Sunday, November 01, 2009

Celebrity for Charity (UP Sagip Isko)

With Typhoon Santi (Mirinae) promptly leaving the Metro at around 10:00 am yesterday, doubts went away with the dark skies on whether or not The White Hat Italian Frozen Yogurt would push through with its Celebrity for Charity Halloween event. Interestingly in relation to the weather risk, the beneficiary UP Sagip Isko happens to be a student-led group within UP Diliman that has successfully coordinated typhoon relief efforts for the victims of T.S. Ondoy and Pepeng.

More info and photos here.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

UP Sagip Isko: Relief Operations for T.S. Ondoy (Ketsana) Victims

Dear Professors, Colleagues, Classmates, and Friends,

Relaying to you these photo and video updates on UP Sagip Isko's student-led relief operations for T.S. Ondoy (Ketsana) victims:


Video 1 - Call to Action/HQ
Video 2 - On Site

Thank you very much to all donors, volunteers, and supporters. Our work however is not yet done, what with this new Typhoon Pepeng.

Please standby for updates at as to UP Sagip Isko's plans for the upcoming week, in consideration of the new typhoon this weekend, and the resumption of classes on Monday. We can do this!

Maraming salamat po!


(Please forward this concise message of thanks and advisory to contacts who may be willing to help.)

Friday, June 12, 2009

UPM Constituents: URGENT Re: A(H1N1) Protocol

Hello. I am Dr. Regina Berba of the UP-PGH Hospital Infection Control Unit and in charge of UPM response to H1N1. I am writing you to give some guidance on how we could best respond to the recent events.

It is very important that we all follow the guidelines below. I am also attaching the school policies related to influenza A (H1N1). Please take time to read through this letter and the attached document.

1. In this period of a pandemic, we should all take care of our own selves, our families and communities. While the infection seems to be currently presenting as a mild illness, we still want to reduce our risks of getting it and passing it on to others. As much as we can, let us take extra precautions to minimize the number of persons who will become ill.

Observe hand hygiene. Wash hands frequently. Buy a bottle of alcohol or alcohol based hand rub and keep in your pocket, Observe cough etiquette. Avoid crowded areas. Stay away from sick persons.

2. If you had travel to a country with confirmed cases - please stay at home (self-quarantine) for 10 days. That means if you arrived on June 7, the earliest you can go back to school is June 18- assuming you did not become ill.

3. If you had close contact with our index case within 6ft distance even for only a few minutes, please put yourself on quarantine. If the exposure was June 6, you should be on quarantine until June 16 and the earliest you can go back to school is June 17-assuming you did not become ill.

The purpose of quarantine is to reduce the interactions you have with other susceptible people so that in the event you develop the illness, there would be less contacts who can become ill later. Less contacts, less cases. Quarantine means staying by yourself in a well ventilated room in your house. If you will be in a common area with other family members, wear a mask even if you do not have symptoms. Its an inconvenience but it is important!

4. Whether you belong to #1 or #2 above and during this 10-day period you develop or now have any of: fever, cough, colds, sore throat- kindly consult. Begin to wear a disposable surgical mask even while you are at home so that you protect the other family members from possibly catching the virus if you have it already.

You and your parents may opt to go to: a) the Research Institute of Tropical Medicine (RITM) in Alabang, Lung Center of the Philippines in QC, San Lazaro Hospital Manila; b) a private medical center of your choice; c) UP-PGH.

If you decide to go to PGH, please call or text the UPM H1N1 Hotline 09197470570 before proceeding so we can prepare for your arrival. Give the anticipated time of your visit. The area we will see you at would be at the PGH H1N1 unit -previous AMBU in front of the ER.

The consultation will involve getting a thorough history, PE, respiratory specimens (nasopharyngeal swab and oropharyngeal swab) and decision making whether you need to be admitted. The specimens are brought to the RITM. Results of the RT-PCR for the influenza A(H1N1) will become available in 24-48 hours.

If your test will become positive for influenza A (H1N1) please inform me 09178926954 so we could do contact tracing. Please follow all the physician's advise and medications.

5. When you have symptoms, whether or not it is influenza A (H1N1) or the regular seasonal flu or other viruses, staying at home in isolation (the proper term now is not QUARANTINE anymore but ISOLATION) is very critical. Wear a mask. Practice the cough etiquette. Cover your mouth when you cough,

6. If you become ill, DO NOT GO TO SCHOOL until 24 hours after all your symptoms have disappeared. You would need clearance from the UPHS before the first day back to school.

7. Quarantine and isolation due to exposure or illness will be excused. Please call the College Secretary's office to notify them of your absence and reason behind and duration of the absence.

8. Any questions please call the Hotline 09197470570 (our IDS fellow will answer you) or my number (09178926954) .

In behalf of Chancellor Arcadio and Dean Roxas, I extend my sincerest hope to all of you that everyone will be well. We will be here to help you.

