Wednesday, February 29, 2012

KAISA, STAND-UP, ALYANSA busy with campaign

It’s a bit busy in UP Diliman today as political parties KAISA, STAND-UP, and ALYANSA are taking advantage of the last few hours to campaign for their candidates for the USC elections tomorrow.
The enthusiasm of most of the candidates is a good thing but it’s not just fun and games when it comes to campus politics.

In the past few days, a number of individuals were distributing pieces of paper containing black propaganda against certain candidates.

“This is no different from national politics, it’s disappointing” one student said.  A number of students interviewed voiced their concern about this incident while a larger number did not want to comment. Those who do not care about campus politics just said, it’s just campus politics and will not matter in the long run.

Status Update on the Case of Miss Lordei Hina (as of February 29)

Released by the Office of the Chancellor of UP Diliman, 29 February 2012

Health Situation

  • After being in the ICU of Capitol Medical Center for almost 10 days (since 1 February), Lordei was transferred to a private room but is still being closely monitored by a medical team.
  • She is being taken care of by a team of six (6) specialists: A neurosurgeon, neurologist, internal medicine specialist, ophthalmologist, heart specialist and a physical therapist.
  • A fourth CT scan conducted last 17 February showed the presence of fluid in her brain that must have given her fever/infection. Last 18 February, she underwent brain surgery to arrest the spread/worsening of infection in her brain. The surgery was successful - the fluid in her brain was removed together with bone fragments and remains of a sharp object that was embedded in her brain.
  • Lordei has shown remarkable progress in her physical recovery given the serious injuries that received. Her doctors are greatly encouraged by her good recovery rate. She is now able to see, recognize her family and friends, move her right hand/fingers and sit on a wheelchair. She is currently undergoing physical therapy. However, she could not yet speak. 
  • She is constantly attended to by her loving mother and family as well as by her many friends from UP Diliman. The OVCSA is closely monitoring the status of Lordei.
Legal Case Against Lordei’s Assailants

  • One of Lordei’s assailants was caught immediately by the UP Diliman security personnel led by the UP Diliman Police. He has been in the custody of the Quezon City Police since 1 February 2012. The other suspect remains at large.
  • After the inquest conducted by the Asst. City Prosecutor, based on the partial medical certificate then available, the suspect was charged last February 3 with only the crime of Robbery as defined under Article 294, Par 4 of the Revised Penal Code (Robbery with unnecessary violence or intimidation), instead of Robbery with Frustrated Homicide.
  • A case conference was called by the OVCSA on 10 February 2012 to deliberate on the details of the legal case that was filed against suspects. Among those present were: Atty.Ma. Luz Raval (UP Diliman Legal Office), Atty. Victoriano Hipe (DLO), Atty. Allan Maximilian Roxas (DLO), Major Bernie Baltazar (UPDP), Representative from QCPD, Mrs. Conception Hina (Lordei’s mother), Dr. Rommel Rodriquez (OVCSA-OSADirector and VCSA Ma. Corazon J. Tan. The DLO is taking the lead as Lordie’s private prosecutors and UP would provide possible financial, legal and moral support to Lordie and the Hina family.
  • On 21 February, the DLO filed on a motion to allow reinvestigation and to defer arraignment which was initially scheduled on 1 March. The DLO motion argues that the extent of Lordie’s injuries indicate a clear intent to kill, as evidenced by an updated Medical Record. The motion filed seeks a re-evaluation of the case and to upgrade the charge to robbery with frustrated homicide.
  • The DLO has informed the OVCSA that it is still awaiting for the official reply from the handling Prosecutor to its motion for reinvestigation.
Search for the 2nd Assailant
  • The other suspect remains at large. The UP Diliman Taskforce Lordei Hina is appealing to the Quezon City Police during the Case conference held in February 10 to actively pursue/conduct a ‘manhunt’ to capture the other suspect and bring him to justice.
  • Major Baltazar of UPDP suggested that UP elevate this appeal/request to the Philippine National Police (PNP). He suggested for the UP Administration to officially write and/or set a meeting with the PNP to discuss the active pursuit of the other suspect.
Provision of Financial Support

  • The initial cost (PhP380,071.18) of Lordei’s hospitalization at the Capital Medical Center is being shouldered by UP Diliman.
  • Students, faculty members and employees are initiating their own fundraising activities to help defray the costs of Lordei’s hospitalization and her other needs.
  • Mrs. Hina informed the OVCSA that a staff member of the Office of Vice-President Jejomar Binay visited Lordei on 24 February and mentioned that their office will shoulder all the hospitalization costs. UP is very grateful for this generous gesture of Vice-President Binay and is waiting for his official confirmation.
This Bulletin is prepared by Office of the Vice-Chancellor for Student Affairs, UP Diliman.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Terrorizing the campus press. On the harassment of and military surveillance on CEGP officers

Time and again we have been the subject of repression not only in our respective campuses but outside as well. Throughout our history, the College Editors Guild of the Philippines, true to its advocacy and its orientation as patriotic and democratic alliance of tertiary publications, has always been at the fore front of the battle and with this, the price we get is threats to our lives.

Young as we are, we are devoting our talents and skills to serve the underprivileged and the voiceless, defending press freedom and democracy in the process, and like the mainstream press, we too are threatened for speaking the truth and serving the people. Not surprisingly, the peril comes from the state forces who consistently label every progressive organization such as CEGP as its enemy.

In a country where most in power use fascism to suppress freedom of expression and where the culture of impunity is prevalent, the College Editors Guild of the Philippines condemns the surveillance and harassment of the alleged military forces to Pauline Gidget Estella (CEGP National Deputy Secretary General), Angelo Karl Doceo (chairperson of CEGP Samar Island), Micah Susana Rubenecia (secretary-general of CEGP Samar Island Chapter and editor of The Pillar, official student publication of University of Eastern Philippines) and Darrel Tibre (staff writer of The Pillar).

Surveillance and trailing

Estella and her companions have been trailed by suspected military elements since their arrival in Catarman to attend the Samar-wide CEGP convention from February 23 to 26 at the University of Eastern Philippines. At around 8 PM on February 26, the last day of the convention, a suspected intelligence personnel approached them at the terminal, asking where they are going, if they are going to University of Eastern Philippines or Brgy. Jose Abad Santos. One of the speakers in the convention, who is a member of Kilusang Mayo Uno, lives in Brgy. Jose Abad Santos.

The suspected intelligence personnel said he was lost and asked them if he could come with them until they have reached their destination. They told him to ask for directions from the barangay tanod and started walking away from the terminal. The man shouted after them and demanded to know their destination.

They walked briskly toward the house of one of the staffers of The Pillar, who lives near the terminal and refused to be named for security reasons. A tricycle driver and his two passengers were staring at them as they walked. Several pedicab drivers were following them as well and aggressively asking them to take a ride.

While they were inside the house, the staff member went outside to purchase cellphone load. He said he saw a man on a scooter near their house. The man was having a conversation over the phone. The staff member said he stayed at the store for 15 minutes. When he was walking back to his house, the man was still waiting at the same spot and staring at him.

At the same time, Doceo’s friend called him using a different number and asking whether or not he was at Farmer’s Hotel, the venue for the convention. Doceo asked her why she was asking but she refused to answer.

