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Opinion

Max Soliven

FROM THE STANDS - Domini M. Torrevillas -
ax Soliven’s remains will be buried in the Libingan ng mga Bayani on December 1. Malacañang offered to accord him that honor for his having been a war veteran who had joined and fought in the resistance against the Japanese Occupation of the Philippines. He was then a guerilla volunteer while he was a cadet at the Ateneo de Manila Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) during World War II. But the late STAR publisher and chairman of the board rose above being a war veteran. He was a staunch defender of press freedom, and was incarcerated for his vitriolic attacks against the dictator Marcos.

President Arroyo acknowledged his contribution to the restoration of democracy in the Philippines as a journalist "defending freedom of the press and his unrelenting fight on the side of the ‘force of enlightenment’ until his death."

The President said, "The post-war march of Philippine democracy under a free press could not have been as vibrant without Max Soliven, who fought beside the forces of enlightenment in the struggle against despotism and wrong."

The words of praise for, and awe of, the journalist whose pen was mightier than the sword, slaying consummate practitioners of mendacity and contumacy, and thus feared by many, will make volumes to be cherished by his family and students of history and journalism.

I will add a small personal footnote to the records about Max. I had kind of become a "member" of the Soliven family when I was a young journalist for another newspaper and stayed in the house of Max’s mother on Herran, now Pedro Gil street, in Paco. My admiration for the man was strong and solid, and I wondered if his fingers could be as quick clacking away at the typewriter as his mind. He wrote swiftly, and talked incessantly too, expressing his thoughts without fear of anything or anyone. And his office, which was an extension of the old, wooden Soliven home, was lined, from end to end, with bookshelves, and the books were so many and about everything under the sun, I wondered if he had read all of them. Of course he did. Which explains why he had a gift for writing and gab.

Goodbye, Max.
* * *
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources will be closely monitoring the Metro Manila hospitals’ system of infectious waste disposal. At a forum of the Private Hospitals Association of the Philippines, Environment Secretary Angelo T. Reyes said that around 197 hospitals in Metro Manila generate 47 tons of wastes per day. Of these 47 tons, 27 tons are non-infectious, and 20 tons are infectious.

Of the 20 tons infectious waste generated per day, only seven tons are monitored while the remaining 13 tons are unmonitored. Improper disposal of these infectious wastes endangers the public, Reyes said, adding that some 13 truckloads of hospital wastes in Metro Manila alone are being dumped in undisclosed places.

"Infectious wastes," he said, "are a fraction of medical waste that can potentially transmit an infectious disease such as human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and hepatitis B, among people."

He reminded hospital owners to adhere by two laws governing the disposal of wastes. These are Republic Act No. 8749 or the Clean Air Act and RA 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act. The Clean Air Act prohibits the burning of bio-medical wastes and requires the phaseout of existing incinerators by July 2003; this obviously has not been observed. It also provides for the setting up of treatment facilities that will treat their waste before final disposal.

The EcoWaste Management Act requires proper segregation, recycling and composting of the non-infectious fraction of the waste system. At present, final disposal of non-infectious wastes is conducted by the city or municipality where the hospitals are located. Whether the officials strictly compel the hospitals to observe these laws has to be checked.

Reyes said private hospitals can cluster themselves together to put up their own treatment facility. DENR will provide technical assistance, particularly in identifying appropriate areas for the facility. Records show that Metro Manila has only four treatment facilities that treat infectious waste. These are the Chevalier Enviro Services Inc., St. Luke’s Medical Center, PAE Environmental Incorporated, and Clean List Industrial Sales.
* * *
Philippine Ambassador to the US Willy Gaa will formally open a unique photo exhibit featuring "Pioneer Filipino women in California," November 29 at the Social Hall of the Philippine Center in San Francisco. The exhibit runs until December 7, and will move to the Balboa campus of the City College of San Francisco on December 8 for the community participation component open to the general public.

The photo exhibit was recently awarded a grant by the California Council for the Humanities as part of the council’s statewide California Stories Initiative. This event compliments the centennial celebration of Filipino migration in the US this year (2006).

The photographs were part of the collection from a post-doctoral research of Dr. Mellie L. Lopez at the Institute of American Culture at the University of California Los Angeles in 1986-1988.

They are priceless, especially that they had been "rescued from obscurity" by 12 women informants themselves and/or their families from old albums, in trunks and storage bins buried away in attics and garages. The photographs are living portraits of these courageous women who struggled for survival in California frontiers.
* * *
A special "Filipino cultural think tank" composed of academicians serve as production staff of the exhibit. Dr. Mellie L. Lopez, Ph.D in anthropology-folklore from the University of California at Berkeley, is the humanities expert. Joey N. Bibal, a former faculty member of the University of the Philippines at Los Baños, digitally processed the photos, and serves as the project director. Cota Deles Yabut, a professional visual artist and graduate of the UP College of Fine Arts, is the artistic director.

Jose A. Gil III, also a UP graduate, and currently with the City College of San Francisco, is the documentation director, and Imelda E.. Reyes, project evaluator, is a UPLB graduate, currently works as an environmental health expert. Melinda E. Lopez is the community outreach director.

Ethnomusicologist Danongan Kalan-duyan, a 1995 National Heritage Fellowship Awardee of the National Endowment of the Arts (NEA) will take active part in the photo exhibit. He is currently the director of the Mindanao Lilang-lilang Foundation which serves as the fiscal tax-exempt, non-profit sponsor of the project. During the opening, Danongan will perform the kulintang.

By the way, Dr. Mellie Lopez and Cota Deles Yabut are members of the Sigma Delta Phi Sorority, while Jose Gil and Joey Bibal are members of the Upsilon Sigma Phi Fraternity.
* * *
My e-mail: [email protected]

CENTER

CITY COLLEGE OF SAN FRANCISCO

CLEAN AIR ACT

DR. MELLIE L

INFECTIOUS

LOPEZ

METRO MANILA

REYES

SOLIVEN

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