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WE welcome the statement from the United States State Department that America’s ties with the Philippines remain strong and vital despite occasional unfavorable remarks from President Duterte. “Our people-to-people ties remain strong. Our security and military ties remain strong. Our economic ties remain strong,” said State Department deputy spokesman Mark Toner.

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WHEN the second round of the peace talks with the National Democratic Front (NDF) of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) begins today in Oslo, Norway, a delegation from the House of Representatives will be sitting with the government panel.

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There is a law, Republic Act 9995, “An act defining and penalizing the crime of photo and video voyeurism , prescribing penalties therefore, and for other purposes,” approved by the 14th Congress in 2010. This 17h Congress might want to review it in connection with the insistence of some House leaders that an alleged sex video of Sen. Leila de Lima be shown in a hearing investigating the proliferation of drugs in the National Penitentiary at Bilibid.

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WHEN Secretary Benjamin Diokno of the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) appeared before the Commission on Appointments (CA) last week, the hearing centered on the controversial Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) implemented by the previous DBM secretary.

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The Philippines had a key role in the Paris conference that ended with the adoption of the Climate Change agreement in December, 2015. The country led a Climate Vulnerable Forum campaign to limit the rise in global temperature to less than 1.5 degrees Celsius, not just 2 degrees as was ultimately decided in the conference. As the Philippines had been hit by the strongest typhoon ever to hit land – Yolanda in November, 2013 – its suffering was seen as a warning to the rest of the world.

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PRESIDENT Duterte called on the nation’s military personnel to remain faithful to the Republic in an address before Philippine Marines at Fort Bonifacio last Tuesday. He was evidently concerned that his recent moves with regard to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), his caustic remarks on United States (US) President Obama, and his coming visits to China and Russia may be misinterpreted in some quarters and lead to unexpected military action.

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