Thai food binge

Just eating with co workers.

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Pinay nurse’s death in California jail highlights safety issues - Yahoo! Philippines News

Pinay nurse’s death in California jail highlights safety issues - Yahoo! Philippines News:

"The recent death of a Filipina nurse detailed to a California jail has raised concerns over the “disturbing trend of violence' faced by medical care professionals in potentially violent workplaces. On Oct. 28, registered nurse Cynthia Palomata, 55, succumbed to the head injuries she sustained after she was attacked by an inmate at the Martinez county jail, where she had been assigned since 2005."

A report by the Asian Journal, a US-based news website for the Filipino community, identified the suspect as Aaron Nygaard, in jail for burglary. According to the report, Nygaard faked a seizure attack to get out of the waiting room, then, without provocation, he hit Palomata on the head with a table lamp. The nurse was brought to John Muir Medical Center, where she underwent surgery for swelling in the brain due to blood clot. On Oct. 28, however, Palomata was taken off life support and declared dead. The suspect will be charged with murder, the report said. Palomata, a native of Nabas town in Aklan, had been working for the Contra Costa Health Services in California for over 20 years. She left behind a husband and a grown son. "The suddenness of the incident left us, her family, in shock. She was unaware that when she left home that day, she would never see her family again. We miss her terribly," Palomata’s brother Cyril Barraca Jr. was quoted as saying in the Asian Journal report. Dr. William Walker, director of Contra Costa Health Services, said in a statement that they will continue to evaluate safety procedures in coordination with the Sheriff’s Office. ‘Disturbing trend of violence’ Following Palomata’s death, the California Nurses’ Association (CNA) raised concerns about the safety of nurses assigned to potentially dangerous facilities. In a statement, the CNA called for policy reforms to curb what it called a “disturbing trend of violence" in facilities where medical care is provided. “Workplace violence is a major public health concern that has grown substantially in the past decade," the CNA said. It cited data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics showing that the healthcare industry registered the highest incidence of workplace violence among all industrial sectors, being responsible for 45 percent of the two million incidents of workplace violence incidents that have occurred annually in the US between 1993 and 1999.

An Emergency Nurses Association survey released in 2009 also showed that more than 50 percent of emergency room nurses had experienced violence from patients and more than one-fourth had experienced 20 or more violent incidents in the past three years. Citing research, the CNA also said that factors such as long wait times, a shortage of nurses, drug and alcohol use by patients, and treatment of psychiatric patients all contributed to violence in the ER. “We can no longer tolerate inadequate security measures which threaten not only RNs and other staff, but also put families and other patients at risk," said CNA president emeritus Kay McVay. “Violence takes a significant toll. Prevention is essential to creating a safe and therapeutic environment for patients and a safer workplace for healthcare workers," she said. She also said that preventive measures were needed to reduce the loss of experienced staff members, who leave because of assaults and threats of violence. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration define workplace violence as any physical assault, threatening behavior, or verbal abuse occurring in the workplace. Part of the job In a separate interview, Philippine Nurses Association (PNA) president Dr. Teresita Barcelo said the violence that nurses face, even in the Philippines, is “real" — and this is why preventive mechanisms need to be instituted even as early as when prospective nurses are still studying for their college degrees. “Violence is one of our job hazards. We know that. That’s why kami na ang nag-iingat, because these people (patients in potentially violent worksites) cannot be relied upon," Barcelo said. Barcelo said the nursing curriculum includes a course on psychiatric nursing, where students are taught how to develop a “therapeutic relationship" with their patients. Barcelo admitted that certain incidents of violence — such as that experienced by Palomata — cannot be expected and are difficult to prevent. Even so, she added, developing this kind of relationship with patients may significantly reduce the occurrence of violent acts. But even outside these facilities, nurses, particularly in the Philippines and in some countries in the Middle East, become the subject of crimes, according to Barcelo. She cited the case of Florence (not her real name), a volunteer nurse in South Upi town in Maguindanao who was reportedly gang-raped on September 27. (See: Report: Maguindanao gang-raped nurse undergoes surgery) “It is important that part of the orientation in the hospitals and other facilities should be to inform medical professionals of the possible dangers of working there. This should be part of the protocol of hospitals," Barcelo explained. Nursing: popular because lucrative? In the last five years, some 82,000 nurses have indicated their desire to work in the US by taking the National Council Licensure Examination, the licensure exam for nurses in the US. The Department of Health said a big surge of nurses working overseas started in 1994, when some 100,000 nurses left the country. From 2000 to 2009, about 120,000 more were deployed abroad. In light of increased opportunities for overseas work, nursing remains a popular course for college students, with over 600,000 students taking it in 400 nursing schools in 2007, according to the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines. Records from the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration meanwhile show 13,000 newly hired Filipino nurses were deployed overseas in 2009, making it a top occupational category for OFWs, second only to household service work.—DM/JV, GMANews.TV

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Don't work. Avoid telling the truth. Be hated. Love someone.

Written by Adrian Tan, author of The Teenage Textbook (1988), was the guest-of-honour at a recent NTU convocation ceremony. This was his speech to the graduating class of 2008.

I must say thank you to the faculty and staff of the Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information for inviting me to give your convocation address. It’s a wonderful honour and a privilege for me to speak here for ten minutes without fear of contradiction, defamation or retaliation. I say this as a Singaporean and more so as a husband.

My wife is a wonderful person and perfect in every way except one. She is the editor of a magazine. She corrects people for a living. She has honed her expert skills over a quarter of a century, mostly by practising at home during conversations between her and me.

On the other hand, I am a litigator. Essentially, I spend my day telling people how wrong they are. I make my living being disagreeable.

Nevertheless, there is perfect harmony in our matrimonial home. That is because when an editor and a litigator have an argument, the one who triumphs is always the wife.

And so I want to start by giving one piece of advice to the men: when you’ve already won her heart, you don’t need to win every argument.

Marriage is considered one milestone of life. Some of you may already be married. Some of you may never be married. Some of you will be married. Some of you will enjoy the experience so much, you will be married many, many times. Good for you.

