Editorial & Opinion

Divorce and death

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At the second presidential debate sanctioned by the Commission on Elections and held in Cebu on March 20, the candidates were asked to answer three questions without explanation, simply by raising their hands if they were in favor and keeping still if they were against. It was a made-for-TV format, but the exercise proved to be a welcome respite from the often heated exchanges that characterized the debate.

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Encouraging ruling

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The very first line of the preamble of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (Unclos) makes clear what the agreement is all about: “Prompted by the desire to settle, in a spirit of mutual understanding and cooperation, all issues relating to the law of the sea…”

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Huge embarrassment

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The alleged money laundering involving a local bank and casinos is becoming a huge embarrassment to the Philippines, it being just a part of what is described as the biggest modern cybertheft in the world, worth $1 billion.

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Treasured islands

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As though we needed convincing, Conde Nast Traveler has declared our Palawan the best island in the world, and also included our other beauties, Boracay and Cebu, in the “best” list. Filipinos are quite accustomed to having our islands gushed over, natural beauty being one of the country’s plus factors - and, sadly, one of the things easily taken for granted.

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To the debate

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Unlike other electorates with directly elected presidents, Filipino voters have limited experience with the presidential debate. In France and in the United States, for instance, debates featuring presidential candidates are not only par for the course; they are, to shift metaphors, part of the course itself.

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The Pope in America

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With his recent visit to the United States, Pope Francis has brought his message of social equality, concern for the marginalized, the perils of unbridled capitalism, and greater responsibility for climate change to, arguably, the nation that most needs to hear it.

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Let there be light

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An encouraging and enduring image from last week’s Apec meetings in Manila was that of Filipino engineer Aisa Mijeno holding her own in a lively panel with US President Barack Obama and Alibaba founder Jack Ma, as they discussed SMEs (small and medium enterprises) and the private sector’s role in mitigating climate change.

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Make it redundant

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The recent Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum on women provides enough reason to rejoice. Highlighted was women’s crucial role in fostering sustainable and inclusive growth in the region, described by Trade Secretary Gregory Domingo thus: “In 2012, it was estimated that up to $89 billion could be added to the regional economy when barriers to women’s economic participation are eliminated.”

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Paris Light

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The words of a survivor of the brutal attack on the Bataclan concert hall in Paris describe the horror in nausea-inducing detail. “It looked like an abattoir. I was wading through blood. It was a centimeter deep in places. I had to clamber over dead bodies to get out,” Michael O’Connor told the BBC.

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Torre de Rizal, or Insulting the national hero

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It is a mistake to think that our generation would know Jose Rizal’s wishes better than the revolutionary generation he inspired and which erected his monument. Rizal did write that he wanted only a simple tombstone to mark his grave - but he wrote that at a time when the Spanish continued to rule the Philippines.

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