Manila Bulletin Columns


20
NOV
2012

A Postscript to Food Safety

Two incidents, which happened while my series on Senate Bill No. 3311, the proposed Food Safety Act, was coming on this paper, prompted me to write this addendum.

13
NOV
2012

Food Safety (Conclusion)

THERE are five important features of Senate Bill No. 3311. These are as follows:

06
NOV
2012

A Benchmark for Food Safety

One of the legislative measures closest to my heart is Senate Bill No. 3311, the proposed Food Safety Act of 2012. This is because it's for the interest of all Filipinos and people of other nationalities who live, work, or spend their vacation in our country.

30
OCT
2012

Expanding the Basic Necessities List

DID you know that the Philippines is one of the world's top consumers of instant noodles?

23
OCT
2012

A Fresh Look on Agriculture (Conclusion)

Giving agriculture a fresh look, particularly in light of its potential to contribute to the tourism industry, also means going back to our roots and our most bountiful resource: agricultural land.

16
OCT
2012

The Amazing Flowers of Thailand

I HAVE traveled a lot across the Philippines and beyond our borders. Travel enriches a person's knowledge and broadens his perspective.

09
OCT
2012

Growth Driver

MANILA, Philippines — The agricultural sector, battered by typhoons, may surprisingly emerge as the saving grace for Philippine exports, which have been adversely affected by the slowdown in the global economy.

02
OCT
2012

Behind the Euphoria Over GDP

MANILA, Philippines — Amid the euphoria that greeted the strong performance of the economy in the second quarter of 2012, I felt some apprehension when I looked at the numbers behind the 5.9-percent overall growth in terms of Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

25
SEPT
2012

6-Hour Workday for Teachers

MANILA, Philippines — To help public school teachers in their noble task of molding the minds of our youth, I have proposed to reduce the working hours of all public school teachers to a six-hour workday or a total of a 30-hour workweek.

18
SEPT
2012

Helping Hand for the Poor (Conclusion)

SENATE Bill No. 3255, which seeks to institutionalize the development of microenterprise development organizations, may be considered a kind of "public-private partnership program."

04
SEPT
2012

Leave Credits For OFW Spouses

MANILA, Philippines — I have proposed the enactment of a law by Congress that will grant special leave credits to spouses of overseas Filipino workers. It's really a way of giving back to the OFWs, numbering over 10 million, who have helped and continue to help with their remittances of dollars and other foreign currencies, in the growth of our domestic economy.

28
AUG
2012

Preserve Our Heirloom Public Lands

MANILA, Philippines — This is the third and final part of my series about selling public lands, our heirlooms. It's called "asset sale" or "asset privatization" which has been used as a tool of the Philippine government to generate revenues to cope with poor collections from traditional sources like taxes.

21
AUG
2012

Would We Sell Central Park?

THIS second part of a series about selling public lands, our heirlooms, was not published last week for unexpected circumstances. My apologies.

31
JUL
2012

Refinements To Higher Fees, Charges – Conclusion

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Finance said giving executive departments the authority to raise fees and charges without seeking approval from the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) would enable these departments to run their operations more efficiently.

24
JUL
2012

Raising Gov't Fees And Charges

THE Department of Finance's proposal to authorize cabinet secretaries to raise the fees and charges imposed by bureaus and other agencies under their respective departments is a good idea.

10
JUL
2012

Mechanizing Agriculture For Food Security

LAST February 27, I urgently called on the government in Senate Resolution No. 731 "to devise strategies that promote modern farming methods and adopt new approaches, including the so-called climate-smart agriculture."

03
JUL
2012

Cheaper Medicines: A Relentless Pursuit (Conclusion)

MANILA, Philippines — The national government has started the preparation of its proposed budget for 2013, and the working figure is Php 2 trillion, a substantial increase from the current year's budget of Php 1.816 trillion.

26
JUN
2012

Tribute To 'King Of Comedy'

MANILA, Philippines --- I am taking this opportunity to share with readers of this column my thoughts about Rodolfo Vera Quizon, better known as "Dolphy – the King of Comedy," an entertainer extraordinaire, a thespian par excellence, and a true friend.

19
JUN
2012

Cheaper Medicines: a Relentless Pursuit

MANILA, Philippines --- The Philippines marked the fourth anniversary of Republic Act 9502, "The Universally Accessible Cheaper and Quality Medicines Act," last June 6.

12
JUN
2012

Disasters As Challengers, Not Excuses

MANILA, Philippines --- The first week of June saw the arrival of the first typhoon in the Philippines this year. Typhoon "Ambo" (international name: "Mawar") was not among the most disastrous weather disturbances to visit our country, but it still left two people dead, five missing, and 16 injured. Property damage has yet to be assessed.

