Wednesday, June 27, 2012

[PhilStar unBLOGGED] Breaking the Code: Saving the Babies!

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When I was a student nurse, I remembered how zealously we taught every mother the advantages of exclusive breastfeeding and that it increases the mother-child bond. We taught about colostrum, performed the mnemonics of B-R-E-A-S-T-F-E-E-D-I-N-G through songs and dances and how fancy we made our artsy presentations to Mothers' Classes. 

I remembered that we highly discouraged mothers from bringing neither milk bottles nor suction apparatus in the hospital premises. I remembered how the Department of Health campaigned for exclusive breastfeeding which even have a television commercial of a mother saying "my child is not a cow". This commercial struck me. That no child deserves no less than a mother's milk - not of cows.

These are our efforts as part of our roles in fulfilling the Executive Order No. 51 or the National Milk Code of the Philippines.

However the current Milk Code is now being proposed to be amended in the 15th Congress of the Republic.

But the proposed amendments are not pleasing breastfeeding advocates - mothers especially. The amendments to the Milk Code according to them is deleterious to the decades of pure hard work for all Filipino mothers and advocates who pushed a proactive piece of legislation. To some even calling it a “Monster Bill” after the bill has been consolidated.

Two decades of the Code
26 years ago, the Executive Order No. 51 was signed by the late President Corazon Aquino and was enacted in October of 1986. 21 years after it was passed, the Revised Implementing Rules & Regulations (RIRR) of the Milk Code was approved after 11 revisions. That is not such a long time wasn't it?

More than two decades ago, our mothers would not know about Colostrum and how breast milk protects their child from infection and diseases. Two decades ago, our mothers know nothing that one of the first activities to bond herself to her newborn is through breastfeeding and that there it is also a natural contraceptive for about six months. Not two decades ago our mothers would know that breast milk is superior to any infant formula milk.

Amending the Code
After a few years of the Milk Code’s full implementation, a proposal to amend it came to the House of Representatives. What was a bit confusing was when the proposed amendments had gone through the committee hearings at the House Committee on Health and is now on the House Committee on Trade & Industry under the radar. 
A consolidated bill is now being filed in substitution to House Bills 3525, 3527, 3396 and 3537. This consolidated bill is being authored by the following representatives, Rufus Rodriguez, Lani Mercado-Revilla, and Lucy Torres-Gomez among others. This consolidated bill is an act promoting a comprehensive program on breastfeeding practices and regulating the trade, marketing and promotions of certain foods for infants and children.

According to Baby Milk Action, a non-profit organization based in the United Kingdom, this consolidated bill is being backed by the Infant and Pediatric Nutrition Association of the Philippines or IPNAP which is being composed of the following milk substitute manufacturing companies – Nestle, Mead Johnson, Abbott and Fonterra.

Breaking the Code
There are four (4) House Bills that were being consolidated into one:
            HB 3396 – authored by Rep. Bondoc, also a medical doctor;
            HB 3523 – authored by Rep. Gunigundo;
            HB 3527 – authored by Reps. Noel & Rodriguez; and
            HB 3537 – authored by Reps. Mercado-Revilla & Torres-Gomez

Of the four bills, only the Bondoc-authored bill can be considered a “good bill”. However, the good representative is on leave due to her delicate pregnancy, which means, the other 3 “not-so-good bills” overshadowed the good one in the author’s absence.

The consolidated bill is now called “An Act Promoting a Comprehensive Program on Breastfeeding Practices and Regulating the Trade, Marketing and Promotions of Certain Foods for Infants and Children”.

Let me tell you why I am against the some amendments to the Milk Code:

Compensable lactation periods – no more. According to R.A. 10028, breastfeeding and working mothers are allowed a compensated 40-minute break within the 8-hour working day. However, under the current consolidated bill specifically in Section 8d, this 40-minute break will be unpaid and either be deducted from the official work time, or none at all.

To the many working and lactating mothers I have talked to, this benefit is very essential and according to them, it reduces their absences from work. It makes them healthier and more productive. And for them, taking this benefit is nothing but a disregard to their basic rights to breastfeed their child when necessary.

