Thursday, April 30, 2009

NBI Eyeing Suicide in the Shooting of Trina Etong

30 April 2009

"Our investigation is leaning to suicide but our probe is not yet over so we cannot categorically say it is suicide."  This is the statement that is being attributed by GMA Channel 7 reports to NBI spokesman Ric Diaz.  

I have not seen any video clip of this declaration by Mr. Ric Diaz but it appears to be compatible with recent developments in the Trina investigation.  

You will recall that no less than Kaye Failon has thanked the NBI for its professionalism. Coming from Kaye, that's telling a lot.  More recently, the test on the clothes that Ted Failon wore when he rushed Trina to the hospital on April 15 has yielded negative for gunpowder residue.  

We have to remember that criminal conviction requires proof of guilt "beyond reasonable doubt." 

The biggest doubt so far are the twin autopsies conducted on Trina wherein two forensic experts commissioned by Ted Failon himself, Drs. Erwin Erfe and Raquel Fortun, have given their expert opinions that Trina's wound was most probably self-inflicted.  The way the doubts have piled up and as proof required to secure a Ted Failon conviction diminishes, it is but to be expected that the NBI would want to slowly ease up on Ted and his family.  This is so especially because of the torment that the Failons have suffered at the hands of the Quezon City police. The NBI has nothing to gain if it publicly appears to be aggressively pursuing a murder, homicide or parricide case that has obviously lost a lot of its steam.

Latest DOH Update on the Swine Flu Virus Near-Pandemic As of April 25, 2009, 6:17pm

30 April 2009

This is the latest update from the new DOH website.  It consists of the statement read by Secretary Duque during the press conference earlier today:


Early this morning, the World Health Organization (WHO) raised the pandemic alert from Phase 4 to Phase 5 after seven more countries aside from Mexico and the United States confirmed cases of the novel swine influenza A (H1N1) virus bringing the total to 148 cases and 7 deaths.    In the Philippines, there has been no documented case or death due to the virus.

 Countries as of April 29 CasesDeaths 
 United States 91
 Mexico 26 7
 Canada 13 0
 United Kingdom 5 0
 Spain 4 0
 New Zealand 3 0
 Germany 3 0
 Israel 2 0
 Australia 1 0
 TOTAL 148 7

Source:  WHO Swine Influenza Update

Phase 5 means that there is now “human to human transmission of the virus causing sustained community outbreaks in at least two countries in one WHO region”.   In this scenario, it is expected that air travel can further spread illness thus increasing the risk of a full-scale pandemic.  All countries are now expected to ready the full implementation of their Pandemic Response Plans 

Thus, today, I have convened a Command Conference with all the Directors of the Centers for Health Development and the DOH-retained Hospitals including all regional epidemiologists to discuss the readiness plans and command and control systems for an imminent pandemic. 

I am also calling for a meeting with the Chiefs of all private hospitals to coordinate with the DOH on how they can prepare and respond to possible cases of the Mexican Swine Flu which may come to their attention. 

We will also collaborate with the business sector and members of the pharmaceutical sector on how they can contribute to the National Pandemic Preparedness and Response Plan.  This early, we are tapping the local pharmaceutical industry to help us ensure the availability of Oseltamivir when the need arises. 

We maintain that there are no current travel restrictions to Mexico, United States and other affected countries.  Travelers are strongly advised however, to reconsider trips unless extremely necessary. It is also prudent for incoming passengers to monitor their health status especially if they came from an affected country.  

Note the onset of fever and other flu-like symptoms up to 10 days after arrival and immediately consult a physician.  Hospitals and medical personnel should report cases of suspected cases of Mexican swine flu to the DOH Hotline at tel. nos. 711-1001 and 711-1002. 

We reiterate that pork is safe to eat and that the Mexican Swine Flu is not transmitted via consumption of pork. As a precaution however, the national government through the Department of Agriculture has already issued a “temporary suspension of all hog and pork imports from afflicted zones’ while placing under heightened alert at all airports and seaports to prevent illegal imports. 

We also recommend the following personal protective measures:

  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when coughing or sneezing.
  • Wash hands regularly with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze.  Alcohol-based hand cleaners are also effective
  • Avoid close contact with sick people.
You will note that the table supplied by the DOH indicated the US death toll at 0 instead of 1 which is unfortunate death of a 23-month old toddler in Texas yesterday. That death had been confirmed yesterday by Dr. Richard Besser of the US CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) as being swine flu related.

This is the video of the press conference from gmanews.tv:

More on this when I return.

A Conversation with DepEd Assistant Secretary Teresita Inciong on My Sad Experience with the DepEd NCR on Tuition Fee Increase

30 April 2009

It's 4:43 in the afternoon and I've just had a telephone conversation with DepEd Assistant Secretary for Programs and Projects, Dr. Teresita Inciong. This concerns my earlier post entitled  An Open Letter on the Nightmare of Tuition Fee Increases to PGMA, DepEd Secretary Jesli Lapus, CHED Chairman Angeles and the Entire Filipino Nation.  

