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Defense buildup

As far back as 1991, I was vocal about investing in our defense should the government decide to let go of the US bases on account of a provision in the 1987 Constitution mandating “no foreign troops on Philippine soil.” Up to that point the US was our defense shield, and if we were to give it up then we would have to be responsible for the country’s defense.

Will they remain astride the tiger?

When Social Welfare Secretary Judy Taguiwalo sent to Congress a position paper opposing an administration proposal to lower the minimum age of criminal liability, Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez said that Cabinet members who do not agree with the President’s policies or directives must resign. He said, “I just reminded the secretaries that they are the alter ego of the President. Now, if they don’t agree with the President, they might as well tender their resignation. Because as Cabinet secretaries, you cannot contradict the views of the President,”

Whole-of-nation

WHEN government and society come together to address a national problem, the “whole-of-nation” principle is at work. It epitomizes national unity, solidarity, and teamwork. This is what Rotary Club of Manila’s (RCM) “One Rotary, One Philippines, One for Marawi” attempts to do — harnessing private sector companies and civic groups to partner with government agencies to address humanitarian assistance needs of people impacted by armed conflict and natural disasters.

Gloria Arroyo, master of Machiavellian politics

Ms. Gloria Arroyo said she has never entertained the idea even if she is in her last 11 months as representative of Pampanga’s second district.

National Security Strategy 2018

The government recently published a National Security Strategy (NSS) for the first time, prepared by the Office of the National Security Adviser (NSA) Hermogenes Esperon and quarterbacked by Undersecretary Vic Agdamag. President Rodrigo Duterte signed the document on May 16, which outlines the administration’s plans for a “secure, peaceful, modern, and prosperous Philippines.

President Duterte failed to do the impossible: end contractualization and ‘endo’

As this is being written (hours before the State of the Nation Address), a massive protest rally is being mounted to denounce President Rodrigo Duterte for failing to fulfill his campaign promise to put an end to contractualization and “endo.”

Kwentas klaras

Am I for Federalism? My answer is a qualified yes if it meets certain preconditions. No partisan color here, just a citizen’s assessment of what is best for the country given our present circumstances from over half a century of observation and experience.

Not quite the right laban

Laban Gilas Pilipinas! Puso! That is the fighting motto of the Philippine basketball team. Though the odds be great or small, but with heart so strong, Gilas Pilipinas will fight to win over all.

The South China Sea game

Panos Mourdoukoutas, a contributor to Forbes magazine, wrote a commentary entitled “China will lose the South China Sea game.” Let me quote him verbatim in the succeeding paragraphs.

Jose Rizal’s warnings

The many feature articles that appeared in various publications last week in commemoration of Jose Rizal’s 157th birth anniversary brought to mind the series of articles he wrote in La Solidaridad from 1889 to 1890 on the Philippines 100 years from then. We quote passages from the articles which have significance to our times.

One more bucket list item accomplished

Ten years ago, my family took our first ever cruise to celebrate three milestones: my 38th wedding anniversary, 60th birthday and my youngest daughter’s 28th birthday. We chose Alaska via Vancouver (first time for all of us) and, on our return spent a week in Whistler, a skier’s destination, before returning home. Not sure now if we flew PAL or Cathay Pacific, but our cruise line was Royal Caribbean.

The DOM kiss

Many condemned President Rodrigo Duterte kissing an ordinary Filipina worker in Seoul as a power play ­­ -- the President taking advantage of his position to overwhelm the married woman to kiss him on the lips. Others say the issue is the crowd’s reaction to the “unpresidential” behavior -- the adoring Filipinos cheering vigorously their President flirting with women.

Honor among hoodlums?

It is interesting to note that at the necrological services for former Senate President Edgardo Angara, Joseph Estrada and Gloria Arroyo, in whose presidencies...

Marawi one year ago and after

Tomorrow, May 23, is the first anniversary of the Marawi siege. The battle began when Islamic State loyalists, the Maute group, supported by terrorists...

Rule of law or rule of tainted judges?

Referring to the granting of the quo warranto petition that led to the ouster of Maria Lourdes Sereno as chief justice, Presidential Spokesperson Harry...

Economic ‘invasion’ — boon and bane?

In its May 4 report, Bloomberg news revealed that in Metro Manila’s main financial district and its fringes, signs of new inhabitants are everywhere. “Around...

How about Labor Day on a different date?

Today is Labor Day in the Philippines as it is in many countries. Labor Day is synonymous with, or linked with International Workers’ Day,...

