Thursday, June 30, 2011

[Dear Kuya A] Inquiry on Deaf Organizations & their RH issues

Dear Kuya A,


I am currently a Masters Candidate in Psychology, concentration in Counseling, in Ateneo de Manila University. I am looking for a practicum site and I am very much interested in working with the Deaf. Together with my practicum, I am also working on my thesis.

My thesis concentrates on the dating and sexual experiences of the deaf, focusing on individuals in high school and college. I came across your blog and since you have been advocating the Deaf community's rights and access to health and educational services, I thought of contacting you.

By any chance, is it possible to get an idea of what the issues are involving the Deaf community and the RH bill? Would it also be possible to share your sources as well? In return, I will be more than happy to share my findings when I finish my study with you.

Also, would you know of any organization or individual whom I can apply for practicum for counseling? I would very much like to be able to work as a counselor/psychologist for the Deaf community when I graduate my masters degree. Thus, I would like to take the opportunity during my practicum to start working with the Deaf, which will also allow me to practice my sign language skills and become more fluent.

I look forward to hearing from you. If you would prefer to meet in person, please let me know.

Thank you very much.

Celine Sugay


Dear Celine,

Thank you for your inquiry. Yes, I have been working with the Deaf community for quite some time now. I started my advocacy way back in Cebu when a friend introduced me to the Rotaract Club of the Deaf (during that time I was a Rotaractor). 

Here are some contact details of the organizations working with or for the Deaf:

Dr. Liza Martinez, Executive Director
Philippine Deaf Resource Center (PDRC)
27 K-7 Street, West Kamias, Quezon City 1102
Tel/ fax (632) 921-8521
Mobile (0927) 528-8662

Ms. Marites Raquel Corpuz, National President
Philippine Federation of the Deaf (PFD)
27 – C Masikap St., Bgy. Piñahan
Telephone fax: 435-11-98
Mobile: 09274038348

Ms. Rowena Rivera, National President
Filipino Deaf Women’s Health and Crisis Center, Inc. (FDWHCC)
835 Edsa Cor. Timog. Brgy. Sacred Heart, Quezon City 1103
Tel No.   (02)928-4182      Mobile 905.4196268 / 921.3504051(text only)
Website: Luna,1100 Quezon City

All of the following deaf organizations have stood in favor of the Reproductive Health Bill and found this to be very important in the lives of the deaf especially deaf women. I will post their official stand later.

All the best, 

Kuya A

Abra Nurses Call for Passage of RH Bill

Abra, Philippines – A nurses group launched their version of the Purple Ribbon Campaign and called for the immediate passage of the Reproductive Health Bill in Bangued, Abra last June 28, 2011. Close to a hundred nurses working in hospitals, schools and communities attended the event.

The launching of the Purple Ribbon Campaign – the national campaign for the support and passage of the RH Bill – was initiated by the Alliance of Young Nurse Leaders & Advocates International (AYNLA) Abra Chapter,  the first nursing organization to be formally organized in the province of Abra. The launching happened after the Chapter’s General Assembly & Orientation. AYNLA Abra Chapter is also the first chapter of AYNLA to launch its own version of the Purple Ribbon Campaign giving its full support to their national organization which is in full support of the passage of the RH Bill.

Nurses & nursing students in Abra posed to show their purple ribbons
as support to RH Bill
AYNLA National President, Alvin Dakis, who came to the event and gave a talk on “The Role of Nurses in Reproductive Health”, said he is very glad that Abra nurses didn’t hesitate to support the measure as they themselves encountered many concerns of their patients in public hospitals and the far-flung communities. Nurses said they do not have any Social Hygiene Clinic or a reproductive health program that is why they saw this opportunity to voice out the concerns of the people. They wanted to have a program for the reproductive health of their communities.

“This [Reproductive Health] Bill must push through because there is a lot of malnutrition happening in our families because there are a lot of children. The RH Bill will give appropriate information on all contraceptive methods the couple would want to take. By that, we give our patients informed choice” said Shaira Paola Bello, one of the nurses who attended the launch.

Darren Carino, AYNLA Abra Chapter Mayor said the RH Bill “emphasizes on women’s health & reproductive rights without excluding those of the men and the young people” and “empowers nurses to broaden their care to their clients especially on addressing their sexual and reproductive health”.

“We will be launching similar Purple Ribbon Campaign to all our 31 local chapters in the Philippines and continuously call to our legislators to vote ‘yes’ to the Bill. We call on our President to include the RH Bill and also address the growing nursing unemployment crisis in the country in his SONA” Dakis said after the launching.

AYNLA International Inc. is a national nursing organization for nurse advocates and young professionals & students with over 2,500 members and 31 Local Chapters across the country. AYNLA also have international members in the USA, Canada and the Middle East.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

WHO Releases First-Ever HIV Guidelines For MSM And Transgender People

The WHO on Tuesday released its first-ever HIV guidelines on men whohave sex with men (MSM) and transgender people, which "urge[s]governments to ensure gay men get equal access to HIV prevention andtreatment services." MSM "are among the groups worst hit by the HIVepidemic, but in many countries they face legal or practical discrimination accessing medical services."

MSM-TG Prevention & Treatment Guidelines

Historic decision: Council passes first-ever resolution on sexual orientation & gender identity

Submitted by Nelly on 17/06/2011
(Geneva, June 17, 2011) In a groundbreaking achievement for upholding the principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), the United Nations Human Rights Council has passed a resolution on human rights violations based on sexual orientation and gender identity (L9/rev1).
The resolution, presented by South Africa along with Brasil and 39 additional co-sponsors from all regions of the world, was passed by a vote of 23 in favour, 19 against, and 3 abstentions.  A list of how States voted is below.
In its presentation to the Council, South Africa recalled the UDHR noting that “everyone is entitled to all rights and freedoms without distinction of any kind” and Brasil called on the Council to “open the long closed doors of dialogue”.
Today’s resolution is the first UN resolution ever to bring specific focus to human rights violations based on sexual orientation and gender identity, and follows a joint statement on these issues delivered at the March session of the council. It affirms the universality of human rights, and notes concern about acts of violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. This commitment of the Human Rights Council sends an important signal of support to human rights defenders working on these issues, and recognises the legitimacy of their work.
“The South African government has now offered progressive leadership, after years of troubling and inconsistent positions on the issue of sexual orientation and gender identity. Simultaneously, the government has set a standard for themselves in international spaces. We look forward to contributing to and supporting sustained progressive leadership by this government and seeing the end of the violations we face daily”. (Dawn Cavanagh, Coalition of African Lesbians)
The resolution requests the High Commissioner for Human Rights to prepare a study on violence and discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, and calls for a panel discussion to be held at the Human Rights Council to discuss the findings of the study in a constructive and transparent manner, and to consider appropriate follow-up.
“That we are celebrating the passage of a UN resolution about human rights violations on the basis of sexual orientation is remarkable, however the fact that gender identity is explicitly named truly makes this pivotal moment one to rejoice in,” added Justus Eisfeld, Co-Director of GATE.  “The Human Rights Council has taken a step forward in history by acknowledging that both sexual and gender non-conformity make lesbian, gay, trans* and bi people among those most vulnerable and indicated decisively that States have an obligation to protect us from violence.”
“As treaty bodies, UN special procedures, and national courts have repeatedly recognised, international human rights law prohibits discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity.” (Alli Jernow, International Commission of Jurists)
The resolution is consistent with other regional and national jurisprudence, and just this week, the 2011 United Nations Political Declaration on HIV and AIDS recognised the need to address the human rights of men who have sex with men, and the Organization of American States adopted by consensus a resolution condemning violence and discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.
Earlier in this 17th session of the Human Rights Council, the UN Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences, Rashida Manjoo, reported to the Council that: “[Contributory factors for risk of violence include individual aspects of women’s bodily attributes such as race, skin colour, intellectual and physical abilities, age, language skills and fluency, ethnic identity and sexual orientation.”
The report also detailed a number of violations committed against lesbian, bisexual and trans women, including cases of rape, attacks and murders.  It is therefore regrettable that a reference to “women who face sexuality-related violence” was removed from the final version of another resolution focused on the elimination of violence against women during the same session.
“Despite this inconsistency, we trust the UN resolution on sexual orientation and gender identity will facilitate the integration of the full range of sexual rights throughout the work of the UN.” (Meghan Doherty, Sexual Rights Initiative)
A powerful civil society statement was delivered at the end of the session, welcoming the resolution and affirming civil society’s commitment to continuing to engage with the United Nations with a view to ensuring that all persons are treated as free and equal in dignity and rights, including on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity.
“Now, our work is just beginning”, said Kim Vance of ARC International. “We look forward to the High Commissioner’s report and the plenary panel next March, as well as to further dialogue with, and support from, those States which did not yet feel able to support the resolution, but which share the concern of the international community at these systemic human rights abuses.”
ARC International
Amnesty International
CAL – Coalition of African Lesbians
COC Nederland
Council for Global Equality
GATE – Global Action for Trans* Equality
Heartland Alliance for Human Needs & Human Rights
Human Rights Watch
IDAHO – International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia
IGLHRC – International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission
ILGA- the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association
International Campaign Stop Trans Pathologization STP 2012
International Commission of Jurists
International Service for Human Rights (ISHR)
Sexual Rights Initiative
Thailand’s Sexual Diversity Network
Transgender Europe (TGEU)
Records of Vote and Co-Sponsorship
States supporting the resolution: Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, Chile, Cuba, Ecuador, France, Guatemala, Hungary, Japan, Mauritius, Mexico, Norway, Poland, Republic of Korea, Slovakia, Spain, Switzerland, Ukraine, Thailand, UK, USA, Uruguay
States against the resolution: Angola, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Cameroon, Djibouti, Gabon, Ghana, Jordan, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritania, Nigeria, Pakistan, Qatar, Moldova, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Uganda.
Abstentions: Burkina Faso, China, Zambia
Absent: Kyrgyzstan, Libya (suspended)
Co-Sponsors of the resolution: Albania, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Honduras, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania,  Serbia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Timor-Leste, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, United States of America, and Uruguay.

