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At the Libingan on All Saints Day, a widow and her daughter prayed before the plain white cross that marked the grave of a young officer, who more than four decades ago was killed in action in Jolo, at the height of the Mindanao war over the dictator Marcos’s inconsistent strategies for peace. There are few officers like him, the widow’s best friend, a general’s wife, once told her. Surely without malice, she added: it might as well be that your husband died early; who knows what he might have become, had he lived some years more?
There was already a third telecommunications company “telco” to the Globe Telecom and Smart Telecom “duopoly.” In August 2010, San Miguel Corp. (SMC) bought Bell Telecommunications Philippines, Inc. (BellTel) and set up Vega Telecoms, to challenge the emerging duopoly of Globe and Smart (philstar.com, Aug. 17, 2010).
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity...some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.” -- A Tale of Two Cities (1859) by Charles Dickens
Changes by man to survive and improve himself and his environment are recorded in history as Civilization. In the 4.54 ± 0.05 billion years of the earth’s estimated existence, spontaneous changes in nature and intervening changes by the biblical “all creatures big and small” developed interdependencies that bonded groups and communities with similar ways and common concerns. In their “ecosystems” or close environment, all co-evolve in competition and collaboration on available resources, and the joint adaptation to external disruptions.
Never Again! It has been branded in the hearts of those who experienced martial law that never again should Filipinos have to bear the killings, torture, plunder and other transgressions of human rights by a dictator and his politicized military. And the younger generations must know about these, and know all in truth -- not in the revisionist telling of inveterate liars, who have benefitted from martial law, changed loyalties to succeeding democratic leaders, and are now changing coats again, back to dictator-type governance.
At last Wednesday’s forum at the University of the Philippines BGC, “Understanding Federalism and its Implications (Part Two), two of the most knowledgeable speakers on Federalism, Dr. Ronald U. Mendoza, Dean, Ateneo School of Government, and Atty. Florin T. Hilbay, Associate Professor, University of the Philippines (UP) College of Law, lectured to members and guests of the sponsors: the Institute of Corporate Directors (ICD), with the Financial Executives Institute of the Philippines (FINEX) and Judicial Reform Initiative (JRI).
“Name me one person that was arrested because of political or religious belief during that period. None. Name me one person that was arrested simply because he criticized President Marcos. None,” former Senate President Juan “Johnny” Ponce Enrile told former Senator Bongbong Marcos, the only son of ousted dictator Ferdinand Marcos (philstar.com Sept. 21, 2018)
When the inflation rate of 6.4% for August was finally announced by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) last week, there was a storm of fears that lashed stronger than the most powerful typhoon of the season (Signal No. 4), “Ompong” that trashed northern Philippines and rained heavily the whole weekend on the rest of Luzon.
Mang Pedro, temporary construction helper, married, father of three, could not even afford the P38-lunch sold on the sidewalk. He squatted in a corner, away from the other workers boisterously competing for the bigger slices and the more generous-looking rice portions of Aling Rosa’s food. He carefully opened his “baon” (packed lunch). It was plain boiled white rice — but twice the quantity of Aling Rosa’s serving. No viand. Over the rice, he squeezed the ketchup from the frayed foil packet that he picked up from a fast food outlet.
SYNTAX and grammar insinuate that “move on” is a verb in the imperative mood (a command), which is why there is a frightening ocean of meaning that separates the speaker from the spoken-to, by the very utterance of this. “Move on” is best just a resolution to be whispered to oneself as one would acknowledge one’s own wrong choices or actions, and plan what to do next. But it is an arrogant breach of personal boundaries when someone else tells another to “Move on,” especially if that other has been the victim of that someone who has caused pain and loss. It is the brutal last kick in the dust. It reeks too much of the despotic commands of oppressive martial law.
Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III met with some members of the Consultative Commission (ConCom) on the government’s proposed change to federalism. He asked, “Who is going to pay for the national debt? Who is going to pay for the military? Who is going to pay for the [Department of Foreign Affairs] and the central bank? I mean if it needs additional capital, who is going to put it up?” (philstar.com Aug. 7, 2018). And the ConCom’s response was, “the sharing with the local governments or the states will be after those expenses” (Ibid.).
President Rodrigo Duterte at his third State of the Nation Address (SONA) on July 23 urged lawmakers to pass Package 2 of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) law, while firmly saying no to proposals to reverse TRAIN Package 1 amid the high inflation rate recorded for the country this year (philstar.com July 26, 2018).
President Rodrigo Duterte’s third State of the Nation Address (SONA) was so boringly bereft of his usual colorful language and blitzkrieg declarations, but not at all uneventful. In the hour-and-a-half waiting for the SONA, Filipinos were watching live, the daring coup on the House floor that ousted House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez and instantly installed Gloria Arroyo as the new House Speaker by 184 votes and 12 abstentions (philstar.com July 23, 2018).
It was the first-ever formal one-on-one summit between a US President, Donald Trump, and the Russian President, Vladimir Putin, held July 16 in Helsinki. At the joint news conference afterward, the final question from the US went to Jonathan Lemire from the AP (www.washingtonpost.com, July 16, 2018, transcript courtesy of Bloomberg Government):
Is there an Imperial Manila? It sounds traitorous to call Manila “Imperial,” as if Manila were not Filipino but a state apart, like the foreign imperial colonizers that Filipinos -- united as a people -- fought against to win independence and recognition as one country and one nation.
How can President Rodrigo Duterte announce to his country and his people (and to world investors and creditors) that, “Now. The economy is in the doldrums. Actually -- now.” (Philippine Daily Inquirer [PDI] June 24, 2018) He then rants on his version of economic dynamics: “Interest rates are picking up, are getting high so it destroys the present (economic gains)...you raise your (interest rate), our (peso value) goes down, theoretically...” Mr. Duterte said at a speech at the SMX Center Communications Summit 2018 (Ibid.).
“There is one thing that is common to every individual, relationship, team, family, organization, nation, economy, and civilization throughout the world -- one thing which, if removed, will destroy the most powerful government, the most successful business, the most thriving economy, the most influential leadership, the greatest friendship, the strongest character, the deepest love. On the other hand, if developed and leveraged, that one thing has the potential to create unparalleled success and prosperity in every dimension of life. Yet, it is the least understood, most neglected, and most underestimated possibility of our time. That one thing is trust.” -- Stephen M.R. Covey The Speed of Trust: The One Thing that Changes Everything (2008).
“Where can I place my P100,000 funds?” What are the investment options for a risk-averse widow, in this time of rising inflation? “Since you do not trust equities or corporate bonds, and not even the managed pooled funds, perhaps the only easily withdrawable and guaranteed (insured) placement would be a time deposit in our bank,” the account officer sheepishly offered. “And how much interest will the bank pay me?” The account officer was definitely embarrassed to say, “0.88%, Ma’am, or P704 net of 20% final withholding tax, for 360 days.”
“Kiss muna,” he said, pointing to his puckered lips. “Give me a kiss first” and the many similar sexual innuendoes like it, are a most precise and succinct precondition that a lecherous man in a position of ascendancy and superior power and influence would lay on a woman depending on some outcome beneficial to her, through his beneficence.
There is no clear and commonly used definition, no settled common denominator of “federalism,” according to Dr. Anna Gamper (Associate Professor, University of Innsbruck)....