For years, the Philippine government has pursued peace talks with both the communist and Muslim rebels in the hope of finally ending these decades-long insurgencies and giving the economy the breathing room it needs to grow.
The temblor felt in parts of northeast China last week wasn’t due to natural causes. It was the result of an underground nuclear explosion over the border - the latest test blast by North Korea, coming only eight months from its last test in January. This one, according to experts, appeared to be the most powerful yet with an explosive yield estimated at about 10 kilotons, enough to trigger a quake magnitude of 5.3.
Aircraft manufacturer Airbus says the Philippines will be one of eight aviation megacities by the year 2012, with the number of long-haul passengers exceeding 10,000 per day.
Of the reforms promised by President Duterte, the campaign pledge to lower the income tax rate has generated much interest. Ordinary taxpayers had long clamored for tax relief, given that the Philippines has one of the highest corporate and individual income tax rates in the region, but all their pleas had fallen on deaf ears.
I am haunted by one of my late father, Maximo V. Soliven’s beautifully written column about Philippine Independence entitled: A Portrait of the Filipino as a hero: In search of himself.
The latest results of the Quacquarelli Symonds University Rankings were disappointing but bore no real surprises. The Philippines, the rankings show, continues to struggle to maintain high educational standards against the rest of the world and Asia.
That phrase just about sums up Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima’s assessment of the Philippine economy after six years under President Aquino. And he has a point. Gross domestic product grew 6.9 percent in the first quarter of 2016, the fastest among the top five members of the Asean. It outpaced China’s for the first time in 27 years and, despite the global economic weakness, was the highest quarterly growth in nearly three years and the 17th consecutive quarter of above-5-percent GDP expansion.
Recent developments on the foreign-relations front are becoming unsettling. Earlier, President Duterte insulted US President Barack Obama, the European Union and the United Nations for commenting on the rising number of extrajudicial killings here. He followed these up with announcements that he would seek to expand ties with China and Russia. Then last week, he said the coming US-PH war games would be the last.