About an hour later, another person parked his scooter beside the house and stayed there for at least 20 minutes. Why would someone park his scooter in an unlikely place and an unlikely time? The staff member then saw a group of men riding scooters near the house. “Maupay. Hain si Micah? Kay an gamit n’ya nga nabayaan (Tao po. Nasaan po si Micah? Kasi ‘yung gamit n’yang naiwan),” said one of them to the people who live in the house beside the staff member’s residence. After a while, he heard another one say, “Basta buwas hanapon ta hanapin sila. Magpreparare (Basta bukas nang hapon hanapin sila. Magprepare).”

It seems that the intelligence had failed to pinpoint the right house, but it was almost correct because they inquired at the adjacent residence. What would have happened if they were accurate enough?
It appears to be very timely that these men have followed the CEGP officers after the Samar-wide convention, in which the discussions featured progressive and critical analysis of national issues.

Estella and her companions opted to stay inside the house until 6 AM. They left the house in a private vehicle and went to the airport for her scheduled flight.

All night, National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) and Pinoy Weekly monitored their status, wherein NUJP-Samar accompanied Estella and the others to the provincial airport to ensure their safety, risking their lives in the process as well.

Human Rights advocate KARAPATAN, student publication Philippine Collegian of UP-Diliman, workers’ union All-UP Academic Employees’ Union, media watchdog Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility (CMFR) and other concerned organizations, also extended their help by sending SMS and posting their support through social networks like Facebook and Twitter.

State fascism

CEGP condemns the lame government of Aquino for failing to acknowledge and address the involvement of military officials in media violence. Aquino administration should put an end to its desperate attempt of protecting its own personal interest, instead this government must start delivering justice to all that have been abducted and killed.

The military, as defined by the constitution, is an organization with the authorization of the greater society allowed to use lethal force, including weaponry, in defense of the country by contesting actual or perceived threats. They are designed to protect the people and the state and ensure their safety. Ironically, the military has always been the primary suspect of human rights violations across the country, and early this January, students from University of the Philippines who were conducting academic field work experienced acts of fascism in Pampanga and Batangas.

The acts of harassment and surveillance on Estella and her companions only show that the military does not distinguish between civilians and members of the armed rebel movement. It shows that even student journalists have become targets of neutralization in the government’s counterinsurgency scheme. In fact, Doceo and Rubenecia have reported that they took possession of an Order of Battle file in Samar. The Order of Battle is a military document in which people who are targets for neutralization are listed. Doceo, Rubenecia and other members of the publication were included in the list.

Philippines is haunted for its culture of impunity and lawlessness. Noting the circumstances of the past where 64 victims of extrajudicial killings and 9 enforced disappearances with strong military evidences has been recorded since June 2010 to October 2011, and where 182 journalist were killed since 1986, of which 123 were killed in line of duty, only 10 cases resulted in conviction but no master mind brought to justice, excluding the Maguindanao Massacre.

We will not be cowed by these fascist attacks by the state to intimidate us and sow fear among our ranks. We are no strangers to this “psy-war” (psychological warfare) designed after the Oplan Bayanihan which is nothing new from its original name Oplan Bantay Laya aimed to attack progressive organizations.

These recent attacks on campus journalists show that the Aquino administration is insincere in ending the culture of impunity. Clearly, his administration is only posturing as an administration that prioritizes human rights because it tolerates, invites and perpetrates harassment and killings of journalists and cause-oriented groups.

With our pens held up-high, once more we will move forward for this country’s future. And we will not back down.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Leftists blame budget cut for UP Diliman’s poor security

The stabbing of a student leader at the Vinzon’s Hall has prompted Anakbayan Chairperson Vencer Crisostomo to tell the media that the militant group blames the budget cut for UPD’s poor security.

“This is not unfounded,” one professor from UP said when asked to comment about the robbery that took place at Vinzon's Hall. The number of security guards inside the over 400 hectare campus dropped from 149 in 2011 to 111 this 2012.

The P13 million slash from the original P82 million allotted for campus security has been a concern for many student groups.

Outsiders say that UP demands too much but what most do not know is that the Philippine General Hospital is also covered by the budget given to UP.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Diliman Diary Blog: 02.22.2012 (My Darling Cyberstalker)

I first met her online in a Facebook group dedicated to University of the Philippines at Diliman alumni. I had just emerged from a long hibernation since my last relationship ended more than ten years ago, and I was feeling more sociable last year (2011). Guys (and not just girls) also feel the need to relax, hang loose and simply have the option to post away with merriment online; oftentimes approaching something close to wild abandon. 

Socializing online with my contemporaries - fellow U.P. Diliman graduates - was fun. It was exhilirating. It was also the perfect way for me to overcome a decade's old writer's block which had been hounding me. The more I could write without the pressure to perform, the less performance anxiety I felt, and the more my confidence levels began to go up again.

I also made scores of friends, including her. I posted in very thread I could. My visibility shot up, and I was on the radar screen of hundreds of U.P. Diliman alumni who found my irreverent, humorous posts compelling, fascinating, infuriating and difficult to ignore.

I was writing as I never had before. I felt alive again and years of existence in the realm of the undead - in my mind - populated by those who are loveless - and those who suffered from writer's block. In the latter, I was rediscovering myself and in the former, there was the hint, the allure of infinite possibilities. I was beginning to feel human again. And in began to show in my writing, in my posts, my long-buried humor. Even stray dogs and cats, taking note of my change in demeanor, began to gravitate towards me. I must have had a new aura.  Most of all, I suddenly began to be optimistic about life, and began to be hopeful.

Inevitably, I ended up on her radar screen. She participated in the threads I participated in. She was eight years older than I am (I am 46), and had undergone a difficult separation. She was looking for a mate. I was just looking to rejoin the human race. My new year’s resolution in 2011 was simply just to interact more with people. I attended a few get-togethers of our group. Nothing special. At least I met my targets that year.

We became Facebook friends after I posted the history of my entire love life (the short version) on the Facebook page, so as to quell any unwarranted speculation by others about me (Why is he unmarried? Does he have kids? etcetera). Perhaps I was too trusting. But by nature I am transparent. I felt that if I had nothing to hide, then why not let everybody know about the short details? I felt that that was a good way to nip speculation in the bud.

She sent me private messages asking how I was doing with my attempts to reach out to others of the opposite sex after such a long hiatus. I responded frankly about my fears, anxieties and angst. She gave reasonable advice. She would send me several private messages in a day. I would respond to each one of them. I thought I had a reusted, older confidante. She apparently thought otherwise.

It seems that she had found her mate.

Despite the fact that we had never even met, or even talked on the telephone, I had become designated as her “chosen one”.

The only problem with all of this was one little detail: she had forgotten or neglected to consult me about any of this.

Her messages became more insistent. She broke cover. She began to send me messages openly declaring her love for me. She sent me links to songs from Youtube. Some were sweet. Some were somber, dark, frightening, bordering on the verge of madness. I was concerned. Hell yeah. I was scared

I could not reciprocate this unrequited love. I was simply not interested. But being a diplomat’s son, I am perhaps polite to a fault. I politely declined her requests for coffee. I politely declined her overtures to talk on the telephone. I politely declined to have anything to do with her.

