Sunday, September 6, 2015

Abduction Cases in The Philippines


This past week has been a crucial and stressful week for parents of young children in Batangas, Philippines because of separate cases of abduction that have been reported and spread around the province.

Up to this day, 4 children are still missing but it’s still not confirmed whether they have really been abducted or if they went missing because of other reasons.


During my childhood days and even way back before that, parents and other adults would usually use imaginary stories of strangers abducting children who are seen roaming around the streets to prevent those children from loitering around.

Children would usually get scared and heed their parents’ warnings. As a result, they would usually stay home or never go out without an adult companion.

I have grown up hearing those kinds of warnings from adults to children, especially when a child is really rowdy.

Now that I am an adult and a parent myself, hearing news reports and stories about children being abducted by van-riding criminals have become a big concern for me.

If I used to ignore the stories before, it seems to be very different now. The imaginary stories have become real stories of crime and concern.


The latest child abduction reports in Batangas are not the first of their kind when it comes to this kind of crime here in the Philippines.

Many cases of abduction have also been reported before. It’s just so unusual how the cases of missing children in that particular province have continuously increased in just a week’s time.

If it is indeed true that the children have been abducted, it is really a major cause of concern not only for parents but also for the local officials and authorities of the province.

As a mother, I cannot afford to see my child go missing in any way at all. I would go crazy thinking about what happened to my child if it would ever happen to me.

Immediate action and vigilance should be implemented to prevent any further case of abduction, not only in Batangas but in other provinces as well.

If in case this abduction reports are just being made up by people to cause fear and panic among the public, the malicious people who are doing this should also face charges with the terror they are causing to people.


There have been numerous stories and reports before about syndicates abducting people, most especially children, women and the homeless for interest of their internal organs. These organs are sold for big amounts of money through illegal organ trading.

These cases of abduction had been spreading from Metro Manila to the provinces, and even the province where I lived in wasn’t spared of abduction stories which have caused a significant alarm on the people of our community including me.

I cannot confirm if this case was true or not but the reason why child abduction alarm reached our area was because of an alleged report that a child from a neighboring town, who has gone missing for 2 weeks was found dead 2 or 3 towns away from the child’s place of residence.

The most alarming thing about the report was the alleged state of the body when it was found. The child’s body had been dissected and his major organs were missing. In place of the organs that were removed was a certain amount of money tucked inside the child’s body.

When local community folks and parents heard about the child’s story, the residents and local officials of our place coordinated to increase the security of our community. The local community police have been advised to be more alert and stricter when it comes to unknown individuals with vehicles entering our area.

More stories of abduction were spread around after that. In my case as a parent, I made sure my child never went to school & went home alone. Even his playing area was restricted to only the confines of our backyard. I never let him out of my sight.


Whether these stories of abduction are true or not, they have definitely become a cause of fear for many individuals. It is still our prerogative to implement extra caution in our daily lives and activities.

Child abduction is something which should not just be taken aside. Some stories are plain hoaxes, while some are genuinely true.

It is my call for the concerned authorities to help alleviate the fear from people’s minds by showing vigilance and action on this matter. It is my hope that these child abduction and illegal organ trade syndicates would soon be caught and given due punishment by law.

Spreading of false stories should also be looked upon and given due attention. Having a loved-one go missing with the thought of being abducted is no joke. People spreading plain rumors should have the heart to put themselves on the shoes of the real victims.

Instead of becoming a source of alarm and terror, why not become a source of strength and motivation for families who are really experiencing the pain of having a family member abducted or missing?

As a parent, my heart breaks for the parents of the children who are still missing up to this day. I hope answers and justice would soon be served for them.

On the other hand, as responsible individuals and citizens of our community, it is my call for everyone to take necessary actions of caution and concern for each and everyone.

Let us unite as members of our respective communities and become watchdogs of each and everyone. If we see someone who is unfamiliar and acting suspiciously, even if we’re not the ones who are potentially going to be affected, it is our duty to report our observations to the proper authorities.


I am not an expert when it comes to this kind of matter but let me end this post with some precautionary tips that most of us have always known but need to be reminded of sometimes:

1.  Always remember the old saying, “Don’t talk to strangers.” It is always a no-no to entertain conversations from people we don’t know especially if they look suspicious. It is true that we shouldn’t judge people basing on how they look but it pays to be a little careful nowadays. "Don't talk to strangers" is a phrase that has been a constant reminder for children from way back when. This phrase has remained very useful up to this day.

2.   Believe your gut instinct. We have a natural gift of sensing if something is not going right or if something bad is going to happen. Even animals have that kind of instinct. Usually our instincts are right so always trust them. It wouldn’t hurt to listen to your inner self especially if you’re sensing danger around you. It is important to teach our children to learn how to identify what a "gut feel" is and teach them to trust that instinct.

3.    Make sure you go out in groups. Most people become victims of crime when they are alone. We tend to become vulnerable when we are alone especially when the criminal is stronger, armed or from a group. Same with children; parents should make sure that their children are always with a group of trusted friends whenever they are out of the home or school premises.

