Waiting for verdicts

Will the Palace appeal the Supreme Court’s verdict on Proclamation 1017? Amando Doronila and Fr. Joaquin Bernas weigh in on what the verdict, and previous ones, really mean.

The Inquirer editorial is concerned about the length of time Supreme Court decisions take, and the manner such judicial delays can result in injustice. Newsstand suggests that those who feel impatience with regards to the time it takes decisions to be handed down, aren’t taking into account the time required to arrive at collegial decisions. On the other hand, Philippine Commentary praises the prose of the Justices of the Supreme Court. Dan Mariano makes distinctions between proclamations and declarations.

Ex-US marine Aragoncillo admits he helped plot to unseat Arroyo: question is, when will Uncle Sam ask for Senator Lacson’s and former President Estrada’s heads on silver platters?

When Fidel Castro became leader of Cuba, he proclaimed land reform and the first estate broken up was his family’s. His mother never forgave him. That, in essence, is the other side of the coin, with the decision of the government to begin breaking up Hacienda Luisita, of which former President Cory Aquino is part owner. If the “Mendiola Massacre” cost Cory Aquino the Nobel Peace Prize, the exemption of Hacienda Luisita from land reform has become a historical albatross around Aquino’s post-presidential neck, and reproach on her administration, representing the lost opportunities of that era. Sassy Lawyer says the subdividing of the estate is overdue. Indeed. But as I’ve pointed out before, those outraged over Hacienda Luisita’s exempt status should turn their eyes to the Arroyo haciendas, because those properties didn’t even bother with a stock-sharing plan. They are old-fashioned haciendas, pure and simple, and with the expiration of the CARP in a few years, will survive intact, even as Hacienda Luisita passes into history. If a case of presidential weakness towards relatives (Aquino) is wrong, what of presidential aggressiveness in protecting their lands (Arroyo)?

Good news, in fact, as presented by the editorial of the Business Mirror, points to a problem that’s going to start occupying people sooner, rather than later. Ethanol production could substantially revive the fortunes of the sugar industry -at least of planters, since millers have mixed feelings about ethanol (it might divert supply to ethanol plants instead of their mills). And again there are some voices pointing out that subdividing sugar lands makes economies of scale impossible: an argument for the preservation of sugar estates. So would land reform be the price of ethanol production? Should it?

I’d go further and suggest that a much more aggressive attitude toward smaller landholdings carefully built-up by the old middle class, mainly doctors, lawyers, teachers and other professionals, whose lands were placed under land reform in the late 1980s and early to mid 1990s, resulted in a blow to middle-class prestige and pride that hastened the extinction of the old middle class and the flight of its remnants abroad. Together with them, other Filipinos were emigrating or working abroad, and they have become the new middle class. But as for the old middle class, the lesson of Edsa was: the guy in the middle loses to the masses and the political class (urban equivalents complain to this day of the Lina Law, which they say privileges squatters).

The President and the Press: Row with US Senate over media killings says the Manila Times. Davao Today and PinoyPress weigh in. From a broader point of view, Nicolas Stenzer says media on the whole is helping to kill the critical thinking good citizenship and effective political participation require.

Blurry Brain thinks the country’s missed the bus because of short-sighted attitudes towards free trade. Heinz (my favorite ketchup) sells its Philippine holdings. One less foreign investment.

The public thing thinks that the rise in kidnappings means preparations for elections are underway.

baratillo books [email protected] takes a sensible look at political heckling.

The Philippines Free Press blog looks back at the debates over the law requiring Rizal’s novels to be taught in schools.

Titopao on what reading too many emails can do to you: ignore fire alarms, among other things!

Gail Ilagan on parental supervision and controls over kids playing video games.

Wily Filipino and Ambeth Ocampo on skin whitening -centuries apart.

Slate says it’s impossible to sing the American national anthem.

And finally, a little cultural advocacy: Mike Tan on why docents are like columnists.

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    • Carl on May 5, 2006 at 2:49 pm

    mlq said: “I’d go further and suggest that a much more aggressive attitude toward smaller landholdings carefully built-up by the old middle class, mainly doctors, lawyers, teachers and other professionals, whose lands were placed under land reform in the late 1980s and early to mid 1990s, resulted in a blow to middle-class prestige and pride that hastened the extinction of the old middle class and the flight of its remnants abroad. Together with them, other Filipinos were emigrating or working abroad, and they have become the new middle class.”

    Actually, predatory agricultural policies during the Marcos era first decimated the rural gentry. The coconut levy under Danding Cojuangco and the disastrous sugar monopoly under Benedicto impoverished the landholding class in no small way. Added to it were artificially low rice and corn prices (since these are politically-sensitive crops) and there was a tremendous disincentive to be involved in agriculture. Even export bananas, which was the rising star in the agricultural horizon, was soon coopted by Marcos and Antonio Floirendo through a Presidential decree limiting the hectarage plantable to bananas (read: oligopoly). Because of the exploitative nature of government, landholders did look for employment abroad or engaged in a profession or business in the cities. The first line of defense against the insurgency, which was the rural middle class, was the first casualty of those rapacious agricultural policies. That is why insurgency, whether Communist, religious or ethnic, prospered in the countryside. And most insurgent leaders were children of the exploited rural middle class.

    I do agree, however, that land reform was a final blow to the landowning middle class. But they were already reeling from the effects of disastrous and exploitative agricultural policies under Marcos.

    Ironically, there is now a whiff of fresh air in agricultural production. Sugar prices are at new highs, so are coconut products and by-products. Corn and vegetables also enjoy good prices. Formerly forlorn agricultural towns and cities are bustling. There is also a wild craze for Philippine bananas and pineapples abroad and the expansion is going at a breathtaking pace. If this continuous for a few more years, we may yet witness the creation of a new rural middle class and the resuscitation of the old gentry.

    • blur on May 5, 2006 at 3:24 pm

    increased prices (sugar, coconut, corn, etc.) can’t be good. a substantive number of Filipinos are at or near poverty level and the higher prices will just be an added problem for them as well as for all consumers (which means all of us, who in one form or another use sugar). the diversion of sugar to produce ethanol may result in diminishing supply for an increased demand for sugar (i.e., food, drinks, etc.). considering that we already impose high tariffs for imported sugar, the result of high demand with low supply would be increased prices not only for sugar but for all food and other items that make use of sugar.

    with regard to the “resuscitation of the old gentry”, there should simply be no place for a ruling or aristocratic class in a democracy. I do believe in the development of a good middle class however.

    finally, with international trade negotiations suffering due to waves of protectionism both here and abroad, the chances of getting substantive market access for our agricultural products (good as they are) are minimal at best.

    • batotoy on May 5, 2006 at 4:11 pm

    Carl said: “Ironically, there is now a whiff of fresh air in agricultural production. Sugar prices are at new highs, so are coconut products and by-products. Corn and vegetables also enjoy good prices. Formerly forlorn agricultural towns and cities are bustling. There is also a wild craze for Philippine bananas and pineapples abroad and the expansion is going at a breathtaking pace. If this continuous for a few more years, we may yet witness the creation of a new rural middle class and the resuscitation of the old gentry.”

    The argument that high prices are an incentive to do business addresses only the supply side of the equation. The consumer standpoint however, which carries the interests of the masses, likewise deserves much consideration.

    If the higher prices are driven by consumer considerations i.e. domestic and international demand, whilst allowing companies a reasonable amount of profit under economies of scale, then indeed such may be good news. But if those prices are the result of other factors such as more expensive fertilizers (perhaps due to unscrupulous practices of certain officials), higher oil prices, inaccesible farm to market roads, then it may be premature to be jubilant.

