Lesser evils

Standard

As the coffee-shop pundits say, the political situation as far as the 2004 elections are concerned is still fluid. But assuming those elections will take place, you can more or less tell who are most likely to be running for president come that crucial year.
Continue reading

Hair-raising “solution”

Standard

Two issues plague President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s 90-day antidrug campaign even before it has begun. The first issue is Barbers; the second is Barbers. Add to that presidential spokesman Ignacio Bunye’s statement that the 90 days might need more than 90 days, and even the brainless will realize that this administration doesn’t quite know how to go about doing things. Or that its decisions are so shaped by partisan politics it is impossible for it do anything well.
Continue reading

The perils of ‘doing a Thaksin’

Standard

President Arroyo’s order for an intensified campaign against the trade in illegal drugs in the next three months is likely to be popular. Drug abuse has become one of the country’s biggest problems, with the number of drug users estimated by the government at 3.4 million–or about 4 percent of the Philippine population of 78 million.

The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency also says that there are at least 13 transnational drug syndicates operating in the country, 175 local drug rings, and 45,000 pushers. Continue reading

Fearing Americans

Standard

Among other findings, a global poll conducted from late 2002 to May this year by the US think tank Pew Research Center for the People and the Press found increasing fear of the United States among many nations.

The fear is based on the now widespread belief that the United States not only has the military power to attack any country with impunity, but also that it is willing to do so if it thinks it is to its interest. Continue reading

Reliving the past

Standard

The Philippine government’s decision to sign a bilateral agreement with the United States giving US soldiers immunity from prosecution in the International Criminal Court (ICC) was not unexpected. But several concerns make it disturbing.

The first of these is the reason for the agreement and the possibility that for the same reason the Philippines will end up not ratifying the Rome Statute that created the ICC in 1998.
Continue reading

Candidate Arroyo (2)

Standard

After she announced in December 2002 that she would not run in 2004, understanding President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s policies as well as subsequent moves became increasingly difficult, because while she did emphasize that supposed decision, within weeks of 2003 she was speaking and acting like a candidate.

In early February, or four months ago, and only two months after she had announced her non-candidacy, for example, she suddenly took bag and baggage for Kuwait supposedly to reassure Overseas Filipino Workers there of their safety should the US attack Iraq–but right at the point when the final version of the Absentee Voting Bill was about to pass Congress. Continue reading

Revising history

Standard

The Report of the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission is all of five volumes, and published by the British publishing house Macmillan with an accompanying CD-ROM.

The report documents South Africa