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A challenge and an opportunity for political empowerment

Ditas De Los Santos-Yamane is a Filipino-American who is running for mayor of National City in San Diego County. Yamane, who is a licensed real estate broker, is a tireless community worker. Every festival or fair of the Fil-Am community and every civic initiative that the city mounts will likely have her among the workhorses. She has also served as president of the local chamber of commerce and is chair of the city’s planning commission and committee on government affairs of the Pacific Southwest Association of Realtors.

Mindanao could learn from Israel

A trip to the Holy Land had always been a key item in my bucket list (the things I need to see or do before I leave this world). But my wife had serious reservations, perceiving Israel as a country constantly in a state of war and threatened by terrorists.

Political Railroading

We’ve seen how politicians in power get the things they want and to hell with the law or due process. The arrest of Senator Antonio Trillanes IV is what is called in Tagalog, santong paspasan or barasuhan. It’s also called railroading.

On tinkering with the anthem and the flag

Senate President Tito Sotto (he of Eat Bulaga fame) has proposed revising the final lines of the Philippine national anthem. He thinks the original lyrics, written in 1898 by Julian Felipe (“Aming ligaya na pag may mangaapi, ang mamatay nang dahil sa iyo”) is defeatist. Instead he has proposed the lines, “...ang ipaglaban ang kalayaan mo.”

Happiness is a Filipino

With all of the bad news coming out of Manila, like typhoons, runaway inflation and Duterte lawyer Salvador Panelo, I felt a need to inject some happy thoughts into the prevailing atmosphere. So I went through my Happiness File (I have all kinds of files) and found the following gem: Happiness is a Filipino.

Go home and plant kamote

IN grade school in Tacloban, Leyte, what we pupils dreaded most was to be told by the teachers, “Bobo…better go home and plant kamote!

His loyalty to party ended where loyalty to country began

IN DEATH Sen. John McCain was honored by colleagues whom he disagreed with, even fought with and who considered him a disloyal maverick during his long tenure as a politician.

You seldom suffer alone

IF anyone were to tell a foreigner that the Philippines is a poor country and Filipinos can hardly afford three meals a day, he’d never believe it if he were to see the eating and drinking places in Manila. They are all full.

Filipinos on cruise ships

On a visit to Baguio a few months ago, the hotel we stayed had several young people working at the front desk, in the restaurant, and as bell hops. What struck me was the fact that they were all working for free.

The problem with federalism — It’s the politicians, stupid!

IF the structure of the Philippine government is supposed to have been patterned after that of the United States, why wasn’t the federal system of America also applied to the Philippines?

How two presidents handle accusations

Presidents Donald Trump and Rodrigo Duterte have both been accused of criminal behavior, the former for allegedly obstructing justice and colluding with a foreign arch enemy, and the latter for allegedly enriching himself in office. But how each one has handled the accusations provides insights into the way justice is dispensed in the United States and in the Philippines.

Where does loyalty to country begin?

One of President Manuel L. Quezon’s immortal quotables was, “My loyalty to my party ends where my loyalty to my country begins.” Sadly, both in the Philippines and in the United States, these are “famous lost words” — lost in the struggle for political survival.

Are the Philippines and the US DUI?

DUI is a dreaded term among vehicle drivers in the US. It means Driving Under the Influence of alcohol or drugs.

Revisiting Baguio City

Baguio City is one of the genuine tourism treasures of the Philippines. But for those of us who haven’t been to the City of Pines for years (especially those living overseas), the horror stories told about Baguio are enough to discourage any plans to make a trip.

Iglesia ni Duterte

It should now be clear to those who have to deal with him that President Rodrigo Duterte is not inclined to listen to anybody but himself. Even his own daughter, Mayor Sara Duterte of Davao City has advised people not to pay too much attention to what her father says about religion and God.

Would Duterte dare to insult Islam?

President Rodrigo Duterte’s rantings against the Catholic Church and against God Himself, calling the Lord “stupid” for creating imperfect creatures in Adam and Eve and the snake (and, by extension, all mankind) may be forgivable if one considers his own tacit admission that he himself is imperfect, thus his kanto boy logic.

Trump declares war on allies, befriends foes

President Donald Trump has been all praise for North Korea’s Kim Jong Un and has yet to say anything negative about Russia’s Vladimir Putin. On the other hand, Trump was the classic contrarian in the recently concluded G7 Summit in Canada and he has engaged in a war of words with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Trump and Nixon: A case of déjà vu?

