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Where did your presidential vote go?

It is election time and some say nothing ever changes in The Philippines. The candidates change, but the social inequality remains. Candidates for the presidency this time range from two representing the wealthy elite, the daughter of a deceased movie star and a foul-mouthed mayor vowing to kill all suspected criminals, in addition to senator who is fronting for the family of the former dictator.








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An unseen generosity

I met Alamid while I was in Germany. He told me he was a refugee from Syria. Their house had been partly destroyed by barrel bombs dropped by the armies of Bashar al-Assad, the Russian-supported Syrian dictator.

Alamid, together with his family and an uncle, is among the hundreds of non-combatant families bombed out of home who has lost all of his possessions. They survive the bombs by taking shelter in basements.








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Germany gives a fair go to all

I am in Stuttgart, Germany, at the Annual Fair Trade Exhibition and Philippine products are gaining a high profile with growing sales. This brings jobs and prosperity with fair payment to thousands of Filipinos.

I have been invited as a guest speaker at the opening of the fair. It is holiday time in Germany and many thousands of visitors come to this massive four-day exhibition to buy and promote Fair Trade and organic products.








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Are unhappy marriages here to stay?

 

Children make up 77 per cent of rape survivors in The Philippines and the crime occurs at a rate of two every minute.

Data released last year by the National Police shows rape cases surged by 63.5 per cent to 8,288, up from 5,069 recorded in the first six months of 2014.








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Spotlight on crime against children

There is a time when the truth has to be revealed, when the secrecy of crimes can no longer be contained or denied, and when the guilty must be held to account. History shows that secrecy and cover up keeps that day of reckoning at bay, but one day the truth will come out.








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Even boxers are not animals

The deplorable remarks made by a member of the Philippine congress and former world boxing title-holder, Manny Pacquiao, describing same-sex attracted people as being worse than animals, can only be described as vile and are to be condemned, rejected and repudiated in the strongest terms possible.

He has since apologised.








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The road to justice and equality

In late January, Luis Cardinal Tagle raised a few eyebrows in Cebu during the Eucharistic Congress when he spoke directly about the greed and corruption of Philippine politicians, who are so much a part of the throwaway society of greed, corruption, materialism and waste.








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Power of Internet pornography

The fear of punishment and dire threats from the live-in partner of her mother kept 13-year old Sylvia from opening her mouth and saying that she was being repeatedly sexually abused. 

After four months, she could not take it any longer and, thanks to a caring teacher in Subic, she opened up about it after class one day.








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Who elects the president?

The New Year of the Monkey will be filled with the challenges of the election.

And what are elections in a democratic country but the selection of the leaders who are to be appointed by the citizens to take command of a nation’s affairs.








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Human rights for victims of climate change

The anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights last December 10 reminds us that migrants fleeing war and the economic effects of climate change have rights that must be respected.

The growing intolerance towards these unfortunate people is detestable and must be contested and denounced.