Noong Abril, nag-uusap pa tayo kung sino ang bobotohing presidente. Hindi ka pa makadesisyon noon, pero nabanggit mo na si Senadora Miriam Defensor-Santiago. Tinanong mo ako kung sino pipiliin ko. Sabi ko kung tumakbo sana si Duterte bilang bise presidente, siya bobotohin ko. Pero nabanggit ko na isang malaking punto sa desisyon ko ang kalusugan ni Sen. Santiago. Hindi na nga tumagal ang matapang na senadora.

May you rest in peace Madam. The Philippines has lost a great leader.

I am writing this post inside a hospital, while waiting for my turn to be called. Almost four months have passed since I last saw my orthopedic doctor,  and I wasn’t able to consistently do the prescribed exercises for my legs. My left knee hurts more than my right,  and almost everyday I have to deal with the mild to moderate pain. I just started swimming last week,  but to be able to recover quickly,  I need to swim 2-3 times a week,  or find another physical activity that would complement it. I am nervous to know the condition of my knees now – I hope it has improved. 

On the other side, I woke up this morning with alarming news. At almost the same time I slept last night, an explosion at the night market in Roxas Avenue, Davao City happened. Around 12 people died, including a 12-year old. More than 60 people were injured by the blast. Early morning, President Duterte proclaimed the whole nation under the state of lawlessness. The AFP has declared full alert in Mindanao and heightened alert in the rest of the country. Just few hours earlier, Abu Sayyaf claimed the incident as their doing. 

In 2003, I was able to experience a similar incident. We were doing post-competition celebration with our coaches for the division math contest at the food court of the local mall when we suddenly heard an explosion and breaking of glass. In a split second, chaos ensued – people were screaming and running towards the stairs and exits. Too shocked, we stayed in our seats – one of the Math teachers told us to stay calm and not to go with the stampede. 

For the first time in my life,  I felt very frightened and helpless. My teeth chattered and my knees shook as we made our way down and out of the mall. Our parents were informed of the incident – and I went home, still shaking but able to talk. I think ever since then,  I became much more sensitive to loud noises and touch. 

What happened in Davao City last night reminded me again of the traumatic experience I had. Even as I work in a medical field, death and dying still has that great impact on me. 

Terrorism has no place in this country. Innocent civilians die,  get hurt and feel traumatized for the rest of their life. To be free of fear and to live in peace shouldn’t just be people’s dreams. 

Pluviophile ako. Pero kapag nandito ako sa Metro Manila eh kinakabahan ako tuwing tag-ulan. Simula noong Ondoy, 7 taon na ang nakakaraan, medyo natatakot na akong matulog na lang sa kasagsagan ng malakas na ulan.

Para sa mga hindi pa kumbinsido na totoo¬†ang¬†climate change, well,¬†‘di ako magbibigay ng¬†data¬†dito. Magkukwento lang ako ng karanasan ko.

Galing ako sa isang probinsya na hindi dinadaanan ng bagyo Рuntil 2011, nang napadaan si Sendong sa South Cotabato at nagka-signal number 1. Tanda ko pa, signal number 2 sa (North) Cotabato.

Pero kahit noon pa, kapag tag-ulan, binabaha talaga kami. Naaalala ko noon, pupunta kami sa bahay ng auntie¬†at¬†uncle¬†ko na kapitbahay lang namin, dala yung mga unan, kumot, at banig para makitulog. Umabot na kasi ‘yung tubig sa loob ng bahay namin. Sa kanila, hindi pa.

Mababa ang lugar namin. Wala pang maayos na drainage at kanal. Kaya ramdam ko talaga na parang pinabayaan at walang pakialam ang mga opisyal ng lokal na gobyerno sa amin (Ukinas!)

Halos kalbo na rin ang mga bundok (sana naka-recover¬†na sa halos isang taong¬†El Nino).¬†Kakaputol ng puno para gawing uling. Noong 1990s, talamak ang¬†illegal logging.¬†Sa ibang parte ng probinsya, ganun pa rin, isama mo pa ang mga¬†minahan. Kahit sabihin mo pang¬†small-scale, (banned¬†sa amin ang¬†large scale)¬†¬†sa tingin ko hindi pa rin nakakatulong ‘yung buong industriya ng pagmimina sa mga pamayanan, lalo na sa kalikasan.

Hindi rin ako tiwala sa National Greening Program ng DENR. Karamihan kasi sa mga species ng puno na tinatanim ay hindi native o indigenous. Sa punto ng biodiversity, nakakasama ang pagtanim ng mga punong hindi akma sa lugar at klima. Nababawasan at namamatay ang ibang mga puno, halaman, at hayop na nakadepende sa mga native at indigenous tree species natin.

