2021 Postscripts

December 2021

SIX Filipino diplomats in Baghdad agreed at the height of the ISIS rampage in Iraq in 2015 that in defending the embassy in the besieged capital they would rather die fighting, or even commit suicide, than be captured alive and publicly executed by the marauding jihadists. [Read More]

IN HIS Christmas greetings, Pope Francis said: “Christmas is usually a noisy party: we could use a bit of silence, to hear the voice of Love.

“Christmas is you, when you decide to be born again each day and let God into your soul. [Read More]

AS the year 2021 that is about to end has not been easy for most of us, we pray for discernment and courage as we prepare to elect in May 2022 another president, a vice president, a dozen senators, a full House of Representatives, among other officials. [Read More]

PRESIDENT Duterte may want to invite all presidential aspirants to a “Noche Buena” on Christmas Eve and try to convince them that at this point in his life he just wants to see fair and honest national elections in May 2022 as his political legacy. [Read More]

SUPER typhoon “Odette” (aka “Rai” internationally) exited Saturday, leaving at least 375 people dead, after knocking down power and communications lines, flooding communities, and destroying crops, houses and other structures worth billions of pesos. [Read More]

WE have not heard of anybody seriously challenging the claim that the Philippines has the longest Christmas season on the planet.

Christmas in these 7,100-plus islands (keep count before the neighborhood bully grabs some more of them) makes a soft entrance in the first few days of the “ber” months, starting in September, when radio stations begin airing the carols to set a Christmassy mood. [Read More]

ONE test of the presidency is that of endurance. Now running on his sixth year in office, President Duterte is showing signs of fatigue, of wear and tear. The 76-year-old “mayor” does not only look worn-out, but also a bit confused. [Read More]

MOST Filipinos who watched the video of the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony in Oslo last Friday may have focused, understandably, on Rappler CEO Maria Ressa’s speech, and missed the lecture of David Beasley, executive director of the United Nations World Food Program (Nobel Peace Prize laureate 2020). [Read More]

WE stand in solidarity with Rappler CEO Maria Ressa speaking in Oslo, Norway, as “representative of every journalist who is forced to sacrifice so much to hold the line, to stay true to our values and mission to bring (you) the truth and hold power to account.” [Read More]

JOINING a US-organized “Summit for Democracy” that starts today, President Duterte gains an opportunity to explain incidentally to the watching world the human rights violations and official corruption allegedly committed during his watch. Will he? [Read More]

Director-General Karl Kendrick Chua of the National Economic and Development Authority proposed on Wednesday that the tracking and treating of COVID-19 cases follow new metrics and methods that do not scare people, strain resources, or stifle productive activity. [Read More]
FILIPINO marines posted on the decrepit BRP Sierra Madre grounded at Ayungin Shoal west of Palawan will have to endure more harassment by the Chinese coast guard intent on driving them away – unless President Duterte acts quickly to protect “my (his) soldiers”. [Read More]
THE United States better be ready for possible support action in the disputed Ayungin shoal now that the Philippine military has announced plans to “improve the living conditions” of the marines posted on the decrepit BRP Sierra Madre grounded there. [Read More]

November 2021

IT is too late for President Duterte to expect China to withdraw its belligerent presence at Ayungin shoal and other strategic areas in Philippine waters with his reading a new script for applying the rule of law to minimize untoward incidents between neighbors. [Read More]

IT must have been a heady brew of “KaPe” that the Marcoses served the country’s top dynasts to gain their support of the presidential run of ex-senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. in next year’s May elections. [Read More]

WOULD it not be almost perfect after the day’s labor, or a night of clean fun, to just board your FSD (full self-driving) car, push a button, and your computerized chariot takes you home while you nap at the back? [Read More]

WE, the sovereign Filipino people, must lay down basic enforceable requirements for those who presume to solicit our votes in the May 2022 national elections. [Read More]

WHEN three Chinese Coast Guard vessels blocked and fired water cannons on two Philippine boats delivering supplies Tuesday to a marine outpost on Ayungin shoal off Palawan, President Duterte should have jumped to call China President Xi Jinping. [Read More]

THE Senate looms as the likely post-election rallying ground of the Marcos–Duterte forces campaigning under different banners to capture key government positions in the May 2022 national polls. [Read More]