Breast milk is best for babies up to 6 months…only? Section 32 of the consolidated bill limits advertising restrictions for infants 0 to 6 months which is contrary to the current Milk Code which limits up to 2 years of age. This means, milk companies can now advertise freely to mothers who have infants beyond 6 months of age.

According to the Save the Babies Coalition, allowing promotions of breast milk substitute or infant milk formula from 6 months and above will cause irreparable damages to the growth and development of infants and shall only gain these multinational companies.

Most mothers would not discriminate formula milk given to a 6-month old infant to a 2-year old one. For many especially those who are in poor communities, formula milk is ‘milk’. Allowing milk companies to advertise to the public and to mothers who have in infants 6-months and above would jeopardize the provisions of the Milk Code which encourages mothers to breastfeed until 2-3 years of age.

Only our milk can give your child +7 IQ. Under Section 16 of the Revised Implementing Rules and Regulations (RIRR) of the Milk Code, it is prohibited for milk companies to print or publish all health or nutritional claims that would connote to increasing emotional or intellectual capacities of the infant.

Breastfeeding in emergency situations, milk companies to the rescue. Section 46 of the consolidated bill will now allow milk companies to “donate” their products to emergency situations and disaster-stricken areas with the thought of “helping” lactating mothers ease their anxiety by giving them milk formula. The current Milk Code prohibits such “donations” very strongly.

Mothers who are given formula milk and started to give to their children is a subliminal approach telling mothers how “easier” it would be for them to buy milk formula instead of exerting to breastfeed especially in times like that. It’s like once you start, you can’t stop strategy.

Your infant milk formula is in English Only Policy. Section 26 removes the bi-lingual labeling on milk containers. This means, no more Filipino translation for mothers or fathers who cannot fully comprehend those English labels. Infant milk companies are required to translate the label that says breast milk is superior to artificial milk.

Well of course these multinationals wouldn’t like a common Filipino housewife to read this in Filipino/Tagalog or else they are doomed.

I will teach you about taking care of your baby, by taking our products. Section 20(c) allows milk companies to engage in educational activities and even in the production of materials relating to breastfeeding, infant care and nutrition. What would we expect, a tone void of their products so-called claims of their products and not opposing advantages of breastfeeding?

Save the Babies. Moderate the Greed. 
I call upon nurses, doctors, midwives and other health professionals to continue educating our mothers about the advantages of breastfeeding and to oppose the following amendments to the current Milk Code.

I call upon our legislators especially to the authors of the bill to follow the voice of your constituents and consult your mothers in your locality. Tell them about the proposed amendments and solicit their responses. Would they want all these to happen to their children? Would we want our infants to be dependent on formula milk when our mothers can breast feed them?

I call upon our mothers and breastfeeding advocates to unify our efforts and continue drumming to gain support to protect mothers and infants. Breastfeeding is the single most economic, safe and effective to increase the maternal-child bond but this is being threatened once again. It is time to increase everyone's efforts to protect the vulnerable and the voiceless.  

What we currently need is to properly implement the Code and if we are going to amend it, it would be best that no ulterior motives benefiting few companies or people be tolerated and that the best interest would be for our lactating mothers and the voiceless infants in our country.

I therefore call to our milk manufacturing companies to please moderate your greed and to please do consider the welfare of our infants and mothers.

[Vital Signs Column] Kalayaan

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Vital Signs
By: Alvin Cloyd Dakis, RN
June 15-30, 2012 Issue

At dahil ngayong Hunyo ay ipinagdiriwang natin ang ika-114 na Araw ng Kalayaan ng Pilipinas, nais kong isulat ang aking artikulo sa Pilipino.

Ngayong nasa atin na ang ating kalayaan, masasabi ba nating tuluyan nang malaya ang bansa? Para sa akin kahit hanggang ngayon patuloy pa rin tayo sa pakikibaka tungo sa isang tunay na kalayaan ng bansa. Patuloy pa rin ang ating pakikibaka upang makamit ang isang lipunang lubusang nagtatanggol sa karapatang pantao, malaya sa talamak na pangungurakot sa kaban ng bayan, at isang bayang progresibo maituturing.

