessness should be sensitive enough to feel what sufferers are undergoing. Otherwise, they may add up more to the heavy feelings of the depressed. Perhaps for those who don't ever notice symptoms at all, they may think everything is normal. Usually, it's already too late before they realize that the person might have been suffering already for a long time. And they often realize this when the sufferer is gone.

I am writing this to serve as a strong reminder to all. Be sensitive to the unspoken messages. Don't aggravate the condition that depressed people feel. Be as comforting as you can. You might even be the savior of another wandering soul.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

The Controversial Reproductive Health Bill

HOUSE BILL NO. 5043

AN ACT PROVIDING FOR A NATIONAL POLICY ON REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH, RESPONSIBLE PARENTHOOD AND POPULATION DEVELOPMENT, AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES

Be it enacted by the Senate and the House of Representatives of the Philippines in Congress assembled:

SECTION 1. Short Title. - This Act shall be known as the “Reproductive Health and Population Development Act of 2008“.

SEC. 2. Declaration of Policy. - The State upholds and promotes responsible parenthood, informed choice, birth spacing and respect for life in conformity with internationally recognized human rights standards.

The State shall uphold the right of the people, particularly women and their organizations, to effective and reasonable participation in the formulation and implementation of the declared policy.

This policy is anchored on the rationale that sustainable human development is better assured with a manageable population of healthy, educated and productive citizens.

The State likewise guarantees universal access to medically-safe, legal, affordable and quality reproductive health care services, methods, devices, supplies and relevant information thereon even as it prioritizes the needs of women and children,among other underprivileged sectors.

SEC. 3. Guiding Principles. - This Act declares the following as basic guiding principles:

a. In the promotion of reproductive health, there should be no bias for either modern or natural methods of family planning;

b. Reproductive health goes beyond a demographic target because it is principally about health and rights;

c. Gender equality and women empowerment are central elements of reproductive health and population development;

d. Since manpower is the principal asset of every country, effective reproductive health care services must be given primacy to ensure the birth and care of healthy children and to promote responsible parenting;

e. The limited resources of the country cannot be suffered to, be spread so thinly to service a burgeoning multitude that makes the allocations grossly inadequate and effectively meaningless;

f. Freedom of informed choice, which is central to the exercise of any right, must be fully guaranteed by the State like the right itself;

g. While the number and spacing of children are left to the sound judgment of parents and couples based on their personal conviction and religious beliefs, such concerned parents and couples, including unmarried individuals, should be afforded free and full access to relevant, adequate and correct information on reproductive health and human sexuality and should be guided by qualified State workers and professional private practitioners;

h. Reproductive health, including the promotion of breastfeeding, must be the joint concern of the National Government and Local Government Units(LGUs);

i. Protection and promotion of gender equality, women empowerment and human rights, including reproductive health rights, are imperative;

j. Development is a multi-faceted process that calls for the coordination and integration of policies, plans, programs and projects that seek to uplift the quality of life of the people, more particularly the poor, the needy and the marginalized;

k. Active participation by and thorough consultation with concerned non-government organizations (NGOs), people’s organizations (POs) and communities are imperative to ensure that basic policies, plans, programs and projects address the priority needs of stakeholders;

l. Respect for, protection and fulfillment of reproductive health rights seek to promote not only the rights and welfare of adult individuals and couples but those of adolescents’ and children’s as well; and

m. While nothing in this Act changes the law on abortion, as abortion remains a crime and is punishable, the government shall ensure that women seeking care for post-abortion complications shall be treated and counseled in a humane, non-judgmental and compassionate manner.

SEC. 4. Definition of Terms. - For purposes of this Act, the following terms shall be defined as follows:

a. Responsible Parenthood - refers to the will, ability and cornmitTrient of parents to respond to the needs and aspirations of the family and children more particularly through family planning;

b. Family Planning - refers to a program which enables couple, and individuals to decide freely and responsibly the number and spacing of their children and to have the information and means to carry out their decisions, and to have informed choice and access to a full range of safe, legal and effective family planning methods, techniques and devices.

c. Reproductive Health -refers to the state of physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity, in all matters relating to the reproductive system and to its funcitions and processes. This implies that people are able to have a satisfying and safe sex life, that they have the capability to reproduce and the freedom to decide if, when and how often to do so, provided that these are not against the law. This further implies that women and men are afforded equal status in matters related to sexual relations and reproduction.

d. Reproductive Health Rights - refers to the rights of individuals and couples do decide freely and responsibly the number, spacing and timing of their children; to make other decisions concerning reproduction free of discrimination, coercion and violence; to have the information and means to carry out their decisions; and to attain the highest standard of sexual and reproductive health.

