EDITORIAL: MAR ROXAS UNRAVELS

Once upon a time, a Wharton-educated scion of a prominent family was seen as presidential timber. His initial foray into government seemed promising. Serving on two previous administrations, Manuel Roxas II capitalized on his investment banking experience. He projected an image of competence and levelheadedness. Despite his roots, his manners and speech indicated that he placed a premium on performance, rather than political pedigree. The label “Mr. Palengke” stuck with him, and well, when he ran for the Senate and topped the polls. Those placid days seem all too distant to the Mar Roxas of today. In 2009, Roxas was all set to run for the presidency the following year; he even married a broadcast journalist along the way. Alas, he found himself having to give way to a fellow member of the Liberal Party who, despite his parents’ revered stature, had not felt compelled to reach higher or accomplish more until his mother died. Roxas also lost his bid to be vice president. President Aquino has appointed Roxas to various positions, official or not, where the latter has displayed only ineffectiveness and arrogance. For instance, while Roxas was secretary of the Department of Transportation and Communication, the Ninoy Aquino International Airport gained notoriety for its poor facilities. Roxas announced plans to refurbish the airport terminals, but stopped right there. Inaction has also led to the daily horror of commuters taking the Metro Rail Transit. At the Department of the Interior and Local Government, it is as though Roxas were still learning the job. The Zamboanga siege of September 2013 has left numerous families still languishing in evacuation centers. Relief and rehabilitation efforts after super typhoon Yolanda still have to transcend political boundaries. Who can forget Roxas’ words, in talking to the mayor of Tacloban in November? “You have to remember, you are a Romualdez and the President is an Aquino.” READ MORE...

ALSO: Killings unlimited

It is bad enough when soldiers kill civilians. It is not really proper to celebrate when policemen kill criminals. It is disgusting when individuals are victims of summary executions. It is lamentable when neighbors kill neighbors. And it is most appalling when parents kill their own children who are not even born yet, who are precisely altogether dependent on and expecting their mothers and fathers to love and care for them, to protect, and to support them until they can on their own. It is bad enough when fathers rape their own daughters. It is even worse if mothers kill their own unborn child. While it is intrinsically evil to kill anyone, it is very much worse when a mother — with the consent if not the prodding of the father – kills her child still in her womb. Even the unborn has an inalienable right to life and all rights thereto appended. Truth to tell, it is something abnormal when a female animal kills its own unborn kind. What is it then when a mother kills her very own unborn child? So it is that even the Fundamental Law of the land expressly and officially provides — as nothing less than a State Policy: The State … “shall equally protect the life of the mother and the life of the unborn.” This constitutional provision is so clear and simple that even school children somehow already understand it. Yet, strange but true, there are a good number of legislators — the Malacañang occupant included — inclusive of some jurists and professionals who do not. Such a pretended ignorance becomes even more nauseating when killing the born child is done by supposedly doctors of medicine whose main agenda is primarily to save life. READ MORE...

ALSO: Film and the politics of faith: “Son of God,” Pope Francis and the conservative Catholic Church

First, Holy Week was approaching. As a Catholic born in a deeply religious community in Bicol, the Lenten season embedded in me a sense of religious obligation that is beyond explanation. It is part of my being, regardless of what I externally and consciously project and articulate. And second, the Supreme Court just ruled that the Reproductive Health (RH) Law was not unconstitutional, even as it ruled against the constitutionality of seven of its provisions and one provision in its implementing rules and regulations. I supported the RH Law for the simple reason that it addressed an issue that is very close to my heart—women’s rights. I decided to watch “Son of God” partly out of guilt, partly out of politics, the latter expressed in the manner I have come to interrogate my faith in the Church as a Catholic, and in the State as a Filipino citizen. The guilt stems from the fact that I have not been a very good Catholic lately, as I have stopped going to mass. The politics is from the fact that my quarrel with the Roman Catholic Church that claims to represent God is rooted in my total support for the RH Law. It is for this that I was demonized, practically called as a sinful disciple of evil, an abortionist abetting the murder of babies, a malevolent being who preached against life, and an angel of death. It was upon us who supported the law that the leaders of the Roman Catholic Church in the Philippines have practically declared something akin to a Holy War. It was the moment that I was called an agent of evil who will burn in hell, and that a war has been declared on people like me, in a sermon delivered in a house of God where I thought love and peace should have flowed, that I decided to become more Christian and Godly by refusing to hear another word from people who were supposed to be God’s agents on earth but instead were simply full of hate induced by blind faith. No one can make me leave my faith. But in order to keep it, I had to stop tolerating hatred and misunderstanding being heaped upon me by people who were supposed to be men of God. The face of Jesus Christ I saw in the monitor acquired both agonistic and antagonistic symbolisms that struck deep in my psyche. It called me to once again hear, through the visual narrative of a film, the word of God. This came at a time when the RH Law, the very reason why I took leave from hearing His word from the disciples of the institutionalized Roman Catholic Church, was finally legally upheld by the secular forces of the State, the struck down provisions notwithstanding. I looked at “Son of God” as an opportunity to reflect on my own spirituality and faith, in the context of my own political beliefs. The image of Christ in agony was beckoning me to renew my faith. For it to come at a time when the RH Law was declared not unconstitutional was too symbolic enough for me to ignore. READ FULL ARTICLE...