Kalayaan sa Katawan
Isa sa mga natatanging panukalang batas na naglalayong bigyang karapatan ang mga kababaihan, indibidwal at mga mag-asawa na makapili ng mga paraan upang mapagplanuhan ang pamilya, maturuan ang mga kabataan paano protektahan ang kanilang mga katawan at mabigyan ng serbisyo na akma sa kanilang mga pangngailangan. Ito ay ang RH Bill, na mahigit sampung taon ng nakabinbin sa Kamara. Ang bill na syang mariing tinututulan ng Simbahang Katolika at ilang mga relihiyosong grupo.

Ang RH Bill ay isang panukalang batas na dumaan na sa maraming bersyon at ito’y na i-file na nang maka ilang beses sa iba’t ibang Kongreso at marami na rin ang naging may akda nito. Makailang beses na rin itong hindi naka usad sa Kongreso o nag ala-usad pagong sa bawat taon. Sa Senado naka usad na sa Period of Interpellation ang RH Bill, na ngayo’y nasa Period of Amendments na. Ngunit sa Kamara de Representates hindi pa rin matapos-tapos ang paulit-ulit na debate na paulit-ulit naman na ding nasagot ng maayos, paktwal at base sa karanasan ng mga tao, siyensya, lohika at masusing pag-aaral.

Ang kalayaang makapag-pasya ng walang pag-iimbot at walang pag-aalinlangan na siyang ginabayan naman ng tamang pagtuturo at impormasyon. Paano makakamit ng bawat Pilipino ang natatanging kalayaan na makapag-pasya para sa kanilang mga katawan kung sarado ang isipan natin. Hindi ba tayo nahahabag sa mga buhay na nawawala dahil sa mga pangyayaring maari namang maiwasan gaya ng mga kumplikasyon ng panganganak?

Kalayaan sa katawan? Papunta pa tayo riyan.

Kalayaan sa Isip
Ang paglilingkod sa bayan ay nangangailangan ng isang bukas na pag-iisip sa lahat ng sector ng lipunan na may iba’t ibang layunin at hinanaing. Ang paglilingkod sa bayan ay nararapat na nagbubukas sa isipan at kamalayan ng bawat sambayanan ukol sa mga transaksyon ng pamahalaan upang sa gayon ay mas maging malinaw ang bawat ginagawa ng gubyerno at ito’y naayon sa mataas na pamantayan at direkta sa taumbayan. 

Ngunit ang kalayaang ito ang syang gusto nating makamit, ang Freedom of Information o FOI Bill ay isang panukalang batas na naglalayong bigyan ang taumbayan ng mas malawak na kapangyarihang suriin at tignan ang mga dokumento o transaksiyon ng gubyerno. Kasama din ng RH Bill, ang FOI Bill ngayon ay matagal na ring nakabinbin sa mga tukador at lamesa n gating mga mambabatas. Sa pamahalaan ni Presidente Aquino, ipinangako niya na sa ilalim ng kaniyang administrasyon ay mapagbobotohan at maipapasa ang mga panukalang batas na ito.

Ngunit nasaan na ang FOI Bill? Lumipas na lang ang mga laban ni Jessica Sanchez at Manny Pacquiao, na-impeach na si CJ Corona pero ang FOI at RH wala pa rin sa eksena. Sa mababang kapulungan, mukhang dapat na may matinding pagtutulak sa mga mambabatas upang kahit papaano’y mapagbotohan man lang ang mga panukalang batas na ito. Aba’y lampas sampung taon na ang mga bills na to at magge-Grade 5 na sa elementarya ngunit nakatunganga pa rin sa Kamara. Huwag naman sana natin pagradweytin ng elementarya ang mga bills na ito para naman magamit na ng taumbayan ang mga benepisyo nito. At please lalong wag naman sanang abutan na ng K-12 na baytang bago pa ang mga bills na ito ay maipasa.

