Imbak para sa Abril, 2008

Quality Affordable Medicines; Now!

The proposed affordable medicines law was identified as an “urgent” piece of legislation way back year 2001. It is now 2008!!! After 7 long years, it seems that our dear leaders are finally pushing for the realization of this important bill which will greatly benefit the Filipino hoi polloi.

However, there are still two versions of the bill: House Bill 2844 and Senate Bill 1658. I find the senate version more diplomatic and safe while the house bill includes more drastic measures. For example, HB 2844 proposes the creation of a “Drug Price Regulation Board” which will dictate the maximum retail price of drugs subject to price regulation. SB 1658 on the other hand, “bestows on the President of the Philippines the power to impose price ceilings…under certain conditions, including calamities, public health emergencies, or widespread acts of illegal price manipulation.” Moreover, HB 2844 calls for the prescription of “generic name” only. This means that doctors will not be allowed to write the “brand name” of a drug in the prescription form if the house bill is approved.

The Congress, Senate and Malacañang are currently on a dialogue regarding the reconciliation of the two bills. The “price regulation board” and “generics only” provisions would be dropped probably. This move would definitely disappoint certain groups like the “Kilosbayan Para Sa Kalusugan” (KBK). The KBK feels that proposed amendments are still protective of the profits of transnational drug firms.

This is true perhaps, but I still support the bill because of the following articles:

  1. Parallel importation and international exhaustion of intellectual property rights for patents – Importation of much lower priced identical drugs without the consent of the patent holder will be allowed.
  2. Early working – This will allow Filipino generic companies to study and test for regulatory approval of a generic version of a drug before its patent expires. Thus, they can start the manufacture and marketing of a generic drug as soon as its patent expires.
  3. Government Use – In certain conditions, like “a national emergency”, the government may use a patent without the consent of the patent holder for the benefit of the public.
  4. Strengthening of the Bureau of Food and Drugs – The bureau will be allowed to retain earnings for use in its operations.
  5. Amendments to the Intellectual Property Code of the Philippines – Changes in the IP code to prevent multinationals from exploiting the Philippine patent system.

I know that it is no easy task to pass a bill and that it requires in-depth analysis and consultation. Thus, the process is understandably lengthy and arduous; but I believe we can no longer dilly-dally given the increasing population and worsening conditions of the impoverished in the country. So, to our beloved legislators, PLEASE HURRY UP!!!

References and recommended readings:

My Tagalog Entourage

I got married last February 2008 in the Philippines. It took my wife and I about a year to plan and prepare. We did not hire a wedding planner because I have always thought that organizing a wedding is a no-brainer. You just got to know who the good vendors are and everything will fall right into place. You know what? I am proud to say that I am correct. It was a very good wedding (walang halong kayabangan, konti lang). Too bad I can do it only once in my lifetime (masarap pala kasi ang feeling artista ka buong araw). Well, not that I want to get married again. I love my wife and she is purrrrrrrfect!!!

The Tagalog-freak in me wanted a wedding invitation in unadulterated Tagalog so I did some internet research but was utterly disappointed. Searching for a Tagalog version of the wedding entourage through the web was as futile as hunting for a dodo bird or a tasmanian tiger (or maybe asking GMA to resign)! So what did I do for plan B? I copied a sample of the lone Tagalog invite in a wedding shop located in a mall somewhere in Manila (secret na kung saan). Actually, my wife and I memorized the wording and wrote it down when we left the shop. Yes, we were that desperate!

We did not like all the Tagalog words they used in the sample invite so I did some tweaking and presto, our customized Tagalog wedding entourage. Oh, my mother helped out too! She was quick in pointing out some of our mistakes. I am posting it here in case there are still some engaged couples out there who, like us, are proud of our heritage and are planning to have a Filipino twist in their wedding program. I only request that you link to this site or leave a simple comment. (Note: I only included the major titles. If you want details, just send me a message. My misallete is also 100% Tagalog.)

Ang Aming mga Magulang – Our Parents

Pangunahing Saksi sa Sumpaan – Primary Sponsors

Piling Ginoo – Best Man

Binibining Pandangal – Maid of Honor

Pangalawang Saksi sa Sumpaan – Secondary Sponsors

Tagasindi ng Tanglaw ng Kinabukasan – Candle Sponsor
Tagapaglambong ng Belo ng Paguugnay – Veil Sponsor
Tagapagtali ng Bigkis ng Pagkakaisa – Cord Sponsor

Mga Ginoong Abay – Groomsmen
Mga Binibining Abay – Bridesmaids

Tagapagdala ng Bibliya – Bible Bearer
Tagapaghatid ng Aras – Coin Bearer
Tagapaghatid ng Singsing – Ring Bearer

Mga Tagapagalay ng Bulaklak- Flower Girls

Adik ka rin ba sa American Idol?

Oo aaminin ko na sige na! Na-adik na rin ako manood ng American Idol. Nagsimula ito nung Season 5 nang bigla ko natipuhan saksihan ang mga audition episodes. Nakakaaliw naman talaga kasi makita ang mga wannabees na gumigimik ng kung anu-ano para lang magpapansin. Waepek rin naman! Kadalasan pa, sila itong mga sablay at sintunado! Kung bata-bata lang ako at nakatira sa US e malamang nag-audition na rin ako (hmmm ano kaya ang bagay na costume sa akin?). Pero heto, nasa kabilang panig ako ng mundo ngayon kung saan hindi uso ang American Idol. Galit yata ang mga Intsik sa mga Amerikano ewan ko ba. Hindi katulad nating mga Pilipino na kulang na lang e humalik sa puwet ng mga Kano para lang mangopya ng kanilang pop culture, mas magtangkilik ng produktong stateside, atbp… Kailan kaya mahuhugasan ang colonial mentality ni Juan dela Cruz?

Dito sa flat ko sa Hong Kong, walang cable channel na nagpapalabas ng American Idol kaya sa internet na lang ako sumasagap ng mga pinakabagong episodes. Ayun na nga, may Pilipino na naman sa season na ito pero natanggal din ngayong linggo. Magaling si Ramiele Malubay kaso mukhang mali nga lang yata talaga ang timpla ng mga pinipili niyang kanta bukod sa marami ring magagaling na ibang kalahok (Archuleta o Cook ang pusta ko) . Tuwang-tuwa pa naman ako kapag naririnig ko si Ryan Seacrest na pinipilit bigkasin ng tama ang apelyido ni Ramiele, “…here is Ramiele Maloooooobaay.” Parang nakaganti na rin tayo sa mga Kano kapag naririnig ko si Seacrest na hirap na hirap bumigkas ng Tagalog maski isang apelyido lang yun. Aba’y ang lagay e tayo na lang ba ang laging maghihirap mag-ingles? hehe.

Pero hanggang dito na lang talaga ang byahe ni Ramiele sa palabas na American Idol. Sigurado naman ako na taos-puso siyang tatanggapin sa Pilipinas katulad ng ginawa ng mga Pinoy kay Jasmine Trias. Ano kaya ang unang ‘commercial’ na gagawin niya sa Pinas palagay mo?

POEA eases OFW airport exit procedure

Mga cash cows may bagong pakana ang POEA. The approach is a bit superficial, but sounds good to me. Better than doing nothing… or better than passing nonsensical memos like MC-04. At least nabawasan ang pipilahan natin sa airport.

The following advisory was lifted from the POEA website (

“The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration is dropping the validation of documents of OFWs leaving through its labor assistance counters (LAC) at international airports to further streamline processes in the deployment of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).

Starting March 24, 2008, departing OFWs shall present the exit clearance or overseas employment certificate issued by the POEA directly to the airline counters, terminal fee counters, and the Bureau of Immigration counters.

The POEA labor assistance counter shall remain open 24/7, but its services shall be limited to assisting OFWs with documentation problems, issuing overseas employment certificates (OEC) to OFWs leaving the country within 24 hours, and dissemination of information and education materials to OFWs and families.”

Clear Water Bay Beach at Sai Kung

Last Black Saturday my friends and I went to Sai Kung to see Clear Water Bay beach (wala kasi kami magawa dahil hindi kami umuwi ng Pilipinas para sa Mahal na Araw maski pa bakasyon dito ng 4 days). When we think of Hong Kong, it’s easy to imagine high-rise structures, the famous harbor, Jackie Chan and noodles perhaps. Few foreigners know (kasama na ako dun nung bagong dating pa lang ako dito) that there are beaches in Hong Kong. Unlike the Philippines however, beaches here are absolutely free and accessible (pero siyempre mas maganda pa rin ang mga beach sa Pinas!). Armed with my trusty old digicam (I wish I had a DSLR now!!!), I made the most out of that chilly but pleasant Saturday afternoon. Here are some of the pictures I took.

clear water bay beach

It was too cold for a swim. Temperature forecast was 19-21°C that day. We stayed at Clear Water Bay Second Beach .

clear water bay beach

At this time of the year, Clear Water Bay is like Tagaytay and Puerto Galera rolled into one… Where clouds and hills meet the sea.

clear water bay beach

“Sai Kung Man”… There were plenty of seaweeds to collect.

clear water bay beach

I will go back to Clear Water Bay beach this summer. Wanna come too? Tayo nang mag-swimmeennnggg!!!

clear water bay beach
Do you want more shuttercow pics? Visit the following links:
Wong Tai Sin Temple


...sapagkat ang gobyerno natin ay may "cash cow mentality" pagdating sa mga Overseas Filipino Workers.

(Read On "Milking the Cash Cow")

...sapagkat ako ay isa ring OFW; may mithiin, marunong magisip at nagnanais marinig... Makabagong bayani daw... Sa totoo'y tampok na gatasan ng pamahalaan. (English)

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