The next big milestone in your life is today: your graduation. The end of education. You’re done learning.

You’ve probably been told the big lie that “Learning is a lifelong process” and that therefore you will continue studying and taking masters’ degrees and doctorates and professorships and so on. You know the sort of people who tell you that? Teachers. Don’t you think there is some measure of conflict of interest? They are in the business of learning, after all. Where would they be without you? They need you to be repeat customers.

The good news is that they’re wrong.

The bad news is that you don’t need further education because your entire life is over. It is gone. That may come as a shock to some of you. You’re in your teens or early twenties. People may tell you that you will live to be 70, 80, 90 years old. That is your life expectancy.

I love that term: life expectancy. We all understand the term to mean the average life span of a group of people. But I’m here to talk about a bigger idea, which is what you expect from your life.

You may be very happy to know that Singapore is currently ranked as the country with the third highest life expectancy. We are behind Andorra and Japan, and tied with San Marino. It seems quite clear why people in those countries, and ours, live so long. We share one thing in common: our football teams are all hopeless. There’s very little danger of any of our citizens having their pulses raised by watching us play in the World Cup. Spectators are more likely to be lulled into a gentle and restful nap.

Singaporeans have a life expectancy of 81.8 years. Singapore men live to an average of 79.21 years, while Singapore women live more than five years longer, probably to take into account the additional time they need to spend in the bathroom.

So here you are, in your twenties, thinking that you’ll have another 40 years to go. Four decades in which to live long and prosper.

Bad news. Read the papers. There are people dropping dead when they’re 50, 40, 30 years old. Or quite possibly just after finishing their convocation. They would be very disappointed that they didn’t meet their life expectancy.

I’m here to tell you this. Forget about your life expectancy.

After all, it’s calculated based on an average. And you never, ever want to expect being average.

Revisit those expectations. You might be looking forward to working, falling in love, marrying, raising a family. You are told that, as graduates, you should expect to find a job paying so much, where your hours are so much, where your responsibilities are so much.

That is what is expected of you. And if you live up to it, it will be an awful waste.

If you expect that, you will be limiting yourself. You will be living your life according to boundaries set by average people. I have nothing against average people. But no one should aspire to be them. And you don’t need years of education by the best minds in Singapore to prepare you to be average.

What you should prepare for is mess. Life’s a mess. You are not entitled to expect anything from it. Life is not fair. Everything does not balance out in the end. Life happens, and you have no control over it. Good and bad things happen to you day by day, hour by hour, moment by moment. Your degree is a poor armour against fate.

Don’t expect anything. Erase all life expectancies. Just live. Your life is over as of today. At this point in time, you have grown as tall as you will ever be, you are physically the fittest you will ever be in your entire life and you are probably looking the best that you will ever look. This is as good as it gets. It is all downhill from here. Or up. No one knows.

What does this mean for you? It is good that your life is over.

Since your life is over, you are free. Let me tell you the many wonderful things that you can do when you are free.

The most important is this: do not work.

Work is anything that you are compelled to do. By its very nature, it is undesirable.

Work kills. The Japanese have a term “Karoshi”, which means death from overwork. That’s the most dramatic form of how work can kill. But it can also kill you in more subtle ways. If you work, then day by day, bit by bit, your soul is chipped away, disintegrating until there’s nothing left. A rock has been ground into sand and dust.

There’s a common misconception that work is necessary. You will meet people working at miserable jobs. They tell you they are “making a living”. No, they’re not. They’re dying, frittering away their fast-extinguishing lives doing things which are, at best, meaningless and, at worst, harmful.

People will tell you that work ennobles you, that work lends you a certain dignity. Work makes you free. The slogan “Arbeit macht frei” was placed at the entrances to a number of Nazi concentration camps. Utter nonsense.

Do not waste the vast majority of your life doing something you hate so that you can spend the small remainder sliver of your life in modest comfort. You may never reach that end anyway.

Resist the temptation to get a job. Instead, play. Find something you enjoy doing. Do it. Over and over again. You will become good at it for two reasons: you like it, and you do it often. Soon, that will have value in itself.

I like arguing, and I love language. So, I became a litigator. I enjoy it and I would do it for free. If I didn’t do that, I would’ve been in some other type of work that still involved writing fiction – probably a sports journalist.

So what should you do? You will find your own niche. I don’t imagine you will need to look very hard. By this time in your life, you will have a very good idea of what you will want to do. In fact, I’ll go further and say the ideal situation would be that you will not be able to stop yourself pursuing your passions. By this time you should know what your obsessions are. If you enjoy showing off your knowledge and feeling superior, you might become a teacher.

Find that pursuit that will energise you, consume you, become an obsession. Each day, you must rise with a restless enthusiasm. If you don’t, you are working.

Most of you will end up in activities which involve communication. To those of you I have a second message: be wary of the truth. I’m not asking you to speak it, or write it, for there are times when it is dangerous or impossible to do those things. The truth has a great capacity to offend and injure, and you will find that the closer you are to someone, the more care you must take to disguise or even conceal the truth. Often, there is great virtue in being evasive, or equivocating. There is also great skill. Any child can blurt out the truth, without thought to the consequences. It takes great maturity to appreciate the value of silence.

In order to be wary of the truth, you must first know it. That requires great frankness to yourself. Never fool the person in the mirror.

I have told you that your life is over, that you should not work, and that you should avoid telling the truth. I now say this to you: be hated.

It’s not as easy as it sounds. Do you know anyone who hates you? Yet every great figure who has contributed to the human race has been hated, not just by one person, but often by a great many. That hatred is so strong it has caused those great figures to be shunned, abused, murdered and in one famous instance, nailed to a cross.

One does not have to be evil to be hated. In fact, it’s often the case that one is hated precisely because one is trying to do right by one’s own convictions. It is far too easy to be liked, one merely has to be accommodating and hold no strong convictions. Then one will gravitate towards the centre and settle into the average. That cannot be your role. There are a great many bad people in the world, and if you are not offending them, you must be bad yourself. Popularity is a sure sign that you are doing something wrong.

