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THIS may well be the most significant legacy of the outgoing Aquino administration – a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth of 6.9 percent for the first quarter of 2016. It was better than China’s 6.7 percent, Vietnam’s 5.5 percent, Indonesia’s 4.9 percent, and Malaysia’s 4.2 percent. The Philippines was thus the fastest growing economy in Asia in these first three months of the year.

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IN line with his campaign promise to stop crime and the spread of drugs in the country in three to six months, presumptive President Rodrigo Duterte has proposed the restoration of the death penalty for its deterrent effect on crime. He even proposed that the penalty be carried out by hanging, instead of lethal injection which replaced the electric chair in the Philippines when the death penalty was still in force.

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WITH less than three months before the Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on August 5-21, the World Health Organization (WHO) has issued an advisory to participants in the Games as well as in the Paralympics that will follow. More than providing specific instructions to the athletes on what to do to protect themselves, the advisory should help assure all those planning to attend the Games.

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PRESIDENT-elect Rodrigo Duterte has yet to be proclaimed but his lead in the election count is such that everyone is now watching his every move, listening to all that his close aides and advisers have to say, speculating on what he is likely to do on the host of problems that he and the nation face.

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INDONESIA’S Defense Minister Ryamizard Ryacudu has called for intensified joint patrolling in the waters that link Indonesia with the Philippines, Malaysia, and Brunei, all fellow members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). The Malacca Strait and the waters linking the four countries must not become like the Somalia waters where piracy is rampant, he said.

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ON Monday, April 25, the New People’s Army (NPA) released five Davao police officers, whom they called “prisoners of war,” to Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte. The mayor got to talk with the commander of the NPA’s Pulang Bagani Battalion which had turned over the police officers to him.

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