Education and the state of the Filipino family

I went to a public elementary school in Pampanga in the 1950s. As I recall, the language that all my early grade teachers used was Kapampangan. My classmates and I learned how to read and write in English and Pilipino, the term used for the national language in those years, from teachers who freely used … Read more

Bongbong and Imee

While President Marcos Jr. is trying hard to become the president of all Filipinos, his elder sister Sen. Imee Marcos seems bent on being this administration’s antagonist-in-chief, whose role is to continue taunting and mocking their family’s perceived political enemies. Is this a coordinated good cop/bad cop maneuver designed to maximize the returns of a … Read more

COVID burnout and the quest for normalcy

One of the most applauded moments in President Marcos Jr.’s recent State of the Nation Address (Sona) was when he announced, in reference to the health situation, that there will be no more lockdowns. This declaration resonates with the sentiment emanating from COVID burnout. But what did the President mean to say? Was he saying … Read more

The phenomenon of ‘grade inflation’

As though soaring prices of daily necessities like food, petroleum products, public transport, and electricity were not troubling enough, another form of inflation is causing equal alarm in the University of the Philippines. It’s called “grade inflation,” and it is seen as the culprit behind the explosion in the number of students who are graduating with … Read more

The pandemic and the miracle of adaptation

All over the world, except in China, countries are dismantling the restrictive barriers they have put up against the COVID-19 pandemic — massive lockdowns, school and office closures, travel restrictions, etc. Even mask mandates have been lifted. Not because they believe the pandemic is over, but precisely because they expect this virus and its variants … Read more

Abe’s assassination: meanings and memory

As efforts to revive him faltered in the crucial hours after he was shot by a gunman last Friday, the world began taking stock of the sizable influence that former Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe wielded in many areas of public life. Even as he resigned in 2020 for health reasons, after almost eight years … Read more

Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s inaugural speech

President Ferdinand Romualdez Marcos Jr. began his inaugural speech last June 30 with a reiteration of his call for unity and ended with a plea for Filipinos to have hope that, under his watch, the future will be better. Yet, in various parts of the speech, the message of unity is subverted by references to … Read more

The 1898 proclamation of independence

One hundred twenty-four years after our elders proclaimed the Filipino people’s independence from Spanish colonial rule, we may perhaps view with more understanding, and even admiration, the seemingly strange manner in which they performed that defining act. More specifically, why they invoked “the protection of the Powerful and Humanitarian Nation, the United States of America,” even as … Read more

The apolitical in politics

It may sound like a contradiction in terms. But, in fact, it happens most of the time. Irrespective of social class, the average voter tends to be driven more by unconscious dispositions than by explicitly formulated opinions on the issues that candidates represent. Only the latter type of participation can properly be called political. I … Read more

Marcos Jr.’s bid for legitimacy

Winning the vote may give one the legal right to assume an elective position, but it doesn’t automatically confer on the victor the legitimacy that he/she needs to effectively govern. Legitimacy is public acceptance of one’s right to rule, something that some elected leaders have to earn almost throughout their terms in office. In the … Read more