The other side of the coin is this: fall in love.

I didn’t say “be loved”. That requires too much compromise. If one changes one’s looks, personality and values, one can be loved by anyone.

Rather, I exhort you to love another human being. It may seem odd for me to tell you this. You may expect it to happen naturally, without deliberation. That is false. Modern society is anti-love. We’ve taken a microscope to everyone to bring out their flaws and shortcomings. It far easier to find a reason not to love someone, than otherwise. Rejection requires only one reason. Love requires complete acceptance. It is hard work – the only kind of work that I find palatable.

Loving someone has great benefits. There is admiration, learning, attraction and something which, for the want of a better word, we call happiness. In loving someone, we become inspired to better ourselves in every way. We learn the truth worthlessness of material things. We celebrate being human. Loving is good for the soul.

Loving someone is therefore very important, and it is also important to choose the right person. Despite popular culture, love doesn’t happen by chance, at first sight, across a crowded dance floor. It grows slowly, sinking roots first before branching and blossoming. It is not a silly weed, but a mighty tree that weathers every storm.
You will find, that when you have someone to love, that the face is less important than the brain, and the body is less important than the heart.

You will also find that it is no great tragedy if your love is not reciprocated. You are not doing it to be loved back. Its value is to inspire you.

Finally, you will find that there is no half-measure when it comes to loving someone. You either don’t, or you do with every cell in your body, completely and utterly, without reservation or apology. It consumes you, and you are reborn, all the better for it.

Don’t work. Avoid telling the truth. Be hated. Love someone.

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Japan's young men seek a new path

Interesting news about the trend of young men in Japan. Hahahahaha, check it out!

Japan's young men seek a new path: "By Chico Harlan

Washington Post Foreign Service

Sunday, October 24, 2010; 10:35 PM

TOKYO - Something is happening to Japan's young men. Compared with the generation that came before, they are less optimistic, less ambitious and less willing to take risks."

They are less likely to own a car, want a car, or drive fast if they get a car. They are less likely to pursue sex on the first date - or the third. They are, in general, less likely to spend money. They are more likely to spend money on cosmetics.

Japan's young men mystify their girlfriends and their bosses. They confound the advertisers who aim products at them. They've been scrutinized and categorized by social commentators, marketing consultants and the government. And they unnerve just about everybody who makes long-term projections about Japan's flagging birthrate and fading economy. Japan will grow or falter, economists and sociologists say, upon the shoulders of these mild, frugal, sweet-mannered men.

To hear the analysts who study them tell it, Japanese men ages 20 to 34 are staging the most curious of rebellions, rejecting the 70-hour workweeks and purchase-for-status ethos that typified the 1980s economic boom. As the latest class of college graduates struggles to find jobs, a growing number of experts are detecting a problem even broader than unemployment: They see a generation of men who don't know what they want.

Japan earned its fortune a generation ago through the power of office warriors, the so-called salarymen who devoted their careers to one company. They wore dark suits; they joined for rowdy after-hours booze fests with co-workers; they often saw little of their families. These are the fathers of Japan's young men.

But among business leaders and officials, there is a growing understanding that the earlier work-for-fulfillment pattern has broken down. The economy's roar turned into a yawn. Concern about Japan's future replaced giddy national pride. As a result, this generation has lost "the willingness to sacrifice for the company," said Jeff Kingston, author of the recently published book "Contemporary Japan."

Kingston added: "And now as Japan begins to unravel in a sense, young people realize that the previous paradigm doesn't work. But they aren't sure what comes next. They've seen what amounts to a betrayal in Japan."

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2010 AHA Guidelines: The ABCs of CPR Rearranged to "CAB"

Emma Hitt, PhD

October 20, 2010 — Chest compressions should be the first step in addressing cardiac arrest. Therefore, the American Heart Association (AHA) now recommends that the A-B-Cs (Airway-Breathing-Compressions) of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) be changed to C-A-B (Compressions-Airway-Breathing)."

The changes were documented in the 2010 American Heart Association Guidelines for Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation and Emergency Cardiovascular Care, published in the November 2 supplemental issue of Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association, and represent an update to previous guidelines issued in 2005.

"The 2010 AHA Guidelines for CPR and ECC [Emergency Cardiovascular Care] are based on the most current and comprehensive review of resuscitation literature ever published," note the authors in the executive summary. The new research includes information from "356 resuscitation experts from 29 countries who reviewed, analyzed, evaluated, debated, and discussed research and hypotheses through in-person meetings, teleconferences, and online sessions ('webinars') during the 36-month period before the 2010 Consensus Conference."

According to the AHA, chest compressions should be started immediately on anyone who is unresponsive and is not breathing normally. Oxygen will be present in the lungs and bloodstream within the first few minutes, so initiating chest compressions first will facilitate distribution of that oxygen into the brain and heart sooner. Previously, starting with "A" (airway) rather than "C" (compressions) caused significant delays of approximately 30 seconds.

"For more than 40 years, CPR training has emphasized the ABCs of CPR, which instructed people to open a victim's airway by tilting their head back, pinching the nose and breathing into the victim's mouth, and only then giving chest compressions," noted Michael R. Sayre, MD, coauthor and chairman of the AHA's Emergency Cardiovascular Care Committee, in an AHA written release. "This approach was causing significant delays in starting chest compressions, which are essential for keeping oxygen-rich blood circulating through the body," he added.

The new guidelines also recommend that during CPR, rescuers increase the speed of chest compressions to a rate of at least 100 times a minute. In addition, compressions should be made more deeply into the chest, to a depth of at least 2 inches in adults and children and 1.5 inches in infants.

Persons performing CPR should also avoid leaning on the chest so that it can return to its starting position, and compression should be continued as long as possible without the use of excessive ventilation.

9-1-1 centers are now directed to deliver instructions assertively so that chest compressions can be started when cardiac arrest is suspected.

