Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Website Watch 5:

Are you an animal lover with a preference for cats?

Do you have a healthy sense of humor? (emphasis on the healthy part)

Do you stink at spelling?

If you managed to say yes to at least two of the three questions above, then you're ready to appreciate

I find this website utterly entertaining, not only due to the fact that feline photos reign supreme over this site, but also because of the really funny intentionally-misspelled captions on each photo.

Below are just some examples of photos on

I told you, they are cute...

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Swimming in Muck: the Philippine Medical Profession

Transplant tourism, the rectum surgery scandal, last year's brouhaha over leaks in the nursing board exams, and now, Filipino hospitals involved in the US veterans' insurance scam.

Just when will all these controversies regarding the Philippine medical profession end?


Let me give my dear readers an overview of these said scandals, starting with the Philippines being a premiere destination for "transplant tourism."

Early this year, it was revealed through media that several jail inmates, as well as people from the more impoverished areas of the country, have been living with only one kidney. As it turned out, these people sold their other kidneys to foreigners who paid them with quite a substantial sum of money. They were made to believe that since they still had one kidney left, their bodies can still function normally.

Blinded by money that could support their respective families for some time, these individuals are now slowly finding out the repercussions resulting from the loss of their other kidney. Most of them are no longer as physically strong as they were, and some of them are now deprived of specific food and beverages that could otherwise make their weakened condition worse.

The Department of Health (DOH) has already stepped in on the matter, banning the continuation of such a trade perpetrated not only by foreigners but also by wealthy Filipinos in need of kidney transplants. Both the kidney "transplantees" and "receivers" are up in arms regarding this issue, and debates on this matter have yet to be resolved.

It's creepy and somewhat twisted to think that people would be so desperate so as to sell their vital organs just for a few months' release from financial deprivation.


The rectum surgery scandal, of course, is the one where an admittedly-gay person underwent surgery for removal of a six-inch long body spray canister which was inserted in his rectum by his lover. The said surgery could have gone on smoothly and quietly -- but medical personnel of the Vicente Sotto Medical Memorial Center (VSMMC) decided to do otherwise. All throughout the procedure, the poor patient became victim to jeers and cajoling from these beasts in white. Several of them even brought in cellular phones to the surgery room and took pictures and videos of the procedure. One of these cellphone videos even made it to YouTube and registered a whopping two million hits. For more details of this, just click on this link to my earlier entry pertaining to this issue.

Recently, names of the five main members of the surgery team who operated on the hapless gay patient were released. Just to make sure they get their just desserts, allow me to name these foul creatures who took their playfulness in the operating room a little too far:

- VSMMC head surgeon Dr. Philip Leo Arias
- Assistant surgeon Dr. Angelo Linawagan
- Surgeon Dr. Max Joseph Montecillo
- Nursing attendant Rosemarie Villareal
- Circulating nurse Carmina Sapio

Just a personal note to these five people: if justice is not given to you so-called paragons of the Philippine medical profession here on Earth, then may your souls burn in Hell.

Only five people were named as participants in the rectum surgery scandal, but I am very sure that there are more. The video proves that. Even these noisy onlookers should be deemed as accessories to the crime. Not even one of them thought of at least shushing the group.

I say, take away all of their licenses! Ban all of them from the medical profession forever!


It's been some time since the issue about leaks in the 2006 nursing board examination has been discussed, but it still haunts the local nursing profession. A shadow of doubt now hangs over credentials of nurses going abroad. Even those nurses are already working in hospitals and nursing homes abroad are being regarded with suspicion.

I can't blame foreign employers for having this state of mind. I mean, honestly, how long has this cheating been going on? For all we know, we've already been sending nurses with bogus credentials abroad for some time already.

Look at the nurses who took part in the rectum surgery scandal. They make one truly wonder about the quality of nurses our nursing schools are producing these days.


