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Showing posts from January, 2014


A WORLD of utter silence awaits one child among a thousand born—and two more loses the gift of hearing in early childhood.
Fact hits like crack of thunder: ear infections acquired at birth up to 11 years of age can also touch off deafness in nearly 100 percent of all children. At least 10-15 of every 100 school children fail the hearing screening test. Too, studies found that two of every five grade one pupils suffer from impaired hearing.
Such impairment arise from two conditions and both can be treated, avers Dr. Teresa Luisa L. Gloria-Cruz, one of three tenured research faculty of the Philippine National Ear Institute in her updates delivered before a January 16, 2014 forum on “Hearing Screening in Filipino School Children: The Accuracy of the Hearing Screener Device” held at the University of the Philippines in Manila.
The two conditions that trigger hearing impairment in Filipino school children: impacted cerumen and otitis media.
Cerumen or earwax, which an attent…


NUDGED to turn up a story how certain warlocks in Southern Luzon feel about the reported P10-billion grand larceny of pork monies involving lawmakers and one Janet Lim-Napoles, The Manila Times correspondent covering that region sent a report how two of those brujos are working to arrange for Lim-Napoles a final appointment with an embalmer.

Nudged some more for a follow-up news story since the witchcraft quarry remains alive and kicking dust into readers’ eyes, the correspondent informed the news desk that those brujos got sick, thus, their work had to wait until they recuperate, be up on their feet.
Apparently, it did not occur to the brujos to train their acupuncture needles or dark powers on the more gargantuan culprits—the accomplice lawmakers who raked 70 percent of the loot-- in the P10-billion heist. As the Tagalog sage would sigh in exasperation, “Nakita ang mata ng karayom, hindi ang mata ng daluyong (They saw the eye of the needle, not the eye of the storm).”
Such propensit…


IN 2003, a new human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) case turned up every two days in the Philippines. By 2013, health records show there were 16 new cases that turned up each day; in October 2013, for example, 491 cases were recorded in 31 days. HIV infection that triggered after eight or 10 years the lethal acquired immune deficiency syndrome or AIDS had turned into a runaway epidemic— within the span of a decade beginning 2001, numbers of the newly HIV-afflicted declined by 20 percent while deaths tapered beginning 2005 to 24 percent across the globe.

The numbers of the afflicted climbed sky-high in the Philippines to 1250 percent.

Unfazed by such staggering figures, Dr. Edsel Maurice T. SalvaƱa maintains that the increase may be attributed to “(greater) awareness in the community of men who have sex with men” likely to have themselves go through medical check-ups rather than suffer in silence. Results from such check-ups find their way into health records that are colla…


ERSTWHILE The Manila Times columnist Teodoro “Doroy” Valencia once served in the 1970s as head honcho for the outfit that saw to the upkeep of Rizal Park. He had a quaint hiring policy: he tapped the services of ex-convicts, those with criminal records that are unlikely to get themselves either a job or a chance to show to all and sundry that they’re “going straight.”
Ka Doroy reasoned that he wanted them to show to society that they’re indeed reformed. And given gainful employment, they would seek redemption, and take out the taint of incarceration through dint of honest work, so he argued. It did make sense—and made a difference in the light of current job hiring trends.
Such a hiring policy that the extant National Press Club president—and he may now be doing a few turns in his final place of repose—set in place and as example may cause human resource managers these days to writhe and squirm in distaste. Distrust if not downright paranoia with a bit of the ridiculous thrown in—thes…

By their fruits

ARROCEROS-- literally “rice growers”— flows parallel to the Pasig River for nearly a kilometer from the western foot of Quezon Bridge, and yawns dead smack into a section of Taft Avenue in Manila. The street is a tribute of sorts to the dead and mangled Sangleys-- migrant Chinese workers who settled in that precinct for pariahs or social outcasts sometime in a dim past.

In a bid to shore up palay production in Luzon rice farms that were solely dependent on rainwater, Dominican friars introduced paddy irrigation to the country back in the 18th century. At gunpoint, Sangleys were pried off their homes, hauled away to divert flow of rivers, dig up irrigation ditches and turn the ground on paddies in farms scattered off Manila.
It was unpaid corvee labor—and most of the laborers paid in blood, gunned down or hacked dead, their rotted corpses dumped in the bowels of farmlands they worked on, thus, enriching both earth and crops.
By some twist of kismet or karma, payback for Sangley sacr…

Blessings of the magi

WITHIN a decade beginning at the 21st century’s threshold, Filipinos have nudged upward their literacy rate to five percent. So shows the 2010 Census of Housing and Population data released late December 2013 by the National Statistics Office.
In NSO reckoning, all it takes for a person to be deemed as literate is to be “able to read and write a simple message in any language or dialect.” 
With that as yardstick, it turns out that 97.5 percent or 69.8 million of the total 71.5 million persons aged 10 and above were literate in 2010—and that was 5.2 percent higher than the 92.3-percent literacy rate notched in 2000. Notes NSO: “There are more literate females than males—higher by 0.2 percent, or 97.6 percent compared to 97.4-percent male literacy rate.”
Let’s make this clear: No global standard for measuring literacy holds sway. Fact is, most nations reckon the literacy of their populace by the ability to read a newspaper—not much of an omen for local print media whose combined circula…


THE late Dr. Jose P. Rizal stood less than five feet. Treble his waistline and that gives the size of his chest, so historians have it. And barrel-chested fellows like our national hero are turning as rare as hen’s teeth these days that has seen more and more pork barrel-bellied blokes hogging every nook and cranny of our landscape. 

If memory serves, part of the image remake for the Philippine National Police that erstwhile top lawman Panfilo Lacson sought was a 34-inch waistline for policemen, whether desk-bound or on the beat. Many balked at such a physical specification—too easy to indulge in extra rice than exercise. 

Lacson must have wanted law enforcers to look trim—even look good without tell-tale love handles from lack of physical discipline. He must have wanted the men under him to have longer shelf-life (medical findings point to greater longevity for those who engage in strenuous physical exertions). 

This year (2013), nearly an entire batch of police trainees in …