Category Archives: Opinion

Early campaigning?

Green Citom Cebu City

Green Citom Cebu City
CITOM turns green.

Most of us are so immune to color that we do not even realize how it affects our mood or behavior. Advertisers and marketers have spent vast amounts of time and money in attempts to sway or engage consumers into utilizing their services or buying their products. It is not by accident that the CocaCola™ logo and cans have remained red for decades. In fact, even the mention of CocaCola™, probably had you immediately associate the product with the color red. –Keri of

CITOM personnel which are constant fixtures in Cebu City’s roads suddenly changed their uniforms to green. I guess election season is heating up.

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Barbie makeover?

The Pink Barbie exhibit runs October 25 to November 2, 2015 at the SM North Wing.
The Pink Barbie exhibit runs October 25 to November 2, 2015 at the SM North Wing.

Pink Barbies are on exhibit at the SM City Cebu North Wing starting today until November 2, 2014. The famed dolls are said to be dressed by local fashion designers through the ICanServe Foundation to raise awareness on cancer.

While the advocacy behind the exhibit is commendable, the Barbie doll’s slim physique has been blamed to contribute to young girls hoping to mimic the unnatural figure. The pressure to be thin among girls is said to be prevalent among girls exposed to Barbie’s world. According to Dittmar, et al. (2006), “early exposure to dolls epitomizing an unrealistically thin body ideal may damage girls’ body image, which would contribute to an increased risk of disordered eating and weight cycling.”

Pink Barbies 2

The exhibit is expected to successfully generate the target funds of the sponsoring non-government organization. Hopefully, though, it won’t raise a collection of unnaturally thin women.


Dittmar, Helga, et al., “Does Barbie Make Girls Want to Be Thin? The Effect of Experimental Exposure to Images of Dolls on the Body Image of 5- to 8-Year-Old Girls”, Development Psychology 2006, Vol. 42, No. 2, 283–292.

Pink Barbies 3

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6.3 quake shakes Negros Occidental; Cebu better prepare

Another strong earthquake (magnitude 6.3) has hit quite close to Cebu – this time in Hinoba-an town, Negros Occidental. In less than 5 years, three quakes struck near and even affected Cebu. The previous two caused much damage and panic:

1. October 15, 2013 quake with epicenter at Carmen, Bohol
2. February 6, 2012 quake with epicenter at Guihulngan, Negros Oriental (Remember Chona Mae?)

PHILVOLCS Bulletin on the Negros earthquake. Image grabbed from from
PHILVOLCS Bulletin on the Negros earthquake. Image grabbed from from

It is best that we Bisdak prepare for another tremblor even if we handily survived these earthquakes. Moreover, the quakes are becoming more frequent.

Based on the American Red Cross website ( | © Copyright The American National Red Cross. All rights reserved.), to prepare for an earthquake, one must:

  • Become aware of fire evacuation and earthquake safety plans for all of the buildings you occupy regularly.
  • Pick safe places in each room of your home, workplace and/or school. A safe place could be under a piece of furniture or against an interior wall away from windows, bookcases or tall furniture that could fall on you.
  • Practice “drop, cover and hold on” in each safe place. If you do not have sturdy furniture to hold on to, sit on the floor next to an interior wall and cover your head and neck with your arms.
  • Keep a flashlight and sturdy shoes by each person’s bed in case the earthquake strikes in the middle of the night.
  • Make sure your home is securely anchored to its foundation.
  • Bolt and brace water heaters and gas appliances to wall studs.
  • Bolt bookcases, china cabinets and other tall furniture to wall studs.
  • Hang heavy items, such as pictures and mirrors, away from beds, couches and anywhere people sleep or sit.
  • Brace overhead light fixtures.
  • Install strong latches or bolts on cabinets. Large or heavy items should be closest to the floor.
  • Learn how to shut off the gas valves in your home and keep a wrench handy for that purpose.
  • Learn about your area’s seismic building standards and land use codes before you begin new construction.
  • Keep and maintain an emergency supplies kit in an easy-to-access location.

