I would like to commend the Customer Service Regulation Office of the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage Systems (MWSS) for their help this morning.

I was helping an American colleague who is doing a research on fluoridation in the water system in the Philippines. I initially inquired with the DENR-EMB (they have no idea), DOH (no one's answering their trunkline) and BFAD (only the clerks were there, the technical people are all out and no one knows when will they be back) but they were all at loss who is the lead agency for this, at least in terms of policy.

However, when I called MWSS-RO, I was only transferred once (a feat for any company using a trunkline), and after stating my concern, the lady I spoke to called the person best to answer my queries. And yes, that person was able to answer me. And to top it all, no one seemed irritated with my call (another rarity, especially in government offices) and the person knew what he was saying. He even gave me additional contacts where I can verify his information. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to get the name of the person but whoever you are, I salute you!

*Update: The name of the nice fellow is Mr. Bong Cordova. Thank you Mr. Cordova!

ILOILO CITY, Philippines—Five Congressmen have urged the House of Representatives to support the stand of officials and residents of Guimaras against mining operations on the island-province.

House Resolution 841, filed on Oct. 10, calls on the chamber to support the opposition of Guimarasnons against the entry and operations of mining companies.

The resolution was sponsored by Guimaras Rep. JC Rahman Nava, Bayan Muna Representatives Satur Ocampo and Teodoro CasiƱo, Gabriela Rep. Luzviminda Ilagan and Anakpawis Rep. Rafael Mariano.
In the resolution, the congressmen described the island as rich in natural resources and one of the pristine popular tourist destinations in the country.

Click here to read the complete story.

(Submitted entry)

We got our tickets, came 30 mins late and started enjoying the flick. After an hour, right on the one of the most exciting parts, there was a black out in the screen, lights on around the movie house. Wondering why, I looked at the technical room and started gazing around. I saw 20 of us watching the film. Thinking it was only an ordinary technical problem, I just let it pass. After a few seconds, the film resumed. But this time, it's different. We can not see the subtitles anymore. So I was starting to freak out. The fact that the setting was in China, so we expect subs, right? After 20 mins. black out again. This time, with the lady assisting in the cinema saying "Sandali lang po.." WHAT! Sandali lang po!! First time in my seeing a movie in a big screen ever i heard saying from the staff, SANDALI LANG PO. (Parang nakikinood lang sa kapitbahay ah). Knowing my rights as a consumer, I started saying that this is not right. We paid for 100 bucks to watch in the big screen and this is all we got? Sandali lang po! (I thought You've got it all for us?).

I was in the brink of losing my patience, but I still remained composed. I was just raving that I will call the management of the cinema about this not-so-good experience. It just pisses off when you're watching a very good film with so much "bloopers" in between. Nawawala yung excitement.

Here's the catch. Those black outs happened just in the middle of the must-see fight scenes and yeah, during the climax - just when the adrenaline-rush is almost there. Then what, sandali lang po? Gee.

Sorry for my being sarcastic, but I think any movie goer would also react that way. Specially if they paid for it. and golly, the incident happened 3 times. What now?

Haay. The day is over. and I still can't move on with what happened. Probably tomorrow morning, I'll ring the management's office for that matter. Tell my not-so-good experience hoping it will not happen anymore.

Mukhang sila ata ang dahilan ng lumalaganap na Piracy. Haha. Laugh out loud.

To read the ntire article, please click here.

Adapted from "The Green Guide" #77, The Green Guide Institute.

With all the recent press about plastics leaching harmful chemicals into food, we want to be sure we’re using the safest materials in our children’s lunchboxes.

Get the scoop on which plastics are safe to use right here:

Chemicals that leach from plastic containers into food include suspected carcinogens or endocrine disrupters, which have been linked to reproductive system harm. Plastic used for containers can be identified by their recycling codes, as listed in this article.

Most wraps on pre-packaged foods lack identifying symbols. Here is a great list from The Green Guide Institute from which you can tell at a glance the plastics that are safe for food storage and those that aren’t:

As a precaution, you can unwrap these foods and store them in nontoxic glass, ceramic or steel bowls, or Ziploc bags (made of LDPE). Heat promotes leaching:

To be safest, never microwave or heat foods in plastics.

1. Polyethylene Terephthalate (PETE or PET): No known hazards.

2. High Density Polyethylene (HDPE): No known hazards.

3. Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC or vinyl): Plasticizers are added to many PVC products to make them flexible. These include phthalates — suspected endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs), DEHA, another possible EDC, was found to leach from PVC cling wraps into cheese. Grocery stores commonly use PVC to wrap deli meats and cheeses. Reyonds cling wrap is PVC. Some waters and vegetable oils are bottled in PVC. Ad PVC’s manufacture and incineration produces highly toxic dioxins, as does the PVDC used in Saran Wrap, according to Consumers Union.

4. Low Density Polyethylene (LDPE): No known hazards.

5. Polypropylene (PP): No known hazards.

6. Polystyrene (PS or Styrofoam): Made from styrene, a suspected carcinogen, PS also contains p-nonylphenol; both chemicals are suspected EDCs. Do not consumer fatty foods or alcoholic beverages from Styrofoam containers; styrene can leach into these substances. Some opaque plastic cutlery is PS, as well.

7. Other Resins, including Polycarbonate (PC): Most clear plastic baby bottles and 5-gallon water bottles are made of PC. Bisphenol-A EDC in PC, has been found in water and heated infant formulas bottles in PC, as well as food cans lined with a plastic film.

For some more great tips on how and why to reduce your use of plastics –and for which ones are the biggest concern for your health and the environment — read these new guidelines from The Green Guide Institute .

This article was reprinted from “The Green Guide” newsletter, a publication of The Green Guide Institute. Since 1994, “The Green Guide” has been a premier consumer source for practical everyday actions benefiting environmental and personal health. Want more practical solutions that benefit the environment and personal health? Subscribe online to The Green Guide.

Choose your water bottles very carefully in order to prevent chemicals in the plastic from leaching into your water.

Plastic water bottles are very convenient for carting water around when we are on the go, as they don't break if we drop them. However, it is worth paying attention to the type of plastic your water bottle is made of, to ensure that the chemicals in the plastic do not leach into the water. If you taste plastic, you are drinking it, so get yourself another bottle.

To be certain that you are choosing a bottle that does not leach, check the recycling symbol on your bottle. If it is a #2 HDPE (high density polyethylene), or a #4 LDPE (low density polyethylene), or a #5 PP (polypropylene), your bottle is fine. The type of plastic bottle in which water is usually sold is usually a #1, and is only recommended for one time use. Do not refill it. Better to use a reusable water bottle, and fill it with your own filtered water from home and keep these single-use bottles out of the landfill.

Unfortunately, those fabulous colourful hard plastic lexan bottles made with polycarbonate plastics and identified by the #7 recycling symbol, may leach BPA. Bisphenol A is a xenoestrogen, a known endocrine disruptor, meaning it disturbs the hormonal messaging in our bodies. Synthetic xenoestrogens are linked to breast cancer and uterine cancer in women, decreased testosterone levels in men, and are particularly devastating to babies and young children. BPA has even been linked to insulin resistance and Type 2 Diabetes. For more of the science on the effects of BPA on our endocrine system etc. see these studies: Environmental Health Perspectives Journal. Nalgene, the company that manufactures the lexan water bottles also makes #2 HDPE bottles in the same sizes and shapes, so we have a viable alternative.

Unfortunately, most plastic baby bottles and drinking cups are made with plastics containing Bisphenol A. In 2006 Europe banned all products made for children under age 3 containing BPA, and as of Dec. 2006 the city of San Franscisco followed suit. In March 2007 a billion-dollar class action suit was commenced against Gerber, Playtex, Evenflo, Avent, and Dr. Brown's in Los Angeles superior court for harm done to babies caused by drinking out of baby bottles and sippy cups containing BPA. So, to be certain that your baby is not exposed, use glass bottles.
Check the recycling numbers on all your plastic food containers as well, and gradually move to storing all food in glass or ceramic.

Store water in glass or brass if possible, and out of direct sunlight.

From http://trusted.md/blog/vreni_gurd/2007/03/29/plastic_water_bottles

Why are most plastics marked with a number inside a recycling symbol? The simple answer is that each number represents the type of resin made to produce the plastic.

Because each resin is different, these numbers affect how and where you can recycle plastics. You don’t have to remember the name. Plastics are identified by numbers 1-7.

Here’s some common products you’ll find of each type:

#1 PET (Polyethylene terephthalate)*: soda bottles, oven-ready meal trays and water bottles

#2 HDPE (High-density polyethylene)*: milk bottles, detergent bottles and grocery/trash/retail bags

#3 PVC (Polyvinyl chloride): plastic food wrap, loose-leaf binders and plastic pipes

#4 LDPE (Low-density polyethylene): dry cleaning bags, produce bags and squeezable bottles

#5 PP (Polypropylene): medicine bottles, aerosol caps and drinking straws

#6 PS (Polystyrene): compact disc jackets, packaging Styrofoam peanuts and plastic tableware

#7 Other: reusable water bottles, certain kinds of food containers and Tupperware

*PET and HDPE are the most common forms of plastic, so they are the easiest to find recycling locations for

From www.earth911.org

We currently live in the 'Plastics Age' with a total consumption of about 182 million tonnes of polymers per year. Of this, polypropylene is 24 t
o 25 per cent and all polyethylenes, about 40 per cent. This industry has grown phenomenally in the last century. Its growth within this period will be of interest to many.

