Thursday, May 31, 2012

Doctor Love: Defining Beauty

Monica Bellucci

After fixing her hair in front of the mirror, one of my former roommates realized how fun it is to be single again. With a girl like her out on the prowl for the perfect guy –tall, handsome, intelligent, good pedigree and maybe a hint of the usual bad boy attitude women love, many women would be intimidated that she, a beautiful and educated young woman is single and available.

Sophia Loren

Confusion and Doubt: What makes a woman beautiful?

However, like many beautiful women, she does not see herself clearly. In fact, she doubts that she is beautiful.  This brings us to a rather important question, why is it that we can look at other women and say that they are perfect but when we look at ourselves, we see nothing but flaws. 

There are some Filipino women who are exempted from this rule though because some, even the not-so-beautiful, have so much confidence in themselves that one wonders where this confidence was bought.

                                                                         Photoshop Era

This is the era where models and beauty queens are being airbrushed and photoshopped like crazy, and we ask ourselves, what is cute compared to magazine beautiful? Yes, women know that these are unrealistic photos but we all strive so hard to look like we just leaped out of a magazine. Although some would say that they doll up to make themselves happy, it is human nature for women to try to look more beautiful to attract potential mates.

Being beautiful has its rewards but it’s not your makeup or the way your hair is pulled up or curled or whatever that will increase your chances of being deemed as an attractive female.

                       Mankind’s Quest for Beauty

Angelina Jolie
The secret to being attractive has been a part of mankind’s quest for as long as civilization is concerned. Cleopatra for one invented makeup to make herself look more attractive than her peers (or her subjects) while Marie Antoinette bathed in wine to ensure that she doesn’t age. Women and a few metrosexual men spend a third of their yearly income to make themselves look good.

All Comes Down To Genes

Marilyn Monroe
According to studies from a number of universities abroad, certain mathematical facial proportions are considered beautiful but its not just the mere arrangement of eyes and noses or how big one’s chin is that are taken into consideration. The human brain does more than recognizing what is beautiful and what is not because most usually assess emotions, fertility and personality along with beauty all at once.

When judging whether a woman is beautiful, men make a judgment of this woman’s health and vitality. Facial symmetry and how clear and smooth one’s skin is makes one beautiful and also means that a woman with such traits has good genes. You do not have to be porcelain white to be beautiful because beauty is recognized by the male brain across cultures no matter what your color. This however is only the tip of the iceberg.

The Difference between Men and Women

Dita Von Teese
A lot of people wonder why so many ugly men date beautiful girls but it’s not all about the money as one would conclude. A study published in Psychological Science found that women do not place physical attractiveness as very important compared to how their male counterparts see beauty. It was also found that when men are looking for potential mates, they usually do not factor in their looks making it possible for unattractive men to get lucky. 

Here’s a warning to the men out there though, according to the same study, people who have the same level of physical beauty usually date each other or get married but sometimes aspire to date or marry individuals who are slightly more attractive.

Catherine Deneuve


When reality sets in, the less attractive justify their choice of partners i.e. their less than beautiful partners by saying they are kind or have a sense of humor. Without a background on such studies, a regular person would just say that beauty is in the eye of the beholder but this of course is just bullcrap (excuse the French). 

We don’t just zero in on the face though, the shape of one’s body and the height (especially in men) are things that are also taken into consideration. Women with an hourglass figure for example are the optimal choice for the strongest and most attractive of men.

Since attraction boils down to genetics, it would make one wonder whether that trip to the salon is still necessary. It probably isn’t.

One has to note that there are other things that attract men -it could be your sense of humor, your intelligence, etc.


Tel Aviv University.(2008). Computer Taught To Recognize Attractiveness In Women.
Botting, K. (1996). Sex Appeal: The Art and Science of Sexual Attraction. St. Martin's Press.
Perrett, D. (2010). IN YOUR FACE The New Science of Human Attraction. Palgrave McMillan.


Article Written By Sigrid Salucop

For more information about the science of attraction, you may refer to the videos below:

Wednesday, May 30, 2012


NANAWAGAN kahapon si Alab ng Mamamahayag (ALAM) Chairman Jerry Yap sa mga mamamayan na respetuhin ang resulta ng impeachment sa Senado.

Ani Yap, hindi natin dapat aksayahin ang ating oras upang ikampanya ang plastic na good governance .

Aniya, nakita na kung paano pinatunayang nagkasala si Chief Justice Renato Corona gamit ang mga Constitutional standards upang patalsikin ang isang opisyal na impeachable.

Nasaksihan rin umano ng madla ang Constitutional processes upang mapatunayan ang malalaking krimen.
Ngayon umano ay dapat na lamang nating suportahan ang desisyon ng Senado upang maiangat ang sobreyedad ng demokrasya sa bansa.

Iginiit pa ni Yap na ngayong tapos na ang impeachment, dapat umanong pagtuunan naman ng pansin ng gobyerno ang iba pang mga problema ng bansa tulad ng paglaganap ng droga at media killings na hindi pa nareresolba.

Paalala naman ni ALAM President Berteni Causing, sana ay maging aral sa lahat ng mga opisyal ng gobyerno ang naging desisyon ng impeachment court kay Corona.
Ngayon umano ay pwede nang patalsikin ang kahit sinong impeachable official kung hindi sila magdedeklara ng tamang statement of assets, liabilities and networth (SALN). – NENET L. VILLAFANIA


Los BaƱos, Laguna—Sec. Acosta, Presidential Adviser for Environmental Protection and concurrent Laguna Lake Development Authority General Manager, personally visited the areas affected by the recent fishkills in the municipalities of Pakil, Pangil, and the city of Calamba in Laguna and in Jalajala, Rizal.

Investigations revealed that species affected were tilapia, big head carp, knife fish and kanduli. As of May 29, 2012, the damage cost has risen to Php 1,382,500, affecting 1,500 fishcages and 20 fishpens.