05
JUN
2012

Paradox of the Miracle Tree (Conclusion)

MANILA, Philippines --- The latest good news for the coconut industry was a report in local newspapers last May 27 that a major food importer from New Zealand has expressed interest in buying coco water and other coconut products from the Philippines.

30
MAY
2012

Paradox of the Miracle Tree (Second Part)

MANILA, Philippines --- PERHAPS the most damaging misconception about the coconut, particularly coconut oil, is that it causes heart disease.

30
MAY
2012

Paradox of the Miracle Tree (Second Part)

MANILA, Philippines --- PERHAPS the most damaging misconception about the coconut, particularly coconut oil, is that it causes heart disease.

22
MAY
2012

Paradox of the Miracle Tree

MANILA, Philippines --- A LOT of things are happening now involving the coconut, often called the miracle tree or tree of life because of its many uses, from cooking oil to food to medicine, as construction material and more recently, as healthy sugar and sports drink.

15
MAY
2012

Brain Drain

MANILA, Philippines - BRAIN drain, which resulted from the migration of many Filipino professionals, is one more reason for me to pursue the establishment of a national program to help cancer patients.

02
MAY
2012

Let's Raise the Minimum Wage

I'M a businessman and I support an increase in wages for Filipino workers.

24
APR
2012

State Should Lead Cancer Fight

MANILA, Philippines — News that Warren Buffett, 81-year-old world's third richest person, has been diagnosed with prostate cancer, prompted me to make a second pitch to push my proposals to make cancer drugs free and to establish facilities devoted to cancer treatment and research.

17
APR
2012

First Impeachment an Independent Act

MANILA, Philippines — Since the beginning of the impeachment trial of Chief Justice Renato Corona at the Senate last January 16th, I kept silent and just focused on the presentation of witnesses and evidence and the exchanges between the prosecution and the defense, as well as the questioning and observations from the impeachment court, of which I am a member.

10
APR
2012

Providing Relief for Fresh Graduates

MANILA, Philippines — More than half a million students have just graduated from college, and millions more have finished high school or technical or vocational courses. All of them will join the growing army of jobseekers.

03
APR
2012

Remove the V.A.T. on Medicines

MANILA, Philippines — The debate over domestic oil prices always brings up the issue of removing the Value-Added Tax (VAT) to at least partly offset the impact of increases in prices of imported crude oil.

27
MAR
2012

Free Medicines for Cancer Patients

MANILA, Philippines — Cancer is the third leading cause of death in the Philippines today. It is outranked only by communicable and cardiovascular diseases, claiming one death for every two new cases within a year, while cancer, which afflicts 189 per 100,000, kills four Filipinos every hour or 103 every day.

20
MAR
2012

Climate–Smart Agriculture for R.P.

MANILA, Philippines — Climate change is upon us, and the whole world is seeing its destructive impact.

13
MAR
2012

Cheaper Medicines

MANILA, Philippines — In less than three months from today, we will mark the fourth anniversary of Republic Act 9502, "The Universally Accessible Cheaper and Quality Medicines Act," signed in June 6, 2008.

07
MAR
2012

Primary Responsibility

MANILA, Philippines — Undoubtedly, we need the private sector and private capital to undertake major infrastructure projects that require huge investments.

29
FEB
2012

Open Factories!

MANILA, Philippines — The Social Weather Stations (SWS) last week reported that its survey on the unemployment rate rose to 24 percent or an estimated 9.7 million people as of December 2011 compared to the 20.2 percent or about 7.6 million people in September of the same year.

22
FEB
2012

Unwanted Spillover

MANILA, Philippines — At the Corona impeachment trial last Monday, February 13, I was prompted to take the floor when the proceedings touched on Republic Act 6426, the "Foreign Currency Deposit Act of the Philippines."

14
FEB
2012

Syria won't be the last

MANILA, Philippines — The worsening situation in Syria has prompted me to again call for the designation of a Cabinet-level agency exclusively for overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) and their families.

07
FEB
2012

Keep Focus on the Economy

MANILA, Philippines — The ongoing Senate impeachment trial is doubtlessly a very important event in our country, but it should not divert focus away from the present state of the national economy.

31
JAN
2012

Health Care for Overseas Filipinos

MANILA, Philippines — In general, I don't agree with imposing new requirements, adopting new regulations or increasing fees that would only make life more difficult for overseas Filipino workers.

17
JAN
2012

Poverty remains a serious problem

MANILA, Philippines — It is understandable for administrations to paint a pretty picture of the nation today, but sometimes it can be ridiculously insulting to the senses.

10
JAN
2012

A Call for Cultural Renaissance

MANILA, Philippines — Culture is one term that cannot be defined and understood in just a few words.

03
JAN
2012

Wishes for the New Year

MANILA, Philippines — In three days, another year will end. It is time to ponder, but not to despair and be bitter. This time, it is better to talk about the good things.

