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Monthly Archives: December 2011

DOH warns Pinoys vs five “most dangerous” firecrackers

Figures from the Department of Health show that most injuries during last year’s holiday celebrations were due to five popular firecrackers: piccolo, kwitis, five star, pla-pla, and luces. Over one-third of the 1,022 victims were children aged 1 to 10. There were also 39 victims of stray bullet last year while 11 suffered from firework-ingestion.

Leading Fireworks that Caused Injury (credits: http://www.doh.gov.ph)

Most victims were residents of Metro Manila (581), Ilocos Region (73), Central Luzon and CALABARZON (66 cases each), and Western Visayas (65). Injuries sustained during the holiday celebrations resulted in blasting without amputation (79%), eye injury (15%), and blast injury with amputation (6%).

Last month, the health department launched a nationwide firework-injury reduction initiative dubbed “Aksyon: Paputok Injury Reduction” or APIR. “Apir” means giving a high-five in Filipino.

In line with this, Health Secretary Enrique Ona urged local governments and private entities to organize community fireworks displays (CFDs) on designated areas to minimize injury to individuals, fire hazards, and other accidents. Ona encouraged communities to pool their resources so they have “better fireworks than they would be able to purchase individually.”

President Benigno Aquino III echoed DOH’s campaign during his annual New Year message, urging the public to stop patronizing firecrackers. , saying these. He added that firecrackers not only endanger the life and safety of many Filipinos – it also worsens air pollution in the country.

Ona reminded parents that children should not use any fireworks, and that people must stay away from exploding fireworks. He added that used fireworks should not be picked up. Once injured, the victim should immediately seek treatment from the nearest hospital.

Aside from participating in CFDs, the health department has given other tips on how 2012 can be welcomed in a safer and more meaningful way:

1) Celebrate the holiday with family and loved ones
2) Use alternative noise-makers to welcome the New Year like car horns, cans, pots and pans, radio music, etc);
3) Join merry-making activities such as street parties, concerts, games); and,
4) Use the time to reflect on the lessons of the past year and make resolutions for a better 2012).

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Actor Tyron Perez commits suicide – unconfirmed reports

GMA News Online has this breaking news about the reported suicide of Kapuso-turned-Kapamilya actor Tyron Perez:

Report: Young actor na si Tyron Perez, natagpuang patay sa Valenzuela

December 29, 2011 10:30pm

Natagpuang patay sa loob ng isang sasakyan ang aktor na si Tyron Perez nitong Huwebes, ayon sa ulat ng Philippine Entertainment Portal (PEP).

Sa artikulo ni Karen A. Pagsolingan, na lumabas sa PEP nitong Huwebes ng gabi, sinabing unang kumakalat ang balita tungkol sa pagpanaw ng aktor sa Internet.

Ayon umano sa blogger na si Lloydy Gaga, natagpuan ang aktor na wala nang buhay sa isang “abandoned car sa Valenzuela.”

Tyron Perez has committed suicide, according to unconfirmed reports

Wala pang gaanong detalye pero ang anggulong “suicide” umano ang dahilan.

Kasalukuyan nang nangangalap ng iba pang impormasyon ang PEP.ph tungkol sa nangyaring insidente, ayon sa ulat.

Sa hiwalay na tweet naman ng GMA News reporter na si Mark Salazar, sinabi nito na: “Young actor Tyrone Perez committed suicide.”

Mabilis na kumalat sa Twitter ang nangyari sa aktor at nanguna ito sa trending topic.

Si Tyron, 26-anyos, tubong Tarlac, ay produkto ng reality based talent search ng GMA 7 naStarStruck noong 2003.

Pagkaraan ng ilang taon ay lumipat siya ibang television network.

Sumabak sa matured role si Tyron sa pelikulang Twilight Dancers noong 2006 kung saan gumanap siya sa role ng isang macho dancer. —

UPDATE:

According to the Philippine Daily Inquirer, Perez was found dead “in an abandoned car at Que Grande in Barangay Ugong, Valenzuela City.” Ahna Mejia, the city’s chief public information officer, noted that the Toyota Altis where Perez’s body was found “was already parked near Que Grande in the morning but the body was later discovered only at night.”

This raises the possibility that Perez has been dead for several hours now. More importantly, the officer stressed that the cause of death remains unknown since the police are still conducting an investigation.

