Read 343 times | Posted on September 30, 2011 @ 7 years ago
( Part 2 )
Last week, I touched on Fine Needle Aspiration Biopsy as a means of diagnosing breast lesions, be it a benign tumor or a malignancy. There are instances though when the result that is released is either borderline, or uncertain: your attending doctor will either request for a tissue biopsy or a frozen section. In a tissue biopsy, a small sample maybe taken or the entire mass may be removed and sent to the laboratory for examination. This may take 5 days to a week before a result is given out. In instances where frozen section is available, our surgeon friend may opt for this: though it is a bit more expensive, it can be done as a double set up: meaning, should the result turn out to be malignant, removal of the mass or the breast and its underlying nodal tissues can be performed immediately. The beauty of doing a frozen section is that result is available in a matter of minutes!
Once diagnosis is available, it is best to discuss treatment options with your attending physician. With recent advances in Medical Science, and better trained Specialists, to be diagnosed with the Big C of the breast is not a death sentence. Where before, radical removal of the breast, leaving the woman doubly insecure and unhappy as well as fearful, there are other treatment modalities available. One such treatment option is Breast Conservation. This simply means, that, the area of the mass with acceptable inclusion of normal underlying tissues is removed, with conservation of the nipple and a good amount of breast tissues! Surgical removal is the mainstay treatment, depending on the stage of the disease. If it is far advanced already, meaning, the cancer cells have spread to other parts of the body ( the most common sites of which are the bones, lungs, brain ), or, when the tumor is huge and obstructive, it may require first an adjuvant chemotherapy or even radiation before surgical intervention.
Chemotherapy and Radiation are usually used for those in the higher stages. The determinants in the selection of which treatment modality will be used, whether in conjunction with surgical removal or as a stand alone management option is the stage of the cancer: size of the tumor, presence or absence of involvement or what we call as metastasis to the lymph nodes, the nipple and other organs. Hormonal treatment is another option. The importance of communication between doctor and patient cannot be over emphasized! It is always beneficial when these options are openly discussed, in order to know what to expect, what side effects and complications may arise, prognosis, and cost. Being armed with the right amount of knowledge will surely go a long way, for after all, there is always HOPE even with the Big C.
RAFI Triennial Awards calls on entries for blogging contest
Read 307 times | Posted on September 30, 2011 @ 7 years ago
RAFI Triennial Awards calls on entries for blogging contest
To promote the inspiring stories and work of recognized development workers in the Visayas and Mindanao, the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc. (RAFI) is calling on individuals between 13 and 35 years old based in the Visayas and Mindanao to join the RAFI Triennial Awards Blogging Contest.
The contest highlights the RAFI Triennial Awards and its awardees and finalists. Guided by the theme, “Shaping the big picture of change”, entrants are expected to do background research on the lives and works of RAFI Triennial awardees and finalists nearest their area.
The RAFI Triennial Awards is an awards program of RAFI given every three years to recognize the philanthropic, humanitarian, and holistic efforts of individuals and institutions in the Visayas and Mindanao in enhancing the quality of life of the communities they serve. It is now on its 5th run with conferment of awards in 2012.
To join the RAFI Triennial Awards Blogging Contest, individuals should register through www.rafi.org.ph. Entrants must have an existing and updated blog for at least six months.
All blog entries must be original and written in English, with a minimum of 1,000 words and maximum of 4,000 words. Entries should not have been entered or won in previous competitions. Writers must at the end of their blogs indicate, “This is an official entry to the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc. (RAFI) Triennial Awards Blogging Contest.” and include a link to the RAFI website.
The criteria for judging include 50 percent for content (originality and alignment to the theme and research value) and 50 percent for writing style or composition (including technicalities).
A contest participant is allowed a maximum of three blogs that feature different awardees and finalists.
After posting their entries on their blogs, entrants should email application form, URL of the blog post, and electronic copy of at least one valid ID to [email protected] with the subject header: Entry to the RAFI Triennial Awards Blogging Contest.
The blogging contest starts on Sept. 30, 2011. Deadline for the submission of blog entries is Dec. 15, 2011.
Entrants must ensure that their blogs are accessible until winners are declared in January 2012.
First prize winner will receive Php 25,000; second prize Php 20,000; and third prize Php 15,000. All entries of winners and finalists will be consolidated and published into a book.