For your full compliance please.
Regina Berba

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Upsilon Sigma Phi's statement on PGMA's clemency for Cochise's Murderer

Joint Statement of the U.P. Upsilon Sigma Phi and Upsilon Sigma Phi Alumni Association, Inc.

We, the members of the U.P. Upsilon Sigma Phi and the Upsilon Sigma Phi Alumni Association, Inc. condemn in the strongest possible terms the commutation of the sentence of Rodolfo “Rudy” Manalili, the murderer of our dear fraternity brother Ernesto “Cochise” Bernabe II and his girlfriend Ana Lourdes “Beebom” Castanos.

As law abiding citizens and taxpayers of this country, we are appalled at the utter disregard by Her Excellency President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo of the rule of law and our time-honored system of justice.

Manalili and those convicted with him – Roberto Lising, Robin Manga, Enrico Dizon and Filemon Garcia slaughtered Cochise as if he were an animal, and then raped and slaughtered Beebom as well. Cutting short Manalili’s double life sentence for the kidnapping and murder of Cochise and Beebom will allow him to roam the streets within the next 3 years, thus exposing to serious danger the lives of the witnesses who testified against him.

The decision penned by then Quezon City trial judge Tirso Velasco stated that the crime Manalili et al committed was so heinous that he (Velasco) would have sentenced them to death had the death penalty been in place at that time. To the relatives of Cochise and Beebom, and to the public at large, the double life sentence was lean enough. Comes now President Arroyo who, probably having been misled by officials of the Board of Pardons and Parole, lessens the penalty to a ridiculous pittance of time in prison.

Based on the presidential prerogative, which we believe was grossly abused, Manalili may be out in 3-8 years time, too soon for those who testified against him or had anything to do with his prosecution. Was it because Manalili is from Pampanga, where President Arroyo hails? Was it because Manalili’s family is moneyed and the 2010 elections are near? Is the commutation of Manalili’s sentence connected with the commutations of the sentences of other rich heinous crime convicts like Claudio Teehankee, Jr. or wealthy child rapist Romeo Jalosjos? Who will the President free next – Mayor Sanchez?

We therefore appeal to President Arroyo to reconsider this travesty of justice. Setting free criminals like Manalili and his ilk sends a chilling message to law abiding citizens of this country – we can never feel safe – and gives hope to the criminals of this country – go ahead, commit a heinous crime, and get away with it. But if you do get caught – don’t worry… you can always get executive clemency for as long as you know people in the Board of Pardons and Parole and Malacanang.

Julian Rodrigo A. dela Cruz
Illustrious Fellow, U.P. Upsilon Sigma Phi (Diliman)

Jupiter Pante P. Nunez
Illustrious Fellow, U.P. Upsilon Sigma Phi (Los Banos)

Jacinto S. Puno
President, Upsilon Sigma Phi Alumni Association, Inc.

Noel Cruz
President, Upsilon Sigma Phi - North America

Letter to the Editor
Speaking in Tongues

Early this week, news broke on the pardon granted by Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to Rodolfo M. Manalili who masterminded the abduction and murder of Ernesto “Cochise” Bernabe II and Ana Lourdes “Beebom” Castanos in April 25, 1990.

In a year’s time, we would be commemorating the abduction, rape and murder of these two young and promising students and future leaders our nation will never have. After creating a maelstrom that saw the enactment of the death penalty and the creation of the witness protection program brought about by public outrage and condemnation of this crime, our President, in one stroke of her mighty pen appends closure to Cochise and Beebom’s deaths by rewarding the killers and re-opening the yet unhealed wounds it has brought to Bernabe’s and Castanos’ families, friends and colleagues.

Because Press Secretary Cerge Remonde is aware of the utter heinousness of Manalili’s crime, he hides under the oft repeated chorus that the recent pardons is yet just another part of the ministerial duties of the President. That murderers, rapists, and grafters are freed after spending time for their crimes while alleviated by credible good behaviour is purely hogwash. Nothing can be more revolting when our officials coax our anger with arrogance treating us like children. We are even led to the self induced refrain that these actions are part of the corrective nature of the modern penal system. In short, don’t blame the President, she was just doing her job.

But our beef is not on forgiveness and on the Board of Pardons and Parole. Our anger stems from the transactional politics of this administration. The common adherence to law and order is thrown at the waste bin to accommodate patronage and political accommodation. The President fails to realize that above-all the wheeling and dealing in the Palace, she is expected to raise the bar of presidential action and in this case, her application of her power to grant pardons.

We have and will continue to support the Constitution and the laws of this Republic. We have done so and continue to do so in the ninety decades of our existence. But what we abhor is the wanton capitulation of this Administration to interest groups or individuals exposing the lack of political will to enforce judicial decisions creating a shadow of doubt as to how this government will fight corruption and lawlessness when high profile and financially endowed murderers, rapists, thieves and plunderers are granted pardon and clemency at the beck of presidential prerogative.