A SURVEY on presidential preferences conducted by the Social Weather Stations Oct. 20-23 showed ex-senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. on top with 47 percent of respondents, followed by Vice President Leni Robredo with 18 percent and Manila Mayor Isko Moreno with 13 percent. [Read More]

The guessing game is over. Former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. will continue his quest for the presidency as standard-bearer of the Partido Federal Pilipino, with the party adopting Davao Mayor Sara Duterte as his vice presidential mate for the 2022 national elections. [Read More]

THE withdrawal by Davao Mayor Sara Duterte of her reelection bid to aim higher was widely expected, but when she announced it Tuesday on social media it still sent viral waves stirring up the political pandemia afflicting the country. [Read More]

The raging debate on the legal effects on the presidential run of Ferdinand Marcos Jr. of his violations of the 1977 Tax Code is likely to spread from the Commission on Elections to the Supreme Court and disturb preparations for the 2022 national elections. [Read More]

CHATTING with a friend the other day via Viber, I asked, “Have you had your booster?” as an opening for my sharing the news about my having had my third (booster) Pfizer shot the other Saturday. [Read More]

THE PETITION filed Tuesday by civic leaders to disqualify Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. from running for president in the 2022 national elections will not prosper. It might even cast the late dictator’s son as an underdog, which could favor him. [Read More]

It’s Sunday today, dear brethren, and it may be a good day as any to talk about sin in general and the alleged sinfulness of selling our election vote in particular.

The debate on sin has been raging for ages since poor Eve reportedly accepted an apple or some sweet inducement in exchange for her vote for the excitement of Knowledge versus the bliss of Innocence. The rest, as lazy storytellers would say, is history. [Read More]

October 2021

AS public dissatisfaction with President Duterte’s running of the government continued to drop going to the May 2022 national elections, his own party leaders’ estimate of his political value at the polls seems to slide to that of a senatorial wannabe. [Read More]

WHEN we needed an excuse for our slow vaccination rollout, we whined that the wealthy nations had been cornering the COVID-19 vaccine supply, depriving the less progressive countries, including the Philippines, of their equitable share of the serum. [Read More]

LIKE stars straying from their ordained niches in the heavens, Sara Duterte and Bongbong Marcos appeared Friday for a meeting in Cebu City, and political observers stopped breathing momentarily to hear more clearly what the duo were saying. [Read More]

THE SENATE that will emerge after the 2022 national elections may just start looking like a parliamentary patchwork of scattered loyalties arising from the overlapping of some of the nominees of rival parties and coalitions. [Read More]

FILIPINOS must be told more details of the bargain sale of Malampaya shares to Udenna Corp. and the graft charges filed against Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi, Udenna chair Dennis Uy and 24 others over the transaction where the government reportedly lost at least P138 billion. [Read More]

SOME people are asking why the political opposition has put together an election campaign ticket that brings together a confusing multi-party mix of senatorial candidates of divergent orientations. [Read More]

PHILIPPINE officials conveyed on Wednesday to the New York City Police Commissioner the concern of Filipinos over the spate of anti-Asian hate crimes and street violence that has resulted in the death the other Friday of Filipino nurse Maria Luningning Ambrocio. [Read More]

ELECTRONIC campaigning in the May 2022 national elections is likely to be intensified from internet platforms as well as on radio-TV programs as COVID-19 protocols have restricted mass gatherings and close contact between voters and candidates. [Read More]

I FIND it awkward commenting critically on the output of fellow newspapermen, except when they are working under my administrative direction.

This was my frame of mind on Sunday when I congratulated Maria Ressa, Rappler CEO, who won the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize together with Russian editor Dmitry Muratov, for helping guard press freedom as a precondition for democracy and world peace. [Read More]

Congratulations to Rappler’s CEO Maria Ressa, who won the Nobel Peace Prize for 2021 together with Russian editor Dmitry Muratov for their dedicated work in safeguarding “freedom of expression, which is a precondition for democracy and lasting peace.” [Read More]

The Philippine Bar Association, the oldest national organization of lawyers established in 1891, has expressed grave concern over recent orders of President Duterte that in effect obstruct the Senate inquiry into transactions related to the government response to the pandemic. [Read More]