Now, here's something new to add to the list of the Philippine medical profession's foibles. the US State Department recently revealed that a number of Philippine hospitals are involved in a million-dollar US veteran insurance anomaly.

This is very embarrassing. Imagine: Philippine medical personnel are actually involved in including names of people who aren't even war veterans in a list of those who are supposed to be eligible for insurance claims from the US government.

If they thought the US State Department wasn't going to find out, then they'd better think again.

Somehow, I believe that this is sort of a comeuppance for Filipinos who always think they can "get away with murder," so to say.

I had an uncle who served as some sort of a guerrilla in World War II. I said "some sort of" because he wasn't much of a guerrilla. In fact, he was among those responsible for the burning of our town proper, as well as the eventual looting. They rationalized that they had to burn the town so that the Japanese won't have any place to hide. (Yeah, right.) My mother's ancestral home was reduced to ashes because of that.

After the war, this uncle of mine was able to avail of benefits due for US war veterans. Well and good, except that he also listed his wife (she was the one I was related to) as a veteran -- even if she was not. Thus, they received money from the US up to the day they bit the dust.

This is just one story. I'm sure there are others who also duped the US into giving more than they should.

And it pains me to say that we once again find Philippine medical practitioners at the heart of this scandal.

When will we ever learn?


I don't know how the Philippine medical profession can get out of the muck it has submerged itself in. One thing is sure, though: our esteemed doctors and nurses should probably recite the Hippocratic Oath again and digest the principles that this oath stands for.

The Philippine government should also probably set aside its grand plans for "medical tourism" for the meantime and instead concentrate on moves to weed out unscrupulous individuals who mar the face of Philippine medical practice and strengthen efforts to come up with a credible, dependable, and world-class healthcare industry.

Either that, or probably we should just accept the fact that Philippine health service sucks and do nothing about it. How about playing golf instead?

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Of Rice and Toots

Just a short take on the alleged rice shortage we are experiencing.

I remember a time way back in the past when the Philippines was training representatives from among our Southeast Asian neighbors about better agricultural methods. In fact, the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) was opened in an area near the UP Los Baños campus -- located south of Manila -- to provide the knowledge and technologies required for better rice yields. Malaysians, Thais, Indonesians, and other nationalities flocked to this small compound in the moiuntains of Laguna to find out what secrets the Filipinos hold in terms of rice production.

We used to teach others what we know about rice.

Now, we are falling way behind our Southeast Asian brothers in terms of rice production. We are already known as the biggest importer of rice on our side of the world.

NFA rice which used to be shunned for its poor quality and funny smell is now a commodity that creates long lines of people to beat the debut screening of a Judy Ann Santos movie.

Commercial rice is now selling at almost P40 per kilo -- so far the biggest price jump in Philippine history.

Filipinos need their rice -- and they will have it by hook or by crook. The government recommends alternatives to rice like root crops or corn, but at the end of the day, Filipinos will still want to eat rice.

With this rice problem we are having now, intelligent rice consumption is probably the best that can be done under the circumstances. When I say intelligent rice consumption, I mean that a Filipino family must learn exactly how much rice they usually eat in a week so that they can budget their rice allotment and not end up with excess (and wasted) cooked rice.

It's either that or go for the "musical fruit" (camote) and create a symphony of "toots."

Monday, April 21, 2008

The "Body Spray" Video Brouhaha and Ghosts of "Desperate Housewives"

After being proud of the Filipino race with the emergence of ZTE scam whistle-blower Jun Lozada and Renaldo Lapus' unforgettable performance in the "American Idol" auditions, here comes another incident to drag down my euphoria.

Lately, a video on YouTube managed to once again destroy my belief that "the Filipino can." Yup, the Filipino really can...make a total fool of himself, that is.