Elsewhere:

Tyron Perez found dead in Valenzuela (from Philippine Entertainment Portal)

Tyron Perez commits suicide (LloydyGaga.blogspot.com)


Kelly Clarkson endorses Ron Paul via Twitter

American Idol Season 1 winner Kelly Clarkson has endorsed Texas Rep. Ron Paul for the United States presidency. In her 41-word Twitter post dated December 29, Clarkson, a native of the Lone Star State, wrote that she “liked” Paul a lot during the 2008 Republican primaries even if “no one” gave the Libertarian-leaning candidate a chance.

Kelly Clarkson endorsed Ron Paul to her 1 million followers on Twitter (click image)

Clarkson stated that Paul will have her vote if he becomes the Republican nominee though she added: “Too bad he probably won’t.”

Kelly Clarkson on Ron Paul: "If he wins the nomination for the Republican party in 2012, he's got my vote." (click image)

Shortly after her public announcement, Clarkson posted a lengthy response to criticisms raised against her announcement of support for Paul:

Man, my eyes have been opened to so much hate tonight. If y’all ever disagree with something I say please don’t feel the need to attack me. I will listen to what you say and any articles or viewpoints you have when you say it with respect.

Being hateful is not a healthy way to get people to see or hear you. I was raised to respect people and their decisions and beliefs and I hope you will grant me the same decency. If you don’t agree with me simply unfollow me. It’s really that easy. I hope you don’t because I would love the chance to hear what you have to say but if you’re so blinded by hate you can’t seek peace and progress then that is your unfortunate prerogative.”

The Texas GOP primary is scheduled on April 24, 2012. Clarkson’s endorsement comes on the same day Kent Sorenson, Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann’s campaign manager in Iowa, announced that he is defecting to the Ron Paul camp merely six days before the Hawkeye State holds its caucuses on January 3.


December 31, 2011 and January 1, 2012 holiday pay rules

Who wants to work on December 31 and January 1? No one does. But sometimes, the nature of your work makes you forgo the holiday. During my hospital confinement last week, I asked the nurses if they’re required to work during Christmas, and they answered yes. Same goes for call center agents, policemen and women, tollgate collectors, mall sales clerks, and many others. Given these realities, it is important to know the pay rules for the said day.

First, keep in mind that December 31 is only a special non-working day, as indicated in Proclamation 84, signed by President Benigno Aquino III last year. This means that the pay rules for the December 30 and January 1, two national holidays, are not applicable to the said date. According to the Department of Labor and Employment, employers should abide by the following rules:

1. If unworked

*No pay, unless there is a favorable company policy, practice or collective bargaining agreement (CBA) granting payment of wages on special days even if unworked.

2. If worked

*1st 8 hours – plus 30% of the daily rate of 100%

*excess of 8 hours – plus 30% of hourly rate on said day

3. Falling on the employee’s rest day and if worked

*1st 8 hours – plus 50% of the daily rate of 100%

*excess of 8 hours – plus 30% of hourly rate on said day

Special non-working days are typically “no work, no pay” for contractual/non-permanent/casual/probationary employees, unless otherwise stated by your company. Meanwhile, here are the pay rules for January 1:

1. If it is an employee’s regular workday

*If unworked – 100%

*If worked

1st 8 hours – 200% (DOUBLE PAY!)

excess of 8 hours – plus 30% of hourly rate on said day

2. If it is an employee’s rest day

*If unworked – 100%

*If worked

1st 8 hours – plus 30% of 200%

excess of 8 hours – plus 30% of hourly rate on said day

December 31 and January 1 falls on a weekend, a rest day for most employees, you may be entitled to a corresponding overtime pay for reporting to work on that day (better clarify this with your employers). Don’t be absent on December 29, the last working days before these holidays, because doing so will automatically disqualify you from getting any holiday premium.

PS: What about January 2, 2011? As things are, it is a regular working day. Stop the wishful thinking.


How to file for PHILHEALTH benefits, especially for an operation

First of all, a Merry Christmas to my dear readers!

This year’s Yuletide season is particularly more momentous for me since I just underwent a gallbladder removal surgery last December 20 at a private hospital here in Metro Manila. My internal medicine doctor recommended me for an operation because of the presence of stones in my gallbladder (gallstones or “bato sa apdo” in Filipino).

The whole ordeal will be tackled at length in future posts, but for now, I’ll focus on how you can apply for PhilHealth benefits because it can really help a lot. The cost of my hospitalization almost reached P100, 000 (hospital bill plus the professional fees), and luckily, PhilHealth shouldered roughly a third of it. Please take note of the fact that I’ve only made 28 contributions to them so far.

