Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Continuing solar flares and earthquakes

A noteworthy 6.8 magnitude earthquake (now downgraded to 6.7M by the USGS) occurred off the Northeastern shores of New Zealand November 16, 2014.

This new West Pacific unrest comes on the heels of this weeks 7.2M + 6.2M events, which occurred in Indonesia, and New Caledonia.

From November 17-19, 2014 there has been an earthquake swarm north of Luzon Philippines some above 5.1. Over 12 on the Philippine fault line that heads through Manila. Part of Phivolcs listing:

18 Nov 2014 - 08:14 PM         19.70     120.47        095      4.4   114 km N 66° W of Calayan (Cagayan) 
18 Nov 2014 - 05:15 PM         19.41     120.33        010      5.0   120 km N 83° W of Calayan (Cagayan)
17 Nov 2014 - 10:50 PM         19.56     120.40        023      4.6   115 km N 75° W of Calayan (Cagayan)
17 Nov 2014 - 10:46 PM         19.51     120.31        050      4.4   115 km N 26° W of Pagudpud (Ilocos Norte)
17 Nov 2014 - 10:27 PM         19.71     120.21        018      4.2   141 km N 20° W of Burgos (Ilocos Norte)
17 Nov 2014 - 10:13 PM         19.60     120.40        031      4.7   117 km N 72° W of Calayan (Cagayan)
17 Nov 2014 - 10:01 PM         19.65     120.32        014      4.1   133 km N 72° W of Calayan (Cagayan)
17 Nov 2014 - 09:34 PM         19.61     120.35        014      5.2   129 km N 74° W of Calayan (Cagayan)

  All these are going on as an old earth-facing sunspot AR2192 (a.k.a. AR2209) poses a threat for strong flares. The sunspot's 'beta-gamma-delta' magnetic field is unstable and harbors energy for X-class eruptions.

Heaven forbid, but a sun spot that could blast out the killshot has been long over due supposedly. The blast that could knock out all the power grids around planet earth.
The Philippines sitting on the Pacific Ring of Fire. Keep safe.

Also read:

Monday, November 17, 2014

That UN peacekeeper with fever

The Department of Health (DOH) should be more cautious. Something may not be right.

According to a news report, the DOH announced on Friday that a Filipino soldier who served as a UN peacekeeper exhibited fever, chills and body malaise, which are also symptoms of hemorrhagic fever or Ebola. By Saturday DOH's Acting Health Secretary Janette Garin announced that the UN peacekeeper has Malaria not Ebola. Further:
The unnamed trooper was transferred from Carballo Island to the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) in Alabang for further tests.
“The Philippines is still Ebola free. Our patient is negative for Ebola,” Garin declared Saturday, Nov. 15. Garin said the other peacekeepers were happy after they were informed that their colleague tested negative for Ebola.
RITM chief Socorro Lupisan said two tests were conducted on the patient.
Lupisan said one of these was polymerace chain reaction, a test to determine if the virus had the genetic makeup of Ebola. The other, an antigen test, was to see if the patient had developed antibodies.
Garin said they were able to rule out Ebola with these two tests, despite not having completed the 48-hour period. She explained the period was only needed if there were doubts on the test results, resulting in the need for a repeat of the tests.

A self-explanatory description on diagnosing Ebola appears on the website of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Atlanta, USA), thus:
Diagnosing Ebola in a person who has been infected for only a few days is difficult because the early symptoms, such as fever, are nonspecific to Ebola infection and often are seen in patients with more common diseases, such as malaria and typhoid fever.
However, if a person has the early symptoms of Ebola and has had contact with the blood or body fluids of a person sick with Ebola; contact with objects that have been contaminated with the blood or body fluids of a person sick with Ebola; or contact with infected animals, they should be isolated and public health professionals notified. Samples from the patient can then be collected and tested to confirm infection.
Ebola virus is detected in blood only after onset of symptoms, most notably fever, which accompany the rise in circulating virus within the patient's body. It may take up to three days after symptoms start for the virus to reach detectable levels. 


