“Companion” shows how one can give hope in 40 seconds

Every October is National Mental Health Awareness Month and this year, the Natasha Goulbourn Foundation (NGF), a non-profit organization dedicated to bringing depression to light, and its partner Globe, invited us to the awarding ceremonies for their video competition, launched in June 2016 to help spread awareness about depression by encouraging those who experience depression, as well as their loved ones, to seek guidance from HOPELINE, NGF’s free 24/7 suicide hotline numbers: 804-HOPE (4673), 0917-558HOPE (4673), and 2919 (toll-free for TM and Globe subscribers).

Globe and NGF with the winners

Globe and NGF with the winners

Globe has been a long-time partner of NGF — providing the information and communications technology infrastructure for HOPELINE. “Through the video, we hope that we can also prevent young people from taking their lives due to cyberbullying, which causes a lot of pressure and stress,” said Fernando Esguerra, Globe Director for Citizenship.

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Watch Ignacio de Loyola: A beautiful Filipino-produced film on the life of St. Ignatius of Loyola

He was a soldier, a sinner, and a saint — all rolled into one. He is St. Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Jesuits (or Society of Jesus). His feastday will be celebrated in a few weeks, on July 31. And a movie is coming out very soon on his life.

Ignacio de Loyola

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Using Bubby as an ONLINE social media tool to reach Pinoys OFFLINE

In September of 2013, I discovered a new microblogging platform. My friend Noemi was using it and introduced me to the person in the Philippines representing Bubbly, an audio platform that allows you to record 90 seconds of voice. It also allows others to listen to you and if you are on a Premium account (like I am), you get people who subscribe to you.

Bubbly profile

I immediately fell in love with Bubbly. More than just an expressive outlet of my thoughts, I discovered that it was a great platform to draw people with disabilities into social media because of its audio feature. I had visually impaired followers and they were so happy to engage on Bubbly with me!!!

Click here to read that very first post I did about Bubbly.

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A Mother’s Right to Bury her Child is Sacred

She is accused of many crimes,  among them kidnapping, murder and attempted homicide. Her last name (Rosal) rings familiar in all areas of society.  After all, she is the daughter of the late Gregorio “Ka Roger” Rosal, known as the New People’s Army (NPA) spokesperson. Last March 27, on orders of a court in Quezon, Andrea Rosal was arrested in Caloocan City.

Andrea Rosal was pregnant and close to full term, was placed in a tiny cell with several other women inmates, and not given ample medical attention (a contention by some human rights groups). She prematurely gave birth to Diona Andrea Rosal but 2 days after, Baby Diona passed away due to “persistent pulmonary hypertension”.

Andrea Rosal with daughter

Andrea Rosal with Baby Diona Andrea (photo from Free Andrea Rosal Movement)

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“Not in Our School” anti-bullying campaign launches

Is your kid reluctant to go to school every day? Does he/she feign illness at times?

Do you find missing school stuff, broken pencils or damaged school items?

Does your child come home always hungry or always asking you for more pocket money?

Watch out because your child might be the victim of bullying in school.

I was always told, in my younger days: “Sticks and stones can hurt my bones but words will never hurt me”. Never has a cliche been so wrong because spiteful words CAN hurt. Glaring looks can hurt. Destruction of one’s property can hurt. A person’s self-esteem can be impaired for life.

Bullying has long existed but I think it has gotten worse, judging from the growing number of bullying-related suicides whose victims are growing younger and younger. What makes matters worse, I think, is the almost dismissive, non-serious attention given to reported bullying incidents. Guidance counselors in schools don’t seem trained to handle these kinds of situations.

“Boys will be boys” (Bullying is NOT normal boys’ play)

“Just tell your child to avoid the bully” (You can’t avoid a bully who chooses to come up to you even if you try to stay away)

“Don’t worry. I will speak with him/her (the bully)” (Most times this strategy doesn’t really resolve the issue and the bullying sometimes gets even worse.)

Bullying is a reflection, I think, of the ills of society. The bully himself is a victim. Oftentimes, he is bullied at home and his only outlet is to turn into one himself with hapless victims in school. But of course, the real victims are the bullied children. Oftentimes, they choose to keep this to themselves, ashamed to let others know they are being subjected to abuse and harassment daily in school. Parents are oftentimes the last to know. And in some cases, the only time they find out is when their child takes the ultimate escape from the torture – suicide.

Well, I am finally happy that bullying in schools is getting its well-deserved attention with an anti-bullying campaign that is about to go nationwide and I hope it is eventually going to be nipped for good.

“Bully” the Movie

The Jesuit Basic Education Commission (JBEC) in cooperation with Solar Entertainment, is bringing in an acclaimed documentary film “Bully” to the Philippines. The film features actual experiences of bully victims in high schools in Georgia, Iowa, Texas, Mississippi and Oklahoma. Two of the boys featured, Tyler Long and Ty Smalley), committed suicide after enduring taunts and physical assault.

Alex, one of the 5 bullied kids in the movie

What looks like an innocent bus ride became a torturous experience for Alex

A by-invitation premiere of “Bully” will happen at Robinsons Galleria Cinema 4 on November 13, 2012 at 6:30pm. That will be followed by a theatrical run, also in November, through several Saturday block screenings in Robinsons Galleria for schools that want to show the film for their communities. Campus screenings can also be arranged for a minimal fee. Teachers and parents will be provided with discussion guides to properly process the movie’s message.

Directed by Sundance and Emmy award-winning filmmaker Lee Hirsch, Bully documents the real stories of 5 bullied kids and their families. Filmed over the course of schoolyears 2009/2010, Bully shows us the painful experiences of bullied American kids, revealing problems that cross geographical, racial, ethnic and economic borders. The movie also shows how the affected parents began a growing movement to change how incidents of bullying are handled in their schools, communities and society as a whole.

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HSBC Recognizes 5 Outstanding High School Principals

I am one who believes that education is so important to lifting those below and right at the poverty levels from their unfortunate circumstances. That is why, despite often busy schedules, I always try to make time to support causes related to academe.

Recently, HSBC invited me to witness their awarding ceremonies for 5 outstanding public high school principals who had effectively transformed their elementary schools through the HSBC Principals Leadership Enhancement and Development (LEAD) Program (PLP).

Brief Background on HSBC’s PLP

HSBC PLP is the first of its kind in the Philippines. It is an undertaking taken with SAS, a non-government organization (NGO) whose aim is to bridge the education gap. SAS was founded in 2001 by philanthropist Lizzie Zobel and Margarita Delgado.

In 2009, SAS and HSBC launched PLP in response to Republic Act 9155 which gave principals full authority and responsibility for effectively managing their schools. PLP helps principals identify the needs and problems of their schools and community and equips them with necessary tools to revise the standard curriculum to address such needs/problems.

After a 3-year educator training program, HSBC chose five outstanding principals who, in their own ways, transformed their elementary schools.

Since its inception PLP has already trained about 200 principals nationwide. Through this progoram, a Principal’s Handbook was developed by SAS and distributed to guide principals in their daily work as leaders in their own communities.

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