Monday, April 2, 2007

Unveil Philippines: Smokers

A Study By Manuel Hector Solis, Lenora C. Fernandez, Lirio Covey: Published in Chest, October 2005

PURPOSE: Smoking is very prevalent in the Philippines with 45% among Filipinos being ever-smokers and the number of current smokers increased from 32.7% in 1999 to 34.8% in 2003. This study aims to assess the rate of successful smoking cessation among Filipino smokers with the use sustained-release bupropion hydrochloride as the pharmacologic aid in achieving abstinence. Safety in the use of bupropion hydrochloride and factors that may promote smoking abstinence among Filipinos were also determined.

METHODS: This was a non-randomized, non-comparative and prospective study where willing smokers underwent individualized smoking cessation sessions at the Philippine General Hospital and took Sustained-Release Buproprion hydrochloride at 300 mg/day for 8 weeks. They returned weekly during the first four weeks and then at 6 and 8 weeks for follow-up. Self-report of smoking abstinence at the end of 8 weeks was confirmed by urine cotininine determination. Psychological well-being and adverse effects were also monitored during the study.

RESULTS: A total of 84 Filipino smokers were included and all of the subjects completed 8 weeks of sustained release bupropion hydrochloride treatment at 150 to 300 mg/day. Urine cotinine-confirmed abstinence rate was 57% after 8 weeks in the study. Predictors of smoking abstinence were higher educational attainment (odds ratio 3.17, 95% confidence interval 1.1-9.2), older age when the subject started smoking (p value <0.05), absence of another smoker at home (p<0.05), and lower baseline carbon monoxide level (p<0.05). There was no difference between abstainers and non-abstainers regarding safety and psychological well-being. There were no serious adverse events in the study.

CONCLUSION: Urine cotinine-confirmed smoking abstinence was 57% after 8 weeks of individualized smoking cessation intervention and sustained-release bupropion hydrochloride administration among Filipinos. Minimal adverse effects were encountered with the use of bupropion hydrochloride.

CLINICAL IMPLICATIONS: Smoking cessation intervention with the concomitant use of sustained-release bupropion hydrochloride was quite effective among Filipinos and was at par in effectivity with other Asian and developed countries. Side effects to pharmacologic treatment for smoking cessation were minimal.

100,000 Filipino Children Victims of Sex Trade

(BBC Special Feature) - The BBC's Asia correspondent Andrew Harding has a rare encounter with a conscience-stricken Philippines gangland boss who runs a network trafficking underaged girls to work in brothels. He agreed to talk on condition of anonymity.

No-one is sure about the figures. But it is thought there could be 100,000 Philippine children involved in the local sex trade... full story here

Filipino Photographer Dennis Rito (Final Voting Stage)

Filipino Photographer Dennis Rito makes it to Final Voting Stage in both Black & White and Color Categories. Cast yout votes now!

The photographs should capture the positive or negative impact of the environment on people’s health and functioning in their day-to-day life. Portray how a healthy and enabling environment can prevent or reduce diseases. Illustrate how environmental risks such as air pollution, poor sanitation, work-related stress, excessive ultraviolet radiation, chemicals, or built environments (such as streets, buildings etc) affect people’s health, and hamper their functioning. Show how people and communities protect themselves from environmental risks, portray how people are living in healthy and enabling environments, or show how enhanced physical activity and public transport, and/or improved housing environment can make a difference in terms of preventing or reducing diseases

A Filipino Poet Writes On "Unrequited Love"

(Chicago Sun Times) - Patrick Rosal is quickly writing himself into the prominent role of young statesman in contemporary poetics. In his second book, My American Kundiman (Persea Press, 64 pages, $13.95), Rosal combines heritage and strong thematic illumination that pinpoints his 21st century ear. Unabashedly, he is influenced by hip hop, blue collar issues and poetry alike: The result is a stunning collection of poems.

