Unsafe for journalists

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The dismissal from the service of a policeman accused of killing a Mindanao journalist, and of his former superior, would be encouraging if it had been the result of normal institutional processes in this country—processes that in other countries take place as a matter of course.

The dismissals of the two persons that the National Police chief Hermogenes Ebdane described in his order as “an insult” to the police, and as “unprofessional,” respectively, should have proceeded as part of the normal chain of events, as should have the workings of the justice system.
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Government of exclusion

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In countries riven by armed conflict, the reasons for creating a government of national unity are urgent enough. The most compelling is the need to end political violence so the country involved can go on to the business of reconstruction. The fundamental aim is to have a basis for a new beginning. Such a beginning, however, can only be meaningful if there is a real effort to wipe the slate clean, and if antagonists work together as equals.

The need to address the causes of conflict so that it may not break out again is far more important, however, than that immediate aim. A government of national unity thus enlists major protagonists in the effort to forge the policies that would root out the bases for the disaffection of those groups that have taken up the gun.
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A President for desperate times

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Along certain jeepney routes, children as young as four will clamber into a passenger jeepney or bus even before it’s completely stopped to wipe the passengers’ shoes with a rag in exchange for a few centavos. In some cases it’s a team of brothers or brother and sister, with the older helping the younger get into the moving vehicle by almost throwing him/her into it, of course at considerable risk to life and limb to both.

At the hole-in-the-wall tiendas in the alleys and back streets of Manila’s University Belt where students eat, bands of street children wait for whatever the eaters will leave on their plates, staring hungrily at the food in the meantime. Sometimes they can’t even wait, and grab morsels from the tables. The same thing is happening right within a school campus, in the 500-hectare University of the Philippines enclave in Diliman.
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