Thursday, September 12, 2013

[Vital Signs Column] Porkless Diet

Vital Signs Column
By Alvin Dakis, RN
September 15-30, 2013

I am back! After around 3 months of hiatus from writing I have returned. My work as an Executive Director of a foundation took so much of my time and prevented me from writing (because my brain cells were fried up even before I start writing). But hey, I'm back and that's what matters.

I was just eating sinigang yesterday when I thought that Filipinos love PORK! We love the pig too much that we eat every part of it. Other Filipinos loved pork too much it became too obvious to a lot of people - such as those of politicians. 

Surely we nurses know what pork almighty can do to our patients - some were unfortunate and got stroke or heart attack. But some politicians are like immune to this and continued consuming too much pork for themselves. Recently, our newsfeeds were full of the controversy so big it would be historical and viral it will even be international. The Pork Barrel Scam is giving the Filipino people a heart attack of a lifetime! Day after day, revelations keep coming and the plot just keeps on thickening. I am hoping that soon, our political leaders will have balls to put their crooked colleagues behind bars for plunder.

I am no expert of the matter. But in all honesty, the Pork Barrel is one of the main causes of corruption in the legislative branch. I even find the projects funded by the Pork Barrel duplication of what is supposed to be done by local chief executives in their respective localities. Legislators have one main role --- to legislate. Why would they do something other officials and government agencies are supposed to do? 

And to give us this excuse that their constituents wanted it, purely lame. This excuse is being used for their political ambitions and machinery. And now the scam is being probed and the Filipino people is scrutinizing everything, we'll hear our legislators throw sick and unbelievable reasons to justify their acts. Would you even believe these? 

This Pork is making them sick. Let's take the Pork out of their diet so they'd be healthy again. So where will we put this huge amount of taxpayers' money?

Let's say they put it in social services through the national government implementing agencies, how many more people will be served without the preferential treatment of legislators. Budget for social services especially on health, education and even employment will increase and more Filipinos can access it. 

Implementing agencies have a lot to do and always on a lean budget. There is even no budget allocated for the prevention of teen pregnancies. The budget allocated for HIV & AIDS prevention were cut off, their human resources even limited. Even if we claim that the Health Department's budget increased overtime, we still haven't met the recommended allocation of 5% from the GDP.

But apart from all these, what I liked the most was that Filipinos are more cautious and more open to discuss these matters openly and publicly. Let's thank the reach of social media that even social movements like the #MillionPeopleMarch against Pork Barrel was born. Social Media helped shape the country's political landscape and awareness. More Filipinos are now talking about this issue even in the market stalls, barber shops and every home. Is this the start of the country's maturing politics?
We cannot end this wide corruption in our government system but clearly we can start by pursuing the issue despite all distractions and to ensure that guilty officials be thrown out of their offices and into jail cells, and that every person that has been proven guilty as part of this controversy be held accountable. 

And please let us not vote these kinds of crook politicians. Haven't we got enough of them? 

We have launched the Philippine Society of Sexual & Reproductive Health Nurses or PSORHN (pronounced as SORN with silent P) last August 30, 2013 in time to the national celebration of the Family Planning Month of the Department of Health. The Society's main goal is to professionalize the sexual and reproductive health nursing practice in the country and to promote this specialty practice among nurses. 

The Society is initiated by different nurses in NGOs with sexual & reproductive health and rights (SRHR) services. We believe that it is high time that the role of nurses in SRHR be highlighted and be professionalized. Nurses in this practice have larger roles to play than just providing maternal & child health for we provide services to all human population including provision of services on family planning, fertility awareness, sexually transmissible infections including HIV & AIDS, and even on project management and policy development. 

We also envision nurses running Family Planning Clinics and nurses certified as family planning and sexual health providers. Surely these will come and the Society is excited for all these developments.

For more information about the Society, please contact us at and please visit our blog site at

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