Isama mo pa ang laganap na¬†export crop plantations¬†sa probinsya. Mahigit 200,000 ektarya ng lupa ang tinatamnan ng pinya, papaya, at saging na pinapadala sa ibang bansa. Kung pamilyar kayo sa¬†mga produkto ng Dole –¬†pakiusap¬†check¬†niyo ‘yung¬†label¬†– sa South Cotabato, sa amin galing.

Problema rin ang dala nito. Monocropping ang ginagawa. Ibig sabihin, sa halos isang taon, isang uri lang ng produkto ang tinatanim. Pag ganun, nauubos ang nutrients ng lupa. Nagiging acidic. At gumagamit sila ng pesticide na spini-ispray sa pamamagitan ng mga malalaking truck o sa pamamagitan ng maliit na jetplane. Pag naka-jackpot ka, kawawa ang balat, mata, at baga mo. Nakokontamina rin ng mga kemikal ang lupa at tubig.

‘Yung mga trabahador sa mga plantasyon, madalas kontraktwal rin yan.¬†Seasonal.¬†Kapag panahon ng pagtatanim at pag-aani saka lang sila may trabaho.

Kami nga ang food basket ng Pilipinas. Pero tignan ninyo naman ang sakripisyo ng mga taga-Mindanao.

Isa rin sa mga dahilan kung bakit ayaw kong may mga taga-Maynila na pumupunta sa mga probinsya, lalo na ngayon sa panahon ng¬†social media,¬†ay ang pagdagsa dahil sa turismo. Oo, nagkakaroon ng mga trabaho at pagkakakitaan ang mga tao sa lugar, pero minsan ‘yung mga pumupunta kasi, walang respeto sa komunidad, sa kultura, o sa kalikasan.

Kung anuman ang nararanasan natin ngayon, kasalanan nating lahat. Kasalanan ng tao. (at kasalanan rin ng mga naunang industrialized nations at mga nanakop sa atin). Konsumo tayo ng konsumo, hindi pinapalitan. Tapon dito, tapon doon. Tangkilik tayo ng tangkilik ng international brands namamatay na ang mga maliliit nating mga industriya. Hindi tayo nakakatulong sa kapwa nating Pilipino na magkaroon ng trabaho at mapakain ang mga pamilya nila. Adik kasi sa brand. Adik sa social media. Marami sa atin gusto lang magyabang.

Minsan nawawalan na ako ng pag-asa sa mga kababayan natin. Reklamo ng reklamo, parte pala ng problema. Kaya sana man lang, ituro ninyo ng maaga pa lang sa mga bata o anak ninyo na pahalagahan ang kalikasan at bayan natin. ‘Wag ninyong iasa na lang lahat sa sistema ng edukasyon na may mga pagkukulang rin. Kung magkakaroon man ako ng anak, sana maabutan niya pa ‘yung mga naabutan kong ganda at yaman ng Pinas.

 

The Ill-Gotten Health of the¬†Philippines ‚ÄĒ SubSelfie.com

Shameless plugging lang po.

Ito na ang piyesa na isinulat ko para sa Subselfie.com tungkol sa kalagayan ng kalusugan ng Pilipinas at mga manggagawang pangkalusugan, partikular sa mga nars na katulad ko. Naibahagi ko rin ang iba sa mga personal kong karanasan mula sa pagiging estudyante hanggang sa ngayon.

Muli, maraming salamat kay Toni Tiemsin para sa pagkakataong ito. Besh, sana may next time¬†pa ulit¬†ūüėČ

Para sa inyong kaalaman, isa akong¬†frustrated journalist.¬†Nagsimula akong magsulat noong nasa¬†elementary¬†pa ako hanggang¬†high school – bale campus journalist.¬†¬†Super¬†stressful¬†nung college kaya hindi na ako nakapag-sulat ulit (Kain, tulog, duty, aral ang buhay ko. Nitong nakaraang taon lang ako nakipaglandian, minalas pa ūüė• </3 ).

Sa totoo lang, nakalimutan ko na yung mga technical chorla sa journalism sa sobrang tagal ko nang lumayo sa landas ng pagsusulat. Kadalasan sa mga sinusulat ko noon ay news at feature. Ngayon, reports na lang o hindi kaya reflection papers haha.