WHO recommendations for testing for Ebola virus disease and confirming a case

WHO is alarmed by media reports of suspected Ebola cases imported into new countries that are said, by government officials or ministries of health, to be discarded as “negative” within hours after the suspected case enters the country.
Such rapid determination of infection status is impossible, casting grave doubts on some of the official information that is being communicated to the public and the media.
  • For early detection of Ebola virus in suspected or probable cases, detection of viral ribonucleic acid (RNA) or viral antigen are the recommended tests.
  • Laboratory-confirmed cases must test positive for the presence of the Ebola virus, either by detection of viral RNA by RT-PCR, and/or by detection of Ebola antigen by a specific Antigen detection test, and/or by detection of immunoglobulin M (IgM) antibodies directed against Ebola.
  • Two negative RT-PCR test results, at least 48 hours apart, are required for a clinically asymptomatic patient to be discharged from hospital, or for a suspected Ebola case to be discarded as testing negative for the virus.
  • Laboratory results should be communicated to WHO as quickly as possible, in addition to reporting under the requirements and within the timelines set out in the International Health Regulations, which are administered by WHO.


WHO recommends that the first 25 positive cases and 50 negative specimens detected by a country without a recognized national reference viral haemorrhagic fever laboratory should be sent for secondary confirmatory testing to a WHO collaborating centre, designed as specialized in the safe detection (at biosafety level IV) of viral haemorrhagic fevers.
Similarly, for countries with a national reference laboratory for viral haemorrhagic fevers, the initial positive cases should also be sent to a WHO collaborating centre for confirmation.
If results are concordant, laboratory results reported from the national reference laboratory would be accepted by WHO.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Butuan assembly of National Transformation Council calls for speedy effort for Aquino to step down

The multisectoral movement, National Transformation Council has earlier issued one of the strongest statements against President Benigno S. Aquino 3rd by accusing him of having “damaged the moral fabric of society and has therefore lost the moral right to lead the nation.” The movement includes a chore group of progressive bishops and the laity.

Two assemblies have recently been convened by the group, one in Lipa City (Luzon), and another in Cebu (Visayas). The third assembly was convened yesterday, November 11, 2014, in Butuan City (Mindanao). 

The National Transformation Council believes that the nation's most pressing business "is a regime change and a total overhaul of the electoral system as a condition sine qua non for the holding of the next election". Sympathetic groups on the other hand have likewise expressed that the immediate jailing of those involved in the misuse of the unconstitutional multi-billion peso Priority Development Assistance Fund and the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) will bring about the needed regime change.  

The Butuan Assembly, November 11, 2014
Following is the Butuan Declaration:


Recalling the two assemblies convened earlier by the National Transformation Council in Lipa on August 27, 2014, and Cebu on October 1, 2014, and desiring to seize the momentum and build upon the gains achieved by those assemblies, we who broadly represent the various concerned sectors and constituencies of Eastern and Northern Mindanao, together with our allies from other parts of Mindanao, from Basilan, the Sulu Archipelago, and from Luzon and the Visayas, have come together in Butuan City this 11th day of November 2014, to proclaim our support for and contribute to the immediate realization of the declared aims and objectives of the National Transformation Council.

We commend the initiatives of the two previous assemblies, express full and unequivocal support for the Lipa Declaration – “AN URGENT CALL FOR NATIONAL TRANSFORMATION”- of August 27, 2014 and the Cebu Declaration—“DEFINING THE FIRST STEPS TOWARD NATIONAL TRANSFORMATION”— of October 1, 2014, and bind ourselves to undertake the necessary steps to help bring them to fruition.

Gathered here in Butuan so close to the First Anniversary of Super Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda, which flattened Tacloban City and devastated much of the Visayas and the Calamianes on November 8, 2013, and the 7.2 earthquake that earlier destroyed centuries-old churches, public buildings and homes in Cebu and Bohol on October 15, 2013, and on the eve of the Second Anniversary of the floods that killed and injured hundreds of people, and displaced thousands particularly in Davao Oriental and Compostela Valley on December 4, 2012, and sharing the suffering of the victims of these tragedies and their families who have waited in vain for adequate government support in their recovery and rehabilitation, we raise our voices in solidarity with the people of these communities to thank all those who came to their aid and comfort during their hour of greatest need, and to express grave disappointment with the way the Aquino Administration has failed to respond adequately to these crises.