Sec. Acosta was joined by Director Asis Perez of the Department of Agriculture -Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (DA-BFAR), who later met with local officials of Laguna and fisherfolk representatives to discuss areas of cooperation and complementation.

Quick Response Teams (QRT) have been dispatched in key areas of the lake to monitor any indication of fishkill. Three units of patrol boats from BFAR were deployed and shall be manned by the members of the Fish Health monitoring group and QRTs. The joint task force shall respond to fish kill situations, undertake water quality monitoring and provide early warnings to prevent the escalation of fishkill.  

It is suspected that the sudden change in weather conditions from hot summer to rainy season might have caused the fishkill. When it rains, the surface water temperature goes down and in turn forces the hot water beneath to rise. This also causes the decomposing elements at the bottom of the lake to rise and compete with fish for oxygen.

Further, during an onset of heavy rains, a “river flushing” occurs wherein pollutants and wastewater from rivers are “flushed” into the lake. Here, heavy wave action and re-suspension of sediments cause pollutive agents such as garbage and wastewater to reach and contaminate the lake water.

On-site water sample analysis was made on three parameters: dissolved oxygen (DO), temperature and pH level. The DO level is found to be adequate and passed the minimum requirement of 5 milligrams per liter (mg/L). At that time, water temperature is pegged at 25 degrees Celsius while water pH level is within the normal range of 6.5-8.5 units. However, the monitoring group stressed that the levels might have been different during the exact time of fishkill (when the rains started pouring in).

Incidentally, the tilapia and the kanduli were found to be overly feeding on the liya(green algae). The greenish appearance of the water suggests an algal bloom which is typical at this time of the year when the weather changes from hot to wet season.

Sec. Acosta is asking the fishpen operators and the fisherfolks to be vigilant and to cooperate with the government so as to minimize, if not prevent, the occurrence of fishkills. Early harvesting of fish is also encouraged to evade an imminent fishkill and to avoid overcrowding of fish in the pens. As for the proper management of dead fish, the LLDA and the BFAR suggest that the waste be properly disposed into controlled dumping locations. After decomposition, these can be turned into beneficial fertilizer. 

Diliman Diary Blog 05/30/2012: Corona no more, but what now?

Spending over 40 days for a politically-driven impeachment proceeding was a great political exercise but as Sen. Recto said, albeit indirectly, in his speech, there are bigger problems that the current administration has to face.   

Now that the Chief Justice has been given the guilty verdict, many people are wondering what will happen next not only to CJ Corona but to the whole country. A taho vendor in Diliman who watched the proceedings this afternoon in one of the TVs near a carinderia in the area said, “Hindi naman maapektuhan ang buhay ko niyan, puro naman sila pulitika.” The verdict is considered by many members of the intelligentsia as a victory while others can’t help but ask whether the Filipino people should ask for every government official to submit their SALNs.

A student from UP Diliman’s NCPAG said, “Ang lilinis nilang magsalita parang wala naman silang hidden assets. It’s not that I am for Corona pero ang malupit e parang they are casting stones as if wala silang ginawa ring masama at one point. Their speeches were quite disturbing except for the three who voted for Corona’s acquittal”.

Whatever the opinion of the general population, the question remains, will there be another show in this political carnival? 

Friday, May 25, 2012

How To Ace Your Classes This Coming Semester

Let’s face it, college life isn’t exactly all about studying and listening to usually boring lectures, it’s also filled with social activities such as hitting the coolest spot near school after one’s classes are over, going to concerts, or even going clubbing after staying at your tambayan[1] for a few hours devoted to chichi [2]time.  Although concentrating on your social life at this point is a good idea because in a way you are building your network, one has to keep in mind that you are in the university to study. Here are a few tips and tricks to help you ace your classes this semester:

Get A Recorder

Recording lectures is a good way for you to get all the information your lecturer spewed out without you having to bother to write anything down. You can just listen to the lectures over and over through your mp3 player when preparing for an exam. It is also ideal to jot down important notes from the recordings as soon as you get back home.

Take Notes

If you like it old school, take notes the traditional way with a pen and a notebook. The only problem with this method is that sometimes, you cannot write everything down. For those who have a typing speed of 60 and above, bringing your laptop to class is a good idea.

Learn To Say No

When your friends are asking you to go out on a school night, learn to say no especially if you have a paper or a project due in the morning.

Arrange Your Schedule Wisely

So you think you can do a 7am class? If you are not a morning person, you better not take a class as early as 7am because chances are, you won’t be attending this class as often as you should. Arrange your schedule based on your sleep cycle. For night owls, it is best to get afternoon classes instead of you having to struggle waking up the whole of the semester just to get to class.

Study Like You Mean It

Prepare for each class. If your professor tells you to read a material, you should read it and understand it. It is difficult for many college students to do this but think of it as a way for you to prepare for exam week. You should think of your parents too –they work hard to put you through school so man up to your end of the bargain.

Other tips:

If you did not understand the lecture, contact your professor. He or she would be happy to help you.
You can train yourself to be ready for an exam any day. This way, you will be studying like crazy. The pay off is good too –you will get better grades than last semester.  
Get your a** to class!

[1] Hangout spot. In the University of the Philippines, there are designated hangout spots for every organization, sorority or fraternity.
[2] Chismis or chismax. These including chichi are colloquial terms for gossip.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Public Service Announcement: Alay Sining calls for help for UP Bliss

The fire that ravaged UP Campus’ Barangay San Vicente recently left 40 families temporarily homeless with no food, water, and clothes. The fire caused five deaths, according to reports.

Individuals and organization who would like to send relief goods can drop off their contribution at any UP Diliman college.  Alay Sining says,donation boxes are already in place. You may also contact Alay Sining through the following numbers: 0935.795.5557 / 0906.169.7499. 