PRESIDENT Duterte, not the foreign secretary, lays down policy on how the Philippines is to deal with other nations, but it would be more reassuring to hear the two officials speak with one voice on the same topic at different times. [Read More]

THE EARLY bird, they say, catches the worm. In a national election, which is a political variant of a hunger game, we can turn that line around to say that the early worm ends up being eaten by the bird. [Read More]

September 2021

TODAY is the deadline for submitting to the Commission on Elections the lists of authorized signatories with specimen signatures of all political parties and coalitions participating in the May 2022 national elections. [Read More]

FILIPINOS whose entry into the United States had been hamstrung by their having been inoculated with Chinese COVID-19 vaccines that are not recognized by US authorities may soon gain entry with the easing of vaccination requirements. [Read More]

WE smell something rotten when our President would rather defend foreign dealers of overpriced equipment and supplies needed to contain the pandemic than take up the cudgels for fellow Filipinos reeling from the onslaught of the COVID-19 virus. [Read More]

IT might surprise most people to know that the substitution of candidates in the May 2022 national elections who have died or have been disqualified by final judgment is allowed until noon of Election Day itself while the voting is already ongoing. [Read More]

A WAY must be found fast to prevent the possible disenfranchisement of at least 180,000 voters who could test positive for COVID-19 on Election Day next year, plus a similarly large number who would likely stay away from polling centers for fear of contamination. [Read More]

DON’T throw away your COVID-19 plastic face shield even when it has grown foggy and grimy with use. Keep it.

The face shield you are required to wear on top of a fabric face mask is the proof and reminder that the leeches feeding off this emaciated country never stop looking for a chance to suck more bloody millions from us hapless victims of the pandemic. [Read More]

IT MIGHT be better to campaign for presidential spokesman Harry Roque’s membership in the International Law Commission in Geneva than to endure his continued presence here and give him a chance to grab a seat in the Senate. [Read More]

THREE Catholic archbishops in Northern Luzon rallied their flock in a pastoral letter over the weekend to take up their “moral duty to resist and correct the culture of murder and plunder” permeating society. [Read More]

AFTER a high-visibility drive and her topping a survey of potential candidates for president, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte Carpio circled back Thursday and announced she was not running for president or any national office. [Read More]

PAGING the political Opposition. Is it still competing in the May 2022 national elections?

Filing of certificates of candidacy for the 2022 polls begins in just three weeks, but it seems that opposition members are still deciding who they are, what they stand for, and who their candidates are for president, vice president, 12 senators, and other positions down the line! [Read More]

THE Philippine Red Cross has been given a key role under the Omnibus Election Code in preventing the possible use of calamity or emergency funds to boost the winning chances of administration candidates. [Read More]

THERE is not just a whiff, which is President Duterte’s supposed trigger to take corrective action, but an overpowering stench filling the air with hints of big-time corruption that could trip him before he steps down at noon of June 30 next year. [Read More]

PRESIDENT Duterte threw down the gauntlet Monday as if to say “He who is without sin, let him first cast a stone” to the growing crowd of critics raising questions over his managing of government responses to the COVID-19 pandemic. [Read More]

August 2021

THERE must be a simple way to compel officials seeking election to a government post to make public their sworn Statements of Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth (SALNs) for the two years prior to their filing of certificates of candidacy. [Read More]

SHUFFLING the cards of late, we still see Bongbong Marcos coming out as a logical candidate for president paired with a Duterte for vice president in the May 2022 national elections.

We end up with this powerful, albeit hypothetical, combination probably because we start from the arbitrary assumption that Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., turning 64 in two weeks, must run for president next year. [Read More]

THERE is a need this early to make crystal clear, at least for the benefit of us non-lawyers, if the election to the office of Vice President confers on the winning candidate the same immunity from lawsuit traditionally enjoyed by the President. [Read More]

WAS the defeat of Manny Pacquiao in the hands of Yordenis Ugas in their 12-rounder last Saturday the closing canto of PacMan’s legendary domination of several weight divisions in the boxing world and some political initiatives in the Philippines? [Read More]

RETURN to your seats and fasten your seatbelts! The evacuation flight piloted by Digong Duterte is passing through a turbulent area!