I sought the help of the DepEd Central Office regarding the matter and Ms. Salve De Vera of the Office of Secretary Jesli Lapus referred me to the Dr. Inciong.  I promised Dr. Inciong that I'll start writing this post as soon as we hang up the phone and she in turn promised to contact the DepEd NCR and get back to me afterwards. 

After a few minutes, at around 4:49pm, my phone rang and on the other side was Dr. Flor Magday, Asst. Director of DepEd NCR (telephone no. 9275405) and after a circuitous and frustrating explanation, she finally clarified that I could get a copy of the application for tuition fee increase of the private school where my youngest child is studying.  

I'm going to do that on Monday, May 4.

Dr. Magday also informed me that they are asking the private school why only very few parents attended the so-called consultation meeting.  The simple reason for that, I told her, was that the school did not invite the vast majority of the parents. 

Do you have a similar experience in these so-called "consultations" on tuition fee increases where nobody seems to get invited?  Paki-share naman po.  You can post your comments here or email me at rollyocampo@yahoo.com.

Please pray that God upholds right and sustains the truth in this battle for the future of our children.

Please stay tuned.


If There is Overpricing by P8, Secretary Angelo Reyes Wants to Hang the Oil Companies — Ang Tagal Naman!

30 April 2009

"If there is overpricing to the extent of P8, then let's hang these oil companies," says Department of Energy Secretary Angelo Reyes.

Kailangan pa bang umabot ng P8 ang overpricing?!  Overpricing by whatever amount is overpricing! 

This is the video clip courtesy of gmanews.tv:

Transparency is the only way by which we can be sure that there is no overpricing by these oil companies.  A system should be set up in such a way that prices can be audited not only by the DOE, the BIR and the COA but also by the Filipino people themselves.  As the people who bear the heavy burden of oil prices and the taxes that come with them, we should have an easy way to determine what the real prices of oil products should be.

Dr. Margaret Chan, WHO Director General, Raises the Swine Flu Pandemic Alert Level to Phase 5

30 April 2009

Speaking from the WHO headquarters in Geneva, Director General Dr. Margaret Chan has raised the worldwide pandemic alert level to phase 5, one level short of a full-blown pandemic.

"All countries should immediately activate their pandemic preparedness plans,"  advised Dr. Chan.  Below is the full text of the statement by Dr. Margaret Chan from the WHO website:

Statement by WHO Director-General, Dr Margaret Chan 
29 April 2009

Swine influenza

Ladies and gentlemen,

Based on assessment of all available information, and following several expert consultations, I have decided to raise the current level of influenza pandemic alert from phase 4 to phase 5.

Influenza pandemics must be taken seriously precisely because of their capacity to spread rapidly to every country in the world.

Related links

Watch the video [wmv, 7min 13 sec] 

Listen to the audio [mp3 57 Mb]

Swine influenza - full coverage 

Current WHO phase of pandemic alert 

International Health Regulations (IHR) 

On the positive side, the world is better prepared for an influenza pandemic than at any time in history.

Preparedness measures undertaken because of the threat from H5N1 avian influenza were an investment, and we are now benefitting from this investment.

For the first time in history, we can track the evolution of a pandemic in real-time.

I thank countries who are making the results of their investigations publicly available. This helps us understand the disease.

I am impressed by the work being done by affected countries as they deal with the current outbreaks.

I also want to thank the governments of the USA and Canada for their support to WHO, and to Mexico.

Let me remind you. New diseases are, by definition, poorly understood. Influenza viruses are notorious for their rapid mutation and unpredictable behaviour.

WHO and health authorities in affected countries will not have all the answers immediately, but we will get them.

WHO will be tracking the pandemic at the epidemiological, clinical, and virological levels.

The results of these ongoing assessments will be issued as public health advice, and made publicly available.

All countries should immediately activate their pandemic preparedness plans. Countries should remain on high alert for unusual outbreaks of influenza-like illness and severe pneumonia.

At this stage, effective and essential measures include heightened surveillance, early detection and treatment of cases, and infection control in all health facilities.

This change to a higher phase of alert is a signal to governments, to ministries of health and other ministries, to the pharmaceutical industry and the business community that certain actions should now be undertaken with increased urgency, and at an accelerated pace.

I have reached out to donor countries, to UNITAID, to the GAVI Alliance, the World Bank and others to mobilize resources.

I have reached out to companies manufacturing antiviral drugs to assess capacity and all options for ramping up production.

I have also reached out to influenza vaccine manufacturers that can contribute to the production of a pandemic vaccine.

The biggest question, right now, is this: how severe will the pandemic be, especially now at the start?

It is possible that the full clinical spectrum of this disease goes from mild illness to severe disease. We need to continue to monitor the evolution of the situation to get the specific information and data we need to answer this question.

From past experience, we also know that influenza may cause mild disease in affluent countries, but more severe disease, with higher mortality, in developing countries.

No matter what the situation is, the international community should treat this as a window of opportunity to ramp up preparedness and response.

Above all, this is an opportunity for global solidarity as we look for responses and solutions that benefit all countries, all of humanity. After all, it really is all of humanity that is under threat during a pandemic.

As I have said, we do not have all the answers right now, but we will get them.

Thank you.

