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Save Our Trees

What does it make a government agency, tasked to safeguard nature and environment, that endorses killing of trees to allow construction of a cottage for a government official?

On February 24, 2011, PNoy signed EO No 26, which is known as National Greening Program (NGP). This is a massive forest rehabilitation program that aimed to grow 1.5B trees in 1.5M hectares nationwide within a period of 6 years from 2011 to 2016. The NGP is also seen as a climate change mitigation strategy to enhance country’s forest stock and to absorb carbon dioxide, largely blamed for global warming.

Areas eligible for rehabilitation under the program include all lands of the public domain, including forestlands, mangrove and protected areas, ancestral domains, civil and military reservation, urban greening areas, inactive and abandoned mine sites and other suitable lands.

As such, all government employees are required to plant at least 10 trees a year, with the DENR as the lead agency, serving to document, monitor and audit the implementation of the NGP. The Philippine Information Agency has registered the area fronting the Mansion House as their NGP project.

Last May 22, 2017, the Office of the President wrote a letter to the Director General Harold Clavite of the Phil Information Agency (PIA), if the PIA-CAR could vacate the Mansion House Guest Houses Complex, fronting the Baguio Mansion House it presently occupies. This will allow renovation/improvement and refurbishment and consequently convert it to and be used as the cottage of the Executive Secretary “for easy access to the Baguio Mansion House. It will be used as venue for meetings, fora and other official functions.” (Emphasis mine).

Resibo.

Then on November 14, 2017, the DENR endorsed to Mayor Mauricio Domogan the cutting of 32 live planted trees located at the current PIA Compound. CENR Officer Rainier Balbuena is seeking Mayor’s clearance for the processing of the subject application. Resibo.

In 2013 and 2014, WHO studies of Baguio City’s air showed that we had the dirtiest air in the country. Resibo

Of course everyone was enraged and could not easily accept the outcome of that study.

In 2016, CEPMO Head Lacsamana debunked now the claim of the WHO study, stating that through the monitoring of DENR the air quality was good to fair, which means breathable. This was due to the fact that the CEPMO and DENR were never remiss and remained aggressive in the implementation of various programs geared towards improving the city’s quality of air, NGP included. Resibo.

So the question now is, is it more valuable for the government to prioritize a guest house which is NOT occupied on a daily basis over the trees, which are more valuable in cleaning the air of carbon dioxide, releasing oxygen for animals and humans to breath on a millisecond throughout the day, all year round?

A tree absorbs 48 pounds of carbon dioxide per year, and when it reaches 40 years, it would have absorbed a total of 1 ton.

It is in line with this that I have launched an online petition addressing the DENR and now the Office of the City Mayor to reconsider this plan without necessitating the murder of our trees.

i enjoin the citizens of Baguio as well as concerned individuals all around to please click the attached link and sign the petition. Your help will transcend through generations of Baguio residents.

https://www.change.org/p/department-of-environment-and-natural-resources-oppose-building-of-executive-secretary-cottage-that-will-entail-cutting-anew-of-trees?recruiter=17055174&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=copylink&utm_campaign=share_petition&utm_term=share_petition

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Posted by on December 11, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

Kangaroo Mother Care (A Skin-to-Skin-Contact)

Skin-to-skin-contact between a mother and a newborn has indeed offered several benefits especially on the part of the newborn, premature babies most specifically. 

It allows the normal bacterial found in the mother skin to “fly” into the nose/mouth of the baby that he in turn swallows, populating his immature intestinal network. The newborn’s intestinal epithelial cells are full of gaps that a foreign body (allergen, or even pathologic bacteria) can gain access to enter the baby’s circulation system, leading to earlier expression of allergy, or systemic  infection, respectively. But with the presence of the friendly maternal bacteria swallowed by the baby, the immune system found at the terminal ileum, (gut-associated lymphoid tissue, GALT; otherwise known as Peyer’s patch) is stimulated to release secretory IgA, sIgA, that will help coat the cellular gaps and now protect and guard these gaps from being accessed by allergen or pathologic bacteria. Allergy expression, especially among babies with family history of allergy, can be delayed; infection by patholgic bacteria can be nil to minimized.