The video I'm referring to is the one about an allegedly gay patient who had a body spray canister taken out of his rectum surgically following a sexual act with his partner. Unfortunately, the whole procedure was done amid cajoling by the team of doctors and nurses who were operating on him. A bevy of cellular phones with camera/video capabilities were also seen in the video taking closeup shots of the operation. The poor patient couldn't do anything about it, considering that he was in an...errrrr...compromising position.

This video soon found its way to YouTube where about two million hits registered in only a few days. But don't bother looking for it now: the person who posted it (said to be one of the interns there) already deleted it.

I simply have to take note of the hospital where this detestable incident occurred: the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center (VSMMC) in Cebu City.


The latest development regarding this relates to the public apology offered by the medical staff of the VSMMC to the patient whose rectum became an instant celebity.

Good Lord: a public apology?! Doesn't the poor guy deserve something better than that?

It's a good thing that the Office of the Ombudsman, as well as the Department of Health are stepping in to investigate and provide the necessary sanctions for these erring hospital staff. The VSMMC is a public hospital after all, and we poor taxpayers would like to see our money going to deserving public servants, not beasts like these VSMMC doctors and nurses.

I want to see heads rolling this time.


Somehow, ghosts of the past are coming back to haunt us after this controversy. Remember the big fuss we made over that racial slur on medical schools in a recent episode of Desperate Housewives? (Read my earlier entry regarding this by clicking on this link.)

The producers of the said show must be laughing their heads off by now.

Geez, and we had the gall to demand for a public apology then...


There are dire consequences stemming from this video brouhaha. First is the breach of ethics upon the public screening of this said video. A patient reserves the right to privacy in every surgical operation unless there is consent to have the said procedure documented on video or in pictures. The mere fact that the video was placed in YouTube of all places was already tantamount to robbing the patient of his vital right. To add more insult to injury, the patient was being openly ridiculed by so-called professionals whom he trusted to conduct the operation on him.

I could only imagine the utter shame this patient was feeling during the entire process.

His butt may be healing already, but I doubt it if his dignity is. And dignity isn't something you can buy either in the sari-sari store next door or in the glitziest mall in the city.


Another can of worms opened by this video is the sorry state of public hospitals in the Philippines. The VSMMC isn't the only public hospital with crappy medical staff and horrible facilities. In fact, almost all public hospitals in the Philippines have personnel like these atrocious beings.

Many of these medical personnel apparently have this "rich-man-poor-man" syndrome that they use over their patients who mostly come from the poorer segment of society. Knowing fully well that most of these patients can only afford nothing more than charity, these monsters in white treat them shabbily with little or no regard for their welfare. In their minds, they think: "I'm just in this hellhole for the salary. Why go the extra mile for these smelly rats? Heck, I shouldn't be here in the first place!"

These medical personnel may argue that with the kind of compensation they are receiving in public hospitals, there really isn't much to hope for. However, this doesn't give them a license to be total boors to their indigent patients.

Example: in a maternity ward. One pregnant woman is already in labor and is screaming in pain from the contractions. Apparently bothered by the noise, the nurses shout at her to shut up. "Wala ka namang pambayad ng anaesthesia, kaya magdusa ka diyan (Since you don't have money to pay for anaesthesia, then just bear with the pain)!" says one of them. Another riles her and says, "Sisigaw-sigaw ka diyan, tapos wala pang isang taon, nandito ka na naman (You keep on shouting in pain and yet a year won't even pass and you'll be back here again)!"

Talk about being sterling examples of healthcare.

Probably these people have yet to be acquainted with the term, "public service."


Another point raised here is the issue of gay acceptance in Philippine society. True, the deed of having a six-inch long body spray inserted in one's rectum during a sexual male-to-male act can be considered horrendous and downright kinky. (Honestly, just the thought of having something like that shoved up my own ass must be really, REALLY painful and totally unexciting -- but of course, different strokes for different folks.) However, this should not be a valid reason for the victim/patient to be ridiculed on the operating table, much less, for the entire act to be caught on video.