The Philippines, fortunately, is still swine flu-free.  All of you, wherever your are, stay safe out there.  God bless!

Kaye Failon Thanks NBI for their Professionalism as Ted Failon Answers Probers Questions

29 April 2009

The father and daughter team of Ted and Kaye Failon went to the NBI headquarters early today for Ted to answer questions about Trina's death.

Emerging from the questioning, Ted appeared rejuvenated and in high spirits.  He said that he wanted to devote more time to his daughters now that he's a single parent.  For her part, Kaye Failon said, "Gusto lang naming magpasalamat sa NBI for being professional po, maraming, maraming salamat po sa kanila."

Kaye's comment is an unmistakable reference, by way of comparison, to the bungling that the QCPD committed in handling the whole Trina affair.  

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

I Hope It's True — They're Saying 200,000 Jobs are Available at Jobapalooza '09!

29 April 2009

"Employers who are participating have promised to hire three workers on the spot," that's what DOLE Undersecretary, Minda Padilla, said during a press conference on Jobapalooza earlier today.

About "200,000 jobs from about 1,000 participating employers and recruiters," await job applicants according to the DOLE.

Jobapalooza '09 is on Labor Day, May 1, 2009 at the SMX Convention Center, Mall of Asia Complex in Pasay City.  The main Labor Day program will start at 9:00 a.m at the SMX Hall and will be preceded by a ribbon cutting ceremony at 8:45 a.m.

The day's celebration will be capped by the Jobapalooza '09 Concert featuring Gary Valenciano and Rivermaya.

Here's the video clip from gmanews.tv:

Please note that there will be other Jobapalooza '09 events all over the country running simultaneously with the main Metro Manila celebration. Here's the full announcement from the DOLE:

In celebration of Labor Day: More than 20,000 jobseekers register for JOBapalooza '09
Wednesday, April 29, 2009

More and more new graduates and jobseekers are riding on the wave of opportunity by registering with the country's biggest jobs fair dubbed "Tayo Na! Trabaho Na! JOBapalooza '09" Labor Day approaches, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) today reported.

Labor and Employment Secretary Marianito D. Roque said that based on the latest DOLE preliminary report, more than 20,603 jobseekers have already registered for JOBapalooza '09, which shall be held at the SMX Convention Center, Mall of Asia Complex, Pasay City on May 1, 2009.

More than 1,000 local firms and overseas recruiters would offer more than 250,000 productive job opportunities to new graduates and jobseekers.

Following the ribbon cutting ceremony at 8:45 a.m., the main Labor Day program will commence at 9:00 a.m. at the SMX Hall, followed by the launching of the DOLE Hotline and the reading of Labor Day Manifesto, and the awarding of livelihood and training certificates/vouchers to disadvantaged sectors and workers under various DOLE and government thrusts (WIN AP, DOLE-AMP, Phil-Health, Ye-Ye, PGS, and OWWA).

Simultaneously, a Livelihood Display and Sale, complemented by entrepreneurship slideshows, training/livelihood seminars, and medical missions, will proceed in the area from 10:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. The day will be capped by the launch of Hatid Saya (Alay sa Manggagawang Pinoy sa Ibayong Dagat) courtesy of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration, the Trade Unions concert, a spectacular fireworks display in honor of the Filipino worker, and finally, the JOBapalooza '09 Concert dubbed "Alay sa Manggagawang Pilipino" featuring Gary Valenciano and Rivermaya.

Roque said that JOBapalooza '09 is a collective offering of the Philippine Labor Movement comprising the country's labor federations and the country's Three Plus (3+) Social Partners (which include management, government and other sectors). He cited the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP), Federation of Free Workers (FFW), Philippine Transport and General Workers Organization (PTGWO), All Workers Alliance Trade Union (AWATU), Trade Union of the Philippines and Allied Services (TUPAS), Alliance of Filipino Workers (AFW), Philippine Organization of Labor Unions (POLU), and Employers Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP), for presenting the Labor Day jobs fair in partnership with major sponsors Globe, Banco de Oro (BDO), SM Shoemart, PHIL-JobNet (www.phil-job.net), JobStreet.com, STI, Philippine Online Chronicles (POC), the City Government of Manila, and the City Government of Pasay City, as well as the DOLE's National Capital Region (NCR) Office, which is supervising the event.

As this developed, the DOLE's Bureau of Local Employment (BLE) continues to encourage new graduates and jobseekers to avail of the available opportunities by registering for the JOBapalooza '09 using the Internet links at http://www.phil-job.net, or the DOLE's website at http://www.dole.gov.ph. Walk-in applicants are also welcome at the SMX on the Labor Day itself.

