Wednesday, September 3, 2014

What's Wrong with the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge?

Embryonic Stem Cell Comics

First of all, I want to say that pouring a bucket of ice cold water over your body is not wrong (unless you have pulmonary illness). There is also nothing wrong with taking video of you being drench with ice cold water. These two activities are harmless (well again, unless you have pulmonary disease).

The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge was initiated by the ALS Association and caused a worldwide sensation. Even local celebrities, like Kris Aquino, and government officials accepted the challenge. The challenge already generated about $94.3 million since August 27.1 The collected funds will be used to fund research for cures against ALS.

ALS stands for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, which is a “progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord”.2 This means that ALS causes motor neurons to degenerate and die. Motor neurons are nerve cells that links the brain and muscles to initiate voluntary movements.  The mass degeneration of neurons makes the patients with ALS to become paralyzed at the later stages of the disease.

Unfortunately, the ALS Association supports researches that use of embryonic stem cells. This means that the money collected during the ice bucket challenge will be used to those kinds of research.

I read in LifeNews that the stem cells were collected from the spinal cord of an aborted eight-week old fetus.

In short, ALS Association is OK with abortion for the sake of getting a cure. Supporting abortion, which is murder of yet-to-be-born human beings, is a grave crime. And the use of their dead body is also an immoral act against that murdered person.

ALS Association’s support to the use of embryonic stem cells prompted Catholic dioceses in USA to not support the ice bucket challenge. The CBCP president also sounded the alarms about this issue, which is the right thing for them to do.

The conviction of the people to help ALS victims is a good thing. The Church actually encourages all of us to help the sick, including those who have ALS. Remember that our Lord Jesus healed the sick and the Church follows His example.

There’s nothing wrong in raising awareness or to donating for the ALS cure. What’s wrong is ALS Association blatant disregard to human life. What’s wrong with the ice bucket challenge is that people joined the hype without doing a background check on the people who created this event. What’s wrong is these people may have unwittingly gave money that will be used to murder helpless human beings for the sake advancing scientific knowledge.

The end doesn’t justify the means.

Monday, August 11, 2014

A Plea for My Christian Brothers and Sisters in Iraq

It is saddening to think that thousands of Christians are suffering in Iraq at this very moment. I read in the news and blogs that Muslim extremist members of ISIS are doing terrible things to non-Muslim people.

ISIS militants drove away many Christians from their homes. Those who were captured were given the options of converting to Islam, pay the infidel tax, or die. According to Mark Arabo, a Chaldean-American leader, “children are being beheaded, mothers are being raped and killed, and fathers are being hung.”

Christians are not the only ones who were suffering. The Yazidis, an ethnic group whose religion were influeneced by Zoroastrianism, Islam, and Christianity, were trapped on a mountain. They don’t have food and water and they don’t want to descend because the ISIS militants will kill them. There were even reports of Yazidis throwing their children from the mountain because they don’t want them to suffer in the hands of the terrorists.

The image below shows a screengrab of Yazidi children who died of hunger and thirst on the Sinjar Mountain.

Victims of ISIS: dead Yazidi children
(Source: CNS News)

I was angered by these terrible news. How can this people do such demonic things?

I wanted to do something. I wanted to help these people but they’re just too far away.

So in the end, all I can do is to approach God and pray to Him for the sake of my brothers and sisters in faith.

If you had read this post, I ask you...NO...I beg you, please pray for them.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Manila, the Unloved

Let us suppose we are confronted with a desperate thing -- say Pimlico. If we think what is really best for Pimlico we shall find the thread of thought leads to the throne or the mystic and the arbitrary. It is not enough for a man to disapprove of Pimlico: in that case he will merely cut his throat or move to Chelsea. Nor, certainly, is it enough for a man to approve of Pimlico: for then it will remain Pimlico, which would be awful. The only way out of it seems to be for somebody to love Pimlico: to love it with a transcendental tie and without any earthly reason. If there arose a man who loved Pimlico, then Pimlico would rise into ivory towers and golden pinnacles; Pimlico would attire herself as a woman does when she is loved. For decoration is not given to hide horrible things: but to decorate things already adorable.
- G.K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy

As a visitor in Thailand, one remarkable thing that I noticed in the capital City of Bangkok is its cleanliness. I'm not saying that Bangkok is squeaky clean but this city is cleaner than my  nation's capital City of Manila.