So he's gay. He's got a body spray canister up his rectum. He's in pain, so I guess he and his partner won't be trying anything like that again -- or at least in the near future. Can't these people be professional about it and just take the darn canister out without turning the entire spectacle into a Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus?

Or do these monsters in white think they can make fun of this person simply because he's gay?

Hypothetical question: would these people have been more professional toward the situation if the patient was a female?

The point here is that whether straight or gay, a person still has the right to preserve his/her dignity, whether on the operating table or anywhere else.

One doesn't need to look for that in any medical code of ethics because it is a basic human right -- as basic as free speech.


Last case in point -- the effect of this latest spectacle on medical tourism. Lately, the Philippines has turned into a hub for medical tourism. In fact, note the spas, wellness centers, and the like opening all over the place. Private hospitals are investing in state-of-the-art facilities to accomodate the influx of people -- both local and foreign -- who want to experience the best of what the Philippine medical profession can offer. So much money is being invested so that we can be known as a center of wellness and professionalism in the medical sphere.

And now, this.

If I was a foreigner who stumbled upon the VSMMC video, I'd be shaking my head in disgust.

I am a Filipina, and I'm still shaking my head in disgust.


Sigh, another deduction in points for the Filipino.

By the way, if you want to understand more about this issue, simply click on the link to this news article from Sun.Star Cebu online.

Website Watch 4: Stephanie Matthews' Photography Website

I have several adjectives to describe photos posted in the website of this very talented photographer named Stephanie Matthews: exquisite, poetic, visually-stimulating, and beautiful. Here are samples of photos from the said site:

If you want to check out more of Stephanie Matthews' pictures, then simply click on this link to bring you there.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Allow Me to Gloat (again)

I just have to brag and show everyone the picture of my daughter, Ingrid Crystal, during her graduation exercises last March. She's proceeding to high school already.

Sigh...time does fly by so fast.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Gender and Housework

This is a very interesting article. In this day and age where gender awareness is being propagated on a global scale, it is still surprising that even in the United States, this trend among the sexes occurs. Try and digest this: in a University of Michigan survey of a nationally representative sampling of US families, it was found that having a husband creates an extra seven hours a week of housework for women. On the other hand, a wife saves men from about an hour of housework a week.

Imagine that.

Of course, having "been there, done that," in the concept of marriage, I could personally vouch for this.

Somebody should replicate this survey in the Philippines.

Anyway, to let you in on the details of the said survey, here's the article from the University of Michigan News Service. I then leave it to you so decide whether to regard it as hogwash or to form a temple dedicated to the makers of the survey.


Exactly how much housework does a husband create?

ANN ARBOR, Mich.—Having a husband creates an extra seven hours a week of housework for women, according to a University of Michigan study of a nationally representative sample of U.S. families.

For men, the picture is very different: A wife saves men from about an hour of housework a week.

The findings are part of a detailed study of housework trends, based on 2005 time-diary data from the federally-funded Panel Study of Income Dynamics, conducted since 1968 at the U-M Institute for Social Research (ISR).

"It's a well-known pattern," said ISR economist Frank Stafford, who directs the study. "There's still a significant reallocation of labor that occurs at marriage—men tend to work more outside the home, while women take on more of the household labor. Certainly there are all kinds of individual differences here, but in general, this is what happens after marriage. And the situation gets worse for women when they have children.

"Overall, the amount of housework done by U.S. women has dropped considerably since 1976, while the amount of housework done by men has increased, according to Stafford. In 1976, women did an average of 26 hours of housework a week, compared with about 17 hours in 2005. Men did about six hours of housework a week in 1976, compared with about 13 hours in 2005.

But when the researchers looked at just the last 10 years, comparing how much housework single men and women in their 20s did in 1996 with how much they did in 2005 if they stayed single versus if they got married, they found a slightly different pattern.

