Cynical and insincere

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Amnesty International said it was “encouraged” by it. But Mrs. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s tongue- in- cheek “condemnation” of political killings during her sixth State of the Nation Address (SONA)was cynical and totally insincere for two reasons.

Her asking witnesses to come forward was the first of these indications of insincerity and worse. The second was the “condemnation’s” having been preceded by unqualified praise for the Army general widely accused of orchestrating the slaughter. Continue reading

What contingency plan?

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Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) are keeping the Philippine economy afloat with their remittances, which last year was reported at US$11.5 billion. Because many OFWs send money to their relatives at home via “unofficial” routes, the amount could be much bigger.

The Marcos regime was the first Philippine government to officially encourage labor migration. Succeeding governments have since followed suit, refining the policy to include not only the marketing of Filipino labor but also the creation of vast bureaucracies supposedly to cater to OFW and their families’ needs. Continue reading

Creative ambiguity

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As some if not all of the country’s Catholic bishops thought, their July 10 pastoral letter was vague enough to mean something to everyone. A less charitable way of putting it is that the bishops had their cake–and ate it too.

Those against the impeachment of Mrs. Gloria Macapagal- Arroyo thus seized on a key phrase in the document–“we are not inclined … to favor the impeachment process as the means for establishing the truth”–to prove that the bishops want Mrs. Arroyo to remain in Malacanang. Continue reading

These happy isles

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In 2005 it had a population of some 200,000, most of them concentrated in rural areas. Melanesians account for 98 percent of the population. Some two percent are Europeans and Asians.

Most of its largely Christian inhabitants survive on small-scale agriculture. Economic growth is less than three percent. But it’s one of those few countries where there are no exchange controls, no income tax, no withholding tax, no inheritance tax and no capital gains tax. It doesn’t release information to other governments or law agencies about the companies that have accounts there either. As a result, multinationals leery of government regulation elsewhere incorporate there. Continue reading

Enemies like these

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The “Lim videotape” was prepared before the “withdrawal of support” General Danilo Lim declared in it had led to the ouster of Mrs. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo last February. This suggests at best a confidence in victory that now seems woefully mistaken. It was shortsightedness, even arrogance, at worst.

That a copy fell into the hands of ABS-CBN (which broadcast it five months after it was made), is also a comment on the planning and intelligence work of the groups supposedly plotting a coup/withdrawal of support last February. That military elements were the crucial and most prominent participants in whatever-it-was doesn’t reflect too well on the military either. Continue reading