e. Gender Equality - refers to the absence of discrimination on the basis of a person’s sex, in opportunities, allocation of resources and benefits, and access to services.

f. Gender Equity - refers to fairness and justice in the distribution of benefits and responsibilities between women and men, and often requires. women-specific projects and programs to eliminate existing inequalities, inequities, policies and practices unfavorable too women.

g. Reproductive Health Care - refers to the availability of and access to a full range of methods, techniques, supplies and services that contribute to reproductive and sexual health and well-being by preventing and solving reproductive health-related problems in order to achieve enhancement of life and personal relations. The elements of reproductive health care include:

1. Maternal, infant and child health and nutrition;

2. Promotion of breastfeeding;

3. Family planning information end services;

4. Prevention of abortion and management of post-abortion complications;

5. Adolescent and youth health;

6. Prevention and management of reproductive tract infections (RTIs), HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmittable infections (STIs);

7. Elimination ofviolence against women;

8. Education and counseling on sexuality and sexual and reproductive health;

9. Treatment of breast and reproductive tract cancers and other gynecological conditions;

10. Male involvement and participation in reproductive health;,

11. Prevention and treatmentof infertility and sexual dysfunction; and

12. Reproductive health education for the youth.

h. Reproductive Health Education - refers to the process of acquiring complete, accurate and relevant information on all matters relating to the reproductive system, its functions and processes and human sexuality; and forming attitudes and beliefs about sex, sexual identity, interpersonal relationships, affection, intimacy and gender roles. It also includes developing the necessary skills do be able to distinguish between facts and myths on sex and sexuality; and critically evaluate. and discuss the moral, religious, social and cultural dimensions of related sensitive issues such as contraception and abortion.

i. Male involvement and participation - refers to the involvement, participation, commitment and joint responsibility of men with women in all areas of sexual and reproductive health, as well as reproductive health concerns specific to men.

j. Reproductive tract infection (RTI) - refers do sexually transmitted infections, sexually transmitted diseases and other types of-infections affecting the reproductive system.

k. Basic Emergency Obstetric Care - refers to lifesaving services for maternal complication being provided by a health facility or professional which must include the following six signal functions: administration of parenteral antibiotics; administration of parrenteral oxyttocic drugs; administration of parenteral anticonvulsants for pre-eclampsia and iampsia; manual removal of placenta; and assisted vaginal delivery.

l. Comprehensive Emergency Obstetric Care - refers to basic emergency obstetric care plus two other signal functions: performance of caesarean section and blood transfusion.

m. Maternal Death Review - refers to a qualitative and in-depth study of the causes of maternal death with the primary purpose of preventing future deaths through changes or additions to programs, plans and policies.

n. Skilled Attendant - refers to an accredited health professional such as a licensed midwife, doctor or nurse who has adequate proficiency and the skills to manage normal (uncomplicated) pregnancies, childbirth and the immediate postnatal period, and in the identification, management and referral of complication in women and newborns.

o. Skilled Attendance - refers to childbirth managed by a skilled attendant under the enabling conditions of a functional emergencyobstetric care and referral system.

p. Development - refers to a multi-dimensional process involving major changes in social structures, popular attitudes, and national institutions as well as the acceleration of economic growth, the reduction of inequality and the eradication of widespread poverty.

q. Sustainable Human Development - refers to the totality of the process of expending human choices by enabling people to enjoy long, healthy and productive lives, affording them access to resources needed for a decent standard of living and assuring continuity and acceleration of development by achieving a balance between and among a manageable population, adequate resources and a healthy environment.

r. Population Development - refers to a program that aims to: (1) help couples and parents achieve their desired family size; (2) improve reproductive health of individuals by addressing reproductive health problems; (3) contribute to decreased maternal and infant mortality rates and early child mortality; (4) reduce incidence of teenage pregnancy; and (5) enable government to achieve a balanced population distribution.

SEC. 5. The Commission on Population (POPC0NI). - Pursuant to the herein declared policy, the Commission on Population (POPCOM) shall serve as the central planning, coordinating, implementing and monitoring body for the comprehensive and integrated policy on reproductive health and population development. In the implementation of this policy, POPCOM, which shall be an attached agency of the Department of Health (DOH) shall have the following functions:

a. To create an enabling environment for women and couples to make an informed choice regarding the family planning method that is best suited to their needs and personal convictions;

b. To integrate on a continuing basis the interrelated reproductive health and population development agenda into a national policy, taking into account regional and local concerns;

c. To provide the mechanism to ensure active and full participation of the private sector and the citizenry through their organizations in the planning and implementation of reproductive health care and population development programs and projects;

d. To ensure people’s access to medically safe, legal, quality and affordable reproductive health goods and services;

e. To facilitate the involvement and participation of non-government organizations and the private sector in reproductive health care service delivery and in the production, distribution and delivery of quality reproductive: health and family planning supplies and commodities to make them accessible and affordable to ordinary citizens;

f. To fully implement the Reproductive Health Care Program with the following components:

(1) Reproductive health education including but not limited to counseling on the full range of legal and medically-safe family planning methods including surgical methods;

(2) Maternal, pen-natal and post-natal education, care and services;

(3) Promotion of breastfeeding;

(4) Promotion of male involvement, participation and responsibility in reproductive health as well as other reproductive health concerns of men;

(5) Prevention of abortion and management of post-abortion complications; and

(6) Provision of information and services addressing the reproductive health needs of the poor, senior citizens, women in prostitution, differently-abled persons, and women and children in war AND crisis situations.

g. To ensure that reproductive health services are delivered with a full range of supplies, facilities and equipment and that service providers are adequately trained for reproductive health care;

h. To endeavor to furnish local Family Planning Offices with appropriate information and resources to keep the latter updated on current studies and research relating to family planning, responsible parenthood, breastfeeding and infant nutrition;

i. To direct all public hospitals to make available to indigent mothers who deliver their children in these government hospitals, upon the mothers request, the procedure of ligation without cost to her;

j. To recommend the enactment of legislation and adoption of executive measures that will strengthen and enhance the national policy on reproductive health and population development;

k. To ensure a massive and sustained information drive on responsible parenthood and on all methods and techniques to prevent unwanted, unplanned and mistimed pregnancies, it shall release information bulletins on the same for nationwide circulation to all government departments, agencies and instrumentalities, non-government organizations and the private sector, schools, public and private libraries, tri-media outlets, workplaces, hospitals and concerned health institutions;

l. To strengthen the capacities of health regulatory agencies to ensure safe, high-quality, accessible, and affordable reproductive health services and commodities with the concurrent strengthening and enforcement of regulatory mandates and mechanisms;

m. To take active steps to expand the coverage of the National Health Insurance Program (NHIP), especially among poor and marginalized women, to include the full range of reproductive health services and supplies as health insurance benefits; and

n. To perform such other functions necessary to attain the purposes of this Act.

The membership of the Board of Commissioners of POPCOM shall consist of the heads of the following AGENCIES:

1. National Economic DevelopmentAuthority (VEDA)
2. Department of Health (DOH)
3. Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD)
4. Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE)
5. Department of Agriculture (DA)
6. Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG)
7. Department of Education (DepEd)
8. Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR)
9. Commission on Higher Education (CHED)
10. University of the Philippines Population Institute (UPPI)
11. Union of Local Authorities of the Philippines (ULAFI)
12. National Anti-Poverty Commission (NAPQ
13. National Commission on the Role of Filipino Women (NCRFW)
14. National Youth Commission (NYC)

In addition to the aforementioned, members, there shall be three private sector representatives to the Board of Commissioners of POPCOM who shall come from NGOs. There shall be one (1) representative each from women, youth and health sectors who have a proven track record of involvement in the promotion of reproductive health. These representatives shall be nominated in a process determined by the above-mentioned sectors, and to be appointed by the President for a term of three (3)years.

SEC. 6. Midwives for Skilled Attendance. -Every city and municipality shall endeavor to employ adequate number of midwives or other skilled attendants to achieve a minimum ratio of one (1)for every one hundred fifty (150) deliveries per year, to be based on the average annual number of actual deliveries or live births for the past two years.

SEC. 7. Emergency Obstetric Care. - Each province. and city shall endeavor to ensure the establishment and operation of hospitals with adequate and qualified personnel that provide emergency obstetric care. For every 500,000 population, there shall be at least one (1) hospital for comprehensive emergency obstetric care and four (4) hospitals for basic emergency obstetric care.

SEC. 8. Maternal Death Review. - All LGUs, national and local government hospitals, and other public health units shall conduct maternal death review in accordance with the guidelines to be issued by the DOH in consultation with the POPCOM.

SEC. 9. Hospital-Based Family Planning. -Tubal ligation, vasectomy, intrauterine device insertion and other family planning methods requiring hospital services shall be available in all national and local government hospitals, except: in specialty hospitals which may render such services on an optional basis. For indigent patients, such services shall be fully covered by PhilHealth insurance and/or government financial assistance.

SEC. 10. Contraceptives as Essential Medicines. - Hormonal contraceptives, intrauterine devices, injectables and other allied reproductive health products and supplies shall be considered under the category of essential medicines and supplies which shall form part of the National Drug Formulary and the same shall be included in the regular purchase of essential medicines and supplies of all national and lord hospitals and other government health units.