ALSO: Response to China: ‘Usjaphil’

When a bigger guy like China pushes us, a puny nation, the first reflex is not to fight back because we are too small. But when push comes to shove, we rethink our position in two ways. First, in our anger and helplessness, we may want to fight back, not caring if we lose, which would be suicidal. Second, we may look for “creative” ways of fighting back.
From the onset, the Philippines has taken the second option, turning to America as the “creative” way to fight back. We want to pit a giant ally against a giant enemy, because we cannot do it ourselves. We hope to remain a fence-sitter. The problem is, we can never be a fence-sitter in this kind of geopolitical game. We are right smack in the middle of a potential war between giants, partly of our own doing. And while we are not yet in the stage where the two giants confront each other eyeball to eyeball, China continues to harass us, pushing us to take the first option of fighting back suicidally, in the hope that this would trigger the second option of the giant ally coming to the rescue.
At present, the Philippines and Japan each has a mutual defense agreement with the United States. If the Philippines forges a pact with Japan, the triangle will be complete. READ MORE...


READ FULL REPORTS HERE:

Mar unravels
 

MANILA, APRIL 21, 2014 (MANILA STANDARD) By Manila Standard Today - Once upon a time, a Wharton-educated scion of a prominent family was seen as presidential timber.

His initial foray into government seemed promising. Serving on two previous administrations, Manuel Roxas II capitalized on his investment banking experience. He projected an image of competence and levelheadedness. Despite his roots, his manners and speech indicated that he placed a premium on performance, rather than political pedigree.

The label “Mr. Palengke” stuck with him, and well, when he ran for the Senate and topped the polls.

Those placid days seem all too distant to the Mar Roxas of today.

In 2009, Roxas was all set to run for the presidency the following year; he even married a broadcast journalist along the way. Alas, he found himself having to give way to a fellow member of the Liberal Party who, despite his parents’ revered stature, had not felt compelled to reach higher or accomplish more until his mother died. Roxas also lost his bid to be vice president.

President Aquino has appointed Roxas to various positions, official or not, where the latter has displayed only ineffectiveness and arrogance. For instance, while Roxas was secretary of the Department of Transportation and Communication, the Ninoy Aquino International Airport gained notoriety for its poor facilities. Roxas announced plans to refurbish the airport terminals, but stopped right there.

Inaction has also led to the daily horror of commuters taking the Metro Rail Transit.

At the Department of the Interior and Local Government, it is as though Roxas were still learning the job. The Zamboanga siege of September 2013 has left numerous families still languishing in evacuation centers. Relief and rehabilitation efforts after super typhoon Yolanda still have to transcend political boundaries.

Who can forget Roxas’ words, in talking to the mayor of Tacloban in November? “You have to remember, you are a Romualdez and the President is an Aquino.”

In cases like these, last names should be the last thing that should matter.

This week, Roxas hogged the headlines again, when he reportedly shouted at the staff of the Wack Wack Golf and Country Club who insisted he pay some fees.

“Walang bawal-bawal sa akin,” he is reported to have hollered.

This is the same person “mistakenly” referred to as “President Mar” by another member of the Cabinet, his successor at the transportation department.

We don’t quite like the sound of “President Mar.” “Secretary Mar” is bad enough.

Many have been accused of trying to bring down the secretary or sabotaging his political plans. We say there is no need to do that. He is doing a splendid job of it himself.

