Modernity and the Filipino child

(Today being Holy Innocents’ Day, I thought it fitting to share the key points of a talk I gave at the “Child Without Borders” conference organized by the Child Protection Unit last Dec. 5.) In traditional society, the status of the child is determined by the social position of the family from which she is … Read more

‘Curial ailments’

The Church may draw its authority from God, but it is a human institution no less. Thus, it is not exempted from the problems that all human organizations face in the world. It has to raise money to support its missions, and manage its properties and resources to ensure its long-term sustainability. It must entrust … Read more

Defrosting US-Cuba relations

If you’re a big powerful country, you can actually bury your relations with a small one you don’t particularly like in the back compartment of a freezer, and forget about them. Like pickled leftovers of yesteryear’s half-eaten meals, they are today hardly recognizable for what they were supposed to signify. You wonder what it was that … Read more

The Grand New Bilibid Hotel

Following the Department of Justice’s raid of the detention quarters of the New Bilibid Prison’s very important prisoners last Monday, President Aquino expressed great alarm over the discovery of firearms in the possession of these dangerous detainees. But, it was not the weapons that caught the public’s eye so much as the opulent furnishings these … Read more

Deconstructing distrust

Apart from their “approval/disapproval” of the job performance of top public officials and government institutions, Pulse Asia asks its informants to estimate the amount of “trust and distrust” they have for these officials and institutions. The correlation between these two ratings is remarkably high, suggesting that perhaps, in the Filipino mind, there is no meaningful … Read more

Disaster management as political risk

Largely because of the scale of the human tragedy caused last year by Supertyphoon “Yolanda,” disaster management has become an increasingly politicized activity. Every calamity has become an occasion to judge the government’s suitability for public office. Every decision made by public officials has become a test of their electability. Finding themselves in the front … Read more

Religion and the rest of society

Perhaps not many people are aware that the Pope is not just the head of the Catholic Church but also the leader of a sovereign state, the Holy See. Its government is known as the Roman Curia. It maintains diplomatic relations with other states, receiving ambassadors from different countries and sending out its own. Thus, … Read more

Politics: why it’s the only game in town

Having written a few columns on politics, I am often asked to comment on the probable course of political developments in our country in view of the 2016 presidential election. Recently, a friend asked whether I thought there was any chance Vice President Jejomar Binay might shelve his presidential ambition to ease the pressure from … Read more

The world according to Facebook

Recently, I discovered to my dismay that my students in an undergraduate class in the University of the Philippines did not regularly read the newspapers, or listen to the news on radio, or watch the evening report on TV. These are students of the country’s premier state university; most of them are expected to be … Read more

Pork in the 2015 budget

Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago objects to the passage of the proposed national budget for 2015 because, among other things, it harbors pork barrel allocations, and thus violates the Supreme Court decision striking down the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF). The administration acknowledges that it has indeed received and taken into account project recommendations from lawmakers for … Read more