Branded

Martin Andanar
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Communications Secretary Martin Andanar announced last weekend that his office will soon launch a “big project.” He was referring to a program to promote the country as a tourist destination and encourage foreign investments.

By “big,” however, he also meant it will be heavily-funded, which should further warm the hearts of his already overpaid, skills-challenged fellow top bureaucrats in the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) who’re daily trying to prettify the regime they’re serving while demonizing its critics and anyone else who doesn’t agree with it.

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Bad new times

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The year 2017 isn’t exactly auld lang syne, or good old times, and 2018 is not only likely to be a repeat of it. It could even be worse.

As 2016 ended a year ago, the new year of 2017 was welcomed with optimism by most Filipinos, in the probable belief that thinking so will make it so. The feng shui and other creatures spawned by the Philippine culture of confusion, who claim to have the power to foretell the future, weren’t helping any. Neither were the survey firms, which as usual regaled the citizenry with their cheery polls on the average man-on-the-street’s fact-defying optimism.

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The Pollyanna Principle

Statue of Pollyanna
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The advent of every new year inevitably brings with it not only the cheery predictions of hacks who claim to have the power to foretell what will happen in the next 12 months by telling the world which celebrity will be sleeping with whom or how the economy will perform. It’s also one more opportunity for the survey firms to regale the citizenry with what the average man-on-the-street thinks is in store for him in this earthly paradise. Not to be outdone, one’s favorite commentator is also likely to weigh in with his or her forecasts on what will happen in the political scene in the coming 52 weeks.

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Humbug

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ALMOST A third of the 6.9 billion people who populate the world are Filipinos, said a 2011 study by the US-based Pew Research Center. With 93 percent of its estimated population of 100 million Christians, the Philippines is still the only predominantly Christian country in Asia where the seasons of Christianity, whether Lent or Christmas, are celebrated with a vengeance.

Most Filipinos revel in their being Christians–or in their Catholicism, even if they don’t usually vote for the candidates the Church supports, elect those it abhors, and use artificial birth control methods despite the Church’s dim view of condoms and the pill.

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Name that country

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THIS is a quick current events quiz, much like the one your high school history teacher used to give at the start of every class session, but with a difference — it’s more like a geography quiz because you have to name the country where what’s described in each section happened or is currently happening.

LOW BLOW. When one of its own was caught plagiarizing the work of foreign legal scholars, the so-called highest court of this country showed that nothing is so high it can’t stoop too low. It quickly exonerated the plagiarist by arguing that it was the justice’s researcher who made an honest mistake, was anyway moved by the best of intentions, and that, in any case, there was no malice involved.

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