FROM THE TRIBUNE

Killings unlimited Written by Archbishop Oscar V.Cruz Tuesday, 15 April 2014 00:00

It is bad enough when soldiers kill civilians. It is not really proper to celebrate when policemen kill criminals. It is disgusting when individuals are victims of summary executions. It is lamentable when neighbors kill neighbors. And it is most appalling when parents kill their own children who are not even born yet, who are precisely altogether dependent on and expecting their mothers and fathers to love and care for them, to protect, and to support them until they can on their own.

It is bad enough when fathers rape their own daughters. It is even worse if mothers kill their own unborn child.
While it is intrinsically evil to kill anyone, it is very much worse when a mother — with the consent if not the prodding of the father – kills her child still in her womb. Even the unborn has an inalienable right to life and all rights thereto appended.

Truth to tell, it is something abnormal when a female animal kills its own unborn kind. What is it then when a mother kills her very own unborn child?

So it is that even the Fundamental Law of the land expressly and officially provides — as nothing less than a State Policy: The State … “shall equally protect the life of the mother and the life of the unborn.” This constitutional provision is so clear and simple that even school children somehow already understand it. Yet, strange but true, there are a good number of legislators — the Malacañang occupant included — inclusive of some jurists and professionals who do not. Such a pretended ignorance becomes even more nauseating when killing the born child is done by supposedly doctors of medicine whose main agenda is primarily to save life.

To those who are ignorant of what it is really going on or pretend to know better than what Natural Law, functional reason and/or sound ethics provide, the socio-moral battle these days is no longer about contraception that prevents conception through anti-natalist practices, use of contraceptives of all kinds of forms — vasectomy and tubal ligation included.

The bone of contention these times is already about legalization of abortion. Never mind the Constitution, this can be changed. Never mind about the murder of the unborn, this is but population control. Never mind morality or immorality, whereas it is the time of amorality — the ultimate meaning of which is what I like is good and what I do not like is bad.

Plain and simple!

To those promoting and/or subscribing to abortion, they are lucky their parents did not abort them when they were not yet born. Otherwise, they would not be around to say, to do anything. And thus alive and grown up, would that they do not murder their own children precisely by aborting them. Men and women, who are pro-abortion, are very dangerous and even mortal enemies of their unborn children.

They are no better than those who killed Christ! Heaven forgive them!

(Reprinted with permission of Archbishop Emeritus Oscar V. Cruz, from www.ovc.blogspot.com)

FROM GMA NEWS NETWORK

Film and the politics of faith: “Son of God,” Pope Francis and the conservative Catholic Church By ANTONIO P. CONTRERAS April 14, 2014 11:27am

After watching the film “Son of God,” it dawned on me that Pope Francis needs all the support and prayers he can get in the face of a Roman Catholic Church that has become dominated by the modern day descendants of Caiaphas, the high priest of the Jewish Sanhedrin which indicted Jesus to be crucified.

But this is getting ahead of my story.

I found myself in the Mall of Asia on the occasion of the April 9 holiday to mark the surrender of Bataan. After trying my best to grade papers of students in the confines of Starbucks located in a new environment outside my office in the University, hoping that I would get some fresher perspectives, I had the urge to try something I have not done for a long time. I decided to watch a movie.

At first, I wanted to watch “Captain America.” After all, I must admit that there is still that child in me, wanting to be in the world of fictitious super-heroes. It is a world where the resolution of the plot is more predictable, where good triumphs over evil all the time. But the predictability is made more exciting by the novelty of the visual impacts of the science and art of computer-generated images that can leave one breathless.

I needed something simpler than the complex and sometimes unfathomable essays and projects of my undergraduate students, but definitely more visually spectacular than their initial attempts of doing discourse and content analysis of qualitative data. Watching how a super-hero would demolish the evil forces, and being mesmerized by the computer generated imageries, would have provided me a much needed break.

But I had an epiphany while in queue to buy a ticket to fantasy.

I saw being played in the monitor near the ticket booth some scenes from the movie “Son of God.” And something hit me, like a biblical voice from the wilderness, urging me to change my plan.

At that moment, two things became evident that made me forget “Captain America.”

First, Holy Week was approaching. As a Catholic born in a deeply religious community in Bicol, the Lenten season embedded in me a sense of religious obligation that is beyond explanation. It is part of my being, regardless of what I externally and consciously project and articulate.

