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Seven brave women

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Late last month I sat around a table in our office with seven women from the Slip Zero area of Tondo, a rundown, 1.2-hectare patch of land between the huge Parola slum and the North Harbor piers.

Posted: August 14th, 2014 in Columnists,Columns,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

Jesse Robredo remembered—with affection

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When Jesse Robredo’s plane crashed into the sea off Masbate in August two years ago, we saw a surge of genuine sorrow in the country from all types of people, from the urban poor to people like Archbishop Leonardo Legaspi, OP, who was archbishop of Naga all the years that Jesse was mayor of that city. In the words of Angel Ojastro, a close associate of Jesse, Legaspi “mourned for Jesse as a father for his son.” President Aquino spent days in the crash area, realizing perhaps that he had lost one of the most dedicated members of his team—maybe, the most dedicated. Jesse is still remembered fondly.

Posted: July 29th, 2014 in Columnists,Columns,Featured Columns,Featured Headline,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

Change the strategy

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In the New York City subway, there are signs telling people to notify a policeman if they see something dangerous happening: “If you see something, tell someone.” In Tacloban, there are hundreds of people, from all walks of life, who want to tell whatever “policeman” is listening that the government’s relocation plans in their city are loading one more disaster on the shoulders of poor people who have suffered enough.

Posted: July 12th, 2014 in Columnists,Columns,Featured Columns,Featured Headline,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

Night rains

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Many of us lie awake these nights listening to the rain race across the city, wave after wave. We may be grateful for the dry homes we have. We may feel the hostility of the wind and rain and think of the poor people trying to get through the night in kariton hauled up on the sidewalks, or the people sleeping in doorways, allowed to do so by the security guards out of simple compassion, or the people in the shanties of the slums where mothers gather the children as close to them as possible to keep them dry and comforted.

Posted: June 30th, 2014 in Columnists,Columns,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

Make it look easy, Indonesia

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INDONESIA, the Philippines’ sister republic to the south, has solved one of the great cultural-political dilemmas of modern times: It has shown that Islam and democracy are compatible. Most talk on this matter focuses on the West and the Middle East and is very negative about the chances of the two cultures living in peace with each other. Just recently, for example, the ouster of President Mohammed Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt was seen by some writers as “the death of political Islam.” Indonesia has solved the problem and made it look easy. There was none of the riots, battles, or furious demonstrations we have seen elsewhere.

Posted: June 21st, 2014 in Columnists,Columns,Featured Columns,Featured Headline,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

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