The new guidelines also recommend more strongly that dispatchers instruct untrained lay rescuers to provide Hands-Only CPR (chest compression only) for adults who are unresponsive, with no breathing or no normal breathing.

Other Key Recommendations

Other key recommendations for healthcare professionals performing CPR include the following:
Effective teamwork techniques should be learned and practiced regularly.
Quantitative waveform capnography, used to measure carbon dioxide output, should be used to confirm intubation and monitor CPR quality.
Therapeutic hypothermia should be part of an overall interdisciplinary system of care after resuscitation from cardiac arrest.
Atropine is no longer recommended for routine use in managing and treating pulseless electrical activity or asystole.

Pediatric advanced life support guidelines emphasize organizing care around 2-minute periods of continuous CPR. The new guidelines also discuss resuscitation of infants and children with various congenital heart diseases and pulmonary hypertension.

The authors of the guidelines have disclosed no relevant financial relationships.

Circulation. 2010;122[suppl 3]:S640-S656.

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Pinoy expat bloggers to launch 2 OFW social service groups | ABS-CBN News | Latest Philippine Headlines, Breaking News, Video, Analysis, Features

Pinoy expat bloggers to launch 2 OFW social service groups | ABS-CBN News | Latest Philippine Headlines, Breaking News, Video, Analysis, Features: "MANILA, Philippines – Two action-oriented groups aimed at delivering social services to overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) will be launched in December.

Pinoy Expats OFW Blog Awards Inc. (PEBA), an alliance of international Filipino bloggers, announced the launching of its New Media Network Group and OFW Alliance Action Group.

“The PEBA New Media Network Group will post news events and stories through video blogs and articles that are relevant to the lives of Filipino migrant workers,” said Program Director Felix Jigs Segre, PEBA’s head of Public Relations and Media Affairs."

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Juana Change - PEBA

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Lawmakers scramble for P21-B dole -, Philippine News for Filipinos

Lawmakers scramble for P21-B dole

By Leila B. Salaverria
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 02:43:00 10/18/2010

Filed Under: Politics, State Budget & Taxes, Government Aid,Congress

MANILA, Philippines—After failing to block the expansion of the conditional cash-transfer (CCT) program, a number of lawmakers now want its P21-billion budget, described by the House minority leader as a “partisan war chest,” realigned to their favorite projects.

So a small group of members of the House of Representatives tasked with fine-tuning the budget for 2011 before its passage on final reading can expect to be bombarded with proposals to rechannel funding for the cash-transfer program to other projects.

Critics of the CCT budget still plan to submit their suggestions on how the P21 billion (up from P10 billion this year) could be better used, despite the fund remaining intact when the P1.645-trillion budget was passed on second reading in the House early on Saturday.

The small committee of lawmakers is expected to meet during the congressional break, which began over the weekend and would last until early November.

The group would be receiving committee and individual amendments, and would either reject or incorporate these into the final version of the budget that the House would pass.

Gabriela Rep. Luzviminda Ilagan, one of the militant lawmakers who circulated a manifesto opposing the CCT program for being a costly dole, said she and her party-list colleagues would submit their specific proposals to realign the P21 billion.

“Our proposal would be more specific now because we would be putting the actual amounts on the table,” Ilagan said.

She said she wanted to realign part of the CCT funds to boost the budget of state universities and colleges.

Other suggestions that have cropped up include using the funds to restore the budget of the National Food Authority to the 2010 level to allow it to buy more rice from farmers, to build farm-to-market roads and to provide for the electrification of far-flung barangays.

House Minority Leader Edcel Lagman proposed that the CCT budget be reduced to P6 billion, which he said would be enough for the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) to service 1.5 million households, which he considered a more reasonable target.

Lagman said the Aquino administration’s plan to provide cash incentives to 2.3 million families next year was “overly ambitious” anyway and beyond what the DSWD could handle.

Under the CCT program, beneficiaries are supposed to ensure their children’s attendance in school and send mothers to health centers for regular checkups.

Lagman also criticized the administration for pushing for the retention of its P21-billion CCT allocation, which he describes as a “partisan war chest.”

He said the President should have left Congress alone to do its job.

“The repeated intransigent demands of President Aquino of having the CCT appropriation approved intact reveal a motive to preserve a partisan war chest even as he derogates the constitutional power of the Congress to independently appropriate public funds,” Lagman said.

The CCT has proved to be the most contentious point in the two-week budget deliberations, with debates and questions on the project taking up three days.

Ex-President and Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, who started the CCT program, was a vocal critic of the project’s expansion, saying there were not enough classrooms and birthing facilities to accommodate the beneficiaries.

Arroyo said that the expanded CCT program was ambitious and untimely, and that it was irresponsible to allocate such a big amount for a project that was not yet fully prepared.

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San Beda reclaims NCAA title, completes 18-game sweep | ABS-CBN News | Latest Philippine Headlines, Breaking News, Video, Analysis, Features

"San Beda reclaims NCAA title, completes 18-game sweep
Posted at 10/15/2010 6:04 PM | Updated as of 10/15/2010 7:31 PM

MANILA, Philippines – The San Beda Red Lions have reclaimed the NCAA men’s basketball crown with an 85-70 beating of erstwhile champions San Sebastian Golden Stags in Game 2 of their finals series on Friday."

San Beda’s hard court victory also marked the team’s historic 18-game sweep in the league’s 86th season.
Sudan Daniel, already picked as this year’s NCAA Most Valuable Player, was also named Finals MVP as the team’s main component on their defense.

San Beda mentor, Frankie Lim, was hailed as NCAA Coach of the Year.
The Lions opened the game with a 16-11 exchange before San Sebastian’s scoring assault, capped by Leo Narjorda’s tip in the final minute of the first quarter, allowed the Stags to catch up, 17-16.

The Lions recovered on Rome de la Rosa’s free-throw shooting and Antonio Caram’s surprise basket off a steal to finish the first frame with a 3-point lead, 20-17.

The Lions upped the tempo in the second quarter to pull away from the Stags. They had a scorching 10-0 run to put the scores at 30-17, holding the Stags scoreless for almost 5 minutes.