This simple procedure also provides comfort, relief from pain on the part of the baby, faster transition from gavage feeding to full direct breastfeeding, faster weight gain, and better maternal-infant bonding. As exemplified in the photo above, the baby has 100% oxygen saturation while breathing room air. 

There is also greater proportion of infants who undergo skin-to-skin contact to prefer exclusive breastfeeding. A previous study has established that baby who were breastfed in their infancy were likely to have better employment in their adult life. I guess this stems from the fact that the skin-to-skin-contact promotes a good psychological bond between the mother and the infant. This then will eventually lead to the toddler developing a good sense of security and independence, great trait that enables to have better social relationships with peers, and thus work mates, and intimate relationships. 

(Pictures taken and posted with permission).

 
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Posted by on December 15, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

My Cat Tale – 1

By profession, I am a pediatrician, subspecialist in Neonatology. As part of my job, I attend to deliveries of babies whether term or premature ones, at whatever time of the day!

Outside my job, I am a cat owner, now a self-proclaimed (persian) cat breeder. When I took care of a patient sometime last year, the parents gave me a female kitten (10 months old by human age) as a token of appreciation. At the time she arrived, she was manifesting an odd behavior, rolling over at the floor. It was my first time to learn about their estrus. I thought it should be addressed immediately. 



Strange to when is the optimum age when the cat should mate, I immediately searched for a male cat. In short, my kitten at 10 months old got impregnated. And few weeks into pregnancy did I learn that they should be at least 18 months before their first pregnancy. Too late! She was so attention seeking while she was pregnant. We sleep together on my bed. But on the day she was to give birth, she only slept beside me for about an hour and had been roaming around my pad. 


I noticed a greenish like fluid trail till it got to where my kitty was… I just learned that she was about to give birth. I called off my morning appointments because it seems she wanted me to stay beside her. During the active labor, she was heaving, and she wanted me to pet her in between contractions. Then my first kitten was born. 

https://instagram.com/p/7J0pnHDooh/ (Blanca in labor).

 
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Posted by on November 7, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

The Curious Case of Miriam

Few months ago, Sen Miriam Santiago announced she has stage 4 lung cancer. Some went sad because they, myself included, saw in her someone who could be their leader for a better governance.

Then afterwards a few months, in a press conference she announced that she has been cured, “I licked cancer.” She was cured! And now she is ready to accept the challenge to lead the country to a better future. Many, especially those from the medical field got baffled how easily would she be cured, in barely three months. Between her announcement of having a cancer and getting cured, you see her occasionally attending functions and delivering speeches. You never saw her wear a wig, get bald. She said her doctor had been giving her a new kind of treatment modality. Alright, fine. Perhaps that is someone I am not familiar too as oncology is not my field of specialty.

Then she declared her candidacy. People are used to her giving several pick-up lines of one liner jokes before her main speech to the amazement and entertainment of her audience. Even in her sorties that I have attended, she always commanded and drew attention to her with those jokes she never failed to deliver. But during this time, there were no pick-up lines, one liners. The speech was only a short 5-min run. And then she sat down and allowed photo ops with her followers. A very very unusual thing to happen.

People became skeptic. Did she really beat cancer in mere three months? Why the sudden change of her speaking style? Did she not really get cured and now cancer is taking its toll?

A doctor challenged her to present her case, whether it be a medical certificate or medical abstract to prove her claim of cure in barely three months. She is running for a sensitive position and as a voter we ought to know her health status, she claimed. But Miriam was so adamant that she invoked her right to privacy. Okay, so we respect that, but that leaves us hanging as to how she really is… cured? in remission? or worse, did she just make up stories to gain sympathy? I hope not.

