Juan L. Mercado

‘Green wall’

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They call it - what? “The green wall,” our banker friend said. He oversees banks in the Visayas. Mangroves in Eastern Samar buffered the storm surge that killed thousands elsewhere, his clients stated.

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Can an ombudsman who has a backbone, instead of a wishbone, make a difference?

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‘Slow suicide’

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A church “bruised, hurting and dirty because it has been out on the streets” is preferable to a Church jittery about “going astray,” Pope Francis says in “The Joy of the Gospel” published Tuesday. Fear instead being locked within rules that make us “comfortable but harsh judges.”

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A hundred names

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Muslims in mosques from Quiapo to Cotabato call Divinity “Allah.” In Cebu Daily News, an imam writes a weekly column on his faith. Liberty of faith and speech are constitutionally-buttressed rights here.

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A Pinoy ‘belen’

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We tacked up again those Christmas star lanterns Sunday. We had stashed the parols before Supertyphoon “Yolanda” (international name: “Hainan”) barreled through. The five-candle Advent wreath is back in our sala. So is the Christmas tree.

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No magic bullet

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The bad news is the pork barrel scam, compounded by the Malampaya Fund scandal, squandered over P10 billion—and counting. The good news is that a  P67-billion chunk, among others, eluded the  ladrones.

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A Devil or Deep Blue Sea Quandary

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“When TV crews race cargo ships with airplanes and helicopters, the cameras always win,” John Crowley of  Harvard’s Humanitarian Initiative wrote after Supertyphoon “Yolanda” (internationa name: Haiyan) battered the Visayas. 

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Selfie bonuses

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The elephant in the room is a columnist in another newspaper who is known to have backed the presidential campaign of Noynoy Aquino three years ago—and who goes after anyone who dares criticize the President ever since his election.

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Clueless pawn

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Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada went viral with his bid to apologize and compensate for the deaths of eight Hong Kong tourists in a botched bus hijack rescue in August 2010.

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Beyond our pork, stars

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A Manileño priest is among the Capuchin martyrs who will be beatified on Oct. 13. The Congregation for Causes of Saints prefect will represent Pope Francis at the rites in Spain. Fr. Eugenio Sanz-Orozco Mortera will be known as “Blessed Jose Maria de Manila,” the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines stated.

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