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Who should be the next dean of the UP College of Medicine?

by Ramon Lorenzo Luis R. Guinto

This May, after seven years of rigorous education, I am officially departing the hallowed halls of the UP College of Medicine. My departure coincides with the end of the deanship of Dr. Alberto Roxas, who served for two 3-year terms and oversaw major improvements in infrastructure and the landmark institutionalization of the return service agreement, which mandates all students of the College to stay for three years after graduation.

Certainly, the parting of one ushers the coming of another. Three of my professors were nominated to succeed Dr. Roxas for the deanship – Dr. Joey Lapena from the Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Dr. Agnes Mejia from the Department of Medicine, and Dr. Arlene Samaniego from the Department of Anatomy. All three have impressive credentials and wide experience in medical education – Dr. Lapena is an accomplished medical journal editor; Dr. Mejia is currently chair of internal medicine; and Dr. Samaniego is a former Vice President of UP.

Why am I concerned about the new leadership? Of course, I owe my holistic formation as a doctor to my alma mater, that’s why I care. More importantly, I believe in the key leadership role the College plays in medical education and in Philippine health in general – sothe leadership of the College is ever crucial in the fulfillment of its work.

Being not affiliated to any of the three in any manner, I leave it to the Chancellor to recommend the best candidate and to the Board of Regents to seal the appointment. But because I firmly believe that the selection of the dean should be based on merits and not familial, disciplinary, organizational, or any affiliation, here I list ten major areas of reform that should serve as guide in choosing the right candidate for the top job.

1. Transforming Philippine medical education to produce doctors that meet the needs of the people.In 2010, in commemoration of the centennial of the Flexner Report that launched the scientific orientation of medical education, a Lancet Commission headed by Julio Frenk, dean of Harvard School of Public Health,published a report entitled “Health professionals for anew century: transforming education to strengthen health systems in an interdependent world.”(1) In summary, the Commission called schools of medicine, nursing, and public health to shift to transformative learning, whose purpose is not just to transfer knowledge and skills, but to cultivate leadership attributes among students to become enlightened change agents. This is in contrast to current informative and formative learning approaches, which are geared towards producing experts and professionals. This overarching recommendation sprang from the realization that despite advances in medicine and public health, glaring inequalities in health care access and health outcomes even widened within and between countries, and contributing to the status quo is the mismatch of competencies of health professionals to patient and population needs.

The Philippines is certainly not an exception. Here, medical graduates are more equipped for hospital settings in cities and even abroad than for the local health system. Furthermore,the estimated generalists-to-specialists ratio is 1:3, while we know that the bulk of the national disease burden – common infectious and noncommunicable diseases – can be easily managed by general practitioners. (2)Given this current paradigm of medical training in the Philippines, the Commission’s report should definitely be first in the reading assignment of the next dean and her/his team.

2. Adopting social accountability as a new measure of success.Certainly the board exam passing rate is one indicator of a medical school’s success. In 2010 however, nearly a hundred institutions and individuals (including the dean of the UP School of Health Sciences, Dr. Jusie Lydia Siega-Sur) drafted and signed the Global Consensus for Social Accountability of Medical Schools, which proposes 10 strategic directions for reorienting education, research, and service priorities of medical schools across the globe. (3) Some of the strategies include anticipating society’s health needs, fostering outcome-based education, and inclusion of social accountability in accreditation schemes. Somehow related to the Lancet Commission’s findings, the Global Consensus however requires commitment from medical schools to implement the recommendations to meet local health needs.

Certainly, UP has contributed a great deal in shaping Philippine medicine and health at large, but hopefully in the 21st century UP will continue to be measured not just for the technical quality of its graduates, but also for the unfading relevance both of its programs and its people, especially to underserved communities in the country.

3. Leading the APMC towards substantial reforms and setting the example for others.The College is a proud and active founding member of the Association of Philippine Medical Colleges (APMC) – I even remember attending its annual conference which the College hosted four years ago. APMC, as the elite collegial body of medical schools in the country, is a fitting place if we want to substantially transform the direction of Philippine medical education and the practice of medicine as a whole.

The new dean of UP should possess the charisma as well as the political force to push for reforms and lead the way for other medical schools. While the College pursues internal changes, the new dean can use our case to demonstrate the need and the feasibility of reforms across the board.

One area of reform needed in many Philippine medical schools is allowing the flourishing of student organizations. Having worked in the Philippine chapter of the Asian Medical Students’ Association, I have listened to many students from other schools who have not been allowed to establish their local chapters because such organizations are not seen as beneficial to the holistic formation of doctors-in-training. This is a stark contrast with UPCM, with nearly 20 organizations spanning diverse interests and advocacies and catering to every type of medical student.

4. Internationalizing the College by promoting global competence. Oftentimes we talk about enhancing the global competitiveness of our students in the health workforce market. What the College should embrace is the paradigm of producing not globally competitive, but globally competent doctors who can harness global knowledge and networks for local and national good.

Global health education should be embedded in the curriculum in order to let students understand local health problems in the context of the global social, economic, and physical environment(4, 5).Furthermore, research partnerships with reputable institutions abroad should be pursued in order to encourage joint learning and discovery to address shared health challenges. More exchange and elective programs with institutions in other countries aside from the United States, especially in fellow developing countries (as part of the growing trend towards South-South cooperation) should also be promoted. In return, the College should open new opportunities for visiting professors and students to further enrich our existing academic portfolio. The construction of a separate medical school catering to international students, however,is not the right measure towards this direction.

5. Thinking beyond return of service in solving the health workforce crisis.The outgoing dean is laudable for instituting the return service agreement (RSA), which was replicated last year in other colleges of UP Manila. While the immediate effects of this policy are still yet to be measured, clearly 160 doctors (or, when all five batches have already graduated, 800 doctors at any point in time) cannot solve the health needs of more than 90 million people within just a short period.