We are aware that Arroyo’s record of pardoning and granting executive clemency to many prisoners run into the hundreds if not thousands by this time. But we reckon that such actions to release and award freedom to old, sickly convicts with deteriorating health conditions will be the same action of any other president. To argue here that the president chooses neither from power nor from lack of it is misleading, if not downright pretentious. And because the decision to grant pardons and clemency have been tainted , what we hear is the “process” rhetoric.

Why then would we not think that this government is biased for the privileged few and not for all when the President pardons the likes of Jaime Ponce de Leon, convicted of 27 counts of graft and sentenced to 203 years in prison but never saw even the mere shadow of his prison cell because he was pardoned on the day he was to serve his sentence. We have the bungled initial release and pardon of convicted rapist Romeo Jalosjos, an ex-Congressman who had to be “re-captured” in hometown Zamboanga only to be finally freed after a few months re-detention. The other equally famous Claudio Teehankee, son of a former Chief Justice who lived a pampered life inside Bilibid who was released even before media got wind of the news. And of course, most obvious and sensational of all, the granting of executive clemency to former president Erap Estrada who was convicted of plunder, more from being handed his sentence.

We are a nation of laws. We seek redress from the courts and we find its judgment the final arbiter of the gravity of one’s offense. Presidential pardon is a special privilege allocated to the President to use and exercise with utmost care and discretion. It is neither a magic wand nor a “free-pass” granted at whim. The Board of Pardons and Parole is a commendable government agency whose goal is to provide a venue for relief and executive action for humanitarian reasons. Its recommendations must not be the sole basis for judgment of pardons and clemency. Just like any other democratic process, the flip side of the coin must also be presented. The parties aggrieved must be reached and their assent secured.

We believe that Rodolfo M. Manalili deserves to serve his full sentence. The lives of Cochise and Beebom can at the very least be honored by making those responsible for their deaths serve their full sentence. We deplore the official statement that the pardon was an exercise in process and that the President’s signature is merely ministerial. We condemn the inclusion and even the mere allusion of “a changed man” as a primary basis for exacting pardons and the process used to bear these fruits. The serving of one’s sentence implicitly involves one’s repentance and remorse. No amount of good behaviour should be incorporated as a means to shorten one’s sentence for it depraves us of our own dignity and corrodes our trust and allegiance to our laws.

We ask the President to repeal the pardon and exact on Manalili and his cohorts that in the Philippines, crime does pay.

We also call on every decent and law-abiding Filipino to join our call.

For the memory of Cochise and Beebom, we remain steadfast.

For the Upsilon Sigma Phi Alumni Association (USPAA):
Eliseo M. Ilano, Chairman
Jacinto S. Puno, President

For the Upsilon Sigma Phi Los Banos Alumni Association (USPLBAA):
Arbie Bisenio, Chairman

For the Upsilon Sigma Phi North America (USPNA):
Noel Cruz, President

For the Upsilon Sigma Phi Resident Chapters:
Julian Rodrigo A. dela Cruz, Illustrious Fellow (Diliman)
Jupiter Pante P. Nunez, Illustrious Fellow (Los Banos)

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Career Opportunity: Health Policy Fellowship Program

The Health Policy Development Program

The Health Policy Development Program (HPDP) is a USAID-supported, 5-year initiative implemented by the UPecon Foundation, Inc.
It aims to assist the Department of Health (DOH) in its institutional role of shaping the policy environment towards achieving better health outcomes, a more responsive health system, and equitable health care financing. HPDP is providing assistance along the following
Program Components:

1) Contraceptive Self-Reliance, Family Planning/ Maternal, Neonatal and Child Health (CSR-FP/MNCH)
2) Standards and Regulations (S&R)
3) Local Health Systems (LHS)
4) Health Care Financing (HCF)
5) Capacity-Building, Sustainability and Institutionalization (CSI)

As part of the CSI component, HPDP is implementing the Health Policy Fellowship Program (HP).


HPDP wishes to announce its Health Policy (HP) Fellowship Program for junior professionals below 35 years of age, interested to pursue a career in health policy work. The HP Fellowship Program provides exciting learning opportunities in policy work through internship with the DOH, and/or its attached agencies as HP Fellows. The HP Fellows will be provided opportunities to:

a. Perform regular and special technical staff work on a full-time basis;
b. Attend short courses on health policy;
c. Participate in various policy fora and workshops; and
d. Meet regularly with designated HPDP mentors to discuss progress of their policy work

Applicants must be graduates of degree programs in medicine or other health-related courses, public administration, economics and other social sciences, management, communications, information technology, statistics or mathematics. They must express interest in health policy and systems development work.

Successful applicants will be engaged for a minimum of six months. HPDP offers a highly competitive compensation package for the fellowship, depending on individual

To apply, please submit: (1) letter of application, (2) curriculum vitae, and (3) official transcript of records or true copy of grades, to Dr. Orville Jose C. Solon, Chief of Party, HPDP, Room 322, UP School of Economics, Diliman, Quezon City, 1101.

For inquiries, please write or call Dr. Loyd Brendan P. Norella, HPDP Program Associate, at Telefax +63 2 436 3677, Tel +63 2 927 9686 local 321 and 322, or e-mail at