Monday, June 27, 2011

My Responses to the Questions of the Asia 21 Philippine Young Leaders Initiative Nomination Process

This is the transcript of my responses to the questions of the Asia 21 Philippine Young Leaders Initiative nomination process.

Asia 21: As a leader, what is your vision for the country? 

Me: I envisioned a country of fairness, equality and equity; a country with leaders of reason, responsibility, justice and accountability. A nation whose health and education of its people are the top priorities, where such services are accessible, affordable and sensitive to the needs of the poor, marginalized and the most vulnerable.

Asia 21: What particular social problem/s (e.g. illiteracy, lack of employment, etc.) would you like to address? How do you propose to go about this?

Me: As a health service professional I focus on health-related issues. As a youth leader I also focus on issues concerning the youth and the People with Disabilities (PWDs). For most of my advocacy, I was drawn to help draft legislations of the Congress affecting health, the young people and the marginalized. I was one of the youngest members of the Technical Working Groups that drafted the most controversial bill, the Reproductive Health Bill in both Houses voicing the nursing and youth sectors. I also belong to the core groups reviewing the Anti-Discrimination Bill and the amendment of the Philippine National AIDS Law. 

My political lobbying & advocacy also extends to addressing the nursing crisis in the country serving as the voice of young nurses in Congress during the nursing volunteerism-for-a-fee controversy & nursing unemployment crisis. I also teach and inform a lot of people of my advocacy through online media as a blogger, independent writer and performing artist/singer.

Asia 21: What do you expect from the Philippines 21 Young Leaders Initiative?

Me: Further learning is always expected in all endeavors. I expect to develop and hone my leadership skills through my interaction with different young leaders & networking with them. I also expect to exhort some young leaders join me in my advocacy and or help them lobby for their different advocacy.

To date, I got an email from them and got accepted to the Final Screening Process. The next is yet to reveal. 

Honestly, I am not expecting much. Just as the adage goes, "Expect for the worst, but hope for the best!". So if I won't get accepted, at least I tried. And if I did get accepted, then it would be my honor to represent the country together with the rest of the 20 other young leaders. 


The Asia 21 Philippine Young Leaders Initiative

Twenty-five years after a generation of freedom fighters toppled a dictatorship, a new crop of game-changers are emerging. Asia Society-Philippineshonors dynamic individuals who are at the forefront of change in their respective fields, through thePhilippines 21 Young Leaders Initiative. A flagship program of Asia Society-Philippines, the Philippines 21 Young Leaders Initiative aims to develop a nationwide, multi-sectoral network of change-makers, who will meet, educate and inspire each other, collaborate and share ideas on public service and other meaningful initiatives, and build relationships of trust and understanding.
Nominees must be between 25-40 years old, of Filipino citizenship, and have substantial leadership experience in their chosen field, including but not limited to the following: academe, business, civil society, media, arts and culture, military, and government. Prospective Philippines 21 Fellows must also demonstrate a commitment to devote time and effort to achieve the goals and projects set by their Class.
Upon selection as a Philippines 21 Fellows, the Class of 2010 will convene at a two-day forum where they will engage in roundtable discussions on issues concerning the Philippines and the Asia Pacific region. This will be in preparation for their participation in the international program, with the ultimate goal of developing projects to address these issues. The annual Forum is held in the last week of August.
Philippines 21 Fellows serve as the country’s official delegation to the Asia 21 Young Leaders Summit, organized annually by Asia Society’s New York headquarters. This year’s Summit, (date and location TBD), will bring together some 200 of the most dynamic next generation leaders from Asia and the United States.
The 2010 Fellows join an illustrious roster of Fellows such as the eminent DNA scientist Cora de Ungria, IT and gaming entrepreneur Enrique Gonzalez, CNN 2009 Hero of the Year Efren Peñaflorida, Jr., and Rags2Riches president Rolex Young Laureate Reese Fernandez..