The workforce crisis is more than just a problem of shortage – there is maldistribution and pooling of doctors in urban centers, overproduction, skillmix imbalances, declining work conditions especially of general practitioners, inadequate salaries in the public sector but exorbitant user fees charged by private doctors, and perceived limited opportunities for professional growth, hence the desire to go abroad. (6)While the RSA is operational in the coming years, I wish the next dean will elevate the discussions beyond the contract, and the College begin to take leadership in formulating a national response to the lingering challenges in the management of human resources for health – from recruitment and training to certification and deployment.

6. Uphold College’s commitment to community oriented medical education and primary health care. Unique among schools of medicine is UP’s adoption of the primary health care (PHC) approach in the conduct of community-oriented medical education, which is even enshrined in its vision statement.I remember the WHO Director-General, Dr. Margaret Chan, respond in wonderment when I told her in 2008, during the 30th anniversary conference of the Alma Ata Declaration on PHC in Kazakhstan, that the first document our medical students learn in UP is the declaration itself. Now, WHO is advocating for a “return to Alma Ata” (7) and has been constantly reminding health leaders that PHC is much needed and feasible “now more than ever” (8).

The College does not need to make a full turn back to Alma Ata – I believe we are still in the road towards that direction. However, progress has been slow, with community medicine occupying only 3.75% of the time spent for the entire UP medical education. (9) The community medicine section’s decade-long work in Pasay City, which is celebrated in a book launched last year (9), is of course commendable –and the College needs to support more initiatives like this, even those coming from students, until community action becomes deeply ingrained in the soul of the College.

7. Embarking on interprofessional education.Another critique of the current health workforce set-up is the lack of synergy among different health professionals, when in fact, most of the health problems today can only be addressed through collaborative practice.Therefore, WHO has called for interprofessional education in order to prepare health workers for working in health teams, whether in the hospital or in the field. (10)

The San Juan-UP Community Health and Development Program is a good example of providing spaces for interprofessional learning. When I rotated in San Juan last April, I was blessed to have worked with physical therapy and pharmacy students in managing patients and teaching health workers about rational drug use and herbal medicine. More venues for collaborative learning in classroom and community settings should be fostered among colleges in the university. Since medical doctors naturally serve as leaders in health teams in real practice, the College therefore should also take the lead in designing interprofessional learning programs and in encouraging other disciplines to participate and join.

8. Addressing the basic survival needs of clerks and interns.Having been a clerk and intern myself, I experienced first-hand the challenges of life in the Philippine General Hospital (PGH) – from doling out syringes and test tubes to sleeping in a dilapidated callroom. Of course I do not complain, as on one hand these conditions can be seen as “baptism of fire” for developing resilience and leadership especially in poor resource settings. (But from my conversations with a few classmates, the situation further ignites them to go abroad, seek greener pastures, and experience first-world clinical hospital care.)

However, on the other hand, both personal learning and patient care quality could be enhanced if these pressures are minimized, if not eliminated. The time that can be spent reading a chapter of Harrisons is instead used to purchase needed materials, run blood samples to the laboratory, and track missing results and charts. Oftentimes, the lack of basic resources becomes the spark of petty conflicts, thereby affecting team dynamics and patient interaction. Reducing these problems, therefore, is not only good for ensuring team harmony and work efficiency inside the hospital; it is also good for the health and wellbeing of our medical students, who are already bombarded with heavy workload and intense academic demands to begin with.

9. Asserting UPCM’s leadership in the universal health care movement.The idea of universal health care (UHC) was first brought to public awareness by the UHC study group of the National Institutes of Health. The study grouped analyzed the state of our nation’s health, and came up with a grand master plan that will provide Filipinos with the “highest possible quality of health care that is accessible, efficient, equitably distributed, adequately funded, fairly financed, and appropriately used by an informed and empowered public.” (11)

Most of the stalwarts of the group originated from the College, such as former dean Dr. Alberto Romualdez and former UP Manila chancellor Dr. Ernesto Domingo. However, the voice of the College as a whole on this most ambitious health reform policy is still yet to be heard. The next dean should open more spaces for discussion and debate, take a clear stand in behalf of the College based on broad consultation, and mobilize the entire community towards contributing in the shaping and realization of UHC.

The Organ System Integration (OSI) curriculum should be enhanced to include education about the health system and its building blocks(12), so that our graduates can be better prepared for service and practice in a universal health care system. Furthermore, the College can harness its intellectual and motivational resource to participate in advocacy, lobbying, and policy formulation and implementation. Finally, the College should work with the PGH directorship in order to simulate universal health care in the hospital level and use the PGH as a living example.

10. Expanding our approach to health by including action on social determinants.Even as early as Alma Ata in 1978, there has been a call for the health sector to lead intersectoral collaboration for addressing social factors affecting health. In 2008, thirty years after Alma Ata, the WHO Commission on Social Determinants of Health released the report “Closing the Gap in a Generation” which calls for action on both downstream and upstream determinants of health to reduce health inequities (13).

Two years later, when I was the Philippine representative to the International Federation of Medical Students’ Associations (IFMSA), a global network of 1.2 million medical students from 101 countries, I authored a policy statement calling medical schools to incorporate education, research, and service activities pertaining to social determinants in the curriculum and overall work. (14) Since then, I have been leading the Federation’s worldwide efforts on social determinants and health equity; for months now, we have been meeting with WHO, World Medical Association, and renowned schools of medicine and public health around the world about creating a global consortium for capacity building among health professionals for action on social determinants.