SEC. 11. Mobile Health Care Service. -Each Congressional District shall be provided with a van to be known as the Mobile Health Care Service (MHOS) to deliver health care goods and services to its constituents, more particularly to the poor and needy, as well as disseminate knowledge and information on reproductive health: Provided, That reproductive health education shall be conducted by competent and adequately trained persons preferably reproductive health care providers: Provided, further, That the full range of family planning methods, both natural and modern, shall be promoted.

The acquisition, operation and maintenance of the MRCS shall be funded from the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) of each Congressional District.

The MHCS shall be adequately equipped with a wide range of reproductive health care materials and information dissemination devices and equipment, the latter including but not limited to, a television set for audio-visual presentation.

SEC. 12. Mandatory Age-Appropriate Reproductive Health Education. - Recognizing the importance of reproductive health rights in empowering the youth and developing them into responsible adults, Reproductive Health Education in an age-appropriate manner shall be taught by adequately trained teachers starting from Grade 5 up to Fourth Year High School. In order to assure the prior training of teachers on reproductive health, the implementation of Reproductive Health Education shall commence at the start of the school year one year following the effectivity of this Act. The POPCOM, in coordination with the Department of Education, shall formulate the Reproductive Health Education curriculum, which shall be common to both public and private schools and shall include related population and development concepts in addition to the following subjects and standards:

a. Reproductive health and sexual rights;

b. Reproductive health care and services;

c. Attitudes, beliefs and values on sexual development, sexual behavior and sexual health;

d. Proscription and hazards of abortion and management of post-abortion complications;

e. Responsible parenthood.

f. Use and application of natural and modern family planning methods to promote reproductive health, achieve desired family size and prevent unwanted, unplanned and mistimed pregnancies;

g. Abstinence before marriage;

h. Prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS and other, STIs/STDs, prostate cancer, breast cancer, cervical cancer and other gynecological disorders;

i. Responsible sexuality; and

j. Maternal, peri-natal and post-natal education, care and services.

In support of the natural, and primary right of parents in the rearing of the youth, the POPCOM shall provide concerned parents with adequate and relevant scientific materials on the age-appropriate topics and manner of teaching reproductive health education to their children.

In the elementary level, reproductive health education shall focus, among others, on values formation.

Non-formal education programs shall likewise include the abovementioned reproductive Health Education.

SEC. 13. Additional Duty of Family Planning 0ffice. - Each local Family Planning Office shall furnish for free instructions and information on family planning, responsible parenthood, breastfeeding and infant nutrition to all applicants for marriage license.

SEC. 14. Certificate of Compliance. - No marriage license shall be issued by the Local Civil Registrar unless the applicants present a Certificate of Compliance issued for free by the local Family Planning Office certifying that they had duly received adequate instructions and information on family planning, responsible parenthood, breastfeeding and infant nutrition.

SEC. 15. Capability Building of Community-Based Volunteer Workers. - Community-based volunteer workers, like but not limited to, Barangay Health Workers, shall undergo additional and updated training on the delivery of reproductive health care services and shall receive not less than 10% increase in honoraria upon successful completion of training. The increase in honoraria shall be funded from the Gender and Development (GAD) budget of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), Department of Health (DOH) and the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG).

SEC. 16. Ideal Family Size. - The State shall assist couples, parents and individuals to achieve their desired family size within the context of responsible parenthood for sustainable development and encourage them to have two children as the ideal family size. Attaining the ideal family size is neither mandatory nor compulsory. No punitive action shall be imposed on parents having more than two children.

SEC. 17. Employers’ Responsibilities. - Employers shall respect the reproductive health rights of all their workers. Women shall not be discriminated against in the matter of hiring, regularization of employment status or selection for retrenchment.

All Collective Bargaining Agreements (CBAs) shall provide for the free delivery by the employer of reasonable quantity of reproductive health care services, supplies and devices to all workers, more particularly women workers. In establishments or enterprises where there are no CBAs or where the employees are unorganized, the employer shall have the same obligation.

SEC. 18. Support of Private and Non-government Health Care Service Providers. - Pursuant to Section 5(b) hereof, private reproductive health care service providers, including but not limited to gynecologists and obstetricians, are encouraged to join their colleagues in non-government organizations in rendering such services free of charge or at reduced professional fee rates to indigent and low income patients.

SEC. 19. Multi-Media Campaign. - POPCOM shall initiate and sustain an intensified nationwide multi-media campaign to raise the level of public awareness on the urgent need to protect and promote reproductive health and rights.