And second, the Supreme Court just ruled that the Reproductive Health (RH) Law was not unconstitutional, even as it ruled against the constitutionality of seven of its provisions and one provision in its implementing rules and regulations. I supported the RH Law for the simple reason that it addressed an issue that is very close to my heart—women’s rights.

I decided to watch “Son of God” partly out of guilt, partly out of politics, the latter expressed in the manner I have come to interrogate my faith in the Church as a Catholic, and in the State as a Filipino citizen.

The guilt stems from the fact that I have not been a very good Catholic lately, as I have stopped going to mass.

The politics is from the fact that my quarrel with the Roman Catholic Church that claims to represent God is rooted in my total support for the RH Law. It is for this that I was demonized, practically called as a sinful disciple of evil, an abortionist abetting the murder of babies, a malevolent being who preached against life, and an angel of death. It was upon us who supported the law that the leaders of the Roman Catholic Church in the Philippines have practically declared something akin to a Holy War.

It was the moment that I was called an agent of evil who will burn in hell, and that a war has been declared on people like me, in a sermon delivered in a house of God where I thought love and peace should have flowed, that I decided to become more Christian and Godly by refusing to hear another word from people who were supposed to be God’s agents on earth but instead were simply full of hate induced by blind faith. No one can make me leave my faith. But in order to keep it, I had to stop tolerating hatred and misunderstanding being heaped upon me by people who were supposed to be men of God.

The face of Jesus Christ I saw in the monitor acquired both agonistic and antagonistic symbolisms that struck deep in my psyche. It called me to once again hear, through the visual narrative of a film, the word of God. This came at a time when the RH Law, the very reason why I took leave from hearing His word from the disciples of the institutionalized Roman Catholic Church, was finally legally upheld by the secular forces of the State, the struck down provisions notwithstanding.

I looked at “Son of God” as an opportunity to reflect on my own spirituality and faith, in the context of my own political beliefs. The image of Christ in agony was beckoning me to renew my faith. For it to come at a time when the RH Law was declared not unconstitutional was too symbolic enough for me to ignore.

As a scholar in culture studies, and as a person who has a firm grasp of my personal politics, I wanted to experience the “Son of God” as a moment, a discourse, a representation, through which I can make sense of how I should now position myself vis-à-vis the Holy Roman Catholic Church. I wanted to use it as a template for me to re-examine my inner spirituality as a rebel Catholic, and my politics as a citizen in constant rebellion against organized power of all kinds, including patriarchy that has denied women their rights to their own bodies.

The narrative was mixed. I am a Catholic whose faith in God remains firm but whose relationship with the Church that claims to embody Him has been seriously undermined. I am a citizen of this Republic who has quarreled with its government on too many issues in various fora, but who found in it an ally on an issue of which I was declared like a heretic by the Church to which I belong.

And what I saw in “Son of God” affirmed my belief that the leaders of the Church who claim to represent God on earth are not different from the members of the Sanhedrin that Caiaphas presided over. This conclusion I reached not only because both the members of the Sanhedrin and the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) wore robes. It was not only because both are guardians of institutionalized forms of religion that embodied their power over their followers.

It was also because of an activist Christ that I saw in the visual narrative celebrated in the film.

I saw in the lens of an activist Christ a clearer image of a Church whose leaders are in denial in the face of the fact that their powers are getting threatened by new interpretations of how the faithful should relate to God. The Jesus Christ I saw in the film was one who challenged not only the powers of the Sanhedrin but also the might of the Roman Empire. This activist image of Jesus revealed to me the real reason why the Bishops saw my support for the RH Law as dangerous.

It was not because I am defying the teachings of God. It was not because I am anti-life.

After all, my respect for women, their bodies, their rights, could not be in any way a great departure from the teachings of an activist, omnipotent and forgiving Christ, contextualized within the needs of the present times. He, who protected a woman who sinned from being stoned to death, placed Magdalene in an important position in His inner circle, and showed love for His mother, would have understood why I fight for women’s rights.

War was declared on me and my fellow supporters of the RH Law by the Catholic Church not because we undermined Christ. And I anticipate that the demonization and condemnation will not cease. Even in legal defeat, some Bishops have continued to blow the trumpets of war even more.

The Bishops now rejoice that the punitive provisions of the RH Law were declared as unconstitutional by the Supreme Court. But what they conveniently ignore is that the very essence of their challenge to the constitutionality of the law, in their attempt to fix the beginning of life according to religious dogma contrary to scientific evidence and medical practice, was not entertained by the Court. What was protected by the Court in its decision was not actually the Church, but the inherent right of citizens to make a choice according to their faith. This is precisely why public health officials, or medical doctors, who, by virtue of their faith, refuse to prescribe artificial contraceptives, or to perform non-emergency RH procedures, are not to be held administratively and legally liable.

This right to choose is what the Bishops and priests refused to recognize when they questioned and demonized women who were asserting their rights over their own bodies and their reproductive health. Ironically, it is now this right of choice that they have chosen to celebrate, now that what is protected is the right of the faithful Catholic believers to refuse women the RH services that the law already provides.

War was declared on those who supported the RH Law by the CBCP because we undermined the power of the Church. The Bishops and priests saw the RH Law as symbolic of the erosion of their powers. They had to move to protect these, in the same manner that Caiaphas and the other Pharisees in the Sanhedrin had to protect their temple from Pilate’s threat of closure, and they had to ensure that the celebration of the Passover will not be canceled due the destabilizing presence of Jesus whom ordinary Jews have come to hail as the Messiah.

The members of the Sanhedrin were desperate. Their domination of the consciousness of the ordinary Jews was eroding. The hold of the religious elites on the people’s beliefs was being gradually chipped away not only by poverty and oppression at the hands of the Romans, but also from their inability to appreciate the magnitude of suffering which they could not see from the inner sanctums of their temple in Jerusalem.

Jesus was a symbolic representation of that emerging rebellion, as He provided a contrapuntal discourse to which people are now turning to, away from the ritualized, book-fixated, and conservative forces of the ruling religious elites. It was not only because Jesus healed the sick, made the blind see, turned water into wine, fed thousands and resurrected the dead that he became a danger. It was also because these acts of miracle made clearer the inability of Caiaphas and his cohorts to provide the ordinary Jews the succor for their pain and suffering, made even more insufferable when juxtaposed with the extractive, exploitative and predatory presence of the Romans.

Jesus did not undermine the faith of the Jews in God. If at all, He came in with a new, even more meaningful sense of what God the Father, who is also the God of Abraham and of all those that they venerated, truly represented.

What He undermined instead was the power of those who benefited from keeping that faith static, enclosed in dogmas, reified, and only made visible through ritualized acts over which only the privileged men in robes have control .

It is in this context that I appreciate even more the kind of Catholicism that Pope Francis enables through his acts and pronouncements. He has shown openness to those who offer a new reading of their relationships to the Holy and the sacred. He has given a new space to interrogate the emerging positionalities of people in a complex world where faith in the Divine articulates with the need to empower women, liberate the poor and respect the rights of the marginalized, including the GLBT community.

In the politics of representations, Pope Francis is akin to an activist Christ that brings a new dimension to faith that opens the possibility for renegade Catholics like me to redefine a newer and fresher relation with the Church. I said this before and I am saying this again. If only for this Pope, I shall remain a Catholic.

People like me, who are no longer comfortable with the confinements and the rigid definitions of what a good and true Catholic should be, according to the conservative discourse of the bishops and priests that preach hatred against those who dare chart a new interpretation of and for their faith, should endeavor to support this Pope, and should pray that he be blessed by success, and he be protected from untimely death.

This is because he now presides over a Church whose leadership, particularly here in the Philippines, is dominated by people who structurally are at odds with what he represents—openness, critical collaboration and engagement with different faiths and identities, an aversion to ritualized practices of the past, a commitment to a kind of Catholicism that empathizes with the pain and suffering of its flock brought about by political corruption and material deprivation.

Pope Francis is not the Sanhedrin that is detached and cloistered in the inner sanctums of the temple in Jerusalem. On the contrary, he is a Pope of, for and with the people, willing to do away with the pomp associated with his exalted office, uncomfortable with the rigidity and exclusiveness that has been the way in the Vatican.

It is because of these that Pope Francis emerges as akin to an activist Christ challenging the dominance of conservative men in robes. He is a counter-narrative to an old brand of Roman Catholicism that has been turned by many of its conservative leaders into a church that is so detached and alienated from the people

FROM THE INQUIRER

Response to China: ‘Usjaphil’ By Bernie V. Lopez Philippine Daily Inquirer 3:59 am | Sunday, April 20th, 2014

When a bigger guy like China pushes us, a puny nation, the first reflex is not to fight back because we are too small.

