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The world in a garden

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A garden has been described as a place where human purpose meets Nature, “a gesture against the wild,” the Welsh poet R.S. Thomas eloquently put it. Although much too encompassing, this definition personally appeals to me. It reminds me of a day last year, just before the start of the rainy season, when, looking out from the terrace where I was writing, I was struck by the total neglect into which my garden had fallen.

Posted: March 16th, 2014 in Columnists,Columns,Editor's Pick,Featured Columns,Featured Headline,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

Delfin Lee’s business model

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The provision of affordable social housing to low-income families has been a persistent concern of the country’s successive administrations.

Posted: March 13th, 2014 in Columnists,Columns,Editor's Pick,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

The global pressure on education

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Invited to participate in the external review of a Japanese university’s program to systematize its globalization thrust, I found myself in Tokyo this past week meditating on what the term “globalization” means for education.

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

The future of democracy

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It has become fashionable to pronounce the return of Philippine democracy through the 1986 people power uprising a failure—on two counts. One, because it has made no dent on the economic condition of the poor. And two, because it has not been able to dismantle the rule of political dynasties.

Posted: March 2nd, 2014 in Columnists,Columns,Editor's Pick,Featured Columns,Featured Headline,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

The anatomy of corruption

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Some years from now, when students of politics and governance begin to publish scholarly papers on the structure of official corruption in our country, the Janet Lim-Napoles scam could emerge as the most crucial episode in the nation’s struggle to modernize its political system. We might then realize that the effort we exert today to expose, document, and successfully prosecute those behind this scam has made all the difference in our political life.

Posted: February 27th, 2014 in Columnists,Columns,Editor's Pick,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

Michael’s ‘triple axel’

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Watching the Filipino figure skater Michael Christian Martinez compete the other night in the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, brought me back to those times when my wife and I used to spend Saturday afternoons at the mall watching our granddaughter Julia learn how to skate on ice. The ice skating rink at SM Megamall was the only available place for this. I remember that it was a quite expensive sport, particularly from the moment a beginner graduates from renting the bladed skating shoes to owning a pair. Julia was then about eight or nine years old, more or less the same age as when Michael took his first glide also in a shopping mall rink.

Posted: February 15th, 2014 in Columnists,Columns,Editor's Pick,Featured Columns,Featured Headline,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

Ruby Tuason’s affidavit

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It has been almost six months since the first cases of plunder and graft involving lawmakers’ pork barrel were filed at the Office of the Ombudsman. The Ombudsman has to carefully evaluate these charges before endorsing them to the Sandiganbayan for trial or dismissing them outright for insufficiency of evidence. The one thing the Ombudsman cannot do is bury them among its files in the expectation that the public will soon forget about them. No, despite “Yolanda” and Vhong Navarro, the issue remains very much alive in the public consciousness.

Posted: February 8th, 2014 in Columnists,Columns,Editor's Pick,Featured Columns,Featured Headline,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

Through the prism of Thai politics

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In previous columns, I have argued that Thailand’s attempts to grapple with the complex problem of legitimacy since 2001 illuminate for us the roots of the crisis that rocked our society during the presidencies of Joseph Ejercito “Erap” Estrada and of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo (GMA). They prod us to reflect on the exigencies of our [...]

Posted: February 5th, 2014 in Columnists,Columns,Editor's Pick,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

Professionalism and the ERC

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So complex and demanding are the functions and responsibilities of the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) that the law that created it pegged its members’ compensation at the same level as that of justices of the Supreme Court. Every section of Republic Act No. 9136, known as the Electric Power Industry Reform Act of 2001 (Epira), squarely puts the burden of protecting the interest of consumers and ensuring competitiveness in a deregulated industry on the shoulders of the 5-member commission.

Posted: January 25th, 2014 in Columnists,Columns,Editor's Pick,Featured Columns,Featured Headline,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

Political transitions and legitimacy

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On a cold day like this in January 2001, exactly 13 years ago, the Philippines found itself in the throes of another wrenching political transition. The impeachment trial of President Joseph Ejercito Estrada had been abruptly aborted. The political convulsion that followed thrust Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to the presidency. Although her succession to the highest office was repeatedly affirmed by the Supreme Court, questions about its legitimacy hounded the Arroyo presidency until its final days, something Cory Aquino, who also became president via people power 15 years earlier, did not have to deal with.

Posted: January 18th, 2014 in Columnists,Columns,Editor's Pick,Featured Columns,Featured Headline,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

Going solar

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For the last two months now, I have welcomed sunlight into our home in a way that has made me conscious of the sun’s life-giving presence. Thanks to the advice and assistance of Bert Lina, the visionary entrepreneur behind Air21 and other creative interventions beneficial to society at large, I have installed solar panels on my rooftop. The solar energy I harvest on a reasonably bright day takes care of about 17 percent of my household electricity needs. This is not insignificant, but is not very much either if one merely looks at it from the vantage point of savings.

Posted: January 15th, 2014 in Columnists,Columns,Editor's Pick,Featured Columns,Featured Headline,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

Reverence

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Almost as soon as Cardinal Luis Tagle ended his homily at the Luneta Park Mass preceding the procession of the Black Nazarene, a big commotion broke out, shattering the solemnity of the occasion. Without waiting for the Mass to end, a number of devotees jostled against one another to take the statue and begin the procession. The clergy stood in shock, unable to do anything to stop the rowdy crowd from rushing toward the improvised altar and knocking down everything on its path. In the ensuing melee, the metal-fabricated “crown of thorns” fell from the head of the revered image. It went missing for more than an hour. Someone in the crowd had picked it up and returned it only when the procession was already underway.

Posted: January 11th, 2014 in Columnists,Columns,Editor's Pick,Featured Columns,Featured Headline,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

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