I am sure that the social determinants approach to health for long has been rooted, albeit implicitly, in the overall fabric of the College. I remember that during the second year, we listened to a lecture about the social determinants of health, while the Section of Community Medicine frequently reiterates this perspective in our rotations in Pasay and San Juan, Batangas. Unfortunately, these little efforts cannot substantially transformthe whole of Philippine society, which still suffers from health inequities brought about by myriad social forces that lie beyond our sector (15). Furthermore,in contrast to health sector-initiated programs, whole-of-government approaches like the “Health in All Policies” (16) being implemented now in some countries have not emerged yet in the Philippine public policy arena. I hope the UP College of Medicine will eventually stand in the forefront of this movement, and even set an example to our Asian neighbors for the global consortium we are creating now.

Much of theten aforementioned criteria actually overlap, but they can constitute the scorecard that the decision makers can use in determining who should be the new dean of the College. These standardscan be used to gauge the commitment of the candidates to these reform areas, or measure the contributions the candidates made on these areas even prior to running for deanship. Definitely, these new specific criteria can supplement the more usual and traditional ones such as leadership and teaching experience, commitment to knowledge, devotion to student and faculty welfare, and capacity to manage and even augment existing resources.

Now more than ever, we need a dean who will lead the nation’s premier medical school with anoverflowing spirit of innovation, undying passion to effect radical reforms, and unwavering commitment to social justice and nation building. Ultimately, the greatest challenge of the new dean is to lead a significant culture change in medical education, in the medical community, and in the Philippine health system at large.

Rudolf Virchow, the Father of Social Medicine, once said that medical schools “do not exist to provide students with a way of making a living, but to ensure the health of the community.”The new dean should ensure that the UP College of Medicine is and will remain the full realization of this vision.


1. Frenk J, Chen L, et al. Health professionals for a new century: transforming education to strengthen health systems in an interdependent world. The Lancet. 2010; 376(9756): 1923-58.

2. Domingo E. Reforms in the Health Human Resource Sector in the Context of Universal Health Care. Acta Medica Philippina. 2010; 44 (4): 43-57.

3. Global Consensus for Social Accountability of Medical Schools.December 2010. Available from:

4. Novak S. Taking a More Holistic Approach to Global Health Education. New York Times, February 19, 2012.

5. Johnson O, Bailey S, et al. Global health learning outcomes for medical students in the UK. The Lancet online version, October 20, 2011. DOI: 10.1016/S0140-6736(11)61582-1

6. Lorenzo FM and Dayrit M. Global Perspectives on Human Resource Development, Migration and the Philippine Situation. Powerpoint presentation delivered on August 10, 2011.

7. Chan M. Return to Alma Ata. Lancet 2008; 372: 865-866. Available from: doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(08)61372-0.

8. World Health Organization. World Health Report 2008: Primary Health Care - Now More Than Ever. Geneva: World Health Organization, 2008.

9. Marcelo P.(ed.)Partnership Matters: Lessons from a Decade of Community-University Collaboration in Community and Local Health Systems Development. Manila: University of the Philippines Manila, 2010.

10. World Health Organization.Framework for Action on Interprofessional Education & Collaborative Practice. Geneva: World Health Organization, 2010.

11. Universal Health Care Study Group. Executive Summary of the Special Issue on Universal Health Care for Filipinos: A Proposal. Acta Medica Philippina. 2010; 44 (4): 9-11.

12. World Health Organization. Everybody's business: strengthening health systems to improve health outcomes - WHO's framework for action. Geneva: World Health Organization, 2007.

13. Commission on Social Determinants of Health. Closing the gap in a generation: health equity through action on the social determinants of health. Geneva: World Health Organization, 2008.

14. International Federation of Medical Students' Associations. Policy statement on health inequity and the social determinants of health. Jakarta, Indonesia, 60th March General Assembly of the International Federation of Medical Students' Associations. March, 2011. Available from:[Accessed 26th September 2011].

15. Guinto R. Social Determinants of Health. Philippine Daily Inquirer, March 25, 2012.

16. Kickbusch I. “Health in all policies: The evolution of the concept of horizontal health governance.” In: Kickbusch I, Buckett K. (eds.) Implementing Health in All Policies: Adelaide 2010. Adelaide: Department of Health, Government of South Australia, 2010: pp. 11-23.

About the Author

A member of the UP College of Medicine Class of 2012, Ramon Lorenzo Luis R. Guinto is the current Regional Coordinator for the Asia-Pacific of the International Federation of Medical Students’ Federation, former president of the Asian Medical Students’ Association-Philippines, and former chairperson of the UP Manila University Student Council. Last February, he was appointed Youth Commissioner of the Commission on Global Governance for Health convened by The Lancet, University of Oslo, and Harvard Global Health Institute.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

China imposes fishing ban, Philippines follows suit

China recently announced its annual fishing ban to curb overfishing in its territories. According to reports, territories affected by the ban include the disputed Scarborough Shoal.

As a reaction to the Scarborough Shoal's inclusion in China's fishing ban, the Philippine government announced yesterday that it will not recognize the ban since it encompasses disputed waters. 

Philippine president Aquino however imposed his own fishing ban in Philippine seas to replenish fish stock.  Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario said, “In view of the accelerated depletion of our marine resources, it would be advisable for us to issue our own fishing ban for a period of time”.

Photo via

Technological improvements in Philippine hospitals contributed to medical tourism growth

Seeing a growth in the country’s medical industry thanks to the improvement of healthcare in the Philippines in the past decade, the Philippine government made medical tourism a national industry in the year 2006. Aside from technological improvements, the country also owes this growth to the number of tourists who flock to the country annually seeking affordable medical treatment.

 From cosmetic surgery to dental implants –the Philippines is one of the leading medical tourist spots in Asia together with its neighbors Thailand and Taiwan.

Although government hospitals are not yet at par with JCI accredited hospitals such as St. Luke’s, the quality of care given to locals has also improved according to the Department of Health. 