It was Gilbert Bulawan, who stopped the bleeding for the Stags with a jump hook at 5:14 in the second quarter and bring the scores to 30-19. The Lions continued their scoring rampage and extended their lead to 16 points at the half, 43-27, in the face of the Stags' listless defense.

The next two quarters saw the Stags struggling mightily to cut down the lead but the Lions were just too overpowering on the offensive end.

San Beda’s title win followed that of their junior counterparts as the Red Cubs drubbed the San Sebastian Staglets with a 95-84 win in Game 2 to win the NCAA juniors basketball title.

San Beda's Baser Amer led the Cubs with 25 points, 9 rebounds and 8 assists to cap their best-of-3 series with San Sebastian.

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Manila Times: The country’s bright young minds come together for the Philippines

The country’s bright young minds come together for the Philippines

We call them the hope of our country, the future of our nation. But are the Filipino youth today ready to tackle the diverse and overwhelming issues of our country?That seems to be the case, if one hundred outstanding youth leaders are to be our standard. In a simple ceremony, 48 young Filipino champions gathered together as the World Bank and the Ateneo de Manila University School of Government (ASoG) launched their Youth Leaders for Knowledge and Development (YLKD) program on September 9 at the University of the Philippines in Quezon City as part of their ongoing partnership for Philippine development.

Approximately 100 students and young professionals were chosen to take part in this yearlong program that will see them meeting and interacting with our country’s leaders in different fields, learning from each other, and bridging talents for development.

“We wanted young leaders to develop their skills early on to benefit our country today and in the near future,” Harvey Keh, director of the Youth Leadership and Social Entrepreneurship program of ASoG, says.
“We also realized the value of networking to be able to accomplish more with more assistance.”

“We made sure to get participants from different backgrounds so they can really learn from each other,” Cristyl Senajon, program assistant for ASoG, says.

Queen Caranto, an editor and young professional, was happy to discover that the group was composed of diverse individuals. “We have all sorts of professions and degrees but what is common is that we are all driven to a selfless goal for our country. It’s inspiring to hear their own ideas and know about their busy and dedicated lives.”

The World Bank and ASoG first broached the idea for a youth leaders program after their successful knowledge-sharing event “Panibagong Paraan” was launched late last year. Government officials and civil society leaders shared ideas and areas for application to help make good governance work for the poor.

This year, the two institutions decided to continue their partnership, extending their work to include the youth. Both the World Bank and ASoG realized that there remains a need to mainstream young people in discussions on knowledge on development, the youth being major stakeholders in the country’s future.

“The World Bank recognizes the capacity of young people to become great leaders some day,” Vincent Abrigo of the World Bank says. “This program is envisioned to be one of the many platforms where these future leaders can have a chance to talk with each other on matters of development that also confronts us as a nation. We believe that their opinion matters and what they think can be better solutions to improving the lives of their fellow Filipinos.”

“The youth have the idealism, the energy, and the drive to help create positive change in our country,” Keh further states.

Thus, the YLKD program was born. Students and young professionals answered the call of the World Bank and ASoG for leaders to participate in the program. Applications came in from as far as the University of Cordilleras in the Cordillera Administrative Region to Ateneo de Davao University in Mindanao.

“I applied for the YLKD program because it is a rare opportunity where young people who wish to make a good impact to society get to meet like-minded fellows as well as more established leaders,” Caranto says.
“It is the arena where hopeful changemakers can all pitch in and help one another achieve their aspirations for our country. Being a part of it is very promising.”

Darren Gonzales, a student from Araullo University in Nueva Ecija, believes that there is still hope for the Philippines in the youth. “I want to share what I have to my fellow changemakers.”

“Stephen Covey’s book The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People compels us to ‘sharpen the saw’ as a seventh habit,” Aksyon Kabataan National President Leon Flores thinks. “YLKD aids me in living out this habit. Joining [the program] is my way of taking advantage of an opportunity to learn fresh ideas, appreciate diverse perspectives and meet new partners for change.”

These young people will be part of the YLKD program for one year. Each month, they will get exclusive invitations to coffee sessions with Filipino experts on governance, business, environment, civil society and other fields. Provincial participants will also get to interact with the speakers via videoconference.

First event
On September 9, half of the participants, mostly Metro Manila-based students and young professionals, met each other for the first time in an intimate cocktails ceremony to formally open the program.

World Bank Governance Specialist Matthew Stephens gave the opening remarks for the event, presenting some challenges and opportunities that await young leaders. According to him, development remains a big challenge for the country because of corruption and this is where good leadership is crucial. “At the heart of good governance is good leadership. The role that the youth play in society now can be absolutely fundamental to leadership in the future,” Stephens had said.

“It’s like attending Ramon Magsaysay Awardees’ lectures for one year,” Matthew Chua, an architecture graduate, commented.

Former Gov. Grace Padaca of Isabela, a Ramon Magsaysay Awardee for Government Service, was the guest speaker for the event, encouraging the participants to harness their power for the good of the country.

“[I call] on you to continue your efforts to study and understand what is happening in our country . . . I ask you, therefore, to care more, to get more involved especially in the task of enlightening our fellow Filipinos in your own spheres of influence and even beyond,” Padaca appealed to the youth in her speech. Padaca was the first speaker to address the participants, albeit in a more formal manner.

“We will invite more Filipino leaders to share their expertise and offer advice to our participants,” Senajon says. “Discussions will be more intimate where participants can really interact with the speakers.”
Flores shares his expectations. “[I look forward to] Competent and credible resource speakers, one glorious epiphany after another.”

The dialogues will also be an opportunity for older leaders to learn from the idealism and innovation of the youth. The sessions will be less of a forum or seminar type than a conversation among present and future leaders. Caranto adds, “I expect to meet a lot of wiser, more influential, and inspiring leaders to whom we can share our own ideas of good governance. I hope this will give us youth leaders a chance to convey useful ideas to veteran leaders who can help turn them into reality.”

