THERE was a time my colleagues at the PCIJ threatened to print shirts that said “I am not JJ” in front and “Neither is she my friend” at the back.
The (hopefully) feigned betrayal stemmed from the stories I was writing at the time about the Ampatuan clan, how its members wielded power, and the sorry state of public education in the province of Maguindanao.
CLOSING DOWN a mine is not just a matter of giving employees their walking papers and putting a padlock on the door. Indeed, when a mine ceases operations, a full-blown cleanup (plus sometimes an orderly dismantling) follows. Or at least that is what should happen.
Over the last three decades, several large-scale mines in the country have been shut down because of economic loss, labor disputes, or a rejected mining application. But none of these mines was rehabilitated right after closure; unfortunately, government regulations at the time lacked the provision to enforce remediation. Those regulations came in 1996, when guidelines on mine rehabilitation and decommissioning were set in the implementing rules and regulations of the Mining Act of 1995.
UNDAUNTED by the resounding defeat recently of the fourth impeachment complaint against President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, the opposition at the House of Representatives is embarking on another crusade that does not seem to stand a chance of winning, at least under the present administration.
The opposition now seeks to control the president’s wide discretion in disbursing public money, including the lawmakers’ Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), derisively called ‘pork barrel,’ and other unspent amounts in the annual budget program.
BANGKOK — “Political conditions.” That was what the Thai Airways lady at the Chiang Mai airport scribbled as the reason for the cancellation of our Nov. 27 flight from Bangkok, crossing out the word “weather” stamped on our e-ticket. Minutes earlier, an AirAsia staffer had done a similar thing for our other cancelled flight, writing “political disturbance at Bangkok airport” on our tickets.
In this issue Dig this A mess of mines The Canadian quandary Of tribal leaders and dealers Thailand’s continuing crisis Mike Arroyo claim stalls land reform in Negros Every 6 hours, pirates seize a Filipino seaman House opposition seeks cap on Gloria’s spending habits THIS month alone, one Filipino shipping crewmember has been taken hostage [...]
THE annual revenues it promises to corporations easily come to millions of dollars each. For governments, the figures can reach billions. The materials it extracts also end up in a wide range of products for all sorts of uses — from fuel to infrastructure components, to luxury goods, including the gaudiest gems — and it is capable of providing employment for thousands of people per site for decades. Indeed, if only it weren’t intrinsically destructive, mining would be a thorough winner of an industry.
BANGKOK — Anti-government protesters make up a sea of yellow and the other side, red. Look familiar? To Filipinos, yes: Yellow, after all, is the Pinoy color of protest, bringing back the angry-turned-euphoric days of the civilian-led revolt against the dictator Ferdinand Marcos in February 1986. Red, meanwhile, was favored by the Marcos loyalists.
The political divisions in the Thai political drama are quite different from 1986 Philippines, not least because the anti-government groups actually want to go back to a time of fewer elective positions in government and argue that democracy has not worked in this country. But several other scenes unfolding here trigger memory buttons for Filipinos, who consider themselves veterans in the culture of protest.
WE DIDN’T even hear the shots. Someone had to tell us about the gunshots outside, and then I saw Doña Aurora Aquino stand up and start praying. Roberto Coloma of Agence France Presse, meanwhile, quickly grabbed the nearest phone and began breaking the news to the world.
A few minutes later, foreign TV correspondent Ken Kashiwahara managed to slip into the airport VIP lounge, which was by then packed with people. As he slumped into a couch, he cried, ”Ninoy was shot! Ninoy was shot!”
GLORIA MACAPAGAL-Arroyo will go down in Philippine history as the president with an inglorious track record, at least, on two counts.
First, her popularity rating has hit the pits of negative 38 percent, the worst scored by a president since the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos.