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The Atimonan massacre should worry us all

The massacre of 13 people by the police and army troopers at a checkpoint in Atimonan, Quezon on January 6 should worry us all. Consider the following scenario:
You’re traveling with a group on the road in some province. You made it a point to travel in daylight, just to be safe. Then at about 3 p.m., you see a police checkpoint, but you’re not worried at all.

Why, your vehicle even has a Philippine National Police Academy commemorative license plate and a genuine decal of the “Office of the President, Malacañan Palace.” And of course the brand-new Mitsubishi Montero you’re riding in should send the signal to the police manning the checkpoints that you’re respectable well-to-do citizens, not some criminal gang who’d likely be using an old FX or even a beat up Safari. A policeman gestures for your SUV to stop, and as it slows down, there’s a volley of gunfire, and you fall into oblivion. (more…)

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Gun business booms under Aquino

It’s certainly admirable that President Benigno Aquino 3rd has shown so much concern over the death of Nicole Ella that he even raised to P2 million the bounty for the capture of the shooter who fired the bullet that killed the sweet 7-year-old girl on New Year’s Eve.

I can’t help shuddering a bit though: Mr. Aquino is the poster boy for the Philippines’ gun culture. It is this subculture, which has made brandishing, and using the deadliest hand weapon invented by mankind into a sport just like tennis and golf, a hobby just like gardening. It is that overarching gun culture that led Nicole’s shooter to think that firing his gun up in the air was an innocuous way of celebrating the New Year. (more…)

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World Bank 7.1% 3rd Quarter GDP rate could be wrong

The reported 7.1 percent Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth rate the Aquino administration and its cheering squads have been euphoric over may in fact be an over-estimation, and the actual figure could be as low as 5.7 percent.

This conclusion is based on the World Bank’s December 2012 “Philippine Economic Update”. After mentioning the 7.1 percent growth rate in the third quarter, the Bank qualified in its seemingly trivial but really significant footnote:

“Growth in the third quarter must be tempered by the fact that statistical discrepancy explains 1.4 ppt of the 7.1 percent growth. This suggests that either third quarter growth will be revised downwards or fourth quarter growth will be lower by around two percentage points as statistical discrepancy is zeroed out in the full year growth statistic.” (more…)

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