My Top Seven Favorite Quotes from RISA HONTIVEROS

For inspiration, introspection, or provocation, on the last few days before May 10:

–          On LGBT rights and discrimination:

“This is a human rights issue…This is the real clash of civilization, this idea that one group of people is inferior to another. What we need to counter this is also fundamental. We have to change the way we live as families, the way we raise our children, the way we befriend each other, or enter into relationships with each other. Dapat din yung mga institusyon ng lipunan natin ay maabot ng ganitong uri ng pagbabago and that’s what the Anti-Discrimination bill wants to be a part of – a change of consciousness and a change of systems as well.”

–          On Reproductive Health (debating Kit Tatad):

“Kabuuan po ang katawan naming mga babae pati kayong mga lalaki. Bahagi ng kalusugan ang reproductive health… Kailangan laman pong malaman na kasinungalinan sabihin na may aborsyon sa RH bill… Definitely hindi sakit ang pagbubuntis; kailangan iwasan yung unintended pregnancies para mabawasan yung pagkamatay at pagkasira ng pamilya…. Ang ininusulong po ng RH bill ay yung access sa impormasyon, sa serbisyo, at kung pipiliin,modern family planning methods para sa bawat babae o kanyang asawa o ka-partner para ma-plano ang kanilang pamilya at mabuhay sila sa isang makataong antas ng pamumuhay. ”

–          On jobs and the economy:

“I think there are a lot of spaces yet in our economy where we can and should find places where people can get a job or make a living… (Increasing productivity) will have to be (a focus of our platform) para buksan pa yung space for further social reforms including asset reform and greater economy in the economy. We do have to make the pie bigger and more meaty so there’s more substance to be distributed for all the citizens to share. If we generate more and quality employment with a degree of security to it for the employees, that should be an incentive for greater productivity across all sectors of the economy… “

–          On parenthood:

“I have to be there for my kids’ happenings. If it means waking up early and sleeping late, I will do that. To do stuff for them and with them – ngayon lang ‘yan eh. When they have their own lives, we can take back ours.” (Interview with HIPP magazine.)

–          What she tells her kids, and young people:

“Follow your bliss, find the thing you love most that you’re good at doing, that will make you happy. ‘Yan na rin ang magiging serbisyo nyo.” (Interview with HIPP Magazine.)

“In this time of hate and violence, find the thing you’re happy with because happiness transforms you.” (Interview with 100 magazine)

–          On her passion for public service:

“Knowing what’s happening, understanding what’s happening and forming an opinion and based on that opinion, trying to find out what can be done – that’s what I’m passionate about…. Let’s get involved and let’s get it right this time. This is the rest of our lives.” (Interview with 100 magazine)


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Manny Villar’s SAL

My comments:

1. Yaman niya. Obvious ba?!?

2. Sigurado ba siya sa value ng properties/residences niya? HIs house in Las Pinas is only worth 2M or so? Eh townhouse sa QC ay 3M na at least?!?!?!

3. Click on the Business Interests link – Yun lang talaga ang corporations niya? DI ba sa kanya ang Camella (Vista Land)?

4. News reports say he’s spent anout 1BILLION pesos, and that’s even before the start of the official campaign period. And he says he’s used only his own money. So, if his net worth in 2003 was about just half a billion … that doesn’t quite add up. So, he’s built at least twice his net worth in the last six, seven years (and spent all of it already? So, he’s actually spent donors’ money on the campaign (belying the claim that all of it is his own money)? Something’s gotta give.

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What You Don’t Know May Hurt You and Your Baby (Or What You Need to Know if You’re Giving Your Child Powdered Milk)

If you are giving your child powdered milk, especially if he or she is two years old or younger, there are some things that you need to know. First, powdered milk is NOT sterile. Never mind melamine – the substance has intrinsic bacterial contamination that may cause illness and even death. I know it is hard to imagine that a child’s health problems may be stemming from his drinking milk formula, since we’ve all been raised to believe that milk is a good and healthy thing. For older children and adults, it probably is. But milk formula for infants and young children is another matter.

If powdered milk formula is not prepared properly, the inherent contamination may likely cause diseases such as diarrhea and even meningitis in some cases. Now, this is fact and not just some the rabid claim of some hippy, new-age breastfeeding advocate. It is an accepted fact to most of the international scientific and pediatric community – except perhaps to the quarters beholden to the milk formula companies, or to those who unfortunately have not been updated.

What follows is the executive summary of the World Health Organization’s GUIDELINES on SAFE PREPARATION, HANDLING, and STORAGE OF POWDERED INFANT FORMULA. (The full text is available here ). If you have a child who drinks powdered milk formula, or you know anyone who does, this is very important information.