Roque emphasized that on top of the main"Tayo Na! Trabaho Na! JOBapalooza '09," more job/livelihood fairs will highlight the nationwide Labor Day celebrations in the Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao areas under the supervision of the DOLE Regional Offices (ROs), at the following tentative venues on May 1, 2009: Region I (Ilocos Region) - SM Rosales, Pangasinan; Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) - Baguio Convention Center/SM Baguio Job Fair; Region II (Cagayan Valley) - Paseo Real, Tuguegarao City (job/trade/livelihood fair) and Faustino L. Dy Gymnasium, Cauayan City (registration of professionals); Region III (Central Luzon) -- Pampanga (SM City Pampanga, SM City Clark, SM City Baliuag, and SM City Marilao); Region IV-A (CALABARZON) - SM Sta. Rosa (livelihood fair); Region V (Bicol Region) - SM Naga City; Region VI (Western Visayas) - Robinson's Place, and Gaisano City, both in Bacolod City, Negros Occidental; Region VII (Central Visayas) - Cebu City Sports Complex (overseas fair), SM City Cebu Jobs Fair, Provincial Capitol (local fair); Region IX (Zamboanga Peninsula) - ZC Golden Boys Grille, Nunez Extension, Zamboanga City; Region X (Northern Mindanao) - SM Cagayan de Oro City; Region XII (SOCCSKSARGEN) - Kidapawan City Gymnasium, South Seas Complex, and KCC Mall of General Santos City; and CARAGA Region - Luciano Convention Center, GP Rosales St., Butuan City. 

source: Information and Publication Service

More when I return. 

Jun Lozada Arrested for Perjury, Promises Not to Post Bail

29 April 2009

ZTE-NBN broadband scandal star witness Jun Lozada is now in jail after being arrested for charges of perjury filed by defeated senatorial candidate Mike Defensor.

In a dramatic turn of events, Lozada who a year ago stunned the nation by accusing personalities closely-linked with Malacañang with kidnapping him, is now the one facing a prison term. Leaders of Philippine civil society like singer Leah Navarro and Enteng Romano of the Black and White Movement were shown on TV asking people to support Jun Lozada.

Whoever thought of this "arrest Jun Lozada" stunt is not doing PGMA a favor.  With Lozada in jail and not posting bail, the spotlight will focus on him again and civil society will now have a converging point to forge unity that was lost several months ago.  

Here are video clips of Jun Lozada's arrest courtesy of gmanews.tv:

Next time you know, this government will be scrambling to get Jun Lozada out of jail because of the public outrage that his arrest will create. 

Let's pray for Jun Lozada and his family and for the truth to now finally prevail. Let's visit him in jail as soon as we can and tell him that we appreciate the sacrifices he's been willing to bear for our country and people.

God can send angels to spring Jun Lozada out of jail as he did for the Apostle Peter more than two thousand years ago.  But I guess He won't be doing that now.  I believe He wants to see a conscience-stricken, God-fearing nation rise up and say, "Enough of injustice, corruption and abuse!"

Then, Jun Lozada will have his freedom once again and this fair land will have justice and fairness restored in its midst.

Mabuhay si Jun Lozada!  Mabuhay ang Pinoy!

To God be the glory!



First Swine Flu-Related Death in the U.S.


29 April 2009

A 23-month-old child in Texas has died of swine flu-related illness, the first fatality in the United States.  The death was confirmed by Dr. Richard Besser, acting director of the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control.  Dr. Besser's announcement was shown over CNN.

It will be recalled that Dr. Besser himself warned just earlier today to expect Americans deaths because of this swine flu outbreak.  That warning has now become grim reality.

"My thoughts, prayers, and deepest condolences go out to the family," said President Obama in expressing his sympathies in a live broadcast being shown just now (8:15pm, Manila time). Obama is welcoming Sen. Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania to the Democratic party.


Dr. Sanjay Gupta of CNN Tracks First Swine Flu Victim, A Boy, in La Gloria, Veracruz, Mexico

29 April 2009

Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN chief medical correspondent, is reporting via Anderson Cooper's CNN's AC 360 that he has tracked down in La Gloria, Veracruz, Mexico a little boy who is widely believed to be the first victim of the swine flu virus.

Reporting from what is probably the swine flu outbreak's ground zero, Sanjay wore no face mask because according to him, the boy is already fully recovered and could no longer pass on the infection.  The boy reportedly got sick with the virus in March this year but his blood was not tested for the swine flu virus because doctors did not know about the swine flu virus at that time.  The place where he lives is near pig farms.

It is not clear whether the antiviral drug Tamiflu was a factor in this boy's recovery.

Here are pictures of Dr. Sanjay Gupta and the boy whose name was not disclosed.

This is a story of hope and survival. There could be life after a bout with the swine flu virus as this lovable Mexican kid proves.  

In the meantime, the swine flu virus outbreak has spread: 64 confirmed cases in the U.S, 9 states affected, 7 countries worldwide.

Author's Note: I believe my use of these pictures constitute fair use of CNN's rights over its video clips.  If there are objections from CNN, I'll promptly pull down these pictures.

U.S. FDA Authorizes Emergency Use of Tamiflu and Relenza to Better Respond to Swine Flu Outbreak

29 April 2009

The U.S. FDA has issued the following press release announcing that it is authorizing  the use of antiviral drugs Relenza and Tamiflu "to respond to the swine flu virus under certain circumstances.  This was done through the issuance of Emergency Use Authorizations (EUA). The full text of the U.S. FDA media release follows:

FDA News
April 27, 2009

Media Inquiries:
Peper Long, 301-796-4671
Consumer Inquiries:

FDA Authorizes Emergency Use of Influenza Medicines, Diagnostic Test in Response to Swine Flu Outbreak in Humans

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration, in response to requests from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, has issued Emergency Use Authorizations (EUAs) to make available to public health and medical personnel important diagnostic and therapeutic tools to identify and respond to the swine flu virus under certain circumstances. The agency issued these EUAs for the use of certain Relenza and Tamiflu antiviral products, and for the rRT-PCR Swine Flu Panel diagnostic test.

