I almost marked the email below a spam. Coming from a tobacco media and sent to my work email address is not something common to see in my inbox. Regular emails that flood my office account usually come from research collaborators and professors whose email addresses end with dot edu. Had it not been for the subject line that had the words “Invitation to participate…”, I would have not opened nor read the contents.

I had checked the validity of the email and visited the suggested link for confirmation. The email below is not a hoax. Probe Media Foundation, Inc. exists online. I am sharing this because I believe in its drive to inform the Filipinos of the hazards of cigarette-smoking, especially to the teens who at young age are already hooked to the habit.

The email came from Data T. Canlas.

Dear Mr. Salas,

Greetings from Probe Media Foundation, Inc. I am writing to invite you to submit a proposal for a story grant we are giving for tobacco control stories. (Apologies for writing to you at this email address, as your profile on your blog does not list your email address).

This project is being implemented with the help of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control Alliance-Philippines (FCAP). We would like to encourage practitioners in traditional media and bloggers in the Philippines (or Filipinos anywhere in the world) to do more stories on tobacco control. As such, we researched some of the top blogs and bloggers in the Philippines, and yours was one of those that ranked quite high.

There are some forms to fill out and a budget projection to be done for your story. We are giving up to P75,000 as grants. This is for any fee you may incur in researching your story. All we require is that it appear on your blog as a major post, and make it prominent for your loyal readers to peruse.

We hope you find this project interesting. For additional information, you may visit this link to the Probe Media Foundation website: http://probefound.com. The forms are available for download from the site. You may submit these with your proposed idea to tobaccomedia@gmail.com. You may also use this email to write to us for any clarifications regarding the project.

The deadline for submitting your story ideas is 11.59 pm of March 14, 2010.

Please feel free to drop us a line anytime. Looking forward to hearing from you!

Data T. Canlas
Project Manager

If you read the online flyer, it says the deadline is March 1. Obviously, according to the email, the deadline has been extended to March 14, 2010.

To all Filipino bloggers, you may want to check this out and help me spread the word. No, I am not paid for this. Since it is for a good cause, I do not mind promoting it.