Regardless of what the milk industry and their fancy advertising says, anything other than breastmilk is an inferior and possibly dangerous food for your child. Wala nang papanatag pa sa inang nagpapasuso. Gatas lamang ng ina ang makapagbibigay ng 100% kumpleto, nararapat, at ligtas na nutrisyon sa isang sanggol.

Executive Summary:
Powdered infant formula (PIF) has been associated with serious illness and death in infants due to infections with Enterobacter sakazakii. During production, PIF can become contaminated with harmful bacteria, such as Enterobacter sakazakii and Salmonella enterica. This is because, using current manufacturing technology, it is not feasible to produce sterile PIF. During the preparation of PIF, inappropriate handling practices can exacerbate the problem.

Recognizing the need to address such hazards in PIF, Codex Alimentarius decided to revise the Recommended International Code of Hygienic Practice for Foods for Infants and Children. In doing so it requested specific scientific advice from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the World Health Organization (WHO). FAO and WHO have provided this advice in the reports of two expert meetings held in 2004 and 2006 on Enterobacter sakazakii and other microorganisms in powdered infant formula (PIF). Part of this advice included recommendation to develop guidelines for the preparation of PIF.

The World Health Assembly (WHA) of WHO requested in 2005 the Organization to develop such guidelines on the safe preparation, handling and storage of PIF in order to minimize the risk to infants. The FAO/WHO advice on E. sakazakii in PIF includes a quantitative microbiological risk assessment of E. sakazakii in PIF. One of the aspects of the risk assessment was to determine relative risk reduction associated with different preparation, storage and handling scenarios. The recommendations made in the present guideline document are largely based on the findings of the quantitative risk assessment. No risk assessment was carried out for Salmonella, but the group reported that the basic risk control principles for E. sakazakii would also hold true for S. enterica.

In general, sterile liquid infant formula is recommended for infants at the highest risk of infection. Where sterile liquid infant formula is not available, preparation of PIF with water at a temperature of no less than 70 °C dramatically reduces the risk. Minimizing the time from preparation to consumption also reduces the risk, as does storage of prepared feed at temperatures no higher than 5 °C.

Users of PIF are made aware that powdered infant formula is not a sterile product and may be contaminated with pathogens that can cause serious illness. Correct preparation and handling of PIF reduces the risk of illness.

The present guidelines are presented in two parts. One part provides guidance for the preparation of PIF in care settings where professional care providers are involved in the preparation of large quantities of PIF for a large number of infants. The second part provides guidance for the preparation of PIF in a home environment, aimed at parents and those involved in the care of infants in the home environment.

The document provides specific guidance on the most appropriate practices in the different steps during the preparation of PIF in these two types of settings. Cleaning and sterilization of feeding and preparation equipment is an important prerequisite to the safe preparation of PIF. The specific guidance focuses on the most important parameters during preparation such as the temperature of reconstitution, the cooling, holding and feeding times, as well as the storage and transportation of prepared PIF. The rationale behind the recommendations is provided in both sets of guidance.

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Own the BNPP? Why not?!? ;p

So I guess most everybody by now knows about the efforts to revive the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant. Now, regardless of how you feel about nuclear energy, and all the economic, social and environmental issues that come with it, consider this: The proposed bill by Rep. Mark Cojuanco (Pangasinan) wants to fund the project in two ways: 1) for the government to enter into foreign and domestic loan agreements to publicly fund the project; and 2) to impose a SURCHARGE UPON ALL ELECTRICITY CONSUMERS OF TEN CENTAVOS PER KILOWATTHOUR, for the next five years, even before the plant becomes operational. There is a conditon too that three years or so after the plant becomes operational, consumers will be reimbursed for the surcharges they have paid. (There are no further details as to how this reimbursement will actually be done.)

To my mind, what this is is a loan from electricity consumers to the government, to be paid at a future time through reimbursement. In effect, papautangin natin ang gobyerno (in installment for the next five years and at the rate of ten centavos per kilowatthour we consume) para ma-operate nito ang BNPP. Babayaran nila tayo thru reimbursement. (In which case, then shouldn’t we be reimbursed PLUS INTEREST?)

Anyway, Mr. Cojuanco wants it this way, so that, he says, the FILIPINO PEOPLE CAN OWN THE PLANT. He justifies the surcharge by citing the big savings that he expects the Filipino people to enjoy once the plant is running and supplying “clean and cheap” power to everybody. Hmmm…. how benevolent, no?