The American Red Cross also has their mobile Earthquake app which can be downloaded via Google Play or i-Tunes stores.

The American Red Cross Earthquake app. Screen grab from Google Play Store.
The American Red Cross Earthquake app. Screen grab from Google Play Store.

As written on their Google Play Store page, the American Red Cross Earthquake app has the following features:

  • Step-by-step instructions let you know what to do even before/during/after an earthquake, even if no data connectivity.
  • Get notified when an earthquake occurs; see the intensity impact to your area or those of loved-ones with notifications generated by the United States Geological Survey (USGS).
  • Let family and friends know you are okay with the customizable “I’m Safe” alert for Facebook, Twitter, email and text.
  • Find open Red Cross shelters in your area when you need help.
  • Stay safe when the lights are out with the Toolkit, including a strobe light, flashlight and audible alert functions.
  • Prepare for the worst by learning how to assemble an emergency kit for your family in the event of power outage or evacuation.
  • Empower your family to stay safe and remain calm in an emergency by learning how to make and practice an emergency plan.
  • Earn badges that you can share with your friends and show off your hurricane knowledge with interactive quizzes.
  • See an illustrated history of earthquakes in your area.
  • Know how to what to do about food and drinking water when your area has been impacted by floods and power outages.
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Virtual firecrackers for a safe new year celebration

While waiting at the carwash station, an old customer suddenly quipped about the continued practice of greeting the new year with firecrackers. I shared that government action through enactment of laws and their strict enforcement would have served to prevent the loss of life, limb and property due to firecrackers.

To prevent or at least reduce injuries, death and/or fires, the Department of Health rolled out a compilation of MP3s as substitute to the bang of firecrackers (You may download the DOH’s New Year album here: This is still a far-cry from actual enactment and enforcement of policies to prevent the dangers posed by firecrackers.

When the clock hits 12AM, January 1, 2012, I’ll try out the Fireworks Symphony of the virtual firecracker audio compilation to welcome the year 2012!

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Jump and shoot

Here are the preliminary shots of what the students dub as Jump High for Higher Education Budget ahead of the State of the Nation Address of President Noynoy Aquino this Monday, July 25.

Last year, the Aquino administration slashed more than PHP 1.3B ($30.24M) from the education budget further aggravating the crisis in the education sector. This year, the students are gearing up for a stronger campaign for higher state subsidy for the education sector.

Creative forms of protests have been resorted to by students to broaden support to their advocacy.












Below is the statement of University of the Philippines (UP) President Alfredo Pascual posted at the UP System website (

UP deserves increased budget appropriation
Statement of UP President Alfredo E. Pascual

21 July 2011
As the country’s national university, the University of the Philippines (UP) deserves to get sufficient funding from the national government. It must have the means to effectively play a leadership role in higher education and national development, and attain a competitive status in the regional and global arena. In my vision statement for UP, I already noted that “(n)ot enough funds are being appropriated annually to meet the rising cost of quality UP education, much less to sustain capital expenditures for upgrading the university facilities.”

The UP Charter of 2008 clearly states that “it is the policy of the State to strengthen the University of the Philippines as the national university” (Sec. 2) and that the national government is responsible “for the continued growth, operation and maintenance of the national university” (Sec. 28).

In this context, I issue this statement to fully support the call of concerned UP students, faculty, staff and alumni for greater subsidy for UP.

I also take this opportunity to express my solidarity with the Philippine Association of State Universities and Colleges (PASUC) in its “strong appeal for a sufficient budget increase for the qualitative functioning of public higher education.” I fully agree with the PASUC’s explanation that the stand for a budget increase for SUCs is “closely aligned with the call for national progress and development.”

On 26 November 2010, the UP Diliman University Council already issued a statement calling for greater subsidy for UP. It noted: “A low budget has a debilitating effect on UP’s capacity to fulfill its mandate as the national university. The underprivileged students’ access to quality tertiary education will be compromised. The sustained development of academic facilities and programs will also be hampered.”