27
DEC
2011

Wishes for the New Year

MANILA, Philippines — In three days, another year will end. It is time to ponder, but not to despair and be bitter. This time, it is better to talk about the good things.

20
DEC
2011

Mixed Christmas

MANILA, Philippines — Four days from today, we will celebrate Christmas Day, probably the happiest holiday for most Filipinos. But not for our 10 million overseas Filipino workers (OFW) and their families, for whom Christmas may be one of their loneliest moments.

13
DEC
2011

Disaster preparedness is long overdue

MANILA, Philippines — We should have learned it a long time ago. I'm referring to disaster preparedness. We all know how many lives have been lost, how many homes, schools, roads, and other facilities and infrastructure have been destroyed by earthquakes, floods, typhoons, and other calamities.

06
DEC
2011

Pacquiao's Legacy

MANILA, Philippines — It was becoming like a tradition. Whenever Manny Pacquiao arrived after a victory, he was welcomed like a hero, driven around Manila where thousands lined up to see him, along roads where tarpaulins with greetings and congratulatory messages were set up.

29
NOV
2011

O.F.W. Summit: Changing Mindsets

MANILA, Philippines — I've been writing about overseas Filipino workers (OFW) with a common message: the government should do more to help them and protect their interests.

22
NOV
2011

The 50-Million O.F.W. Community

MANILA, Philippines — The latest report on remittances from overseas Filipino workers (OFW) reflects one of the strongest fundamentals of the Philippine economy, especially amid the global crisis, which has largely been responsible for the double-digit fall in export earnings.

15
NOV
2011

Simple Equation

MANILA, Philippines — The current socioeconomic conditions and recent developments underscore the relationship between economic growth as expressed in terms of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and the Philippines’ persistent poverty problem.

08
NOV
2011

A Better Land Public Policy

MANILA, Philippines — I have no problem about the government plans to sell equipment, facilities, or corporate assets, like the sequestered television stations or state-owned corporations like the PNOC Exploration Corp.

02
NOV
2011

Cool Guy

MANILA, Philippines — He's cool. He’s an entrepreneur. He’s Steve Jobs!

25
OCT
2011

Why a department of OFW’s

MANILA, Philippines — Last month, the remains of an overseas Filipino worker (OFW) arrived in Manila and official reports declared her death a year ago in Saudi Arabia as a suicide. But, when the body was embalmed, the family learned that some of her internal organs were missing.

18
OCT
2011

Coconut Farmers

MANILA, Philippines — The situation in the coconut industry presents a good opportunity for the conditional cash transfer program or CCT to make a lasting impact.

11
OCT
2011

Become a nation of entrepreneurs

MANILA, Philippines — I have always believed that the way to prosperity for our country and its people is to become a nation of entrepreneurs instead of employees.

04
OCT
2011

Competitive Culture

MANILA, Philippines — I share the disappointment of our leading universities over the drop in their global rankings. No Philippine university made it to the top 300 list in the World University Rankings 2011 released last month by London-based Quacquarelli Symonds Ltd.

28
SEPT
2011

Water Hyacinths:Scourge to Blessing (Second of two parts)

MANILA, Philippines — The people of Mindanao have been suffering for three months now from the scourge of water hyacinths.

20
SEPT
2011

Ending the scourge of Hyacinths ,First of a series

MANILA, Philippines — ―Sagip Ilog,‖ the massive rehabilitation of the Las Piñas-Zapote River, is one program that has received two prestigious international awards.

13
SEPT
2011

Creative Solutions

The Japanese people suffered a lot when they were hit by a triple whammy last March: A massive earthquake, a terrifying tsunami, and a nuclear near-meltdown. Fortunately, those disasters were a one-time catastrophe, and Japan is already recovering.

06
SEPT
2011

Why not and O.F.W. Dep't. Last of a three-part series

IN the first installment of this three-part series, I discussed the big role that overseas Filipino workers played in the life of our nation: How they have saved the economy from collapse during national and global crises, how they have prevented the unemployment problem from exploding into unimaginable proportions, and how they have fueled the boom in the property and retailing sectors and in other industries.

30
AUG
2011

O.F.W.S should be top priority (Part 2 of a series)

Several recent and ongoing developments in the world have prodded me to look at our foreign policy, particularly the priorities being followed by the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).

23
AUG
2011

O.F.W.S are Driving Natl Economy

This is the first of a series of columns expressing my appreciation to the ten million Overseas Filipino Workers and expatriates who have kept the Philippines alive and its economy afloat in the past four decades.

17
AUG
2011

Think Big and Aim High

I'm truly happy to be writing again for the Manila Bulletin. As the oldest and one of the most widely read daily newspapers in the country, it gives me the privilege to "talk" to most of our people.