Words by: Katrina Isabel Tamina
They say time flies when you’re having fun. Imagine how fast time will fly when it’s the most awaited time of the year: your summer vacation. One moment you’re thinking of plans on how to have the most epic summer vacation ever like going to road trips with your friends, getting a part-time job to earn a little moolah, or just laying around the house like a slug, and the next moment, reality will come whacking you in the head reminding you that you only have a week before the start of classes. So to avoid that good ‘ol whack in the head that happens mostly to all of us, here are some tips that will help you get geared up for battle- I mean, school. Right, school.
Make sure you’re actually enrolled in a school.
Well, you couldn’t actually prepare for the upcoming school year when you’re not even enrolled now, could you? Start with the essentials: settle your accounts in school during the provided schedule of enrolment as soon as possible, make sure you have the right uniforms ready, and start buying or borrowing the books from your book list for the upcoming school year. For freshmen or students going to a new school, try to do a little research on your new second home so when classes begin, you’ll have at least a little headstart in this unfamiliar territory. Really, with having these done, you’re a small step away from being a student again.
Don’t go with the flow
Mostly, people start shopping for their things by mid-May, or if they feel like kind of a badass, a week before school starts. Don’t even think about being a badass. Buy your things ahead of everyone else. Apart from getting to avoid the crowd, you would get to have more items to choose from and have less worry for not being able to find what you’re looking for. Remember, this rule just doesn’t apply to Christmas shopping anymore.
Reset your body clock
Time doesn’t exist during summer vacations. It’s hard to tell what day it is or even what time it is when your head falls on your pillow just as the sun rises. As they say, it takes seven days to create a habit and fourteen days to break one. Unless you want to find yourself under the murderous glare of your teacher as you’ve fallen asleep in her most epic story of how X became Y that then resulted to 2 plus tangent, you should start adjusting your body clock back to “school mode.” Just make it a habit to sleep early weeks before the start of school and you’re good to go.
Make a bucket list
Didn’t get to attend a school festival last year? Missed your target grade in a subject by a mere point? You still have brand new school year to make up for it! Make your school year more exciting and fun for yourself by making a bucket list. List all the things you plan to achieve and do in school. And by the end of the year, if you have completed all the things that you have listed, treat yourself to a pint of ice cream or a whole cake. Doing what you plan to do and eating a pint of ice cream as a reward, what type of motivation do you still need?
Enjoy your summer while it lasts
It will be a while before summer graces your schedule again, so as you prepare for the upcoming school year, don’t forget that it’s still your summer vacation and you have every right to enjoy it. Sure, there would be holidays and breaks, but nothing beats a two-month vacation with nothing to do but eat, sleep, eat and maybe be a functioning member of society! So watch the whole Harry Potter movies in one sitting, sleep for twenty-four hours straight, write a novel, or even finish that book you’ve been putting off for a while now before its movie adaptation comes out. Or, if you’re into it – no judgments here – make your vacation actually productive and start reading up on your text books. Whatever floats your boat! Just have fun doing it, because it will be a while again before summer break.
Words by: Claudio Sanchez
Philippine Elections – A Closer Look
Elections in the Philippines usually have three qualities, festive and colorful like its many fiestas, controversial and headline-grabbing like its celebrities, and dirty like its history. Many candidates build themselves up as the greatest thing to ever happen to the country; the fabled hero destined to grant them salvation from the cold fingers of poverty… only if you vote them because they can’t do all of that without the grand machine of the Philippine Government working for them. Mudslinging is the norm and overly optimistic promises are the SOP. Violence has also become an election staple – it’s during this time that crime rates spike. Each candidate hires a crew to assist the voters and as well as to look out for cheaters who were hired by other candidates to manipulate the result of the election. Cheating has sadly become an election tradition.
All tension between parties would escalate and reach its tipping point on election day.
A quick history lesson would show us that electoral fraud was already there during the birth of the Philippine Republic – the 1897 Tejeros Convention. Allegedly, supporters of Aguinaldo paid off the participants of the said convention to cast their vote in favor of Aguinaldo, our first president. Quite riveting stuff. Despite being the first republic in Asia, The Philippines has not evolved much when it comes to the election process. What first started off as a simple piece of paper and a padlocked box has evolved into a symbol of power. A remnant of an archaic system that is riddled with holes just waiting to be abused.
It’s been 116 years since the first election and not much has changed since then: People flock to the precincts, put their votes into a box along with their hopes and dreams for themselves and the nation, the boxes will be then taken to the COMELEC for counting and tallying. Just 3 steps and a whole lot chances for “accidents” to take place. These accidents include but are not limited to: power outages, fights, ballot boxes missing, kidnappings, etc.
But it gets better.
It would then take two to three months (which technically feels like an eternity) before winners are proclaimed. And then add another 6 months or so because there is an 85% chance that a losing candidate would accuse the winning candidate of fraud.