Maraming nagsasabi na ang mga bills na ito ay hindi sagot sa kahirapan, lalo na ang RH Bill. Aba’y tumpak kayo riyan! Dahil ang RH Bill ay ginawa upang tugunan ang mga reproductive & sexual health concerns, ang RH Bill ay para tugunan ang reproductive health at hindi sa poverty. Gayun pa man, lagi kong sinasabi na ang maaga at tamang pagpaplano ng pamilya ay nakakatipid sa mga magulang at nag-nanais na maging magulang, nakakapag-ipon at nakakapaghanda. Ibig sabihin mas matutulungan nila ang kanilang pamilya na hindi dumanas ng mas matinding kahirapan.

Para na rin sa kaliwanagan ng ating mga isipan, ang pagsasagawa ng batas ay magkaiba sa pagpapatupad nito. Ang isa sa mga pinakadahilan kung bakit “mambabatas” ang tawag natin sa ating mga senador at kongresman ay sapagkat ang una nilang layunin ay magsagawa at mag amienda ng batas. Ang pagsasatupad nito ay gawain at responsibilidad ng ibang sangay at opisina ng gubyerno. Kung nais nating maayos na naipapatupad ang mga batas na ito, kinakailangan ang nagkakaisang pagsisikap mula sa lahat ng sektor ng lipunan: gubyerno, pribadong sektor, kababaihan, kabataan, sektor ng may kapansanan, mga matatanda, at lahat ng mga organisasyon upang maisakatuparan ng maayos ang mga batas na ito.

Kalayaan sa isip? Papunta pa tayo riyan.

Kalayaan sa Puso
Nako eto na yata may pinakamasalimoot na yugto ng aking sanaysay, ang usaping kalayaan ng puso at damdamin. Sa puntong ito ang kalayaan naman ng bawat taong piliin ang kung sino mang ninanais niyang pakasalan dahil ito ay mahal niya. Masalimoot diba? Oo. Dahil sa bansa natin, ang pagmamahal sa kapwa lalake o babae ay isang kathang isip lamang at hindi ito nangyayari sa lipunan. Ang babae at lalake na nagmamahalan ay maaring magpakasal ngunit ang nagmamahalang kapwa lalake at babae ay joke joke lang. Sa Pilipinas, maari kang ikasal ngunit hindi ka maaring makipagdiborsyo, annulment lang dahil mas mahal ito at mas matagal. Tiyak akong bago ka ma-annul ay namuti na ang buhok niyo sa kakaintay.

Ang movement for same-sex marriage sa Pilipinas ay nagsimula ilang buwan ng nakakalipas at ang usapin ng same sex marriage ay isang napakalaking debate sa bansa. Sa aking pananaw naman, ang bawat tao ay hindi secondary sa isa sapagkat sa mata ng Konstitusyon ng Pilipinas, lahat ay may pantay pantay na karapatan. Kung Constitutional Right ang pag-papakasal, dapat binibigyang laya nito ang sinumang nais magpakasal, babae sa lalake o sa kapwa lalake o babae man. Hindi dapat nangingiling ang Konstitusyon kung sino lang ang dapat magpakasal dahil kung ganun, ang Konstitusyon pala ay para lamang sa mga heterosekswal.

Ang pagsasaligal ng same-sex marriage ay hindi naman naglalayong pilitin lahat ng sangkabaklaan, sangkalesbyahan at lahat sa LGBT Community at lahat kahit mga heterosekswal na magpakasal sa kapwa lalake o babae. Ito’y kabaliwan! May mga tao ngang pinipiling maging “single till death” eh, so ibig sabihin hindi lahat ng tao’y nagnanais magpakasal. So, kung maipapasa ang same-sex marriage, binibigyan lamang ito ng karapatan ang mga nasa LGBT community na i-exercise ang kanilang karapatan na magpakasal.

