Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Another Legion of UPLB Graduates for 2011

Today is the scheduled commencement exercises at the University of the Philippines Los Baños (see the live video streaming at http://graduation.uplb.edu.ph/). Time has passed swiftly indeed. It was only last year that we were the participants of the graduation. Now, a new batch has come to be lauded for their hardships in the academic world of UPLB. With or without honors, every new UPLB graduate deserves to be congratulated. The only thing left to be done is for them to prove that they are worthy to be called “Iskolar ng Bayan.” But of course, that challenge also applies to the earlier graduates. Even to me. Mabuhay ang mga magsisipagtapos!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Post-Good Friday Sentiments

We are only halfway through this long vacation thanks to the Holy Week; many things can still be done. Being a non-practioner of any religion-related activities and having no substantial resources to sustain long stay on island beaches, I have always preferred land travels within the southern Luzon area.

On Good Friday late afternoon there I was again in transit. But this time in a very different situation. Whereas the buses bound southward are full, the buses bound for Manila are full to the brim, almost literally. The two-seaters on either side had to accommodate three passengers. And the aisle, the aisle! We are packed liked tiny sardines in the aisle! Experiences and memories are some of the things I treasure the most. But beyond experiencing the rush after the activities of Good Friday, anxiety made its way into my mind.

The root of this anxiety comes from the possibility of accidents. Vacations, people rushing for transport vehicles. These are all conditions quite conducive for accidents as we are all occupied by other things. The bad thing about overloaded vehicles (buses as in my experience) is that the risk of higher casualties are already raised. It’s bad enough to travel in rush times. It’s worse to find yourself stuck in an overloaded passenger bus with a pseudo-ticket on hand (the conductor opted to give me a spent ticket). I could swear we were more than a hundred in the bus. The air-conditioning unit fails to match the more than a hundred breathing bodies inside.

Perhaps what must be done in these situations is to enforce strictly the maximum number of passenger per vehicle. More than convenience, it will give a more secure spot in travel. On the part of the bus companies, this will lessen their potential offenses in the event of a mishap – overloading, reckless imprudence, among others. We respect our laws and regulations we respect our passengers’ lives in return.

To those who are yet to travel back home or work, be vigilant and careful.

Monday, April 18, 2011

The Fight Continues Against RH Bill

I do not intend to discuss my view on the battles on Reproductive Health Bill (more commonly known as the RH Bill), but instead I want to share the extent of this issue. It seems that the creative side of the Filipinos is showing, as can be seen from this slogan that I saw along M. Paulino Street in San Pablo City, Laguna. It may not be as direct as the others (“Say No To RH Bill”, etc), but this clearly shows the house owner’s take on the RH Bill.

We are yet to see the end-of-the-line of this RH Bill battle.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Ngayong Araw ng Kagitingan

Today I commit to mind and heart the events 69 years ago, when soldiers (both Filipinos and Americans) were brought to surrender by the power of the Japanese Imperial Army. It was a defeat, yes; but within those who participated in the brave fights to keep the defense of Bataan, it was a display of sustained resolve to be focused to the prime goal: to keep the invaders away.

There may be hundreds of speeches being delivered today and hundreds of wreaths being laid in numerous war memorials and monuments. But without committing to our minds and hearts the horror of the battles, the recollections of the piles of dead civilians and combatants, then not much is achieved by those who fought the War. It was blood that was given that we now enjoy the (relative) peace of today. The (relative) calmness and contentment with which we face each day betrays the noise of the firing guns and shouts of the dying at that time.

Let us commit this day in remembering ALL those who fought in the defense of the Philippine Islands during the Second World War. May we continue the battle for peace and independence that they have earlier waged. Even without the guns. Even without the cannons.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

City Government of San Pablo Tackles the Garbage Issue

Having a sister connected with the barangay youth council is an advantage as I am able to get a hold of news about the city government of San Pablo firsthand. I will now share here good news about the city’s garbage management.

Garbage Segregation

“Bawasan ang Basurang Itinatapon! Dagdag Pera, Bawas Basura.” This is the slogan that fronts the semi-memo I obtained from my sister, stating the implementation of garbage segregation (at least in our barangay). I am not aware if there is already an existing city ordinance about garbage segregation but if there is, this would be the first instance that it would be manifested. The aforementioned segregation will commence on April 15, 2011. The date is good for it is currently summer vacation – young children can join be instructed about this worthwhile activity.

A schedule for the segregated garbage collection was also given:
Nabubulok [Biodegradable]: Linggo, Lunes, Miyerkules, Biyernes
Di Nabubulok [Non-biodegradable]: Martes, Huwebes, Sabado

There was, however, a reminder not to hang the garbage packs on walls, electric posts, and similar places. This be better followed. This will lessen the eye sores in our city’s streets.

Plastic-Free San Pablo City

This is already a follow-up about my earlier post about banning the use of plastics in establishments in San Pablo City. City Ordinance No. 2009-14 specifically states the prohibition of the use of plastic bags on dry goods, its minimal use on wet goods, and the prohibition of the use of styrofoam in San Pablo City.

The offenders shall be given the following fines:
Small Stores: 1st Offense – P1,000 | 2nd Offense – P2,000 | 3rd Offense – P3,000 AND imprisonment for six (6) months and cancellation of license for one (1) year
Supermarkets / Department Stores / Malls / Food Chains: 1st Offense – P2,000 | 2nd Offense – P3,500 | 3rd Offense – P5,000 AND imprisonment for six(6) months and cancellation of license for one (1) year

All these are joint initiatives of the Office of the City Mayor and the City Solid Waste Management Office (CSWMO). You may contact CSWMO at (049) 503-1623 for any inquiries or additional information. I cannot help but recall the same initiatives by the municipal government of Los Baños, Laguna a few years ago; they are now reaping the fruits of their ordinance. Plastics may be ubiquitous and may be still be indispensable for the next century (or two), but at least we are doing some ways by which we can lessen their usage.