SEC. 20. Reporting Requirements. - Before the end of April of each year,the DOH shall submit an annual report to the President of the Philippines, the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives on a definitive and comprehensive assessment of the implementation of this Act and shall make the necessary recommendations for executive and legislative action. The report shall be posted in the website of DOH and printed copies shall be made available to all stakeholders.

SEC. 21. Prohibited Acts. - The following acts are prohibited:

a) Any health care service provider, whether public or private, who shall:

1. Knowingly withhold information or impede the dissemination thereof, and/or intentionally provide incorrect information regarding programs and services on reproductive health including the right to informed choice and access to a full range of legal, medically-safe and effective family planning methods;

2. Refuse to perform voluntary ligation and vasectomy and other legal and medically-safe reproductive health care services on any person of legal age on the ground of lack of spousal consent or authorization.

3. Refuse to provide reproductive health care services to an abused minor, whose abused condition is certified by the proper official or personnel of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) or to duly DSWD-certified abused pregnant minor on whose case no parental consent is necessary.

4. Fail to provide, either deliberately or through gross or inexcusable negligence, reproductive health care services as mandated under this Act, the Local Government Code of 1991, the Labor Code, and Presidential Decree 79, as amended; and

5. Refuse to extend reproductive health care services and information on account of the patient’s civil status, gender or sexual orientation, age, religion, personal circumstances, and nature of work; Provided, That all conscientious objections of health care service providers based on religious grounds shall be respected: Provided, further, That the conscientious objector shall immediately refer the person seeking such care and services to another health care service provider within the same facility or one which is conveniently accessible: Provided, finally, That the patient is not in an emergency or serious case as defined in RA 8344 penalizing the refusal of hospitals and medical clinics to administer appropriate initial medical treatment and support in emergency and serious cases.

b) Any public official who prohibits or restricts personally or through a subordinate the delivery of legal and medically-safe reproductive health care services, including family planning;

c) Any employer who shall fail to comply with his obligation under Section 17 of this Act or an employer who requires a female applicant or employee, as a condition for employment or continued employment, to involuntarily undergo sterilization, tubal ligation or any other form of contraceptive method;

d) Any person who shall falsify a certificate of compliance as required in Section 14 of this Act; and

e) Any person who maliciously en ges in disinformation about the intent or provisions of this Act.

SEC. 22. Penalties. - The proper city or municipal court shall exercise jurisdiction over violations of this Act and the accused who is found guilty shall be sentenced to an imprisonment ranging from one (1) month to six (6) months or a fine ranging from Ten Thousand Pesos (P10,000.00) to Fifty Thousand Pesos (P50,000.00) or both such fine and imprisonment at the discretion of the court. If the offender is a juridical person, the penalty shall be imposed upon the president, treasurer, secretary or any responsible officer. An offender who is an alien shall, after service of sentence, be deported immediately without further proceedings by the Bureau of Immigration. An offender who is a public officer or employee shall suffer the accessory penalty of dismissal from the government service.

Violators of this Act shall be civilly liable to the offended party in such amount at the discretion of the proper court.

SEC. 23. Appropriations. - The amounts appropriated in the current annual General Appropriations Act for reproductive health and family planning under the DOH and POPCOM together with ten percent (10%) of the Gender and Development (GAD) budgets of all government departments, agencies, bureaus, offices and instrumentalities funded in the annual General Appropriations Act in accordance with Republic Act No. 7192 (Women in Development and Nation-building Act) and Executive Order No. 273 (Philippine Plan for Gender Responsive Development 1995-2025) shall be allocated and utilized for the implementation of this Act. Such additional sums as may be necessary for the effective implementation of this Act shall be Included in the subsequent years’ General Appropriations Acts.

SEC. 24. Implementing Rules and Regulations. - Within sixty (60) days from the effectivity of this Act, the Department of Health shall promulgate, after thorough consultation with the Commission on Population (POPCOM), the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA), concerned non-government organizations (NGOs) and known reproductive health advocates, the requisite implementing rules and regulations.

SEC. 25. Separability Clause. - If any part, section or provision of this Act is held invalid or unconstitutional, other provisions not affected thereby shall remain in full force and effect.

SEC. 26. Repealing Clause. - All laws, decrees, Orders, issuances, rules and regulations contrary to or inconsistent with the provisions of this Act are hereby repealed, amended or modified accordingly.

SEC. 27. Effectivity. - This Act shall take effect fifteen (15) days after its publication in at least two (2) newspapers of national circulation.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Today is the future of yesterday

In the end, we would just 'own' a small property. Perhaps 6 feet deep or even less. Either in a wooden box or in a metal casket.