[PhilStar unBLOGGED] How Nurses Today View Spiritual Care

In the 1980s Holistic Nursing was introduced in the nursing profession and 'Holism' became one of the key terms frequently used in the nineties as one of the concepts in patient care. Many contemporary nursing theorists would now revolve their theories of care to the human being as a whole - a biopsychosocial unit. 

Holistic Care Nursing then became a growing theory/concept which exhorts all nurses to care to their clients as a whole person involving all dimensions of the being. A good friend of mine & a nursing theorist, Dr. Barbara Dossey is one of experts in Holistic Care Nursing and define holism as "concerned with the inter-relationship of body, mind and spirit in an everchanging environment" (Dossey, 1995)

But even before Holistic Care Nursing was coined, the great founder of modern nursing, Florence Nightingale was a firm believer of holistic care. She fused her traditional Christian values of respect, care, compassion to the 'modern' nursing values of autonomy, non-maleficence and professionalism. She said, "The needs of the spirit are as critical to health as those individual organs which make up the body".

As nurses care for their clients, we have observed that when our clients are  exposed to emotional or spiritual hurts or stresses, it will actually manifest into many physical ailments - which we term as psychosomatic in nature. These stresses are non-tangible factors in patient care but are also important for nurses to attend to.

Spiritual and psychosocial needs are less tangible because they are often complex and difficult to measure. When needs are more difficult to measure or are less tangible, they are also less prioritized or are neglected. Moreover, some spiritual needs go outside of its religious framework, and this when happens, often go unnoticed.

Nurses need to understand the nature of each client's spirituality and how different persons express it, if he/she want to take care of the person holistically. Personal spirituality does not mean religion or its religious framework alone, but goes beyond that which is concerned with the meaning of things and with the person's relationship to that which transcends the material (Simsen, 1985). 

Filipinos are known to be both religious and spiritual with around 80% Christian believers and the rest from other denominations & beliefs or non-believers. How do Filipino nurses do holistic nursing care which includes the client's spiritual needs? 

Often times nurses encounter addressing spiritual needs of their clients such as the need for prayer or spiritual counseling. When this happens, nurses usually refer their client to another member of the team, the chaplains. But whenever there are no chaplains, nurses should be also prepared on how to address these needs. There are also clients who have strict religious beliefs that may affect how nurses deliver care to them. 

When nurses do spiritual care to their clients, the primary goal is to mobilize client's spiritual resources and it should never be an attempt to win converts in any particular religion or to convince your patient that one religion or spiritual belief is above the other. It is also not an attempt to negate the spiritual views of the client nor to assert spiritual views of the nurse.

Spiritual assessment and care should be sensitive enough to the needs of the client and is also based on the relationship of trust between the nurse and the client. That degree of trusting relationship enables the nurse to thoroughly assess the client and be able to have objective respect for their spiritual beliefs and religious practices.

Nurses should also be sensitive in their communication with their clients regarding spirituality being careful not to influence their clients to be more centered towards the spiritual/religious beliefs of the nurse. During such times, the nurse must remain unbiased, objective and understanding. 

As Holistic Care Nursing expands continuously over the next years more nurses acknowledge that spiritual needs are as essential as physical needs for a person's well-being. However, increase in awareness, preparation and continuous collaboration with the healthcare team is necessary to delivery quality care which is based on the client's personal needs. 

This is a growing challenge to all nurses, everywhere. Confidence in providing spiritual care and the nurse's ability in recognizing and meeting a diverse of spiritual needs will make nurses more flexible and responsive to clients.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Rising Up to Hate Crime: Updates on LGBT Murders

Akei, Philippine LGBT Hate Crime Watch, the UP Film Institute & UP Babaylan 
invite everybody to

Rising up to Hate Crime
A Report & Forum on LGBT Murders

June 28, 2011
Tuesday 1PM - 3PM

Videotheque, UP Film Center
University of the Philippines, Diliman, Quezon City

Reighben Labilles & Marlon Lacsamana, convenors & researchers of Philippine LGBT Hate Crime Watch, will present their latest findings on the rising trend of LGBT murders nationwide. They will also present and promote their Indigo Phoenix Campaign to increase awareness and government response to hate incidents.

After the forum, attendees may join the UP Pride March around the Academic Oval.

Facebook event page:


PJ Salenda
+63 918 942 8513

Reighben Labilles
+63 917 971 4096

Nex Beñas
+1 520 342 7131 | +63 920 437 8452