Excitement and expectations
Elise Veloso, a member of the De La Salle University Student Council applied for the program after learning about it through her school. “I expected it to be very serious and academic in nature, but after the first meeting, my expectations has shifted,” she says. “I now expect that YLKD could be a good venue for exchanging ideas with a very diversified group and opening opportunities for us in a relaxed and conducive environment.”

“I expect realistic and practical approaches on how we can deal with the pressing problems and issues of the Philippines,” Gonzales shares. “I wish the program will teach us to take small steps yet can create significant changes and impact our own respective communities.”

The program aims to build further awareness among the youth about national and local issues. “How can they help share knowledge and ideas on development if they don’t know what the problems are?” Keh says.

Indeed, many of YLKD’s participants believe that the program will teach them the various issues of our country’s society, economy and more, as well as the ways that the youth can take part in the solution.

“I’m looking forward to be inspired more, to be more aware of the different problems of our society, to learn effective ways on how to deal with those problems, and to create a network with my fellow young leaders in order for us to do a project that is much wider in terms of scale and the difference that it can contribute to the society,” Chua says.

Today’s youth
Asked what they thought are the issues that Filipino youth are concerned with the most, the participants gave varied responses, a reflection of their diversity and their personal advocacies.

Flores believes that family still plays a huge role in the lives of Filipino youth. “We have to bridge the understanding or gap that the public sphere within which they evolve in impacts them and their families directly,” he says.

For Veloso, governance is only one among several issues that the youth today care for. “I can see that youth leaders today are learning to become more critical thinkers,” she believes.

Among the top issues given by the participants were education and employment, underscoring the root problem of poverty in the country. Because of the widespread poverty incidence in the country, education and employment remains two of the biggest national issues that the government needs to address. And the Filipino youth are starting to feel the effects, leading to either apathy or a passion to change things.

“Basically the Filipino youth care most about themselves and the achievements [in] education, career and ambition that they can get for themselves,” Chua states. “We cannot blame them for having this kind of mentality because it’s just a product of what they’ve learned from the environment that surrounds them and the traditional mindset being ‘programmed’ in them.”

He thinks that a lack of opportunities contributes to this kind of mindset of many young people. “It’s a sad thing because not all youth are given the chance to be exposed to the deeper kind of awareness for them to be actively involved in nation-building activities.” Given the right exposure and opportunity, the youth can be a force to reckon with when it comes to rebuilding our nation’s foundation.

Flores adds, “They said we are a generation wallowing in apathy and indifference. Through the power of text, we removed a corrupt president in Edsa 2. By being connected online, we connected with our unfortunate brothers and sisters displaced by [typhoons] Ondoy and Pepeng through [volunteer] relief operations. Heck, we came in droves!” he enumerates. “We have it innate in us to make a difference and be heroes in our own little ways and when the circumstance so warrants. We just have to demonstrate EDSA 2 bravery and Ondoy heroism on a day-to-day basis.”

With young leaders like the YLKD’s youth participants, we are sure to have something to look forward to in the near future. They may be young and inexperienced in the ways of the world, but the experience that they do have already allows them the right to engage older and wiser leaders and work with them to build a better nation.

“You can see the passion clearly burning in them,” Abrigo says. “Hearing them talk and speak out their opinion and enthusiasm on things especially on development issues makes me think and realize that there really is hope for our country and that the future is now.”

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IIRC blames Ombudsman, hints at extortion attempt � Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism


IIRC blames Ombudsman,
hints at extortion attempt



First of two parts

When the Incident Investigation and Review Committee (IIRC) on the August 23 Quirino Grandstand hostage incident finally uses the word “extort,” it almost seems like an afterthought. The word is buried in the second to the last paragraph of the last page of the report it submitted a month ago to President Benigno Simeon C. Aquino III.

Part 1: IIRC blames Ombudsman, hints at extortion attempt

Part 2: Broken police, broken legal system broke hostage-taker?

Relevant documents:

Mendoza letter to PAGIBIG, page 1

Mendoza letter to PAGIBIG, page 2

Also see:

From Day 1, P-Noy wanted to save Lim, Puno, Verzosa

“This is our society,” the report concludes. “It drives otherwise ordinary and simple men to turn into murdering monsters at a snap. Because they feel oppressed and need justice but are asked for money. They ask for redemption but are faced with extortion. Officials without shame, policemen without competence, politicians without care, reporters without conscience, a nation without luck. Mendoza was only the instrument in the murder of eight innocent human beings.”

Yet the paragraph, coming at the tailend of a lengthy review of the actions, and inactions, of government officials and private entities, effectively defines the report and redefines hostage-taker Rolando Mendoza in the eyes of the public.

Here is Mendoza, a dismissed policeman who murdered eight foreign tourists and cast the country under a cloud of shame and infamy, painted as a victim of injustice and incompetence. Yet here, too, is a bemedalled policeman who lost his job on charges of extortion, portrayed by the committee as a victim of extortion himself. Clearly, while the committee has no sympathy for Mendoza’s actions, it has much sympathy for his plight.

The five-person committee lays the blame for the bungled hostage rescue on officials of the Department of Interior and Local Governments (DILG) and the Philippine National Police (PNP). But the committee squarely lays the blame for Mendoza’s radical actions on yet another institution: the Office of the Ombudsman.

Throughout the report, the committee scores a seemingly endless series of missteps and mistakes that showed “manifest injustice and oppression” by the Office of the Ombudsman against Mendoza. These incidents, the IIRC says, were the trigger for Mendoza’s actions.

“The proximate cause of his (Mendoza’s) actuation being the slow wheels of justice and in this case, at the Office of the Ombudsman,” the IIRC report states.

These failures were further colored by two things: what the committee called the “undue interest” of the Ombudsman in Mendoza’s case, and reports that an official from the Office of the Ombudsman had demanded P150,000 from Mendoza in exchange for the dismissal of the charges against the former policeman.

A P250,000-bid?

Atty. Ernesto Cabrera, Rolando Mendoza's lawyer. Video grab by Ed Lingao.