Human race has always progressed by using raw materials around. Growth from 'Stone Age' to 'Plastics Age' has been very rapid. Use of plastics within the last century and in particular, after World War II has increased exponentially.

Plastic is not a uniformly defined term. Its origin is from the Greek word 'Plasticos', which means 'to form or mould'.
Plastics can broadly be defined or described as materials composed essentially of very large molecules (called macromolecules or polymers) which may be natural, semi natural (modified natural) or synthesised from small molecules, termed as monomers.

At times, plastics and polymers are used as synonyms in the colloquial world. Some prefer to differentiate the two by defining plastics as made by compounding polymer and additives. Polyvinyl chloride is a polymer, but when compounded with a plasticiser and the thermal stabiliser, it may be termed as a plastic.

Some polymers may not need any additives and these can be used as such in their virgin form. It is preferable to use the word polymer instead of plastic, as the word polymer denotes big or giant molecules. 'Poly' means many and 'mer' indicates substance.

Classification of Polymers

Polymers can be classified based on their end uses or origin of raw materials.

Classification based on End-uses

This type of classification also highlights different market and key properties depending upon specific use. Thus, adhesives need totally different properties from materials used as consumer goods like packaging films, ice cream cups, paints or moulded furniture.

Thermoset Polymers: Thermosets were the early polymers made synthetically. The first totally synthetic polymer, Phenol, Formaldehyde was, in fact, thermoset in nature, its moulding powder, polyurethane foams used in sofa seats, automobile seats or the 'setting adhesives' are examples of thermoset resins. Thermoset materials 'set' when heated (thermal effect). One can imagine boiling of an egg. The yolk becomes hard or it is 'set'. Once it is set, it cannot be reprocessed again. It does not become liquid again.

Thermoplastic Polymers: Thermoplastic materials melt when heated and can be shaped as desired. They can be reheated and melted several times. Polyethylene, polypropylene, polystyrene, nylon, polyester and PVC are examples of thermoplastic polymers. Today, production of thermoplastic polymer is several times that of thermoset polymers.

Rubber: Rubber can be natural or synthetic, such as styrene-butadiene-styrene block copolymer, nitrile rubber, silicone rubber or isoprene. The high impact is the key property for rubber.

Fibers: Polymers for fibers need different properties as compared to rubber or thermoplastics used in furniture or in milk packaging. Fibers have textile and non-textile applications. For textile applications, dyeability, washability, lightness and comfort on feel are major properties; while that for non-textile use, solvent resistance or tenacity may be of importance. Polyester and nylon are commonly used in textile applications, whereas polypropylene has properties suitable for non textile use.

Adhesives: These polymers must have a good adhesion between different substrates and good bonding strength. It should be easy to apply on the surface. Poly vinyl alcohol, epoxy polymers or cyno acrylic polymers are examples of adhesives.

Paints and Inks: These polymers should have a film forming ability, good flow properties and sufficient tack to the surface on which they are applied. They should be able to incorporate large quantities of pigments. Inks on paper or plastics have different properties. Alkyd polymers, polyesters, epoxy polymers or amino polymers are common examples.

Classification of Polymers based on Origin of Raw Materials

Polymers can be classified based upon their origin, as:

Natural Polymers: These occur as macromolecules or polymers in their natural form. Cellulose, starch, sugar, lignin etc. have plant origin. Other materials such as shellac, wool etc. have animal origin. All these materials are natural polymers. They exist in nature. It is interesting to know that different starches behave differently due to difference in their spatial structure although their chemical formulae are the same.

Semi-Natural or Modified Natural Polymers: Most natural polymers cannot be used in their virgin or native form, but can be chemically modified. Thus, cellulose when treated chemically (acetylated) yields cellulose acetate, which can be spun into fibre, extruded or injection moulded. Carboxy methyl cellulose, CMC, dissolves in water but cellulose itself does not. Thus, cellulose acetate or CMC can be classified as semi-natural polymers.

Synthetic Polymers: These are made from monomers through a chemical reaction, called polymerisation. Polyethylene, polypropylene, nylon, polyvinyl chloride, polyester etc. are examples of synthetic polymers. Although synthetic polymers outnumber natural polymers, the total quantum of natural polymers is far greater than synthetic polymers.