The turbulence appears to be caused by cross-currents that the pilot had stirred when he chose to fly through bad political weather while in full control of the aircraft, passengers and all, loaded with billions of pesos intended to be used to ride out a raging pandemic on the ground. [Read More]

IT SAYS in the news that the House committee on population and family relations has approved the bill seeking to allow the voiding of a marital union and permit the divorced spouses to remarry. [Read More]

POLICEMEN and barangay tanods deployed in the streets to stop COVID-19 infection have not captured a single Delta variant, much less slapped the veerus as President Duterte once threatened to do, and here comes another variant, the Lambda, to add to the scary scenario. [Read More]

OVERSEAS Filipino Workers trapped in Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan being encircled by Taliban insurgents, will be flown out to safety before the end of this month, the Philippine embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan, assured the OFWs this week. [Read More]

FILIPINOS who used to work with American contracting firms in Afghanistan were among those forced to flee the embattled country as Taliban fighters continued to attack and take over areas left vulnerable with the withdrawal of the US military. [Read More]

LOOKING for something positive, we spotted this claim on the front page that the Duterte administration has restored by its deft diplomatic handling the balance of power in the Asia-Pacific region! [Read More]

WE were muttering how cruel it was – as we watched videos of people flocking at dawn Thursday to COVID-19 vaccination centers in the nation’s capital to get a quick jab, only for many to be turned away because there were not enough vaccines. [Read More]

IT TOOK the super-contagious Delta variant to scare Filipinos out of their early hesitancy to get vaccinated against COVID-19, especially when the only serum being offered to them was the Sinovac made in China. [Read More]

WITH the coterie of President Duterte calling him the architect of Philippine foreign policy and the nation’s sole spokesman in foreign relations, he seems to have started to believe it! [Read More]

THE acid test of Hidilyn Diaz’s Olympic gold medal is not so much in how she maintains her grip on the 55 kg weightlifting class that she now rules as in what we all do together to insulate her rare gift to the nation from being tarnished by politics. [Read More]

July 2021

SECURITY discussions will shift to high gear this week between the Philippines and the United States as the allies enter a sensitive stage in the relationship of President Duterte who is about to end his term and President Biden who has just begun his. [Read More]

THE TRUE state of the nation is not in the speeches of politicians clinging to their positions of power and privilege. Neither is it in the pretty picture painted by their propagandists. The state of the nation, reflected in our families’ situation, is the sum of what we see and feel around us. [Read More]

IF President Duterte runs for vice president in the May 2022 elections as he has said often enough, he will likely have former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos as his presidential partner. [Read More]

WITH less than a year left of his term, President Duterte is pressing the United States and China to compete for his favor as the two powers fight for ascendancy in the Indo-Pacific region that has become a flashpoint for possible hostilities. [Read More]

PRESIDENT Duterte admitted Saturday that he wanted to run for vice president in the May 2022 national elections so as to continue enjoying immunity from prosecution by political foes and by victims of human rights abuses committed under his watch. [Read More]

THE post-EDSA 1986 political showdown that I often dream of is a one-on-one electoral duel where the main antagonists are the presidential candidates representing the Marcos and the Aquino families. [Read More]

TO the surprise of public health experts, asthma attacks appear to have dropped significantly in many places hit by the pandemic, contrary to the conventional wisdom that asthma and COVID-19 will feed or exacerbate each other as they target the same respiratory system. [Read More]

OVERSEAS Filipino Workers in Saudi Arabia are caught in the middle of the Philippine-Saudi haggling over the allocation of a dwindling number of flights between the two countries adjusting to the pressure of restricted travel during the pandemic. [Read More]

A FIGHT for ascendancy in the ruling PDP-Laban party has set back its search for a presidential candidate to run with President Duterte who is seeking the lower position of vice president in the May 2022 national elections. [Read More]

DEFENSE and military officials may want to refrain from making preemptive conclusions on why a C-130 Hercules transport plane crashed and burned Sunday in a failed landing in Sulu with a full load of troops for deployment in terrorist-infested Southern Mindanao. [Read More]

AS we look forward to flying again as soon as Covid-19 restrictions are eased by nations recovering from the pandemic, we wonder which risk most air passengers now fear more – catching the coronavirus while traveling or being caught in a plane crash. [Read More]

