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Autopsy of a Debacle: Clerical Extremists, Timid Liberals, and the RH Debate

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The bishops should have realized it was only a matter of time. The surveys were unanimous in chronicling a steady rise in the majority supporting family planning and government support for it. More and more from all classes had come to accept that family size had a direct bearing on poverty and that medical science provided them with the means to do something about it, if they had financial assistance. And the spread of plural sources of belief and ethics that came with secularization was eroding the Church’s claim to a monopoly on morality.

Posted: April 13th, 2014 in Columnists,Columns,Featured Columns,Featured Headline,Inquirer Opinion,Viewpoints | Read More »

It won’t go away

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Edwin Lacierda does not want Al Vitangcol to go on leave and says Vitangcol has earlier done that to give way to an inquiry. Which is all very fine except for one thing: Vitangcol is the general manager of the Metro Rail System, and the one that conducted the inquiry where he went on leave was the Department of Transportation and Communications itself. Naturally, it found him innocent of the crime.

Posted: April 9th, 2014 in Columnists,Columns,Editor's Pick,Featured Columns,Featured Headline,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

Hot emerging markets? The curious case of the Philippines and Mexico

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The Aquino administration has very good press these days—outside the country. In two major international publications, the Philippines under President Aquino has been the toast and talk of the town. In early February, Keith Bradsher recently gave a heads up in a much-read New York Times piece where he wrote: “Political analysts say that his administration has fought and reduced the corruption that played a role in holding the Philippines back. In one practical measure of that change, the country has been able to pave more roads per 100 million pesos in spending (about $2.2 million) than before — when funds were lost to corrupt officials and incompetence — finally addressing an impediment to commerce.”

Posted: March 22nd, 2014 in Columns,Viewpoints | Read More »

Prepare for China: Part II

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It may simply be a game for China. After all, who is the Philippines to fight back? Pushing us away from the sea, water-hosing our fishermen in Scarborough Shoal, blocking our supply ships at Second Thomas Shoal (Ayuningin Reef), China ups the ante in its bullying of the Philippines. And it seems that most Filipinos are not aware how close we are to war.

Posted: March 14th, 2014 in Columnists,Columns,Columns,Featured Columns,Featured Headline,Inquirer Opinion,Viewpoints | Read More »

Speculation and chismis

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The presidential elections are two years away, yet it is beginning to seem like we already are in an early campaign mode. It must be that the great powers given to the Office of the President and the Executive Branch can actually make the head spin, or the mouth salivate – even from onlookers.

Posted: March 7th, 2014 in Columnists,Columns,Featured Columns,Featured Headline,Viewpoints | Read More »

The Rice Fiasco: How smugglers, bureaucrats and naïve economists are mugging our farmers

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These lines come to mind as one observes the awful debacle that has overtaken the fate of the most important item in the Filipino diet. In a controversial recent judgment, a court in Davao recently ruled against the Bureau of Customs and ordered the release of 4.2 million tons of seized smuggled rice. Now the smugglers are shouting with glee at an unexpected development: Secretary Leila de Lima is on their side.

Posted: February 26th, 2014 in Columns,Viewpoints | Read More »

I Remember

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My claim to fame in writing is grounded on the fact that I remember a lot of things, this despite increasing senior moments. One of my favorite topics, corruption, has long threads throughout post WWII Philippine history. These threads provide context, something that unfortunately many columnists would rather not refer to as context makes hot issues old issues. Context puts substance, too, and substance often makes sensationalism look trashy.

Posted: February 6th, 2014 in Columnists,Columns,Columns,Featured Columns,Featured Headline,Inquirer Opinion,Viewpoints | Read More »

Nature abhors a vacuum: SC as industry regulator, consumer watchdog

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While Congress and the Supreme Court have moved with alacrity on the scandalous Meralco rate hike, the executive’s response has been extremely slow and disjointed.

Posted: February 3rd, 2014 in Columnists,Columns,Viewpoints | Read More »

As if we had a better choice

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January 2014 is only the year’s first month but it already shows how the rest of the year can go.   A low pressure area dumps its rains in northern Mindanao and kills about 40, an early glimpse of a weather pattern that can continue to be deadly. It did not cause undue alarm to [...]

Posted: January 31st, 2014 in Columnists,Columns,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

Thailand’s Edsa 2: from civil conflict to uncivil war?

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There are occasional references to the Edsa Uprising, with one speaker saying, “The Filipinos did it in nine days. We can do it, too.” The event to which he was comparing the Bangkok mass protests was the original Edsa Revolution that toppled Marcos in 1986, not to the more appropriate middle-class rebellion that removed Joseph Estrada from the presidency in 2002.

Posted: January 23rd, 2014 in Columnists,Columns,Viewpoints | Read More »

Converging Interests: Hanoi and Manila Confront Leviathan

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“They were really unprepared for that and were really embarrassed by it,” one of Vietnam’s top experts on Chinese diplomacy told me during my recent visit to Hanoi, referring to the Philippines’ bringing its case against China’s aggressive illegal actions in the West Philippine Sea to the United Nations Arbitral Tribunal.

Posted: January 12th, 2014 in Columnists,Columns,Viewpoints | Read More »

Rebuild: Philippines

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I was finally able to make it to Tacloban after almost two months of wanting to. Someone asked me what the difference was between Tacloban and other towns in Western Visayas that I had visited last November.  After all, the sight of broken coconut trees were common, as were destroyed homes that littered the sides [...]

Posted: January 10th, 2014 in Columns,Viewpoints | Read More »

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