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Monday, May 31, 2010

May 31 is World No Tobacco Day

FAST FACT ABOUT TOBACCO AND SMOKING: (from the World Health Organization)

Tobacco kills up to half of its users.

It kills more than five million people a year – an average of one person every six seconds – and accounts for one in 10 adult deaths.

The annual death toll of more than five million could rise to more than eight million by 2030 unless urgent action is taken to control the tobacco epidemic.

More than 80% of the world's one billion smokers live in low- and middle-income countries.

Total consumption of tobacco products is increasing globally, though it is decreasing in some high-income and upper middle-income countries.

Tobacco users who die prematurely deprive their families of income, raise the cost of health care and hinder economic development.

Only 5.4% of people are protected by comprehensive national smoke-free laws.

In 2008, the number of people protected from second-hand smoke increased by 74% to 362 million from 208 million in 2007.

Of the 100 most populous cities, 22 are smoke free.

Almost half of children regularly breathe air polluted by tobacco smoke.

Over 40% of children have at least one smoking parent.

Second-hand smoke causes 600 000 premature deaths per year.

In 2004, children accounted for 28% of the deaths attributable to second-hand smoke.

There are more than 4000 chemicals in tobacco smoke, of which at least 250 are known to be harmful and more than 50 are known to cause cancer.

In adults, second-hand smoke causes serious cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, including coronary heart disease and lung cancer.

In infants, it causes sudden death.

In pregnant women, it causes low birth weight.


Some suggestions from WHO Tobacco Free Initiative, especially on this World No Tobacco Day commemoration which focuses on Women:

- Demand that your government ban all forms of tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship.
- Demand that your government implement legislation to provide 100% protection from tobacco smoke in all public places and workplaces.
- Campaign for women's freedom from tobacco as a human right.

- Advocate for full implementation of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.
- Urge governments to take into account the specific needs of both women and men in the development of tobacco control strategies.
- Share information about the importance of controlling the global tobacco epidemic among women.
- Help to educate women about the tobacco industry's attempts to ensnare them and the dangers of tobacco use.
- Sensitize men to the harm that their second-hand smoke inflicts on the women and children with whom they live and work.

- Implement a comprehensive ban on all forms of tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship, as called for in the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.
- Implement a comprehensive ban on tobacco smoke in all public places and workplaces, likewise called for in the WHO Framework Convention.
- Heed the call in the preamble of the WHO Framework Convention for "gender-specific tobacco control strategies" and the "full participation of women at all levels of [tobacco control] policy-making and implementation [of tobacco control measures]".
- Request assistance from WHO to implement the demand-reduction provisions of the WHO Framework Convention through the MPOWER package of tobacco control measures.
- Ensure that government agencies and other stakeholders work together to take into account the different needs of men and women.
- Ensure that tobacco control strategies take into account the special problems of women who chew tobacco.

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Tuesday, May 18, 2010

On hope: Hope on

In this season of transition and change:

...[H]ope is not blind optimism.

It's not ignoring the enormity of the task ahead or the roadblocks that stand in our path.

It's not sitting on the sidelines or shirking from a fight.

Hope is that thing inside us that insists, despite all evidence to the contrary, that something better awaits us if we have the courage to reach for it, and to work for it, and to fight for it...

Remarks of Senator Barack Obama: Iowa Caucus Night, Des Moines, Iowa, January 03, 2008

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Sunday, May 16, 2010

Why I am staying in the Philippines (9): A platform of hope and transformation

I will try to relate to you later why Lea Salonga's JOURNEY is an apt soundtrack to my participation in this year's electoral exercise.

But for now, seeing that Benigno "Noynoy" S. Aquino III is very, very close to winning the Philippine presidency, I think it is but proper that we Filipinos become ever more vigilant that he and his governance team keep their campaign promises.

Here's a copy of the Social Contract he has forged with the Filipino people, his platform of hope and transformation. Let's measure his administration using this standards he himself has put forward. We work with him on this one because his words capture what 90-million-odd Filipinos ARE aspiring for. We pat him on the back if he does his job well. We reel him in when he seems to wander away from the supposed straight path he is leading us into.

With trusting faith, watchful eyes, and vigilant hearts, we let our leaders know that we are are their bosses- lest they forget, lest we forget.

Noynoy Aquino Platform of Government

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Wednesday, May 12, 2010

@PCOSmachine - revealed!