WE have long ignored the flashing red light warning us that the sea will eventually take back the large areas taken from Manila Bay as the burgeoning city looked farther west for more residential and commercial space to develop. [Read More]

FILIPINOS vaccinated abroad and foreigners who had been deterred from visiting the Philippines by what they said were overly strict quarantine rules can now resume packing their bags, except if they will be coming from restricted countries. [Read More]

June 2021

HOW can anybody drag an unwilling President Duterte to the International Criminal Court to face investigation for “crimes against humanity” involving the alleged torture or murder of thousands of Filipinos suspected of drug trafficking or abuse? [Read More]

“THE evil that men do lives after them, the good is oft interred with their bones. So let it be with Caesar.” So did Marc Antony start to say in his oration after the death of Julius Caesar at the hands of the noble Brutus and his honorable co-conspirators. [Read More]

WE used to say that all statements of President Duterte must be in writing and under oath to assure the public that he meant every word said. Now we think listeners should also allow a time lag before speculating on what he really meant. [Read More]

THE COVID-19 vaccination situation may have started to look better, if not merrier, prodding the inoculation manager of the government to reiterate his prediction that herd immunity would be achieved by Christmas. [Read More]

THE NAME of the game is Competition, and China of late has been out there in space also – competing. For what? Presumably for the same things that other world powers also compete. [Read More]

PRESIDENT Duterte has said that awarding public projects to the highest bidder or to the contractor who submits the best-looking offer often breeds corruption and will not always mean securing the best terms for the undertaking. [Read More]

THE grand announcement Saturday of the likely 1Sambayan opposition coalition candidates for president and vice president in the May elections next year hardly stirred interest, except for the reasons given by the nominees who begged off. [Read More]

WE’RE afforded “a closer look at China’s vaccines” in a report June 10 by Jonathan Wolfe of the New York Times’ briefings team on the COVID-19 pandemic, with inputs from his colleague Sui-Lee Wee who covers China. [Read More]

A FILIPINO abroad must have a compelling reason, extra money for COVID-19 quarantine expenses and, in the case of elderly Balikbayans departing from Los Angeles, physical endurance to walk to the new boarding gate moved 20 minutes away. [Read More]

WE’VE been getting queries from Filipinos abroad, and a few foreigners, planning to fly to the Philippines with the reported improvement of the COVID-19 situation in many places, including Metro Manila. [Read More]

LIKE fentanyl and crystal meth, power and wealth are highly addictive. One who has fallen under their magic spell will keep wanting more.

After five years of consolidating power and amassing untold wealth, Rodrigo Roa Duterte the Davao City mayor-turned-president seems to want more of the same, and at double dose. [Read More]

TRAINS of various types from sleek Shinkansen bullets to light rail commuter cars have shown themselves in advanced economies to be efficient conveyors for moving people and goods vital to socio-economic growth. [Read More]

PARDON my being a bit excited over the reported return soon of the trains linking the grand old station in Tutuban and Clark Freeport in Pampanga. From my boyhood until my college years, trains were my main means of traveling to Manila from Mabalacat City, then a sleepy town. [Read More]

May 2021

IN Ohio, US of A, a COVID-19 vaccinee could have his serum sweetened with $1 million if  chosen in a weekly lottery. Nearer home in Las Piñas City, residents stepping up for the jab could win a new house and lot, motorcycles, and other valuable prizes being raffled off. [Read More]

WHILE a representative survey sample of 1,200 adult Filipinos is split into three equal groups as to their willingness to be vaccinated against COVID-19, some 63 percent of those polled prefer US-made vaccines if they were to be inoculated. [Read More]

THE latest US census counted 4,211,440 Filipino Americans in the United States, making them one of the three biggest immigrant sub-groups of the 23,241,740 Asian Americans striving to make their positive presence felt in various fields in America. [Read More]

The COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act that President Joe Biden signed Thursday seeks to reassure members of the Asian American community, including more than four million Filipinos in the United States, of stepped-up government action on race-related hate crimes. [Read More]

“LOOSE lips sink ships” was one of the catchy American slogans during the second World War admonishing servicemen and citizens against careless talk that could undermine the national interest in favor of the enemy. [Read More]

