Sunday, January 31, 2010

Voter's education and organizers overcharging

So ... my classmates and I attended this seminar last Saturday about voter's education and the guest speaker was Director Jimenez of COMELEC. My Org. Culture class was required to attend by out professor in lieu of our regular class because he was tasked to mediate the open forum after. This forum was important because of the innovation they are doing to the way people will vote this coming May. In case you didn't know, the upcoming elections will be automated and electronic.

Automated and electronic. Does that mean there will be computer terminals there and people will vote by clicking on names with a mouse? Actually, no. It means that we vote on official ballots (that look like tickets) and mark circles with a special marking pen they will provide. After making your selections you go to the PCOS (Precinct Count Optical Scan) machine in the middle of the room and insert your ballot which will scan and tally your votes with all the ones that preceded yours in the precinct. Easy, right?

The one thing what was stressed to us over and over and we are not allowed to forget is this ... DO NOT OVERVOTE!!! We can UNDERvote but we need to make sure that we do not mark more than what is required. For example, we need to elect 12 senators ... DO NOT MARK 13! you can mark anywhere from 1 to 12, just not more than that. If you overvote the ballot becomes invalid. He also emphasized that it is a "touch move" system. You cannot change your mind on a vote once your marker touches the ballot. The machine will not understand that you changed your mind.

Long and short ... the seminar was good, Director Jimenez was a good speaker. We were not bored for even an instant! The only real complaint I can make is that the organizers charged us P100 per person at the door to attend this seminar.
  1. We did not know (as we were uninformed) that we would have to pay P100 and were therefore unprepared. I gave my last money (sans commute fare) to them. I don't usually carry a big amount when I go to school, only what I need, which isn't usually more than P200 for meals and transportation fare.
  2. We had nothing to show for the seminar as there were no handouts given.
  3. No snacks were served.
  4. The seminar should have been free because it is the responsibility of COMELEC to provide voter's education for free.
So my question is ... what exactly did we pay for? Was it the venue? If so, then I think that cost should have been shouldered by the organizers. Perhaps they did not have enough funds. Ok, charge us ... but I think P100 was too much. There were more than 100 people there, if we tag it at 100 that means the organizers had P10,000. That would more than cover the cost of the venue rental.

Since they did not even bother to feed us, I think we were overcharged. At most, if they had charged us only P50 I don't think I would have complained. That amount sounds fair. But since nothing was served I find myself asking ... where did the money go? And what part of the expenses was shouldered by the organizers?

Imagine this ... P100 is already half a unit in PUP. Was attending that seminar worth half a unit? I guess we will find out when we meet our professor on Saturday.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Supergirl moment, an accident report

I've thought about flying but not like this.

On my way to (grad) school this morning I road a 26 seater (12 on each side and 2 in front beside driver) Cubao-Divisoria jeep with license plate number TXC106. BIG MISTAKE! It was one of those tricked out jeeps with (usually) loud music playing, but not today.

There were only 7 of us seated at the back of this king-sized jeep. I started to feel apprehensive when the driver started weaving through light traffic at top speed, swerving left and right every few feet. I didn't think too much of it, though, because, well ... we all know how reckless these jeepney drivers are, right? I was seated at the end of the jeep on the right side near the exit with one hand holding the bar on my left (by the exit) and my feet braced against the floor. My right arm was wrapped around my backpack holding it secure.

With no warning the driver suddenly swerved to the left then braked HARD! One moment I was sitting braced at the end of the jeep next thing I knew I was sliding across the seat, my feet could get no traction, my hand got wrenched from the bar and I was flying across the jeep. I got thrown forward to my knees then I turned to my left to protect my bag (my netbook was inside) and I landed hard on my left hip and thigh. I finally stopped sliding when my head slammed into the back of the driver's chair and my face smashed into the speakers. And to put icing on the cake, all the other passengers (6 men and women of different sizes) all fell on top of me.