Bangkok and Manila are relatively similar. Both cities have a big river passing through their centers. Bangkok have pick-ups converted into public utility vehicles while Manila have jeepneys. Bangkok have the tuktuk while Manila have the kuliglig. I can mention plenty of similarities between these cities but what doesn't match is the the way their citizens deal with trash.

I never saw any heap of garbage during my short visits in Bangkok. I passed through their main highway, I checked less luxurious parts of the city, I rode trains at several train stations but there was no garbage heap. In Manila, these disgusting heaps are everywhere. On the highway, near the church, beside the LRT stations, and in front of the palengkes (markets). Plastic bags, cartons, diapers, dog poop, human poop, and many more litter the sidewalks.

The government should be blamed for misnamagement but the much greater blame should be with the residents (and the people who go to Manila to work, study, and shop) because they don't love their city.

A man in-love gives the most precious stones and the most beautiful roses that he can afford to his beloved. His goal is to please her and make her a better, more beautiful person.

The same is true with Manila. If ManileƱos really love their city, then they will do their best to make their place truly beautiful.

Hatred of Spanish Heritage is Manila's Demise

We are taught to look at the three-century Spanish rule of the Philippines as the Dark Age. We are told, not only by historians but by the media, that our ancestors we're all slaves by the Spaniards. That all friars are harsh and they rape pious women.

Never mind the fact that it is the Spaniards who unified the warring tribes of the archipelago and brought stability. That these colonists gave us the laws, justice system, medical knowledge, engineering expertise, and many more things that improved the lives of many people. That missionaries defended the natives from pirates but also from the evil people of the colonial government.

The continued tirade against our Spanish past affects our identity as Filipinos. We cannot love our identity, and our nation, because we hate a part of ourselves. This lack of love translates on the way we treat the heritage we received our ancestors. It is not surprising, then, that Filipinos simply don't care about Manila or any other towns in the country.

As our Lord said, the truth shall set us free. Let us then face the truth and from there we can learn how to love good part of our identity, and improving the bad parts. Hopefully, from there Manila will rise as the queen that she really is.

Happy 443rd Year Manila, my Manila.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

A Lesson from Jayme Jalandoni

Jayme Jalandoni of PBB
It seems that Christianity and Philippine showbiz are incompatible with each other. The former uphold the dignity of women while the latter is more concerned about money and fame to the point that women are peddled like commodity.

The recent controversy in ABS-CBN’s show Pinoy Big Brother (PBB) illustrates this fact. In this show, the contestant Jayme Jalandoni was dared to pose nude for a painting in exchange for their weekly budget.

Jayme, a devout Christian from a conservative family, was torn with this challenge since it goes against her faith. She cried (a lot) while trying to explain why she didn’t want to do the challenge. Kuya tried to convince her by showing testimonials from models of nude paintings. Her firm decision only came when her father told her to say “no” to the challenge.

There are plenty of lessons that can be gleaned from the controversy. One is about the dignity of women. Another lesson is about the morality (or the lack of it) in the Philippine showbiz. But one aspect that I found interesting is how a contestant’s faith played (or was played at) during the controversy.

Jayme is admirable for publicly professing her Christian faith but it is a risky move since she is in a show known for its shallowness and gimmicks for the sake of ratings. It should be obvious to her, especially before she entered the house, that the show’s director will shake her faith for the sake of ratings.

Jayme’s religiosity is like a nail sticking out the woodwork and it is very tempting to hammer it down. And the hammer indeed came down and that is the nude painting challenge.

 This incident in the PBB house is a good lesson for those who publicly profess their Christian faith. Saying that you are a follower of our Lord is very easy but doing so gives you more responsibility in standing up for the faith. The Devil hates those who are very public in professing their faith. He will do his best to make you fall and spit out everything you said. Your fall will cause scandal and scandal will shake the faith of many.

