Are we ready for a sovereign wealth fund?

As though our current national debt was not troubling enough, the bright boys around President Marcos Jr. are planning to set up a state investment fund that seeks to participate in the highly diversified global investment game. Dubbed the “Maharlika Investments Corp.,” the proposed entity is to be headed by Mr. Marcos as chair of … Read more

The rise and false ‘sacking’ of Cardinal Tagle

In the secretive and rarefied air of the Vatican, Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle’s rapid rise to higher responsibilities as one of Pope Francis’ most trusted confrères has been an object of keen interest among papal watchers. Recent reports therefore of the total overhaul of the top leadership of Caritas Internationalis, of which Cardinal Tagle has … Read more

Raffy Tulfo’s Senate debut

It was a pleasant surprise to see neophyte Sen. Raffy Tulfo clash with veteran legislator Sen. Cynthia Villar on an issue of immense public interest: the massive conversion of farmlands to commercial use. The lady senator, with more than 20 years of experience as a lawmaker, is generally feared for her prickly temper and sharp … Read more

The search for the 22nd UP president

It is a ritual that takes place every six years. A search committee appointed by the Board of Regents (BOR) invites nominations for the position of president of the University of the Philippines (UP), the nation’s premier university. The committee conducts consultations with various sectors of the university community, culminating in a public forum where … Read more

The frantic race to save our seafarers’ jobs

The globalization of educational standards has finally caught up with us in a painful and jarring way. Filipino seafarers, particularly at the officer level, may soon be banned from working aboard European ships because their training does not meet the global standards set in the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification, and Watchkeeping (STCW). … Read more

They who tend our loved ones’ graves

In a few days, it will be All Souls’ Day, and my thoughts turn to those who rarely figure in the ethnography of Undas. They are the freelance gardeners at memorial parks whose livelihood depends solely on the patronage of owners of burial plots. They form an essential part of the infrastructure of our unceasing … Read more

Xi Jinping’s China

Yesterday marked the closing day of the 20th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), which opened on Oct. 16. Today, the CCP’s Central Committee will meet in plenary session to approve the membership of the party’s Politburo and Standing Committee. Xi Jinping is expected to be reelected to a third five-year term as … Read more

Testing the strength of our institutions

A country’s institutions are strong when they are able to maintain their autonomy against pressures that seek to alter their standard operating procedures in order to accommodate the interests of powerful actors. The key word here is autonomy or independence. The recent arrest of the 38-year-old son of Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin “Boying” Remulla on … Read more

Technocrats in government

Unable to hear anything substantial from him about his plans and priorities during the campaign, the nation couldn’t quite tell what kind of leader Ferdinand Marcos Jr. intended to be if he became president. One hundred days after he assumed the presidency, the public now knows a little, still not enough, about the man 31 … Read more

Our dependence on Pogos must end

The term “Pogos,” as we know, refers to Philippine offshore gaming operators. These are foreign-owned and capitalized enterprises that run online gaming operations beamed to the global market using Philippine-based service providers. Because their transactions are almost entirely conducted in Mandarin, it is generally assumed that their target clientele is gamblers from the Chinese mainland … Read more