The EUA authority allows the FDA, based on the evaluation of available data, to authorize the use of unapproved or uncleared medical products or unapproved or uncleared uses of approved or cleared medical products following a determination and declaration of emergency, provided certain criteria are met. The authorization will end when the declaration of emergency is terminated or the authorization revoked by the agency.

Currently, Relenza is approved to treat acute uncomplicated illnesses due to influenza in adults and children 7 years and older who have been symptomatic for less than two days, and for the prevention of influenza in adults and children 5 years and older. Tamiflu is approved for the treatment and prevention of influenza in patients 1 year and older.

The EUAs allow for Tamiflu also to be used to treat and prevent influenza in children under 1 year, and to provide alternate dosing recommendations for children older than 1 year. In addition, under the EUAs, both medications may be distributed to large segments of the population without complying with the label requirements otherwise applicable to dispensed drugs, and accompanied by written information pertaining to the emergency use. They may also be distributed by a broader range of health care workers, including some public health officials and volunteers, in accordance with applicable state and local laws and/or public health emergency responses.

In authorizing an EUA for the rRT-PCR Swine Flu Panel diagnostic test, the FDA has determined that it may be effective in testing samples from individuals diagnosed with influenza A infections, whose virus subtypes cannot be identified by currently available tests. This EUA allows the CDC to distribute the swine flu test to public health and other qualified laboratories that have the needed equipment and the personnel who are trained to perform and interpret the results.

The test amplifies the viral genetic material from a nasal or nasopharyngeal swab. A positive result indicates that the patient is presumptively infected with swine flu virus but not the stage of infection. However, a negative result does not, by itself, exclude the possibility of swine flu virus infection.

The EUA authority is part of Project BioShield, which became law in July 2004.

Health care professionals and consumers may report serious adverse events (side effects) or product quality problems with the use of this product to the FDA's MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program either online, by regular mail, fax or phone. 
--Online: www.fda.gov/MedWatch/report.htm 
--Regular Mail: use postage-paid FDA form 3500 available at: www.fda.gov/MedWatch/getforms.htm and mail to MedWatch, 5600 Fishers Lane, Rockville, MD 20852-9787 
--Fax: (800) FDA-0178 
--Phone: (800) FDA-1088

For more information:
FDA’s Emergency Use Authorization of Medical Products Guidance, go to 
The FDA website is here.

You will note that the FDA issued the EUAs "in response to requests from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention."  This is clearly part of the aggressive posture that the entire US government, led by the CDC, is adopting in response to the outbreak of swine flu virus that has now jumped out of North America and reached the Middle East (in Israel) and Oceania in New Zealand.

The EUAs basically expanded the use of the antiviral drugs for this swine flu emergency.  

In the case of Tamiflu for example which is "approved for the treatment and prevention of influenza in patients 1 year and older," the EUA, during the swine flu emergency, allows Tamiflu "also to be used to treat and prevent influenza in children under 1 year, and to provide alternate dosing recommendations for children older than 1 year."

Also, the EUAs, allow both Relenza and Tamiflu "to be distributed to large segments of the population without complying with the label requirements otherwise applicable to dispensed drugs, and accompanied by written information pertaining to the emergency use. They may also be distributed by a broader range of health care workers, including some public health officials and volunteers, in accordance with applicable state and local laws and/or public health emergency responses."

Please see a related post on Tamiflu and Arianna Anastos of Queens, New York.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Orders of the SEC to Revoke the License to Sell of Prudentialife and Permanent Plans Not Yet Posted in SEC Website As of 9:30 A.M. April 29, 2009

29 April 2009

I had the chance to talk with SEC Chairman Fe Barin over the telephone yesterday afternoon and one of the things I pointed out to her is the fact that up to the time of our conversation, the SEC has not posted in its website the orders revoking the licenses to sell of Prudentialife and Permanent Plans. 

This is clear from this screenshot of the pertinent page of the SEC website that I took less than an hour ago:

please click on the image to enlarge

It's been more than a week since the SEC's announcement that they've ordered revoked the license to sell of Prudentialife and Permanent Plans.

In contrast, SEC orders revoking the license of Legacy GS were posted promptly.  Below is a copy of said SEC order which is dated March 13, 2009.  It was posted at the SEC website on March 16,  2009, three (3) days after its issuance:

please click on the image to enlarge

Bakit po sa kaso ng Prudentialife at Permanent Plans ay wala pang ipino-post sa website nila ang SEC.  Mahigit isang linggo na po!

This is bad.  It doesn't help the public one bit especially the poor, confused, uninformed planholders of these pre-need plans and it cuts down further the credibility of the SEC.  

