Is the quality of American diet superior to
By BART SAUCELO, M.D.
August 17, 2005
There seems to be a
prevailing perception that American diet is superior than the diet of
Filipinos. This reminds me of a Filipino laborer who would eat bread most of
the time even after I told him that camote or palawan are just as good if
not better but much cheaper than bread. But I could not convince him. I
think this is quite a common misconception. I also used to think this way.
Carbohydrate is the same
whether it is in bread, potatoes, camoting kahoy or palawan. Protein
containing amino acids is also the same whether it comes from meat, chicken,
salmon, tuna, swordfish or sarapon, tique’ or tilapia. The same thing with
fat. Their chemical formulas are all the same regardless where they are
Therefore, the Filipino
diet which consists of rice, root crops as sweet potato, camoting cahoy or
palawan with fish, chicken, occasional meat, fruits and vegetables supplies
the body with the same three main food elements as the American diet
consisting of bread or potatoes, meat, chicken and occasional fish,
vegetables and fruits with dessert.
But notice the difference.
The American diet usually have meat in their diet and the Filipino diet
usually have fish with only occasional meat. Meat contains cholesterol while
fish usually do not. Cholesterol forms plaques along the inside walls of
blood vessels and causes narrowing of arteries that leads to poor
circulation to organs and other parts of the body, heart disease and stroke.
Also notice that the Filipino diet usually contains bulk and fibers found in
palawan, camoting kahoy, gabi and other roots of plants while the American
diet usually lacks bulk and fibers. Bulk and fibers are good for the
integrity of the gastrointestinal system. Finally, the practice of serving
dessert after eating the main dish when one already feels full is actually
overfeeding that leads to obesity. This seems to be an American rather than
a Filipino custom although some Filipinos also indulge in it.
Similarly, we can compare
the diet of rich Filipinos to the diet of the poor. The rich usually do not
eat palawan or camoting kahoy and most likely would eat more rice, more meat
and indulge in over eating. So, the poor has a more healthy diet if only he
can get adequate and consistent supply of sarapon, tilapia, palawan and
other readily available sources of food.
Also, by eating less rice
and more of other sources of carbohydrates we can cut down the import of
rice and even allow us to export this more popular food. The reason why we
cannot export camote, palawan and belang-hoy is because they spoil readily
unlike rice which can be stored. So, we should eat less of rice and save it
for export while eating the more healthy food sources that cannot be
The problems with the proposed SINP Bill
ALVIN T. DEVARAS
July 22, 2004
“…the second phase of the project will not be implemented and
SIBP will be terminated if the proposed bill is disapproved.”
The Samar Island Biodiversity Project (SIBP) and its
partners/stakeholders are apprehensive the proposed bill for the
establishment of the Samar Island Natural Park (SINP) will be enacted into
law. The local populace is worried that it may not pass the last reading.
Samarenos believed that it would go through a difficult process specially
that Senator Robert Jaworski, chairman on the Senate Committee for
Environment and Natural Resources, lost in the recent elections. They also
believed that the administration would not favor for its approval, as the
national government will be construed to allocate fund for the SINP. More
so, prominent politicians with businesses dependent on our fragile and
deteriorating natural resources were elected, citing as an example Senator
Juan Ponce Enrile who is the owner/proprietor of the San Jose Timber
Corporation based in Samar island which according to Samareños has
manifested to challenge the total log ban moratorium to protect his
interests since said corporation has a permit to operate until 2007.
Further, they also cited the thrusts and priorities of the present
administration that promotes sustainable mining in the country as another
reason that may hinder the approval of said bill.
Although the three (3) provincial government of Samar island,
the League of Municipalities, church, academe, non-government organizations
(NGO’s) and peoples organizations (PO’s) strongly endorsed and supported the
approval of the proposed bill, they however failed to include the budget
proposal for SINP in said bill that may also affect the passage of the bill
into a law.
