Tuesday, March 22, 2011

FEAR NOT! (On kids’ abduction for internal organs) by Lj Salceda

(picture from this site)
“I swear to God, it’s the TRUTH even if it never happened.” (CSI)
I really don’t know why at our age and time and with the advent of modern technology most Filipinos are still so GULLIBLE and SUPERSTITIOUS. We believe in almost everything! Sigh. Again, please double-check if something you are passing on whether info, video, photo or link is true and helpful to others.
We’ve already tackled these “rumors about kids being abducted for their internal organs and being left somewhere with a note and payment” on our show Pinoy Espesyal with a police superintendent as our guest. For the last time, there is NO TRUTH to this. This is one of the top URBAN LEGENDS in the world with different variations. When we were kids growing-up in the province panakot na ito sa amin.
Please consider the following reasons why it is VERY UNLIKELY to abduct kids for their INTERNAL ORGANS.
  1. It is illegal and medically impossible to harvest organs from kids or anyone for that matter without proper papers or background check. There are so many things that need to be considered like matching blood types, tissues, complications and other health concerns in order to accept an organ from a legitimate source like a hospital or an approved organ-donation organization.
  2. A regular person with no medical background or experience CAN NOT harvest any organ from anyone. You will need a roomful of doctors or medical professionals who are knowledgeable and trained with the proper medical equipment to harvest even store organs/tissues (like corneas) and finally conduct the transplant because this is a very delicate and intricate medical operation. Medical schools obtain their organs/cadavers from legitimate sources like funeral homes and hospitals. Again, the harvesting needs to be done by a surgeon in a required operating/medical room (temperature, cleanliness highly considered) not a van or a house and with the proper tools.
  3. Some organs need to be transplanted within hours or else it will not be viable. To store them you need the right solution, accurate temperature, proper handling and medical devices to make sure they stay in the best condition.
  4. Most organ donors are NOT from third world countries. Organ donation awareness in the Philippines is still very low compared to that of first world countries like the US or Spain (top organ donating country). We still need a lot of education, discussions to make and we still have a long way to go.
  5. No victim, at least in Valenzuela has had the courage to report this to the authority with any valid evidence except for text messages or passed on information from kapitbahays or the inter-net. If you are a victim, I beg you PLEASE talk to AUTHORITIES or the MEDIA. We are here to listen, believe and help you if you are telling the TRUTH. We do need to VALIDATE stories/info first.
  6. It is a CRIME to concoct stories with the goal of creating panic or danger to the people, it is a SIN to lie or steal or kill and it is ILLEGAL to sell or buy internal organs (it should be donated.)
And if this is indeed TRUE, scaring people will not do this country any good. Spreading fear, wrong information and indignation will only empower the perpetrators. But it will NOT solve the problem. Fact is evil is everywhere. Bad people will keep on doing bad things. Some don’t get caught because no one reports them. Blaming the government or media or authorities will not make things better. Crime will not stop because we live in a fallen world.

To make matters worse, we are subjecting kids to trauma and we are raising a scared and scarred generation. We’re not educating them how to protect themselves, who to believe, what to believe and most of all what type of example are we leaving to these kids? I am SO disappointed with schools and school staff who suspended classes for baseless information. For goodness’ sake! Do kids get abducted? Yes they do and unfortunately so. Do they get killed? Sadly, yes for various reasons and means.

I know it's better to be safe than sorry. This doesn’t mean we can’t instill in them values and basic life-saving instructions like: don’t talk to strangers, walk with your friends or classmates from school, tell your parents where you’re going, learn self-defense, always verify your information and do not be too quick to spread info or news no matter how attractive (or scary) they are.

Parents please teach your kids about having faith in God. Tell them about His angels, Daniel and his friends and miracles. Truth is, this world is full of dangers, the devil is real but enlighten and empower them too. Offer them SOLUTIONS not just EMOTIONS. Please be more pro-active than reactive.

Isn’t He who is in us more powerful than anyone against us? Didn’t God promised to be our protector, defender, helper and His Son our Savior? Can’t He give us wisdom or discernment if we ask Him to?

Btw, there's a BIG difference between ORGAN DONATION and ORGAN SELLING (SMUGGLING.)