Both the men and the women who got married did more housework than those who stayed single, the analysis showed. "Marriage is no longer a man's path to less housework," said Stafford, a professor in the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts.

For the study, researchers analyzed data from time diaries, considered the most accurate way to assess how people spend their time. They supplemented the analysis with data from questionnaires asking both men and women to recall how much time they spent on basic housework in an average week, including time spent cooking, cleaning and doing other basic work around the house. Excluded from these "core" housework hours were tasks like gardening, home repairs, or washing the car.

The researchers also examined how age and the number of children, as well as marital status and age, influenced time spent doing housework.

Single women in their 20s and 30s did the least housework—about 12 works a week on average, while married women in their 60s and 70s did the most—about 21 hours a week. Men showed a somewhat different pattern. Older men did more housework than younger men, but single men did more in all age groups than married men.

Married women with more than three kids did an average of about 28 hours of housework a week. Married men with more than three kids, by comparison, logged only about 10 hours of housework a week.

Established in 1948, the University of Michigan Institute for Social Research (ISR) is among the world's oldest academic survey research organizations, and a world leader in the development and application of social science methodology. ISR conducts some of the most widely-cited studies in the nation, including the Reuters/University of Michigan Surveys of Consumers, the American National Election Studies, the Monitoring the Future Study, the Panel Study of Income Dynamics, the Health and Retirement Study, and the National Survey of Black Americans. ISR researchers also collaborate with social scientists in more than 60 nations on the World Values Surveys and other projects, and the Institute has established formal ties with universities in Poland, China and South Africa. ISR is also home to the Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR), the world's largest computerized social science data archive. Visit the ISR web site at for more information.


If you want to read the article yourself, simply click on this

Monday, April 7, 2008

When Cheating becomes a Teacher's Fault

I found this very insightful article on the forum of that tackles primarily on cheating. It's kinda long, but it drives home the point that at times, even teachers themselves are to blame for driving students to cheat.

Read on...


Who really loses when a student cheats?
by Alicor L. Panao

In a country that cannot even hold a decent election, students cheating their way through college should be anything but surprising. But cheating has come a long way from the ingenious crib notes or codigo neatly tucked inside one’s pocket or discreetly scribbled on the desk. Nowadays, one can lift an entire paper off the Internet and pass it off as one’s own. With mobile phones and the Internet, technology is certainly giving students even more opportunities to cut corners.

In research, the most prevalent act of dishonesty is plagiarism, i.e., copying a work verbatim or misrepresenting it as one’s own. If a student downloads essays from various websites, cuts a paragraph or two from each of them, and comes up with a paper from the patchwork, that is cheating. If the student merely cites his or her sources yet maintains the patchwork without actually writing the paper himself or herself, that is still cheating.

Another form of cheating is the deliberate fabrication of data or information to suit one’s conclusions in a formal academic exercise. No doubt, the advent of multimedia and information technology has simply made this old practice more widespread and blatant.

However, some experts believe it is not just technology that is causing the epidemic.

Moral responsibility
“We even have graduate students who do not know how to take notes or conduct basic research,” says Dr. Zosimo Lee, Dean of the College of Social Sciences and Philosophy (CSSP) in UP Diliman. “How could they be expected to paraphrase materials, acknowledge their sources, or observe proper citations?”

Lee believes it is not just basic learning or research skills that are at issue, but the manner in which teachers have imparted learning through their methodologies. “Are we still teaching students to think for themselves? Or by sheer tolerance, are we, in fact, sending the wrong message that it is all right to simply rely on available online resources?”

He wonders whether professors are still teaching students to be critical and to question the veracity of ideas they encounter.

Lee, a philosophy professor, says the problem is not the lack of good professors but the way they pass learning on to students. A professor may be good in the sense that he is smart, knows a lot of things, and is frequently published, but he may not necessarily be effective in terms of sharing knowledge, inspiring students, and teaching them the value of scholarship. “We tend to teach by mere modeling—that is, we teach students to find the right answers, but not necessarily how to ask the right questions.” Although today’s common sources of information—television, videos, and the Internet—provide access to an overwhelming amount of knowledge, learning nevertheless remains passive. “In other words, there is learning but there is no inquiry,” says Lee.