SIBP and partners/stakeholders are clamoring for the approval
of the proposed bill, in fact, they were granted by the United Nations
Development Program (UNDP) 2-year extension for the first phase of project
implementation. Originally, first phase of the implementation only has a
4-year duration from 2001-2005, with the granting of the 2-year extension,
the first phase will end in 2007 giving time for the proposed bill to be
approved. However, the second phase of the project will not be implemented
and SIBP will be terminated if the proposed bill is disapproved.
Delusions of Communism
ROMMEL L. RUTOR
July 19, 2004
techniques of the communist are deception, violence and propaganda..."
Almost all young
democracies in the then Third World have been beset by the challenges of the
Communist or Marxist insurgency. In fact, some nations have fallen, others
have decisively accepted the challenges, and still others like the
Philippines, are in the process of exploring the feasible political, social
and economic options in dealing with the insurgency phenomenon attributed to
Communism and Marxism.
We must admit that the
alternative proposed seems highly appealing. Advocates of Communism and
Marxism say that the only alternative to national progress is to destroy our
present government, destroy our present form of society, destroy the entire
systems of values and beliefs in that society and transform it into a
Marxist system, where everyone will enjoy freedom, equality, and prosperity.
But, is this not the
same standard proposition that the communist foisted upon the peoples of the
nations? What has been the result of this proposition in other lands? I
think each and every one knows the answer.
In a nearby country
alone, millions have perished from hunger, other millions have been killed
because they refused to be intellectually rehabilitated with the Marxist
concept, and still other millions, who even have the slightest chance of
living, will gamble their lives to leave their homelands to seek refuge in
other lands. This is the same situation that could happen to our country.
The techniques of the
communist are deception, violence and propaganda. When they come to you,
they will talk to you in a very nice way, but if they can’t get you that
way, they will present to you the barrel of a gun. They will use every means
to attain their purpose. They will even use the church. They say they
respect your religious rights, but in truth, they will destroy all forms of
structured religions later, for there can be no way by which communism, a
godless ideology can be in harmony with Christianity.
True, they have
proposed a coalition government, wherein religious elements will play an
important role, but once they have taken power and dominated society, they
will destroy this coalition, and eliminate all oppositions in establishing a
Democracy? They call
theirs the true democracy. I say, no so. Theirs is not democracy where
every citizen is enfranchised, because only the members of the communist
party are allowed to vote. They don’t tell you, that in a communist society,
only the members of the communist party are free, if at all. They don’t tell
you, that not all the people of the Philippines will become members of the
ruling party, but only a few select, and that the others will be under them,
to serve their purposes – those of the dictatorship of the proletariat, the
state they will adopt – when the truth is, only the interest of the ruling
party will actually be served.
Today, we are
confronted with this threat to our political, social, and economic system.
Communist intrusion in this country is not just the problem of the
government nor that of the defense department. But it is a problem of every
Filipino who values his liberty and dignity as a person.
Because if this
movement would be able to take control of our republic, we will have no
freedom. We won’t even have an article like this now. As a person, you are
a non-entity, a non-person. You serve the interest of the state, but the
State doesn’t serve you. You can even be killed if killing you suits the
purpose of the State. In other words, you are just an instrument, a means to
It is the anti-thesis
to our present system, where everyone is a person in his own right, that not
even Her Excellency, President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo can assault your
person without accounting for it. You are important as individuals, and for
your every endeavor, you are the end yourself.
So, if we are bent on
defeating this communist ideology, and we must, we should therefore stand as
one. We must be willing to work enough, in our respective capacity, to show
other people, by way of sacrifice, restraint, discipline and collective
enterprise, our benevolent adherence to our democracy.
Further, we must all
work enough, to show to our people the effectiveness and responsiveness of
our own democratic institutions, in terms intended for the interest and to
meet the aspirations of the people. In this way, we can bridge the gaps
among the masses, and other sectors of the society, in relation to the
economic development that everybody desires.