I (and the other passengers) complained at the driver for his driving and even mentioned our injuries. You know what he said in reply? He said that he was just avoiding a taxi that suddenly stopped in front of him. If he hadn't done that we would have been in a worse situation. Hello! In the first place, if he had not been driving so fast we would not be in that situation at all! If he weren't driving so fast there would not have been any need to brake so hard. If he weren't driving like a maniac and had not been tailgating the taxi, he would have had ample time to brake. No one would have been injured, and we would all have just complained about the reckless TAXI driver, not the reckless JEEP driver.

Since I was almost at school I decided to just continue on. I texted my classmate, Mark, to find out if he was already in school and he told me that he was at Chowking having breakfast with Andrea and Rean. So, shaking and all, I got off the jeep at Pureza to meet my classmates. I won't deny it, after I entered, greeted my friends, and sat down, I started crying quietly. In the jeep my fellow passengers told me the left side of my face was swollen so when I greeted my friends it was just a few minutes from the accident.

After I'd calmed down I went to the grad school building to attend my class. Yes, I actually decided to still go to school! I asked my classmates in that class if they knew where the clinic was so that I could get checked out. I told the doctor and nurse what happened and they told me that it is a medico-legal issue and I should get x-rays if I plan to file a case against the driver. Unfortunately, I was not able to get the driver's name and driver's license number, but since I was able to get the plate number of the jeep, it would be easy to trace the operator, at least.

Inventory of injuries:
  • big bump on my head but my skin was not broken
  • numbness on the entire left side of my head
  • numbness on the entire left side of my face
  • my teeth on the left side are sore
  • my neck (left side) is sore but it seems to radiate to the other side as well
  • my left shoulder is sore
  • left side of my back is sore, lower back abraded
  • left hip and butt cheek are sore, abraded and swollen
  • both knees are abraded and bruised
I decided not to pursue the medico-legal case anymore, as the procedure is more of a headache than the bump on my head. But that doesn't mean I won't tell MMDA to watch out for him anyway. It pays to know someone who can do something about it. And, of course, blogging about it also helps. If only so I could blow off steam.

I got sent home early from school. Even though I was sore I went to see my professors to let them know I why I had to leave. I opted not to get the x-rays but went to our family doctor instead accompanied by my mom. He said I did not need them anymore since I had no nausea, I could walk and talk straight, and I could move my arm. I was just told to go home and rest. The doctor in the school clinic told me not to sleep immediately in case I had a concussion. I seem to be ok so I finally got to sleep at around 4pm and woke up at 7pm. Our family doctor prescribed expensive painkillers (ouch!) worth P50.50 a pop. It is supposed to be an anti-inflammatory, too.

The school doctor told me to take it easy and observe my injuries for 48 hours. Our family doctor told me to take it easy for 3 to 5 days. Good thing I swapped class schedules with a co-faculty at Benilde so I don't have to go to school until Thursday night.

Just had dinner and now I think I have to sleep again. The medicine they gave me is sedating, but it helps with the soreness and bruising.

For those of you who travel the Cubao-Divisoria route, DO NOT RIDE A CUBAO-DIVISORIA JEEP WITH LICENSE PLATE NUMBER TXC106. The driver will put your life at risk and won't even apologize about it.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

I couldn't stop popping!

It is the tail end of the holidays and I finally got around to tasting the new flavors of Chef Tony's Popcorn. I took the four flavors I did not recognize from last time (a year ago, I believe) and asked my friends to taste it, too.

First of all, I LOVE the new packaging! The Spherico popcorn comes in tins reminiscent of Selecta/Arce Ice Cream while the other flavors come in a new vacuum sealed container that's "adult-proof". How many people does it take to open a tub of Chef Tony's popcorn? For us it took 4. There is a technique to opening the tub, which we finally got much, much later. In any case, we managed to open the tubs and got to taste the popcorn.

Chef Tony's Spherico Espresso, Spherico Cafe Latte, Chocolate, and Vanilla --- all of them were good but my hands down favorite of the four would have to be the Espresso. Yum! I had to keep eating it until my tongue got numb. Good thing I was with friends so I didn't have to eat it all alone.

If you haven't tried those flavors yet, I suggest you do. There are possibly 3 more flavors I haven't tasted. I will surely blog about them when I do.

My advise ... buy the Espresso. It also makes a great gift!