First question: Does your employer deduct PhilHealth (or Philippine Health Insurance Corporation) contributions from your regular salary? You can check that in your latest pay slip.

Monthly premiums are shared equally between the employee and the employer. These, according to the PHIC website, are remitted by the employer through accredited payment centers nationwide. Keep in mind however that some companies do not entitle contractual employees (or casual, non-permanent) to PhilHealth benefits.

PhilHealth benefits can be very helpful during prolonged hospitalization

Second question: Does your employer remit these contributions to PhilHealth? You can proceed to your HR department (or the payroll unit) to ask for a Certificate of Contribution (CoC). If needed, you may also have to contact your former employer/s for this. This will be required by the hospital as soon as you apply for PhilHealth benefits. What should be included in the CoC? The certification that I got is only one page long, and it contained the following information:

1) Your name and PhilHealth number

2)  Months covered by the payment

3) The dates when the company remitted the contribution

4) OR (Official Receipts) numbers of these payments

5) The amount of contributions

6) Signature of the designated company official

After securing this, you also have to submit your updated Member Data Record sheet. In case this is not provided by your employer, proceed directly to the nearest PhilHealth office. For those living in Metro Manila, this directory may be helpful.

Let’s now proceed to Claim Form 1, which is the most important since it has to be signed by your employer. My company has ready-to-claim CF1s (signed in advance by our HR head). You must submit the sheet originally signed by your employer. You can download PhilHealth Claim Form 1 here.

Claim Form 2 is usually not provided by employers (alongside Claim Form 3), since hospital staffs are the one working on this. In any case, you can download PhilHealth_ClaimForm2 here and PhilHealth_ClaimForm3 here.

Why is it more convenient to file PhilHealth claims before your hospitalization? This is helpful if you do not have large cash on hand (some hospitals won’t allow you to be discharged unless you settle all incurred bills). If you opt to instead seek reimbursement for the expenses after the operation, the processing of claims takes 60 working days. Also, some HMOs require their members to immediately file for PhilHealth benefits.

PS: What I’ve written here applies only for locally employed PhILHEALTH members.


Jay Sonza to Kris Aquino: A mere apology would have sufficed.

So far, this Facebook note written by Jay Sonza, a veteran broadcast journalist and 2010 vice presidential candidate, has been shared over 6,000 times. Titled “Iparating Ito Kay Kris Aquino” (Let Kris Aquino Know of This), it sums up what an irate public thinks about the news of the President spending an hour or two last Sunday night in the Presidential Security Group’s Christmas party, a fact revealed by the tweets of Valerie Concepcion.

 

Kris Aquino on Typhoon Sendong: "Life should go on. Hindi naman pwedeng huminto na lang ang buhay at magmukmok na lang tayo.”

“Ngayon, ‘yun namang party ay matagal nang naka-schedule ‘yon. Siyempre, may mga masasamang nangyayari at may malungkot but then, life should go on. Hindi naman pwedeng huminto na lang ang buhay at magmukmok na lang tayo.”

 

This is what Kris Aquino told the nation Monday morning on her television program.

 

Bakit, Kris? Bakit?

 

Jay Sonza to Kris Aquino: "When your mother died, every single Filipino stopped whatever he or she was doing at that time, and paid homage to her! "

When your mother died, every single Filipino stopped whatever he or she was doing at that time, and paid homage to her! 

Pang Pnoy, masama bang makipaglamay ka sa amin?

Millions of Filipinos stood in line to view her. Millions waited hours along Luneta, Roxas Boulevard, Quirino Avenue, South Superhighway, South Expressway and Sucat Road to pay their last respects,

Now, your brother is President and he cannot even spend a few minutes attending to relief and avacuation operations in Cagayan de Oro City, Iligan City, Negros Oriental, Compostela Valley and other affected areas?

 

Kris, daan-daang katao ang namatay Kris. Libo pa ang bilang ng mga nawawala. Ari-arian at tanging yaman ang nasalanta. Fathers and their kids, mothers and their babies, whole generations were wiped out. The entire Cagayan de Oro was almost transformed into a wasteland and you will tell us that ”life should go on…and it will not be good if our lives stop for a while and for us to mourn?”

 

We mourn for your father, Kris. We vowed to sacrifice our lives for your father get justice. Many of our colleagues were jailed, others are still missing to date.  

 

Our lives stopped when your father and mother died.