One time somebody pretending to be me on Facebook posted a post that I had never authorized and essentially was a post saying that a third party poster had hacked into my account. Immediately after that, I received a private message from her. And in it, she laughing openly and implying about how she had managed to hack into my account. I suddenly remembered the words of another female friend who knew her; and that friend said that she had access to people with technical capabilities to do such kinds of hacking.

I messaged her and confronted her, asking her if she had hacked into my account. She angrily denied this, and unfriended me.

But later on, she repeatedly asked me to add her back again as a friend.

She began picking fights with another female friend, apparently incensed that I still retained my friendship with the other friend.

She began to follow my every post online, seeking to embarrass me, and leaking details that I had given to her in confidence that tended to put me in a bad light in other forums. She complemented these approaches with more private messages, professing her friendship and her love for me.

I was being stalked online. I was being treated as an object by somebody who I did not want to get close to, but who was insisting on ramming a relationship down my throat. I was being cyberbullied. I was being cyberstalked. 

I communicated with another female friend and asked her to ask my cyberbullying "friend" to please stop hounding me. I received a message from her saying that she agreed to stop it.

The jury still remains out as to whether this has stopped once and for all, or it is merely the lull before another new storm?

Know your rights

Maybe I experienced this for a purpose. As the Co-Editor of the Diliman Diary, I am certainly in a position to  write about my experience and help educate my fellow Filipinos about cyberstalking and cyberbullying - whether they are male or female. Cyberstalking and cyberbullying in the Philippines is nothing new, after all.

Article II Section 5 of the 1987 Philippine Constitution states that, “the maintenance of peace and order, the protection of life, liberty, and property, and the promotion of the general welfare are essential for the enjoyment by all people of the blessings of democracy.” One of the avowed policies of the government is the promotion of the general welfare of the people and in order to enjoy peace and order means curbing untoward behavior which essentially disrupts social harmony. 

Normally, the act of bullying usually transpires among children, it is hard to impose punitive justice against them. As the effect of bullying manifest itself in different forms, the more evident manifestation by which the law may interfere is when physical assault is committed. However, since the perpetrators are mostly children under the age of majority, the restorative form of justice embodied in Republic Act 9344 or the Juvenile Justice Law is employed wherein child offenders are subjected to intervention programs and are brought to child caring institutions in the hope of reintegrating them in the society.

Stalking on the other hand, due to the circumstances by which it was committed, does not have an exact enabling law by which it is punished. Stalking involves actions wherein the perpetrator or stalker would follow the activities of the victim and is normally tagged as following another person’s movement from one place to another. At most, the victim may avail of the provisions under Article 202 (4) and Article 287 of the Revised Penal Code. Under Article 202 (4) of the Revised Penal Code, any person who, not being included in the provisions of other articles in this Code, shall be found loitering in any inhabited or uninhabited place belonging to another without any lawful or justifiable causes and who shall be found guilty thereof shall be punished by arresto menor or a fine not exceeding 200 pesos, and in case of recidivism, by arresto mayor in its medium period to prision correctional in its medium period or a fine ranging from 200 to 2,000 pesos, or both, in the discretion of the court. Article 287 of the same punishing unjust vexation by arresto menor or a fine ranging from 5 to 200 pesos, or both. 

The duration of such penalties, which ranges from one month and one day to six months in case of arresto mayor and one day to thirty days in case of arresto menor, and the meager fines by which the offenses are punished cannot surpass the psychological trauma and other effects of such negative behaviors.

Cyber stalking and Cyber bullying Legislation

At present, the Philippines has no explicit legilation on cyber stalking or cyber bullying. Nevertheless using the aforementioned definition of cyber staking petaining to the involvement of false accusations, transmission of threats, identity theft, damage to data or equipment, certain acts could be subsued in the acts prohibited under the Republic Act No. 8792, An Act Providing for the Recognition and Use of Electronic Commercial and non-comercial Transactions and Documents,Penalties for Unlawful Use Thereof and for other Purpose or the E-Commerce Act, the following Acts shall be penalized by fine and/or imprisonment, as follows:

1. Hacking or cracking which refers to unauthorized access into or interference in a computer system/server or information and communication system; or any access in order to corrupt, alter, steal, or destroy using a computer or other similar information and communication devices, without the knowledge and consent of the owner of the computer or information and communications system, including theintroduction of computer viruses and the like, resulting in the corruption,destruction, alteration, theft or loss of electronic data messages or electronic document shall be punished by a minimum fine of one hundredthousand pesos (P100,000.00) and a maximum commensurate to thedamage incurred and a mandatory imprisonment of six (6) months tothree (3) years.

It is apparent that the above-mentioned law only provides penalties to specfic acts done to promote cyber stalking. It only covers the tip of the entire gamut of cyber stalking. The danger that is posed by cyber bullying and cyber stalking has more far-fetching residues and ripples upon social peace and order. For someone to haunt another’s peace of mind debases morality and effectively undermine trust and confidence in the social forces that is supposed to safeguard people’s welfare against social harms.

Despite the lack of clear cut legislation designed to curb cyber stalking and cyber bullying, there are current efforts recognizing the dangers that these negative practices bring upon an individual or group of individuals in a society. In April 2009, Senator Juan Ponce Enrile filed Senate Bill No. 3177 entitled An Act Defining Cybercrime, providing for the prevention, supression and imposition of penalties and for other purposes. The Bill recognizes the stark advantage of the internet as it is nowadays a necessity and a tool for development and efficiency.

However it also recognizes the growing criminal perpetrators using the internet in carrying out their illegal activities. The Bill seeks to define what consitutes cybercrime and has mentioned in passing cyber stalking as an emerging trend espousing safer medium to stalk someone as this will not require physical presence when committing the misdeed and would only require an internet capable computer system. In the said proposed law however, cyber stalking and cyber bullying were not extensively mentioned as one of the cybercrimes needed to be addressed. It specifically tackled child pornography using the internet as well as Internet espionage and similar scenarios.

Senator Manny Villar on March of 2009 filed Senate Resolution No. 915 entitled A Resolution Urging the Senate Committees on Science and Technology, Public Information and Mass Media and other Appropriate Committees To Conduct an Inquiry in Aid of Legislation, on the occurrence of Cyber Stalking Cases and the Modus Operandi Adopted to Perpetuate Crimes in the Internet with the end view of formulating a policy that will curb cyber stalking and protect on-line users in the country. The author keenly recognized the danger posed by someone pretending to be another person using the account of that person to solicit money and or perpetuate criminal activities such as extortion, sexual harassment and other forms of crimes. At present, the Resolution has yet to be passed upon by the Senate and is pending hearing before the appropriate committees. Cyber bullying however do not have, as of the moment, similar legislative recognition. As dangerous as cyber stalking, bullying on the Internet may qualify as a cybercrime under the E-commerce law but it may have a semblance in the proposed bill of Senator Enrile.

