The crisis in our streets

Compared to the “tanim-bala” problem at the Naia terminals, which severely dented the record of the P-Noy presidency in its final year, today’s transportation crisis in Metro Manila is far more acute. The one element they have in common is the seeming indifference of those in government, or the absence of any sense of urgency … Read more

Insulting Iceland

On the initiative of Iceland, a country that most Filipinos have not heard much about, the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) the other day passed a resolution calling on Michelle Bachelet, the UN high commissioner for human rights, to prepare a “comprehensive written report on the human rights situation in the Philippines.” The resolution also … Read more

Habitus and the pivot to China

By emotional disposition, Filipinos tend to harbor a deep suspicion of China. This is confirmed by a succession of public opinion surveys showing the Filipino public’s huge distrust for this Asian hegemon. It is an attitude that far exceeds any negative sentiment we may have against Spain, the United States or Japan — countries that … Read more

The making of a fascist mindset

In highly unequal societies like ours—where wide disparities in social circumstances at birth determine a person’s access to food, shelter, and healthcare, a good education, a rich and diverse cultural heritage, influential connections, and a successful career—it is common to encounter the belief that all these existing inequalities in life are somehow undeserved and can … Read more

Bullies, the bullied, and bystanders

Watching that disturbing video of a Filipino middle school boy threatening, insulting and beating up a terrified fellow student inside a school toilet, in a brazen display of bullying power, struck me in a way that I could not fully understand. I had to review the video a number of times to grasp what it … Read more

Angkas and the business of sharing

If the objection to Angkas, the motorcycle ride-sharing transport network whose operation has recently been ordered suspended, is that the service it offers is not safe and secure, then we may as well ban riding tandem itself, and revoke the licenses that had been given to other ride-sharing networks. Let’s unpack these objections carefully. First, … Read more

Blood on the President’s hands

So often has President Duterte commanded others to kill that it has become the most ordinary thing to hear in his public speeches. Just last Wednesday, while addressing an audience of local officials from various cities and municipalities, he casually told his listeners: “Your bishops, kill them. Those stupid people are useless. All they do … Read more

When the President tells a lie

Outside of religious circles, Caloocan Bishop Pablo Virgilio David used to be introduced as my brother. Now it’s the other way around, especially after he became the latest target of President Duterte’s rants against the Catholic Church and its leaders. I take deep pride in this affinity. We take similar positions on most social issues, … Read more

Political theology and the rise of tyrants

In recent years, sociological and philosophical studies of political sovereignty and governance have featured fascinating references to biblical literature — in particular to the Letter of Saint Paul to the Romans. “Romans” in the New Testament contains 16 chapters and, together with many other letters, forms a whole body of works known as the Pauline … Read more