 

Don’t you ever tell us, us, the Filipino people that we will not mourn our fellow Filipinos, especially the Mindanaoans who died during this typhoon.

 

We are not like you, who do not care. 

 

We care for fellow Filipinos, poor ones, who became victims.

 

More than a thousand lost their lives because of the ingratitude and the ineptitude of their leaders!

 

Thousands more lost their futures because of the callousness of the leaders like your brother, Kris.

 

A mere apology would have sufficed. 

Read Mr. Sonza’s original post here.

Noynoy Aquino partying with Valerie Concepcion during Typhoon Sendong


Lacierda is right in comparing Aquino to Obama re conflict with SC

Reacting to noted constitutionalist Fr. Joaquin Bernas’ criticism that President Benigno Aquino III acted like Cuban strongman Fidel Castro when he ordered the initiated the hasty impeachment of Chief Justice Renato Corona, Palace spokesperson Edwin Lacierda pointed out that United States President Barack Obama also engaged in Supreme Court-bashing in front of a joint session of Congress last year. He is right.

In his 2010 State of the Union address, with six of the nine US high court magistrates, including Chief Justice John Roberts, in attendance, Obama slammed the Supreme Court for ruling that private corporations are allowed to donate money for or against certain candidates and causes as long as there’s full disclosure of where the contribution is going.

Here’s that portion of Obama’s address, courtesy of the Los Angeles Times:

“Last week, the Supreme Court reversed a century of law to open the floodgates for special interests — including foreign companies — to spend without limit in our elections,” Obama said tonight. “Well, I don’t think American elections should be bankrolled by America’s most powerful interests, and worse, by foreign entities. They should be decided by the American people, and that’s why I’m urging Democrats and Republicans to pass a bill that helps to right this wrong.”

The court’s ruling overturned a century-old restriction. In a 5-4 decision led by the court’s conservative bloc, the justices said that corporations had the same right to free speech as individuals, and for that reason the government could not stop corporations from spending to help their favored candidates. Many analysts predict the ruling will benefit Republicans in next fall’s midterm elections.

As noted in the report, a slim majority of justices in the Supreme Court were appointed by Republican presidents. Chief Justice Roberts was appointed in 2005 by George W. Bush, Obama’s predecessor. This is somehow similar to Aquino’s present problem – dealing with a Supreme Court dominated by appointees of ex President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. Aquino opposed Corona’s appointment as Chief Justice from the day he was sworn in by Arroyo. Obama opposed Robert’s confirmation when he was still a senator from Illinois. Here are excerpts from Obama’s explanation of vote:

“In his (John Roberts) work in the White House and the Solicitor General’s Office, he seemed to have consistently sided with those who were dismissive of efforts to eradicate the remnants of racial discrimination in our political process. In these same positions, he seemed dismissive of the concerns that it is harder to make it in this world and in this economy when you are a woman rather than a man.”

It will be prudent to point out the differences between the dynamics of the two Supreme Courts. The mandatory retirement age of Filipino magistrates is set at 70, while American high court justices can serve indefinitely. Because of this, it is highly unlikely that a single American president can appoint a majority of them (unlike here in the Philippines). For instance, George W. Bush was able to appoint only two SC justices during his eight-year term.

Going back to the Obama-Roberts rift: The latter dealt the former a counterpunch six weeks after the State of the Union address (March 2010). As CBS News reported, Roberts described Obama’s tirade against the Supreme Court as “very troubling” because in doing so, the President did not observe “proper decorum.” Roberts also slammed the SOUA for degenerating into a “political pep rally.” Here’s what he said:

The image of having the members of one branch of government standing up, literally surrounding the Supreme Court, cheering and hollering while the court – according the requirements of protocol – has to sit there expressionless, I think is very troubling.”

Shortly after Aquino berated Corona during a Supreme Court-sponsored criminal justice summit, Supreme Court administrator and spokesperson Jose Midas Marquez said:

“It is not at all unusual for the Executive Branch to disagree with the Judicial Branch.  But what is considerably unusual is for the Chief Executive to look down on the members of the Judiciary in public … and to their faces denounce the Court’s independent actions, as the Chief Justice sat speechless, motionless and expressionless because of the requirements of protocol,” he added.

Notice any similarity in the way the statements were worded?

From Manila Standard Today, March 20, 2010:

(Aquino) raised the threat of impeachment against anyone Mrs. Arroyo would name to replace Chief Justice Reynato Puno when he retires on May 17.”

Seems like Aquino has long prepared for a battle against Corona.


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