Categories
Asides

Thirty-five

I am now in my mid thirties. Life has been tough, especially in the last couple of years. And I never thought that I would be alive in the age of a pandemic. On the other hand, it’s been fun, challenging and worth the pains, struggles, setbacks and even defeats. It’s great to be alive!

The past couple of months, in particular, have been amazing – I’ve launched a science podcast, a newsletter, and recently, an advocacy group that had already made great strides towards its goals. Other side projects are steadily moving forward even if it’s in small baby steps.

In the coming days, I’d be joining other brave bloggers and netizens in a great and noble endeavor. Just to be in their company is both humbling and a great privilege.

On the home front, I am mightily proud of being able to sharpen my cooking skills. Salads and more vegetables have become part of my diet. Something my mom would definitely be proud of. Perhaps I’d talk more about it in the upcoming posts.

Much more needs to be done. My growing pile of books to read for starters. Sticking to regularly updating this blog and adding a few chapters to a writing project that’s really close to heart.

Adding a few pounds wouldn’t hurt. Improving my skills and staying healthy – getting through this year in the age of coronavirus would remain my primary pre-occupation. To all my friends, colleagues, readers and followers, thank you to each and one of you!

Categories
Daily dose

Myth: Filipinos lack discipline

Three data sets utterly destroy the government’s mantra that Filipinos lack discipline and that this is the reason why COVID-19 cases – despite having the longest lock down in the world, continue to increase by the thousands each day.

A survey by the Institute of Global Health Innovation of the Imperial College London in partnership with YouGov came up with the following figures:

  • 91% wore masks when they were outside
  • 83% washed hands w/ soap & water
  • 77% avoided crowded areas
  • 61% avoided going out in general
  • 70% avoided touching objects in public

Google’s COVID-19 Community Mobility Report (pdf) based on “aggregated, anonymized sets of data from users who have turned on the location history setting” for their Google Account paints a similar picture covering the period of June 2 to July 14:

  • 46% decline in retail & recreation areas, including restaurants, cafes, shopping centers, theme parks, museums, libraries and movie theaters
  • 20% decline in places like grocery markets, food warehouses, farmers markets, specialty food shops, drug stores and pharmacies
  • 25% decline in places like national parks, public beaches, marinas, dog parks, plazas, and public gardens.
  • 56% decline in places like public transport hubs such as subways, bus, and train stations.
  • 44% decline for places of work
  • 23% increase for places of residence. In other words, Filipinos stayed at home.

Marlen V. Ronquillo in his The Manila Times column talks about how a recent survey by the Asian Development Bank ‘shatter the myth that Filipinos are pasaway‘:

63.2% decrease in mobility – Filipinos stayed at home even in the congested areas where at least 10 people are crammed inside a small shanty.

A couple of days ago, Vince Dizon, the so-called ‘testing czar’ regurgitated the myth that ‘discipline’ is the key to beating COVID-19. He casually dismissed testing, contact tracing, strengthening the health care system and using available technology as essential tools against the coronavirus. It is bad enough that up until now, public health experts have taken a back seat in the government’s response against COVID-19, it’s infuriating to hear such ridiculous notions from those who are put in such a position.

I have said it before and will say it again, from the experience of other countries, COVID-19 can be beaten. The struggle only becomes more difficult – at the expense of human lives, when the government itself becomes another enemy in this pandemic.

Categories
Daily dose

Justice Antonio Carpio: Defending Philippine Sovereign Rights in the West Philippine Sea

A must-watch for every Filipino, this lecture of retired Supreme Court senior associate justice Antonio Carpio eloquently demolishes the 9-Dash line claim of China over the West Philippine Sea.

Using historical and legal evidence, he presents a very strong case in which China’s claims over the Spratly islands is built on a false narrative designed to suit the Chinese government’s expansionist desires.

Through this lecture, Justice Carpio makes it easy to understand the Philippines’ historic victory against China before the Permanent Court of Arbitration in 2016. The full lecture can now be watched on Access Online’s YouTube account here.

Categories
Asides

LIFE Hacks with Atty Chel Diokno

It’s been a tiring, busy yet very fulfilling week as together with good friends and colleagues, we’ve launched the first installment of our ‘LIFE Hacks‘ series of webinars last June 27, 2020.

Our keynote speaker is none other than the venerable human rights defender, nationalist and founding Dean of De La Salle University’s College of Law, Atty Chel Dionko in which he talked about the Anti-Terrorism Bill and the recent cyber-libel conviction against veteran journalist Maria Ressa.

The webinar series is the inaugural project for our little volunteer group Lasallian Initiative for Empowerment or LIFE. Our mission is to help our fellow Filipinos, especially the youth, to better understand current issues and take part in the national conversation.

Despite the speed bumps and misses, we were surprised that the event exceeded most of our expectations given that we only had almost a week to put it all together. It was also my first foray into moderating or hosting a webinar and the experience has been a humbling and inspiring learning experience for me.

Apart from managing the logistics of the webinar and hosting it, I also handled the technical production – learning how to use and setup OBS Studio to jazz up our zoom webinar the night before and live streaming the event on our Facebook page. All those years of tinkering with computers, sound mixers and DIY-community theater really helped a lot.

We’re now working on our next event which would be a lot smoother and better thanks to all the valuable lessons we learned from the pilot episode. I’ll be talking more about this soon in the coming days.

If you’re one of those who joined our first ‘LIFE Hacks’ thank you from the bottom of our hearts. We look forward to seeing you in the next installment soon!