A Dynamite Lit on Both Ends
It’s not just the “election fiesta” that poses a problem but the voting body as well. We, (by “we” I refer to the Filipino masses) have an annoyingly personalistic view of political leaders. The majority of the voting body rely on the personal appeal of candidates like his or her demeanor, looks, charisma and political heritage. Most voters pay no heed to the one actual thing they should be focusing on – party platforms.
How a candidate delivers a line (and how that certain candidate looks when delivering that line) poses more concern for the mass voters instead of tax reforms and regulations, how to EFFECTIVELY make education a priority again, and the like. You know, things that actually affect the nation.
The Silver Lining
US elections are a far cry compared to ours. While ours is in theory a depopulating tool, theirs is something worth emulating. I’m not saying that it is a paragon of electoral efficiency but it’s at least something worth looking into. And normally, the election season in the U.S. would only take around 6 months, here we have designate a whopping year and a half for it.
Fortunately, the government took steps to catch up to the industry standard and curb election-related shenanigans. Automated Elections debuted during the 2010 season. Despite the public’s initial skepticism on the efficiency and reliability of the Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) Machines, they still pushed through with it. Each and every precinct would have a Precinct Count Optical Scan or PCOS machine. This machine would then gather all the votes and store it in a memory card. The data would then be sent via SMS using a SIM card installed on the machine to the main counting headquarters. From there, the votes would be counted, validated until a partial, official count can be publicly announced. Normally, it would take less than 24 hours before a winner is proclaimed.
This new system was finally adopted by the Philippine government in 2010 in hopes of a more dignified election process. But the transition process wasn’t as easy as initially perceived since many people were quite unfamiliar with it. And so, the COMELEC conducted a huge information drive to help people warm up to the new system. Advertisements related to the new voting system stormed the media en masse, which meant billions of pesos shelled out. Election time came and, as expected, problems showed up. Aside from the usual problem of vote-buying and violence, many of the PCOS machines failed. At least the elections went a lot more swiftly than the previous one. Some dailies even claimed that a large percentage of election-related violence was averted due to the new automated system.
Now here comes another election season and the return of the new and improved machines. The COMELEC assured the public that the election would be much smoother than the previous one.
The COMELEC has been preparing for the election a year before this campaign season even started. Many mistakes have been sorted out, which ultimately means that the solution to the problems of the last elections should already be solved. Should the new system fail again, not only will the credibility of this move towards a more peaceful election process be questioned, but more money will be coughed up to fix it yet again. In the end, the burning question would be “was it worth it?”
Everyone is keeping an eye on the elections because it is an essential process that we have to embrace for our nation’s future. Always remember that our votes are precious. It is the most basic building block of our nation that will not only dictate our future but the our children’s children as well. Or we can just throw it away and condemn ourselves to a life of mediocrity and poverty that we’re used to. The choice is yours.
Shade the circle of your future. Vote wisely.
Words by: Nadz Ruiz
A History of Animosity
But as international news agencies and analysts were quick to point out, North Korea has been in a state of war with South Korea since 1950. The two Koreas signed a truce in 1953, meaning a temporary cessation of war hostilities and not a peace treaty. But, North Korea has been threatening to attack the South and US military bases almost on a daily basis ever since. With constant threat of war, the Japanese, US and South Korean armed forces have been trained to stay on the highest alert.
Calling for Restraint
With South Korea, US and Japan all poised to strike at a moment’s notice, everyone else is calling for restraint when it comes to this issue as to prevent going past the point of no return.
Russia, which has a sort of restrained optimistic view of North Korea, a Soviet-era client state, calls on the US and South Korea to refrain from any belligerent actions. The reemergence of war is the last thing they want and is totally unacceptable.
France and China meanwhile are deeply worried about the tensions on the Korean peninsula. The Philippines, on the other hand, has offered the US their military bases, if any war with North Korea does break out.
DFA Taking Action
On April 5, Philippine President Benigno Aquino III ordered Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario to the Philippine Embassy in Seoul to oversee the preparations for a possible evacuation of nearly 50,000 Filipinos currently in South Korea. Despite this, Aquino said that there is no reason for the public to be alarmed of the situation.
The Department of Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Raul Hernandez said that their figures show that there are five to seven Filipinos in North Korea but they did not know if they were still residing there or have already returned to the Philippines.
The Department of Foreign Affairs raised alert level 1 for Filipinos working and residing in South Korea. This means that the Filipinos in South Korea were already informed about the situation and were urged to be prepared for any situation.
He added that the Philippine embassy in South Korea is ready to roll out their contingency plan if a full-blown war erupts between the two Koreas. It also deployed carrier airplanes for repatriation in the event of a full-scale war. He said alert level three will merit a relocation of Filipinos to unaffected areas while level four will involve mandatory repatriation.
However, he assured that the overall situation in South Korea remains normal and calm. In a separate report, a group of Filipino students in South Korea assured their friends and family that “things remain calm and normal” and “it is business as usual.” Nevertheless, they are in touch with the Philippine Embassy for any instructions as the need arises.
