Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Before passing judgments, why not give her the benefit of the doubt?

The first time I read it I was appalled by her comment… but it made me think again… it’s too obvious and forward. Why would someone deliberately give out demeaning statement like that with their picture on it? Knowing that the whole world and the Philippines are on Facebook? There must be something wrong.

So before passing judgments, why not give her the benefit of the doubt.

Please see below an image of a news print and visit this link [] for more info on this controversy.

‘Official statement’

A Facebook user posted Bermejo’s alleged official statement dated September 29, 2009 in the hopes of clearing her name.

She said that an unidentified source created the accounts using her name, her personal details, and pictures.

“Because of these incidents, I reported such abuses and sent my credentials to the administrators of such sites, particularly Facebook. I have been abused and am still being abused online in social networking websites such as Facebook, Friendster, Multiply etc,” Bermejo’s statement said.

Her friends called her up and informed her about the cruel “shoutout” on the Facebook account and the numerous comments from other users.

“These malicious statement(s) which are posted under account names Jacque or Jackie are not of my doing. It is unfortunate that such statements were maliciously attributed to me and I do sympathize and understand the adverse and somehow verbally violent reaction that has been elicited by such insensitive statements or posts. Rest assured, I have taken every legal step that can be done in this regard,” the statement added

“I am devastated and shocked at the extent my character, my personal information and private space have been violated,” she stated.

Bermejo has taken legal steps to address the problem. She sought the help of the Philippine Consulate in Dubai and the National Bureau of Immigration to identify the motive and person behind the moves to discredit her. Reports from Dindo Amparo, ABS-CBN Middle East News Bureau Chief, Dubai and

But... What do you think about this one?

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Press Releases (Global Fund Vs. Tropical Disease Foundation)

[image source:]

I am saddened to hear all this situation... if moving to a new Principal Recipient is the best thing to do... then it should be done. But it should be made certain that corruption (if there was indeed one) be stopped.

If Global Fund decides to find a new principal to ensure that life-saving treatment and prevention activities are sustained, then let the hunt for the new principal begin.

I am a Filipino and frankly, I am aghast by the unimpressive bureaucracy in my country. So Global Fund, if you feel that it’s the right thing to do, go find someone capable and honest so that help and support to PLWHA will not cease.

To all concerned Filipino, we are doing great progress in educating people about HIV/ AIDS and lowering the level of stigma, we are doing good getting people tested and identifying who has it and who doesn’t. PLWHA are coming out, let's not put their bravery and valour to waste.

To those who did wrong (if anyone did), I don't hate you. But please, oh please, give us what is due to us. Do what is right as people's lives are at stake.

To Global Fund.. Thank you very much for your selfless love and support.



Funding to continue through new principal recipients

Geneva – The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria has suspended all five of its grants to the Tropical Disease Foundation (TDF) in the Philippines after evidence emerged of unauthorized expenditure. TDF’s grants for malaria, tuberculosis and HIV will be transferred to new principal recipients in the country.

An investigation by the Office of the Inspector General revealed that around US$ 1 million out of total disbursements of US$ 85 million were spent on activities beyond the terms of the grant agreement. The Global Fund has demanded repayment of the unauthorized expenditures.

The review demonstrated capacity issues within TDF’s overall financial management but the Global Fund continues to value its technical expertise, particularly in multi-drug resistant tuberculosis.

TDF is a principal recipient for five grants: one for tuberculosis and two each for HIV/AIDS and malaria. Its total grant portfolio amounts to US$ 195,225,660. The suspension means that TDF’s ongoing grants will be transferred to new principal recipients in the country. The Global Fund intends to transfer the grants to new principal recipients based on recommendations from the Country Coordinating Mechanism in the Philippines and expects that normal grant activities can resume quickly.

All necessary measures will be taken to ensure that life-saving treatment and prevention activities financed by the Global Fund will not be disrupted, pending the signing of agreements with the new principal recipients. Currently, there are 636 people on ARV treatment in the Philippines and 811 people being treated for multi-drug resistant tuberculosis. Other grants awarded earlier to the Department of Health and Pilipinas Shell Foundation will not be affected by this suspension.

