Friday, December 16, 2011

Postscripts from the Acquittal

December 14, 2011 marked the anniversary of Hubert Webb's freedom. That is, after spending more than 15 years in prison for a crime he clearly did not do.

I have learned much from studying the case and the dynamics that surrounded it--no matter how unpretty they were. But more than anything else, the best lesson taught to me by my curious quest is the primacy of logic over punishment, and of truth over communal belief. Justice would have been never served for the Vizconde women without opening ourselves to facts and moreso, if we reproach the wrong men for the sake of putting several someones on the receiving end of punishment. Sadly, up to this day, the case remains unsolved. (Read more at The Blind Lady in World of Womanity.)

When the Supreme Court decision was read on TV last year, I was reeling from the shock of an epinephrine shot during a week-long hospital confinement. It was not at all a very pleasant experience yet, the news somehow made me forget about my ordeal, considering the far more bigger battles fought by everyone who believed in Hubert's innocence (and by the man himself). Some of us had been condemned for stating the facts and even the innocent ones were brought into a virtual word fight.

That everyone includes my friends at the Justice for Hubert Webb group who I came to know, quite accidentally, as part of my quest.

* * *
In celebration of the the first anniversary of his acquittal, Hubert held a Thanksgiving Mass last Wedenesday in ParaƱaque City. Family and friends attended, including his fellow acquitted, Pyke Fernandez, and former legal counsels, Former Senator Rene Saguisag and Atty, Vitaliano Aguirre.

The group with former senators Freddie Webb and Rene Saguisag,  Atty. Vitaliano Aguirre, and Hubert's brothers, Fritz and Mike.

The group with the Webb brothers--Mike, Fritz, Hubert and Jason.

Photo shows Pyke and Hubert.

* * *
"The duty of the prosecution is not merely to secure a conviction, but to secure a just conviction."
-- Supreme Court Associate Justice Maria Lourdes P.A. Serreno

* Credits to Alma Go for the pictures.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

On Women and the Workplace: The Need for Breastfeeding Centers (Part 1)

Being a working mom is a tough act. Unlike most freelance jobs, being one is, in essence, handling two full-time jobs at the same time, which entail extreme flexibility, lots of multi-tasking, and 24/7 availability.

But how do working moms manage, considering that the demands of the household do not pause from 9 to 5 and resume thereafter? Is the typical workplace in the Philippines friendly to mothers who breastfeed and bear the burden of losing a much-needed nanny?

So I ran a quick survey on one of my Facebook group's wall and subsequently, received some interesting answers.

Some of these answers include the following:
  • a day care unit for our children
  • a vendo machine for napkin, tissue, etc. 
  • [if it] offers additional sick leaves for dysmenorrhea days
  • a "breastfeeding room" with deep freezer or ref where breastfeeding working mommies can privately pump and store breast milk

Section 22 of RA 9710, known as the Magna Carta of Women, impels the State to provide--
support services that will enable women to balance their family obligations and work responsibilities including, but not limited to, the establishment of day care centers and breastfeeding stations at the workplace, and providing maternity leave pursuant to the Labor Code and other pertinent laws.
In conversations with former and current women employees of some government-owned and controlled corporations (GOCC) such as the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation and the Social Security System, I learned that day care centers catering to the children of their employees were established from way, way back. In addition, in one of my trips to another GOCC, the Securities and Exchange Commission, I saw that a breastfeeding center for lactating moms is set up right beside their infirmary.

The Case for Breastfeeding

While it is good to note that the government walks its talk, notwithstanding the fact that the said centers were built prior to the ratification of the Magna Carta, the private sector still has a long way to go in providing similar services. Optimistically, June Isis Evasco writes about the increasing support for breastfeeding in the workplace in an article published on Evasco lists down the names of companies/organizations providing lactation facilities here.

Said initiatives should actually be replicated in other offices, following the provision stipulated in RA 10028 or the Expanded Breastfeeding Act of 2009, which mandates all government, non-government agencies, institutions, and establishments to put up "lactation stations" that are compliant with the standards set by the Department of Health. Additionally, the law provides rewards to abiding companies with tax incentives that can be up to twice the cost of the station.

Some organizations may be exempted though, in instances when the establishment of a breastfeeding center is simply not feasible, like when there are only a few female employees and when the office space is simply limited. But this does not mean that nursing moms can no longer express milk during office hours. In fact, employers are obliged by the Expanded Breastfeeding Act to grant their nursing employees "lactation periods" of not less than 40 minutes per eight-hour work day, on top of the lunch and coffee breaks already being provided.

To learn more about  Your Breastfeeding Rights, click here.

To be continued...

Friday, December 2, 2011

Victoria's Secret Fashion Show 2011

A lot of pink, sexy loungerie worn by the angels on the 2011 Victoria's Secret Fashion Show, radiating waves of inspiration for us women to take care of our bodies well.

Angels go boombadoomboomboom with Nicki Minaj.

Lovers on the catwalk: Maroon 5's Adam Levine holds and kisses girlfriend, Anne Vyalitsyna, while she sashays on the catwalk. Now, that's a hot number.