Hindi rin ibig sabihin na naging legal ang same-sex marriage/union ay ibig sabihin na lahat ng simbahan sa buong bansa ay dapat nang magkasal ng mga bakla, lesbyana, bisekswal at mga transgender. Yun lamang mga simbahan o relihiyong organisasyon na pumapayag na magkasal ng mga LGBTs ang gagawa nito.
Yung mga ayaw ding magpakasal sa kapwa lalake o babae, edi ‘wag kayong magpakasal sa kanila. Dun kayo magpakasal sa taong gusto ninyo. Kumbaga, sa isang pamosong sawikain pa ay “Kung ayaw mo, huwag mo!”

Kalayaan sa puso? Papunta pa tayo riyan.

Ngayon, sa tingin nyo ay malaya talaga tayo? Tayong mga nakagapos sa kamangmangan, intoleransiya at pagkapanatiko sa maling paniniwala. Tayong baon at lugmok sa isang tiwaling pamamalakad ng pamahalaan. Tayong nakatali sa kadena ng karalitaan. Asan ang kalayaan doon?

Ngunit, naniniwala akong papunta na tayo sa tunay na kalayaan, sa katawan, isip at puso. Sige sige lang ang banat at tiyak bubuwag din ang mga kawing ng kamangmangan, kahirapan at katiwalian. Konting birada pa, FTW!

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Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Sexual Health: Why Should You Care? A Forum by Young Public Servants, Sex and and Mulat Pinoy

The phrase “sexual health” conjures up images of condoms, teen pregnancies, premarital sex and HIV/AIDS. But does the picture have to be quite so alarming?

“Sexual Health: Why Should You Care?” is a forum organized by Young Public Servants, Sex and Sensibilities and Mulat Pinoy. The forum seeks to focus on different aspects of sexual health, and to emphasize its importance not just to women, but young people, to men, to parents, to society as a whole.

The forum will have four segments:

 “Teeny Baby Bump” will discuss not only the increase in occurrences in the Philippines, but also the ways in which educational institutions and government agencies respond to the issue.

Controversial issues like LGBT rights and PLHIV (People Living with HIV) concerns will be explored in “Stigma and Controversy”.

Most people think of sexual reproductive health as a woman’s domain and thus, only a woman’s concern. But as the male guests in the segment “Are You Man Enough? Men and Sexual Health” will tell you, sexual health is every bit a concern for men, too.

And finally, how do parents talk to their children about sex? Is the idea of sex education in schools really unpalatable? Listen to what families have to say in the “Sex Ed: Why It Needs a Parent’s Guidance” segment.

The forum will be held on Saturday, July 7, 2012, from 2:00 to 6:00 PM at the Filipinas Heritage Library. This event is free and open to the public.

The Filipinas Heritage Library is located at:
Makati Avenue, Ayala Triangle,
Makati City, Philippines 1224
Trunkline: (632) 8921801

For further inquiries, contact:

Ana Santos
Web: Sex and
Mobile: 0917-8207277

Regina Layug Rosero
Mobile: 0917-8163500

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Guttmacher: Inadequate Knowledge About Contraception is Common Among Young Adults

New Study Suggests Improving Contraceptive Knowledge May Positively Influence Behavior, Reducing Risk of Unplanned Pregnancy

More than half of young men and a quarter of young women who participated in a 2009 survey displayed serious gaps in knowledge about common contraceptive methods, according to "Young Adults' Contraceptive Knowledge, Norms and Attitudes: Associations with Risk of Unintended Pregnancy," by Jennifer Frost et al. of the Guttmacher Institute. The authors found that the lower the level of contraceptive knowledge among young women, the greater the likelihood that they expected to have unprotected sex in the next three months, behavior that puts them at risk for an unplanned pregnancy. These findings come on the heels of a study that found that women in their 20s have the highest risk of experiencing an unintended pregnancy.

The authors relied on data collected through telephone interviews with a nationally representative sample of 1,800 unmarried women and men aged 18–29 as part of the 2009 National Survey of Reproductive and Contraceptive Knowledge, which aimed to better understand the characteristics associated with risky contraceptive practices among young adults.