What do you think? For as little as 30 pesos per month (depende na lang sa iyong lifestyle), you, my dear Filipino, can own your little slice of nuclear heaven that is BNPP!!!!!!! What an amazing prospect!!!!!! Game ka ba????? 🙂

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Malaya’s Gifts

In between feedings and nappy changes and planning for a baptism, some time must be spent to make the official blog entry on Motherhood. (There should have been one on Pregnancy – but too late now.) Some effort must be made, despite the feeling that there simply aren’t the right words. I punch in keys, then hit backspace, in an erratic one-step-forward-two-steps-back rhythm, which only supports my belief that there are no words for this, and yet strengthens my resolve to finally just say something and take license to wax poetic about this state of grace.

So here it goes…

When I look at the world around me, the worry of bringing up a child in such a shabby and confusing place is appeased only by the deepened conviction that more must be done to make it better and that I must be a part of that change. Before, that conviction came from somewhere unknown and intangible, perhaps even a self-serving need for validation. But now, grand notions of a designated role in the betterment of the planet are gone, replaced by a grounded and more purposeful desire to do something simply because it is what needs to be done. This little human being has affirmed my right to Be, and with this comes a certain freedom that I have never felt before. Which is why I named her Malaya, for it is freedom that is her first gift to me, and it will always be my greatest wish for her.

To say that things have changed for me would be an understatement. It is certainly a new world out there, daunting and unfamiliar yet more promising and joyous than it has ever been.  At the end of it (or should I say the beginning?), I am the same, yet different. I am me, but so much more, so much “other,” so much “beyond.”

Already, Malaya has made me a better person. Her father, too. It is true what they say, that new life brings with it healing. Old wounds don’t seem to hurt as much, and nothing gives you a new perspective better than having your own child. Also, our daughter is surrounded by so much love. Family and friends shower her with affection and provide us with unflinching support. When you find yourself amidst that much love, you just can’t help but be better, if only to show your appreciation. I think that now, finally, I’m ready to forgive my own parents for whatever sins I felt they committed against me, but more importantly, I think I’m ready to forgive myself for my own sins against them and to start to rebuild our relationship. I could sense the same is true for JP. Because of Malaya, we are more forgiving, forever humbled and deeply grateful persons. This way, our daughter has saved us. See, already she has gifted her Tatay and me with more than we could ever thank her for.

I look at her lovely face and see bits of myself, her father, her lolos and lolas, and various other characters in her life… Yet I see her – just her – and can’t wait to get to know the unique and beautiful human being that she will be. I watch her sleep in her Tatay’s arms and I am overwhelmed by the realization that my whole world, the entire universe even, can fit into that few square feet of space. That these two people can quite literally “mean everything to me” is the cliche that I live now, and without regret. And while like most parents, I am most afraid of not doing a good job of being a parent, of not deserving the wondrous gift that is my daughter, the fear that she could mirror the worst in me is only outdone by the hope that she will become more than the best in me.

She is Jiana Malaya Jalijali Mateo, born July 5, 2008, at 6:56 AM. I look into her eyes, at barely four weeks old still searching and unfocused, and see the entire future, uncertain as it is, and know that there will always be one true thing – that she is mine, and that I am hers, forever.

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I Love Jovito Salonga

Salonga resigns from Sigma Rho
By Tina Santos, Santiago Alcantara
Last updated 02:26am (Mla time) 09/15/2007
MANILA, Philippines – Ramon Magsaysay awardee and former Senate President Jovito Salonga has resigned as member of the Sigma Rho fraternity after some of its members were implicated in the fatal hazing of UP-Diliman student Cris Anthony Mendez.

“I hereby resign as a member of Sigma Rho, effectively immediately,” Salonga said.

In a statement sent to the Inquirer, Salonga, one of the most prominent Sigma Rhoans, said that he was resigning “because of recent events in which Sigma Rho has been involved.”

Other prominent members of Sigma Rho are former Senate President Franklin Drilon, Senators Edgardo Angara, Juan Ponce Enrile and Iloilo Vice Gov. Rolex Suplico.

Salonga had earlier threatened to resign if it was determined that Sigma Rho members were involved in the death of Mendez.

“I joined Sigma Rho Fraternity, along with my classmate Pedro I. Yap (who later became Chief Justice) shortly after it was founded. At that time there was no hazing as a prerequisite to admission,” Salonga said.

Mendez, a 20-year-old graduating UP student, was rushed past midnight of Aug. 27 to the Veterans Hospital where he was declared dead on arrival.

Quezon City police investigators found out that Mendez was a victim of hazing due to “bruises all over his body, particularly on the back of his arms and thighs.”

Further investigations proved that Mendez was being recruited into the Sigma Rho fraternity. No one from among its members has since come forward to admit responsibility for the killing.

The National Bureau of Investigation said it would no longer summon students of UP who could shed light on the investigation of the death of Mendez.

Instead, police officials and NBI agents would be the one to go to the university and get the statements of possible witnesses, said lawyer Romulo Asis, chief of the NBI Anti-Terrorism Division, which was tasked to handle the case.

Asis explained that the move was agreed upon during a meeting among the NBI, Quezon City Police and UP officials yesterday.

“UP officials were requesting if the students, particularly the possible witnesses to the case, could be interviewed at the university instead of inviting them over at the NBI, sort of giving them a “comfort zone.”

“Of course, we understand that they (UP officials) were just protecting the students, especially those who might receive threats as a result of their decision to come out in the open,” Asis said, adding that the meeting was part of the three institutions’ cooperative efforts.
Asis added that the UP administration would provide an office where student witnesses can be interviewed by authorities.

For the past two weeks, the NBI has been issuing subpoenas to several UP students and alleged members of the Sigma Rho fraternity who recruited Mendez into the fraternity.

However, not one of those subpoenaed has showed up at the bureau, Asis said. He claimed that some of them only sent letters “invoking their right to remain silent.”

Another NBI source added that the UP administration, which has launched its own probe of the case, wanted to be the first to file a case against those allegedly involved in the incident.

“They requested if they can be ahead in filing an administrative case,” the NBI source said. “I think the purpose is to come up with expulsion of the people involved.”

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Finally the Death Eaters speak…

… but what they say just infuriates me more. The nasty hypocrites. Here’s an excerpt from an article on abs-cbn news online.

Sigma Rho speaks
Meanwhile, the Sigma Rho Council Inc. and the alumni association of the Sigma Rho fraternity have issued a statement condemning Mendez’s untimely death.

“We both urge the police and university authorities to thoroughly investigate this unwarranted incident to ferret out the truth,” council president Bienvenido Somera Jr. said.

Police have said the evidence gathered points to the hazing allegedly perpetrated by Sigma Rho’s members as the cause of Mendez’s death. In its statement, the fraternity neither confirmed nor denied its members’ involvement in the case.

Somera said they condole with Mendez’s family and assured them that the council “is interested as much in bringing things to light so that justice may be served.”

He also appealed to the media to “be more circumspect in their reporting and not make a media circus out of the incident” because it would only “muddle the issue.”

“Quite surely, the proper authorities are doing their jobs to solve the incident,” Somera said.

He called on fraternities to convene with UP officials to seek a common plan of action “to arouse a collective consciousness rooted in civic responsibility, and to put an end to activities that only breed a culture of violence in society.”

So why didn’t they participate in the covenant signing at Malcolm Hall? So what exactly has Rho Sig done to end activities that breed a culture of violence in society?  Media circus? Really??? Muddle up the issue? What exactly is the issue being muddled up here when all we are searching for is the truth? Most importantly, are they implicitly denying that Cris died from injuries sustained during Sigma Rho initiation rites?

The same article says that a witness, also a participant during the initiations, has come forward with information. If true, then my hat’s off to him for doing the right and just thing. As for the rest of Sigma Rho, especially their leadership, tell us how Cris died, and face the consequences of your actions. Please don’t issue empty statements – and least of all, do not point fingers at anyone else for “muddling up the issues.” The issue, dear sirs, is far from being muddled up. It is quite simple: Someone’s dead by your hands. Whatever outrage or scorn you are receiving is an inevitable reaction. Be the men you purport yourselves to be.

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Death Eaters

Some comments on different blogs regarding Cris Mendez’s death have grabbed my attention, for various reasons. One is by Barb on, who says:


On prominent Sigma Rho members, former Senate President Jovito Salonga told Prof. Filomeno T. Hilbay in a private conversation before the incident: “One more time a hazing incident happens, I will renounce my frat.” He also said that, “I’m not proud of my association with Sigma Rho.”

The father of University Student Council (USC) Chairperson Shahana Abdulwahid is Court of Appeals Justice Hakim S. Abdulwahid of Sigma Rho batch 1966. The brother of Chancellor Sergio S. Cao is Carlos S. Cao, Jr. of Sigma Rho batch 1978.