Ryan and Juday Surprise Everybody with a Private Wedding in San Juan, Batangas

28 April 2009

It is the most anticipated wedding in the Philippines.  Ryan and Juday.  And now, it's turned out out to be the surprise of the year.  And it's happened  days earlier than many people expected. So secretive were the preparations that even the likes of Ricky Lo missed this one. This is what Ricky wrote in philstar.com on April 22:

And finally, after the “hide and seek” with the media and the not-so-clever attempts at cover-ups, Judy Ann “Juday” Santos and Ryan Agoncillo are marching down the aisle on May 2, a Saturday, at an expected fairy-tale wedding to be solemnized at approximately 3,000-plus-feet above sea level not on a plane as some highly-imaginative showbiz-watchers might be suspecting but in Tagaytay.

The correct date, of course, is April 28 and the place, San Juan Nepomuceno Church in San Juan, Batangas.  

The wedding was officiated by Fr. Tito Calauag. Sharon Cuneta was the matron of honor. Unang Hirit host Suzi Entrata-Abrera acted as ninang.  

Here is an ABS-CBN video clip from kyte.tv:

This the link to the photos published in the Philippine Entertainment portal.

These are the available video clips from gmanews.tv:

Kahit di 'nyo kami inimbita, our prayers and best wishes to newly-weds Ryan Agoncillo and Judy Ann Santos!

A Call to the Office of Chairman Fe Barin of the SEC  —  Reiterating the Urgent Necessity of A Pre-Need Industry Stakeholders' Conference

28 April 2009  

I called up the office of the SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission) Chairman Atty. Fe Barin (5845343) at about 11:40am today and her Secretary, Ms. Vivian Fulgar, answered the telephone. I gave Vivian my contact nos. as well as the URL of this blog.  

I told Vivian directly that I've gone on record as supporting the call of Senator Juan Ponce Enrile for Atty.  Fe Barin to resign as SEC Chairman.  I relayed to her my request to the Chairman to immediately convene a meeting of pre-need company owners, planholders and other stakeholders under the aegis of the SEC.  Vivian listened to what else I had to say with no hint of impatience in her voice. She's a credit to the SEC, I'd say.

She also gave me Chairman Barin's email address:


I'll send a copy of this post to Chairman Barin's inbox and I will contact her office again before the day is over.

Please stay tuned to find out what Chairman Barin's response will be.

Next on the list of options, defending on Chairman Barin's response, a citizens' online petition asking her to resign as SEC Chairman, direct representations with the Senate, Congress and Malacañang.  Unity, vigilance and assertion is the best way to protect planholders' rights.

You may leave your comments here or email me at rollyocampo@yahoo.com

28 April 2009 12:54pm Manila time

I've sent the email message to Chairman Fe Barin (please click the image to enlarge):

Please stay  tuned.

Recovering Swine Flu Patient Arianna Anastos of Queens New York Took Tamiflu Pills in Hospital

28 April 2009

I've been watching Anderson Cooper's AC 360 program at CNN and it showed an interview by Anderson Cooper with New York City student Arianna Anastos and his father, Chris Anastos. Arianna is a high school student at Queens where some of those who contacted the virus went to Cancun, Mexico.  Arianna herself did not go to Cancun and she presumably got the virus from contact with those who did.

One highlight of the story is Anderson's question to Arianna:

Did they give you Tamiflu in the hospital?

Arianna said yes adding that "after two pills, I started feeling better."

Chris, Arianna's father, said that his daughter "looked like she was run over by a truck” before she was hospitalized.

Asked by Anderson Cooper to clarify that statement,  Chris said, “she could not move ... she could not even open her eyes.”

Monday, April 27, 2009

An Open Letter on the Nightmare of Tuition Fee Increases to PGMA, Deped Secretary Jesli Lapus, CHED Chairman Angeles and the Entire Filipino Nation

27 April 2009

Together with a fellow parent, I visited the DepEd NCR last Friday, 24 April, to find out if the school where my youngest child is studying (high school) has filed an application for tuition fee increase.  



To make the long story short, this is what happened at the DepEd NCR:

1)  Miss Gloria Alday, a high school education supervisor and DepEd NCR OIC at that time (since Director Teresita Domalanta and her deputies were not around), confirmed that they have recently received such an application, April 22 if I was not mistaken.

2) While Miss Alday was talking to us, Dr. Namoro, another education supervisor, left the room and came back shortly afterwards to tell us that one of the people in the DepEd NCR Legal Department headed by Atty. Joylyn Dulnuan told her that copies of the application for tuition fee increases could not be released to us since it was not yet a "public document" as they still have to process it. Na-receive na ng isang public office pero hindi pa rin public document? 

Nakakatuwa po ba so far?  Ano pang credibility mayroon ang proseso kung ganyan ang asal ng mga tauhan ng Deped?  Imbes na matuwa sila dahil gumugol ka ng pera at panahon upang puntahan ang kanilang opisina sa kagustuhan mong tumalima sa panawagan ni Secretary Lapus para magkaroon ng moratorium on tuition fee increases this school year ay kabaligtaran ang isasalubong sa 'yo!

