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Lampedusa, island and symbol

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Lampedusa? Where/what is that? If you are wondering, you are not the only one as the local press has been resoundingly silent about the very first trip of Pope Francis away from the confines of Rome. It was not to his own Buenos Aires or some other great city, not to millions waiting to see him at some elaborately planned World Youth Day.

Posted: July 23rd, 2013 in Columns,Featured Columns,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

One of the 9 percent

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I write as one of the 9.2 percent of adult Catholics in the Philippines who, according to the recent Social Weather Stations survey, have sometimes thought of leaving the Catholic Church. These instances occurred mostly in the “bad old days” before Cardinal Jaime Sin gave a new face to the Archdiocese of Manila. There have [...]

Posted: April 18th, 2013 in Columnists,Columns,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

My Christmas card


Will the Prince of Peace come to the Philippines this Christmas? My fear is that He may pass by, but only for a moment, as the nasty fighting over the reproductive health bill—or the aftermath of a divisive vote in the House—embitters the nation.

Posted: December 14th, 2012 in Columnists,Columns,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

Innovation needed in informal-settler housing

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It takes more than presidential will and money to make a propoor initiative succeed. Apart from having an efficient and honest implementing bureaucracy that understands the purpose of the reform, innovation is a major ingredient of success. Without it, implementing institutions are bound to magnify what is wrong with the existing systems and make the problem worse. Innovation is the hallmark of reform.

Posted: March 19th, 2012 in Columnists,Columns,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

Letting a giant into the house


“What goes around comes around.”  Some years ago, two rather burly-looking men, escorted by a young Filipina, were in my office making a pitch for “responsible mining.” They represented an association of international mining companies. Apparently I had been identified as an “unfriendly” who might be won over. After listening to their pitch, I suggested [...]

Posted: November 7th, 2011 in Columnists,Columns,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

Good question

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In the ongoing debate on the reproductive health bill, Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile challenged the figures on induced abortion in the Philippines being cited by proponents of the bill. A good question, since the number of 500,000 or more has echoed from columnist to columnist and activist to activist so often that few stop [...]

Posted: October 5th, 2011 in Columns,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

Good Pope John and his polychrome cat

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Grace moments are a Catholic obligation.  I recently fulfilled that obligation amply by having two within three days:  one in a bookstore, one in bed. The first occurred as I shopped for a gift for a little girl.  Browsing the children’s books by Filipinos, I endured pages and pages of banality, bad grammar, and nightmare-provoking [...]

Posted: October 4th, 2011 in Columnists,Columns,Editor's Pick,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

A church of women?

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Afternoon light bathed the spacious interior of the Church of Our Lady of X. A new batch of Eucharistic ministers stood before the altar, quietly waiting to be blessed by the parish priest and the mostly middle-class congregation. As I gazed at them, stiff in crisp barongs, somnolent in the heat of the retiring day, [...]

Posted: September 5th, 2011 in Columnists,Columns,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

Cesspools in the living room


Type in “pornography” on Google, and you will learn that there are at least 48,600,000 entries under that head. Under “XXX” there were a mind-boggling 1,250,000,000 entries as of Aug. 27. Veritable cesspools lie under our homes, ready to bubble out of our computers at the click of a mouse. I was put onto this [...]

Posted: August 29th, 2011 in Columnists,Columns,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

Opportunities gone forever

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Sixty-five years ago, from the deck of the freighter SS Willamette Victory, on the morning of July 30, 1946, I first set my eyes on the Philippines. The rigging of sunken ships protruding from the water of Manila Bay, and the fact that there was only one pier working attested to the fact that war [...]

Posted: August 2nd, 2011 in Columnists,Columns,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

Opportunity for all

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IN A society where economic injustice has virtually become invisible because it assumes the form of massive and persistent poverty inflicted by faceless forces and institutions, the idea of justice for all rings hollow. When one listens to what poor people want for themselves and for their children, one rarely hears a cry for justice. [...]

Posted: July 28th, 2011 in Columnists,Columns,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

On the sweet insidiousness of dialogue

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One of my 20 readers recently alerted me that Lisandro Claudio, a young advocate of the Reproductive Health (RH) Bill, had likened a Commentary of mine (“Those who can’t, can teach Natural Family Planning,” Inquirer 04/18/11) to sugary pork fat. This metaphor is found in a GMA News blog, “Church Progressives and Reproductive Health,” available [...]

Posted: July 11th, 2011 in Columnists,Columns,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »



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