4.    Learn self-defense. It would be a good idea to try learning techniques in protecting yourself to help you escape from danger. I find self-defense as a must for us today especially since criminals seem to be increasing with time. There are a lot of self-defense programs that are also being offered to children. Self-defense not only helps in defending oneself but it is also a good way of learning a high degree of self-control and self-discipline.

5.     Be alert. If in case you end up being abducted, it is important to keep your mind in order. I know it is not easy to avoid panic but keep a strong spirit and keep an alert mind as much as you can. That way, you can think of ways of escaping from your abductors.

6.   Have an escape plan. It is also essential to have an escape plan in mind so that you would have something to fall back on when you come face to face with an abductor.

7.    Pray! When all else fails, leave everything up to Him. In all the situations we encounter in life, it is the greatest thing we can rely on. Pray and lay everything up to the Lord.

Images courtesy of Pixabay

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Thursday, August 20, 2015

Paalam Pamana: A Philippine Legacy Is Gone

“Pamana” is a Filipino term for “legacy,” which usually connotes a precious heritage; way beyond wealth or any kind of material inheritance.

This was the name given to a female Philippine Eagle, which was rescued in April of 2012 in Davao after she was found weak and unable to fly due to a gunshot wound.

The eagle was brought to the Philippine Eagle Center, located in Davao. Pamana stayed in the center for more than 3 years until she has fully recovered from her injury.


By the time Pamana was ready to fly back to her natural habitat, members of the Philippine Eagle Center made sure that they would be able to guide her during her first flight after being nurtured in captivity for a long period.

A historical and emotional moment took place when Pamana was finally set free during the Philippine Independence Day celebration on June 12 of this present year. The people who took care of her, together with many other spectators waited and anticipated Pamana’s majestic departure.


Sadly, just 2 months from being brought back into the wild, Pamana was found dead just a few meters away from the place where she was set free. The eagle had 2 gunshot entries to her body, which were noted upon thorough investigation on the cause of her death.

I couldn’t help but get emotional when I learned about the Philippine Eagle’s death. It’s such a disappointment because Pamana has just been released and she was still adjusting from her newfound freedom.

With just a click of a gun, a priceless Philippine legacy is gone; Pamana is no longer with us.


I can’t help but think about the many offspring she could have produced that could have continued her “legacy” for the future Philippine generation to appreciate. Now, Pamana can no longer fulfill what her name implied. A rare eagle specie has once again lost another one of its member.

There are barely around 400 pairs of Philippine Eagles living among our rain forests to date, which is according to a representative of the Philippine Eagle Center.

The fact that these eagles are already critically endangered still hasn’t prevented heartless hunters from shooting them down. And what was the purpose of shooting such a beautiful part of nature? Is it for the mere thrill of it?

I am not a member of any animal rights group or any other movement but I firmly believe that these unauthorized hunting should be dealt with more seriously. We are losing priceless treasures because of these illegal hounding of animals.


The Philippine Eagle is a representative of the Filipino people. It is to be considered as a Philippine pride worthy of protection and preservation. We should make sure that these eagles are not continuously hunted down and face total extinction.

The Philippine Eagle together with all the other wonderful creatures that belong to the heavens deserves to fly freely along our beautiful skies. Our children and the future generation deserve to witness the beautiful creations of God that we have the privilege to witness right now.


Pamana was indeed a legacy that was given for all of us to cherish and care for. Despite the fact that Pamana is now gone, she will forever be part of the history of the Filipino people who were given the opportunity to appreciate her.

Pamana’s confident stance represented our courage and strength to still stand after being wounded from all the problems that our nation and we as a people are facing. The majestic spread of her wings that freely moved upon our skies represented our nation’s freedom from any kind of oppression. Her eyes represented windows of hope that will keep the Filipino fighting despite all the hardships of life.

These qualities are Pamana’s legacy for all the Filipino people. We may no longer get to witness her fly again but we still have the chance to make sure that her legacy will never go to waste by protecting her other remaining brothers and sisters.

It is our responsibility to make sure that Pamana’s way of dying would never happen again to other remaining Philippine Eagles. To the Philippine government and other concerned authorities, may this incident be a strong call for the stricter protection of our wildlife.

Images courtesy of Pixabay

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Philippine Internet: How Fast Can It Go?

I am a daily internet user because I basically work on the web. I am a work-at-home mother and the internet is my biggest partner in fulfilling my job.

Image courtesy of Pixabay
The amount of work I am able to do and the amount of money I am able to produce purely depends on the speed of my internet connection. It is too

much of a hassle for me whenever my internet connection slows down and sometimes even seems to hang.

I have tried using almost all the big internet providers in the Philippines and all of them have disappointed me in one way or the other.


Way back before pocket wifi use was even introduced in the Philippine market, I have tried using PLDT for my home internet connection. The speed was okay and was never affected by bad weather, which is my major problem now whenever I use the internet.

I just had to have my PLDT connection cut when my family moved to the province. Now that I’m back in the city, I went to PLDT to inquire about their new internet offers. The staff recommended me to use their DSL with landline because the speed is not signal based but would instead be based on their landline connection.