Life is like a spin of nowhere. And we should live in the spirit of love. If not for love, what? It is because of love that we work. Not for ourselves primarily but for others: our loved ones, our children, our families. We prepare for the 'future'. As if it had not come. Yet today was a future of yesterdays. This year was just a dream of yesteryears. Today is the future.

What is life, therefore?

Whatever our answer is matters most. Especially with the way we perceive our life.

Why do you think were you born? Planned? Accident? Emotions? Love? Habit?

Now that you are here in this world, in this universe, what's your purpose? Just to live and experience how to live in this planet? To become an icon, a towering icon due to achievements and successes? After those, what? How many great men and women have come and passed in this world? Where are they now aside from our memory? We've heard of so many urban legends on ghost stories but I have yet to hear that the ghost of Albert Einstein has ever been felt by someone. Or perhaps the spirit of Adolf Hitler or of Douglas MacArthur. Or of Thomas Alva Edison or of William Shakespeare. They were great names. They left us with a lot of things which were practically a revelation of their persons. Are they totally gone? Or are they in heaven, too, like the so many saints that we have listed down as being favored by God?

If we are not Einstein or Edison or Shakespeare, then how would we be remembered by humanity once we are gone? That is the reason why we should discover our own niche in this world. Something that people will remember us by. Not just by the very people close to us and to our hearts by virtue of consanguinity with them, but more by the people who have wonderful recollections of how we have touched their lives.

Truly, life is what we make it. We can either choose to be ordinary. Or put an extra something to an ordinary life so that we, too, could become extraordinary.

We are a product of the choices we made. Therefore, choose wisely.

Stressed Out

I haven't blogged for a while. I've been super busy lately with a lot of things that had piled up unnoticed. There were even moments that I had to stay wide-eyed 'til 3:00 a.m. It seems to me that my day-hours are not enough for me to accomplish the work I had to do. But I stretch any available strength I have just so I could still do what I was expected to do.

Then I realized a few things. I could work under pressure. My mind and my body could carry the stress that probably other people could find it an excuse not to do things simultaneously. While under stress, though, I noticed how my flesh would like to reject the stress that I was all so unkindly giving my body. There were tingling sensations especially in my arms, my palms, and my fingers. I could feel how the muscles began to shake as if in protest of tiredness and lack of sleep. My head, at times, would not like to function. I know I had a lot of things in my mind, but I could not put them all together. It's like a jigsaw puzzle that I had to carefully fit them together piece by piece. There were even moments that I was constructing thoughts unknowingly intertwining reality and fantasy! Whoa! I was writing scientific concepts then all of a sudden the elements in my dreams simply pop up integrated with the sentences! Poor me. Sleepless nights!

While I could work under pressure on one particular task, I can work on multitasks! You might say practically anyone can do multitasking. Perhaps. But not similar to what I've undergone for the past few days. When tasks seem to be insurmountable, they become mountains waiting to be conquered. To me, it was not like three or four or five mountains. It was a mountain range quite longer even than the Sierra Madre.

I've proven something to myself. I could be productive under stress. I was able to accomplish a lot of things simultaneously without other people even noticing that I was suffering from extreme pressures and stresses.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Freedom

The recent dead-of-the-night release of Claudio Teehankee, Jr. refreshed back the wounds and pains that he caused the nation when he felled Maureen Hultman, 16, and Roland John Chapman, 21, with his deaf bullets on that fateful July 13, 1991 night.

Inquirer.net recalled the incident very vividly. An excerpt of the story reads:

Bloody night

Teehankee ended up a convicted murderer for the 1991 death of 16-year-old Maureen Hultman. He was also convicted of the shooting death of Hultman’s companion, Roland John Chapman, 21, and the almost fatal shooting of another companion, Jussi Olavi Leino, 24.

The triple shooting occurred in the early morning of July 13, 1991, in DasmariƱas Village in Makati City, where the Hultmans lived.

Court records showed Hultman was returning home from a party with her two companions when Teehankee confronted them on Campanilla Street.

When Chapman asked Teehankee why he was bothering them, the latter pushed him, drew out his gun, and shot Chapman in cold blood, according to the records.

“Why did you shoot me?” the staggering Chapman said before crumpling to the ground.

Then, according to the records, Teehankee ordered the now hysterical Hultman and Leino to sit together on the sidewalk. “While seated, unarmed and begging for mercy, the two were gunned down by [Teehankee].”

Teehankee drove away in a car after the shooting.

Leino was one of three witnesses who later identified Teehankee as the gunman.

For the full story see link.

And as we recall back that gruesome, devilish incident, the anger is revived. The fist is clenched again. The wound is rubbed with gritty salt again. The anguish is back.