It is important to understand however, that cyber stalking and cyber bullying are relatively new phenomenon in the country. This is the reason why there are no laws specifically pertaining thereto as of the present time. The E-Commerce law may be used to encompass other related activities but the scope of the said law is not comprehensive enough to include specific crimes of cyber stalking and cyber bullying. Despite several proposed enactments and resolutions by the Legislative arm of the government, there is still a need to concretize specific enabling laws that will establish legal grounds for singling out acts of cyber stalking and cyber bullying and penalizing the same. Without a specific law to criminalize such acts, aggrieved parties may be left with no other recourse but to file for civil damages using the general law on human relations enshrined under Article 19 of the Civil Code of the Philippines which aptly states that:

Article 19. Every person must, in the exercise of his rights and in the performance of his duties, act with justice, give everyone his due and observe honesty and good faith.

In the absence of such enabling law to criminalize such acts and provide penalties for the commission of such, the victim may only claim civil damages by way of filing cases on the basis of the above-mentioned provision. The perpetrator may pay the indemnity but may get away scot-free from the acts which he or she committed. The penalty provided by existing law do not commensurate to the damage and injury that such acts produce.

Overall, then much work needs to be done to enact legislation that would make cyberstalking and cyberbullying more costly for its perpetrators to engage in. As citizens, we can certainly do out bit by writing our local legislators to enact more legislation on this matter, and to also beief current and potential victims of their rights that already exist under current laws.

(Chanda Shahani)

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Short Story: Room C10

ni Sigrid Salucop

Estudyante palang ako noon sa UP at isang summer naisipan kong mag-summer classes para mahabol ang mga units na kailangan ko. Nag-day trip ako noon at dahil halos 12 hours ang byahe galing Ilocos, nakarating nako sa dorm ng hatinggabi. Hindi talaga ako sa C10 pero pag summer kasi iniiba ang rooms ng mga residente ng Sampaguita Residence Hall kasi madaming nagko-cross register mula sa ibang mga UP campuses. Sa B10 ako pag regular na sem at ang kwartong ito ay kaharap lang ng C10 kaya ok na rin. Pag-akyat ko sa kwarto inayos ko na kaagad ang aking kama –yung kamang pang-hospital. Hindi naman na ito weird para sa mga dormers kasi talagang ganoon na ang mga kama doon at hindi lang din naman ang Sampa ang may mga ganoong beds kaso nga lang ginagamit itong panakot dahil mga ospital daw ang Sampa at ang kaharap nitong dorm noong World War II.

Habang nag-aayos ako ng mga gamit, ka-text ko ang isa kong room mate na doon din sa C10 inilagay ng dorm manager. Inaasahan ko kasi na may kasama ako sa gabing iyon. Past midnight na wala pa siya at dahil walang magawa inayos ko na rin ang aking cabinet nang biglang may narinig akong naglalakad sa may roof. Ang mga rooms kasi sa C ay nakaharap sa covered court ng Sampa kaya kaharap lang nito ang bubong ng court. Liningon ko sa bintana kung ano yun pero wala naman akong nakitang ilaw –kasi kung may nag-aayos man ng mga sira sa bubong malamang dapat may ilaw. Pero ang tanong bakit naman mag-aayos sila manong ng bubong pag gabi? Hindi ko pa natatapos ang aking pagmumuni muni nang biglang may sumitsit sa may bintana. Medyo nagalit pa nga ako noon kasi baka naman may mamboboso pero pagkatingin ko, may nakita akong itim na korteng tao. Hindi siya katangkaran at parang may suot na helmet sa ulo. Lumapit siya sa window ng C10 saka ako sinutsutan ulit. Kunwari na lang wala akong narinig pero alam ko na na marahil ay multo iyon. Kinilabutan ako kaya dahan dahan akong humiga sa higaan saka nagkunwaring nagbabasa ng libro. Alalang alala ko pa kung anong libro ang binabasa ko noon –The Things I know I learned In Kindergarten ni Robert Fulghum pero hindi talaga ako makapagconcentrate. Noong sinabi na ni Krisette na ma-le-late siya ng pagdating, nagtalukbong nako habang nakabukas pa ang ilaw. May naramdaman akong kakaiba pero hindi ako sumilip at pinipilit ko talagang matulog. Biglang lumamig ang paligid at nang may narinig akong gumalaw ng pinto sumilip ako kasi baka si Krisette na yun nang may bumungad sa akin na itim na naka-helmet. Wala itong mukha pero mistula itong nakatingin sa akin habang ako ay sumisilip sa aking blanket. Kinilabutan ako at nanlamig ang aking katawan habang pinapaniwala ko ang aking sarili na bangungot lang iyon. Biglang may kumatok sa pinto at pagsilip ko wala na yung itim na korteng tao kaya dali-dali akong tumayo at binuksan ang pintuan ng kwarto. Sa wakas si Krisette na yun galing pa sa Isabela. Hindi ko na yun kwinento sa kanya kasi natatakot ako na baka bumalik pa ang multo pag inamin kong nakita ko siya. Sabi kasi ng isa naming kaibigan, paminsan hindi alam ng mga multo kung sino ang mga nakakakita sa kanila kaya naisip ko magkukunwari na lang ako na hindi ko iyon nakita.

Pagkalipas ng ilang araw wala namang naganap na kakaiba sa C10 kaya naging mas kampante nakong mag-isa kahit pa gabi. Isang araw pagkatapos ng isa sa mga klase ko nag-uusap kami ng mga room mates ko sa may parking lot sa Sampa. Napasarap ang aming kwentuhan at hindi namin namalayan na papagabi na pala. Napatingin ako sa may gawi ng Bio Department na nasa kabilang kalye nang may napansin akong itim na korteng tao na naka-helmet. Parang hindi niya ako napansin kasi mistulang nagtatago ito sa mga santan sa may lawn ng dorm. Dahan dahan siyang naglalakad habang naka-bend ang mga tuhod nito na para bang mayroon siyang pinagtataguan. Nasilayan ko ang pigura na tumakbo papasok ng dorm. “Anong nangyari sa’yo?” tanong sakin ng isa kong room mate at napailing lang ako. “May nakita akong itim na korteng tao…” sabi ko habang hinahaplos ko ng mabilis ang aking mga braso para mapigilan ang pagtayo ng aking mga balahibo. Sa katunayan nga habang isinusulat ko ito makalipas ang ilang taon ay kinikilabutan pa rin ako.

Hindi ako nagdasal kasi hindi naman talaga ako nagdadasal. Agnostic ako kumbaga pero noong nakita na ng mga room mates ko na talagang natakot ako sa experience nay un, sinabi nila na sasamahan nila ako papunta sa UP chapel kinaumagahan para magtirik ng kandila kasi malamang daw isa itong kaluluwang hindi matahimik. Sa isip isip ko, baka nga naman kailangan lang itong ipagdasal kaya sinunod ko na lang ang aking mga room mate na mas nakakatanda sa akin.

