September 14, 2019

#TPonMB: Perception in politics is as important as Reality


Politics is a game of Perception where what’s really taking place may be different from what the public thinks is happening, and anyone who enters the political arena should know this by heart. A public official, whether elective or appointive, should not only be qualified (Reality) but also look qualified (Perception).

[NOTE: This piece was first published in the Manila Bulletin on 07 September 2019].


To illustrate, US domestic support for the 2003 war in Iraq was possible after the Bush administration managed to make the public believe that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction (Perception), even if it didn’t (Reality), something that the no less than the Bush administration admitted years later… but not before the US had taken over Iraq, killed Sadam, taken control of the country’s massive oil resources, and in the process left hundreds of thousands of Iraqis dead.

Form (Perception) is more important than substance (Reality) in the game of political survival, at least in the short- to medium-term. The sad reality in politics is that Perception takes precedence over Reality, and it’s the job of every public official to minimize the gap between the two.

September 7, 2019

#TPonMB: Personal advocacies and the ABCD of politics


The relative political calm in the months after the May, 2019, elections has come to an end: sentence reductions for convicted felons, the SOGIE bill, South China Sea tensions, Death Penalty’s revival, the Communist insurgency…the list goes on and on.

[NOTE: This piece was first published in the Manila Bulletin on 31 August 2019].

I have my own take on each of these issues and I have been quite vocal on most of them through my Facebook page ThinkingPinoy. More than just promoting my own views through this column, however, I feel that it’s more important, at least for now, to help everyone get back on track by sharing with my readers the four principles I generally follow when I publicly speak my mind.

Don’t get me wrong: I admit that I oftentimes fail to adhere to them, but I try to stick to them as best as I can. I think I am already done with the days when I approached issues with unbridled anger. After years of being in the public scene, I learned that moderation is key.

I noticed, throughout the years, that my efforts yielded better results whenever I seriously take into consideration the principles that I’m about to list down.

#TPonMB: Duterte Youth’s Cardema vs Comelec’s Guanzon

Over the past several weeks, we’ve been witness to the word war between former National Youth Commission and Duterte Youth party-list nominee Ronald Cardema and Comelec commissioner Rowena Guanzon, with the core issue being Cardema’s eligibility as Duterte Youth’s first nominee.

[NOTE: This piece was first published in the Manila Bulletin on 24 August 2019.]

#TPonMB: Policy suggestions to prevent the recruitment of Filipino youth into rebel groups



Several parents of senior high school students testified in a series of Senate hearings that leftist groups believed to fronts for the communist insurgent New People’s Army (NPA) are recruiting their children. And true enough, some of kids really went to the mountains and have become combatants for the rebel group.

I disagree with Leftist ideologies (I consider myself a Centrist) but I recognize every person’s right to have her own political views. Advocacy of leftist ideologies is not by itself illegal, but it should stop when it’s about to lead our youth, most especially our very impressionable minors, into a life of violence.

Whenever I point out a problem, I always try to propose a solution.

Thus, here are several policy recommendations in relation to the issue:

[NOTE: This piece was first published in the Manila Bulletin on 17 August 2019].

#TPonMB: Health Sec. Duque, let’s respect FDA’s independence


Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Francisco Duque recently announced that he’ll consult with the UP-PGH Dengvaxia Task Force regarding the possible reintroduction of the controversial anti-dengue vaccine Dengvaxia, saying he wants a decision on Dengvaxia’s fate through a consensus among all sectors “because a lot of groups have varying positions about this.”

But before we go any further, here’s some context.
[NOTE: This piece was first published in the Manila Bulletin on 10 August 2019].

#TPonMB: What, exactly, is a ‘legitimate journalist’?



As I write my first column piece, I think it’s best to introduce myself first.

[NOTE: This piece was first published in the Manila Bulletin on 03 August 2019].