The Global Fund remains committed to efforts to combat the three diseases in the Philippines and will provide all possible support to enable the quick resumption of full grant-aided activities in the country.



Tropical Disease Foundation Response to Suspended Global Fund Projects

Press Release

25 September 2009

TDF as Principal Recipient, Sub-Recipient, and contractor of services, has at all times acted in good faith, basing its actions on its best interpretation of the standard terms and conditions laid out in the grant agreement contracts for The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria (TGF).

There has been no evidence of any personal gain found in the extensive investigations, as mentioned by Dr. Elmar Vinh-Thomas, TGF Cluster Leader for Asia and the Pacific, in a meeting held with the TDF on 24 September 2009.

TDF’s systems of grant and financial management were evaluated thoroughly by the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease and Grant Management Solutions. Reports of these reviews indicated that the systems in place were appropriate.

Over the six years of the Global Fund projects, TDF’s expenditures had been periodically examined, reviewed, and audited by the LFA and external auditors, and eventually submitted by the LFA to TGF. In no instance had the LFA or TGF raised any alleged unauthorized expenditure during examinations of expenditures and assessments of financial management systems, until only recently. This is spawned by policies, rules, and regulations formulated after the expenditures were already incurred and audited. This predicament has been noted and articulated in the Five Year Evaluation Study Area 2 Results in the Global Fund Partner Environment at Global and Country Levels, Global Fund Policies and Guidelines, which states:

“The report found examples of conflicting GF policies and guidelines regarding expected rules in grant oversight and management that contribute to variability in policy operationalization and interpretation . . . ”

These observations reflect what actually happened in TDF’s case. New policies and procedures are being enforced ex post facto, after the fact that an agreement has been signed and despite the presence of an entirety of agreement clause in the standard terms and conditions. In such a situation, the TDF exercised good faith in the interpretation of policies and procedures. TDF exerted its best effort in complying with the new policy, or the interpretation of such policies or procedures to the best of its understanding, with guidance requested from the Global Fund Portfolio Manager.

Instances of conflict of interpretation of GF policies and rules, or lack of awareness of such policies, were never intentional nor with malice on the part of the TDF. All actions were done in good faith. The alleged unauthorized expenditures are actually within the authorization given to TDF, as previously instructed by its Portfolio Managers, that for so long as the objectives and the work plan and overall project budget are not changed, such adjustments do not have to be cleared with the GF.

The TDF has fully cooperated with the Office of the Inspector General during the course of the investigation. The TDF has requested details of findings and be allowed enough time to review the records of the OIG findings, and to reimburse any Global Fund monies that may have been inadvertently utilized. The TDF requested an extension of four weeks beyond September 4, 2009 to reconcile the transactions involved. However, even before this could be completed, a press release was published online at TGF’s official website on 24 September 2009, contrary to TGF’s initial announcement of providing enough time to respond to any allegations.


Monday, September 28, 2009

Does HIV look like me?

Does HIV look like me? For those who know or have met me in person... please let me know.

But let me state the obvious ... HIV can look like any of us. So stay safe, be safe every time.

[video source:]

You want to HELP? Please click the link for the directory)

I slept all day and woke up at seven pm, just in time for the evening news. I was aghast of what they have to report on TV.

I am having mixed emotions. A mixture of personal concerns, and concerns for all of those both physically and emotionally affected by the recent weather tragedy. But what will my varied emotions do to help the victims of the typhoon Ondoy? Nothing! (sob, sob) I wanted to volunteer and help, but I am preoccupied with same issues brought by Ondoy.

I feel guilty of having the luxury of sleeping in a soft dry bed. I wish I could share it.

I remember what Socrated said: "Any person who knows what is truly right will automatically do it." Let me share a silent prayer to all affected families and individuals.

I got this link from Mister Heuge post. For people who want to give help and volunteer their good hearts, Please go to this link ( to know the places to go share your selves and blessings.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Lesson on Patience and Love

I was browsing out of boredom when I can across a Greek short film made in 2007.

The video is a very good reminder that patience and love goes hand in hand.