IF NAVY surface ships are unable to stop Chinese encroachment in the West Philippine Sea, will adding three submarines to the naval force stop the rape of its natural resources and the building of foreign military outposts? [Read More]

A SUPPOSED “joke” is not a joke if one has to explain five years later that the remark he had made in all seriousness was actually just a joke. Everybody can then laugh either at the joke or at him. [Read More]

THE ELECTION Season that will peak on May 9 next year is already upon us, with the key issues revolving around four points: delayed COVID-19 jabs, dwindling jobs, unpresidential jokes, and China’s undue influence on the Duterte administration. [Read More]

CHINA may not need a full-time ambassador in Manila to speak for it and look after the interests of its nationals on issues involving the West Philippine Sea. It already has no less than the President of the Philippines to do that for them. [Read More]

FOREIGN Secretary Teddy Locsin Jr. was not running out of paper for diplomatic protests, but must have been losing patience, when he hurled Monday a curse-laced message at China over its occupation and claim of sovereignty over Philippine maritime areas. [Read More]

NOBODY is pushing President Duterte to wage war with China to stop its aggressive encroachments and unfriendly activities in the West Philippine Sea.

What concerned citizens are saying is that the President should be more resolute, that he stands firmly on the side of Filipinos – to be more patriotic – when threshing out issues of sovereign rights, territorial integrity, national security, and economic opportunities. [Read More]

HAS President Duterte’s accepting COVID-19 vaccine donations from China affected his handling of such sensitive bilateral issues as Filipino fishermen’s survival, Chinese occupation of Philippine waters, and the despoiling of the marine ecosystem? [ Read More ]

April 2021

THE Philippines gained entry Monday into the Millionaires’ Club of, so far, 26 nations that have logged more than one million coronavirus infections among the 220 countries and territories ravaged by the COVID-19 pandemic. [ Read More ]

BIPARTISAN support in the US Congress is pushing legislation to improve community relations, law enforcement, and allied programs for better protection of Asian Americans, including some four million FilAms, and Pacific islanders from racial hate crimes. [ Read More ]

CONTRARY to a misimpression, the decision of the Presidential Electoral Tribunal dismissing for lack of merit the protest of former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos against Vice President Leni Robredo is not yet “final and executory”. [ Read More ]

WATCHING President Duterte’s “Talk to the People” show Tuesday night, we were jolted toward the end of his report when he virtually surrendered to China the West Philippine Sea, or parts of it, without the aggressive neighbor even asking for it! [ Read More ]

WRITTEN large on the wall is the message of the Community Pantry that was set up first on Maginhawa Street in Quezon City then in multiple other places visited by hunger in this time of the pandemic. [ Read More ]

THE POLITICAL support of key sectors for President Duterte is being eroded by the pro-China bias tainting the avowed independence of his foreign policy and the effectiveness of his campaign to tame the COVID-19 pandemic. [ Read More ]

THREE months into his presidency, erstwhile Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte announced his country’s “separation” from America and started talking of the Beijing-Manila-Moscow axis playing in his mind. [ Read More ]

THE PLATE of President Duterte is overflowing with Chinese chop suey whose smell indicates that it may start to spoil if left untouched any longer.

It is not easy for Duterte to justify his seeming tolerance of China’s taking over features in the West Philippine Sea and turning them into military outposts to tighten control of the strategic sea lanes linking the Indian Ocean and the Western Pacific. [ Read More ]

ABSENCE did not make the heart grow fonder in the case of President Duterte whose whereabouts remained a mystery for almost a week while Chinese interlopers continued to harass Filipinos in their own maritime areas and the COVID-19 pandemic raged on. [ Read More ]

PRESIDENT Duterte should come out of his Davao redoubt and seek wider consultation on the escalating dispute over military outposts built by China in the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone, a situation that could explode into an armed confrontation. [ Read More ]

THERE is this theory going around, and gaining currency among many onlookers bracing for the unseen virus hitting them, that President Duterte is in no hurry to tame the raging COVID-19 pandemic before the 2022 election fever is in the air. [ Read More ]

MAUNDY Thursday today commemorates the Last Supper, where Christ laid out the template for the Eucharist as he gave the order (maundy comes from the Latin word for “command”) to the disciples to “Love one another as I have loved you.” [ Read More ]

