Archive for the 'Bad for the herd' Category

A(H1N1) Update

The second A(H1N1) infection case in Hong Kong was confirmed last Wednesday. The 24-year-old man is a Hong Kong local who returned from the United States onboard a Cathay flight. He is currently held in isolation along with family members who met him at the airport and six other people who sat near him on the airplane. He is reported to be in stable condition.

To date, 33 countries have officially reported 6497 cases of influenza A(H1N1) infection.

 Countries with A(H1N1)-related deaths are as follows:  

Country

Confirmed Cases

Deaths

Mexico

2446

60

United States

3352

3

Canada

389

1

Costa Rica

8

1

The following countries have reported laboratory confirmed cases with no deaths:  

Spain 100

United Kingdom 71

Panama 29

France 14

Germany 12

Italy 9

Brazil 8

Colombia 7

Israel 7

New Zealand 7

China 4

El Salvador 4

Japan 4

Guatemala 3

Netherlands 3

Republic of Korea 3

Finland 2

Norway 2

Sweden 2

Thailand 2

Argentina 1

Australia 1

Austria 1

Cuba 1

Denmark 1

Ireland 1

Poland 1

Portugal 1

Switzerland 1

Source: http://www.who.int/csr/don/2009_05_14/en/index.html

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1st case of “swine flu” in Hong Kong detected

A 25 year-old male Mexican who flew in via Shanghai from Mexico yesterday and stayed at the Metropark Wanchai Hotel has been transferred to the Princess Margaret Hospital and confirmed to have the A/H1N1 virus. Apparently, the man only started to develop fever and other symptoms indicative of swine flu when he arrived in Hong Kong.

The whole hotel has been quarantined. Government says there is no need to panic but citizens should stay vigilant. As of writing, Secretary for Food and Health York Chow is heading a press conference informing the public of the incident.

Hong Kong flu alert has been raised to “emergency” status.

Philhealth or Feel Hell?

philhealthformsThe current Philhealth procedure requiring members to secure proof of contribution from their employers prior to issuance of hospitalization benefits is plain moronic!  Shouldn’t Philhealth, being the authority in this situation, provide the necessary documents to the hospital themselves? Philhealth should be in the position to prove if a member has paid his dues or not. How come members are forced to get the proof of contribution from their respective employers when Philhealth should have a proper database for this purpose? In this high tech age, why can’t Philhealth keep their systems updated real time? Why do we have to suffer all this red tape?

In our case for example, when my wife gave birth by C-section last February, my father-in-law who was our official “runner” had to spend hours on the road and suffer the poor traffic conditions from Pasig to España, where my wife works, just to obtain that blasted piece of paper! We also found out that Philhealth has not posted the latest payment yet so we had to produce the receipt as evidence. When the hospital bill was processed, we were given a measly discount of about Php 7000. I was actually expecting more. Was it worth all that trouble? What a waste of time, cash and energy! Why do I have this feeling that we are not getting our money’s worth from Philhealth?

I found this article in inquirer.net. Please click the link below, read through and find out the reason behind the title of this post.

http://blogs.inquirer.net/voxpopuli/2009/02/20/wake-up-philhealth/

What a scam!

Credit grabber par excellence

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo was in Saudi Arabia last week. There, she declared that OFWs in the kingdom need not worry about loosing their jobs.  She assured that Filipino expatriates working there are safe despite the global financial meltdown.  C’mon! What is she talking about?! She could not even keep the unemployment rate in her “Strong Republic” at a respectable level. How will she keep jobs safe in a territory she has no authority over for her compatriots? The oil-rich Saudi is also adjusting to minimize the deleterious effects of the financial crisis on their economy. Uncertainty looms. When push comes to shove, will the kingdom give priority to OFWs, say, versus their own citizens? Of course not! Filipinos scattered around the world will always be second class residents in their host countries; and being second class really sucks! But what sucks more is when your own government, torn by internal bickering and corruption, is too indulgent and does not seem to have any long term plans to counteract the diaspora.

On the contrary, since Philippine GDP benefits from OFW remittances, the government continues to make policies that enables emigration. This is a major dilemma. So, should we prevent something that is helping the economy stay afloat? I guess the answer is NO, sadly, because we have no choice right now. But I pray that the next president and future officials of our beloved country would not have this “cash cow” mindset because it just adds fuel to the fire.

As I have said in previous posts, the OFW phenomenon is a symptom of a problem. It is not the solution to the ills of our nation. Even without government officials acting as intermediaries between OFW wannabees and foreign employers, Filipinos will still be able to find overseas employment out of necessity. So when some big shot self-centered government official, always quick on the pogi points, announces that he or she was able to find a number of job opportunities in the Middle East or in Europe or even in Mars, my blood boils! That is like credit grabbing! In the first place, officials should not be looking for jobs outside the country. They should create jobs INSIDE the country! Looking for jobs overseas is a no-brainer. Anyone can do that! We have plenty of private employment agencies to help us. What a waste of taxpayer money some of our government officials are!  I suggest they end their career in government and set up an overseas employment agency instead.

According to the Inquirer, President GMA stated, “Dito sa Saudi ang pinakamalaking expatriate Filipino community sa buong mundo. Gusto kong tiyakin na matatag ang trabaho ninyo dito sa kabila ng pandaigdigang krisis sa ekonomiya, dahil may mga kababayang nawawalan ng trabaho sa ibat-ibang bansa. [The biggest expatriate Filipino community in the world is in Saudi. I want to assure you that your jobs are secure here, because in other parts of the world, our countrymen are losing their jobs].

These are very big but empty words. Can she tell Filipinos who are still in the Philippines the same thing? That jobs in our country are secure despite the crisis? That is what I would really want to hear. That is what we should expect to hear from a president.

STOP MILKING THE CASH COW!!!

Reference:
http://globalnation.inquirer.net/news/news/view/20090203-187201/Arroyo-Saudi-OFWs-jobs-safe

Why did the Philippines not attend the World’s Happiest Party?

The annual Hong Kong Chinese New Year Parade was held on the 26th of January 2009 at Tsim Sha Tsui. Sponsored by Cathay Pacific, the spectacle was dubbed as the “World’s Happiest Party.”worldshappiestpartyThere were local floats and performers but there were foreign participants as well. I saw representatives from Macau, mainland China, Thailand, South Korea, Japan, the United States, Russia, Latin America and even Africa! However, I was disappointed not to see one from the Philippines. I thought, since the Philippines is in the proximity of Hong Kong, someone from the Department of Tourism (DOT) or the Philippine Consulate would have thought of joining this internationally renowned parade. I bet it’s a good way to promote our country since tourists from all over the world, like the sweet Italian couple to my left, the pretty South Korean ladies to my right, the hyperactive German kids on my front, and the elderly Swiss tour group behind me, witness this parade every year. It is also a chance to somehow change the sterotypical domestic helper image of the Filipino in Hong Kong—not that there is something wrong about being a DH, but not all Filipinos who go here are domestic helpers.

I don’t know the politics and bureaucracy involved in enlisting for this parade and I am not sure if the Philippines has sent representatives in the past but we sure are passing a good opportunity by not ‘partying at the World’s Happiest’.

———————–

Here are some of the pictures I took during the parade.

cny09parade21

cny09parade1

float

Chinese delicadeza and justice

Here is an example of delicadeza, in the Filipino sense of the word: Yesterday, former Taiwan president Chen Shui-bian’s son, Chen Chih-chung, daughter-in-law, Huang Jui-ching, and brother-in-law, Wu Ching-mao, pleaded guilty to charges of money laundering.They were obviously full of remorse.

…and here is an example of proper justice: Today, culprits behind the China melamine scandal were sentenced at the Intermediate People’s Court in Shijiazhuang, capital of northern Hebei Province. Sanlu ex-chairwoman, Tian Wenhua, was sentenced to life imprisonment for producing or selling fake or substandard products. Two other defendants were given the death penalty! Other persons involved in the case were also slapped with jail terms.

A similar sense of delicadeza is absent in the Philippines. Swift justice is also a myth in our country. Erap and his plunder case for example took about 6 years to resolve. He was found guilty but until now he claims he is innocent and that he was just a victim of political manipulation. My blood boils whenever I hear him with his blah blahs. Why was he given executive pardon in the first place?.. another story of lack of delicadeza huh?

I really envy the Chinese!

References:

http://www.thestandard.com.hk/breaking_news_detail.asp?id=12086

http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/front/archives/2009/01/22/2003434375

http://www.flex-news-food.com/pages/21556/Chemical/China/Dairy/sanlu-ex-chairwoman-life-sentence-china-melamine-scandal-two-defendants-given-death-penalty.html

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/world/news/article.cfm?c_id=2&objectid=10553143&ref=rss

My top 4 all-time favorite Filipino government officials as of today

I am so happy because we have leaders like Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, Noli De Castro, Prospero Nograles and Marianito Roque. Monuments should be erected and songs should be written in their honor. Streets, avenues and highways should be named after them. They should be praised for their contributions to Philippine politics, culture and society.

Leader No. 1. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo

The photo-op President. I am sure those retrenched workers from Taiwan who wanted an audience with her but got “a bagful of brochures” instead would be delighted to hear that she found 37,000 job vacancies in Qatar recently. That is really something Mrs. President. Hurrah! Just when we thought the country would be swamped with thousands of returning OFWs because of the global economic crisis, you found another foreign land that would gladly absorb them. You are really getting good at this Filipino brain and talent exporting business thingy, Madame. That is just what the country needs right now. The more Filipinos sent abroad, the better for the economy! I think, if Oxford would ever consider adding a definition for the acronym “OFW” in future editions of its dictionary, it should state that “OFW” is slang for “a THING or COMMODITY akin to electronic chips, computer parts or even dried mangoes, which can be exported, used and abused by the government as leverage for economic growth.”

Leader No. 2. Noli De Castro

The “Kabayan” Vice President—during the inauguration of a BPO facility in Pasay City—is so proud that “the Philippines has enough supply of educated English-speaking labor force”. Right on! That is also a must for a country that has a multitude of dialects. Forget the Filipino language, we don’t need that anymore. We need more English-speaking youths and more call centers. That is the enlightened path the Philippines should take in the 21st century. We should promote the country as a BPO haven so that it will be forever chained to the economies of the English-speaking world. Forget heavy industries and high local content manufacturing. BPO is the way to go!

Leader No. 3. Prospero Nograles

The Speaker. I almost broke my neck the other day nodding in agreement with Noggy’s proposal to remove the existing limitations on foreign ownership of land. This should have been proposed a long time ago. Come to think of it, why did we ever remove the rights of Spain or the United States to own vast tracts of lands in the Philippines? They should have been invited to stay to cultivate and develop the land for us. Bad Filipinos! Look at what you’ve done! Now, we have to lure back some foreigners again because we are hopeless without them.

Along with Noggy’s, the collective mindset of Leaders 1 and 2 is highly sound and ultra-clear. Actually, there is a mathematical formula for it. Here,

MORE Filipinos working abroad +
MORE English-speaking Filipinos +
MORE foreigners possessing Filipino land =
HAPPY DAYS ARE HERE AGAIN!!!

Very simple. That is not too difficult to comprehend isn’t it? Cool then! Now, let’s continue extolling Noggy’s virtues. On the issue of Charter change, he was quoted to say that, “Only members of Congress can vote on these measures and they may possibly be influenced by the public outcry. But the demonstrations on the streets and its leaders cannot vote for or against Cha-cha [Charter change]. It’s the vote of congressmen and senators that will count. Not the streets.”

Well said, Mr. Honorable Speaker! You are truly the SPEAKER of the people. Crush the puny minority! Majority wins! Authority rocks! The House of Representatives should not be bothered by anyone. Most especially, it should not care about the people who it should be “representing” in the first place.

Leader No. 4. Marianito Roque

The DOLE Head. He is my favorite Secretary in the executive branch because this guy thinks fast and has valuable foresight. Imagine, he was able to identify the Middle East as shock absorber for OFWs facing possible retrenchment. Not only that, he has also found Canada and Australia as promising OFW destinations despite the global financial crunch. He recently announced that Canada has issued 8,000 visas to Filipinos! Wow! I couldn’t count all of that using my fingers and toes! Well, need I say more about the brilliant secretary? He is a true marvel. I would be eternally indebted to Sec. Roque, if I were among the 8,000 selected to go to Canada. These Filipinos are so darn lucky because finally, they would be earning Canadian Dollars. More importantly, they would have better chances of acquiring Canadian citizenship, which would allow them to leave our sick and yucky country for good. Probably, take a relative or two with them at that. Why not? It is also a good way for the government to ease population stress in the country. Not to mention, these future ex-Filipinos would still probably remit money to the country anyway. That’s a win-win-win scenario isn’t it?

——————————–

References:

http://www.gmanews.tv/story/139147/Retrenched-OFWs-duped-by-Malaca%C5%88ang-says-Migrante

http://www.manilatimes.net/national/2008/dec/15/yehey/top_stories/20081215top1.html

http://opinion.inquirer.net/inquireropinion/editorial/view/20081126-174378/Constitutional-menace

http://www.asianewsnet.net/news.php?id=3084&sec=3

http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/breakingnews/nation/view/20081211-177421/Nograles-nixes-Charter-change-protests

http://globalnation.inquirer.net/news/breakingnews/view/20081209-176852/8000-Canada-visas-issued-to-Filipinos

http://globalnation.inquirer.net/news/breakingnews/view/20081020-167438/Middle-East-will-be-OFW-shock-absorber


THE BLOG AND THE AUTHOR:

...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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