Experience is a powerful tool for change. We can change all we want but let us make sure not lose any of the these virtues.


If God created everything, did he created evil?

If "one thing" exists because of the absence of "another thing"... then that "one thing" does not really exist.


Who said it wasn’t possible?

Whew! Two days of continuous rain and almost 24 hours of no electricity. I felt primitive not having electricity, literally dining in the dark with candles on the table. It felt like I was transported back to the Stone Age (minus the wax candle, of course).

I was able to go online lunch time today when I got back home from charging my mobile phone at Burger King (bless these fast food chains that has a cellphone charging station).

News about the typhoon is all over the news. Pictures of depressing images were all over the net. I saw one depressing photo, but this one does not resemble anything about the weather situation. It has a picture of … a patient on green bedding. Curiously, I clicked on the link and it was a revelation!

The headline said: “AIDS breakthrough as vaccine cuts infections for first time.”

“BANGKOK (AFP) - – An experimental AIDS vaccine has for the first time cut the risk of infection in humans in what scientists Thursday called a "breakthrough" in the quarter-century fight against the epidemic.

The vaccine reduced the chance of being infected by a third, researchers announced after the world's largest trial of 16,000 volunteers, carried out by the US Army and Thailand's Ministry of Public Health.

The surprising result comes after years of fruitless attempts by the medical world to find an HIV vaccine, including one trial jab that apparently boosted infection rates.

"It is the first demonstration that a vaccine against HIV can protect against infection," Colonel Jerome Kim of the US military HIV research programme told a news conference in Bangkok via videolink.

"This is a very important scientific advance and gives us hope that a globally effective vaccine may be possible in the future," he said.

Thai Public Health Minister Witthaya Kaewparadai said the "outcome of this study is a scientific breakthrough."

The vaccine was a combination of two older drugs that had not reduced infection on their own and the researchers said they were now studying why the two apparently worked together.

The study combined the canarypox vaccine ALVAC, manufactured by Sanofi-Aventis of France, and AIDSVAX, originally made by VaxGen Inc and now licensed to the non-profit Global Solutions for Infectious Diseases.

Researchers said the latest vaccine showed a 31.2 percent efficacy in reducing the risk of HIV infection.

"The outcome represents a breakthrough in HIV vaccine development because for the first time ever there is evidence that HIV vaccine has preventative efficacy," said the research team in a statement.

The vaccine was tested on volunteers -- all HIV negative men and women aged from 18 to 30 -- at average risk of infection in two Thai provinces near Bangkok starting in October 2003.

Half received the vaccine and the rest were given a placebo. Out of the placebo recipients 74 of 8,198 became infected compared with 51 of 8,197 who got the vaccine.

The World Health Organization and the Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS congratulated the researchers for the "encouraging" results.

"The study results, representing a significant scientific advance, are the first demonstration that a vaccine can prevent HIV infection in a general adult population and are of great importance," they said in a statement. Experts' reactions

The UN said it may not be possible to get licensing permission for the drug at the moment based on the results, and that further studies were needed to determine if the vaccine has the same effect in other parts of the world.

AIDS first came to public notice in 1981 and has since killed at least 25 million people worldwide, and 33 million others are living with AIDS or the HIV virus.

Swift progress in identifying the virus that caused AIDS unleashed early optimism that a vaccine would quickly emerge. HIV destroys immune cells and exposes the body to opportunistic disease.

But out of the 50 candidates that have been evaluated among humans, only two vaccines have made it through all three phases of trials, and both were flops. About 30 vaccines remain in the pipeline.

Scientists were in 2007 forced to abandon two advanced clinical trials of a vaccine by pharmaceutical company Merck after it appeared to actually heighten the risk of AIDS infection.

Sanofi Pasteur, the vaccines division of Sanofi-Aventis, said the results of the latest test, although "modest", were the first concrete demonstration that a vaccine "could one day become a reality."

The Global HIV Vaccine Enterprise, an alliance of researchers, policymakers, donors and advocates that includes the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, said it was a "historic day in the 26-year quest to develop an AIDS vaccine."