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Roderick Paulate, Francisco Calalay, Jr. charged with malversation of public funds

Quezon City councilors Roderick Paulate and Francisco Calalay, Jr. are facing charges from the Office of the Ombudsman regarding fictitious employees under government payroll. These "employees" received between Php 2, 500 to Php 5, 000, reports say.

Jimmy Lee Davis, an insider at the city hall obtained evidence showing wages disbursed by the two councilors to their supposed staff. According to Davis’ complaint sent to the Field Investigation Office (FIO), Paulate has a total of 30 fictitious employees while Calalay has 29. 

A representative from the Ombudsman said, “A total of Php 2, 175, 000.00 in wages was disbursed by Councilor Calalay, while Councilor Paulate disbursed a total of Php 1, 125, 000.00."

Medical tourism in the Philippines a booming industry

A popular medical tourism destination, megacity Manila offers a range of medical procedures at affordable rates, the most popular of which include weight loss surgery, cosmetic procedures and dental procedures.

But why Manila? Aside from the low costs for treatment as compared to the cost of medical treatment offered in the United States or Europe, visiting Manila is one way to get quality medical attention in the best hospitals in the area without the waiting time as well as provides the medical tourist access to the Philippine countryside.

The country also features a number of spa retreats not only in places near the general Metro Manila area but in other parts of the country as well.  (Photo via

Thursday, May 10, 2012

A partial victory for transparency: 2010 COA Consolidated Audited Annual Report shows partial reforms on U.P. affiliated Foundations

by Chanda Shahani

Almost two years after the Diliman Diary broke the story on conflicts of interest in several University of the Philippines affiliated foundations, the Diliman Diary and its readers are at least now a witness to partial reforms already being undertaken by the University of the Philippines administration working with the Commission on Audit (COA) to address the problems.

The Diliman Diary story, dated June 20, 2010 and entitled Interlocking Directorates between the University of the Philippines and U.P.-based foundations present a compelling case of for intensifying and further scrutinizing financial audits of these foundations, says COA. The Diliman Diary digs further into the details and shows why. extensively detailed how U.P.-affiliated foundations were manned by by high ranking faculty members of several colleges, placing them in what COA called an "undue advantage" in its earlier reports from 2009 and spanning several years.

COA's 2010 Consolidated Audited Annual Report (CAAR) which covers the entire 2010 period, saw former U.P. President Emerlinda R. Roman in charge of the University of the Philippines System. U.P. President Alfredo E. Pascual was only sworn into office on January 31, 2011 as the 20th U.P. President by President Benigno S. Aquino III.

The 2010 CAAR of COA also criticized U.P. for a lack of an independent oversight body that would monitor how funds raised by its foundations would be disbursed and accounted for.  COA said this was problematic because there was a lack of transparency in the transactions of these foundations which were utilizing university facilities, personnel and the good name of U.P. itself in raising funds.

COA is calling for a formal Memorandum of Agreement between each U.P.-affiliated foundationand U.P. itself, with COA acting as the independentv oversight body. COA says that it is problematic for foundations to rely on external auditors since there may be bias since it is the foundations who will be paying the external auditors to prepare financial statements.

While external auditors would nominally be expected to point out foundation management oversight or excesses, thee is frequently a possibility of collusion between foundation management and external auditors, because the external auditors do not want to jeopardize their future contracts with these foundations, COA officials told the Diliman Diary.

However, U.P. has already taken active steps to inform the heads of units that no head of units may become a head of a foundation, and that faculty members will no only comprise a minority in these U.P.-affiliated foundations.

The COA report said that the Dean of the U.P. Diliman College of Business Administration (CBA) will no longer head the U.P. Business Research Foundation.

COA said that there are still other foundations that need to show proof of compliance and that this information will continue to remain in the pipeline.

The DIliman Diary will continue to cover this issue whenever there are any significant developments.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Diliman Diary Blog 05.09.2012 Operation Shady RAT and China

An unprecedented cyber espionage operation, Operation Shady RAT was found to have infiltrated computer systems of the most powerful nations around the globe but it’s not just military secrets or intelligence that the campaign was looking for, it was also used as a tool to steal intellectual property.

This hacking activity is more than just nuisance of course considering all the secrets that Operation Shady RAT has accumulated in the past five years. According to authorities, the campaign all points to China which later on used valuable intellectual property they have stolen in improving their own economy.

This kind of operation sponsored by the Chinese government may mean something to the Filipino reader even if the Philippines is not exactly a powerful country to begin with  nor a country that has valuable IP information. The revelation of McAfee about the hacking campaign just means that the hacking of Philippine websites was not mere bullying by infuriated Chinese citizens but an organized one probably sponsored by the Chinese government itself.

(Sigrid Salucop)

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Si Brando at ang S.S.S. Loan Condonation Program

Masipag, masikap, at tuwirang ama si Brando. Pero nahihirapan siyang bayaran ang overdue loan sa SSS. Buti na lang may SSS Loan Penalty Condonation Program. Mas madali at mas magaan na ang pagbabayad ng overdue loans.

Babaeng nakasaksi raw sa gulo sa NAIA 3, sinabing si Tulfo ang naunang nanakit

Monday, May 7, 2012

Operation Ombudsman Public Assistance

The Office of the Ombudsman launched its Operation: Public Assistance today, May 7, 2012 as one of its activities in celebration of its 24th anniversary.

In coordination with the City Government of Quezon City and under the theme, “OMB at 24: Restoring Trust and Integrity in Public Service”, the Office of the Ombudsman has set up “Ombudsman” desks at the lobby of the Main Building of Quezon City Hall at 8:30 am to 4:30 pm today until tomorrow.

Services would cover legal assistance, PVAO/SSS/GSIS Claims, and grievances against public officials/employees.

