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BENHAM Rise has been in the news lately. This is an undersea region as big as Luzon 250 kilometers east of Isabela 5,000 meters above the sea floor, and 3,000 meters below sea level. It is a seismically active region which, scientists believe, affected the Philippine Fault System to the west in 1990, causing the disastrous earthquake that hit Baguio City in that year.

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We can understand Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez’s desire to remove party allies led by former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo from their key positions in the House of Representatives for voting against the death penalty bill.

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BANGKO Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Governor Amando M. Tetangco Jr. said Monday he sees no need to adjust Philippine interest rates in the face of the expected rise in US rates sometime this month. But the BSP is closely monitoring the situation, he assured, and is ready to take any needed action at its policy meeting on March 23.

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MILF, MNLF, Abu Sayyaf, and peace in Mindanao

ARMED Forces of the Philippines (AFP) troops have stepped up their drive against the Abu Sayyaf in Sulu. They have killed 17 of the outlaws, including two relatives of Abu Sayyaf leader Radullan Sahiron, while 18 soldiers have been wounded, the AFP said this last weekend.

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UNITED States President Donald Trump, addressing a joint session of the US Congress last Tuesday, called for a trillion-dollar program to rebuild what he described as America’s “crumbling infrastructure.” He said he will ask Congress to approve legislation that will produce $1 trillion – in both public and private capital – to rebuild the country’s roads, bridges, airports, and other public infrastructures.

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At the start of his administration, President Duterte expressed his opposition to the Paris Agreement on Climate Change signed at the United Nations in 2016 by some 170 nations, including the Philippines. He said it would hold back the nation’s industrial growth. He saw it as an imposition by developed nations, notably the United States and China, which had achieved growth through industries that polluted the world’s atmosphere and now want to stop other nations that are similarly industrializing.

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