The analyses also reveal that although most unmarried young adults are trying to avoid pregnancy, many are not taking the necessary precautions to do so or have conflicting attitudes about pregnancy and contraceptive use. Sixty-nine percent of young women and 45% of young men were highly committed to avoiding pregnancy. Some 25% thought that using condoms every time one has sex is a hassle, 60% underestimated the effectiveness of oral contraceptives and 40% held the fatalistic view that using birth control does not matter. The more strongly men and women agreed that regular condom use is "too much of a hassle," the more likely they were to expect to have unprotected sex.

In addition, women's greater contraceptive knowledge was related to an increased likelihood that they used hormonal or long-acting methods, while expectations of side effects were associated with lowered use of these highly effective methods. The study also revealed that peers' attitudes are linked to behavior: The more strongly young women believe that their friends consider using birth control important, the more likely they are to rely on hormonal or long-acting methods.

"This study provides valuable evidence that improving young adults' contraceptive knowledge and dispelling common misconceptions can help change their behavior for the better," says Frost. "We found disturbingly low levels of knowledge among this high-risk age-group, indicating an urgent need for new educational strategies aimed at improving contraceptive use and reducing the risk of unplanned pregnancy."

"Young Adults' Contraceptive Knowledge, Norms and Attitudes: Associations with Risk of Unintended Pregnancy" is currently available online and will appear in the June 2012 issue of Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health.

Friday, June 08, 2012

[Vital Signs Column] Beaten Up

Photo credit: blogdomendesemendes,
June 01-15, 2012 IssueVital Signs, is the FIRST newspaper for the medical community. It caters to doctors, health workers and other healthcare professionals, bringing them the latest health news, scientific updates, as well as opinions, and commentaries on current issues impacting healthcare delivery in the country. You can read Alvin Dakis' columns on nursing & social issues named Nurse's Notes in every Vital Signs newspaper published every 1st & 15th of the month. 

Little Johnny was a newcomer from another city; he speaks nothing like the vernacular language and knows nothing about the new culture he is in. He is usually silently sitting in his chair away from other children. He eats lunch alone, and walks home alone.

He is often teased as a sissy boy, often a laughing stock for being “soft”; he was even compared to soggy noodles. He was teased as “faggot” even by children across the street, children he even does not know. He was beaten by larger guys in his neighborhood. And he does not have the courage to tell anybody.

He was bullied and discriminated in his elementary school.

High school didn’t change much as he still experience bullying and teasing. He was called sissy, as he had been labeled during his elementary years, for he does not know how to play basketball and baseball with the other guys. No girls would like him. No guys would like him as well. He was found nowhere to be liked.

He was bullied and discriminated in his high school.

College was no stranger to him as the same events of discrimination happened. But this time things are quite different – he started to fight the discrimination by speaking up; empowering himself and developing his strengths in areas he is very much interested. He started to rise in the leadership ladder.

This Little Johnny is ME.

Yes, I was discriminated, bullied and hurt when I was young (and should I say even up to now). This is no different to countless children in schools and to many young people in workplaces. Discrimination and bullying are real.

Why bully?
When I was young I always ask myself why others would look down on me or why others would think it is alright to hurt someone when they appear, speak or act differently from them. I realized that these people who bully others are also victims of bullying themselves either by their parents or someone higher, older or in authority than them.

Bullied children tend to project their anger to other children which they perceive to be weaker or someone that they can scare or threaten because that is also how they perceived they are when they were physically or verbally abused.

Discrimination and bullying
Why do people bully? It’s because we learned to discriminate first. From the moment we learned to differentiate a boy from a girl, we learn to discriminate as well. In an uptight society like ours, we teach children how to become intolerant and outcast those who we think are different, unique and special.

Discrimination springs bullying and after the bullying is done, discrimination still remains. Bullying is the physical manifestation of an intense discrimination towards a person or belief.