We know that lung cancer, stage 4 at that has a very low survival rate. In fact, a 5-year survival rate of if the lung cancer at the time of diagnosis is already stage 4 is nil, barely 1%. Many of them would not even last six months from the time of diagnosis. We usually use the terms survival rate, in remission, but we rarely use the term “CURED.” I know of one patient (a relative of one of my patients) who had full remission, but being workaholic, he wanted to resume his stint in the government service. His doctor however advised him not to because the stress might just trigger relapse, causing expression of genes for replication of cancer genes.

If indeed her claim is true, personally I wanted to congratulate her for beating a stage 4 lung cancer. Such is not an easy feat.

The doctor wanted to know the state of health of MDS as campaigning and sorties would be energy-draining and stressful. But without really her medical abstract or certificate of full remission one in the know would cast doubt as to the authenticity of her claim. Her case is a curious one, I would say it is worth discussing in a medical conference. Her case is a statement that a stage 4 lung cancer is curable, inspire others not to lose hope.

Then recently, she changed her story… she is currently on chemotherapy, but her cancer is “stable.” Wait, whaaaat? So what happened now to “she licked cancer?” Was she really cured at all?

And what were the implications of her presumptive “cured” statement? She actually demoralized patients or relatives of patients who died for receiving a different treatment regimen. The indigent people would despair “pwede pala tayo mabuhay sa stage 4 lung cancer kung may pera lang tayo kagaya ni Miriam.” Chain or heavy smokers can say “why quit from smoking when stage 4 lung cancer is curable?”

She was just so hasty to let her audience know that she still can run for presidency. Wrong move though I must say…

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on December 4, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

My Struggle Continues…

I was the happiest person last August of this year (2014) when I finally had a normal cholesterol level. This was accomplished through several means. First: I went hard on my diet. I literally had been eating veggies more often than not, and only taking meat 2 days in a week, in the form of chicken or fish. Second: the dose of my ruosovastatin was increased from 20 mg to 40 mg daily. My exercises were still zumba once to twice daily for 5-7 days.

My doctor as well was very elated with the result. So on that day, she decided to a) decrease my ruosovastatin back to 20 mg daily, b) decrease my ezetimibe to one tab every M-W-F, c) asked me to come back with repeat lab test after six months. On a personal basis, I tried now to enjoy eating some chicken more frequently, but not on a daily basis. I happily complied with decreasing the ruosovastatin (as it is very expensive) but I was on doubt of decreasing my ezetimibe to thrice weekly, so I secretly kept it daily. In my mind, I think six months is a long wait for my repeat lab tests, so I decided to have a repeat test after two months.

The repeat tests shocked me. My LDL went above the acceptable value for a post-bypass surgery patients like me. My total cholesterol went up from 120s to 180s, although it is still within the normal value. I got sad. I felt guilty for having a go with my meat intake just because I was getting bored with merely veggies daily.

I informed my physician that I will be increasing back my ruosovastatin to 40 mg daily and go back to mostly veggies diet (no matter how lifeless it seems).

I havent done yet my thyroid hormones as of posting but I plan to do it in the next few days to see if I might again need thyroid hormone supplementation.

On the other hand, I noticed that I got thinner again compare to two months ago. So I am guessing that my thyroid hormones are still within normal limits. Otherwise, I should have gained weight again. So if I am still losing weight, and yet my cholesterol is increasing, then I am guessing that I really had a very very bad gene for this disorder that I really need a strong dose of my anti-cholesterol. Because if I am gaining weight at the same time my cholesterol is rising, then it would mean that my cholesterol elevation is related to hypothyroidism, which causes a decrease in metabolism.

 
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Posted by on October 18, 2014 in Uncategorized

 
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Measles Infection Timeline

Measles Infection Timeline

Incubation Period: After exposure to an infected person, it will take about 10 to 12 days for the disease to develop within the exposed person.

Prodromal Phase: The disease is heralded by appearance of the 3 Cs (cough (brassy in character), conjunctivitis (makes the person photo-sensitive/avoid bright light source), coryza/colds, and fever

Exanthem Phase: on the 3rd to 4th day of fever, rashes start to appear from the head (face, nasal bridge, nape) then spread downwards (cephalo-caudal fashion)

Convalescence: When rashes reach the lower extremities, fever disappears, and then desquamation takes place also from head downwards

The person is communicable between 4 days before and 4 days after appearance of the rash.