The International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI), an organisation that promotes the search for a vaccine, said the trial results were "very exciting and a significant scientific achievement."

The head of the US agency tasked with controlling the spread of infectious disease said it was an important breakthrough.

"These new findings represent an important step forward in HIV vaccine research," said Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the US National Institutes of Health, which provided major funding and logistical support for the study.

But a top AIDS scientist, France's Jean-Francois Delfraissy, warned that the results were "good news but the effect remains modest".”


Who said it wasn’t possible? A lot... but hey, it's always best to keep that hope burning, right?

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

I will post something soon…

This week is supposedly my last week at work but I have not been reporting to work since Friday last week. I have been enjoying the time and the freedom doing what I want. I enrolled back to finish my certificate in Sign Language, I’ve been visiting RITM so often that I feel I live there. I’ve also been sleeping to my heart’s delight. I think I am going to do this for one more week before I go back looking for a new job.

I will post something soon…

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Friday, September 11, 2009

I noticed something that I did not see before

Whew! Few more days to go and I’m officially no longer connected with the Gallery. This is not a disclaimer; I am just looking forward to making my biggest leap this year.

Well I think it’s safe to say that I have moved on. I’ve made several major changes in the past and I always come out the same person, but wiser.

Through all the modifications I’ve made, I noticed something that I did not see before. When you make the needed alterations in your life… Three of the many things happen: 1.You meet new people in the process. 2. You lose some and 3. There are those who stay with you to witness the transformation. Lucky are those who stay with you to see the unfolding of a better person.

This is not the last of my revolution … I will definitely will have a few more. Some I already know, some are still yet to be discovered.

To all those who stayed with me, THANK YOU VERY MUCH. To those whom I have met in the process, welcome to my world.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

The other night, I sent my male boss an email…

Coming out was a virtuous experience. I am very happy that my superior took my news kindly and with overwhelming sense of understanding. My belief that people are naturally good and that everything always turns out all right in the end was reinforced.

Coming out was just one of the things I’ve planned.

The other night, I sent my male boss an email expressing my desire to resign from my post as Gallery Manager. Being a man of immense wisdom, he expressed his sincerest understanding of my need to leave. My female boss followed his suite. I would love to make my exit sooner but as a professional requirement, I should wait until they find my replacement and that responsibilities should be smoothly turned over.

Consciously deciding to make a change in our lives and moving on is part of our nature as humans. We should not battle against the natural flow. Things happen for a reason and the reason, most of the time, if not always, is for the greater good. Experiences teaches us a lot of things, mostly how to improve ourselves and how to live a better life.

My resignation is just the second bullet on my list. I have a few more coming up. I will share it in due time. For now, I am slowly shedding the outer covering that I’ve made to become my comfort blanket. I will be bare soon and this gives me another opportunity to wrap my self tighter and more comfortably with new experiences.

All of these changes are somewhat overwhelming but I am definite that it’s for my own good. I am sure I will be more mature and wiser with my dealings this time. And that’s the cherry on top of the ice cream.

I am back to my usual, jovial self. I bid goodbye to the drama for now.

It’s time to keep moving forward.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Responses to my letter

I don’t know what to feel. I am filled with different emotions.

After sending that “coming out” email to my Bosses… I was expecting the worst possible scenario, but of course being myself, I am very hopeful that everything would be well. True enough, everything turned out all right.

I realized that when you live a good life, show kindness, live by example and do the kind of things that comes from the heart… you will be blessed. Not in any matter but blessing you would never imagine you will receive. I am more than happy that my Bosses understood and accepted my condition, and I even gave them realizations of their own.

After this one, I don’t feel afraid as I used to about coming out. I hope somehow, other people living with HIV will find hope in my experience. Hope that everything will always be all right in the end.

Below are the responses I received from my Bosses.


Hi H,

Thank you for your brave email. I know it must have been gut-wrenching for you to write it and i appreciate your candor and concerns.

I will discuss this matter with our shareholders E and VC when I am next in Manila. So i hope you won't mind me copying this email to VC.




