The leaves for the forest

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“CHANGE” has been the mantra of all administrations since at least the Marcos period (1965-1986).

Ferdinand Marcos vowed to “make this nation great again” when he was elected in 1965, and to “reform society and save the Republic” when he placed the entire country under martial law in 1972. Both proclaimed intentions supposedly looked to the future, but the first was a hearkening to a past–the 1896 Revolution–in which greatness was defined in terms of both resistance to tyranny and commitment to social justice.

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What’s in a name?

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AS SOME congressmen have argued, not necessarily because they themselves benefit from it, pork barrel funds have been known to help far-flung communities, even if it’s only in the form of a basketball court, a bridge, a road, or a barangay hall.

Some pork barrel-built roads do lead to nowhere, and pork barrel-built barangay halls have been known to leak like sieves when it rains. But that isn’t always the case. The chances are one can find, somewhere in the length and breadth of this archipelago, roads that do start and end somewhere, and barangay halls that have been known to adequately shelter community residents when it doesn’t only rain, but pours.

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Worse than the problem

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CONGRESSMAN Feliciano Belmonte has filed a resolution urging both Houses of Congress to propose amendments to Articles 2, 12 and 16 of the Constitution.

These provisions restrict foreign exploitation of natural resources, and limits foreign investments to certain areas as well as ownership of public utilities, advertising firms and the media, among others. Belmonte says these provisions must be amended to address the continuing poverty in the country despite economic growth by relaxing restrictions on foreign investments.

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Conduct unbecoming

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THE LAST time US forces occupied several military bases all over the Philippines, among them Clark Air Base and Subic Naval Base, it took a decades-long campaign against their presence, a volcanic eruption, and over 40 years to get them out.

Anticipating the need to get and keep them out, the 1987 Constitution barred foreign troops and military bases without a treaty ratified by the Senate, which, despite then President Corazon Aquino’s advocacy, refused to renew the US lease in September1991. Not that the US was at the time still seriously interested in keeping the latter, the global projection of US power through its nuclear submarine complex and aircraft carrier tax forces being then seen to be less costly and more effective. The cleanup at Clark because of the Mt. Pinatubo eruption in June 1991 would not have been worth the expense and effort anyway. The Senate action wasn’t as disastrous to US strategy as some thought at the time. But it did end a long period of occupation by foreign troops in places where they were the undisputed, non-accountable sovereigns.

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