Back home, the state of war between the two Koreas garnered mixed reactions. Some are worried of their relatives and kababayans in South Korea. Others are worried of the fallout from missiles and the effects of a nuclear attack on the country. Several netizens preferred to make light of the situation, saying they won’t be able to watch their favorite Korean shows and celebrities if North Korea bombs South Korea. Those who have been following the news shook their heads and chalked it up to North Korea’s seeming penchant for outrageous but unbacked threats and claims.
Interviews with Filipinos in South Korea also revealed mixed reactions. In a TV interview, one Filipino residing in South Korea said the situation was “alarming,” while the other said, “we remain calm and everything is normal.” Of course, they are prepared for any untoward incidents.
Close to a month after North Korea’s declaration, Pyongyang has to make a significant move. The world is still watching for any concrete proof that North Korea will make true its words. The DFA is still on heightened alert. In the meantime, it seems that everything is in status quo. Until the worst happens, all the world can do now is hope for peace.
For years, our country has earned and maintained a reputation for being a sleeping tiger of Asia. Our neighbors and the rest of the world wondered when we would awake from slumber and become the economic force we’ve long had the potential to be. It didn’t help that we languished among the most corrupt of countries in the eyes of the international community.
“With a reputation for being chaotic and corrupt, the Philippines has something of an image problem…. Consolidation in the banking sector has generated economies of scale and greater efficiency … Still, the sector is not at par with its Asian neighbors….”
Those are excerpts from Asia Business Channel‘s focus on the Philippines back in September of 2008. And yet, despite the problems, it also said that “Asia’s sleeping tiger is about to wake up, and set the pace for the Asia of tomorrow.”
Less than two years later, in its April 2010 feature, “Philippines II: The Philippine Advantage” , the network cited the country as “a globally competitive environment for investors,” and called it “Asia’s new business hotspot.”
It went on to say that although the Philippines has been a nation “long overshadowed by its neighbors in terms of economic growth and socio-political development, Asia’s sleeping tiger is slowly waking up.”
Fast forward to the present: since the first trading day on January 2nd of this year, the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) has seen seven new historic high closes, including the momentous breach of the 6,000 level, when the market saw an intraday high of 6,044.91, which also went on to be that day’s closing figure. Since then, the index has stayed above 6,000 and is expected to maintain its upward movement to anywhere between 6,500 and as much as 7,300 throughout 2013.
In its January 2 piece entitled “Bulls seen to rule in PH market,” the Inquirer cited Paul Joseph Garcia of Bank of the Philippine Islands’ (BPI) Odyssey Funds as saying that the outlook for the year is one of `low-tide-high-tide’. According to the article, Garcia pointed out that “for the market to hit the `base case’ of 6,500, corporate earnings would have to rise by at least 13 percent and the local economy should expand by 6 to 6.5 percent. Under the `high tide’ or best-case scenario, Garcia said it is possible that the PSEi could hit the 7,100 mark, assuming that the local economy would grow by 7 percent and that corporate earnings would expand by over 15 percent.”
If projections announced by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas or BSP early last month are realized, then one-half of Garcia’s assumptions would be in place for a continued bull run upwards of 7,000. According to the BSP, our economy could grow “near seven percent” this year, within the higher end of the government’s target.
“We are expecting to achieve the objective of the government to have a growth rate of six to seven percent,” Diwa Guinigundo, BSP Deputy Governor, said last month. “In fact, we could grow near the seven percent figure.”
Words by: Ross Morales
Every new beginning brings new hope. We all aspire to become a better friend, daughter, son or parent. Most of us aim to improve our professions and our skills as well. But what really awakens our curiosity is whether our personal lives will be better. Will we find love or are we headed for a storm?
In the Chinese Zodiac, 2013 is indicated as the Year of the Water Snake. Being one of the most intuitive and refined animal signs in the Chinese Zodiac,
practitioners of Feng Shui predict that this year will bring good tidings. Generally, Feng Shui practitioners describe the Year of the Water Snake as ideal
for romantics because the stars promise to bring good fortune.
Want more of the juicy details? Read further to discover what the Water Snake has in store for you!
For you, Trust is key to establishing a meaningful relationship with another person. Who doesn’t want that, right? But in order for you to attain this, consider letting people in. In the beginning, you will certainly feel uncomfortable in revealing your true self and your secrets but this is the only way. You can do this at your own pace of course. Don’t rush.
Singles can expect a steady love life this year while coupled ones must keep the romance alive by spoiling their partner. To smoothen your relationships, wear Rose Quartz.
You are naturally tenacious! When it comes to pursuing love, you can be competitive. This year, you are likely to find someone and will decide to go for it. However, before doing so, you need to take a step back and decide if you are serious about the person or because somebody else wants him or her. Be wise to tame your career-driven tendencies as well so as not to alienate your chances of romantic bliss.