My Dearest H ,

Thank you for you brave letter. You have all my emotional support and if comes to that, material too. I hope you don’t feel bad emotionally, is the worse kind of suffering. From the world I come from is openly discuss and people help each other so any time you ant to talk to me I’m at your disposal.

I have been wanting to go to the MC but a very dear person to me has been found out with cancer and the doctors don’t know how long she has to live... I hope to see you next week I’m kind of down myself. Curiously enough I paint better when I’m in a low , so life has a wise way to compensate.

A hug




Been there and done that several times over....told you, am old have HIV, not AIDS....still a looong way to go. It answers a lot of questions that I had about you, though...

Spend time contemplating what your calling is, the art or the ministry....or both....For now; let us just walk the walk, together.

You make us realize that we should require a basic physical for all the employees....look into the programs....and get them ready for V and I to analyze when we return. Ask B to give you Med tech's info.

You'd be the best person to do this.

You have guts, H...Bravo!

Back next week.


Letter to my Bosses

After a long contemplation, I’ve finally gathered my confidence to come out to my Boss. This is one of the bravest things I did this year. However courageous I feel right now, I still feel anxious on how they would react to my news. Since both of them are out of the country, I decided to compose an email and send it to them, and hope to be able to clarify whatever concerns they independently arrive next week.

Below is what I wrote in my letter.


Dear V and E,

I hope you are doing very well today.

Before anything else, I would like to thank you both for being kind and supportive bosses. Working with MC has been one of the greatest opportunities ever, and I could not thank you enough. Though I believe I have shown diligence and efficiency during my tenure with MC, I am aware that there is still much room for improvement and there will always be more chances to prove my worth. Nevertheless, I have learned a lot from working with you, and it has instilled in me, among others, the ability to make wiser decisions.

Today, I reach the point of making another decision, but whether it is a wise one will remain to be seen. I am not certain as to the right time to open this up to you, but now seemed as good a time as any, as I would rather that you hear of this straight from me, than find out about it from somewhere or someone else.

Prior to joining MC, I was supposed to fly to the Middle East for a promising employment opportunity in late 2007. Unfortunately, something very concerning prevented me from taking the job. You see, I tested positive for HIV. With that development, I was forced to forego the job offer abroad.

So I have been living with HIV for more than a year now. But I can say that I am living a normal, healthy and productive life, just like everyone else, other than the fact that I am currently on medication, anti-retroviral drugs that help keep the virus at bay. My entire family, my close friends and some important people in my life all knows about my situation. And it has been such a blessing that everyone has been very supportive about it.

Early this year, I decided to slowly come out in public about my health status, and through this, I am supporting advocacies in the field of prevention of HIV and AIDS. Currently, I am doing volunteer work with related NGOs and hospitals, and have been doing speaking engagements, inspirational talks and counseling. I get much fulfillment walking this avenue, and look forward to build a career in counseling and sharing more of myself for the benefit of others.

You must be wondering why I am telling you this. I am sharing this because I consider you as among those important persons in my life, and that I regard you both as persons of inspiration. I feel as my superiors, you have the right to know of my status, and would rather you receive this information from me first hand, than get if from somewhere else.

Another reason is that, since a number of people already know about my condition, I am aware of the risk of the news spreading like wildfire, and cannot help feel concerned of how my condition might affect the Gallery. I do not expect people to understand or accept me fully, and I am concerned that my condition might have a negative effect on MC’s reputation, and gallery operations as a whole.

Furthermore, the possibility of having some health concerns that I may need to prioritize to ensure that I stay healthy will continue to haunt me. And so, with that, the possibility that I might, sooner or later, need to give up my position in MC also looms constantly. I have been contemplating for weeks on the latter.

I am not expecting you will understand my predicament at this point, as I know this is not the kind of news you receive very often. Or this might even be the first time someone disclosed his HIV-positive status to you. For now, you have the leisure of time to digest what information I have disclosed herewith. If you need me to shed light on some concerns, I am more than willing to clarify them. But rest assured that I am still the same person that has been giving much of himself for the success of MC.

Again, thank you very much for being very loving and supportive of all of us in MC.




For more information on HIV/ AIDS please visit: