Cultural shifts

There is perhaps no better time to contemplate the cultural shifts that are taking place in our lives than at the end of what seems like an astonishing year. Abroad, news about movie and political celebrities being accused of sexual harassment and assault dominated the final weeks of 2017.  One by one, the subjects of … Read more

Our grandchildren and their gifts

I don’t particularly like shopping for gifts, except when it concerns our grandchildren. My wife Karina and I have four: two girls and two boys, one each from our four children. Sprung from the same genes, they seem so unlike one another in habits, temperament, and obsessions. Nothing reflects this better than the gifts they … Read more

Where is ‘Dutertismo’ headed?

By “Dutertismo,” I refer to the Filipino incarnation of a style of governance enabled by the public’s faith in the capacity of a tough-talking, willful, and unorthodox leader to carry out drastic actions to solve the nation’s persistent problems.  Trusting almost exclusively in the instinctive wisdom of the leader to determine what needs to be … Read more

Does President Duterte believe in human rights?

On Dec. 10, 1948, the United Nations General Assembly adopted and proclaimed The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), a historic document that, next to the Bible, has been translated into the most number of languages.  The extent of its dissemination, however, does not say how many people have read and understood it, or believe … Read more

Risk and the dengue vaccine

Department of Health officials went on television the other night to announce the suspension of the government’s antidengue vaccination program. This move was prompted by the admission of Sanofi Pasteur, the pharmaceutical company behind the vaccine, that the administration of “Dengvaxia” could lead to more severe symptoms for people who have not been previously infected. … Read more

Whose responsibility are the Rohingya?

The latest development on this issue is that Myanmar and Bangladesh — the two countries most directly implicated in the Rohingya problem — have agreed to repatriate the more than 600,000 Rohingya refugees who have fled to Bangladesh to escape atrocities by Burmese security forces. The plan calls for their formal registration, preparatory to their … Read more

And the winner is … China

At the festival of summits to which the Philippines dutifully played host last week, three basic standpoints by which humanity describes and criticizes the state of affairs in the world vied for space. The first is the human rights standpoint, the modern version of the value placed by natural law on human dignity and equality, … Read more

Nation-states and the challenge of globalization

Looking at the different summits that are taking place in our region this week, one cannot but be inspired by the high-mindedness that seems to have summoned the world’s most powerful statesmen to this part of the world at this time. Yet, one cannot miss the irony, too. Here gathered are presidents and prime ministers … Read more

Are social media good for democracy?

Where people have access to more and diverse sources of information, the better the chances for democracy to flourish.  By empowering individuals to share information and opinion with a mass audience, using technologies of rapid and mass dissemination previously available only to communicators in traditional media, social media cannot but be good for democracy. But, … Read more

The terror of death

Every All Souls Day, our culture directs us to remember those who have passed on—relatives, friends, and other people who have had a profound influence on our lives. We do this by bringing flowers to their graves, saying prayers and lighting candles to hasten their souls’ journey to heaven. One might expect pensiveness on an … Read more