Meanwhile, coupled-up Oxen also have the tendency to become possessive. Having said this, you must be careful not to suffocate your partner, as they might want to seek some space away from you.
Curb your urges to get into fights, Tiger. You may be aggressive but you can also use your natural playfulness to finding love or enhancing it. Single kittens can look forward to finding the right partner. But, do not be disappointed if Cupid doesn’t do you any favors this year. It just means that the right catch hasn’t come your way yet. For those who are in a relationship, find ways to be extra cuddly! In general, just enjoy and keep building what you have. Practice patience!
This year, Single bunnies call the shots. Embrace the courage to finally ask someone out. Work your magic through fun and engaging conversations or by being bold and letting loose on the dance floor. Either way let the other person know that you are such amazing company. As exciting as this sounds, 2013 may not be the best time to get into a shiny new romance.
For couples, there’s a chance that your relationship might flat line because of boredom. Keep those energies flowing by displaying some natural crystals or a pair of swans in your bedroom.
The mighty Single Dragon will have no problem attracting potential mates this year! As flattering as this sounds, you need to be extra careful of the people who will express an interest with you. It’s all about quality, not quantity. Keep an eye out for people who deserve your time and affection. If you were in a toxic relationship right now, it would be best to step back and see if you can improve it or if it’s time to let go.
Even though it’s your year, there is a chance that you will face some challenges when it comes to love. While you adore wearing that veil of mystery about you, it would be best if you use your charms first to draw potential lovers in before inviting their interest. And once you’ve lured them into your company, let that person experience the joy of discovering who you are. Introduce your passions one by one be it writing, cooking, making music or traveling.
Love might actually take you to greener pastures this year! You are always game when it comes to trying new things such as food or traveling to new places. Though freedom is what you live for, 2013 may be the best time to think about settling down. Open yourself up to new people who might share the same appetite for adventure as you do. Horses have a tendency to be fickle-minded too so be sure to be firm about whether you want to be part of a couple or not.
There is simply too much on your plate right now. Romance may not be on the list of your priorities, at least if you’re single. Focus on your career and build your finances first so you can enjoy the fruits of your labor later. If you are currently with somebody, determine if that person is willing to be constant in your life, whether in good or bad times. If not, re-think your situation. If you want to avoid quarrels and maintain harmony in your relationship, wear Amethyst.
Dear Monkey, you can expect some turmoil in your romantic life in 2013. While you, the solo chimp, will have to beat down a horde of potential partners, you need to trust your instincts. Do not rush into a relationship nor pass up a chance to commit. If you’re currently with someone, you may be destined to remain with that person or you may be headed to go your separate ways. The key is to strengthen your relationship with good communication and the willingness to resolve issues. Otherwise, you can still look forward to an amicable separation.
Your loyalty will dictate the course of your love life this year. If you choose not to go astray, then you will enjoy a great relationship with your partner. However, you must also make sure that that person in your life appreciates you and understands your needs. And because you are naturally career-driven, you need to balance it out by spending quality time with your partner.
For single roosters, stay true to yourself yet show off your best self to be able to attract the right person!
You and your partner will be able to accomplish so much this year if you work together. Be on the lookout for rough patches in your relationship this year due to questions of loyalty. If you see that you’re slowly turning into a door mat, stop right there. Move on.
If you, Single pup, believe in destiny, then you’re in for a treat. Somebody from your past may reappear. However, you need to carefully consider if you want them back in your life. Calculate the reasons why you fell out of touch before making a decision.
You may feel a sudden spark of chemistry with someone but do not let those emotions rush you into a relationship. If you do decide to go out with someone, just enjoy the experience and tame your expectations. If you’re in a relationship, it is best not to take risks. Use the Snake’s natural sensuality into letting the other person know that he is the object of your desire. Keep spending intimate moments with your partner! Displaying a pair of swans at home will help boost your luck in the romance department.
Love, love, love all year round!
As you mull over these romantic predictions, know that you have so many opportunities to experience Love year after year.
If you are single, learn to be happy and comfortable with yourself. When you do this, you will become a magnet for people who will want to love you back.
For people who are in a serious relationship, bask in the joy of having a special person in your life. Enjoy each other’s presence, respect and learn to grow with each other. Feng Shui is all about creating a harmonious flow of energy in all aspects of our lives. If you find that you strongly possess the qualities of a specific animal sign,
then let it be your guide to experiencing great love in 2013!
Happy Valentine’s and Kung Hei Fat Choi!
Words by: Kelly Lee
As early as August this year, the business industry has been abuzz with the positive performance of the Philippine economy. This was due to Standard & Poor’s raising of the country’s debt rating to just below investment grade in July. This has been the country’s highest debt rating since 2003, a sign that indeed, things are looking up for the better. From there, a chain reaction followed, with the country acquiring $70 billion in reserves and lower interest payments on its debt.
