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Crucifixions, They’re More Fun in the Philippines

During this Holy Week like others in the past, for as long as this author can remember, A crucifixion on Good Friday in Pampanga provincea small minority of Filipinos have been whipping themselves raw or nailing themselves to crosses in a supposed show of atonement and piety. This odd spectacle now draws worldwide interest with curious tourists flying in from all over to witness firsthand flagellants who whip themselves to down to raw flesh or penitents who are nailed to wooden crosses on Good Friday.

And while these individuals may have the purest of intentions, their bizarre acts have been turned into a carnival act that actually cheapens and disrespects the actual suffering and death of Jesus Christ. The fact that these penitents can go through a “staged” crucifixion on a yearly basis gives some the sense crucifixion was not all that hard after all. The thin and sterilized stainless steel nails these misguided penitents use keep hand wounds small and prevent infections.  They also stand on a pedestal and are harnessed to prevent them from ever hanging from the actual nails and getting seriously hurt.

At the end of the day, it is a circus act—a crude and distasteful circus act most civilized cultures are repulsed by. The day we Filipinos develop an ounce of common sense, we too will likely put a swift end to this sheer and utter nonsense.

It is important to note at this point that the country’s credit rating was recently raised to BB+ or investment grade by Fitch Ratings. This is the first time the country has held such a rating. And if we Filipinos are to maintain or even raise that rating, we have to start acting the part. Continuing many of these strange and peculiar practices will certainly not endear us to foreign investors looking for a serious place to park their money. The country will instead be seen as that strange place with a backward people who engage in bizarre and distasteful practices.

The Catholic Church has for the most part simply stood on the sidelines mumbling under their breath that such practices are not church sanctioned. But they make it a point not to object too loudly least they incur the wrath of the multitudes that weekly fill their collection plates.

With the Church unwilling or unable to stamp-out these practices, our present good economic fortune as well as our investment-grade rating may be nothing but a flash in the pan. In the end, the weird and wacky things some of us do will eventually drag the entire country back down to a third-world curiosity where strange things take place. At that point we’ll be more likely to find ourselves on the cover of tabloids like the Daily Enquirer than the pages of the Wall Street Journal or Fortune Magazine. Published 3/30/2013


RECENT EDITORIALS

On Her 5th Death Anniversary, We Say 'Thanks for Nothing Cory Aquino'

The passage of time has a way of distilling reality and bringing out truths that are sometimes hidden or lost by present circumstances. Case in point is the overwhelming level of admiration many Filipinos have for former President Corazon Aquino. When she passed away in 2009, the entire nation seemed beside itself in grief. Her casket was mobbed by thousands of mourners as it slowly made its way through the streets of Metro Manila to its final resting place at the Manila Memorial Park in Parañaque. Published 08/02/2014


The Failure of Philippine Education Is Now Staring Us in the Face

Will the Philippines Ever Become a Developed Country? The short answer to that is no—at least not in our lifetime. While the country has of late improved it credit ratings as evidenced by upgrades from Moody's, Fitch, and Standard & Poor's all that perceived progress is illusory. In the Fifties and Sixties, when the Philippines was undeniably the country at the top of the heap in Southeast Asia, people said it would always be the most industrialized country in the region. Published 08/02/2014
So, Should Jejomar Binay Be the Next President of the Philippines?

Though his popularity rating has taken some hits lately, Vice President Jejomar Binay is still far and away the strongest contender for the Philippine presidency in 2016. But is he the right choice for the country? His legions of supporters will give you an enthusiastic "yes;" his detractors however, will tell you "no!" So who's right? To answer our question, lets look instead at Binay's deeds rather than the words of his supporters or detractors. Published 07/25/2014
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While searching for the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 on March 11, 2014, a Philippine Air Force plane flying over the Kalayaan Island Group in the West Philippine Sea sighted Chinese reclamation activity in the Mabini Reef of the Kalayaan Island Group within the 200 mile Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of the Philippines. His aerial photographs were transmitted to the Philippine government for analysis. Published 07/10/2014
Napoles PDAF/NGO Scandal: What is Ten or Fifteen Billion Pesos Really Worth?

For those who have been following the Janet Lim-Napoles PDAF/NGO* scandal these past months, it is easy to get caught up in all the rhetoric—the words and phrases repeated day after day. Words like "ten billion" or "fifteen billion" have turned into something akin to "gray" background noise.  Words devoid of any real meaning or significance. So let us try to put back some meaning into those trite and often-repeated phrases in order to better understand some of the far-reaching ramifications of Napoles' actions. Published 06/30/2014
How could they not have known that the Napoles NGOs were fake?

With Senator Bong Revilla already in police custody in Camp Crame and Senators Jinggoy Estrada and Juan Ponce Enrile set to join him any day now, people need to start asking tough questions going forward. The privilege speeches of the senators along with the histrionics that accompanied them are thankfully now over so we can all address this issue more objectively. Published 06/21/2014
The Self-Perpetuating Elite of the Philippines

In an essay published in the July 1968 issue of the American magazine Foreign Affairs, a novice Philippine senator described his country as “a land in which a few are spectacularly rich while the masses remain abjectly poor. . . . a land consecrated to democracy but run by an entrenched plutocracy… a people whose ambitions run high, but whose fulfillment is low and mainly restricted to the self-perpetuating elite…a land of privilege and rank – a republic dedicated to equality but mired in an archaic system of caste.” Published 06/14/2014


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