But when push comes to shove, we rethink our position in two ways. First, in our anger and helplessness, we may want to fight back, not caring if we lose, which would be suicidal. Second, we may look for “creative” ways of fighting back.

From the onset, the Philippines has taken the second option, turning to America as the “creative” way to fight back. We want to pit a giant ally against a giant enemy, because we cannot do it ourselves. We hope to remain a fence-sitter.

The problem is, we can never be a fence-sitter in this kind of geopolitical game. We are right smack in the middle of a potential war between giants, partly of our own doing. And while we are not yet in the stage where the two giants confront each other eyeball to eyeball, China continues to harass us, pushing us to take the first option of fighting back suicidally, in the hope that this would trigger the second option of the giant ally coming to the rescue.

At present, the Philippines and Japan each has a mutual defense agreement with the United States. If the Philippines forges a pact with Japan, the triangle will be complete.

These three independent agreements can be integrated into one powerful force, what may be tentatively called “Usjaphil,” a single trilateral mutual defense pact among the three countries. This may be the beginnings of Apto, or the Asia Pacific Treaty Organization, similar to Nato (North Atlantic Treaty Organization). When push comes to shove, creative escalation will be easy.

The first problem with Usjaphil is inherent.

While the Philippines and Japan are there in the name of defense, the United States has a different agenda. In the end, the creative solution we seek may become a bigger problem. The United States is not interested in the Spratlys or the Senkaku Islands in themselves, which for the Philippines and Japan are the prime agenda. It has a bigger ambition for military dominance in the Asia Pacific.

The White House and the Pentagon call it “pivot to Asia,” an ambitious military expansion to the Asia Pacific to “surround” China. On the upside, the United States wants to make sure that the international shipping lanes will remain accessible to all, not on China’s terms and its air defense identification zone (Adiz), but on international terms, for global trade. The United States will never permit this strategic ocean corridor to be part of Chinese territory. It will go to war without a second thought to protect global trade access.

The idea of Usjaphil is at once ingenious and dangerous from the geopolitical perspective. It is ingenious because it will unite three Asia Pacific nations into one single powerful force to confront China. It is dangerous because it is the first step toward a future war, the extent of which is unpredictable and unimaginable. In truth, Usjaphil is playing with fire, a product of the push-comes-to-shove logic.

The war hawks may argue, “So what? We are headed there, anyway. Coalition or not, China’s behavior is asking for it. So it is better that we be ready now than later, or never.”

But right now, the mood is nonconfrontational for the United States, and even for China, despite of its latest brinkmanship diplomacy of threats. China’s goal is to instill fear. America does not cower in fear, but we do because we have a puny slingshot against the Goliath. China’s saber-rattling hints of its despair for future sources of energy on a massive scale. Without sufficient energy, China’s economy will dwindle from a hurricane to a breeze. In other words, the nonconfrontational mood of the two giants can reverse in the blink of an eye.

China’s aggressive moves in the South China Sea are now triggering a dangerous and rapid Asian arms race. Never mind us; any arms escalation on our end is puny. Think of Japan, the second largest economy in the Asia Pacific. Japan has so far been a non-nuclear sleeping giant. After World War II, the Japanese said never again would they wage war abroad. To make sure, their constitution forbids nuclear weapons, and troops abroad. But the Bushi spirit can easily resurrect because of China’s aggressions. Japan can easily change its constitution in the name of survival. When push comes to shove, Japan can become a nuclear power overnight.

Add to that the arms escalation in India, today’s largest buyer of arms, and Vietnam, and South Korea, and you have a pretty good idea of the coming storm.

Polarization into two opposite forces is the precursor to big wars, as in World Wars I and II. Right now, China’s brinkmanship is catalyzing that polarization. For some strange reason, it is mixing bread with bullets, trade pacts with Adiz, investments abroad with a multibillion-dollar weapons program. It is preparing for war while it strengthens trade ties. A contradiction, for how can trade thrive during war?

Bernie V. Lopez (eastwindreplyctr@gmail.com) has been writing political commentary for the past 20 years. He is also a radio-TV broadcaster, a documentary producer-director, and a former professor at Ateneo de Manila University.


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