Just look at the many “Christian” (specifically “Catholic Christians”) government officials, media personalities, and even priests and bishops who are not ashamed to say that they’re disciples of Jesus Christ but do the opposite of what He teaches. See how many people these public personalities brought to spiritual destruction. I will not be surprised if these “Christians” are the Devil’s favourite crowd.

The lesson from Jayme Jalandoni is this: if you are very public in professing your Christian faith then you have the responsibility to be more firm because the Enemy will come harder against you. Your fall means the fall of many but your victory means being the inspiration for many, and of course the victory of Christ.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Contraceptive Irony: When "Safe" Means "Unsafe"

We are now in the era where decadent things are not just tolerated but even promoted. Take, for example, the case of lying. In theory, lying is still wrong and some people may even be sent to prison because of this sin. However, in practice, lying is promoted, particularity, in the advertising world.

Do you want to increase your sales? Just tell the consumers partial truth or even the total untruth. Show them a burger that looks so yummy and big and then give them the total opposite. Promise them a fast Internet and then make them pay for a pathetic service (and yes I'm speaking from experience).

Manufacturers of modern contraceptive tools lead the way in lying to consumers. To reap multimillion profits, they promote plenty of lies, the worst of which are about the adverse effects of their products to women's health.

Trust Pill may cause breast cancer

I found an empty box of Trust Pill in a trash bin in front of a Mercury Drug branch. As expected, the pill's information sheet was left in the box. What I read in that sheet of paper somewhat amusing, particularly this part:

Adverse effect of Trust Pill
Spot the contradiction.

It said that “oral contraceptive is the most researched product in the history of modern medicine, and its safety has long been established”. It then narrated the adverse effects of oral contraceptive pills to “some women”, such as headaches, gastric upsets, nausea, vomiting, impaired appetite, breast tenderness, slight changes in body weight, slight changes in libido, depressive moods, and impaired liver functions.

The contradiction is very obvious and that it revealed the manufacturer's great lie.

The mere fact that there are adverse effects makes Trust Pill, and other contraceptive pills, truly unsafe not only for women's health but also to their relationships. Depressive episodes caused by pills may cause a rift between the user of this pill and her husband. Slight change libido, which was not mentioned how slight, may prevent women to have satisfting sex (which was declared by Senator Pia Cayetano as a “right” of Filipinas).

Their defense, of course, is that these adverse effects are only experienced by “some women” only. The problem is that they didn't quantify it. “Some women” may range from two women to one million or more.

There are other precautions for Trust Pill like its contraindications for pregnant women, breastfeeding mothers, and those who have liver disorders, clotting disorders, breast and cervical cancer, sickle-cell anemia, hormone active tumors, hyperlipidemia, severe cardiovascular diseases, previous or existing thromboembolic diseases, and idiopathic jaundice.

Another adverse effect that the Trust Pill manufacturer conveniently ignored is the fact that the International Agency for Research on Cancer of the World Health Organization (IARC-WHO) considered contraceptive pills, particularly estrogen - progestogen, as Level 1 carcinogens.

According to the IARC monograph for their research on Combined Estrogen–Progestogen Contraceptives:

There is sufficient evidence in humans for the carcinogenicity of combined estrogen–progestogen oral contraceptives. Combined estrogen–progestogen oral contraceptives cause cancer of the breast, in-situ and invasive cancer of the uterine cervix, and cancer of the liver.

Ethinyl Estradiol is considered as estrogen and Levonorgestrel as, which are the ingredients of Trust Pill, are considered as estrogen & progestin. (see these Wikipedia entries for Ethinyl Estradiol and Levonorgestrel for details) This means that this Trust Pill may cause cancer in the breast, uterine cervix and liver. Even ex-DOH Secretary Esperanza Cabral accidentally admitted in a radio interview that birth control pills cause breast cancer.

I agree that oral contraceptive pill is the most researched medical product. The glaring lie is the claim that this pill's “safety” was established.

Birth control pills are not safe. It is dangerous to women's health. Those who promote its government-funded distribution is bringing plenty of Filipinas in danger.