Open to the general public, the soft launching of the public assistance project was led by Assistance Ombudsman Evelyn Baliton of OMB’s Public Assistance and Corruption Prevention Office.
Baliton said that “the project will step up the level of public awareness on the other major function of the Office of the Ombudsman  which is, upon complaint by any citizen, any officer or employee of the Government may be directed, at the instance of the Office, to perform and expedite any act or duty required by law, or to stop, prevent, and correct any abuse or impropriety in the performance of duties.”

The launching was graced by Quezon City Mayor Herbert Bautista, Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte and Senator Aquilino  Pimentel III, among others.

40 Years of Friendship, 40 Years of Finger Foods: A Review of UPAA Singapore’s Metro Cuisine Cosmopolitan Finger Foods

by Sigrid Salucop

Describing UPAA Singapore’s Metro Cuisine book as a wonderful guide for making cosmopolitan finger foods is an understatement. Full of beautiful photos of rather mouthwatering finger foods, the cook book is unlike your regular book of recipes.

As Philippine Ambassador to Singapore Minda Calaguian-Cruz said in the book’s foreword, “In the 40 years since the Philippines and Singapore first established bilateral relations, the ties that bind our two states have gone far beyond diplomacy, reflecting the longstanding historical relationship between our peoples and cultures.”

Metro Cuisine is of value to people who love to cook but it proves to be far more valuable than what many would expect because the book itself is a symbol of Philippine-Singaporean camaraderie as well as friendships between Filipinos and other peoples of the world. The book shows that food and the preparation of it although not particularly special but rather mundane is still something universal, something that binds all of us no matter where we are or where we are from.

The food that one prepares is not merely food, every dish has its own history, its share of local stories on how its recipe came to be what it is today, and how this very dish is remembered by our loved ones or how we ourselves remember it and how that same dish is prepared differently from one home to the next. Call this comment bittersweet but one has to admit that it’s not just good food that food lovers and home cooks alike love –it’s the love that one puts in the preparation of it and the love that revolves around the consumption of it.
Food nourishes us and also nourishes the soul in a way. To an anthropologist on the other hand, the food we prepare speaks volumes about us –our culture, our history, our influences, the friendships we have cemented over the years, the reasons as to why one has to use a certain ingredient instead of using another even if the other ingredient basically has the same effect on the food being prepared –all of these details, although trivial to some, are not only interesting but also makes one realize that in every dish prepared for us or in every dish that we prepare –there will always be a story behind it and usually these stories merge with other stories making things more interesting - giving more meaning to the food we eat.

Metro Cuisine brings to you all these plus a number of dazzling photos that will definitely whet your appetite. From a lovely smoked salmon dip served with potato crisps to a plate of potted tuna or vegetables served in smoked bangus dip that reminds us of the Filipino affiliation to the sea to something very Hispanic such as the book’s recipe for beef, black beans, and corn nachos. The food lover will definitely go crazy over this book. What makes this cook book extra special is that some of the recipes it contains have been passed on from one generation to the next while others are personal favorites of UP alumni.

Reading this book is a delight and 4, 420 minutes and over 2, 000 servings of beautifully crafted finger foods later, you can be sure that you have already mastered quite a few recipes and can now host a party without worrying how your appetizers will come out.

The recipes in this book range from those that only need 10 minutes of preparation to those that need up to 8 hours of waiting time. One has to take note that the recipes contained in Metro Cuisine do not only showcase Philippine-inspired or Singaporean-inspired recipes but also has a number of recipes from other places in the world – from finger foods with Middle Eastern flavors to Russian favorites, this book has a select, easy-to-cook recipes fit for those who just love to cook. Much like any other cook book, you do not need to be a chef to make these delightful finger foods, you only need to follow instructions.

Food lovers looking for Filipino finger food recipes won’t be disappointed too because you would find recipes of Filipino favorites such as the uber tantalizing puto pao, the ordinary-looking yet very tasty carioca, purple yam turned into a tart with whipped cream and pili nut toppings, yummy maja blanca, and biko with jack fruit among other Philippine culinary delights.

Overall, this cook book is a good buy. If you’ve been wrestling with appetizers or have been preparing the same, boring finger food for years, it may be time to grab a copy of Metro Cuisine.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Ombudsman offers veterans assistance on 24th anniversary

To commemorate 24 years of service, the Office of the Ombudsman recently announced that it will open its doors to veterans who need help in filing their claims. The activity will be help from May 7 to 8, 2012 from 8.30 am to 4.30 pm at the Quezon City Hall.

Similar activities will be done in other cities within the Metro Manila area on the following dates: May 14 and 15 at the Kaloocan City Hall; May 17 and 18 - Manila City Hall; May 21 and 22 - Pasay City Hall; May 24 and 25 - Makati City Hall; May 28 and 29 - Mandaluyong City Hall and May 30 and 31 - Pasig City Hall.

Joma Sison opposes Chinese incursions into Spratlys


Brief Remarks by Prof. Jose Maria Sison

Founding Chairman, Communist Party of the Philippines
and Chief Political Consultant, National Democratic Front of the Philippines

30 April 2012

Dear Compatriots,

Warmest greetings!

I am thankful to my dear friend, General Joone de Leon, for giving a lecture on my socio-political philosophy and to him and to all of you in the Regular Class 47 of the Masters program in National Security Administration for allowing me the privilege and honor of expressing my position and recommendations on certain current issues of great importance to our nation and people.

Regarding the claims and intrusions of China involving the Kalayaan group of islands and the Panatag shoal, I consider it a matter of principle and patriotic duty to uphold the national sovereignty of the Filipino people and the territorial integrity of the Philippines. The aforesaid pieces of territory are well within the 200-nautical miles of exclusive economic zone of the Philippines under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) which the Philippines and China have signed and which bind the two countries.

