Shortsighted, as usual

The Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) has never been more wrong–or has never been as typically shortsighted–in attributing the developing crisis of the Arroyo administration to “nitpicking by the opposition and some sectors of the media.”

These sectors, as well as the civil-society groups and the Left, have “artificially created” the political crisis besetting the Arroyo administration, said CBCP president Archbishop Orlando Quevedo in a statement to the media issued on Sunday.

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Part of the problem

Once hopefully thought to be part of the solution, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has beaten all records including Joseph Estrada’s in demonstrating–within less than two years–that she’s part of the Philippine problem.

That problem is bad government and its consequences: mass poverty, injustice and mass misery. The symptoms of that problem are many: inefficient, secretive governance; runaway corruption; rank political opportunism and money politics; failed but nevertheless persistently implemented economic and social policies; foreign dependence.

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People’s issues and investigative journalism

My assignment this afternoon is investigative journalism and people’s issues. Everyone of us here knows what the standards of investigative journalism are, and are familiar with that form. I think what we need is a framework from which to appreciate what it can do for this country. I will therefore start with a review of journalism’s role in society, and more specifically its responsibility, or what I think should be its responsibility, in a society like ours–or to be more precise, in a society in perpetual crisis, where the most fundamental issues of governance, social justice and sovereignty have been begging for solutions for centuries. From there I hope I can go on to the subject assigned to me this afternoon.

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A ‘problem’ like Guingona

Vice President Teofisto Guingona

There’s only one way to interpret the confusion in the past week over the “resignation” of Vice President Teofisto Guingona as secretary of foreign affairs. It is that President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo wants him out of the DFA — and wants him out quickly.

That much should be apparent from the eagerness with which she “accepted” a resignation which we were later told was made verbally, but which Guingona has denied making, and the equal haste with which acting Press Secretary Silvestre Afable announced Guingona’s “resignation” and Mrs. Arroyo’s “acceptance” of it — and then released to the media copies of her letter to Guingona.

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Global competitiveness

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s January 29 directive to the Department of Education to restore English as the medium of instruction in the country’s schools has provoked the usual reactions.

Most of these reactions, primarily from the media and those letter writers who claim to know everything, have been expectedly supportive. Their loud voices have drowned out the voices of the people who best know about the subject–the teachers themselves, who are 8 to 1 opposed to the restoration of English as the medium of instruction.

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