On Feb. 21, 1972, President Richard Nixon made a historic trip to China, thus reestablishing ties with the Communist regime -- ties that had been broken since Mao Tse-tung and his forces took over the Chinese mainland in 1949.

Passport racket at the DFA

Remember the classic retort of a mid-level government appointee of then newly installed President Joseph “Erap” Estrada when asked why he was engaging in graft so early in the administration’s tenure?

The Art of the Lie

On CNN, the other day, one of the hosts suggested that a good sequel for President Donald Trump’s book, The Art of the Deal, should be entitled, The Art of the Lie.

Global browning

The wedding of Prince Harry and bi-racial TV star, Meghan Markle, is a milestone in race relations as significant as the assumption of the...

It’s more funds in the Philippines

The Tourism Secretary is gone. Long live the new Tourism Secretary. She is Bernadette Romulo-Puyat. Puyat is as qualified as any that the Philippine...

All Kuwait on the Middle Eastern Front

No, this is not a new movie version of Erich Maria Remarque’s classic, All Quiet on the Western Front. It is an unsolicited suggestion...

Manila’s billboard jungle

My friend Greg Garcia, who is a bona fide advertising guru, has a piece of advice for the ad agencies and advertisers responsible for...

Lighting a candle in Duterte’s darkness

Several years ago, then-Speaker Jose de Venecia spoke before the Filipino community at the Philippine Consulate in San Francisco. Expectedly, he gave a glowing...

How Duterte compares with Trump on dictatorial tendencies

I came upon a very interesting article in Foreign Policy Magazine written by Stephen M. Walt, a professor of international relations at Harvard University,...

On serving and dying for one’s country

Last Saturday, April 7, over two dozen surviving Filipino World War II veterans and the next of kin of those who had passed away...

Eddie Garcia should be a National Artist for Film

To be inducted into the Order of the National Artists of the Philippines (Pambansang Alagad ng Sining ng Pilipinas) is, doubtless, the apex of...

Unwitting Zuckers of Zuckerberg’s Facebook

George Orwell’s omnipresent Big Brother, which he predicted in his book, Nineteen Eighty-Four, written in 1949, may have already become a reality. And we...

Boracay is just the tip of the garbage dump

I’m one of the few who have never been to Boracay, so I won’t know what I will be missing if President Rodrigo R....

If Trump were President of the Philippines

At my favorite watering hole in Daly City, the guys are discussing the travails of President Donald Trump, some with sympathy, most with derision....

Fighting fake news with fake news

Communications Secretary Martin Andanar recently announced the launching of a satellite network, ostensibly to deliver the news directly to the far-flung barangays. The objective:...

The Wild, Wild West Wing

The West Wing of the White House is where the office of the president of the United States is located, along with other executive...

The travails of a presidential spokesperson

In a moment of pique, I recently posted on social media that I always thought Harry Roque, spokesman of President Rodrigo Duterte, was “marunong”...

US Congressional gold medal for Filipino WWII veterans

On April 7 at the historic Presidio in San Francisco, surviving Filipino World War II veterans or their next of kin living in Northern...

Squid tactics

Two parallel issues (call them controversies or scandals -- your choice) involving the occupants of the White House and Malacañang have been hogging the...

Muzzling the media

The shutdown of online media outfit, Rappler, reminds me of a sequence in the film, Walking Tall, the biopic about Tennessee Sheriff Buford Pusser....

Holding the citizenry hostage

As I write this, President Donald Trump has just signed a bill representing a continuing resolution that would end the shutdown of the US...

Are Filipinos racists like Trump?

According to critics, President Donald Trump is not just a racist, he is also a barefaced liar and a coward who doesn’t have the...

Mababaw ang kaligayahan

Mababaw ang kaligayahan loosely means easy to please. The recent Pulse Asia performance and trust ratings of President Rodrigo Duterte, which remain impressively high,...

Suggested New Year’s Resolutions

The election of President Rodrigo Duterte raised hopes of a clean, corruption-free government that was also progressive and dynamic (unlike the passive and pass-the-buck...

An opportunity to modernize Parañaque

If EDSA has become known as “carmageddon” (or the Armageddon of cars) because of the horrible traffic, Sucat Road aka as Dr. A. Santos...

Of pushers, politicians, and presidents

A few weeks ago, I posted on Facebook two anti-drug abuse ads that I created back in 1972. The headline of one read, “Is...

Preempting a looming power crisis

It is said that if hindsight is a perfect science, that makes scientists of our country’s national leaders and bureaucrats. In administration after administration,...

The browning of America

Advertising is one indicator of changes in lifestyle, social mores, fashion, and language. One such development that has become apparent in US television commercials...