The first quarter of the year predicted this upward trend for the Philippines. The Philippines’ gross domestic product grew 6.4 percent in the first quarter, which in itself, outperformed other growth rates in the region, save for China’s growth. The last quarter closed strongly, as predicted, with the Philippines posting a 7.1% growth in gross domestic product – its fastest growth in two years; and the fastest pace in Asia, second only to China.
Aside from these indications, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the Asian Development Bank have declared their positive forecasts for the country’s economic growth. These forecasts have been backed up by the outstanding performance of the Philippine Stock Exchange index, which has risen 30 percent year-to-date. The Peso in effect, is performing well, which has also appreciated to its highest level in three years.
Many sectors attribute legislative updates as factors in this upward trend. Three major pieces of legislation have contributed in strengthening the country’s economic prospects for the international community.
These include the Normalization of the National budget process, and the passing of the Sin Tax and Reproductive Health Bills. These are indicative that the country is gearing towards a more progressive economic development, with the main goal of eradicating extreme poverty and unemployment.
It was also during this year that a landmark peace deal was conducted in Mindanao, ending years of conflict with them, and bringing in more confidence and trust for the country’s investors.
The Youth Power
The Philippines has a young population, with about 61% considered of working age, between the ages of 15 and 64. Compared to other Asian countries, like Japan and South Korea, the Philippines boasts of having a young and vibrant populace that will bring much-needed skills and passion to the work force.
According to Frederic Neumann, senior economist at HSBC in Hong Kong, the Philippines “stands out as the youngest population.” This will, in turn result in the country’s labor costs maintaining its competitiveness due to “the sheer abundance of workers joining the labor force.”
This leads us to the booming industry of outsourcing, which is considered one of the biggest sources of income for the country. Many of these young workers are part of the BPO industry. According to the Board of Investments, 683,000 Filipinos were employed by offshore call centers in 2011. This number generated $11 billion in revenue, 24% higher than the revenue from the previous year.
In tandem with the BPO industry, the Philippines enjoys the income being brought in by the more than 9 million Filipinos working abroad, who brought home almost $20 billion in 2011.
What’s In Store for the Future
With all these improvements, it is important that the country maintains its upward trend and keep on moving forward, given this opportunity. It is a good sign that recent Typhoon Pablo has little impact on Philippine economy, and could in fact, help sustain the economy, with the increase in public spending.
To address concerns that the country may be easily damaged by typhoons and other calamities, the government is preparing to beef up its infrastructure spending, paving the way, literally, and figuratively, to a more progressive nation. The Philippines will greatly benefit from a modern transport system so trade and commerce can reach the whole nation more conveniently and quickly.
While all these current changes may be considered short-term, it is still a major step towards the right direction. We are setting the foundation to a better nation, providing the country with opportunities to improve. One such thing to consider in the long-term is to grow and strengthen the middle class. It is also important that we improve on the Export industry. While it has not done bad this year, with Philippine exports growing 7.2 percent this year, it will still be a major help if the Philippine export industry comes out stronger.
In relation, the Philippines should be able to sufficiently exploit its natural resources. The Philippines is rich with these resources and should be utilized to our advantage. Better management of extracting these resources, such as metal, should be employed, so we can consider these growth drivers to our economy as well.
Looking Forward to 2013
All these positive economic news has given Filipinos something to look forward to in 2013. Now we can be more positive than ever, knowing that when we set our minds to it, when we allow ourselves to work together, and if we do things the right way, our nation has promise to become the country that it once was – prosperous and full of opportunities.
Every year, stylistas and fashionistas await with bated breath for Pantone’s announcement for the Color of the Year.This time, we will be enjoying the vibrant and rich Emerald Green as the 2013 Color of the Year.
Fashion critiques will most probably be breathing sighs of relief and gratitude at Pantone Color Institute’s announcement that Emerald Green will be 2013’s Color of the Year. Indeed, from the snooze-worthy nude trends in the red carpet, Emerald Green will be the pop of color that the Awards season needs.
According to Pantone Color Institute’s Executive Director, Leatrice Eiseman, “Green is the most abundant hue in nature.” Which explains why Emerald Green, with Pantone code 17-5641, was chosen the winning color.
The hue was chosen based on polls conducted with designers and brands on the colors they will be using in their respective 2013 lines. It has been described as “vivid and verdant” and will definitely challenge designers on how best to maximize this lively color.
How to Wear the Color
of the Year
While most designers are pleased with Emerald Green, there are some who are still hesitant to include it in their style palates.
For those of us who do not have our own personal stylists, here are tips on how to wear 2013’s Color of the Year.
Wear it as an Accent.
You don’t have to go all out and cover yourself in green from head to toe. It is admittedly, a strong color, and should be worn without appearing garish or cheap. Add splashes of green to your wardrobe. Pair it with white, or black. Filipinas are blessed with natural morena or olive skin, so it will look really well against our natural tan.
Accessorize with it.