But if we say bullying is the physical manifestation, does this mean there are other types of bullying and discrimination? Physical bullying is one of the most common and very identifiable while verbal and emotional/psychological bullying may become more detrimental to another person. Verbal bullying is at most of the time, more hurtful than the physical bullying. But then to most I encountered, physical bullying is often times accompanied with verbal and psychological bullying as well.

Coping with bullying
I was not physically bullied that much but I have been verbally and psychologically bullied and discriminated. Different people have different ways of coping with bullying and discrimination. Sadly, some cannot cope with it positively.

When people don’t cope with bullying when they were young they tend to become bully themselves when they grow up. Or they can become very introvert, shy and have low self-esteem. Others develop a personality that is tough, strict, inconsiderate and intolerant.

However, others are successful in overcoming this traumatic experience and are able to cope by empowering themselves. Some become very competitive in their chosen fields. Usually they choose a field opposite to those where they are the weakest and where they are bullied or discriminated. In my case, I developed my artistic and creative side, to counter one of my weakest – sports.

I started drawing and joining poster-making contests, essay writing contests and singing in our Children’s Choir when I was in elementary. Then I started singing solo, joined impromptu speaking & debating, hosting, and excelled academically in high school. Too much for one boy but during that time, I have only one goal – to be the best where they (the bullies) are not.

Others cope by excelling in their academic performance. This is one of the most common I noticed especially among young gay men (aside from their artistic talents of course). Gaining academic expertise is a great tool of influence and control. To some, this is one of the pre-requisite to lead people. Remember that in order to become a very influential leader, a certain level of academic expertise is much appreciated. Having this kind of expertise negates the effect of earlier bullying and discrimination and affirms that those people are wrong about that person. Having academic expertise also empowers the person and sets certain level of respect from the public.

People who have that strong desire to achieve and overly competitive usually have a deep history of either discriminated, bullied or ostracized. They may not be too honest telling people the real reason behind their extreme determination to succeed or achieve but we can be sure that this is one of the reasons.

Gaining leadership titles and roles are also ways to cope with bullying and discrimination. There are some who are too eager to get leadership roles because this is an avenue where they get a certain level immunity and reverence. Becoming a leader is not wrong, but there should be right reasons to lead, not to cover up from past hurts, or to use one’s status to also bully another. Egocentric and control-freak leaders are usually another bully who cloaks themselves in the prestige of leadership.

Anti Bullying Act Passed
Just recently the Anti-Bullying Act or House Bill 5496 was passed for the third and final reading that seeks to provide students, parents and guardians the awareness of the impact of bullying and how it can be prevented and also requires institutions to adopt policies that will address the existence of bullying in their respective schools or establishments.

Now that Anti-Bullying Act has been passed, I call upon Congress to pass Anti-Discrimination Bill as well. No one should be discriminated and bullied because of their differences and uniqueness. Our society should develop an environment of tolerance to individual differences, preferences and create mutual respect to one another.

For your comments, please email me at:      

Sunday, June 03, 2012

The 27 Years of Fruitful Living & List of Thank Yous

Do you know that I don't celebrate my birthdays? It started when I think I was in my 20s. Well the reason behind is that, it's economical, it's practical and I think it's nothing special. I have not considered my birthday any special - not until now. 

Several years ago, I do not see the purpose of celebrating my birthday since I think only my family would be the ones to know about it and since we are suffering from financial crisis, a simple greeting would suffice for the entire day. 

Last year I received around 150 greetings for my 26th birthday, but now I have received more than 500 from different sources like SMS, personal greetings, Twitter, Facebook etc. Facebook having to dominate with about 350 of the greetings, photos etc. and this is also a bit unique because I received 2 blogs featuring how I affected their lives and several greetings from both friends in politics and the show business.

I ended my 27th birthday spending it with the family of my partner here in Cavite and I felt belonged. I also felt the great respect and gratitude from different people as I received their numerous greetings. Although I cannot respond to each of them, let me greet them collectively.

Of course I'd like to thank my family for always been there. Though we don't celebrate much but I feel their love and sincerity every year they greet me. I'd also like to thank all my relatives, former students, workmates, org-mates and friends who also didn't fail to send their warm greetings.