But the last lawyer to represent Mendoza in his bid to be reinstated has since told PCIJ that the amount was actually P250,000.

“Captain Mendoza disclosed to me that the Ombudsman had asked, not 150, but 250 thousand pesos for the dismissal of the case against him,” says Ernesto Cabrera, who was hired by Mendoza in November 2009 to pursue his reinstatement in the service.

Cabrera also says that Mendoza had already agreed to pay the amount. The problem, he says, was that Mendoza could not raise the entire amount by himself.

“On the third or fourth week (after I took over his case), he went back to me,” recounts Cabrera. “According to him, he has big retirement benefits and wanted to give in to the demand. He was ready to give but they (co-respondents) have to share (in the amount),” But the co-respondents did not want to give their share, so that intention of his bogged down.”

Aside from Mendoza, four other police officers had been dismissed from the service by Gonzalez for the extortion complaint filed by Christian Kalaw in 2008.


With more than P5 million in retirement benefits hanging in the balance, Mendoza sought another avenue, Cabrera says. According to the lawyer, Mendoza asked him for help to refund a loan he took out six years before from PAGIBIG, or the Home Development Mutual Fund.

“There was a time he requested for a refund of his PAGIBIG,” says Cabrera. “He had applied for a house and lot and discontinued this.”

Cabrera wrote the PAGIBIG main office in Makati, and was able to facilitate the partial refund of Mendoza’s loan. In return for his help, Cabrera said Mendoza gave him P3,000.

“The money was refunded to him, so he had the money,” Cabrera says. But the lawyer says it was not clear if Mendoza was ever able raise the entire amount to pay off his alleged tormentors, as the money from PAG-IBIG amounted to just “more than a hundred thousand pesos.” It is also not clear to Cabrera if Mendoza made any payment to anyone from the Office of the Ombudsman.

Cabrera adds that while Mendoza gave him the last name of the person who allegedly demanded the amount, Mendoza was never specific. “He told me it was a Mister Gonzalez (who asked for the money),’ he says. “I don’t know if there is a Gonzalez there, who was the one who asked for that money.”

A check with the PAG-IBIG main office in Makati shows that Mendoza had taken out a housing loan in 2004, for two properties at the South Fairway Classic Homes in Block 39, lot 77-79, Barangay Landaya, San Pedro Laguna for the amount of P500,000.

But Mendoza had canceled the loan in May 2009, just months after his dismissal order was handed down by the Office of the Deputy Ombudsman, and on the same month that the dismissal order was affirmed by the acting Ombudsman, Orlando Casimiro. The process is called a “voluntary surrender” of a housing loan, where the surrenderee can reclaim 50 percent of the amount he had already amortized to the PAGIBIG Fund.

The subdivision where Mendoza bought a lot through PAGIBIG. Screenshot via Google Earth.

Check for P196,000

A check with the Cash Department of PAG-IBIG also shows that the Fund had released a check voucher for P196,913.51 to Rolando del Rosario Mendoza on Feb. 15, 2010. PAG-IBIG records show as well that the release of the check was facilitated after a written request was made by Mendoza’s legal counsel, Atty. Ernesto Cabrera.

About six months later, Cabrera would hear a lesser amount supposedly mentioned by Mendoza, while the dismissed policeman was holding tourists hostage, as being demanded from him by an official from the Office of the Ombudsman.

During the IIRC’s two-week marathon hearings, Police Major Romeo Salvador, one of the negotiators, also testified that he overheard Mendoza cursing Deputy Ombudsman for Military and Other Law Enforcement Offices (MOLEO) Emilio Gonzalez III over the telephone for demanding P150,000 before he could rule on Mendoza’s case.

Gonzalez was the official who ordered the dismissal of Mendoza on charges of extortion in February 2009.

In its report, the committee mentions the incident on page 75: “As expected, Mendoza – who previously berated Deputy Gonzalez for allegedly demanding Php 150,000 in exchange for favourably resolving the motion for reconsideration – rejected and branded as trash the Ombudsman letter promising review, triggering the collapse of the negotiations.”

Oblique reference

Yet the next time the committee made reference to the incident was in the last page of the report, where it spoke of people who ask for “redemption” but are instead faced with “extortion.”

It was a rather curiously oblique way of accusing the Office of the Ombudsman of a major offense. But some of those familiar to the discussions within the committee say that the committee was “inclined to give credence” to Salvador’s testimony. An insider adds that the committee members saw “no reason” for Mendoza to lie while he berated Gonzalez on the telephone.

“There is an inclination within the committee to believe the incident,” says the insider who was present at the IIRC discussions. “Salvador’s testimony has weight. The committee also saw no reason for Mendoza to lie at the time he made these statements.”


The problem was that Gonzalez had refused to appear before the committee to give his side. Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez had declared that her office would not take part in the investigation, since it was an independent and co-equal institution.

As a result, the committee, while inclined to believe that Mendoza spoke what he believed to be the truth, could go no further than make oblique references that Mendoza was a victim of extortion.

“This is the evaluation of the committee, but the committee wants the issue to be subject to further investigation,” says someone privy to the committee goings-on.

In the final report, the IIRC recommended the referral of its findings to the Office of the President “for further determination of possible administrative offenses.” For Gutierrez herself, the IIRC recommended a probe to see if her offenses serve as grounds for impeachment.

The PCIJ tried to get Gonzalez to comment on the allegations of extortion, but he refused to comment and instead referred PCIJ to Assistant Ombudsman Jose de Jesus, the designated spokesman of the Office of the Ombudsman.

“Very vague sa amin ang accusations, but we are not closing the door into the matter,” De Jesus says. “If anyone will come out with accusations, with evidence, naming who was really extorting, (then we may look into it.)”

“We have many Gonzalezes here,” he also says. “Which Gonzalez is he (Cabrera) referring to?”

Internal Affairs

And yet De Jesus says that Ombudsman Gutierrez has already referred the issue of extortion to the Internal Affairs Board of the Office of the Ombudsman. The board will determine if there is basis to file any charge against Emilio Gonzalez III.

