Saved You A Google: the mental health bill, the march for science, May Day rallies

Saved You A Google is a weekly roundup of what’s happening in the world of pop culture and politics.

There’s no doubt about the fact that we are busy bees. Our schedules are filled to the brim with checklists that need ticking. And then when the work is done, our bodies burst  with so much energy for the people in our lives — be it friends, lovers, or family. This doesn’t even factor in our obligatory Netflix and chill times. But do we  ever pause to check out what’s happening with the world? Do you ever take the time to actually read the news? Well, if it’s not in your daily, maybe it’s time to start educating yourself.

Sit back, relax, and get familiar with the world’s goings on  in 150 words or less.

PH: Senate passes Mental Health Act

Mental health hasn’t been on the receiving end of the proper attention it deserves on  our shores, and finally, we’re seeing the light of day. With 19 affirmative votes, zero negatives, and no abstentions, Senate Bill No. 1345 or the Mental Health Act was approved on the Senate’s first session day after the Labor Day weekend. The bill seeks to integrate services that comprehensively address mental well-being into the public health system. It’s the first of its kind locally to mandate basic psychiatric, psychosocial, and neurological services at the community level, including provincial and tertiary hospitals. Now that’s historic.

PH: Workers offer help in drafting Executive Order vs contractualization

Yet another event has unfolded in the fight for  “ENDO” (end of worker contractualization) . This time, workers want to be more involved than ever — specifically in outlining the framework of the ensuing executive order against all forms of contractualization. This initiative, spearheaded by the Federation of Free Workers amongst others, comes after the labor department’s insistence on contractual regulations instead of total contract prohibition as reflected in Department Order No. 174. During a recent dialogue, workers expressed their firm opposition to the department’s counterproposal, stating how the act of  contractualization encourages abuse to employee rights.

Asia: Highlights for the 30th ASEAN Summit

One of its highlights was a dialogue on the possible establishment of an autonomous ASEAN human rights court. Its establishment is set  to parallel the functions of the  United Nations,  its focus being  the adjudication of human rights issues within the region. A new ferry route has also been launched to service Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines to ensure  more affordable and efficient trading routes. Other top concerns addressed in the summit included maritime cooperation, in which they toned down their stance on the arbitrary ruling on the South China Sea dispute, and their joint stance for denuclearization despite North Korea’s appeal for support.

World: (March for Science) Protesters gather worldwide to support ‘evidence’

Crowds have flocked to several venues all over the world in support of science. The protests,  coinciding  with Earth Day, were ignited due in part to US President Donald Trump’s proposed budget cuts to scientific research agencies. In the proposal, about 54 billion dollars was said to be on the chopping block, giving more emphasis to the US government’s defense spending. It doesn’t help either that the cuts come at the height of the “alternative facts” movement, which has come to represent populist discontent with scientific and media institutions. Scientists fear for the impact of the plan to the community, as it threatens to compromise scientific research and development programs nationwide.

World: Defiant rallies for worker rights mark May Day around the world

“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but you can never break my spirit.” This seemed to be the collective mindset of workers all around the world as they rallied defiantly for their rights on May Day, despite a number of violent exchanges with the police.  In Puerto Rico, for instance, people marched  to express their anger over a decade-long battle with looming austerity measures amid economic crisis, which includes a deficit in public employee benefits and an increase in tax revenue. Meanwhile, in Spain, protesters broke out in the streets to voice out their concerns on certain reforms that made it easier for local employers to terminate employees. In Greece, about a thousand marched towards parliament as laborers brace for additional pension cuts and tax increases, in anticipation of another year of harsh austerity measures.  

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