Making war

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DO most of the country’s media organizations, among them the broadsheet that claims to have the largest audited circulation in the country, want war with China? Do they think the Philippines could win such a war? Do they believe the US would go to war with China in support of the country’s claim over the Scarborough Shoal?

Judging by the way they‘ve been reporting the Philippines-China impasse over the Shoal, the answer to all three questions is “yes.”

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The TV divide

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FIFTY-one years ago, in 1961, then US Federal Communications Commission Chair Newton Minow, one of the youngest appointees of then US President John F. Kennedy, described US commercial television as “a vast wasteland” in a speech before a convention of the US National Association of Broadcasters.

“When television is good, nothing — not the theater, not the magazines or newspapers — nothing is better,” said Minow. “But when television is bad, nothing is worse.”

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Dunces and dupes

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WITH the usual irony was June 12 marked this year in a country hardly aware of its history. Benigno Aquino III spoke at Barasoain Church in Malolos, Bulacan, where the First Philippine Republic was inaugurated on January 23, 1899, less than a year after Emilio Aguinaldo proclaimed Philippine independence in Kawit, Cavite, on June 12, 1898. Justice Secretary Leila de Lima was at the Bonifacio Monument in Caloocan. Transportation Secretary Manuel Roxas was in Kawit, while Vice President Jejomar Binay was at the usual flag-raising at Manila’s Rizal Park.

Aquino spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said Mr. Aquino’s presence at Barasoain and that of other officials in the iconic sites of the Philippine struggle for independence was “one way of imbibing the historical significance of these places.”

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Boy scouts and dictators

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THE partisans of Renato Corona made it a point during the four months of his impeachment trial to warn the public of the danger of dictatorship should Corona be removed from the Supreme Court and Benigno Aquino III left to choose his successor.

That would assure, they said, Aquino control of every branch of government. With the elections of 2013 practically guaranteeing that his coalition would emerge victorious in the Senate and House elections, he would have control of the Executive, the Judiciary, and both houses of Congress by next year.

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Heralds of impunity

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A SIGNATORY to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), the Philippines has sent a delegation to Geneva, Switzerland to attend the second cycle of the United Nations Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of the human rights situation of the Philippines since 2008 when it was last reviewed.

The May 29, 2012 review of Philippine compliance with the above covenants, and with its own commitment to implement 11 out of 17 recommendations by the member-States of the UN Human Rights Council in 2008, came a week after the US-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) urged UN member-states to “see through the Philippine government’s rhetoric and question the lack of progress on accountability over the past four years.”

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