March 2021

HOW do we comfort those who are terminally ill or weakened by advanced age but are stuck at home or confined in a hospice, and – in addition to medical attention – want to receive the sacrament of the anointing of the sick? [ Read More ]

EXPANSIONIST moves of China in the region’s common sea, most of which it claims on the basis of dubious historical rights, are wrapped in stealth and duplicity when Beijing needs to explain them. [ Read More ]

A CLASH over COVID-19 restrictions for Holy Week is shaping up between Malacañang and the bishop of the archdiocese of Manila over a tightened government ban on mass gatherings in the national capital and four nearby provinces until Easter Sunday. [ Read More ]

HOW will President Duterte, a good friend of China President Xi Jinping, handle the dilemma between accepting Xi’s donation of COVID-19 vaccines and asking for the withdrawal of the offensive swarm of Chinese militia ships in the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone? [ Read More ]

A TORTUOUS trail awaits “1Sambayan”, the oppositionist coalition that took its first step Thursday in a journey seeking to rally the masses to vote out in May 2022 the Duterte forces holding sway in the government. [ Read More ]

WITH the hit-and-miss (mostly miss) manner President Duterte has been pursuing his COVID-19 mass inoculation program – hobbled by the slow procurement of vaccines – it looks doubtful if herd immunity would be achieved before his term ends in June 2022. [ Read More ]

JUST when we were complaining about high prices (and rising COVID-19 cases), Romy Macalintal the election lawyer came up yesterday on our Viber page reminiscing on the days when jeepney fare was only 10 centavos and gasoline was sold at 25 centavos per liter. [ Read More ]

SATURDAY was flashing red when the coronavirus fueling the COVID-19 pandemic was reported to have infected 5,000 more Filipinos that day (vs a daily average of 1,676) and killed 72 (vs a daily average of 34), one year after the disease claimed its first Filipino fatality in March 2020. [ Read More ]

UNLEASHING state forces on a killing spree to stifle legitimate dissent only adds to the suffering of people already reeling from the COVID-19 pandemic. Only a sick mind can think of inflicting such cruelty on the people. [ Read More ]

FIRST, we saw these posts on Twitter: Lian Buan @lianbuan — March 7, 2021 – A bloody Sunday we must never forget. Police count 9 deaths, but groups can only identify 5. The horror of verifying who else died, dreading the next name, guessing who else is still out there being hunted. Never forget to keep knocking on the doors of power. [ Read More ]

PRESIDENT Duterte said Sunday that the United States wants to have military bases again in the Philippines and that, in fact, it has already stockpiled war materiel in depots all over the country. [ Read More ]

AFTER watching the RTVM video showing President Duterte fielding questions in a presscon at the arrival Sunday of Chinese vaccines for COVID-19, we are compelled to suggest that he consider taking a vacation to at least rest his overworked mind. [ Read More ]

THE MASS vaccination of some 80 million Filipinos finally rolled out yesterday with health workers armed with 600,000 doses of Chinese vaccines fanning out initially in Metro Manila to start inoculating persons on the government priority lists. [ Read More ]

February 2021

FINDING it too stressful waiting for the long-promised COVID-19 vaccines, surviving one day at a time while watching the grim reaper take, so far, more than 2.5 million humans on the planet, 12,250 of them Filipinos, I hurried on Friday to have myself vaccinated. [ Read More ]

IF the COVID-19 mass vaccination extravaganza of the Duterte administration were a movie, it would get a mixed review for its offers of consuelo to both sides of the aisle in the darkened cinema. [ Read More ]

THE FOOD and Drug Administration granted yesterday, just before the targeted start of the mass vaccination rollout, an emergency use authorization (EUA) for the coronavirus vaccine developed by the Chinese pharmaceutical firm Sinovac. [ Read More ]

IN November last year, seeing President Duterte and his generals unable to present a clear vaccination battle plan, we said that his promised Christmas gift of COVID-19 vaccines was likely to be delayed and end up being a “Semana Santa penitential offering”. [ Read More ]

THE SUPREME Court, sitting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal, dismissed in a unanimous decision Tuesday the five-year-old election protest of ex-senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos against Vice President Leni Robredo. [ Read More ]