On today's (May 12, 2010) Mornings@ANC, TJ Manotoc finally revealed who the man behind the (in)famous Twitter account @PCOSmachine is. Pats on the back and possibly rounds of free beer for this guy who gave a "voice" to the love-it-or-hate-it contraption that has symbolized the first fully-automated elections in the Philippines- the Precinct Count Optical Scan or PCOS machine. In the crucial hours of the polls and in the many thereafter, @PCOSmachine allowed many a netizen of the Twitterverse to laugh despite the toxic, nervous election air permeating the country. Backread this Twitter account and see the quintessential Pinoy humor coming to the rescue of a nation deep in the muck of sample ballots and sanity-zapping jingles.

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Saturday, May 08, 2010

Why I will vote for Dr. Martin Bautista for Senator

1. He’s a doctor. He’s kindred. He knows the ins and outs of the healthcare system, both the possible and the problematic. Having studied in the UP College of Medicine and the Philippine General Hospital- he knows first hand what’s good about the Philippines as well as what ails our nation. Having trained and worked as a physician in the US, he knows how things can still be improved as well as the pitfalls to avoid.

2. In his almost 2-decade long stay in the US, he has never forgotten the Philippines. He could have just enjoyed life there; sending dollars every so often as his tangible contribution to us holding the fort here. He chose, however, to return and offer himself for another, higher form of service.

3. He refuses to believe that the Filipino is inherently lazy and/or greedy. He still believes that a nurturing environment will enhance and facilitate the surfacing of the good in all of us. He believes that we wield a tremendous collective power in our hands.

4. His legislative agenda is not a mere hodge-podge of populist ideals. Rather, it is a list of practical, common sense issues that focus on systemic approach rather than band-aid solutions. An example of his train of thought:

Review the country’s debt servicing mechanisms + Rationalize spending on “infrastructures” (especially the superfluous flowerboxes, waiting sheds, and roads that lead to nowhere) --> free up more money for social services, like health and education > increase the salary for civil servants especially health professionals, teachers, and uniformed personnel --> have safer, healthier, more learned Filipinos --> have a more empowered population --> possible lessened dependence on external resources to meet our local needs

5. He embodies the truth that progress, like health, is a multi-faceted concern. While health and well-being form the core of his platform, he is unafraid to take up similarly important fights which affect health like the need for sustainable energy sources; access to quality education from primary to collegiate and vocational level; equal and swift dispensing of justice, and; stricter regulation of government-permitted gambling hubs, among others.

6. He believes in the model of Gawad Kalinga as a means to make decent, quality, affordable homes and livable communities a reality for lower income Pinoys currently living as informal settlers.

7. He does not personally advocate for abortion or other means of birth control BUT he believes that every Filipino has the right to be educated as regards the options s/he has and have access to these choices.

8. He is not afraid of new media and uses it to connect and collaborate with like-minded (and not-so-like-minded) fellows. He sees it as a great equalizer in terms of work and education so that learning and job opportunities can be made available regardless of geography and distance.

9. His campaign spending is virtually entirely from his own savings; he is not beholden to any entity or interest group. Sheer love of country is his motive for running.

10. He does not intend to make being a legislator his livelihood. He vows to not run for re-election should he get voted into office. He intends to do the most that he can in his first and only term as senator.

For Pinoys voting on May 10th, please do consider making #5 Dr. Martin Bautista a part of your senatorial lineup. A vote for Dr. Bautista is a vote for a healthier Philippines.

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Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Voters' prayer

Re-posting this prayer I initially put up here in my blog before the May 2007 elections. It's the same democratic exercise with many familiar candidates running for the same posts. However, I believe the stakes are even higher in this elections, given the fact that we are attempting full automation nationwide amidst the cacophony of politicking using new media. Now more than ever, we need to get our act together as a nation, choose wisely and guard our votes well beyond the election season. But we cannot do it through our own strength alone-

LORD, make me an instrument of your presence in the Polls.

Where there is coercion and violence,
Let me sow seeds of love;

Where there is bribery and vote buying,
Let me sow seeds of integrity;

Where there is discord,
Let me sow seeds of unity;

Where there is electoral fraud,
Let me sow seeds of honesty;

Where there is duplicity and propaganda,
Let me sow seeds of truth;

Where there is indifference,
Let me sow seeds of care and concern;

And, where there is despair in the electoral process,
Let me sow seeds of hope.

Oh Divine Master, grant that I may not so much
Think of my selfish motives when I vote.

Instill in me a deep sense of communal solidarity in my critical choice of candidates who would rise above the traditional politics of PAY-OFF, PERSONALITY and PATRONAGE.

Enlighten me to elect worthy men and women who embody the true spirit of public service in their moral consciousness.

For it is voting responsibly that we receive
the fruits of true democracy.
And it is in dying as a seed to our selfishness
that we are born to eternal life.


(Adapted from The Prayer of Saint Francis. Lifted from

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