The title, Kundiman,means a "traditional Filipino song of unrequited love." While the book is filled with this love, it is the poems "A Poet Visits With Prisoners" countered by "The Woman You Love Cuts Apples for You" where truth of the holy in the everyday announces itself: "They do not cry/And they're not waiting 'til I leave/They describe the scent of apples/It's how they teach me to be free." Rosal is playful in form, clever in idea, and interesting in wordplay. Rosal's second book reveals a major talent... full details here

Filipino Boxer Died In Bangkok

BANGKOK, Thailand (Reuters) -- Filipino boxer Lito Sisnorio has died after sustaining serious head injuries during a bout against former WBC flyweight champion Chatchai Sasakul in Bangkok, hospital officials said on Sunday.

Sisnorio, a former WBC youth champion, underwent emergency surgery on Friday to remove a blood clot from his brain after he fell unconscious on his way to dinner several hours after recovering from his fourth-round knockout.

The 24-year-old failed to regain consciousness after surgery and died of heart failure at 9.15pm on Saturday, an official at Bangkok's Piyamin hospital said.

Sisnorio went down in the fourth round after suffering a barrage of right hooks in Friday's super-flyweight bout with 37-year-old Chatchai (59-3), who has won his last six fights, four by knockout or technical knockout.

The Filipino fighter lost his last three fights and was defeated by TKO two months earlier in a tune-up bout with record-breaking Thai flyweight Pongsaklek Wongjongkam.

Sisnorio won just five of his 11 fights since turning professional in 2003. (CNN)

The Lighter Side: In El Paso

The Filipino American Association of El Paso had its 19th Annual Mrs. Philippines-El Paso 2007 Coronation Ball and recognition of officers Feb. 17 at the Centennial Club on Biggs Army Airfield.

This year's Mrs. Philippines-El Paso 2007 is Julieta De La Cruz. Mrs. Luzon 2007 is Violeta Flores, and Mrs. Visayas 2007 is Samantha V. Ungos.

The newly elected officers of the association are Socorro Montague, president; Dawn Michelle Lubas, first vice president; Anthony "Fuji" Alarilla, second vice president; L.C. Rogers, secretary; Angela Racelis, assistant secretary; Jason Namit, treasurer; Julieta Oguete, assistant treasurer; Marili Stewart, auditor; and Estelita Faeldog, assistant auditor.

The directors are Socorro Montague, Dionicio Rivera, John Lubas, Lenny Layumas and Tess Ernest. At-large directors are Domingo Balod, Al Racelis and Willard Gimotea. Sergeants at arms are James Oguete and Joe Zamora. El Paso Times

PBA Player Sentenced To 12 Years In Prison

(The Filipino Express) - When his turn came to address the court, Distrito sobbed as he asked for forgiveness, “I apologize to the family of Juan Amaya, to my wife and family, my friends, my fans. Judge, can you give me one more chance to come back to my life?”

Judge Wall sentenced Distrito to 4 to 12 years in prison, and ordered him to pay $10,000 in restitution to Amaya’s family. The more than two years or 832 days he spent in jail will be credited to the sentence... more about Rudy Distrito, former PBA icon, here

Filipina Starving In Malaysia

THEY need about 2,100 calories a day, yet some employers feed them only 200.

The Straits Times has reported that the problem of maids being starved by their employers is disturbingly common, highlighting the case of one Filipina whose daily “ration” consisted of a slice of bread and a bowl of porridge.

Nutritionists and doctors told The Sunday Times that with their high levels of activity, a low-calorie intake like that would eventually cause a maid to waste away.

In fact, nutritionist Cyndy Au was shocked to hear about the diet the 30-year-old woman endured for six weeks.

“Any layman can tell that someone having these meals would be grossly undernourished,” she said... (The Star Online) ...full story here

Read, Read, Read

“Let me tell you about the mother of former senator Roco. She was a public schoolteacher, and what senator Roco learned most from her was the habit of reading. They would go to the Naga City library and borrow all the books they could. I believe it was reading that made Raul Roco wise and knowledgeable. Because, as his mother told him, when you read, you stand on the shoulders of giants. You see farther than the rest and you can make better decisions. So, graduates, read, read, read. We Filipinos don’t like to read. But if you develop this habit, you will go farther than the rest.” - Sonia Roco to the graduates of the Dipolog Medical Center (The Philippine Daily Inquirer)

A Test For Filipinos Migrating To The United Kingdom

Filipinos applying to be permanent residents in the United Kingdom will have to be able to answer such questions as who is the head of the Church of England, when was Queen Elizabeth II crowned, or how many members does the Scottish parliament have.