WHAT exactly does President Duterte want from Washington, aside from the “guided rockets” and 20 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines, for him to withdraw his notice terminating the PH-US Visiting Forces Agreement? [ Read More ]

PRESIDENT Duterte has gone commercial in justifying his threat to terminate the 21-year-old PH-US Visiting Forces Agreement. Will the sales pitch work? [ Read More ]

TALKS are set to open this month for refining the Philippine-US Visiting Forces Agreement, which was ratified in 1999 to lay down rules governing the temporary stay and activities of their military personnel in each other’s territory. [ Read More ]

ARE we ready to roll out this month the most massive vaccination ever to be attempted on these islands to stop the rampage of the COVID-19 coronavirus that has infected more than 537,500 and killed at least 11,180 Filipinos? [ Read More ]

THIS is the last of two columns on pandemic policy trends as discussed by former President Gloria M. Arroyo in a webinar sponsored Jan. 29 by the Center for Strategy, Enterprise and Intelligence (CenSEI) with Microsoft Philippines Inc. tinyurl.com/10gyuys5 [ Read More ]

BILL Gates said in his blog GatesNotes: “There is good news coming in 2021. There are two main reasons to be hopeful. One is that masks, social distancing, and other interventions can slow the spread of the virus and save lives while vaccines are being rolled out. [ Read More ]

We have been straining to catch any hint of a leveling off, leading to a modest recovery within one year, resulting from action plans launched by the administration to prevent the nation’s sliding into a deeper decline while the Covid-19 pandemic rages. [ Read More ]

January 2021

AS FAR as presidential jokes go (from where we sit it looks like and sounds like a joke), that one saying that President Duterte wants his COVID-19 vaccine shot in the buttocks is not only unpresidential but also unprecedented. [ Read More ]

WHILE our politicians are debating the prices of COVID-19 vaccines and generals are plotting strategy against the coronavirus onslaught, more infectious variants of the original virus have popped up to complicate the slow-moving preparations. [ Read More ]

EVERY life saved from the rampaging coronavirus counts. The government is beefing up its war chest against the COVID-19 scourge by securing more loans, amassing in the process a total indebtedness of P641 billion payable until 2049. [ Read More ]

WHEN debating which vaccine(s) to deploy against the Covid-19 pandemic that has claimed more than 2,060,000 lives — 9,980 of them in the Philippines – we should listen more to doctors and public health experts than to politicians and generals. [ Read More ]

THE REPORT yesterday that the Philippines is getting “all vaccines that China can spare” left an impression that the administration is bent on delivering Filipinos to the Chinese vaccine-makers, and there is not much that anybody can do about it. [ Read More ]

IT HAS been noticed that the more President Duterte shows a preference for Chinese COVID-19 vaccines, the stiffer public resistance becomes to being inoculated with those drugs. It’s an interesting marketing point to explore. [ Read More ]

WE are not yet a police state, although a few friends fear we’re heading that way, so it was indelicate of Malacañang to have told off the public to just accept, and not be choosy, whatever COVID-19 vaccine the government throws their way. [ Read More ]

THE SENATE public hearing into the government’s COVID-19 mass vaccination program needs concurrent research looking beyond the efficacy and prices of vaccines and digging into the underlying reasons why people may accept/reject inoculation. [ Read More ]

AS demands mounted for his quick removal from office after his followers — inflamed by his claims of poll fraud and his urgings to march on Congress — stormed the US Capitol, President Trump finally conceded Friday that he lost the Nov. 3 election. [ Read More ]

PRESIDENT Duterte continues to consolidate control over power centers of the government, and it seems nobody is able to do anything to check his overly amassing political clout unto himself. [ Read More ]

YOU have until tomorrow (Jan. 6), the Feast of the Three Kings, to give something of value to government officials with whom you have pending delicate business to close without you being accused of bribery and them of corruption. [ Read More ]

SOMEHOW we made it to the new year, staggering up to the finish line where 2021 was waiting for the Filipino, the eternal optimist brimming with hope.

Looking back at the past year’s tribulations that President Duterte blames on the pandemic and natural calamities, we wonder at his saying in his yearend message: “We also learned so much… we realized the value of human life and our relationships with each other.” [ Read More ]

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