I have never known Maureen on a personal level. But her story captured my heart. No newspaper or TV news program did not carry her ordeal and heart-rending struggle for life. Practically the media followed it through until its conclusion when finally Teehankee, Jr. was sentenced to reclusion perpetua for Maureen and two reclusion temporal for both Chapman and Jussi Olavi Leino (the survivor). Aside from this, he was ordered by the court to pay damages amounting to about P15 million.

The government said his release was studied very carefully after he had shown "good behavior" and claimed that the Hultmans had been informed about his possible release. Contrary to what the government claims, the Hultmans cried foul and were seemingly stabbed afresh by the controversial release. The dead-of-the-night freedom granted on Teehankee Jr. once again ignited some groups to raise their fists in anger and dismay.

I, for one, went back into my old write-ups about Maureen. And as I read them again, the anger and disgust quickly caused red flushes on my face. If I felt that way, how much more to Anders and Vivian, the parents of Maureen? How much more to those who fought hard against all odds knowing that they were fighting against one of the most powerful names in the country way back then, and until now.

Good behavior. Say it again. "Good behavior." Perhaps a new definition in the dictionary about 'good behavior' should be entered. Good behavior - the ability of not serving to completion a combined reclusion perpetua and two reclusion temporal for double murder and frustrated murder because of deeds favorable on the eyes of the government; also known as teehankeenism.

Maureen, wherever you are, know that you are loved so much. And I am one of those who love you.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Bird's Nest


I took this picture of a beautiful bird's nest at the entrance of the Makiling Botanical Gardens at the University of the Philippines - Los Banos, Laguna. I was entralled by its size and majesty. Bird's nest is a kind of fern known scientifically as Asplenium nidus. They thrive on high humidity. The higher the humidity, the longer the fronds. They rarely reach more than 18 inches in height indoors.

Epitaph

Just a thought: if I had to wish for my own epitaph, I wish it would read such, aside from the usual things:

ERNESTO U. GUILLERMO, JR.
a teacher, a friend, a husband,
and most of all, a DAD

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Chat

Last night, I had one of my longest chats. And with someone I consider so close to my heart. I missed Ikai that much. I don't know, but I had that special feeling of fondness for Ikai. Why, she was one of my more responsible and very active students way back then. I got a special interest on her because I saw her quite pale and weak. But her looks were deceiving because despite what I perceived her to be, she was ALL OUT with her commitments and practices for the Salamin ng Lahi, a dance troupe she joined which she enjoyed most.

Ikai smiles so sweetly. Her dimples are a sight to behold. She seems to fly in grace as she commands her feet gracefully on stage. She swings her arms so smoothly that I could almost listen to the gentle breeze of the air as her arms would cut the wind so rhythmically. She has music, no wonder. She would gasp for her breath from time to time but she would bubbly go back to her routines once she gains some strength.

I often wondered how she could manage to smile despite her physical exhaustion in practices. Perhaps there was this unexplainable, ecstatic feeling of satisfaction once you knew the audience was captivated by the sways and leaps and forms you did on stage. I had followed her so closely from a distance. And I would let her feel I was concerned with her by reminding her to take a rest and take care of her health, from time to time. Whenever I had a chance even just for a short while to exchange some hi's and hello's along the hallway of the school, her impish smiles on me each time I remind her of her health would be enough to allay my feeling of anxiousness on her pale color.

After some years, now she is a certified pharmacist! Full-fledged. And last night, I chance upon her while she was online on Yahoo Messenger. What a refreshing feeling. I relived those good ol' days when she was yet the little Ikai I had way back then. The Ikai I had put a special place in my heart, which, perhaps she never knew. It felt so good 'talking to her' through chatting.

Ikai, I am so proud of you, do you know that? You just didn't know you had a soft place in my heart. You had. And you still do. Am proud of you!

Magazine

Here was another outburst of my anger in 1991. I guess, no other celebrated case had a very great impact on me than Maureen's case. I even cut clippings of her published in newspapers and magazines. But I wasn't able to keep them well, especially when we had to transfer from one place to another in search for a better place to stay. I kept an enlarged picture of her youthful smile published by the Philippine Star. Lo and behold, it was one of those carried away by flood when it hit us hard...


Magazine


The pain stings
nearest my heart
over a magazine
displayed in the streets
shouting for justice
of the woman felled
by mysterious blow.

I wish to see the light
on the man who pumped
a lead to Maureen's plea!

The Day My Heart Cried

Maureen finally bade us goodbye after several weeks in coma due to the pumped bullet in her head. Deep inside me, I grieved. I never knew her personally but Maureen left something in my heart. I cried.

The Day My Heart Cried
October 17, 1991
7:20 pm


My heart grieves
the saddest for Maureen
a heap of snow
over a chick just born
a premature death
the grips the nation's heart

i shout the Tu Fu's cry
"who says there is justice...
what comfort, once you're dead?"

