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By Amando Doronila
In quick succession in one week, the United States sent a series of clear messages to China that it is firmly committed to protect the Philippines and Japan in their territorial disputes with Beijing.
Last March 22, Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin twitted activists, saying: “Our problem is we keep on complaining about the Enhanced Defense Cooperation with the US. Why don’t we complain when the Chinese use water cannons on us? Why? Nasaan ang pagka-Pilipino natin? We demonstrate against those who are helping us, but we don’t demonstrate against those who are bullying us.”
By Isabel Escoda
Filipinos may or may not be surprised to learn that it’s not just Hong Kong Chinese who maltreat their servants. In the United States, Filipinos have been known to keep their own kind like chattel. Back in 2007, for example, news broke that a couple in Milwaukee surnamed Calimlim kept their maid hidden for nearly 20 years in their home, having taken her to the United States on false pretenses.
The latest round of stories on runaway surveillance programs, based on secret documents leaked by the former US National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden, made many people sit up and take notice again.
By John Kerry
During my first week as the United States’ secretary of state, I had the honor of meeting with a group of courageous women from Burma (Myanmar). Two are former political prisoners, and although they had all endured incredible hardship in their lives, each of them was committed to moving forward—providing education and training to girls, finding jobs for the unemployed, and advocating for greater participation in civil society. I have no doubt that they will continue to be powerful agents of change, bringing progress to their communities and their country in the years to come.
By Conrado de Quiros
While on my way to the airport in LA last week, the radio was reporting a nightmarish event in Portland, Oregon. A shooter had opened fire on Christmas shoppers, sending them scampering and screaming all over the place. A police officer was being interviewed by a swarm of reporters and he spoke with professional authority. The shooter was an adult male wearing camouflage and a white mask. He had suddenly started shooting, killing one person and seriously wounding another. He had now been neutralized.
By Conrado de Quiros
A couple of things are happening in our part of the world that say much about us. One is Barack Obama’s visit to Burma (Myanmar) and the other is our breaking up with Asean and going it alone in our approach to China.
By Denis Murphy
TO TALK of the poor in the United States is apparently bad politics. During the past presidential campaign, neither President Barack Obama nor Mitt Romney used the word “poor.” The reason seems to be that Americans were taught by former President Ronald Reagan and others that there is a good chance poor people who receive welfare payments, including widows and single mothers, may be swindlers. The suspicion spreads from welfare recipients to cover all poor people. Reagan talked of a so-called “Welfare Queen” who lived in Detroit—if I remember correctly—and had amassed cars, houses and jewelry as a welfare recipient. He never produced the woman.
Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV’s back-channel negotiations with China reminds me of the US bases negotiations in the early 1990s during the presidency of Corazon C. Aquino, mother of incumbent President Noynoy Aquino. Our “beloved” Cory disregarded the position of the Philippine negotiating panel headed by then Health Secretary Alran Bengzon and came up with her own position similar to the American position.
By Jose Ma. Montelibano
It becomes clearer by each new visit, of which I have had quarterly for almost five years, that Filipinos in America continue to carry the flame in their heart for their motherland. The most intense evidence of this is their active attachment to family, resulting in approximately $8 billion of annual remittances.
Equals make the best of friends, it’s said. By that token, it’s understandable that, for the longest time, and despite the insistence of the two nations to the contrary, the Philippines and the United States never really settled into the “special friendship” that was supposed to have governed their relations after World War II.
By Bryan Anthony C. Paraiso
The road to our country’s independence and nationhood in 1898 was pockmarked with the naïveté, bitter rivalries and petty bickering of the revolution’s foremost actors, weaknesses that the American colonizers exploited to further their imperialist agenda in Southeast Asia.