Remembering Monica Feria

Rest in peace, Monica, one of the most admired journalists and most inspiring activists of my generation. I remember her though her associations, which I likewise attach with personal significance. AREA 1 My wife Mae’s family, the Manalangs, and the Ferias were neighbors at Area 1, the home of the UP faculty’s crème de la […]

Populism, the bad and the good

Populism has acquired a dirty meaning. Its poster boys are usually fiery strongmen like the late Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, Donald Trump of the United States of America, and our very own Rodrigo Duterte. Populism is on the rise all over the world — in the Americas, in Europe, in Asia. It thrives in rich […]

Railroaded cigarette tax bill slammed

By: Ben O. de Vera – @inquirerdotnet Philippine Daily Inquirer / 01:37 AM December 08, 2016 Health groups yesterday lambasted members of the Lower House who railroaded a bill aimed at retaining the two-tier excise tax system for tobacco products next year instead of sticking to the scheduled shift to a unitary rate. In a […]

Defend the unitary excise tax for cigarettes

Seeking to attain health and revenue objectives, the government and reformers in civil society, the health community, and the private sector pushed for and succeeded in legislating the Sin Tax Law in 2012. The law has put in place substantial reforms: Steeply increasing the excise taxes on alcohol and tobacco, annually adjusting the tax rates […]

Symbols and Libingan ng mga Bayani

On a more personal level, the butterfly has become my symbol of remembering and connecting with my departed wife Mae. A few days before Mae passed, I was abroad and had no intimation of an impending tragedy. On the return trip, I had a layover at Singapore’s Changi airport, and some unexplainable thing enticed me […]