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Filipino health.

We are swinging from food hunger to obesity. We still have people suffering from food hunger. Our custom of asking a visitor to join us in eating if we happen to be eating when they come is helpful. The idea is that the visitors would not hesitate to partake of what is offered if they are hungry. The hand-outs now given by the Department of Social Welfare (Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (PPPP) -Conditional Cash Transfer program) have always been necessary. In olden times when there was no hand out from the government, the Church and church organizations like the St. Vincent de Paul Organization did some hand outs. In life there are always those who are not able to take care of themselves. They need hand-outs. This is usually from 2% to 5% of the population. I no longer see bloated people dying of hunger on the streets as there were near the end of the World War II in Quiapo, Manila instead, I recently saw a young lady who could easily be over 400 lbs.

Often times these obese people are not to blame for their condition. Many of them have tried to fast or follow a diet but as soon as they stopped the diet regime, they regained most if not more than they lost. So it becomes a roller-coaster situation. The starved body may react perversely and instead of using whatever fat is left in the body, it forces the body to ward off a starvation situation and tries to convert food into fat. There is a hormone called "leptin" that regulates our hunger. When it is activated, it sends a signal to the brain that we already are full. And we stop eating. But how to activate it is still a mystery. They have found three cousins in Turkey who did not produce this hormone so they were ideal study patients for the research on leptin.

There will always be people who will need hand-outs even in rich countries like the United States. In the US, one out of every three persons are obese or have unwanted weight. We are following their example to some extent. It is therefore a problem for the health people to keep the population healthy. Overweight is just as big a problem as hunger. Our scientists of the world have not yet come up with a solution. It is not a question of just choosing healthy food, the quantity consumed, or of exercise. As mentioned earlier, the leptin hormone is not yet understood on how it is controlled. Dieting may boomerang instead of helping us to lose weight. It may do the opposite of what we want. But self-control can go a long way. Now that most of us have enough money to buy the food that we need for our everyday needs.

Better than Conditional Cash Transfer is to give everybody a job from which he can earn a living wage. Everybody agrees that we need jobs. We have ten million Filipinos in overseas jobs. Those overseas jobs have helped the economy a great deal. But we should create the jobs locally. We are too late for smoke-stack industries and industrialization. We have to do exports and one of these exports is manpower. We also export a lot of raw material like nickel which could make local jobs if we processed them before exporting. Indonesia has taken this route. They will no longer export unprocessed metals. Maybe we should also do this. Mining is heavily in Mindanao and the Manila people should not block the processing of permits for mining. It will create jobs which we need. How about the environment? Large-scale mining has been very responsible in the Philippines and they have taken care of the environment. We all agree that we need jobs. And yet we are blocking mining.

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Title Annotation:Opinions and Editorials
Publication:Manila Bulletin
Date:Jul 2, 2015
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