The Board’s head is Overall Ombudsman Casimiro, who as acting Ombudsman had affirmed Mendoza’s dismissal from the service.

De Jesus says Cabrera could file a complaint with the Board if he is serious with his allegations. “If there is a lawyer saying that, if he can submit to our internal affairs board any evidence he has (he should do so)” De Jesus says. “Especially if he can identify the person (who made the offer.)”

But he says, “I think Deputy Ombudsman Gonzalez was asked (about the issue), and he explained, ‘How can I do it, I don’t know Mendoza personally, I have not met him personally, and I have not done it.”

“We have no basis except for that accusation, and then there is already a denial (on the part of Gonzalez,)” he says.

Scathing report

The IIRC, however, apparently sees the matter differently. Insists an IIRC insider: “The way the committee sees it, (Mendoza) was serious about what he was saying.”

It may be for this reason thus that the committee issued its most scathing comments against the Office of the Ombudsman. While it could not recommend any charges of extortion against officials at the Ombudsman’s office, the committee charged the office of “inexcusable negligence” in delaying Mendoza’s case, and questioned the “undue interest on the case” of Mendoza.

“Ombudsman Gutierrez and Deputy Ombudsman Gonzalez committed serious and inexcusable negligence and gross violation of their own rules of procedure in failing to promptly resolve without justification, and despite repeated written please, Mendoza’s motion for reconsideration to the judgment of dismissal, which prolonged inaction precipitated the desperate resort to hostage-taking,” the committee report stated.

Anatomy of a charge

The dismissal of Mendoza and four other policemen belonging to the Manila Police Mobile Unit stemmed from a charge of extortion filed by student-chef Christian Kalaw in 2008. Kalaw alleged that he was manhandled and threatened by Mendoza’s men after they accosted him near La Salle University in Manila. Kalaw said that he was brought to Mendoza’s office at the Manila Police Mobile headquarters, where Mendoza allegedly demanded P 200,000 in exchange for Kalaw’s freedom. In his affidavit-complaint, Kalaw said they ended up settling for P20,000.

But the complaint against the policemen failed to prosper before the City Prosecutor’s office, largely because Kalaw never appeared to pursue his complaint. The same case was elevated to the PNP’s Internal Affairs Service, where it was also dismissed for failure of Kalaw to appear.

Then in July 2008, Deputy Ombudsman Gonzalez directed the PNP to turn the case over to his office, an act that drew this observation from the IIRC: “It appears that the Ombudsman exercised jurisdiction over the case based on a letter issued motu propio by Deputy Ombudsman Emilio Gonzalez III, directing the PNP-NCR – without citing any reason – to endorse the case against Mendoza and the arresting policemen to his office for administrative adjudication, thereby showing undue interest on the case.”

Seven months later, Gonzalez ruled for the dismissal of Mendoza and the four other policemen. The ruling was approved by Acting Ombudsman Orlando Casimiro on May, 2009.

The committee pointed out that the ruling was based “on the sole and uncorroborated complaint-affidavit of Christian Kalaw, which was not previously sustained by the City Prosecutor’s Office and the PNP Internal Affairs Service.” In other words, the one and only piece of evidence considered by Gonzalez’s office was the first affidavit executed by Kalaw when he filed his complaint before the City Prosecutor’s Office.

Five-day period

Still, Mendoza had recourse; under the rules of the Ombudsman, he could file a motion for reconsideration that had to be resolved within five days of filing. Mendoza filed his motion in November 2009. The motion for reconsideration remained unresolved for nine months, until Mendoza finally took his hostages.

“By allowing Mendoza’s motion for reconsideration to languish for nine long months without any justification, Ombudsman Gutierrez and Deputy Ombudsman Gonzalez committed complete and wanton violation of the Ombudsman prescribed rule to resolve motions for reconsideration in administrative disciplinary cases within five days from submission,” the IIRC report notes. “The inaction is gross, there being no opposition to the motion for reconsideration.”

Adding yet another complex layer to the mix, the Ombudsman ordered Mendoza’s dismissal to be enforced immediately. In a 2008 ruling (Samaniego vs Ombudsman), the Supreme Court ruled that judgments of the Ombudsman in disciplinary cases become executory only after denial of an appeal “This implies,” says the IIRC report, “that an Ombudsman judgment of dismissal cannot be executed If subject of a pending appeal.”

“If an Ombudsman judgment of dismissal cannot be executed when subject to a pending appeal before the higher courts, what more for a judgment of dismissal that is still subject of pending reconsideration before the Ombudsman,” the committee says.

Soft heart

For his part, Assistant Ombudsman De Jesus defends the slow resolution of Mendoza’s case by saying the Ombudsman receives thousands of complaints a month. In addition, De Jesus says the five-day period to resolve motions for reconsideration is not mandatory.

“Since the office has a soft heart for dismissed employees, so the practice is to have it studied very well, studiously and laboriously,’ he says. “The length of time in this case occurred because of the laborious and thoughtful study put into the case all over again.”

“There is no violation of the law (with regard to the five-day period to resolve motions for reconsideration,),” asserts De Jesus. “Because we’re talking about livelihood, the life of the respondents, and their families, that’s why this was being studied very carefully. We have to reckon the fact that this is not the only case in our office. We have only a few lawyers.”

Own MR

De Jesus says the Ombudsman is also aware of the Samaniego doctrine, which states that penalties greater than one-month suspension are not executory so long as there is a pending appeal. But he says that the Ombudsman is contesting the Supreme Court ruling with its own motion for reconsideration. Until that motion is resolved, he argues, the Ombudsman believes all its rulings are immediately executory.

The IIRC, however, thinks otherwise.

“Had the Ombudsman officials performed their duty under the law and acted decisively, the entire crisis may have ended differently,” its report says.

This may be partly why, in the last page of its 82-page report, the committee paints Mendoza as a villain, but one who was among many other villains, a criminal who was a victim as well, “a man with a perceived injustice and oppression done against him, so common in Philippine society, cornered and forced to a murderous and insane mission.”

– PCIJ, October 2010

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