Sabado kinaumagahan. Agad kaming pumunta sa UP Chapel para magtirik ng kandila kaya pagkatapos magbihis ay naglakad na kami mula sampa papuntang SC. Nilalakad lang kasi namin papuntang SC (Shopping Center) mula sa dorm kahit pa may kalayuan. Sabado rin naman at wala rin naman kaming ibang gagawin. Nasa may Sanggumay Residence Hall na kami nang napansin kong parang may sumusunod sa amin. Lumingon ako pero wala namang ibang taong naglalakad –halos empty rin kasi ang campus kapag sabado ang dinadayo lamang e ang academic oval. Pagkarating sa simbahan, bumili na ako ng kandila sa sinindihan ito at nagdasal. Ganoon din ang ginawa ng aking mga room mate. Habang nagdadasal ako idinilat ko ang aking mga mata at nakita ko ang itim na korteng tao sa may labas ng simbahan. Mistula itong nagmamasid. Ito ang unang pagkakataon na nakita ko ito ng umaga at nasigurado ko na hindi lang ito parte ng aking imahinasyon. Ilang segundo din siyang nakatayo sa kabilang kalye –iba kasi ang istraktura ng simbahan at marami itong maluluwang na daanan. Pag nakaupo ka para makinig ng misa makikita mo ang parte ng UP Infirmary at ang kalye sa may bungad nito. Naputol ang aking pagdadasal para sa itim na korteng tao nang bigla siyang umalis at naglakad pabalik sa kalyeng pinanggalingan namin. Doon ko na siya huling nakita. Itinuloy ko na lamang ang pagdadasal para sa kanya at inisip ko na sana ay makatulong ito.

Pagktapos ng ilang taon, nakagradweyt na rin ako sa pamantasan at nagsimula nang magtrabaho. At katulad ng marami mayroon akong Facebook account. Sumali ako sa isang grupo ng mga dating estudyante sa UP Diliman at doon nabasa ko ang isang ghost story ng isang dating estudyante. Nakakita ito ng isang itim na tao na nakaupo sa may roof ng isa sa mga building malapit sa College of Mass Communication. Doon ko na napagtanto na hindi ekslusibo para sa akin ang experience na iyon at baka may iba pang taong nakakita ng mga itim na korteng tao. Ang tanong, iisa lang ba siya o marami sila?

(Graphic from:

Monday, February 20, 2012

Of student leaders, Philippine politics and apathy (Diliman Diary Blog: 02.20.2012)

As the USC election approaches, UP Diliman students get exposed once again to a whirlwind of handshaking and room-to-room interruptions. University politics is as colorful as the almost carnival-like scene at the national level. However, student leaders inside UP Diliman are still more dignified compared to the lot of politicians the Philippines has even if a great number of these politicans graduated from UP Diliman.

The two biggest political parties inside the campus –STAND UP and KAISA are working very hard to make sure their candidates get as much exposure not only inside the university but also on social networking site Facebook. 

On the ground, students are not really excited about the upcoming elections and some do not really care about the GPOAs of student leaders. Apathy is in it seems. While others do not care, some just want to be left alone and concentrate on lessons. 

(Sigrid Salucop)

UPD not just about isaw (Diliman Diary Blog: 02.19.2012)

Photo via
Studying in UP Diliman for years makes one not only miss the campus but the food served in the many restaurants and food stalls inside the university. The Beach House for example remains a favorite across generations of former UP students and even if there is actually no beach –just sand, UP students and alumni still frequent the place for their mouthwatering barbeque.

Contrary to what many outsiders believe, UP Diliman is not only the best place to eat isaw or fishballs, it is a place for a culinary adventure. The cheesecake and the chicken kiev at the Chocolate Kiss located inside the Bahay ng Alumni are just a few of my favorites. If you’re craving for fish, there’s this stall inside CASAA that serves blue marlin tuna in a rich butter and lemon sauce. There are a lot of dishes one can try inside UP Diliman. Although not all are that yummy, the food later on would be something that those who stayed in the university would truly miss once in a while. 

(Sigrid Salucop)

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Gerilya conquers the Philcoa overpass with the Pinoy Rangers Series

This street art photo was taken last February 12, 2012 at the Philcoa overpass, Quezon City and is by the artist's group, Gerilya and is part of the Pinoy Ranger series. Gerilya’s members are recent graduates of the University of the Philippines (U.P.) College of Fine Arts: Nico Zapanta, Jano Gonzales and Kube Villarete.

Gerilya was born when the three friends discussed the supposed demise of the local comics industry over lunch one day when Gerilya Komiks was born. They described their komiks as a mix of drama, action and comedy, tackling issues like corruption and killings.

This time they chose to focus their efforts on street art in what is called the “Pinoy Rangers” series, which culminates in their exhibit at the Kanto Gallery. The collection features paintings of youths in t-shirt masks inspired by 17th century flags, positioned in Japanese super sentai-inspired costumed superhero fighting poses.

The t-shirt mask is a tribute to farmers and laborers who use this to protect themselves against the elements, as well as to urban protesters who use this against teargas, and to ensure their anonymity.

(Photo by Chanda Shahani)

Friday, February 17, 2012


UP Diliman Chancellor Caesar A. Saloma will talk on IMPROVING SECURITY IN UP DILIMAN, 20 February 2012, 3-5pm, Salazar Hall, Ang Bahay ng Alumni. OPEN TO THE PUBLIC. refreshments will be served.

This is presented by the UP Alumni Association (UPAA) with The Office of Alumni Relations (OAR) / Office of the Vice President for Public Affairs (VPPA), University of the Philippines System.

UPAA opens nominations for Distinguished Alumni Awards 2012

The University of the Philippines Alumni Association (UPAA) has announced the search for nominees for the UPAA Distinguished Alumni Awards 2012.

The awards are conferred on alumni who have demonstrated in their chosen field of endeavor, exceptional achievements and outstanding contributions that bring about substantial benefits to society and distinct honor to the University. Recognition is given to achievements and contributions that impact the community in which the alumni are or have been active, whether this is at the local, national or international level.

Nominations for the awards will be accepted from any U.P. alumnus or alumni chapter until March 31, 2012. The award ceremonies will be held during the U.P. General Alumni-Faculty Homecoming & Reunion on Saturday, June 23, 2012 at Luciano E. Salazar Hall, Ang Bahay ng Alumni, U.P. Diliman Campus, Quezon City.

Award nominations will be considered in such thematic categories as public service and good governance, poverty alleviation and human development, peace and social cohesion, gender equality and women empowerment, community empowerment, environmental conservation and sustainable development, entrepreneurship and employment creation, institutional or corporate social responsibility, culture and the arts, science and technology, education and health, or as defined by the achievements of a deserving nominee.

This year, UPAA is making a special effort to identify for nomination, unsung alumni achievers -- those whose achievements in little-known corners of the country are exceptional but have remained unheralded and unrecognized. Also to be honored are families who have produced U.P. alumni across at least three successive generations, i.e., families with alumni among their grandparents, parents or children.

For inquiries, please contact the UPAA Secretariat at 920-6868, 920-6871, 920-6875 or email Visit the UPAA website for complete details.

U.P. Gawad Plaridel 2012 call for nomination

The U.P. College of Mass Communication (UP CMC) is now accepting nominations for the U.P. Gawad Plaridel which recognizes Filipino media practitioners who have excelled in any of the media (print, radio, film, television, and new media) and have performed with the highest level of professional integrity in the interest of public service.

For 2012, the eighth U.P. Gawad Plaridel will be given to an outstanding television practitioner. Deadline for nomination is on March 20, 2012. The recipient of the U.P. Gawad Plaridel 2011 will be announced on May 15, 2012.