I would like to thank the organizations where I currently belong and work with a lot of my different advocacy:

  • Alliance of Young Nurse Leaders & Advocates International Inc. (AYNLA), Board of Trustees, Local   Chapters, Regional Councils, National Officers, appointees and members;

AYNLA Nueva Ecija Chapter Photo Greeting
AYNLA Quezon City Chapter Photo Greeting
Mayor Rommel Yapchiongco of AYNLA Nueva Ecija
  • Alliance of Young Health Advocates
  • Student Nurses Alliance of the Philippines 
  • Reproductive Health Nurses Association of the Philippines
  • International Youth Council Pilipinas
  • National Anti-Poverty Commission, Youth and Students Sectoral Council
  • EDSA People Power Commission, NCR Health Council
  • Kabataang Liberal
  • Reproductive Health Advocacy Network Youth
I'd like to thank some people who are now joining me to form the Philippine Health Bloggers Society and of course a special mention to these two lovely health bloggers who featured me in their blogs:
I would also like to thank these personalities who spent their time to also greet me either via SMS, personal greeting, Facebook and Twitter:
  • Direk Jose Javier Reyes - TV & Movie director/writer/critique and the first one to greet a day before actually
  • Deputy Spokesperson Abigail Valte - Deputy Spokesperson of President Benigno Aquino III
  • Vice Mayor Isko Moreno - Vice Mayor, City of Manila
  • Vice Mayor Carlo Fortuna - former Vice Mayor, City of Mandaue, Cebu
  • Rep. Teddy Casino - Representative, Bayan Muna Partylist
  • Rep. Sonny Angara - Representative, Aurora Lone District
  • Rep. Risa Hontiveros-Baraquel - former Representative & now National Chairperson, Akbayan Partylist
  • Comm. Ruffy Biazon - Commissioner, Bureau of Customs
  • Asec Lila Shahani - Assistant Secretary & Head of Communications, Human Development & Poverty Reduction Cabinet Cluster
  • Usec Leon Flores III - Undersecretary & Chairperson, National Youth Commission
  • Asec Perci Cendana - Assistant Secretary & Commissioner-at-Large, National Youth Commission
  • Asec Gio Tingson - Assistant Secretary & Commissioner-at-Large, National Youth Commission
  • Asec Georg Nava - Assistant Secretary & Commissioner Representing Luzon, National Youth Commission
  • Renaud Meyer - Country Director, United Nations Development Programme Philippines
  • Apples Jalandoni - Journalist & Broadcaster, ABS-CBN
  • Barnaby Lo - CCTV China News Correspondent & CBS News Producer for Manila
  • Regent Jossel Ebsate - Staff Regent, University of the Philippines Diliman
  • Elizabeth Angsioco - National Chairperson, Democratic Socialist Women of the Philippines / Columnist, Manila Standard Today
  • Frank Cimatu - award-winning journalist and poet
  • Dr. Gene Nisperos - Secretary General, Health Alliance for Democracy
  • Dr. Gary Sy renowned medical practitioner, television host, radio broadcaster, columnist and author
  • Ka Rene Magtubo - former Representative & now President of Partido ng Manggagawa
  • Atty. Angie Umbac -  Executive Director, Rainbow Rights Project
  • Malu Marin - Executive Director, Action for Health Initiatives Inc.
  • Alina Bezhenar - Community Manager, International Youth Council (New York HQ)
  • Jojo Matias - Chairperson, Provincial Youth Development Council of Nueva Ecija
  • Angelica Ligas - international award-winning nurse practitioner based in the US
  • Jigs Pasamba - National President, National Youth Parliament Alumni Association
And to everyone else who made extra efforts to greet me, individuals and groups alike, my heartfelt gratitude to all of you. You made this life of mine full of surprises, spices and great memories!

Rest assured I won't stop doing the things I think is best for our country and will continue to encourage more young people to also do the same.

Yours truly,

"Ang Pambansang Nurse" (pinangatawanan ko na talaga ang titulong ito hahaha)