 
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Posted by on January 11, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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Have American Parents Got It All Backwards? – Christine Gross-Loh

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(photo: naylandpsych.weebly.com)

(Disclaimer: This article is originally not mine; it is a re-blog from Christine Gross-Loh’s The Blog posted May 7, 2013 – http://www.huffingtonpost.com/christine-grossloh/have-american-parents-got-it-all-backwards_b_3202328.html.)

The eager new mom offering her insouciant toddler an array of carefully-arranged healthy snacks from an ice cube tray?

That was me.

The always-on-top-of-her-child’s-play parent intervening during play dates at the first sign of discord?

That was me too.

We hold some basic truths as self-evident when it comes to good parenting. Our job is to keep our children safe, enable them to fulfill their potential and make sure they’re healthy and happy and thriving.

The parent I used to be and the parent I am now both have the same goal: to raise self-reliant, self-assured, successful children. But 12 years of parenting, over five years of living on and off in Japan, two years of research, investigative trips to Europe and Asia and dozens of interviews with psychologists, child development experts, sociologists, educators, administrators and parents in Japan, Korea, China, Finland, Germany, Sweden, France, Spain, Brazil and elsewhere have taught me that though parents around the world have the same goals, American parents like me (despite our very best intentions) have gotten it all backwards.

Why?

We need to let 3-year-olds climb trees and 5-year-olds use knives.

Imagine my surprise when I came across a kindergartener in the German forest whittling away on a stick with a penknife. His teacher, Wolfgang, lightheartedly dismissed my concern: “No one’s ever lost a finger!”

Similarly, Brittany, an American mom, was stunned when she moved her young family to Sweden and saw 3- and 4-year-olds with no adult supervision bicycling down the street, climbing the roofs of playhouses and scaling tall trees with no adult supervision. The first time she saw a 3-year-old high up in a tree at preschool, she started searching for the teacher to let her know. Then she saw another parent stop and chat with one of the little tree occupants, completely unfazed. It was clear that no one but Brittany was concerned.

“I think of myself as an open-minded parent,” she confided to me, “and yet here I was, wanting to tell a child to come down from a tree.”

Why it’s better: Ellen Hansen Sandseter, a Norwegian researcher at Queen Maud University in Norway, has found in her research that the relaxed approach to risk-taking and safety actually keeps our children safer by honing their judgment about what they’re capable of. Children are drawn to the things we parents fear: high places, water, wandering far away, dangerous sharp tools. Our instinct is to keep them safe by childproofing their lives. But “the most important safety protection you can give a child,” Sandseter explained when we talked, “is to let them take… risks.”

Consider the facts to back up her assertion: Sweden, where children are given this kind of ample freedom to explore (while at the same time benefitting from comprehensive laws that protect their rights and safety), has the lowest rates of child injury in the world.

Children can go hungry from time-to-time.

In Korea, eating is taught to children as a life skill and as in most cultures, children are taught it is important to wait out their hunger until it is time for the whole family to sit down together and eat. Koreans do not believe it’s healthy to graze or eat alone, and they don’t tend to excuse bad behavior (like I do) by blaming it on low blood sugar. Instead, children are taught that food is best enjoyed as a shared experience. All children eat the same things that adults do, just like they do in most countries in the world with robust food cultures. (Ever wonder why ethnic restaurants don’t have kids’ menus?). The result? Korean children are incredible eaters. They sit down to tables filled with vegetables of all sorts, broiled fish, meats, spicy pickled cabbage and healthy grains and soups at every meal.

Why it’s better: In stark contrast to our growing child overweight/obesity levels, South Koreans enjoy the lowest obesity rates in the developed world. A closely similar-by-body index country in the world is Japan, where parents have a similar approach to food.

Instead of keeping children satisfied, we need to fuel their feelings of frustration.

The French, as well as many others, believe that routinely giving your child a chance to feel frustration gives him a chance to practice the art of waiting and developing self-control. Gilles, a French father of two young boys, told me that frustrating kids is good for them because it teaches them the value of delaying gratification and not always expecting (or worse, demanding) that their needs be met right now.