We join the people of Tacloban, the VIsayas, and the Calamianes in demanding a full and accurate accounting of the money and other forms of Assistance, which the Aquino Government has received from foreign governments, multilateral institutions, and other donors, and how, where and when they were used for the benefit of the victims.

At this time of serious difficulties for the people of Mindanao, we express grave concern over the cavalier way the Aquino administration has treated the “Mindanao Problem”. We are determined to find a just and lasting solution to this problem, one that will bring about true and lasting peace, and a radical change for the better in the lives of all our people.

With greast sadness, however, we must say that the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), now pending in Congress, is not the fruit of honest and sincere consultations with our Muslim brothers and their Christian friends and neighbors.

This threatens to falsify our people’s deepest longing for genuine self-management of their own affairs, and instead to create new divisions, disunity and discontent, both among those who are part and those who are not part of the new entity to be created under the BBL.

We therefore ask the National Transformation Council to intensify genuine consultations with all stakeholders in order to come up with  real solution coming from the people themselves rather than from outside sources.
We specifically ask the Council to consider advancing the Federalization Agenda for the entire country as the ultimate measure to ensure the most equitable, simultaneous empowerment and development of all the Regions, and not just of those in Mindanao alone.

As continued hostage-taking for ranson and other criminal activities by the Abu Sayyaf Group in the Sulu-Sipadan area threaten to turn our Region into an ugly counterpart of Somalia, the home country of the most notorious perpetrators of piracy and kidnapping in the Indian Ocean and the Horn of Africa, we call upon the National Transformation Council to demand a creative approach to this problem that will draw the various groups involved in these activities into lawful and lucrative pursuits, with the support of the various communities in the area.

As the worsening energy situation threatens to throw Mindanao back into a new Dark Age, we likewise call upon the National Transformation Council to intervene and demand a solemn commitment from th Aquino Regime that it will put an end to monopolistic activities which is trying to seize control of power distribution in Mindanao and beyond, through the use of political influence, intimidation and force.

In direct relation to the foregoing problem, we manifest our Solidarity with the millions of member-consumers of authentic Electric Cooperatives all over the country, whose rights of ownership by virtue of their capital contribution are being ignored and violated by government officials who act to protect some big businesses rather than the people’s interest. The actuations of the Regime’s officials show their contempt for the cooperative movement and the latter’s function of correcting social inequity, promoting social justice, and enabling their millions of members to attain sustainability in their endeavor to enjoy the basic life-blessings that make for a dignified life of frugal comfort.

In the face of the evident increasingly severe deterioration of the moral, social and political fabric of our society, we call upon the National Transformation Council to speed up its effort to compel President Benigno S. Aquino 3rd to relinquish his position, so that the earnest work of national transformation could begin. More than ever, we believe that Peace and Good Governance in the country must begin in Mindanao.


Saturday, November 8, 2014

Mud walk protests in Marinduque, Manila, Iloilo, Tacloban on the eve of Haiyan/Yolanda 1st anniversary

Performance art protests in Marinduque, Iloilo, Manila... and Tacloban
Kabataang Artista para sa Tunay na Kalayaan (KARATULA) contributed to the nationwide artist protest to heed the call for justice on the eve of typhoon Yolanda’s anniversary. The Kalig-on or mud walk as performance art signified a people who might be burdened by government neglect but are rising to demand accountability (above photo: RRJ)

Marinduque photos courtesy of Jay del Rosario and Tacloban photos by Renato Reyes, Jr. 
KARATULA in Boac, Marinduque