First of all, I have to say that if this is true, then it just reaffirms my great admiration for Jovy Salonga. More importantly, this information interests me because to me it explains the reaction of Stand-UP (political party to which USC President Abdulwahid belongs), which to my knowledge is so far non-existent. Does not the most prominent political organization in the UP have anything to say on the matter? (Do send it my way if it has been released. )

I also hope that the fact that Chancellor Cao is a Sigma Rhoan has nothing to do with the virtual gag order on UP students regarding the case… Which leads me to a comment by JM, still on


I hope you try to understand the UP students’ situations for not speaking up about the issue.

We’re all saddened and infuriated about Cris’s death, but the looming threat of revenge from frats who will be indicated by any statement is very far from inviting. The students were kept mum because the case hasn’t been resolved yet, and any statement released by anyone from UP could really blow things out of proportion if found otherwise.

We are trying our best. If you are a UP student, what would you do? We held an indignation rally to show that we sympathize with the family and to show how we condemn frat violence in the university, and also to encourage people who have information to speak up before the authorities.

We are likewise urging the UP Admin to act upon the matter immediately. But the resolution of the case lies not with us, but with the proper authorities.

Thanks. Just airing out my side as a UP student.

Hmmm… Sorry but I am a law student at UP and I don’t understand it. The whole blowing something out of proportion really does not make any sense to me, not even considering sub judice. (I mean, honestly, try selling that line to Cris’ mother, and let’s see just how understanding she would be.) I can’t help but wonder whether people don’t want to talk out of prudence or out of fear. Now that – fear of reprisal – is something that I can actually understand, given that even my classmates from law school have always preferred to talk about certain Sigma Rhoans and however we think of them in hushed tones – especially if its a Sigma Rhoan professor. This in itself it is a sad commentary. Students should not be in fear of violence or harassment from their peers, or unfair treatment from their professors, just because they express contrary beliefs or are otherwise affiliated. Maybe this explains too, why most if not all the official statements that have been released by members of the UP Community have so far refused to actually name Sigma Rho as the frat involved.

And speaking of statements, on my own blog, Anti-hazing mom said:

I have just read the official statemet of the UP Law Student body on the death of Mendez and this is what I have to say: cut the crap!! I have enough of your cry for temperance. This is the only statement I need to hear from you and your orgs: WE CONDEMN HAZING AND WE WILL NEVER CONDUCT HAZING FOR INITIATION RITES EVER AGAIN. Simple and clear, you don’t have to be a lawyer to say that!!!

I agree. It really should be that simple. We don’t need eloquent expressions of indignation or grief, what we need are categorial renunciations of hazing and fraternity-related violence. Not that I have much faith in the word of these people, but that’s beside the point…

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I do not feel like mincing words. As many of you probably well know by now, another UP student has been killed in a hazing incident at the hands of his so-called “brothers”.

The 20-year old graduating NCPAG student, Chris Anthony Mendez, was declared dead on arrival at the Veterans Memorial Hospital just after midnight Monday, August 27. Students from the NCPAG and Chris’ friends have reportedly been told not to talk to media by the Vice-Chancellor for Student Affairs, especially about his affiliations in the University, because this would “blow the incident out of proportion.”

This makes me wonder… In times like this, what would be the “proportionate” response? A life has been taken – must we speak of this in hushed and careful tones? Must we contain our grief and outrage because we know that the perpetrators too are our friends and walk amongst us and we must take care not to offend them? Is there even grief? Is there even outrage? Or perhaps, our silence is due to our collective guilt? After all, aren’t we all somehow responsible by our mere acquiesence to the culture of violence and hate and elitism and patronage that goes on around us everyday, especially in the UP College of Law?

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sa ilalim ng talulot

ng pikit niyang mga mata,

umiikot ang kanyang paningin.

tila naghahanap sa dilim

ng daan palabas

ng bangungot

na sumukob sa mundong

itinago ng tulog –

nais tumakas sa

halakhak ng humahabol

na halimaw.


di man mahimbing

di rin magising

ang aking mahal.


di maimulat ang mga mata.


maya maya pa’y bumuka ang kanyang bibig,


at muling itinikom.

wari’y sikretong muntik nang makaalpas.


nais kitang sundan

mahal ko,

hanapin ka sa karimlan.

dala ko ay

kandilang di naagnas at

apoy ng dakilang tapang.


handa na akong lumusong

sa kumunoy ng iyong katinuan;

kundangan lang sa iyong




butil-butil ang pawis,

at walang pagkilalang nabanaag

nang ako’y iyong tignan.


sa susunod, mahal

mauuna na ako

sa lugar na iyong kinatatakutan

at doon maghihintay – 

nang ni isang saglit

di mawalay ang ating malay.


kay lungkot mag-isa.



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