Teddy's angry beyond words
and so do I
to hell with the jungle brute
a vermin of my life!
oh sh't with that assh'le!
a real f'ck'n' sh't!

i shake with Anders' grief
a sobbing for justice
and Vivian's strength!

On Maureen Again

This was my second poem on Maureen way back in 1991. I included it in my personal memorabilia of her:


Oo, Matanda na si Lola!

Masuwerte si Lola
Sa kanyang kulubot
Binigyan siya ng Diyos
Ng mahabang buhok
Kurap man ang mata
Panaho'y namasdan
Di tulad ni Maureen
Pinilit hatulan!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Maureen Hultman

News Feed from Yahoo! Philippines:

Maureen Hultman case: Govt frees son of ex-chief justice

I was totally surprised by this latest update on what moved me several years ago. I had actually followed the case in newspapers and magazines in 1991. I can still vividly remember the emotions I had way back then when I went back to my mini collections of the poems I had written about Maureen. Here was the first one:



Si Maureen Hultman


Ang gabi'y mainit

Kaya siya'y lumabas

Pumadyak daw sa tugtog

Malutong ang halakhak

Kasama'y pag-ibig

Humahalimuyak

Nang hindi maganda

Ihip pumagaspas

Nagsikip ang pagitan

Umuwi ring wagas!


Sa daan may kotse

Bumaba'y lalaki

Ang hawak ay buhay

Sa kanyang daliri

Lumangitngit ang gatilyo

Isang punglo ang lumipad

Pisngi niya'y naputikan

Dugo niya'y dumanak...


Sa nginig at takot

Lumuhod siyang luhaan

"Huwag po niyo akong patayin!

Ako'y kaawaan!"

Ngunit may tainga ba

Ang kinalawang na bakal?

At sa nginig ng daliri'y

Isang punglo ang lumipad

At hawak ang isang buhay

Kinabukasa'y di tiyak

Simbolo ng pag-asa

Ng mga api't hinahamak!


Siya, oo, siya si Maureen

Biktima ng madilim

At pusong maitim

Talamak nang krimen

Sa lipunan natin!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

The Gates to Success

I got this few months ago during one of my surfing moments. I must admit, I bow to the wit and luck of Bill Gates when he decided to leave Harvard and work with his friend Paul Allen (of Apple) tinkering with their new-found gadget that soon hit the world - the computer. Adventurous, I may say. Unafraid of the unknown. But this adventure brought them to where they are now. At an early age, Gates learned the language of programming. together with Paul Allen, he founded Micro-soft, later registered as Microsoft - the now giant in the computer industry, opening 'Windows' to the world of computers!

After having been partners in Microsoft (founded by Bill himself), the two parted as friends to propel both their technologies to the hilt! How many times has Bill Gates been declared as the Richest Man in the World? I can't remember anymore.


Here was what I got while surfing:


Love him or hate him, he sure hits the nail on the head with this! Bill Gates recently gave a speech at a High School about 11 things they did not and will not learn in school. He talks about how feel-good, politically correct teachings created a generation of kids with no concept of reality and how this concept set them up for failure in the real world.


Rule 1: Life is not fair - get used to it!

Rule 2 : The world won't care about your self-esteem. The world will expect you to accomplish something BEFORE you feel good about yourself.

Rule 3 : You will NOT make $60,000 a year right out of high school. You won't be a vice-president with a car phone until you earn both.

Rule 4 : If you think your teacher is tough, wait till you get a boss.

Rule 5 : Flipping burgers is not beneath your dignity. Your Grandparents had a different word for burger flipping: they called it opportunity.

Rule 6: If you mess up, it's not your parents' fault, so don't whine about your mistakes, learn from them.

Rule 7: Before you were born, your parents weren't as boring as they are now. They got that way from paying your bills, cleaning your clothes and listening to you talk about how cool you thought you were. So before you save the rain forest from the parasites of your parent's generation, try delousing the closet in your own room.

Rule 8: Your school may have done away with winners and losers, but life HAS NOT. In some schools, they have abolished failing grades and they'll give you as MANY TIMES as you want to get the right answer. This doesn't bear the slightest resemblance to ANYTHING in real life.

Rule 9: Life is not divided into semesters. You don't get summers off and very few employers are interested in helping you FIND YOURSELF. Do that on your own time..

Rule 10: Television is NOT real life. In real life people actually have to leave the coffee shop and go to jobs.

Rule 11: Be nice to nerds. Chances are you'll end up working for one.

If you agree , pass it on.
If you can read this - Thank a teacher!