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In the end, a perfectly rational explanation may yet turn out to be the reason for the mysterious disappearance from the skies of Malaysia Airlines MH370. One plausible theory, propounded by a veteran pilot, suggests that the plane’s cockpit suffered a sudden catastrophic fire that overwhelmed its two pilots before they could radio for help or manage an emergency landing. They managed to turn the plane leftward, however, in the direction of Langkawi, Malaysia, where there was an airstrip, but with the pilots rendered incapacitated, the plane flew on until it ran out of fuel and plunged into the sea. A cockpit fire may also account for the breakdown in the transponders and communications systems, which prevented the plane from sending any SOS before its presumed crash.
By Ernesto M. Pernia
A plethora of explanations has been advanced as to why the Philippines falls well behind the other four Asean originals (Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia). These range from the protectionist policies for “infant industries,” political instability particularly in the 1980s that practically shooed Japanese FDIs (foreign direct investments) to our neighbors, weak governance and dysfunctional institutions, to poor infrastructure, rapid population growth, brain and skills drain from massive emigration, etc. While all these likely mattered one way or another, little is said about the underinvestment in education in general and in science and technology (S&T) in particular. Being a public good, education and S&T create positive externalities and, hence, tend to be privately underconsumed and undersupplied especially in terms of quality.
By Neal H. Cruz
The issue of Sabah was not discussed during the peace talks between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, with Malaysia as referee. This was the assurance given by members of the government panel to journalists at the Kapihan sa Manila at the Diamond Hotel last Monday. The panel members at the Kapihan were chair Miriam Coronel-Ferrer and members Senen Bacani (a former agriculture secretary) and Yasmin Busran Lao.
By Esther Dyson
An online charity organization is taking Silicon Valley by storm. Called Watsi, the charity allows users to read personal tales of medical woe in emerging markets and contribute up to the total amount needed to pay for a particular patient’s treatment. Many might say, “How nice!” But I say, “Hold the applause.”
By Neal H. Cruz
The comprehensive peace agreement signed by the national government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) is not so comprehensive after all. It raised more questions to which there are no clear answers yet.
By Solita Collas-Monsod
NOT TO be a party-pooper, but something sticks in my craw and raises my hackles when Malaysia is mentioned by Filipinos in such glowing terms—and the remarks of Pres. Benigno Aquino III were no exception.
By Conrado de Quiros
While a gaggle of bystanders watches, a team of cops clad in fatigues, bulletproof vests, helmets and gas masks and toting assault rifles storms the place. They start grabbing people and wrestling those who resist to the ground. One cop is pinning someone on his back with his knee while pulling out handcuffs. The other cops who have ringed the place are eyeing the perimeter watchfully, alert for any signs of trouble. Several cops on motorcycles hover in the wings.
By Michael L. Tan
Ongoing in Subic is Tabaoan, a Philippine writers’ festival. Tabaoan means a marketplace, and the festival brings together writers from all over the country, including two National Artists, to exchange ideas.
The Philippine Center for Islam and Democracy (PCID) welcomes the much-anticipated conclusion of the 43rd round of exploratory talks in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The signing of the Annex on Normalization and the resolution of the issue of Bangsamoro waters bring the attainment of a just peace and inclusive development for our Bangsamoro citizens closer [...]
China has thought of many ways to gain control of the West Philippine Sea. Now comes Chinese media reporting that it will deploy regular sea patrols, not only in the disputed waters claimed by the Philippines but also in those waters claimed by Vietnam, Taiwan, Malaysia and Brunei. These waters embrace islands and islets [...]
By Conrado de Quiros
I loved that picture of the Asean foreign ministers clasping one another’s hands in solidarity that came out last weekend. The occasion was their meeting in Brunei last week. The people in the picture included Malaysia’s Anifah Aman, the Philippines’ Albert del Rosario, Singapore’s Kasiviswanathan Shanmugam, Thailand’s Surapong Tovichakchaikul and Vietnam’s Pham Binh Minh.
By Ramon Farolan
In his memoirs “From Third World to First—The Singapore Story: 1965-2000,” Singapore’s founding father Lee Kuan Yew recounts that when the island state was forced out of the Federation of Malaysia, his first concern was to build an armed forces from scratch. There existed the danger presented by Malaysian armed units stationed within Singapore.