Worse, some professors, especially in the social sciences where a lot of information is transmitted through multimedia channels, have themselves unconsciously become too dependent on these technologies.

This dependence has extended to the use of technology in the current wave of academic cheating. Nowadays, with just a click of a mouse, any student with an email account and a valid credit card can order term papers online on virtually any topic, complete with bibliography and citations. Crib sheets can now be sent either as images or SMS via mobile phones. Notes can be digitized as audio files and played on iPods or any other portable music players. And while academe has guidelines against academic dishonesty, these rules cannot keep up with the expanding use of tools and media in cyberspace.

Prof. Doi Rosete, former chair of the Department of Visual Communication and Industrial Design of the UP Diliman College of Fine Arts, explains that this is because the World Wide Web is changing the concept of authorship. Materials—which include written texts, stills, and moving images—are downloaded as fast as they are uploaded by online collaborators.

In UP, the fact that the Revitalized General Education Program made basic communication subjects optional did not help either. In fact, Lee feels it only made matters a lot worse, because professors now even have to worry about their students’ grammatical skills instead of just concentrating on the content of their papers. “We spend more time editing the papers than analyzing the research value of their content.”

The CSSP dean also takes note of students’ lack of competence in any one language. “Maybe the reason behind students’ copying is simply that they have difficulty expressing themselves properly to begin with,” he says. Communication is supposedly a two-tiered process of oral and written expression. An alarming number of students—even in the graduate level—are wanting in both aspects. According to Lee, this may be due to the fact that they are no longer taught to be competent in any language, not even in their native language. “Since students lack mastery of any language, they simply resort to borrowing, if not outright copying of other people’s ideas.”

According to Lee, a national language is important if only to make sure that in teaching core academic courses, students will be afforded clear conceptual understanding. “I know of no developed country that teaches critical subjects like Science and Mathematics in a language other than their own.” This does not mean, of course, that English should be relegated to the sidelines. In the Netherlands, he says, children begin learning English as early as in their first grade. The Dutch study English along with other foreign languages for only about two or three years. “And yet they are among the world’s most literate and multilingual people.”

Misplaced altruism
UP Diliman Vice Chancellor for Research and Development Dr. Luis Sison agrees that professors are partly to blame for cheating in the University. Students respect teachers who lay down clear, consistent, and appropriate policies on intellectual dishonesty. A good set of policies, according to Sison, is one that states definite and unequivocal consequences for infractions.

Teachers who are lenient for one reason or another—what Sison calls misplaced altruism—are unwittingly giving their students license to cut corners. Similarly, teachers who place unreasonable demands without giving appropriate support are also indirectly pushing students to break the rules.

An ill-prepared student fearing a failing grade may be pressured to copy from a classmate simply to pass. There are also teachers who cram too many topics in a single semester “without realizing that they have gone past the point of diminishing returns.” There are also those who view themselves, not as mentors, but more as gatekeepers whose role is to prevent the unworthy from passing through. “In all cases,” says Sison, “it becomes more likely for the student to rationalize cheating.”

The intense pressure to earn good grades, or at least keep up in a competitive setting, also drives students to cheat. For some, the pressure to excel academically for the promise of future career opportunities is enough reason to resort to anything, including cheating. “Students form the greater part of the academic population, and they have to compete for the distinction of being the best in a particular field,” Rosete explains. “And grades are graphic records of a student’s intellectual development.”

The situation, according to Rosete, is a lot worse when they leave the University and compete in the labor market. In the corporate world, intellectual integrity does not matter as much as the pursuit of profit targets. “Only in academe is intellectual development a pursuit and an end in itself,” says Rosete.