For more information on the RAFI Triennial Awards Blogging Contest and to check on the awardee or finalist nearest you, visit www.rafi.org.ph
DSWD-10 to host the 22nd Nat’l Statistics Month Celebration in October
Read 568 times | Posted on September 30, 2011 @ 7 years ago
By: Rutchie Cabahug-Aguhob
CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Misamis Oriental, Sept. 29 (PIA) – The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) will host this year’s celebration of the National Statistics Month in October.
One of the major activities of the celebration is the launching of the National Household Targeting System for Poverty Reduction (NHTS-PR ) Data-base, in Pearlmont Inn, Limketkai Drive, here, this coming Oct. 6.
The NHTS-PR aims at promoting the use of the data-base for social protection programs and services, Atty. Araceli F. Solamillo, Regional Director of DSWD-10, said.
It will also serve as avenue for cooperation with national government agencies, local government units (LGU’s) and other stakeholders, towards a harmonized implementation and quality social protection programs, services and statistics for focused targeting.
Meanwhile, the event is one of the major activities of the celebration of the 22nd National Statistics Month (NSM) of October, this year, which will be hosted by DSWD-10.
Anchored on the theme: “Quality Social Protection Statistics for Targeting: Improving Outcomes, Changing Lives,” the launching will be attended by members of the Regional Statistical Coordination Board, the Planning Officers and Regional Statistical Coordination Committee (RCCC) Focal Persons. (PIA-10)
Retiring members now have option to settle outstanding loan obligations- GSIS
Read 218 times | Posted on September 30, 2011 @ 7 years ago
By Apipa Bagumbaran
CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Misamis Oriental, Sept. 30 (PIA) — Retiring members of the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) will now have the opportunity to decide on the mode of settlement of their outstanding loan obligations.
This was announced by Robert Vergara, GSIS President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) during the recent GSIS Stakeholders’ Dialogue held at Mallberry Suites, here.
He said they have revised the Claims and Loans Interdependency Policy (CLIP) to make it less burdensome for prospective retirees to settle their outstanding obligations.
Under the CLIP, the GSIS will deduct from the retirement benefits of the member all his outstanding loan balances.
Vergara said this policy really hurt members because sometimes the outstanding loans, especially the housing loans, could be such a big figure that after a lifetime service in the government, the member gets nothing and still owes the agency after retirement.
Under the new policy called Choice of Loan Amortization Schedule for Pensioners (CLASP), the members will be empowered to choose how to settle their outstanding service loan obligations, Vergara said.ng aside his housing loans, if he has one, and ask him if he wants to settle his loans in full or in partial, which shall be deducted from his retirement benefits, he added.
He said the CLASP will enable the member to honor his outstanding loan obligations without sacrificing his retirement benefits adding that the remaining balance of his outstanding obligation shall be restructured as a loan with an interest rate that is lower than what is normally charged.
In addition, the GSIS will also stop deducting housing loan obligations from the retirement benefits of its members.
Vergara said they will instead review the policies and procedures on the administration of the housing loan accounts and provide a settlement option beneficial to both to the member and the GSIS. (PIA-10)
GSIS to establish own call center to further improve services
Read 273 times | Posted on September 30, 2011 @ 7 years ago
By Apipa Bagumbaran
CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Misamis Oriental, Sept. 30 (PIA) — The Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) will be putting up its own call center to make the agency more responsive to its members.
The full-fledged call center will handle simple queries that will enlighten members on the services that they can avail of or any assistance program that the GSIS has to offer, disclosed Robert Vergara, GSIS President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) during the GSIS Stakeholders’ Dialogue held recently at Mallberry Suites, here.
He said the call center, which will operate 24/7, will provide additional avenues for members to reach the agency.
Vergara said members can just phone in their questions or seek clarification on their concerns right in the comfort of their own homes.
With this, we hope we will be able to address the simple issues and concerns of our members, he added.
Vergara also disclosed they have implemented several changes to improve their accessibility to members.
He said one of these changes is the deployment of additional 500 GSIS Wireless Activated Processing System ([email protected]) kiosks across the country where members can electronically access details of their memberships and apply for usual loans without personally going to the GSIS offices, thus saving them time and money.
The CEO also announced that GSIS has expanded its partnership with the Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP) to give its members the choice to receive their benefits through a Landbank Automated Teller Machine (ATM) or thru their electronic card or eCard.
Vergara said that this renewed partnership with LBP will make it more convenient to members and pensioners, especially in the remote areas, to access their benefits and loans.
With close to a thousand ATMs all over the country operating 24 hours a day, in addition to the Union Bank’s network, Vergara said GSIS stakeholders can now withdraw their loan proceeds and monthly pensions, at no service fee, anytime.