Think beyond the box. You don’t have to wear it as an actual piece of clothing, you can wear Emerald Green as jewelry or even as a hairpiece. The vibrant color will set off your dark hair and eyes, giving you that mysterious, gypsy effect.
Wear it with Flair.
Don’t get hang-ups about the color. Green, while not as safe as blue, is also a beautiful and vibrant color, that screams of positivity and cheer. It is, after all, the color of nature. So go ahead and flaunt that green, complement it with a blooming smile, and you’ll be infectiously charming to everyone.
Style your Home Accordingly.
Don’t forget, the Color of the Year does not only apply to fashion. You must also make an effort to accentuate your home with Emerald Green. From bedsheets to vases, to table settings, you will definitely have fun mixing and matching your furniture to this happy color.
Since it has already been stated that Emerald Green is indeed, the color of nature, why not take advantage and use nature to flaunt this color? Now might be the time to spruce up your garden. Add a small plant to your office desk or to your room. If you open your mind to it, you’ll have so much fun!
Get your creative juices flowing, maximize this vibrant color and make it YOUR color!
Words by: Teresa Cinco
On December 17, the controversial RH Bill was approved 13-8 by the senators upon final reading. As we wait for President Aquino to sign this bill into law, many are still wary of what the RH Bill represents. In media coverage, some issues or points have been highlighted more, making it the main focus of the bill (eg. Abortion), making it seem that the RH Bill is FOR abortion, when it fact, it aims to eradicate abortion completely.
Here, we finally clarify all those questions, and present, in 5 points, what the RH Bill is about, once and for all.
The RH Bill is about freedom
Simply put, it does not force any method or belief into anyone’s life. The RH Bill will provide the public with the information, the means for family planning, but it WILL NOT require the public to follow them. The bill aims to educate women so they will be equipped to keep themselves healthy the way they want to.
The RH Bill does NOT
Contrary to some misconceptions, the RH bill does not legalize abortion, nor does it promote it as a solution to unintended pregnancies. In section 3 of the bill, it is stated that the act does not intend to amend the penal law on abortion. In fact, the act aims to minimize, if not completely eradicate, abortion from the country. By educating women about family planning, there will be less unplanned pregnancies, and therefore, less abortions to consider.
The RH Bill respects religious decisions.
The RH bill does not impose on other’s religious beliefs. If they prefer the more natural form of family planning, then they are free to do so. It also does not dictate the number of children a family should have. Again, it merely provides families the means to plan their families properly so they can have more control of their choices.
The RH Bill discusses all methods of family planning.
As previously stated, the RH Bill aims to inform and to provide women with choices. As such, the RH Bill will impart information on ALL methods of family planning, without bias on any given method. All these methods include those that are SAFE, EFFECTIVE and are either natural or artificial. The government will not advise the public of any family planning method that has been considered dangerous to the lives of those who use it. Which is why the Food and Drugs Authority will ensure strict guidelines in the use of contraceptives. This takes into consideration side effects and other harmful effects to the user.
The RH Bill promotes the health and lives of mothers.
More than anything, we are forgetting that first and foremost, the RH Bill was created to protect the health and lives of mothers. According to the National Statistics Office, about 11 mothers die everyday. This is indicative of the lack of information and education imparted to our women. More so, it reflects the limited number of midwives, nurses and doctors who can attend to pregnant and birthing women. In fact, statistics show that there is only 1 midwife attending to every 100 annual live births. This is an alarming situation, given that birthing women should be given the proper care, including postpartum and infant care. The RH Bill aims to provide support so more midwives, nurses and doctors may be deployed, especially in far-flung areas. In addition, RH Bill will guarantee funding for the public, providing them with health services that allow them to lead healthy lives.
The RH Bill does not aim to divide the nation from one religion to another. It does not aim to promote sex to the youth. It is merely the government’s attempt to empower women, providing them with the tools, resources and the knowledge to take care of themselves when they are of age in planning a family.
In true Filipino fashion, sports have taken numerous melodramatic turns in its season finale. Revelations and plots that many thought would not happen this year surprisingly came and changed Philippine sports in many ways.
In the sport of boxing, the mighty has fallen. Not once, but twice. Manny Pacquiao, who has not lost in years, dropped two marquee bouts this year. Earlier in 2012, Timothy Bradley took the Pambansang Kamao twelve rounds and took home the victory. The fight dismayed many and some even called it controversial. But there was no controversy in the outcome of the Pacman versus Juan Manuel Marquez bout.
In the fourth match between the two, Marquez broke the nation’s heart. JMM decked the Filipino champ in the earlier rounds. But Pacman made a furious come back by putting Marquez on the canvas. Some pundits even said the end was inevitable. The end indeed came but not for Marquez. Pacman lunged for a careless punch at the end of the sixth round. Marquez countered and the lights went out for the Filipino boxer. The Mexicans and the naysayers celebrated as Filipinos all over the world prayed for Pacman to rise up and win the match.