Eligible for the awards are all living Filipino individuals who have excelled in the field of television as producer, director, scriptwriter, announcer, etc. Aside from their probity and integrity, these media practitioners must have produced a body of work that is marked by excellence and social relevance and must have achievements recognized nationally and/or internationally.

Individuals and institutions may nominate potential awardees. Institutions include media corporations, professional media associations, media advocacy groups, educational institutions, cultural foundations and NGOs. Previous nominees may still be considered for this year’s award. All current full-time faculty and staff of the UP CMC are disqualified from the nomination.

The award is named after Marcelo H. del Pilar (nom de plume, Plaridel), the selfless propagandist whose stewardship of the reformist newspaper La Solidaridad helped crystallize nationalist sentiments and ignite libertarian ideas in the 1890s. Like Plaridel, the awardee must believe in the vision of a Philippine society that is egalitarian, participative and progressive; and in media that are socially responsible, critical and vigilant, liberative and transformative, and free and independent.

The U.P. Gawad Plaridel is given every July 4 in commemoration of del Pilar’s death anniversary. The awardee will receive the U.P. Gawad Plaridel trophy designed by National Artist Napoleon Abueva and will deliver the Plaridel Lecture addressing issues relevant to the state and practice of Philippine media.

Nomination forms and award guidelines are available at the U.P. CMC Office of Extension and External Relations (OEER). Interested parties may call the OEER at 920-6864 for details.

U.P. Department of Anthropology opposes abandonment of Filipino Sign Language for Hearing Impaired Persons

By Chanda Shahani

The abandonment of Filipino Sign Language as a medium of instruction for deaf education is being resisted by the University of the Philipines (U.P.) Department of Anthropology.

In a statement of concern posted on the department's website, Dr. Nestor T. Castro, Department of Anthropology Chair said, “It has come to our attention that the Department of Education (DepEd) has publicly announced that Signing Exact English (SEE) will be the official sign language to be used for Deaf Education and for training instructors in Special Education. We are alarmed with this development because SEE is not the native language of deaf persons in the Philippines. SEE is an artificial language that has been developed by hearing persons to help the Deaf learn spoken and written English. The Filipino Deaf have their own natural language, namely Filipino Sign Language (FSL). This unique language is the basis of Filipino Deaf culture and identity. It is a basic right of all citizens, including the Deaf community, to be taught and educated in their native language.

The new DepEd move violates the provisions of the Salamanca Statement and Framework for Action on Special Needs Education, Policy and Organization (1994) that: “Educational policies should take full account of individual differences and situations. The importance of sign language as the medium of communication among the deaf, for example, should be recognized and provision made to ensure that all deaf persons have access to education in their national sign language,” he said.

Castro added that, “Moreover, this recent DepEd pronouncement runs counter to the Department’s own efforts to encourage education based on one’s mother tongue, as contained in DepEd Order No. 74, series of 2009. FSL is the mother tongue of Deaf Filipinos and should thus be used as the official medium of instruction for the country’s schools for the Deaf.”

This statement was approved during the Regular Faculty Meeting of the Department of Anthropology
at U.P. Diliman last September 5, 2011.

Meantime, members of the Filipino Deaf community corrected common misconceptions about their culture, language and community in a forum last October 1, 2011 at the College of Education, U.P. Diliman.

“First, there is said to be a difference between the words “deaf” with a small D and “Deaf” with a big D, and members of the Deaf community prefer to be called “Deaf.”

Second, the labels “deaf-mute”, “deaf-and-dumb”, “pipi” or “hearing-impaired” (implying that there is a medical problem that must be corrected) are not acceptable to members of the Deaf community.

Read the rest here.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Sororities, Fraternities Obsolete? Diliman Diary Blog: 02.16.2012

A student lights a candle as a protest
against fraternity violence. Photo via
After interviewing a few former sorority and fraternity presidents, I have come to learn that is it more difficult to get recruits these days compared to 5 years ago. In a recent survey done by the Diliman Diary, students no longer want to join a sorority or a fraternity because of fraternity violence and because they are getting the friendship and loyalty they need from their own set of friends and their organizations.

Sororities and fraternities used to be quite notorious in picking the best and the brightest recruits inside the University of the Philippines Diliman but today, as the statistical characteristics of the UP student population changes, the social mapping in the university is also changing.

Is this era the death of sororities and fraternities? Only time will tell.

(Sigrid Salucop)

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Diliman Diary blog: 02.15.2012 (Sulu Football Program Luuk)

Members of the Philippine Marines are now actively engaged in a program called "Sulu Football Program Luuk" which is aimed at instilling team work, discipline and a taste for positive hard work amongst the impressionable youth of Sulu province. It is the latest version of the Biblical admonition to convert swords into ploughshares. In this case, the youth are introduced to playing football on the playing field instead of wielding kalashnikovs on the battlefield.

However, much more is needed to persuade the disaffected youth of Sulu to adopt peaceful ways. Like the enraged youth of Iraq, Egypt, Palestine and Iran, who face similar dead ends as far as their futures are concerned, it boils down to more economic opportunities coming their way. In this manner, social justice, violence and more economic equity are inextricably intertwined. Historically, the citizens of this province have been left to twist in the wind by generations of Filipino politicians based in Imperial Manila.

If Imperial Manila wants peace in faraway Sulu, this toxic mix has got to change - permanently.

(Chanda Shahani)

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Doctor Love: My Pinoy Valentine By The Numbers

by Sigrid Salucop

Statistics taken from The Philippine Daily Inquirer

Friday, February 10, 2012

UP Fair 2012 List of Bands

Every year, the student council along with fraternities, sororities, and organizations inside the University of the Philippines Diliman host the UP Fair. The week-long event does not only involve the biggest bands in the country or the different bazaars that set up shop at the sunken garden in preparation for the fair but also involves a bit of drinking –although the said activity is prohibited.

The UP Fair is an event that many students look forward to and it has already been a tradition for a number of UP Diliman’s alumni to go to the fair every year.

If you are interested in joining UP in this celebration, you would have to pick a date and get a ticket. Here is the list of bands playing at the fair on certain dates:

February 14, 2012 (Tuesday)
SyamnAPO sa Ilog kong Irog
The Youth
The Wudz
Datu’s Tribe
Philippine Violators
Grin Department
Tropical Depression
De lara
Giniling Festival
Noel Cabangon

February 15, 2012 (Wednesday)
A Date with Destiny
Gary Valenciano (exclusive performance)
Paolo Valenciano
Yeng Constantino
Kitchie Nadal
Barbie Almalbis
Duncan Ramos
Acel van Ommen
UP Streetdance
UP Indayog
Destiny band

February 16, 2012 (Thursday)
Loverage 6: Innervate
Ebe of Sugarfree
Moonstar 88
Tanya Markova
De lara
General Luna
Giniling Festival
Kamote Club
Never the Strangers
Rox Puno
Banda ni Kleggy
Inday Bote

February 17, 2012 (Friday)
Status Change
Maya’s Anklet
The Crew (UP Street Dance Club)
Stephanie Dan
Alarice (Australian Acoustic Sensation
Every Nation Singapore

February 18, 2012 (Saturday)
Parokya ni Edgar (exclusive performance)
Up Dharma Down
Silent Sanctuary
Moonstar 88
The Jerks
Datu’s Tribe
Sanity Kit
Republicka de Lata
Giniling Festival
The Youth
The Wuds
The Lowtechs
UP Repertory
UP Music Circle
UP Samaskom
UP Sinagbayan

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Diliman Diary Blog: 02.07.2012 (Our Sacrificed Youth)

(Youtube link courtesy of Dennis Gorecho)

The greatest and most powerful message I was exposed to from my stint at the University of the Philippines (U.P.) at Diliman, was not about reciprocated love, but the power of unrequited love for country. That is the pure love for country and one's countrymen and women that does not ask for payback, for positions, power, privilege or treasure. That message of the sacrifice of the nation's greatest treasure - its youth - is inscribed at the base of our Immortal Oblation and I had the chance to read it as an undergraduate in U.P. Diliman and it still reads thus:

Nasaan ang kabataang mag-aalay
ng kanilang kasibulang buhay,
ng kanilang adhikain at sigasig
sa kabutihan ng bansa?

