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First response

READ: James 5:13-16 Be anxious for nothing, but…let your request be made known to God. Philippians 4:6-7 When my husband, Tom, was rushed to the hospital for emergency surgery, I began to call family members. My sister and her husband came right away to be with me, and we prayed as we waited. Tom’s sister listened to my anxious voice on the phone and immediately said, “Cindy, can I pray with you?” When my pastor and his wife arrived, he too prayed for us (James 5:13-16). Oswald Chambers wrote: “We tend to used prayer as a last resort, but God wants it to be our first line defense. We pray when there’s nothing else can do, but God wants us to pray before we do anything at all.” At its root, prayer is simply …

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Our ASEAN trade is bigger than the US, and why the rebalance is good for Mindanao

By John Tria Looking through the recent information flung to support or lambast our foreign trade policy, I thought it proper to first examine official figures on foreign trade available at the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) website. What it does reveal is that $26.705 billion or 20.6 percent of our $130-Billion total foreign trade is with the ASEAN bloc, followed by China and Hong Kong at a combined 19.9%. This is followed by Japan at 14.4%. The United States at fourth and the European Union at fifth rank at 12.7 and 10.7%, respectively. Knowing this information forces us to examine our trade policy and how it must reflect the reality that almost 2/3 of all trade is with Asia. Is it wise therefore, to accord special privileges to countries other than those with …

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Back to basics

“Fortune favors the bold.”  — Virgil   If anybody can do it at this time, it is President Rodrigo Roa Duterte. Since the President constantly talks of the adverse impact of drug addiction on future generations of Filipino youth, there are also certain basic national problems that have equally important consequences to future generations. This is the opportune time for the popular, credible, and demagogic President to transform the country into what it should be, provided President Duterte can recruit the best and brightest for the crucial transformation instead of the present narrow band of loyalists and classmates. While the war against the illegal drug trade is being pursued relentlessly without mercy, the following national concerns, apart from the traditional demands of economic development and governance, should be addressed and prioritized. First, the exponential growth in …

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The changing of the guard

As Ambassador Philip Goldberg bids farewell to the Philippines, the United States announced the appointment of Sung Y. Kim as the new US ambassador to the Philippines. The former US ambassador to South Korea, he will be the first Asian-American ambassador assigned to the Philippines. Ambassador Goldberg, although quiet in demeanor, has made a highly favorable impression here. It started shortly after his arrival, when hearing of the devestation caused by super-typhoon Yolanda, he immediately rushed to Tacloban City to help deal with the aftermath. In a farewell press conference held at the House of Representatives, Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez and Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas personally presented Ambassador Goldberg with the Congressional Golden Mace Award, recognizing his efforts in further enchancing the ties between the Philippines and the United States. The House leaders …

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Let’s strive to be a truly independent and stronger nation

Despite his earlier tirades against the United States while heaping effusive praise and messages of friendship towards China and even Russia, not a few were taken aback by President Rody Duterte’s declaration in his state visit to China that he was splitting with the US. “I announce my separation from the United States — both in military but economics also,” Duterte had said before captains of business and industry gathered at the Philippines-China Trade and Investment Forum held in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Oct. 20. “And in this shifting of political and cultural thing, America has lost it. I mean, I realigned myself in your ideological flow and maybe I will also go to Russia to talk to Putin and tell him that there are three of …

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Time to stop fearing and hating ourselves

In the ongoing debate about foreign policy, there seems to be no place for invoking Jose Rizal, Andres Bonifacio, Emilio Jacinto, Apolinario Mabini, Marcelo H. Del Pilar, Graciano Lopez Jaena, Antonio Luna, Crisanto Evangelista, Amado V. Hernandez, and Claro M. Recto. The sacrifices and patriotic lessons of these founding fathers of our Filipino nation and champions of Filipino nationhood are absent in the discussions, with acting or pretending they didn’t exist. Come to think of it, they were the originators and pioneers of our own brand of national politics. They led the Propaganda Movement and the 1896 Revolution – and promoted a national and democratic kind of politics. It was then a politics with a two-pronged aim of achieving national independence and thereby making democracy possible. It was so great it inspired …

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The parables of the mustard seed and of the yeast

Luke 13:18-21 Jesus said, “What is the Kingdom of God like? To what can I compare it? It is like a mustard seed that a person took and planted in the garden. When it was fully grown, it became a large bush and the birds of the sky dwelt in its branches.” Again he said, “To what shall I compare the Kingdom of God? It is like yeast that a woman took and mixed in with three measures of wheat flour until the whole batch of dough was leavened.” Reflection What is the kingdom of god like? Here, Jesus turns to a brief discussion of the Kingdom he brings. Since his miracles testify to his authority, what exactly does his rule look like? His remarks are important in light of a Jewish expectation …

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Charter change by Assembly gains

The House of Representatives Committee on Constitutional Reforms voted Wednesday to adopt a proposal to amend the Philippine Constitution through an assembly of the elected members of Congress – a Constitutional Assembly (Con-Ass). This is one of the three possible ways of revising the Constitution; the other two are (1) a Constitutional Convention of delegates elected specifically for Charter Change and (2) a People’s Initiative where a proposed amendment is approved in each of the country’s 81 representative districts. The approval by the House committee, headed by Southern Leyte Rep. Roger Mercado, starts the amendment process. The committee decision now goes to the plenary session where the entire House is expected to approve it. A similar process will take place in the Senate. Once both chambers approve the holding of a …

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Black swan President

For several years up to the 16th century, a black swan was considered an impossibility. Why? Because all previous records showed they had white feathers. Things changed, however, in 1697 when Dutch explorers became the first Europeans to discover black swans in Western Australia. From then on, the term, “black swan” came to be used to refer to something or somebody or to an event that is very rare. Among all his descriptions, “black swan,” I believe, best fits President Rody Duterte. He does not come from the ordinary political mold. In speech, manner, attitude, and temperament, he is very different from his predecessors. That is the reason political analysts have much difficulty trying to decipher him. That is the reason he even gets his cabinet men perplexed. Cases in point are his announcements …

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Caffeine high

“I have measured out my life with coffee spoons.” —  T.S. Eliot (1888-1965), Anglo-American poet, The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock (1915) According to www.caffeinedependence.org, caffeine is the “most commonly used mood-altering drug in the world.” However, it is legal and unregulated. Adults usually get their fix from coffee and children can get hooked, too – when they chug down softdrinks ad libitum. A typical six-ounce cup of brewed coffee has around 100mg of caffeine (instant coffee, 70 mg, and decaffeinated, 4mg). Six ounces of brewed tea has 40mg caffeine content, hot cocoa 7mg and softdrinks, 40mg. Milk chocolate has caffeine (10mg) and dark chocolate has more at 30mg. Some painkillers (analgesics) contain 60-130mg of caffeine. Ergotamine with caffeine (migraine treatment) comes in a rectal suppository but this is not the …

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