Unique performance art in appropriate Marinduque setting

KARATULA, a national organization of young artists held mud protests in Marinduque, Manila, Iloilo, among others as part of the contribution of artist groups’ solidarity with Yolanda victims.
Recently the government had released a statement assuring the public of their continued efforts to address the immediate needs of Yolanda survivors.
Jay Del Rosario, KARATULA spokesperson said regarding the mud protest that “this signifies something that we all believe to be true, that Yolanda survivors remain in great suffering and that a year of negligence is beyond criminal. A year of negligence is sadistic. This mud protest shows that we can rise from the sadistic hardships brought upon by a lack of concrete plan and a mockery of rehabilitation.”
Plagued by faulty rehabilitation, corruption over rebuilding projects and state violence, the people of Eastern Visayas have repeatedly asserted their rights for adequate relief and rehabilitation.
“It is clear that we are witnessing are not the after effects of a disaster but the added effects of a disaster piled on the people by the Aquino government” added Del Rosario.

He cited the no-build zones, massive corruption laden projects (including those in the DAP), massive militarization and of course the stark lack of food and shelter as major indicators of persistent problems. Recently there had also been news about a road widening project set to displace 7,000 people.
“This government is a disaster. We are rising from the ground to take charge of ending this disaster” ended Del Rosario. - Michael Beltran
Meanwhile, in Tacloban (Leyte) with photos courtesy of Renato Reyes, Jr...
More than 10,000 march in Tacloban for today's big protest. March commenced from Tacloban City Astrodome then marchers trooped to DSWD and the provincial capitol shouting "Noynoy Aquino, waray pulos! Patalsikon!"

Day of Action for Justice: Yolanda survivors hold Fluvial Parade for Justice, Accountability and Change. Hundreds arrive in boats from Basey.

The term “People Surge” or “Duluk han Katawhan” means an empowered people indicting the Noynoy Aquino government for its gross negligence that resulted in the massive loss of lives and properties. A metaphor to the storm surge that drowned people and communities during Yolanda’s wrath, the term illustrates a swelling of the people constituting the typhoon victims and their supporters who will gather their strength, rise up and flood the streets to exact justice from the inept government. People Surge also signifies Filipinos united to fight for their right to life and humane existence. - People Surge

Mud Walk in Tacloban
March in downtown Tacloban.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

I remember Hajun's and Harold's "Tatay Melo"

Tatay Melo

Carmelo "Tatay Melo" Miciano was the proud father of two members of our community theater, Teatro Balangaw. He has today joined the Creator according to a post by a sister of his.

I remember how really proud Tatay Melo was of the artistic work contributed by his sons, Hajun and Harold, to our small group back in the late 90's. The brothers were the lead players in my "Mara Unduk" dance-drama that had performances in several Marinduque towns then as well as in some barangays in Boac. (Also at Rajah Sulaiman Theater, Nayong Pilipino and Museong Pambata).

They were also part of a Teatro Balangaw-PETA play back in 1997, "Putik sa Karamihan, Ginto sa Iilan" about the Marcopper disaster that transpired in Marinduque a year before and its effects on the lives of the people.

The project was filmed by Oceanic Films for European television and titled "Swapping Stories". There was a segment in it that included an interview with Tatay Melo joined by Hajun and Harold while fishing along the coast of Laylay, Boac. There, the old man complained of dwindling catch after the environmental disaster.

A book was later published, Community Theater: Global Perspectives by renowned expert of community theater, Eugene van Erven. The book came with the said unique video record of van Erven's journey to Marinduque.

On page 49, van Erven wrote:

After the show, Ernie (Cloma) takes the microphone to tell the audience that the play they have seen is the result of a five-day workshop with members of Teatro Balangaw and artist-teachers from PETA and that they dedicate the performance to the people of Marinduque. Melo Miciano, Harold's and Hajun's father, tells me he is proud of his sons and expresses the hope that they will perform the play in other Marinduque communities as well. Several unidentified local environmental activists comment that they equally enjoyed it and that they noticed that a lot of the factual information in the play was new to the audience:
Many people from Boac town have never been up to the barrio. They know about it, generally, but don't seem to care. Looking  around me I also noticed how people tuned in to the entertainment elements in the show, but turned off during the more serious parts. But this kind of theater is good; it will draw people's attention, like fish to a bait.