I was convinced to apply for the PLDT Home DSL Plan 1299, which would have an internet speed of 3 megabytes with unlimited internet access. It comes with a landline though, so the fixed full monthly fee would be around PHP 1699, which would then include the landline fee.

I didn’t really need the landline because of the fact that the use of cell phones is more utilized nowadays but I was willing to take the risk of paying for a landline fee as long as my internet speed would be fast enough for me to be able to function well on my chosen career.

PLDT though still had to undergo a survey of my area to check for availability of slots because most of their internet slots in the city were already occupied. So my hope of finally being able to increase my internet speed was slightly lowered.

I was advised to wait for a call or text message from their staff once the survey is done. It could either be the good news of informing me that there is an available slot for me, or the bad news of telling me that I would have to wait for a slot to be emptied for who knows when.

And so came the day of informing me about the result of the survey. I was on my laptop, patiently using my slow internet connection, when I received a text message informing me of the bad news that my application wasn’t approved because of unavailability of slots.

So there goes my only hope for ever acquiring a faster internet connection.


Right now, I am using Smart Bro’s pocket Wifi enabled with their ever boasted LTE (supposedly ultra fast) internet connection. When I was reading about LTE and other stuff about it, I was really convinced that the internet speed would be fast (if not ultra-fast).

So I went to a Smart office and bought my Smart Bro Pocket Wifi for a little more than PHP 700. Knowing that it is signal based, I didn’t really have a very high expectation with regards to the signal strength and speed. I just expected it to be fast enough for my usage.

I am not a heavy internet user because I mostly use the internet for browsing, posting my blog posts, email, and checking my social media accounts. So I was at least expecting that my needs would be satisfied by my pocket wifi with LTE.

I was wrong, I was so disappointed. I loaded my wifi with a one month LTE unlimited surfing promo, which costs PHP 995. The internet speed was very slow. I never felt the ultra-speed telecommunication companies were bragging about.

I would even get so sleepy surfing the net because it’s really slow. There are times when the speed catches up and I am able to finally publish my posts, check my email, social media account and surf a bit for some research. I would have to rush doing all those things though, because when the speed goes down, it’s lullaby time for me once again.

At times I would have to sleep very late until around 2 a.m. because the internet speed peaks up from around 10:30 p.m. up until a little past 1:30 a.m. It’s an advantage for me when it comes to internet speed but it’s also a disadvantage because my mind can no longer seem to function during those specific times.


I have also tried Globe Pocket Wifi with their Tattoo sim card when I was still in the province. I noticed that Globe’s internet speed seemed to be faster in the province than here in the city. It’s the other way around with Smart; their internet speed is faster in the city than in the province.

The service that I have experienced with Smartbro’s Pocket Wifi was also the same service I have experienced with Globe’s Pocket Wifi. They’re both practically the same when it comes to internet service.


Overall, I can summarize that basing from my experiences with the 3 biggest telecommunication companies in the Philippines; PLDT is still the best when it comes to internet speed. I haven’t tried out their new product ULTERA though, which is also signal based (similar to Globe & Smart).


Now, there was a recent senate discussion regarding internet speed and pricing in the Philippines, which is very expensive compared to other neighbouring Asian countries. I’m glad senate has finally taken the time to address this issue because internet in the Philippines is really low when it comes to quality and high when it comes to pricing.

A research conducted by a researcher from LIRNEasia revealed that consumers are actually paying more for the kind of service they receive. It turns out that the internet speed which are advertised and promised by the telecommunication agencies are not really reached in actual consumer usage.

I can say that this is really unjust and unfair for internet users who are willingly paying the high monthly service fees that these telcos ask in knowing that they are receiving the kind of service they are paying for; but in reality they are being robbed off their money.


The Philippines is rising fast as a technologically advanced country, with an increasing number of internet users. Internet users nowadays do not merely use the internet for fun and leisure, but also as a means of living.

I myself depend on this wide world of internet to reach out to my audience and be heard from all parts of the world. Without a good internet connection, people who work in the internet industry here in the Philippines would lose heart and find other means of living that would lessen the popularity of the internet.

We use the internet to interact with friends and with business transactions. But if we have a very slow internet connection, it definitely turns off our business dealings and transactions.

We as a country should be speeding up instead of slowing down. The internet could even be our way of competing with our other Asian neighbours when it comes to working for foreign companies because we have the English Language advantage.


My only plea for our Philippine government and for the concerned authorities such as NTC, is for them not to stop with just the promise of monitoring the internet speed that the telcos are providing but for them to also find and allow other companies to bid in their offers if there are others out there who are willing to invest in the Philippines and offer much better services than what our tried and tested telcos are offering.

As what LIRNEasia suggested, there should be a good means of competition for our telecommunication service providers for them to also provide a competitive service to consumers.

I can clearly observe that our telcos are not really competing upwards but instead competing in a steady gait. They just have fairly the same kind of services with not much difference to choose from.

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