With these changes, Vergara is confident that they were able to increase the number of access points in which members can transact with the agency. (PIA-10)
VP BINAY WELCOMES HK COURT DECISION ON OFW SEEKING RESIDENCY
Read 460 times | Posted on September 30, 2011 @ 7 years ago
Vice President and Presidential Adviser on Overseas Filipino Workers’ (OFW) concerns Jejomar C. Binay welcomed the decision of a Hong Kong court upholding the right of an OFW to seek permanent residence in the city.
“The ruling is a step forward in recognizing the rights of migrants. OFWs have contributed to the economy of their host countries and the decision recognizes their contributions,” Binay said.
Judge Johnson Lam Man-hon on Friday ruled in favor of Evangeline Banao Vallejos and said the immigration ordinance that blocks foreign domestic workers from obtaining permanent residency in Hong Kong was unconstitutional.
Vallejos has worked in Hong Kong since 1986 as a domestic worker and she filed for residency in 2008.
If she were any other foreign worker, such as a banker, lawyer or teacher, she would automatically win the right to permanent residency after seven years.
However, a separate ordinance in the law stated that domestic helpers are excluded from this right.
Permanent residency in Hong Kong means a person can remain in the territory indefinitely, and they cannot be deported, according to the Basic Law. They also win the right to vote and to stand in elections.
The government-mandated minimum wage for domestic helpers is 3,740 Hong Kong dollars, or about US$480, a month, including rudimentary room and board.
Human-rights advocates have said a ruling in favor of Vallejos would represent a significant step toward dismantling the system that treats domestic workers as second-tier residents and that her victory could lead to the more than 270,000 domestic workers in the city gaining the right to apply for permanent residency.
The Ways of the Water
Read 369 times | Posted on September 30, 2011 @ 7 years ago
The Ways of the Water
Anselmo B. Mercado (September 2011)
Water is life, the very element inspiring this song.
Without water, living creatures cannot last long.
Air is the breath of life, water is the drink of life,
And Grace is the food of the soul that gives it life.
The ways of the water are nature’s will.
Through the tiniest holes, cracks and seal,
Subtly, quietly, surely, water seeks an opening,
Eventually it finds its way to freedom flowing.
The rippling brooks, the cascading waterfalls,
Flowing rivers are artists’ lovely pictures on the walls.
But water can be awesome, destructively violent.
Tsunamis and floods are nature’s temper vent.
Let water flow well in our homes, Oh COWD!
Let it flow strong in our buildings, we sing out LOUD!
Stop your “illegal disbursements”!
Stop TOO-BIG wastes! Stop bigger water payments!
“Task Force TOO-BIG” will take a stand,
using the ways of the water small and grand.
Our voices will seek out every opening,
For the public good and justice to keep on flowing.
“DILI MAKATARUNGANON PAGUSBAW SA PRESYO SA TUBIG”
Read 589 times | Posted on September 30, 2011 @ 7 years ago
(Composed and sang by Felipe Velez Abrogar
Cagayan de Oro City,
for the “Task Force TOO-BIG” on the occasion
of the Protest March by Civil Society, October 2, 2011)
Ang pagpa-usbaw sa presyo sa tubig,
kay kini ang atong kinabuhi.
Busa maghi-usa kita.
Asa ang gobyerno,
Nganong wala kita pipaluyohan.
Obligasyon nila ang pagpanalipud
Kanatong mga konsyumante.
Pak-gangon ta ang inhustisya!
Pak-gangon ta ang inhustisya!
Ipatigbabaw ta ang katarungan,
“I-roll back” ta ang presyo sa tubig (3 X).
PUERTO PRINCESA: THE CITY IN A FOREST
Read 314 times | Posted on September 30, 2011 @ 7 years ago
By Henrylito D. Tacio
The first time I visited Puerto Princesa was in 1996 yet. The trip
was part of the prize I won for a media contest on climate change
sponsored by then Senator Heherson T. Alvarez. My sister Elena, who
is now living in the United States, accompanied me at that time.
It has been such a long time, indeed. So, when Imelda Abano, the
president of the Philippine Network of Environmental Journalists, told
me that the group was going to “the country’s last frontier,” I
immediately signed up.
Aside from wanting to see the famous Puerto Princesa Underground River
(PPUR), I also wanted to know if the city has completely changed – and
what are the transformations – since fifteen years ago.
“Exotic islands, unspoiled beaches, world class dive sites, lush
virgin forests, endemic flora and fauna, waterfalls, hot springs,
rivers, and many more abound in this place we call the city in a
forest,” says Mayor Edward S. Hagedorn.