I'll leave it here for now ... I just need to post this to warn you about what's going and what we can all do to stop this menace of heartless tuition fee increases and the way the DepEd and the CHED are not doing all they can to help and protect us Filipino parents who send our children to private schools.

This is a work in progress partly because I have to run for work now and partly because I would like to give you, my fellow Filipino parents, the opportunity to think more deeply about the problem of tuition fee increases and the solutions to it.  As I write, hundreds of thousands of pre-need planholders are scratching their heads thinking how they can enroll their children this school year.  Many more parents have actually moved their children to public schools which, unfortunately, year after year are becoming more congested.  Other children have simply dropped out of school.  This is a developing nightmare and we'd better wake up now before it's too late! 

Yes, we Filipinos can do something to stop unreasonable and untimely tuition fee increases.  If we join hands and ask God to lead us in this battle for our children's future, we can do something!  And the future will be brighter for our children!

To God be the glory!

Join the Global Bayanihan to Save the Life and Help the Family of Jailed OFW Dondon Lanuza

27 April 2009

There is an ongoing bayanihan to save the life of one of our kababayan who is jailed in Dammam, Saudi Arabia and is actually awaiting execution in death row. His name, Dondon Lanuza.  Dondon was meted the death sentence reportedly for killing a Saudi national on August 15, 2000. 

Using a Facebook account, Dondon sought the help of fellow Filipinos through the Internet with this desperate plea:

"I'm begging you all not to leave me alone in this fight."

Another Filipino OFW, Reggie Jose, who learned of Dondon's plight launched a Facebook campaign to help him in all ways possible -- to help his family and raise blood money to secure his release or maybe, even a commutation of Dondon's death sentence.  

In the meantime, Migrante Saudi Arabia has had this message from Dondon posted in its website for more than a year now, since April 23, 2008.  In it, he appeals for help not only for himself but for his two kids:
To Whom it May Concern

I'm so sorry for disturbance... Im begging your kindness.. PLEASE HELP... I would want to follow-up my Appeal to anyone...

May dalawang anak po ako, napahinto sa pag-aaral ng huling pasukan dahil po sa kapos sa pinansyal na di po kaya naming mag-asawang tustusan... Nakatali po ang Kamay at Paa ko, di po makakilos para maitaguyod po ang pamumuhay ng 2 anak ko...

Nasaan na po ang mga Programa ng ating Gobyerno para sa mga kapos-palad na mamamayan lalung-lalo na po sa isang OFW na katulad ko na isang PRESO sa Kaharian ng Saudia Arabiya? Di ba po na tinatawag ng Gobyerno na modern hero ang mga OFW dahil sa magandang ekonomiya ng ating bansa, ngayon po ang isang OFW po ay nananawagan sa Gobyerno na bigyang pansin ang masamang sitwasyon.. Malapit na po sumapit ang pasukan!

Ang Edukasyon po ang tanging pundasyon para po sa magandang kinabukasan ng kabataan. Nakaluhod po ako at nagmamakaawa sa inyo! PLEASE HELP US! Utang na loob, for God's sake.. PLEASE RESCUE MY FAMILY FROM HUNGER.....

Umaasa po ako sa pagtugon sa aking hinaing... PARANG AWA NA PO!! Attached existing file: I would like to request from your kindness some financial assistance which im having so difficulty of soliciting from others. I've been confined here in Dammam Central Jail, Saudi Arabia since August year 2000 and my resources has all turned their backs on me even my family, closest and considered friends which has helped me for the past years.

They cannot be blamed for they also have their own families to support of course... I decided to appeal to you as a Brother to facilitate my needs and at the same time to finance some of my families personal needs... Any substantial amount would really be a big help for me and my wife who is in really dire straits as of the moment...

Your kind help and utmost attention regarding this matter would really be highly appreciated... May Almighty God continue to bless you and your family...

Brotherly yours,

Rodelio 'Don2' and Meribeth Lanuza
Email: donlanuza@gmail.com
Mobile: +966551028601 and/or +966531181904

Through Migrante's intercession and Reggie's  Facebook campaign, PGMA has been moved, according to the DFA, to write a letter asking Saudi Prince Mohammad Bin Fadh to spare Dondon's life. But this is definitely not enough as the government can take more active efforts to help Dondon and other OFWs who face similar desperate situations.  

These gmanews.tv video clips tell us more about this story.

For the latest Philippine news stories and videos, visit GMANews.TV

You can join this humanitarian campaign by going to Facebook here.  

For those of us who enjoy our liberty, who can move about and can still take care of our families, please take a moment off your precious time to think of Dondon and his family.  

God can save Dondon's life but we have to do our share to make it happen.

Mabuhay si Dondon Lanuza!  Mabuhay si Reggie Jose!  

Mabuhay ang Migrante KSA at Migrante International!  

Mabuhay ang libu-libong Pinoy na sumusuporta kay Dondon Lanuza!

Sabi nga ng Sponge Cola, Dehado kung dehado pero hindi tayo titiklop! Lalaban tayo!

Mabuhay ang ating mga OFW! Mabuhay ang Pinoy!

