Regulating privatized expressways

Built in the late ’60s, what we today call expressways were originally known as “diversion roads.” They were meant to divert traffic from the national highways that traversed busy town centers. Funded by taxpayer money, the first such roads, one going North and one going South, proved convenient to long-distance travelers. They offered access to […]

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Chaos at the expressway toll booths

Until I can get an Autosweep RFID sticker for the South Luzon Expressway (SLEx), I have resolved to skip any trip south of Metro Manila. My weekend flights from pandemic house arrest will henceforth be entirely northward. I decided to prioritize securing the Easytrip RFID because I have always felt more at ease navigating the […]

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While waiting for the vaccine

Since the announcement two weeks ago by the pharmaceutical giant Pfizer that it has successfully tested a vaccine for COVID-19 that is both safe and efficacious, hopes for an end to the pandemic have risen. Pfizer reported an efficacy rate of more than 90 percent. A week later, Moderna, a smaller company, followed suit, claiming […]

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Five lessons from Typhoon ‘Ulysses’

Considering the frequency, range, and gravity of the natural disasters that visit our country every year, it is hard to imagine any other people that are as resilient (and as positive in disposition) as the Filipino nation. We are a nation that “eats” calamities for breakfast. We are used to them. They come, they leave […]

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American elections through Filipino eyes

Because the Philippine political system has been largely modeled after that of the United States, Filipinos have an abiding interest in knowing how the system is supposed to work. We have always looked to America for lessons on how to improve our own political processes so as to keep them aligned to the democratic ideal. […]

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The new Chinese migration to the Philippines

The rapid expansion of Philippine offshore gaming operators, better known as Pogos, under the Duterte administration, has brought into the country an unprecedented number of young Chinese workers from mainland China. No other nationality has maintained as pervasive a presence in the online gambling industry as the Chinese. Even as we never see the gamblers […]

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The uncertainties surrounding COVID-19

Just when everyone thought Europe had defeated the coronavirus, today — nine months after it first arrived in the continent — it is making a comeback as a dreaded second wave. According to a CNN report, the World Health Organization has warned that Europe’s daily death toll from the disease could rise five times higher […]

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The sociology of opinion surveys

As a sociologist, I am sometimes asked what I think of the approval ratings politicians and government officials get in opinion surveys. The interest, typically, is in the plausible reasons for the “very high” or “very low” ratings that are reported (particularly when these appear to defy expectations), and not so much on the conditions […]

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The US presidency, hubris, and the coronavirus

Having once moderated a presidential debate myself, I was curious to watch the debates between US President Donald Trump and former vice president Joe Biden. I expected that Chris Wallace, the moderator of the first debate, would not have an easy time controlling Trump. I wanted to see how he would handle a 90-minute verbal […]

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