Manny stayed on the mat for a good few minutes prompting the end of the bout. Many have called for Manny’s retirement while some are asking for a rematch. Manny said he is willing to go for Pacquiao-Marquez 5. But Roach wants to assess his ward before letting him step back into the ring. Much has been said and much has yet to be seen. As the year ends, Pacman is resting his banged up body.
Though one Filipino champ is down, Nonito Donaire picked up the nation with his rousing victory. The up and coming Pinoy pug took on wily veteran, John Arce. It was the Mexicans’ turn to hold their breaths as Donaire made short work of the respected champion. In a matter of three rounds, Donaire’s hand was raised in victory. And the Filipinos’ pride uplifted even just for a little bit.
The Philippine Basketball Association is still one of the hottest shows in town. The All Filipino Cup is in full swing. The whole league is now watching the top four teams battle it out to make it to the finals. The top-seeded Talk N Text team has their hands full with the resurgent Alaska Aces. Behind the power troika of the rookie Calvin Abueva, Jayvee Casio, and veteran Cyrus Baguio, the team is pushing Coach Norman Black’s team to the limit.
The other series to determine the second finalist is also one of PBA’s epic wars. The proud Rain or Shine Club takes on the SanMig Coffee Mixers. Coach Yeng Guiao, Paul Lee, Gabe Norwood, Jeff Chan, Beau Belga, Chris Tiu and the entire crew are out hustling and out playing the Coffee Mixers. But James Yap and company is out to prove they don’t just look good, they also play good. The Finals may be a few games away but the fans are enjoying every match and every play.
The SMART GILAS team is off to Dubai, though this is not your SMART GILAS PBA ALL-STARS Lineup. This team is made up of up and coming young ballers led by Kevin Alas and his batch mates. And to give the team a boost in height and versatility, Ginebra’s KG Canaleta was tapped by coach Chot Reyes. The key players of the historic Jones Cup run opted to rest while some are still playing in the PBA semifinals. This Gilas bunch may not be all stars but for sure, under coach Chot Reyes, they will give their all.
The Azkals made waves yet again in the AFL Suzuki Cup. In the tournament where the then-upstart team introduced themselves, the Azkals showed that they are a team to be reckoned with. Though they failed to duplicate their semifinals finish, reaching the quarterfinals is a show of consistency and a clear sign that Filipino booters are here to stay. After the busy year, the Azkals are still training and preparing for next year’s major tournaments.
The drama continues for Philippine sports. Some might say Manny Pacquiao has dropped the ball or even the nation’s flag. But that does not mean there are no other athletes to pick up the cudgels. With Nonito Donaire, Smart Gilas, and the Azkals still on the rise, there are plenty to cheer for next year. Slowly but surely the Filipinos are being known not just for Manny Pacquiao but for our many other sports heroes as well.
On February 6, Queen Elizabeth II celebrated her 60th year on the throne, having ascended when she was 25 years old, following the death of her father, King George VI. A full lineup of activities across her Commonwealth realms took place over several months. However, during her Golden Jubilee, she and Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, only went through the United Kingdom, and left touring of her other countries to the rest of the royal family.
On March 12, the Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh, the Prince of Wales, the Duchess of Cornwall, and the Countess of Wessex attended the Commonwealth Day Observance Service at Westminster Abbey, together with Prime Minister David Cameron and a thousand schoolchildren.
On May 19, members of the Royal Navy, Army, and Royal Air Force paid homage to the monarch via a parade and flypast that saw some 2,500 servicemen and women, as well as 78 historic and current aircraft take part in the event.
On June 3, over a million people on the banks of the River Thames witnessed one of the biggest flotillas ever assembled escort the Queen on a royal barge down the tributary. The following day, some of the most prominent acts from theater, dance, and music gathered together at Buckingham Palace for a concert staged by the BBC and Gary Barlow. Performers included Elton John, Cliff Richard, Paul McCartney, Shirley Bassey, Kylie Minogue, and Stevie Wonder among others. Also on June 4, over 4,000 beacons were lit in the UK and across the globe in commemoration of the 60th year of Queen Elizabeth’s reign.
On June 5th, the Diamond Jubilee weekend came to a close with a national service of thanksgiving at St. Paul’s Cathedral, followed by a reception at Mansion House, lunch at Westminster Hall, a 60-gun salute at Buckingham Palace, and an appearance on the balcony as the Royal Air Force executed a flypast and the Queen’s Guard a Feu de Joie.
French Presidential Elections
Following completion of the two-round system of voting, moderate social democrat Francois Hollande unseated Nikolas Sarkozy as president of France. Hollande is the first Socialist to win a French presidential poll since Francois Mitterrand’s re-election in 1988. Sarkozy on the other hand, considered the most unpopular French president, lost power after one term in office.
