Aging and meaningfulness in life

Presented with findings on the life situation and health condition of older persons in Philippine society, most readers of this column found themselves prompted to compare their own experience of aging with that of the general population. Many were happy to note that they were not doing so badly. They have less severe pains, less … Read more


When I turned 60, it took more than a year before I claimed my senior citizen’s card. I felt I didn’t need it. I was not taking any maintenance medicines nor did I need regular diagnostic tests, for which a 20-percent discount spells a huge difference in price. It was the substantial S.C. discount at … Read more

Populism 101

In the final months leading to the 2016 presidential election, when a Duterte victory had become not just a possibility but a near certainty, political and economic risk analysts began to ask what the key policy directions of a Duterte-led government might be like. Up to that point, all that was known about Davao’s legendary … Read more

The perils of an impulsive presidency

This is my fourth column on recent events that unexpectedly thrust Vice President Leni Robredo into the limelight. Even if some may think the issue it deals with has become stale, I believe we shouldn’t let go of it easily as though it signifies nothing of importance. That’s exactly how the Duterte administration wants us … Read more

The bullying of Leni Robredo

It all began from the first day she assumed the vice presidency. Flushed with their success at the polls, President Duterte and his people acted as if she did not exist. To them, she was just an annoying reminder that their electoral victory was not total. She was not invited to the inaugural at the … Read more

The smell of illnesses

Today is my mother’s birthday. She would have been 97. She died of a kidney ailment in 2000 at the age of 78. The other day, while standing in front of the small crypt that bore her remains, I tried to summon from memory the last time we talked. While recalling the tone of that … Read more

Leni’s gambit

Like many analysts who have criticized the Duterte-led drug war for its murderous brutality and antipoor bias, I have been at pains to understand how Vice President Leni Robredo managed to persuade herself to accept President Duterte’s dare for her to lead the administration’s war on drugs. As I wrote in my column last week, … Read more

Duterte’s way of admitting failure

Even on the assumption that he wasn’t just being sarcastic, or worse, misusing the Filipino language, President Duterte’s statements the other day are the clearest admission that his much-touted war on drugs has failed. He has run out of ideas. And so, he is asking Vice President Leni Robredo, who has been critical of the … Read more

The tragic face of global migration

Barely getting any attention in the national media is the report about the grisly death of 39 people (8 women and 31 men), believed to be Chinese nationals, who appear to have been trapped inside a refrigerated trailer truck in an industrial zone in Essex, England. This has been a trending topic on Chinese social … Read more

The ER

The Emergency Room (ER) of any public hospital is probably the greatest leveler in our otherwise highly unequal society. Here, it matters little how much money you have or how much influence you might carry. The ER cubicles and beds are never enough for the number of patients being admitted at any given time. Chances … Read more