Let's pray that God demonstrates His tender mercy and his boundless power in the life of Dondon Lanuza.

To God be the glory!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Job Openings Posted sa Jobs Board ng Bayan

26 April 2009

Jobapalooza '09 is still a few days away.  While waiting for it, the Jobs Board ng Bayan appears to be a good source of leads for job openings. I've mentioned them before in passing in this blog. 

Their home page lists a number of active job openings. The job openings are posted by position, industry, date of posting, company and province. 

To give you an idea, this is a screenshot of their job postings by position listing jobs for junior merchandiser, pharmacist, product representative, store supervisor, account manager, accountant, accounting staff, civil engineer, etc.:

If you click at a particular company that has posted jobs openings in the site, it will show you the jobs listings that are current and those that have already expired:

This kind of organized, logical presentation helps jobseekers by informing them of the positions that are most probably still open and it also gives them an idea of the various positions that in the future a particular company may need applicants for.  

The Jobs Board ng Bayan website is here. I really hope you'll find something there that could help you land a job you'll be happy with.  I'll appreciate if you can tell me about your experience with their site and their services. You can either post a comment here or email me at rollyocampo@yahoo.com.

It's a difficult world out there and I wish all of you God's best!


The Swine Flu Virus That Could Trigger a Global Pandemic Has Reached Kansas According to MSNBC

26 April 2009    9:18am, Manila time

No less than the World Health Organization (WHO) has raised the warning that the current swine flu virus could lead to a global pandemic.  The virus has been linked to the reported death of 68 people in Mexico and has caused the illness of at least a thousand more prompting the Mexican government to shut down schools, museums, libraries and other public places in Mexico City.  

Associated Press is quoting WHO spokesperson Thomas Abraham as saying, "We are very, very concerned.  We have what appears to be a novel virus and it has spread from human to human." The report also attributes to Abraham the statement that 'if international spread is confirmed, that meets WHO's criteria for raising the pandemic alert level.'

A news report I saw about an hour ago on BBC News World Report tells of a rare WHO emergency meeting in Geneva to deal with the developing crisis.  It showed WHO Director General Dr. Margaret Chan urging nations around the world to "heighten surveillance" to determine whether infection is happening in places other than the United States and Mexico.

Even as I write, MSNBC is reporting that another two swine flu cases have been confirmed in Kansas and possibly another eight in New York City.  This brings to 11 the number of confirmed instances of swine flu virus in the United States: 7 in California, 2 in Texas and 2 in Kansas.

In Canada, The Toronto Star has quoted Dr. Donald Low of the Mount Sinai Hospital as saying that "it is just a matter of time before we recognize it here":

There was no word today from the Public Health Agency of Canada. On Friday, Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Dr. David Butler-Jones said there were no cases yet in this country.

With the mounting evidence of efficient person-to-person spread, infectious disease experts suggested Canada is likely to see its first cases soon.

“We now apparently have widespread swine H1N1 throughout the United States which tells us that it is highly infectious, therefore having all the makings of the next pandemic strain,” said Dr. Donald Low, chief microbiologist at Toronto’s Mount Sinai Hospital.

“It is just a matter of time before we recognize it here.”

The paper's HealthZone was even more anticipatory, saying:

The new strain of swine influenza is likely already in Ontario, said Dr. Michael Gardam, one of Ontario's top infectious disease specialists, because about 60,000 people return to the province from Mexico every month.

"We have to assume that it is circulating in Ontario," he said. "You just have to look at air travel patterns to realize that what goes on in Mexico has to come to Canada."

With the spectre of SARS still looming over the Toronto area, local infectious disease experts are emphasizing the new strain of swine flu should not be compared to the severe acute respiratory syndrome that swept the city in 2003 and killed 44 people.

The present situation has the elements of an explosive sci-fi thriller that might just become true.  And it has a precedent in history.  We need to head back in time, towards the end of the First World War, to find history's greatest killer, the Spanish influenza pandemic of 1918-1919.

This report by CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) entitled 1918 Influenza: the Mother of All Pandemics states the grim historical fact but discusses what has been done since that fateful year:
The "Spanish" influenza pandemic of 1918–1919, which caused ≈50 million deaths worldwide, remains an ominous warning to public health. Many questions about its origins, its unusual epidemiologic features, and the basis of its pathogenicity remain unanswered. The public health implications of the pandemic therefore remain in doubt even as we now grapple with the feared emergence of a pandemic caused by H5N1 or other virus. However, new information about the 1918 virus is emerging, for example, sequencing of the entire genome from archival autopsy tissues. But, the viral genome alone is unlikely to provide answers to some critical questions. Understanding the 1918 pandemic and its implications for future pandemics requires careful experimentation and in-depth historical analysis.
An estimated one third of the world's population (or ≈500 million persons) were infected and had clinically apparent illnesses during the 1918–1919 influenza pandemic. The disease was exceptionally severe. Case-fatality rates were>2.5%, compared to <0.1%>). Total deaths were estimated at ≈50 million and were arguably as high as 100 million.
That was ninety-one (91) years ago and the world is now better prepared, hopefully, to deal with this lethal menace. 

More when we return. 

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