Once we realize this,
then communist ideology will find no space, and room in the minds of our
people, thus, communism in this country will just die its natural death.
The Role of the Church and the Media of
Communication in Environmental Advocacy
talk given by Msgr. Lope C. Robredillo
at the ESADEF on June 26, 2004
Samar IslandWide Media
Advocacy for Biodiversity and Environmental Protection
"When a private sector makes a survey that is against the company that
destroys the environment, politicians will tend to discredit the data..."
A few months ago, at the
Conference Hall of the Bishop's Residence, I outlined some notes for a
theology of ecology. In that talk, I provided theological underpinning to
the morality of the current destruction of the environment. The topic
assigned to me, today, is rather a follow up of that presentation. It is
"The Role of the Church and the Media of Communication in Environmental
Environment: Essential to Faith
One who heard my previous
talk could only conclude that all of us are being challenged to do what we
can to halt and reverse the current destruction of the environment.
Admittedly, this cannot be done by individuals alone. The action of
institutions - for example, commerce and industry, politics, military,
business and commerce, media ‑ are decisive. The same is no less true of the
Church. The Church has much to contribute. The Church, of course, includes
you and me. But by Church, I mean the institution ‑ which includes our
bishops, priests, lay leaders, and all believers in Christ.
Can the Church ignore this
role? No, and the reason is not simply that the environment crisis has moral
and religious issues, which is true enough. Rather, it is also that the
people of God would be less Christian if they ignore this role. This is
because, as John Paul 11 insists on the first document ever issued
exclusively on environment, Peace with God the Creator, Peace with All
Creation, "Christians [should] realize that their responsibility within
creation and their duty toward nature and the Creator are an essential part
of their faith."
the Role of the Church
However, while it may be
easy to point out the role of the Church, it may difficult to pursue it.
There are various challenges both within the Church and outside that make
the performance of that role almost an uphill climb. Without being
exhaustive, let me give some examples, both without and within the Church.
1. Politicians and
Government Officers. When it comes to issues that benefit the poor, the
powerless and the marginal, but deprive the rich of their income and money,
some politicians and government officials tend to resolve it in favor of the
rich. They are concerned with the poor, only in so far as these coincide
with their own interest. When a private sector makes a survey that is
against the company that destroys the environment, politicians will tend to
discredit the data. For example, they will assert that the private sector
had no basis on fact, they are incompetent and these people were coerced.
They will try to move in such a way that there will be no obstacle to the
operation of the company.
2. Politics. When the
Church involves herself in ecological issues, some politicians will invoke a
medieval view of the Church ‑ itself a proof that politicians are not
updated in their knowledge of their Church. They will insist that the Church
has no business interfering in ecological issues; this should be left to the
government, while bishops and priests must concentrate on the altar and the
sacristy, and teach catechism to the young boys and girls. We discredit the
authority of the Church to talk on such matter, and thereby cover the
3. The people. I am
not very sure about this, but certainly the poverty of the people makes them
susceptible to coercion. The case of Homonhon is a good example. In order to
destroy the people's resistance to mining, the mining company uses various
means to convince the people about the acceptability of its operation. Short
terms benefits are accepted. So, despite all the explanation that is given
them about the disadvantages of mining, they still prefer the filthy money.
4. The Church. Our
bishops and priests have been educated in a theology of creation that is
anthropocentric, that is to say, we understand creation as centered on man.
The whole creation is at the service of man. Given this education, we cannot
expect an overnight shift in the perspective of understanding among the
leaders of the institutional church. (Our Protestant ministers have no edge,
either. They have been educated in a theology that focuses on the Bible and
faith, with the result that individualism is exalted, and the separation of
the spiritual and the material is stressed. What is important is the soul;
never mind the material world.) That is why it is difficult to make them see
the urgency of the problem. Some would even say that God will provide.