Nasaan ang siyang puspusang
magbubuhos ng dugo
upang hugasang lariat ang ating kahihiyan,
ang ating mga kalapastanganan,
ang ating kabalintuan?

Tanging yaong dalisay at walang bahid
ang karapatdapat na naging alay upang
matanggap ang kasalantaang ito.

Binigkas ni Padre Florentino sa El Filibusterismo, Dr. Jose P. Rizal, 1891:


Where are the youth who will consecrate their golden hours, their illusions and their enthusiasm to the welfare of their native land? Where are the youth who will generously pour out their blood to wash away so much shame, so much crime, so much abomination? Pure and spotless must the victim be that the sacrifice may be acceptable, Where are you, Oh youth, who will embody in yourselves the vigor of life that has left our veins, the purity of ideas that has contaminated in our brains,the fire of enthusiasm that has been quenched in our hearts? We await, Oh youth, come, for we await you!

- Dr. Jose P. Rizal

How many have gone before us in the prime of their youth and given it all up for their country? How many are preparing themselves to do so, even as we speak? We can only watch in awe and try perhaps to follow these examples, in our own small ways. But maybe this love is not so unrequited after all.

As the days grow into weeks and the weeks into months and into years, we come to appreciate the sacrifices of those, including the youth from U.P. who fought the Japanese in World War II, who were present fighting the Marcos dictatorship during the first Quarter Storm. We recall them marching in EDSA I and crying in outrage against the bumbling buffoonery of Joseph Estrada or the Machiavellian machinations of Gloria M. Arroyo to stay in power. We watch them today, acting as watchdogs against government excesses and fighting still for many unresolved injustices, and how can we not fail to be moved by this?

And so, the love is not unrequited after all. We love these youth: their health, happiness, and futures were and continue to be sacrificed for that most abstract of concepts: the People and the Nation.

We love them with a bright fierceness of appreciation for what they have done across the continuum of time. We love them with hearts that are filled to bursting with the unspoken emotions of sympathy for mothers who have lost sons and daughters; for brothers and sisters or young lovers untying their psychic bonds over the fundamental choices of whether to reform and change the system or to join it.

I think about all the youth who have given it all up, and of course, being from U.P., I am especially touched, by those who came from there. I think of their hastily abandoned graves in some forlorn mountain pass, the political or state-sanctioned murders of those who tried to change things; but also of their victories: More progressive laws passed, dictatorships toppled, injustices corrected, bridges built, patiens cured, and progress, learning and literacy brought to the far corners of the land.

In the dead of the night, I sit bolt upright, and think of this love of many of these youth in their untold numbers, and yes, it is not unrequited: For I and many others love them back for what they have tried to do for us, for all of us; imperfect though the results may have been. And yes, Rizal was right. Their love was pure, and it did manage to wash away many injustices, but many more sacrifices will be needed to make this country a better place.

In the dead of the night, unable to sleep, I contemplate the enormity of all of this.

And a single tear trickles down my cheek.

(Chanda Shahani)

Monday, February 6, 2012

Harana at Lata: The Way To Go This Valentine's Day

Thinking of a good way to profess your undying almost psychotic/obsessive love for that boy or girl this Valentine’s Day? UP Diliman has a lot to offer – nope the admin is not selling flowers but student organizations have their own Valentine’s Day gimmicks to raise funds. The Philippine Association of Food Technologists – Alpha Chapter for example has the “A Whole Lata Love” project. For only Php 60, you can have them “wrap” your gift in a can. Intrigued? You can contact Joyce at 09276065584. The organization also offers chocolates in heart-shaped tins.

For those who would like to give their Lata Love the more romantic way, UP Ictus offers the Harana Express. The Harana Express promises to put an end to the friendzone.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Diliman Diary Blog: 02.05.2012 (The Faces of the Philippine Animal Welfare Society)

A cat bridge at the PAWS facility, so that cats can exercise and maintain their athleticism while  still being confined at the facility

PAWS Program Director Anna Hashim Cabrera
briefs new volunteers during the orientation

The case of Joseph Candare, the University of the Philippines (U.P.) at Diliman physics student who was sentenced to do community service and levied a fine for violating provisions of R.A. No. 8485 or the Animal Welfare Act which involved animal cruelty for killing a cat at U.P. Diliman has brought home to the residents and those who work and study at the Diliman area, the importance of treating animals with compassion and humanity; for the creation of a more peaceful society starts with the widening of mankind's circle of compassion, which includes animals.

And so it came to pass that I found myself attending a volunteer's orientation on February 4,  lasting four hours at the Philippine Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) compound at Aurora Boulevard corner Katipunan Avenue, Quezon City, given by its Program Director, Anna Hashim Cabrera. This is the same PAWS compound where the judge at the Quezon City Muncipal Trial Court ordered Candare to render two months worth of community service (which he is still completing to this day). Candare was also levied a fine of PhP 2000.00. In both instances, the punishments were for stomping a kitten to death at the National Institute of Physics compound at U.P. Diliman.

The orientation involved listening to lectures about the purpose of PAWS, its objectives and hsitory; inspecting the various animal cages where dogs and cats in various stages of quarantine were displayed; interacting with fellow volunteers to put together a project, and basically getting to know the group.

It wa refreshing to be surrounded by so many affectionate animal lovers and hundreds of dogs and cats in various stages of catatonic languor and manic excitement. There was even a special area where six dogs from Iligan City were rescued by PAWS volunteers when Typhoon Sendong hit the Mindanao area.

It's obvious that animal rights still have a long way to go in the Philippines, though. R.A. 8485 was approved by both houses of congress and signed into law by then President Fidel V. Ramos in 1998, but Ms. Cabrera said that a very important provision for the banning of cock fighting in the Philippines was left out as PAWS, which was lobbying for the passage of the bill, had to bow to the reality that the majority of legislators were sympathetic to the national practice of cock fighting.

One of six (6) dogs rescued from the Typhoon
Sendong disaster that hit Iligan City

"We know how to pick and choose our battles," she said.

Other areas of concern are pet mills in such places as Tiendesita's in Pasig City, Cartimar in Pasay City, and Arranque Market in the City of Manila which not only sell pets in unsafe and stressfulconditions, but also act as conduits for the trafficking of Philippine and foreign wildlife.