This scenario is unacceptable. I therefore encourage our students, faculty, staff and alumni to make their voices heard in the call for increased budget appropriation for UP and other SUCs.


Creative protest. Last July 19, students of UP Diliman used planking to protest government inaction on the education crisis in the Philippines. Here’s a video from (

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Almost a thousand from the UP Cebu community took the streets to demand Dean Avila's ouster last March.

The news about the dismissal by the Cebu City Prosecutors’ Office of the libel case against me brought tremendous relief and inspiration to me. Truly, the vigilant watch of colleagues and students hand in hand with our highly committed and principled defense lawyers proved more powerful than the baseless libel complaint of UP Cebu Dean Dr. Enrique Avila.

While confident that the libel case will never progress, it had caused me undue stress, troubled sleep and financial distress. I thank the students from the Nagkahiusang Kusog sa Estudyante and League of Filipino Students who never faltered in their support to the UP Cebu 10 and the 5 job order workers. We clinched another victory and it is time to clinch more victories in the Avila Ouster Movement.

The moment has come to break the inertia brought about by the summer break; it is time to end the reluctance caused by the fear that came with the several charges leveled by the Avila camp. Let us invigorate the movement we ignited last March and bring UP Cebu to an autonomy guided by democratic governance, collegiality, genuine development and service.

A tall order lies ahead. We shall persist in defending the remaining nine professors and workers still facing a libel complaint and the job-order workers in their perjury case. Most importantly, we shall vigilantly keep watch of the upcoming marathon hearings on the administrative case against Avila, Sharif and Pineda and support the process toward their eventual dismissal.

Padayon sa militanteng pakigbisog hangtod sa kadaugan!

Oust Avila, Sharif and Pineda!
Bring back democracy in UP Cebu!

Chito Patiño
Instructor, UP Cebu College

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New Facebook Chatbox

The new Facebook chat box makes navigation to your friends’ profiles more difficult. Since you can no longer click on the name of your chat mate to go to his/her profile, you will have to bother yourself with going to the Search Box.

Minimizing the chat box has become less intuitive. It took me some seconds to figure out where to click.

The Report Spam feature of the new chat box is a good response by Facebook on the growing number of spam attacks via our chat boxes. You no longer have to scour the net or go offline just to rid yourself of those annoying spam (

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Acid test

Ready to Strike

The upcoming search for the cluster heads in UP Cebu will be the acid test of the OIC leadership. UP Cebu, as per the structure approved by the BOR, will consist of four clusters namely: Sciences (NSMD and DCS), Social Sciences (SSD and PED), Humanities and Management.

Nominations will start this Monday.

We will see if there will be a credible search process and more importantly, a credible selection and appointment of cluster heads. Democratic consultation and respect to the voice of the majority must be the guiding rule. The UP Cebu community will no longer accept appointments made mainly on the basis of executive (i.e. dean’s) prerogative.

The All UP Academic Employees Union, All UP Workers Union, and the different student formations will be vigilantly watching the whole search process for the cluster heads.

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Same old, same old

same old same old

“used to say that a situation or someone’s behaviour remains the same, especially when it is boring or annoying” – Cambridge Dictionaries Online (

The UP Cebu Multi-Sectoral Assembly held earlier revealed the true character of the present administration in the college. Clearly, the present leadership is also taking the path distant from that of good and responsive governance. While the lifespan of the new administration will be short, just 90 days, its leaders have an opportunity to improve the processes and policies of the college.

It was funny how I was accused earlier of “not listening” when it is the present administration who cannot (errr… refuse) to hear the pleas of the students. While funds can easily be allocated for aesthetically-lacking water fountains, funds become difficult to locate for the opening of the two gates. While some rules can be flexed, rules become as hard as stone when students just want to take part in discussions at the executive committee.

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