When he first assumed office in 1992, Hagedorn positioned the city as
a prime ecotourism destination. That year, there were only 12,000
tourists. By 2010, the number spiraled to 500,000.
In the next five years, Hagedorn is projecting one million visitors.
Just recently, the National Geographic has included Puerto Princesa in
the list of “Top 20 New Destinations” of 2011.
Under his leadership, Puerto Princesa earned the reputation among
travelers as the “cleanest and greenest city in the Philippines.” For
transforming Puerto Princesa “from a city whose natural resources were
ravaged by both the needy and greedy to one of the most progressive
ecotourism destinations in the country,” Hagedorn earned several
recognitions, including the United Nations Global 500 Roll of Honor
Award in 1997.
In 1991, the United Nations declared Puerto Princesa as a “Biospheric
Reserve.” It is an apt title. After all, the city has the largest
forest cover in the country (65 percent) and boasts of one of the
healthiest coral reef covers. In addition, 105 of the 475 threatened
species are found in the province, including the official seal of the
city – the Palawan peacock pheasant.
However, the city is foremost famous for its Puerto Princesa
Subterranean River National Park, located about 50 kilometers north of
the city center. A distinguishing feature of the river is that it
flows directly into the South China Sea, and the lower portion of the
river is subject to tidal influences.
The entrance to the underground river is about 15-minute boat ride
from the Sabang wharf. Boatmen usually ferry only a kilometer and a
half of the 8.2 kilometer long river. The boat rides takes about 45
minutes to an hour on a small narrow bancas with a battery-operated
Once you get inside the cave, you get a glimpse of various formations
of stalagmites and stalactites. Some of those you will see are
mythical creatures like Pegasus the winged horse; giant vegetables
like mushroom, corn, and carrots; and religious icons like the Holy
Family and the Three Kings who traveled to Bethlehem.
Aside from the exciting boat trip down the underground river, the
national park is home to several wildlife species. Monkeys, large
monitor lizards and squirrels may be found on the beach near the cave.
The park also has a range of forest formations and researchers have
identified more than 800 plant species. Among the famous ones are
dao, ipil, dita, amugis, and apitong. Other notable plant species
include almaciga, kamagong, pandan, and anibong.
Of the 252 bird species known to occur in Palawan, a total of 165
species of birds were recorded in the park, including the blue-naped
parrot, Tabon scrub fowl, hill myna, Palawan hornbill, and white
breasted sea eagle.
If island hopping is your trip, then Honda Bay should be part of your
itinerary. Located at the eastern side of Puerto Princesa, it is 12
kilometers away from the city proper to Sta. Lourdes wharf where a
hired pump boat takes visitors to the island or islands of their
During my first visit, our group visited Lu-Li Island (an island
visible only during low tide; its name was derived from the first two
letters of two words lulubog and lilitaw, which means sinking and
There are eight other island waiting for exploration at Honda Bay:
Cowrie Island, Bat Island ( a bat habitat), Meara Marina (a quiet,
cozy and private island to relax and enjoy nature’s wonder), Starfish
Island (with white fine sand and clear water that teems with
starfish), Snake Island (a long stretch of fine white sand and shaped
like a snake), Pandan Island (white sand beach with coral reef
nearby), Señorita Island (breeding site of lapu-lapu fish), and
Arraceffe Island (an island with Class A Resort and fine white sand).
Now, are you ready for your city tour? Among the recommended places
to visit are the Plaza Cuartel, Mitra’s Ranch, Mendoza Park, Palawan
Museum, Immaculate Conception Cathedral, Puerto Princesa City Hall,
Butterfly Garden, Crocodile Farm Institute, and Baywalk.
If you’re bored with the city tour, you can join the mangrove paddle
boat tour in Sabang. It is a 45-minute boat ride into the Sabang
River and its centuries-old mangroves. If you’re lucky, you might get
the chance of eating the long, slimy and wriggly tamilok.
At the Batak Visitor Center, you can catch a glimpse of the indigenous
tradition and culture of the Batak tribe. Shy but hospitable people,
they live in the foothills and mountains northeast of Puerto Princesa.
Don’t worry about places to stay in the city. Puerto Princesa has a
wide range of accommodations that suit every budget; from quaint
lodges to high-end hotels and resorts. The first time when I was
there, we stayed at the Asiaworld Resort Hotel.
This time around, we stayed at Puerto Pension in Malvar Street. The
rooms are beautiful which are decorated with ethnic motifs. The free
continental breakfast is served at the rooftop Tribu Restaurant.