(Source: Prof. D.D. Kale, Ex-HOD, Polymer Department, UICT, Mumbai)

From: Wecare@pal.com.ph [mailto:Wecare@pal.com.ph]
Sent: Wednesday, September 17, 2008 1:38 PM
To: Froilan Grate
Subject: Re: A Formal Complaint against PAL

Dear Mr. Grate:

This is to acknowledge your e-mail apprising us of your recent experience with us.

A request for feedback had been initiated to provide us with the full circumstances of the reported incident. We will be communicating with you again as soon as we complete our reports. You are assured of our most preferential attention.


Customer Relations
Philippine Airlines

September 16, 2008

Mr. Jaime J. Bautista
President & Chief Operating Officer
Philippine Airlines

Dear Mr. Bautista,

I am writing to express my disgust with the quality of service and the attitude of personnel of Philippine Airlines. I have long heard of many bad things about your company but my experience last September 15, 2008 in your Cubao Sales Office left no doubt of the values that your company holds.

It is a shame that PAL is the country’s flag carrier. You do not deserve to have this title. With the quality of service, or the lack thereof, that you provide, you are a disgrace to this country. You are indeed Asia’s oldest airline, not because you are a pioneer but because your service is Jurassic and outmoded.

For you to understand this great dissatisfaction that I feel towards PAL, please allow me to share the events that lead to that unfortunate day of September 15.

Early September, after seeing an advertisement on your promo rate, I logged on to your website to book a ticket to Bohol for late November. I was surprised to see however that the advertised rates are not available online. I decided to call your telephone reservations hotline but was only able to connect after numerous redials and after being put on queue for the longest time.

After knowing that I can avail of a cheaper rate over the phone than online, I decided to make a reservation and was told to pay for it on or before Sept 15. Given that you have very limited sales offices, and only one (Cubao) near me, I was only able to visit on September 13, a Saturday.

But alas, to my surprise, it was close. It is close every Saturday afternoon and whole day of Sunday. On weekdays, you’re only open until 5pm! Why a sales office with limited locations would close on weekends I beyond me. Cebu Pacific is open until 9 or 10 pm, 7 days a week!

But of course, what can I do? I have to miss work on Monday just to pay for this ticket. So I went back Monday lunch and arrived at a place with hundreds of angry people! I was given a number 1186, and the number was still in 900! At 3PM or 3 hours after, the number is 999 – which means I’m not even halfway near. If this trend would continue, I would be accommodated past 6pm already, if I’m lucky!

But the waiting time is not the only problem. The attitudes of your employees are the worst that I’ve seen. If the attitude of your employees is even just half the quality of the service crew of Max’s Restaurant beside it, you would be worthy of being the country’s flag carrier. Come to think of it, the waiters have a more stressful job, but they can still afford to smile.

But your employees? Not only a smile was never to be seen, they are very rude! Your guards were shouting at the customers. Your agents were angry and irritated by questions from would be passengers. When I asked one agent a question, all she told me was “Sir, ask from the information.” So I went to the information, only to find out that no one is manning it because the ONLY person assigned was having lunch – and it was 1:30 in the afternoon!

So I went back, and ask another teller if I can pay by credit card over the phone. He said no, but another agent beside him said yes, so he told me “Sir, can you just call our hotline and ask from them?” Wow! Do they even have training? Not a single employee that day showed any courtesy to me or to any passengers that day. I even heard a foreign looking customer arguing with your agent with the customer shouting in despair at the end of the argument “I’m never going back to the Philippines!”

I was also wondering why after doing this everyday for so many years, you don’t even have a system to manage your ticket selling efficiently. You have electronic numbering but it is not being followed. Those who came later are being called first than the people who were there earlier. The guard explained this by saying that you could be called by your number or by your name. How is that possible, he can’t explain. There were also not enough seats for everyone. And you can’t leave even to eat because once they passed you, you have to get a new number. No one would give you an estimate so you really have to wait.

Now, please tell me Mr. Bautista, is this the kind of service that you can be proud of? You really think you deserve the title of the country’s flag carrier? You had a press release before saying that you expect a rough time ahead because of high fuel prices. But I tell you this, you’re greatest challenge is how to win back customers who lost their trust. Because for now, I will never buy my airline ticket from your company. And I will ask my family, friends and anyone who will listen to do the same until you have changed.

Without us, you have no business. So why don’t you give back a bit of what you’ve earned? Invest on a better system (online and on site sales offices), train your people on proper customer service, and make them appreciate their job. A piece of advice, let them eat at Max’s beside your Cubao branch and maybe they can learn a thing or two on customer service.

We don’t want to be pampered, we just need to be RESPECTED! We need to be treated like human beings every time we transact business with you. Is that too much to ask for?

Froilan Grate


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