Beginning Monday, applicants for permanent residence must pass a test in English as well as British politics, history and culture. Such tests are already required since 2004 for all those seeking British citizenship.

The test called “Life in the UK” is composed of 24 questions, including those about British history, the political system, customs and citizens’ rights. (The Manila Times)

"Citizens of Nowhere"

By Seth Mydans: "They also include tens of thousands of Filipino and Indonesian children in the Malaysian state of Sabah, victims of discriminatory laws that, in effect, deny them birth certificates and often separate them from their families.

Repression at home and the demand for cheap labor drew hundreds of thousands of Filipinos and Indonesians to Sabah (Malaysia) over the past three decades. There are now 750,000 of them, nearly one-third of the local population, and the authorities are forcing many to leave..." (International Herald Tribune) ...full story here

Filipina Died In Israel After Giving Birth To A Baby Girl

A 32-year-old foreign worker from the Philippines died Friday night at Rambam Medical Center immediately after giving birth to a baby girl, who is in good condition in the neonatal department, the hospital reported.

The woman was taken for a cesarean section because of a sudden change in the fetus's heartbeat. After the delivery, her blood pressure dropped suddenly, and despite the medical team's efforts to save her, she died.

Her body was taken to the L. Greenberg Institute of Forensic Medicine at Abu Kabir.

Members of K.L.'s family were invited to the hospital on Sunday morning and received a detailed explanation of what happened. Note: The story did not identify the name of the Filipina. I will make a follow-up on this story. (The Jerusalem Post)

Filipina Beaten By Her Employer In Kuwait

KUWAIT CITY: Her face is swollen, black and bluish. She cannot open her swollen left eye and can barely open her right eye. Her left arm was burnt with a flat iron by her lady employer while her right arm is wrapped with a bandage due to wounds she sustained when she escaped from the fourth floor of her employers’ residence in Salmiya using a clothes line. Beatrice (not her real name), 24, a Filipino domestic worker from Cagayan Valley, northern Philippines, can hardly open her mouth and complained of a painful ribcage while she recounted on Saturday to the Arab Times her harrowing experience at the hands of her Kuwaiti lady employer and Egyptian husband.

Philippine Labour Attache Leopoldo De Jesus and Assistant Labour Attache Elmira Sto. Domingo were also present during the interview at the Mubarak Al-Kabeer hospital. “Both of them have been beating me up for three months now for unknown reason. I have been taking good care of their four children and doing all the household chores,” she stated. Beatrice arrived in Kuwait on January 14, 2006 in search of a greener pasture to help her other siblings in their schooling, being the eldest in the brood of five... (Arab Times) ...full story here

11 Filipinos, 9 Thais Arrested For Dogfighting

Fourteen people, including three Thai nationals, were arrested in the Philippines during a raid on an illegal dogfight club, police said. Police launched the raid on Saturday evening after receiving a tip from the Philippine Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) about an illegal activity at a cockpit arena in Antipolo City, just outside Manila.

Police Senior Inspector Ernesto Padilla said among those arrested was Danny Tan Sy, 51, the alleged operator of the illegal dogfight club.

Three Thai nationals, whose dogs were participating in the fight, were also arrested.

Padilla identified the three foreigners as Phungmung Boonyang, 23, Timothy Amel Dharmajiva, 37 and Phanuwat Jinda Nunthawat, 43.

During the raid, Sy was caught patting a wounded pit bull in one corner while Dharmajiva was holding another pit bull on the opposite corner, according to Anna Cabrera, PAWS director. (

Food Poisoning in Iloilo

MICHAEL CASEY, AP Environmental Writer: Bowls of piping hot barracuda soup were the much-anticipated treat when the Roa family gathered for a casual and relaxing Sunday meal.

Within hours, all six fell deathly ill. So did two dozen others from the same neighborhood. Some complained of body-wide numbness. Others had weakness in their legs. Several couldn't speak or even open their mouths.

"I was scared. I really thought I was going to die," said Dabby Roa, 21, a student who suffered numbness in his head, tingling in his hands and had trouble breathing.

