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China’s game plan

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Never mind Sun Tzu’s masterful treatise, “The Art of War.” Likewise Marxist-Leninist thought, and the more picturesque “cabbage-” and “salami-slicing” strategy of Beijing recently highlighted in the local and international media. China’s strategic plans in the South China-Philippine Sea are best understood in the immensely popular, 2,500-year-old Chinese game “go.”

Posted: January 24th, 2014 in Columns,Featured Columns,Featured Headline,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

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Does the Philippines need more privatization, or less? That’s the subject of a recent think piece by foreign affairs and economic analyst Richard Javad Heydarian in The Huffington Post, which argues that, contrary to prevailing wisdom about the Philippines’ continuing need to open up its markets and nurture its private sector, what it needs “is not more privatization and economic liberalization per se… but instead a stronger state that (a) can bust oligarchic collusion, and (b) protect the interest of the consumers and productive sectors of the economy.”

Posted: December 28th, 2013 in Editor's Pick,Editorial,Featured Columns,Featured Headline,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

Props to the President for not attending the Mandela funeral

I don’t think it was necessary for President Aquino to attend the funeral of the great African leader, Nelson Mandela, in order to honor him. Had he flown to Johannesburg, South Africa, despite all the gargantuan problems preoccupying him at home (foremost of which is the rehabilitation of vast areas and population centers ravaged by Supertyphoon “Yolanda”) his perennial critics most likely would have turned the tables on him and assailed him for being “cold-hearted” and “manifestly irresponsible.”

Posted: December 25th, 2013 in Inquirer Opinion,Letters to the Editor | Read More »

Paging DFA: What’s a ‘foreign-sounding’ name?

Recently I requested my travel agent to facilitate my passport renewal. I got the surprise of my life when she informed me that, aside from my most recent passport and my birth certificate, I need to present my father’s birth certificate because I bear a foreign-sounding name.

Posted: December 25th, 2013 in Inquirer Opinion,Letters to the Editor | Read More »

Hongkongers have long memories

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It’s not just elephants who have long memories; Hongkongers seem to have longer ones. The saying “Time heals all wounds” apparently doesn’t apply in this Chinese enclave. The bitter memory of the 2010 Luneta hijacking in the Philippines has lingered among a large number of the population of this territory of 7 million souls.

Posted: November 2nd, 2013 in Columnists,Columns,Editor's Pick,Featured Columns,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

On top of the carabao

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Voltaire Gazmin and Albert del Rosario, the defense and foreign affairs secretaries respectively, show us why our foreign affairs has always been foreign to us and why we have always been so good at defending ourselves against everyone except ourselves. You see it in their letter to Congress calling for a larger American military presence in this country.

Posted: August 11th, 2013 in Columnists,Columns,Editor's Pick,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

Don’t help Filipino lawbreakers abroad

The way Philippine government officials again tried to intercede for a convicted Filipino drug mule facing death sentence in China, it would not be surprising if other countries see the Philippines as a nation that tolerates drug couriers. If the situation were reversed, it is most unlikely that Chinese government officials would ask the Philippine government to bend its laws for the sake of a convicted Chinese felon. The two countries have different sets of laws and one should respect the other in the manner by which they are being enforced.

Posted: July 8th, 2013 in Inquirer Opinion,Letters to the Editor | Read More »

Modern-day heroes not aptly protected by PH gov’t

If the overseas Filipino workers are our modern-day heroes, why are they being treated like prostitutes by our embassy officials?

Posted: July 1st, 2013 in Inquirer Opinion,Letters to the Editor | Read More »

Foreign policy begins at home

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Ambassador Nelson D. Laviña’s critique (“Not really against Sabah,” (Letters, 5/21/13) on my commentary, “The case against Sabah,” (Opinion, 4/20/13) conveniently left out obvious features of the Western colonial powers during their early stage of expansion.

Posted: May 31st, 2013 in Columns,Featured Columns,Featured Headline,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

Stalemates in Sabah and the Spratlys

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The stalemates in Sabah and in the Spratly chain of islands have one essential thing in common: They both represent a legal dilemma.

Posted: May 26th, 2013 in Columnists,Columns,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

When neighbors fight

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To my last column on the current conflict between the Philippines and Taiwan, a country with whom, until recently, we have had only friendly relations, a reader from Canada has written a most thoughtful rejoinder. He wishes to remain anonymous, but, with his permission, I will quote from the rich account he has shared of his experience as a former official of the Canadian department of fisheries in charge of enforcing maritime fishing boundaries. His job entailed protecting his country’s fishery from poachers coming from other countries.

Posted: May 22nd, 2013 in Columnists,Columns,Editor's Pick,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

Revival of US bases is a suicidal notion

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The suggestion of Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin that US bases be revived here is like suggesting that the Philippines put itself in the line of fire in the event that a Korean war, possibly nuclear in nature, breaks out. It is like running between two cowboys in a gunfight as soon as they start firing. Such a geopolitically naive proposal will draw Korean nuclear missiles into Philippine soil. This suicidal idea is unacceptable, coming from a Cabinet member and a prestigious former ambassador.

Posted: April 24th, 2013 in Columnists,Columns,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

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