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The revival of the Pasig River Ferry comes across as an afterthought, but it’s a welcome idea just the same in view of the traffic gridlock feared to occur when an estimated 15 road projects get underway all at the same time in Metro Manila. (As it is, the traffic situation is a recurring nightmare.)
There are inspiring reasons why Filipino women should salute themselves in marking International Women’s Day today.
Dennis Cunanan, the director general (on leave) of the Technology Resource Center, was the first government official allegedly involved in the so-called pork barrel scam to testify before the Senate blue ribbon committee; that fact gave his appearance at Thursday’s hearing additional import. His position at an agency which channeled Priority Development Assistance Fund allocations to suspect beneficiary organizations specifically identified by the offices of at least three senators could illuminate how the scam operated. At the same time, it raised the standards by which he and his testimony, and his application to turn state’s witness, must be judged.
But why is the proposal to form a special court to try cases arising from the pork barrel scam being dismissed so peremptorily? Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano’s proposition deserves at least some serious thought, but two of his colleagues—Senators Francis Escudero and Teofisto Guingona III—have immediately thumbed down the idea.
The Grameen Bank, which extends small loans to the poor without requiring collateral, is a godsend for impoverished families in Bangladesh. Founded in 1976, the bank (Grameen is “village” in the native tongue) has a simple philosophy: Offer small loan amounts for start-up businesses, make sure that loans are used for what they are intended and that payments are made (peer pressure is often employed in communities). Through the innovative concept of microfinancing, the Grameen Bank has gone on to help the poorest of the poor in Bangladesh. It was made an independent bank by law in 1983, with 90 percent owned by its borrowers and 10 percent by the government.
The good news: The antidynasty bill pending in the House of Representatives has hurdled the committee level—the first time for such a development. To understand why it can qualify as a minor miracle, consider that as much as 70 percent of the members of the current Congress are products of political dynasties. The antidynasty provision present in the Constitution since 1986 has not been fleshed out all this time, simply because legislators will not commit self-immolation by enacting a law that would gut their families’ reliable power base.
President Benigno Aquino III made an egregious mistake two weeks ago when he appointed a recently retired police general, Lina Castillo Sarmiento, to chair the Human Rights Victims’ Claims Board.
On Jan. 27, in bad weather, a Chinese Coast Guard vessel with Bow No. 3063 bore down on two Filipino fishing boats in Bajo de Masinloc, sounded its horn continuously, then unloaded its water cannons on both boats “for several minutes.” The facts, as well as the quote, are from the official statement the Department of Foreign Affairs issued almost a month after the incident, on Feb. 25. That same day, the DFA summoned the chargé d’affaires of the Chinese embassy in Manila to explain the incident.
The Inquirer’s series on the Edsa People Power revolution, whose 28th anniversary we mark today, helps deepen our understanding of those four
pivotal days in history.
It’s been said before and we’ll say it again: The Philippines’ Michael Christian Martinez made history just by hitting the ice at the Sochi Winter Games, whether or not he qualified for the final round of the men’s figure skating competition. But qualify he did, ultimately finishing 19th in a field of 24 and leaving the distinct impression that he is a serious contender to watch on the Olympics stage in the future.
Sen. Bongbong Marcos had an artful answer when asked about the Presidential Commission on Good Government’s recovery of the remaining $29 million (about P1.3 billion) of the multimillion-dollar Swiss bank deposits stashed away by his father, the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos.
The appearance of potential state’s witness Ruby Tuason at the hearing yesterday (Thursday) of the Senate blue ribbon committee can be described in one word: underwhelming. She began the hearing, the eighth that the committee has conducted to investigate the so-called pork barrel scam, surrounded by a waiting public’s highest expectations. She left it, some five hours later, attended by more questions than answers.