Part of a page from Community Theater: Global Perspectives

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Today in Marinduque History: Remembering Hermenegildo Flores

“1 de Noviembre 1897” was the name of a street at the back of the original “Casa Real” building in Boac running in the north-south direction. It was so named to mark a local episode during the Filipino-Spanish war that followed the “10 de Octubre 1897” gruesome raid on the Casa staged by the local revolutionists from Mogpog led by Fabian Medenilla that resulted in the death of Medenilla and his comrades that they had attempted to set free from the Casa – Remigio Medina and the top leader of the revolutionary forces in Marinduque at that time, the poet Hermenegildo Flores. The tragedy in Boac occured after a long procession in honor of Our Lady of the Rosary. (Santo Rosario).

(Icon of Our Lady of the Rosary)

Flores wrote “Hibik ng Pilipinas sa Inang Espana” that stirred similar poetic responses from Marcelo del Pilar and Andres Bonifacio. Flores caused the ire of the “prayles” who must have thought of excommunicating the poet in the same manner that our President Noynoy Aquino was similarly threatened with excommunication by the CBCP for the president’s seemingly firm stand on reproductive health.

Flores complained that the Church had become more interested not in salvation but “to blind the people’s minds, to silence their mouths… as the prayles only thought of nothing but to enrich themselves with mere Holy Water and priestly blessings as puhunan, investment…”


“Sa bawat nasa mong kagaling-galingan,
ayaw ng prayleng ako’y makinabang,
sa mga anak ko’y ang ibig lamang
isip ay bulagin, ang bibig ay takpan.

“Nang di maisigaw ang santong matuwid
na laban sa madla nilang ninanais
palibhasa'y wala silang iniisip
kundi ang yumaman at magdaya ng dibdib.

“Sa pagpapalago ng kanilang yaman
bendita't bendisyon lamang ang puhunan,
induluhensiya't iba't ibang bahay
ng mga sagrado naman ang kalakal.

“Sapagkat anumang bilhin sa kanila,
kaya namamahal, dahil sa bendita,
kahit anong gawin pag may halong kanta
ay higit sa pagod ang hininging upa.”

Before midnight of November 1, 1897, remnants of the Mogpog ‘insurrectos’ led by Basilio Mendez entered Boac in a renewed attempt to free their comrades probably haunted by the killing of Medenilla, Medina, Flores only three weeks earlier. But what could a group only armed with bolos do?

The Spanish casadores were ready with their pistols and rifles. It was almost a repeat of the October encounter with heavy firing by the casadores followed by deathly cries, then deep, creepy silence. Some prisoners were found dead the next morning. One that layed motionless on the floor of the Casa showed no signs of being wounded and was found to be merely unconscious. He was lifted by a guardia and was given water laced with ether to drink. Regaining consciousness, the said prisoner, named Juan Manuba, was set free.

(A tenant offered to light the candles we brought during a visit to the old, forgotten cemetery of Tampus)

Today no candles burn anymore at Cemeterio de Tampus, a cemetery on a hill east of Mataas na Bayan, and as old as the Boac Cathedral itself. There the dead prisoners were laid to rest, to join the town’s founders and noble gentry. Some informal settlers from elsewhere call it their home now, and as if bent on leaving no tombstone unturned, turned the entire space into a cornfield.

The adobe stones that surrounded the cemetery and the huge iron fence that faced the direction of the church are no more. Bushes cover a few empty chambers built above ground that the elements and balete vines have consumed as a monument to a people’s forgetfulness. - By Eli J. Obligacion

Also read my related blogs:

10 de Octubre, Hermenegildo Flores: Forgotten Hero - from Bulacan to Marinduque

Resurrecting Hermenegildo Flores

"Mis Lagrimas a Ti, Kapitan Bindoy!"

Remembering Bonifacio: The spirit of Hermenegildo Flores isn't far behind

Casa Real of Boac