What Roa and the others suffered that night last August was ciguatera poisoning, a rarely fatal but growing menace from eating exotic fish. All had bought portions of the same barracuda from a local vendor.

Experts estimate that up to 50,000 people worldwide suffer ciguatera poisoning each year, with more than 90 percent of cases unreported. Scientists say the risks are getting worse, because of damage that pollution and global warming are inflicting on the coral reefs where many fish species feed...
(Yahoo News) ...full story here

In Basilan: Soldier Killed While Texting

A LONE gunman shot and killed a member of the Philippine Army in Isabela City, Basilan province, the military's Task Force Zamboanga has reported.

Inspector Lorante Villano, chief of investigation and intelligence division of the Isabela City Police, identified the victim as Sariul Tamma Jusay, a resident of Sitio Pangaraan, Barangay of Cabunbata, Isabela City.

The victim was standing in front of a store, reportedly seen texting with his mobile phone, when the gunman approached him and shot him at close range, the police said. The victim was not in uniform and believed unarmed when he was gunned down. (SunStar Zamboanga)

Palm Sunday

Palm Vendors in Manila. Photo by AFP.
Source: BBC News

Vietnamese Fishermen Arrested

Personnel of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) arrested 10 Vietnamese fishermen who were caught poaching within the Philippine waters off an island in Balabac, Palawan, aboard a large fishing vessel over the weekend. (The Philippine Daily Inquirer)

Today Is Francisco Baltazar's Birthday

Francisco Baltazar was born on April 2, 1778, in Bigaa, Bulacan. He was one of the few "ladino" (native Filipinos who became learned in the Spanish language) who became famous in local society during the Spanish period.

The era when Baltazar lived was already dominated by European ideals and practices. Repressive colonial policies, like press censorship, inhibited the growth of native creativity and conditioned most local intellectuals to conform to colonial models. Thus, the moro, corido, and pasyon dominated Philippine literary works. Baltazar also wrote such literary types, e.g. Almanzor y Rosalina (1841), Bayaceto y Dorlisca (1857), Abdal y Miserena (1859), Orozman y Zafira (1860), and Clara Belmori (1875).

Unlike his contemporaries, however, Baltazar broke free from his restrictive mold. His Florante at Laura became the first Filipino literary piece. It blazed a new trail for native writers. His insertion of what many people were saying, e.g., "Sa loob at labas ng kaharian kong sawi, kaliluhan ang naghahari" (Evil reigns throughout my unfortunate land) exposed the oppressive conditions prevailing in the country and made his people aware of the social cancer that afflicted them. He also included native adages, e.g., "Ang laki sa layaw karaniwa’y hubad" (Spare the rod, spoil the child). Thus, his work became a tool against evil and a means to educate his people. Through Florante at Laura, he laid the foundations of new literary tradition in the Philippines, one that was not subservient to colonial models, that expressed the people’s own feelings and sentiments. (Tempo)

Filipino Adoptees Network

Two years ago, Crowder and a fellow Filipina adoptee from Danbury co-founded the Filipino Adoptees Network,

"My vision for the cyber community was to provide a space for other Filipino adoptees to share their stories, meet folks with similiar backgrounds and to include resources about Filipino culture and heritage," Crowder said.

Crowder said that international adoption has created thousands of blended families all over the world. (New Haven Register)
...full details here

Virgin Filipina Raped in Qatar

A QATARI man, who was charged with raping a Filipina housemaid on the very first day of her employment in his house on August 14, 2005, has been sentenced to five years imprisonment.

According to the prosecution, the maid was 17 when the incident occurred. The Public Prosecution said the accused, 42, had told the recruitment agency that he wanted the maid to take care of his children.

A clerk in a local manpower agency said the accused provided a Philippine visa for the maid within an hour and a half.

“When she went to the house, the maid did not find anyone there except the man, who asked her to clean his room. “The accused sexually assaulted the maid even though she put up fierce resistance. He raped her twice within a short time,” the charge-sheet said.

Forensic reports said the maid was a virgin before the incident. Traces of her blood were found on her clothes. After the incident, the man handed the maid back to the agency saying that she was lazy because of homesickness.

The victim kept silent about the attack for a few days before she told her story to the wife of the clerk. The clerk called the director of the office, who filed a case with the police. (The Gulf Times)