Why it’s better: Studies show that children who exhibit self-control and the ability to delay gratification enjoy greater future success. Anecdotally, we know that children who don’t think they’re the center of the universe are a pleasure to be around. Alice Sedar, Ph.D., a former journalist for Le Figaro and a professor of French Culture at Northeastern University, agrees. “Living in a group is a skill,” she declares, and it’s one that the French assiduously cultivate in their kids.

Children should spend less time in school.

Children in Finland go outside to play frequently all day long. “How can you teach when the children are going outside every 45 minutes?” a recent American Fulbright grant recipient in Finland, who was astonished by how little time the Finns were spending in school, inquired curiously of a teacher at one of the schools she visited. The teacher in turn was astonished by the question. “I could not teach unless the children went outside every 45 minutes!”

The Finnish model of education includes a late start to academics (children do not begin any formal academics until they are 7 years old), frequent breaks for outdoor time, shorter school hours and more variety of classes than in the US. Equity, not high achievement, is the guiding principle of the Finnish education system.

While we in America preach the mantra of early intervention, shave time off recess to teach more formal academics and cut funding to non-academic subjects like art and music, Finnish educators emphasize that learning art, music, home economics and life skills is essential.

Why it’s better: American school children score in the middle of the heap on international measures of achievement, especially in science and mathematics. Finnish children, with their truncated time in school, frequently rank among the best in the world.

Thou shalt spoil thy baby.

Tomo, a 10-year-old boy in our neighborhood in Japan, was incredibly independent. He had walked to school on his own since he was 6 years old, just like all Japanese 6-year-olds do. He always took meticulous care of his belongings when he came to visit us, arranging his shoes just so when he took them off, and he taught my son how to ride the city bus. Tomo was so helpful and responsible that when he’d come over for dinner, he offered to run out to fetch ingredients I needed, helped make the salad and stir-fried noodles. Yet every night this competent, self-reliant child went home, took his bath and fell asleep next to his aunt, who was helping raise him.

In Japan, where co-sleeping with babies and kids is common, people are incredulous that there are countries where parents routinely put their newborns to sleep in a separate room. The Japanese respond to their babies immediately and hold them constantly.

While we think of this as spoiling, the Japanese think that when babies get their needs met and are loved unconditionally as infants, they more easily become independent and self-assured as they grow.

Why it’s better: Meret Keller, a professor at UC Irvine, agrees that there is an intriguing connection between co sleeping and independent behavior. “Many people throw the word “independence” around without thinking conceptually about what it actually means,” she explained.

We’re anxious for our babies to become independent and hurry them along, starting with independent sleep, but Keller’s research has found that co-sleeping children later became more independent and self-reliant than solitary sleepers, dressing themselves or working out problems with their playmates on their own.

Children need to feel obligated.

In America, as our kids become adolescents, we believe it’s time to start letting them go and giving them their freedom. We want to help them be out in the world more and we don’t want to burden them with family responsibilities. In China, parents do the opposite: the older children get, the more parents remind them of their obligations.

Eva Pomerantz of the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign has found through multiple studies that in China, the cultural ideal of not letting adolescents go but of reminding them of their responsibility to the family and the expectation that their hard work in school is one way to pay back a little for all they have received, helps their motivation and their achievement.

Even more surprising: She’s found that the same holds for Western students here in the US: adolescents who feel responsible to their families tend to do better in school.

The lesson for us: if you want to help your adolescent do well in school make them feel obligated.

I parent differently than I used to. I’m still an American mom — we struggle with all-day snacking, and the kids could use more practice being patient. But 3-year-old Anna stands on a stool next to me in the kitchen using a knife to cut apples. I am not even in earshot when 6-year-old Mia scales as high in the beech in our yard as she feels comfortable. And I trust now that my boys (Daniel, 10, and Benjamin, 12) learn as much out of school as they do in the classroom.

 
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Posted by on January 5, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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