Stories posted 2007

Toxins ‘R’ Us

FROM CHILDREN’S toys and the clothes we wear, to the food we eat and the air we breathe — even what seem to be benign can harm us. Indeed, the 16th century German-Swiss alchemist and physician Paracelsus had exclaimed, “All substances are poisons, there is none which is not a poison. The right dose differentiates a poison and a remedy.”

Poisoning is a global problem, and as our world becomes more complex, the risk of poisoning has increased. Yet it is highly likely that poisoning cases are underdiagnosed, partly because we know so little about the effects of small doses of chemicals during the development of our bodies. Recall that it was only three decades ago that we realized the hazards posed by lead, which had been a popular ingredient in paint and other everyday objects. By then generations had been exposed to the substance, which in toxic levels can cause retarded mental growth in children and can mimic intestinal parasitism (abdominal colic and anemia).


A commission of power

TO INTRODUCE competition in the generation sector, EPIRA called for the creation of a wholesale electricity spot market a year after it took effect. As a marketplace for the trading of electricity, the WESM is a venue for generators/sellers to offer their outputs and specify their prices to buyers. It also serves as a mechanism […]

Short-circuited reforms in the power sector

IT WAS hailed as a groundbreaking law that would not only result in lower power rates for both household and industrial consumers, but would also unburden the government of some P38 billion in annual subsidies to the power sector.

At the time, no less than President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo said that had Congress failed to pass the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA), it would have meant the continued ballooning of the debts of the National Power Corporation (NPC). That would have deprived the government of much needed funds to meet the Filipinos’ other basic needs, which the chief executive even itemized in terms of 16,000 classrooms, 127,000 hectares of irrigated land, 76,000 low-cost houses, or 6,300 kilometers of road.

Public Eye

From newshound to news target

HE WAS still in his last year in college when he landed a job at the alternative newspaper Malaya in 1985. That was at the tail-end of the Marcos rule, but the regime’s grip on media was still strong and journalists who dared to criticize the Palace often wound up behind bars or went missing. Yet journalist Ellen Tordesillas says the young Ben Evardone remained true to his profession and steadfastly pounded his Commission on Elections beat even though he had already been warned the police could arrest him anytime.

Starting a ‘clean’ revolution

AT NO other time has the science of climate change been more robust than today. At no other time, too, have the impacts of climate change become more apparent and deadly, particularly for vulnerable and developing countries such as the Philippines.

These circumstances have brought about a shift in the discussion on climate change — from the realm of scientists, the academe, and policy makers, it is now taking place in the public arena. A new challenge for Greenpeace and other environmental groups is to make sure that the Filipino public is engaged and heed the warning against the dangers of climate change.

Photo Gallery

The house on M. Viola Street

YOU can’t miss the Navals’ house on M. Viola Street in Area 3, a residential community at the back of the University Shopping Center for academic and non-teaching personnel of the University of the Philippines Diliman campus. It is the only two-and-a-half-storey house with 30-degree sloped roofs amid rows of abodes mostly suffocating from the university’s mandated roof inclination of 15 degrees. In lieu of an attic, a commonly inappropriate design feature in modern Filipino homes, is a two-meter wooden balcony that splits the main roof.

Building the breathing spaces

IN THE cookie-cutter residential community for academic and non-teaching personnel of the University of the Philippines in Diliman, Quezon City, the home of the Navals on M. Viola Street is a standout. Amid rows of abodes with roofs inclined at a university-mandated 15 degrees, the cream-and-terra cotta Naval house has 30-degree sloped roofs and a two-meter wooden balcony that splits the upper portion of the structure.

Photo Gallery

The windmills of Ilocos Norte

There are no huge markers proclaiming the 15 windmills of Bangui in Ilocos Norte. But if the locals find out that you are a tourist, you are likely to hear about “their” windmills every day. It is also difficult to miss if you’re spending your holiday on the famous beaches of Pagudpud or Saud, from where the windmills can still be seen. The structures, after all, are 70 meters tall and the bases cover four meters square. Once there, you are likely to meet travelers from afar who, like you, are there for the view and the pictures they just have to take.

Public Eye

No coming-out party for PLLO

PLL…WHAT? Medy who?It had always been an obscure office, at least as far as the public was concerned. But now that the Presidential Legislative Liaison Office (PLLO) seems to have suddenly emerged from the shadows and pushed under a very glaring — and very public — spotlight, few are liking what they think they see: […]

Public Eye

Has NEDA gone nada?

HE IS known by many Filipinos as the author of that economics textbook with the blue cover, but once upon a time Gerardo P. Sicat was the head of a powerful government agency that took care of preparing and coordinating the country’s socioeconomic and development plans. In fact, back then, the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) was very powerful, particularly given its oversight function with respect to the plans of government agencies. Though by protocol, the NEDA director general was not a member of the Cabinet, the position was of Cabinet rank and the NEDA chief was even regarded as a primus inter pares (first among equals).

« Older Entries | Newer Entries »