Pagkatapos ng mga emotional¬†hanash ko nitong mga nakaraang araw, nabuhay ang loob ko dahil dito (Kinilig din ako dahil shinare nina Bam Alegre at Tricia Zafra ang sinulat ko ‚̧ ). Bale, 10 taon na rin nang huli kong makita ang pangalan ko sa isang¬†publication¬†na pang-masa.¬†Mga¬†April¬†o¬†May¬†ata ako sinabihan na magsulat para sa Subselfie. Sabi ko kay Toni patapusin ko muna ang¬†phase¬†ng¬†project¬†namin. Sinulat ko ito ilang araw pagkatapos vineto ni PNoy ang¬†Comprehensive Nursing Bill.

Kanina ay naka-attend ako ng isang national convention tungkol sa nutrisyon. Guest of honor si VP Leni Robredo at Keynote speaker si DOH Secretary Paulyn Jean Rosell-Ubial. Base sa mga nilatag nila, mukhang may patutunguhan na nga ang matagal na naming hinihiling na pagbabago sa sistema ng kalusugan at paglutas sa problema ng malnutrisyon sa ating bansa.

Sana po ay suportahan niyo kami sa aming laban – hindi lang ito para sa aming mga nars, kundi para na rin po sa lahat ng Pilipino. Pakitulungan kaming i-share¬†ang article na ito sa inyong mga¬†social media¬†accounts para makaabot sa mas nakararami. ūüôā

Maraming salamat!

P.S. Makikita niyo na rin ang tunay kong pangalan at mukha hahaha

President Noynoy Aquino left office and slapped nurses on his way out. He vetoed the Comprehensive Nursing Bill which would have provided for the raise in salary for entry level nurses working in both public and private sector, the appropriation of nurse to patient ratio, protection of nurses against illegal labor practices, unfair compensation and false […]

via The Ill-Gotten Health of the¬†Philippines ‚ÄĒ SubSelfie.com

Last night while browsing Facebook, I was extremely bothered by the comments of our kababayans regarding continued occupation and construction of China in the disputed Spratlys Islands at the West Philippine sea. Majority of people who commented in the article wanted the Philippines to be formally colonized by the US–whether they were serious or joking, the idea of being a colony again and its ramifications sadly seems to be heavily underestimated and misunderstood. I wanted to post more about my thoughts in Facebook but the paranoid in me decided against it‚ÄĒI might have watched too many conspiracy theory movies that I have imagined CIA agents busting through my door. ¬†I don‚Äôt think they would do it though because it would too suspicious to do that. Anyway, I will be writing my thoughts on the issue here and hopefully someone could understand the points I will be discussing despite being unpopular, because it is at least in some ways grounded in facts and reality.

My main point is that conflict between the US and China because of the Spratlys‚ÄĒis almost impossible. As the largest economy in the world, China is also the world‚Äôs largest recipient of internal foreign direct investment (FDI) in 2012, amounting to $253 billion (OECD). Relating to the US, in 2009, it owned approximately $1.6 trillion of US securities, which, put simply, makes China an important economic asset to the US. For example, despite the negative image associated with China manufacturing counterfeit goods, it is actually an attractive option to many American brands primarily due to cheap labor and production costs. Hence, it is quite absurd for both countries to pursue conflict in the name of Spratlys. There is a large possibility that this is just a moro-moro staged by both countries to make the Filipinos look up to the US as a ‚Äúsavior‚ÄĚ and consequently make colonialism an acceptable option.

If you attempt to see this issue in this light, it actually makes sense. The Philippines is rich in natural resources and its location is very strategic in terms of controlling countries within its vicinity in Asia. Our long-standing ‚Äúfriendly‚ÄĚ relations with the US dates way back to the end of the Spanish period, where we were sold off to them for $20 million dollars, through the Treaty of Paris in 1898. It was only in 1946, after the Japanese were defeated, that we were free again after being recognized as independent by the US.

However, American influence lingered and is still very much felt today‚ÄĒin the way we speak, dress, up to our dreams and aspirations. We are still a colony of the US‚ÄĒbut a neocolony. And the recent comments by our fellow Filipinos horrify me because I think this is what the US have always intended to do, and patiently orchestrated‚ÄĒa sufficient justification for re-colonization of the Philippines. Thousands of lives have already been lost during our fight for independence and all our heroes would‚Äôve died in vain if we are to mindlessly entertain the idea of colonialism again.

If there is anything I would like to implore to all Filipinos out there‚ÄĒplease do not forget that our country‚Äôs history was built on blood and struggle. We are making a huge disrespect to the people who sacrificed themselves for our country. Remember them and try not to be fooled by disguise. Do not simply accept things at face value, but constantly think and ask questions.