If I mention all these
factors, it is to let us realize that no individual, no institution can do
it by himself or itself. The problem is enormous; in some cases, it is a
fight between David and Goliath. We cannot leave the problem of Homonhon to
its inhabitants alone, anymore that we can leave it to the people of
Manicani to solve their own problems. They are fighting against a powerful
and moneyed company that can padlock the mouth of many individuals. It
requires the involvement of all who live in this province, if not in this
planet. The local Church alone cannot do it. She has her own limitations.
But this is not to say that nothing can be done.
of the local Church of Borongan on Ecology
The local Church of Borongan
is aware of the problem. In fact, this entered in the discussion during the
First Diocesan Synod of Borongan, and I am happy to share with you what the
Church of Borongan resolved to do in connection with Ecology. In chapter V,
the Church in Its Mission, the Synod provides three decrees concerning
ecology, in numbers 212‑214:
A Desk on Ecology shall be established to
formulate and implement programs which shall, among others, gather
ecological data on Eastern Samar, identify ecological problems, and
establish linkages with government agencies, non‑government organizations
with similar concerns, and with the academe.
A catechesis on ecology, stressing the
web of life and the principle of stewardship, shall be developed and
disseminated to all the faithful through, among others, the basic
ecclesial communities, other faith communities, religious organizations
and renewal movements.
The Diocese shall encourage communities
to promote balance of ecosystem through advocacy and active involvement in
such environmental projects as reforestation, rehabilitation of degraded
ecosystem, establishment of sanctuaries, waste management, water
conservation, etc., as well as advocacy against pollutive and destructive
activities, like mining, illegal fishing, indiscriminate waste disposal,
The Diocese, as I said,
promulgated these in 1998, and these decrees await implementation.
At this point, however, I
believe that the role of the Church consists in exercising her prophetic
role. Hence, in addition to what has been provided for in the First Diocesan
Synod of Borongan, the Church, and I mean here, the faithful who have
competence on the practical field, can do the following:
The first one is denunciation ‑ we have to
criticize institutions, which could include the government, that destroy the
This means, we will have to expose the evils
that are being done to the environment, how they are done, and at what price
they are done.
This also means, we refuse to be bribed by them
in whatever form, even in terms of charitable works.
The second is annunciation ‑ this is more
difficult. We will have to teach and share with the people a vision of what
it means to live in a community, where there is justice to all created
things, where there is symbiosis between people and environment, where there
is care for people. We empower them to realize that vision of community.
Unless they have this vision, it would be difficult to convince them to care
for the earth.
The Church, this time both its leaders and the
faithful can incorporate environment themes in the exercise of their
priestly role. I have in mind two things that can be easily adopted. Here we
can help in the formation of conscience:
We can widen our concept of the sacrament of
reconciliation. I have two things in mind. First, we should include
destruction of environment among the sins against the 5th commandment - thou
shall not kill. Our catechesis must emphasize that destruction of the
environment is a sin against God ‑ it also defaces the beauty of creation.
Second, reconciliation means not only
reconciliation to neighbor, but also reconciliation with creation, in
accordance with the thought of St Paul.
We can also do something with our popular
We can include environment concerns in the
making of the Stations of the Cross.
Flores de Mayo could be modified in such a way
that the celebration should be about Mary the Queen of the Whole Creation,
and draw program for that purpose.
We can celebrate the death of St Francis as
patron of creation, and our celebration can focus on the environment.
Role of the
Media of Social Communications
The role of the media is
really linked with the prophetic role of the Church. And so, almost
everything that we said of the Church could be said of the media of social
The media is an important
component in advocacy. For the media is used not only to inform, but also to
persuade and motivate people to act - to convinced people to act in a
certain way. That is why it is a very good tool for advocacy.
confront the Media
But there are challenges.
The media and its practitioners can be subverted by the pressures of its
advertisers and sponsors. Advertisers, like mining firm, can dictate what
the people in the media will say ‑ they can suppress the facts, they can
refuse to treat facts that will be adverse to advertisers or embarrass them.