On a more basic level, PAWS, which only has four full-time staff members headed by Ms. Cabrera, is trying through its volunteers, to instill a culture of caring for animals in the PAWS tradition, as the volunteers end up being PAWS' frontliners and ambassadors. Among the policies they are trying to instill are:

  • Animals who will be admitted are onluy tjhose who have been rescued from cruelty or neglect with the specific aim of filing corresponding criminal charges against animal offenders. "We try not to "just rescue" without the filing of charges. Filing of charges is important in preventing furure crimes from being committed against animals," the PAWS volunteer guidelines for animal rescue and admission says.
  • Animals who are in severe distress will be admitted. For example a cat whose front leg was run over. In other words, any injured live animal who is in pain and may be still admitted.
  • Not all animals in distress can be admitted when the quarantine kennels are full or the shelter has reached maximum capacity.

Pet cemetery at the PAWS compound

And so with all of this in mind, I am basically committing myself to eight hours of service a month, cleaning dog and cat cages, writing about this whenever I can, helping to spread the word by talking to groups of people and raising funds. Why do I do this? It's simple. I feel for all dogs when they wag their tails, and look at me with their limpid brown eyes with silent entreaty. In fact even when they are mad, I still feel affection for them.

Cats are cool, too. They are so elegantly oblivious to you; so royally fascinating. They rub against your leg, arching their backs with their tails curled high. They languidly groom themselves with their raspy tongues. They jump from ground to tree branch in the flick of an eye.

Here in the PAWS facility, they have hundreds of cats and dozens of dogs. It should be a fun period (but hard work, too) for this animal lover. I am looking forward to it.

The Philippine Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) website may be accessed at this link (

(By Chanda Shahani)

Saturday, February 4, 2012

UP Diliman statement on the Vinzons Hall incident


Released by the Office of the Chancellor, 3 February 2012

The UP Administration is profoundly affected and deeply saddened by the incident that happened at the University Student Council (USC) office at the UP Vinzons Hall (VH) that resulted in grave injuries to Ms. Lordei Camille Hina, a 4th year AB Political Science student and an active volunteer of the USC.

On February 1, Wednesday, at around 3:00 in the afternoon, two young men, posing as applicants for a booth in the 2012 UP Diliman Fair to be organized by the USC in mid-February, went to the USC Office in the VH 2nd floor. They violently attacked Ms. Hina by hitting her with a hard object on the head and robbed the USC office of two laptops. The VH security guard on duty in close coordination with other campus security personnel was able to apprehend one of the two suspects after a brief chase. He is now in the custody of the Quezon City Police and is initially charged with robbery and frustrated murder. The Quezon City Police has organized a special task force to arrest the other suspect(s).

As of this writing, Ms. Hina is still at the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of the Capitol Medical Center, having sustained serious head injuries. The UP Administration continues to monitor her condition and is committed to provide support to Ms. Hina and her family.

On 2 February 2012, UP Diliman Chancellor Caesar Saloma called for an emergency meeting with the UP Diliman Committee on Security and Welfare to assess the status of the case and to examine our current campus security arrangement with the aim of making it more effective. The committee is recommending the strict checking of ID’s and bags by security personnel who will be issued metal detectors, at the entrances of all colleges, dormitories and buildings in UP Diliman. There will also be increase UP Diliman Police visibility especially in the vicinity where the incident happened in order to rebuild confidence.

Consultations with the students, employees, and administrators will be conducted to promote more vigilance and to come up with measures to ensure the safety and welfare of UP Diliman stakeholders.

As UP Diliman’s student’s center, VH has been an ‘open, free and accessible space’ where students from UP and other universities gather for various assemblies, seminars, training and other activities. For many years now VH has served as a venue to engage freely in discussions, hone their leadership skills and collectively learn and find effective solutions to the various issues that plague our society today.

As the UP Administration attempts to maintain VH and UP Diliman (493 hectares, 24,300+ students, 1500+ fulltime faculty members, 1500+ regular staff, tens of thousands of visitors daily) as an open and publicly accessible academic institution, it will continue to develop better ways to ensure the security, safety and well-being of its faculty, staff and students so that UP is able to accomplish its stated mandate as a national university.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Student stabbed with ice pick at Vinzons Hall

Lordei Camille Hina, a Political Science major in the University of the Philippines Diliman was stabbed above the left temple with an ice pick while alone inside one of Vinzons Hall’s offices.The Philippine Collegian whose office is also within the premises immediately tweeted about the incident last Wednesday.

The 20-year-old Hina is reportedly in critical condition and is confined at the Capitol Medical Center. Carlo Pecayo was arrested by UP Diliman authorities shortly after. Pecayo, a resident of Antipolo, Rizal had Hina’s possessions along with an ice pick at the time of arrest. Pecayo, however, denies stabbing the student.
Pecayo is now at Station 9 at the QC Police District and will be facing frustrated homicide and robbery charges.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Anakbayan slams latest oil price hike, connivance between government and "Big 3"

Anakbayan activists at Philcoa shortly before marching on to
the Commission on Higher Education and Development.

By Chanda Shahani

The national youth group Anakbayan held a noise barrage at Philcoa, and in front of the Commission on Higher Education and Development along C.P. Garcia Avenue in Diliman, Quezon City today to condemn the latest oil price hike, as well as what it called ‘connivance’ between the Aquino administration and the ‘Big 3” oil cartel.

A PhP 6 per kilo increase in LPG prices, or a PhP 66 hike for an 11-kilogram LPG tank, took effect earlier today. This means an 11 kilogram tank now costs PhP 833.

“If the Aquino administration can act quickly to impeach a member of the Supreme Court, why can’t it do the same in protecting Filipinos from oil price hikes? Is it because the government earns billions in ‘windfall’ VAT from the hikes? Is it because his uncle Danding owns a large stake in Petron? Or is it because Noynoy is simply sympathetic towards corporations?” said Vencer Crisostomo, national chairperson of Anakbayan.

He cited a recent Congressional study which showed that the government earned P70 billion in ‘windfall’ VAT last year, which came from the oil price hikes. Because these taxes are beyond what the government projected for that year, they are not allocated towards the national budget, but in the ‘special funds’ of the Office of the President.

In addition, the youth leader pointed out that presidential relative and big businessman Danding Cojuangco’s San Miguel Corporation owns 51% of one of the ‘Big 3’, Petron.

“Inuuna ang sarili at kamag-anak muna bago ang bayan” quipped Crisostomo.

‘Independent’ review committee?

Meanwhile, the youth group also expressed apprehension over the so-called ‘independent’ committee formed by the Department of Energy to review the books of oil companies.

“How can the committee be independent when some of its members have clear ties with corporations? It’s like the proverbial wolf watching over the sheep” said Crisostomo.

Among the ‘questionable’ committee members is Atty. Vigor Mendoza, the representative for the transport sector as head of the ‘yellow ‘transport group 1-Utak. Aside from being legal counsel for the controversial Hacienda Luisita Inc., his group has also been accused by other transport federations of ‘conniving’ with the government to justify oil price increases.

Another is the committee head himself, former Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno, whom Crisostomo described as ‘unabashedly neoliberal’ or ‘sympathetic towards coporations’.

(Photo by: Chanda Shahani)

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