Public responsibility
But what about the University’s accountability to the public? As the national university, UP must be beyond reproach in this respect. The credibility of the research it generates and the integrity of those it graduates every year must never be in question. Those trusted with the education of the country’s future teachers, doctors, policymakers, scientists and engineers fail the country by allowing widespread cheating.

There are dire consequences, according to Sison. In engineering for instance, fraudulent data that leads to an improperly designed building or electrical system can put lives at risk. And if improper practice of profession can ruin individual reputations, the damage to the University is greater. “When a student cheats or when a researcher fabricates data, he is not only gambling his own credibility,” says Lee. “He is putting into question the credibility of the entire UniversityThe credibility of the entire University is also put into question.”

But it may be reassuring to know that UP has always denounced academic dishonesty and has tried to implement a strict policy of prosecuting and penalizing offenders—students and faculty members alike.

In 1999, for instance, the Supreme Court upheld the UP Board of Regents’ decision to withdraw the degree granted to a Ph.D. student who was found to have plagiarized a great part of her dissertation (UP BOR v Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 134625, August 31, 1999). Apparently, Anthropology student Arokiaswamy William Margaret Celine, an Indian citizen, had borrowed extensively from various sources “word for word and, at times, paragraph by paragraph without any acknowledgment of the source, even by a mere quotation mark.” But the University did not immediately strip her of the degree. It actually came up with the resolution only after almost a year of hearings and largely because of her own deliberate failure to implement the suggested revisions.

In 2004, the Department of Political Science in UP Diliman terminated the appointment of Gareth Api Richards as Associate Professor of Political Science due to his deliberate misrepresentation of academic credentials. In a statement, the department said that in his vita, Richards claimed to have a Ph.D. in Political Economy from the University of Manchester in the United Kingdom. An official verification made by the department chair, however, revealed that the prestigious British university had never conferred such a degree on Richards. When asked to explain in a meeting of the department’s tenured faculty members, Richards squarely admitted lying about his academic qualification.

Lee says that given all the measures the University has put in place to ensure academic integrity, it should not be difficult for professors to single out frauds. For instance, if a student who is not known for his writing talent suddenly comes up with an impeccable piece, a professor should be suspicious. The growing versatility of online search engines also suggests that professors can beat students in their own games. “In case of doubt, you can always google,” Lee says. Some commercial websites like Turnitin also offer instant verification services to determine how much of a document is “unoriginal” for a reasonable fee.

“Pero may nakakalusot talaga,” Lee admits. And this is largely due to professors’ tendency to be lenient in reading students’ papers. Moreover, the current system of evaluating theses—at least in the social sciences—leaves much to be desired. Typically, only the main adviser is apprised of the student’s progress and the rest of the panel members are able to read the work just a week or two before the oral defense. Lee suggests raising the financial incentive given to faculty members for advising dissertations and theses or sitting in defense panels. This will help to ensure greater commitment.

Caution to students
Sison shares Lee’s view. “The research adviser is in the best position to detect intellectual dishonesty,” he says. “Not only is the adviser frequently in touch with the student but as an expert in that particular field, he should be able to detect plagiarism or fraudulent data with ease.”

He suggests a “process-oriented” approach in evaluating students’ work to discourage cheating. Instead of basing the bulk of the grade on a single project like a final exam or a final paper, a teacher rates the student based on the latter’s progress throughout the semester. He insists that the approach is mutually advantageous, because it gives the teacher immediate feedback on the effectiveness of learning and provides the students with better mentoring. Asking for small but frequent “deliverables” also reduces the likelihood of cramming, which often leads to cheating.

Ideally, it is not just teachers but the entire academic community who must make it their duty to safeguard academic integrity. “But in the end, it boils down to how the student exercises his free will within an ethical framework,” says Sison, “And to how we, their teachers, penalize the lack of such ethics.”


To see the article yourself, simply click on this link.