Of course, we know that more
often than not, media represent the vested interests of its owners, and
while its practitioners may state their independence from these vested
interests, we also know that they can become vehicles of politicians to
mouth their own distorted views, and attack their opponents. In print, we
call them envelopmental journalists ‑ receive envelopes full of cash
from politicians and advertisers. They are paid hacks, as Doroy calls them.
And there is the challenge
of the moral and religious values which the owner and their practitioner
hold. Often, media present or espouse values that are detrimental to the
poor and the marginalized and favor the rich, it can present corrupt values.
Role of the
Despite these challenges, we
recognize the value of media in advocacy. But I think they should observe
The human person and the community is the end
and measure of the use of the media. It cannot be made into a tool of the
rich to exploit the poor, or destroy the communities of the poor. It must
respect the human person and the community.
Media of social communication is for the
integral development of persons and community. Media should not look at
development merely in terms of accumulation of money and comfort. What is
money when people and their values are destroyed?
It must be truthful. It must communicate truth
and ‑ within the limits of justice and charity ‑ complete the truth. In no
way shall it be used to deceive.
By Philippine News Service
June 21, 2004
Administration senator Manny Villar stuck out like a sore thumb during the
course of the victory party held over the weekend to celebrate the
reelection to the Senate of opposition leader Aquilino “Nene” Pimentel. Many
eyebrows were raised, and the most-uttered questions that night were: “Why
is Villar gatecrashing Nene’s party? What is his hidden agenda?”
Sen. Pimentel, of course, was too much of a statesman to show even a hint of
annoyance over the unannounced arrival of Villar. While many of Sen.
Pimentel’s guests exchanged puzzled looks over the appearance of Villar, a
few people seemed to have seen through his motive.
To those who had knowing looks written in their faces, the buzz that Villar
is angling to wrest the Senate presidency from Sen. Franklin Drilon were all
but confirmed on that fateful night. “Villar is making ligaw
(courting) of Nene,” mumbled a guest. “He (Villar) wants the opposition to
back his power grab at the Senate so that he’ll have the numbers.”
Villar’s problem though is that he does not have the support of the majority
of administration senators, including the eight newcomers. This early, the
consensus among administration senators seems to be to reward the
hardworking Drilon by letting him continue his able stewardship of the
People in the know say that this is where opposition lawmakers enter the
picture as far as Villar envisions it to be. You see, there would be 15
administration senators in the incoming 13th Congress. From the
15, Villar can only draw support from the Wednesday Club clique in the
Senate to which he belongs.
That’s only four votes for Villar from himself and his Wednesday Club pals
Sens. Francis Pangilinan, Ralph Recto and Joker Arroyo. This is the reason,
pundits say, why Villar is now hard at work trying to entice opposition
senators, like Pimentel, to back a coup against Drilon.
Though it taxes the imagination that the eight opposition senators would
vote for Villar, the latter is pinning his hope that they’ll do so.
With eight opposition votes and the four of the Wednesday gang, Villar would
have the magic number of 12 votes in the 23-member Senate of the 13th
But for Villar to assume that President Arroyo would allow him to break up
the majority in the Senate would be too much. President Arroyo knows too
well that thanks to Drilon, she got a winning margin of 885,719 votes in
The eight new senators of Lakas also would not entertain any coup initiative
by Villar since they too are indebted to Drilon for his tireless efforts
that made it a grand slam for the administration in Western Visayas.
As spearhead of the administration’s election campaign in Region VI, Drilon
crisscrossed the six provinces and two major cities of
On the other hand, what did Villar accomplish for President Arroyo and the
eight new senators in Metro Manila and the environs in terms of
Drilon has been the steadying force in this administration, and the
President knows this very well. Drilon is a team leader who gets things done
without fanfare, and it would be a shame if someone like Villar would get to
be rewarded the Senate presidency for laying a big fat egg, and for putting
his ambition before anything else.