The UNCLOS provides us the strongest basis for the assertion of our sovereign right over the islands, shoals and reefs at issue under international law. Archaoelogical evidence shows that inhabitants of the Philippines have used these since prehistoric times in their fishing, coral harvesting and sailing activities. Spanish colonial mapping and other historical records show that these pieces of territory belong to the Philippine archipelago. The Morillo Map used by the US and Spain in forging the 1898 Treaty of Philippines includes Bajo de Masinloc, Scarborough Shoal or Panatag Shoal.

Despite its assertiveness, China has so far avoided any outright military act of aggression. It is probably mindful of its claims to a peaceful rise and its binding commitments to the UNCLOS and the Declaration on Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea. In my debates with foreign revolutionaries who claim that China is already an imperialist power, I have maintained that indeed China has become capitalist and does export a significant amount of surplus capital but it has not yet deployed combat troops to promote and protect its foreign investments. Even in the UN peacekeeping operations which it has joined, it has avoided committing Chinese combat troops.

We should also consider it a matter of principle and duty to seek a peaceful resolution of the territorial issues with China under the terms of the UNCLOS and the Declaration of Conduct of Parties in the South China sea. As much as possible, we may negotiate with China bilaterally as well as through the ASEAN. We are aware of the limits of these approaches and how the issue can protract without end. Thus, we must at all times demand that the issue be decided conclusively as soon as possible by presenting a case under the UNCLOS to the International Tribune on the Law of the Sea in Hamburg.

It is in our sovereign interest not to involve the country and people in any self-damaging act, like an unnecessary war or even unnecessary shows of military force or provocations. China has shown a preference for economic and diplomatic action rather than military action in international affairs. We should not be carried away by the illusion that the US is out to protect us. We must keep in mind that the US has far larger interests in China than in the Philippines and that the US-RP Mutual Defense Treaty, which carries no automatic retaliation clause, allows the US to avoid siding with the Philippines against China. What the US is bent on doing is to manage and manipulate the Philippine-China contradictions in order to further entrench itself militarily in the Philippines, continue to violate our national sovereignty and territorial integrity, serve as the bantay salakay, and intensify its efforts to strengthen US hegemony over the Asia-Pacific region.

Regarding the GPH-NDFP peace negotiations, these are now paralyzed by the stubborn position of the Aquino government or in particular its Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (PAPP) to get the immediate capitulation and pacification of the revolutionary forces represented by the NDFP; to undermine The Hague Joint Declaration of 1992 by labelling it as a document of so-called perpetual division rather than as a viable framework of peace negotiations; to cover up, condone and perpetuate the extrajudicial killings, torture and detention of NDFP consultants and staffers in violation of the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity and Guarantees (JASIG) and to continue the detention of more than 350 political prisoners detained on trumped up charges of common crimes in violation of the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL) and the Hernandez political offense doctrine in particular.

Notwithstanding all the aforecited issues, the NDFP holds the position that the peace negotiations are still going on in principle because no side has terminated JASIG and that in fact twelve formal agreements between the two sides remain valid and binding, the Joint Secretariat of the Joint Monitoring Committee under the CARHRIHL continues to operate in Quezon City, the panelists of both sides are allowed by the Ground Rules to meet at any time for consultations and the Norwegian third party facilitator shuttles back and forth between the two panels. Formal peace talks between the two negotiating panels have been lacking since February 2011. The NDFP is very desirous of the resumption of such formal talks and is willing to have teams of the negotiating panelists meet and engage in consultations in order to pave the way for the formal talks.

The NDFP continues to hope that the GPH comply with the JASIG and CARHRIHL as a matter of obligation and that the formal peace talks between the two panels are resumed so that the three remaining subjects in the substantive agenda can be negotiated and agreed one after the other. These are the a) social and economic reforms, b) political and constitutional reforms and c) the end of hostilities and disposition of forces. The NDFP continues to offer the special track of immediate truce and alliance between the GPH and NDFP as soon as they sign a general declaration of common intent even as the regular track of peace negotiations continues to deal with the three remaining subjects.

The general declaration of common intent proposed by the NDFP is something that cannot be opposed by any Filipino who is patriotic and desirous of democracy. It encompasses such objectives as upholding national sovereignty and independence and doing away with unequal treaties, agreements and arrangements; expanding democracy through certain mechanisms to empower the toiling masses and the middle class; carrying out a program of national industrialization and land reform; promoting a patriotic, scientific and pro-people education and culture; and pursuing an independent and active foreign policy for development and world peace.

If the Aquino administration is really interested in accelerating the regular track of peace conditions under conditions of truce, there is no reason for delaying the realization of the NDFP proposal on the special track for alliance and truce on the basis of a general declaration of common intent, all for for the benefit of the Filipino people.

I urge no less than the president of the GPH to muster the political will to do his crucial part in making the regular and special tracks succeed. The NDFP is always willing to meet his special representatives on the special track so that the conditions of peace negotiations are greatly improved and efforts are accelerated to address the roots of the armed conflict and lay the ground for a just and lasting peace. Let us define the common political ground and work together immediately for the benefit of the people.


Friday, May 4, 2012

BOC Commissioner Biazon blamed for botcha

A number of NGOs are alarmed with the rampant smuggling of meat into the Metro Manila area putting blame on the Bureau of Customs and the national Meat Inspection Service along the way.

 Double dead meat known in the country as botcha has been illegally entering the country for years even if the issue has had ample media coverage for the longest time.

 Alab ng Mamamahayag President Berteni Causing said this afternoon that Bureau of Customs Commissioner Ruffy Biazon is not even taking steps in stopping the said activity.

This is not just a problem of Filipino buyers getting sick because of the smuggled meat though. According to a recent statistical report, the Philippine Government is losing up to Php 650, 000 in taxes daily because of the illegal entry of botya products into the country.

It has also been reported recently that 15 containers of botcha enter the Philippines on a daily basis. 

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