Friday, March 18, 2011


(College Grad pic, Batch 2000)

I've never been invited to speak in a Commencement ceremony, but just in case I do get invited (or not) I already have a prepared speech. O ha?! :)

I almost didn’t make it as a broadcaster or a book author. For starters I almost didn’t finish college because of poverty. However my Ma didn’t single-handedly raise us to be quitters in life, so I searched for ways to sustain and finish my four year Bachelor in Communication Arts undergraduate degree (with honors.)

While I submitted resumes and actively looked for a full-time job, I also started volunteer work as a reporter/researcher/host at 1125 DWAS, FEBC’s Legazpi station. I thought time is so precious to be wasted for passively waiting for some good news.

Months flew by and in spite of my earnest attempts I was still “jobless.” The P50/day stipend that I received as a full-time volunteer, working eight hours a day and doing a full-time employee’s job was not enough for transportation, much more food and other expenses. My Ma would sometimes make “parinig” (question me) if DWAS is really where God is calling me to be. I knew in my heart that God will use me in either broadcast or the arts, despite the hurdles I persisted.

Before I reached my eight month with DWAS I had a heart-to-heart talk with God. I said, "Lord, I know you will use me in this field. If this is really where you want me to be please supply my needs and open the door before I reach my one year here. Or I might just not be that patient enough to stay and I don’t want to, but I might try to do things my way. I’m sorry if that’s a selfish prayer."

After a few weeks and with the recommendations of my co-workers at DWAS, I was finally sent to Manila, where our main office is located and started my formal training as Announcer/Producer. I was accepted albeit their need for a MALE announcer. (Same with Ate Maloi's experience.)

My story doesn’t end there though. While I was preparing for the documents and medical requirements for my new full-time job, I found out that one of my ears can not hear certain sounds. And if you’re in the broadcast industry, especially as an on-air personnel except for your mouth, your ears are major tools in the trade.

When I got my hearing test result I was SO dejected. Although I have no problems with regular conversations, I knew it was a major roadblock. I was so tempted to either bribe or talk the officer that conducted my auditory test into giving me a more "favorable" result. I turned to God again and prayed that if I’m called to do broadcast this will not be an issue or a hindrance to my application. I completed all my medical requirements (urine, x-ray, audio test etc, without doing "any under the table"); written exams, other documents and sent them to our Manila office.

Our God is indeed an awesome God! After a few more months I finally became a full-time, employee of DWAS.

During my third year of employment at DWAS, God started stirring my heart. He wants to expand my territory and enlarge my tent. I didn't know how and when. So one day, I informed my boss that I was planning to move to Manila and study while working. "Work where?" he suspiciously asked me. Deep inside I said, "I have no clue!" But I answered, "Maybe my brother can help me find a job." By this time my brother was already working in a major TV network in Manila.

Back then there was no opening at DZAS for an announcer, but a few weeks before my scheduled move to the big city, I found out one of the announcers at our flagship station had just resigned. Although I was sad to find out she left, I also thought could this be a confirmation Lord?

I took another risk by talking to the DZAS’s manager then for a possibility to continue my service with FEBC while studying. Another answered prayer! Not only did he agree to absorb me at DZAS, but he also suggested a scholarship program to help me pursue further education. He also gave me a flexible work schedule in order for me to attend my classes.

On May 1, 2003 I arrived and started a new life in Valenzuela without any friends in the vicinity, away from my family (my bro lives in Makati so we could only see each other once a month or every other month). There were times when I was scared and lonely, but it was and has been an adventure that I will never regret doing!

Although I wasn't able to finish my post-graduate degree, the Lord opened another opportunity for me to take a short-term course in writing, eventually published a book and some of my articles, traveled to the US twice and to other tourist destinations in the country. I've met my fiance while working in Manila too! I'll reserve our story in my second book though.

My dear graduates, don't be scared to take risks. Learn to fight for your dreams, because no one else will. Most of all consult the Lord in all you do, He has your best interest. Hold on to His promises and in time He will fulfill them.

Dreams do come true! Need more proof? Read my article Dream On in the Young Women on the Journey book published by Church Strengthening Ministry.

"In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps." Proverbs 16:9 (NIV)