Arroyo’s future plans

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President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s future plans are the current topic of the day in Philippine politics. Some observers–and their number is growing–now say, as this column has been saying since February, that she will run in 2004 despite her December 2002 announcement that she won’t

The current speculation is based on both the results of her visit to the United States and on how she was received in Washington. In this hard-nosed view, the support for her and her policies US President George W. Bush displayed has earned her enough points to boost her approval ratings for the rest of the year and perhaps even beyond. Continue reading

MMDA’s shoddy goods

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Two things have concerned former Marikina mayor Bayani Fernando since he became chairman of the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA): traffic and sidewalk vendors. Even his focus on sidewalk vendors appears to be a component of his concern for Metro Manila traffic. One of his stated reasons for clearing the capital of sidewalk vendors is their impeding not only pedestrian movement but also the flow of motor vehicles, especially in the narrow streets of the city of Manila. Continue reading

Public relations triumph

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The Arroyo state visit to the United States is a public relations triumph for both guest and host, as both had most likely hoped and anticipated. The public relations bonanza it is reaping for Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and George W. Bush indeed suggests that as state visits go, this one was not so much meant to firm up relations between their two countries but to serve each other’s domestic agendas.
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Journalist and teacher

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Dean Armando J. Malay, who was a journalist for over 40 years, and who died last week at the age of 89, was one of the pioneering faculty members at the College of Mass Communication, then Institute of Mass Communication (IMC), of the University of the Philippines. In his May 16 to 18 wake at U.P., his former students, many of them now editors in the country’s leading newspapers, recalled how, together with the late Hernando J. Abaya and IP Soliongco, he shaped their development as journalists. Continue reading

U.P. on their minds

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Most Filipinos have neither the time nor the interest to think about the University of the Philippines, between SARS, the country’s economic decline, its peace and order problems and the day-to-day difficulties of survival in this archipelago of uncertainty.

Some Filipinos do have UP on their minds at this time of the year. Other than its students, these include not only those who graduated from it in April, but also the 4,500 incoming UP freshmen this June. Both groups share the same hopes: that a UP education will lead them to a brighter future or, in the case of those from elite and professional families to begin with, at least enable them to live in the manner to which they’re accustomed.
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Part of the problem

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In accusing a Filipino general of colluding with the Abu Sayyaf bandit group, Gracia Burnham has joined at least two other former hostages who have made the same claim.

Former Abu Sayyaf hostage Raul Recio agreed with Burnham that there was indeed Abu Sayyaf-military collusion, as claimed by Burnham in her newly released book on her captivity by the Abu Sayyaf, In the Presence of My Enemies.
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All the world its battlefield

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US President George W. Bush last week fell short of declaring the US war on Iraq over, but only because the US military did not want to release the 6,000 prisoners of war it is holding. Instead Bush declared victory by saying that

Marking Press Freedom Day

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To mark World Press Freedom Day, which falls on May 3 each year, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) released on April 30 a list of the 10 worst places in the world to be a journalist. In the Philippines it was commemorated with the shooting death of a broadcaster and the ambush of another.
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