However, if you are visiting Puerto Princesa to see the underground
river, I suggest that you stay at Daluyon Beach and Mountain Resort.
It is located in Sabang and just four kilometers away from the
The resort has 8 modern-Asian beach villas (2 rooms per villa), a
conference pavilion which can accommodate 150 people, and a swimming
pool (18 meters by 12 meters). A restaurant and bars are also
available. The rooms are equipped with air-conditioner and ceiling
fan, solar hot water, mini-bars, and other multimedia elements such as
wi-fi, satellite cable TV, and DVD player.
“Daluyon offers the best of both worlds – the mountains and the sea.
Our resort’s location makes it possible for our guests to enjoy their
stay no matter what activities they have in mind and what time of the
year they visit,” says Ruben “Butch” F. Tan, Jr. the resort’s chairman
and chief executive officer.
The fastest way to reach Puerto Princesa is by air. Flying time from
Manila is slightly more than an hour. Philippine Airlines, Cebu
Pacific, Air Philippines, and Zest Air all have daily flights from
Manila to Puerto Princesa. The Puerto Princesa Airport is only one and
half kilometers from the city proper and is accessible by jeepney, bus
and tricycle. – ###
Amnesty to political prisoners pushed
Read 324 times | Posted on September 30, 2011 @ 7 years ago
Davao City – In a joint press conference here today, the families of political prisoners and former detainees renewed calls for President Benigno Aquino III to come up with an executive order for the release of all political prisoners nationwide, drumming up the calls for favourable atmosphere for the resumption of the peace talks on October.
The groups raised alarm about the recent pronouncements of Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda that there are no political prisoners in the Philippines.
“We would like to remind President Aquino that his father was once a political prisoner during fascist Marcos regime. Does this administration follow the militarist and inhumane acts of Pres. Marcos? President Aquino’s policies resemble that of the late dictator – incarceration of political activists who are merely fighting for justice and genuine reforms in our society,” said Ching Montajes, convenor of Task Force Maricon Montajes and mother of the latter who is currently detained.
Montajes’ daughter Maricon was a University of the Philippines (UP) Diliman Film Student and a member of College Editors Guild of the Philippines (CEGP). Maricon was illegally arrested on June 3, 2010 at Taysan, Batangas by 743 Squadron Combat Group of Philippine Airforce and she is now languishing at the Batangas Provincial Jail facing trumped up charges on Illegal Possession of Explosives, Violation of Omnibus Election Code, Illegal Possession of Firearms and Ammunition, and Frustrated Homicide.
She added, “Pres. Aquino should emulate his mother Cory’s peace effort when she granted the unconditional release of all political prisoners after Martial Law. If Noynoy granted amnesty to some 400 rebel soldiers, why can’t he extend amnesty to the political prisoners now?”
Meanwhile, the KALUMONAN, a group of families of political prisoners in Southern Mindanao called for the expeditious release of all political prisoners.
Kalumonan chairperson, Leo Binoya, Sr., told the media that his son, Leo Binoya, Jr., had been detained for almost 4 years since his arrest in Compostela Valley Province.
“Our poverty, the injustices we experienced as farmers who almost had nothing to eat, led my son to fight for equity and justice. He believed that change was also necessary. These beliefs led him to the cause he was being jailed for. It is not fair for him to be called a common criminal,” lamented Binoya.
Leo Binoya, Jr., is among the 24 political prisoners in the region, with NDFP peace panel consultant Edwin Brigaňo, charged with trumped-up cases of common crimes. The situation of political prisoners is worsened by the slow-paced resolution of cases in the courts.
The Samahan ng mga Ex-Detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto (SELDA) Southern Mindanao Region stressed that a call for general, unconditional and omnibus amnesty for the 360 political prisoners, including the 14 detained consultants of NDFP peace panel should be granted before or during the resumption of the second round of peace talks between the NDFP and Government of the Philippines (GPH) next month as a confidence building measure.
“If the Aquino administration is true to its words in trudging the “daang matuwid” (righteous path) and sincerity to the peace talks with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP), it should have rectified its injustices towards the political prisoners and victims of human rights violations”, said Fe Salino, Secretary General of SELDA SMR.
“General means all political dissenters who were arrested, charged or detained for common crimes but in fact are alleged acts in pursuit of one’s political convictions should be released. Unconditional means no precondition shall be set before their release. Further, omnibus means that all charges and offenses are covered by the amnesty,” she clarified.#