On February 1, Facebook announced plans for its initial public offering or IPO in a regulatory filing. On May 3, the social networking company set its IPO price range from $28 to $35. On May 15, it raises this to $34 to $38 per share, before settling on $38 by May 17. On May 18, two hours before Facebook shares began to be traded, Mark Zuckerberg rang the opening bell of the Nasdaq from Facebook headquarters in Silicon Valley. But although over 500 million shares were bought and sold that day, the stock remained virtually unchanged by close of trading. Three days later, it dipped below its IPO price, and a week after, fell below $30 for the first time.
On August 17, Facebook’s stock falls to half of its IPO price.
The London Olympics
The 30th Olympiad was perhaps, the greatest spectacle the world has witnessed this year (so far), and certainly ranks right up there in all-time highs. The London Games kicked off July 27 with an unprecedented, jaw-dropping opening ceremony called “Isles of Wonder,” directed by Academy Award winner Danny Boyle of Slumdog Millionaire fame. American swimmer Michael Phelps was the biggest story of the summer games, capping his tremendous career by winning four golds and two silver medals. His 2012 haul brings his personal total to 22 medals, making him the most decorated Olympian of all time. By the close of competition on August 12, the United States had emerged on top with 46 golds, followed by China with 38, and the host nation Great Britain with 29. The closing ceremonies were a tribute to British music and pop culture, with renowned acts like the Pet Shop Boys, George Michael, and The Who among the performers.
U.S. Presidential Elections
President Barack Obama was re-elected for a second term, beating Republican bet and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney in the United States presidential race. Americans cast their votes on November 6th and at around 1am EST of November 7th, Mitt Romney formally conceded to Barrack Obama.
Around the Nation
Death of DILG Secretary, Jesse Robredo
Department of Interior and Local Government chief, Jesse Robredo was on his way to his hometown Naga City aboard a twin-engine Piper Seneca on August 18. The secretary was said to be rushing to get home in time to attend the awarding ceremony of his youngest daughter who had won a swimming competition. According to reports, one of the engines of the small plane failed just 20 minutes after takeoff from Mactan Airport in Cebu. It was allegedly attempting an emergency landing at Masbate Airport, when it crashed into the sea some 300 meters off the coast of Masbate City. Rescue divers were unable to find the secretary until August 21st, when a volunteer British technical diver found his remains inside the fuselage, 180 feet below the sea, roughly 800 meters from the shore.
Canonization of Pedro Calungsod
This could actually be filed as an international headline, but since Pedro Calungsod is the second Filipino to be proclaimed saint, perhaps it would be fitting to include it among local stories. As a teenager, Pedro Calungsod went with Spanish Jesuit missionaries led by Fr. Diego Luis de San Vitores on a voyage to evangelize the natives of the Mariana Islands in 1668. On 2 April 1672, he went to Tumon village in Guam, where he accompanied and assisted San Vitores in the baptism of a newborn child. However, the baby’s father and village chief opposed the sacrament, believing that the baptismal water was actually poisonous. The child’s mother, who was a Christian, still consented the baptism, and when her husband learned of this, he and another villager are said to have attacked Calungsod and San Vitores. Pedro was said to have been hit by a spear, before succumbing to a blow to his head from a sword.
Calungsod was beatified in 2000, and canonized along with six others in rites officiated by Pope Benedict XVI on October 21 at St. Peter’s Square in the Vatican.
Senator Vicente Sotto III Plagiarizes. Twice.
Once is bad enough, yet Senator Tito Sotto has been caught using other people’s original texts twice. The first instance took place in August, when news outfits and internet users noted that he had lifted passages from a 2011 blog entry by American home economist blogger, Sarah Pope. Pope confirmed in a separate blog entry August 16, that Sotto had indeed taken material from her blog and used it in his speech against the Reproductive Health bill.
Less than a month later, Sotto apparently did it again, this time translating a part of Robert Kennedy’s 1966 speech in South Africa and incorporating it into the fourth and final segment of his speech opposing the said bill.
On October 3, the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 took effect, eliciting outrage from netizens who felt that many of its provisions are unconstitutional. While the intended result of its implementation is to curb a host of online crimes such as hacking, spamming, identity theft, and pornography, the act also comes with a provision that extends the country’s criminal libel law to include cyberspace. The act has gained notoriety because the penalties for defamation on the internet are heavier than those for traditional print media.
For example, a libelous comment online could earn the poster 12 years in prison, as well as a fine of one million pesos.
Ateneo Bags its Five-Peat
The Ateneo de Manila Blue Eagles completed the drive for five, by outlasting the UST Growling Tigers in two closely-fought games to win the men’s basketball crown in UAAP Season 75. The Loyola-based crew gave longtime coach, Norman Black, the only fitting sendoff as he bid his UAAP coaching career adieu at the close of the tournament. Black had announced earlier in the year, that this would be his final turn as mentor of the Hail Mary squad, having decided to return to coaching in the PBA. With this fifth straight crown, Ateneo now holds the distinction of having the longest, unshared, and uninterrupted championship streak in UAAP history.