Transforming our political culture and mind-set

The political season is upon us. This May we will hold our barangay and SK elections. Next May, the mid-term elections will be for...

Loyalty to country prevails over loyalty to the powers that be

The recent departure of Vitaliano Aguirre from the Duterte Cabinet brings to mind what I wrote a year ago. I wrote on April 18...

What do we do?

For those who know the drill, disaster response consists of a series of deliberately taken steps -- awareness, mitigation, preparation, response, management, relief-rehabilitation, and...

Executive privilege shields President Duterte from inquiries

Joel Ruiz Butuyan wrote in his Inquirer column of March 5: “Malacañang has not explained what the Philippines stands to gain in the President’s...

Security concerns

Last week, I was drawn to various conferences that swirled around unending security issues. I’ll share some of the more important ones and try...

Corona and Sereno impeachments not the same

Many pundits liken the impeachment of Maria Lourdes Sereno to the impeachment of Renato Corona. Except for the fact that the respondent in the...

Dynasty

Just exactly do we mean when we talk about dynasties? Far from what we read in myths and legends, and see in the movies,...

The promise of change always turns into restoration and preservation

“For one brief shining moment Filipinos from all walks of life set aside their walls of division and came together for a common purpose...

The unfinished revolution

So here we are, 32 years later after those four fateful days in February 1986 that began as a revolt and then morphed into...

Senate hearing on PCSO: bizarre and intriguing

In response to Senator Leila de Lima’s resolution calling for an inquiry in aid of legislation into how government agencies can perform their mandate...

TRAIN ride or wreck?

On Dec. 19, 2017, President Duterte signed the Tax Reformation for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) bill into law, branded as the first tax reform...

Gordon and Faeldon in power play

Senator Richard Gordon and Former Customs commissioner Nicanor Faeldon engaged in power play during the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee hearing on alleged corruption in...

Our EEZ is 360 degrees

Scarborough Shoal (also known as Bajo de Masinloc, Panatag, Panacot), Benham Rise (now Philippine Rise) and the Celebes Sea have been making the news...

‘The lady doth protest too much, methinks.’

The line above is from William Shakespeare’s play Hamlet where Hamlet’s mother says it in reference to the protestation of a lady that she...

The exceptional Mayo Lopez

“Epiphany” has taken on a new meaning for me. Previously, it was about the 3 Kings or 3 wise men who went to see...

My hope for 2018: PNP adopts the Marc Anthony Fernandez protocol

Before the year 2017 ended, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said the Duterte administration will apply the lessons learned from previous experience to make the...

Year of the Earth Dog

Happy New Year! It only seemed like yesterday when we were greeting 2017. Where did time go? Why does it feel like we’re on...

The resident jesters of the Court of DU 30 made us...

In the spirit of Christmas I will engulf you with the twisted yet funny web of comedic utterances of the resident jesters of DU...

Understanding independent foreign policy

Last week, I was invited by the AFP’s Office of Strategic Studies and Strategy Management, the National Defense College of the Philippines and the...

Representative Rey Umali shows bias in Sereno impeachment hearing

I was extremely surprised at the appointment of Maria Lourdes Sereno to the Supreme Court by President Benigno S. C. Aquino III in 2010....

Revolutionary government a headache

In a speech before an anti-corruption summit in Pasay City last week, President Rodrigo Duterte said that establishing a revolutionary government at this time...

Cost and Benefits of hosting ASEAN 50

Every Filipino, as a citizen of Southeast Asia, is foreseen to benefit from ASEAN 2017, from each of the following six thematic priorities under...

Will there be a Philippine Basketball Association Season 43?

In view of the presence of 21 heads of state in the country, I will refrain from commenting on any sensitive issue pertaining to...

How is ASEAN Integration coming along?

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) was founded on Aug. 8, 1967 by Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand. Since then, its...

For meritorious work or bounty?

The Philippine National Police Peace & Order Agenda for Transformation and Upholding the Rule of Law (P.A.T.R.O.L. Plan) is designed to transform the PNP...

One Rotary, One Philippines, One for Marawi

In early July, Jackie Rodriguez joined me on a fact-finding mission for the Rotary Club of Manila (RCM) to determine the humanitarian assistance gaps...

Is the survey on the performance of government institutions meaningful?

The Third Quarter 2017 survey done by Social Weather Stations (SWS) a month ago (Sept. 23-27) found 62% satisfied and 17% dissatisfied with the...

Why we are where we are

(Part 1) “In an ever-changing, incomprehensible world the masses had reached the point where they would, at the same time, believe everything and nothing, think...