    Also, even assuming that better crop yields and favorable market conditions significantly uplift Philippine agriculture, the formation of a rural middle class (income-wise) would be dependent on how keen the present oligarchy is on allowing new market players and sharing the wealth earned – since they (indulgence begged for lack of a less-Marxist phrase) “control the factors of production” for these products. History has shown that such gratuity on their part is rare and often merely the subject of romanticized economic fiction. Thus, the answer to realizing market driven prices and ensuring that the higher prices of agricultural commodities would be beneficial to our countrymen in general is simply to play hard-ball and open up the economy – as this would promote healthier competition, allow more consumer choices and improve product quality.

    Therefore, unless the price increases take place under those competitive conditions, and not under the skewed industrial structure we have at the moment, i would opt to resist opening the Champagne bottle – also to indirectly spite the French for their role in stalling the Doha talks

    • blur on May 5, 2006 at 4:32 pm

    i agree with batotoy but i’d point out that if there were indeed “competitive conditions” the prices of sugar should be going down. note that sugar is an essential item (not luxury) and thus morally, socially, demand in this case should be met with adequate supply. it is precisely because the supply doesn’t meet the demand because either of inefficient local production and prevention of imported sugar(through high tariffs, quotas, etc.) that prices increase, thus burdening Filipino consumers. if production were efficient, coupled with reasonable input costs (like oil, manpower, transpo, etc.), plus fair competitive conditions, then consumers should be getting reasonable prices with reasonable return of investment for sugar producers.

    that such is not happening now, plus the planned probable diversion of essential sugar for foodstuffs to ethanol, would only increase prices and allow the continued inefficiency of sugar producers. bottomline, the ordinary Filipino loses.

    • batotoy on May 5, 2006 at 4:46 pm

    no question about what blur wrote. deductively, under present conditions (considering the rising prices of oil and the absence of any commensurate increase in people’s incomes), indications of any price hikes on essential items would be unwelcome to the common folk, as well as businesses that are dependent on those inputs.

    • Carl on May 5, 2006 at 4:58 pm

    World market prices for coconut products are very good and, thanks to ethanol, sugar is enjoying good prices too. Why should farmers be deprived of cashing in on this? Obviously, people who want to control agricultural prices are detached from the countryside. Controlling agricultural prices for the good of the consumer was the pretext used by Marcos to squeeze the farmers. The onerous coconut levy was used as a pretext to subsidize cooking oil. And the sugar monopoly was established on the excuse of stabilizing sugar prices. They were all scams.

    The only way to assure greater production is to give an incentive for it. And then, when there is enough production, prices will stabilize. Agricultural products don’t go up simply because cost of inputs are up. Farmers don’t dictate the prices. Prices go up because there is demand. The market dictates the prices. And if people or governments tinker around with the market, it’s bound to go haywire and everybody gets hurt, including the consumers. In more enlightened countries, subsidies are even given to farmers.

    These days, after many difficult years, the countryside is beginning to come alive. And it is not big producers who are benefitting. It is small farmers, many of whom do not even own the land they till. Many simply lease the land, using their skills and wits to make a good living. Some are even retirees or OCW’s with a little capital, who want to settle quietly in the countryside and at the same time earn something from farming. There are few large landowners left, although there are those who bring up that spectre just to foment class warfare and animosity between our people. Some people just cannot bear to see a segment of our population enjoying the fruit of their bounty.

    Having said that, rice prices are still being monitored. It is too politically sensitive to be allowed to increase drastically. Furthermore, there is abundant cheap rice that can be brought in from abroad, thanks to the foresight and support to farmers by governments in Thailand, Indonesia and elsewhere. So rice prices are stable, both here and abroad. As long as rice prices do not get out of hand, all other agricultural products are negotiable. What is important is that the countryside is enjoying some relief.

    • Francis on May 5, 2006 at 5:06 pm

    3 strikes against Malacanang…. hmmmmm

    I smell Philippine politics at work again…

    Are these payments for the ultimate price??? SC ruling for charter change…

    • blur on May 5, 2006 at 5:23 pm

    market is interaction between demand and supply. prices go up because supply is insufficient vis-a-vis demand. as i said, sugar prices should not be increasing because it is an essential commodity for which demand and supply has to be reasonably matched. that is not the case now and will not be if present policies and plans continue. note that we are not exporting sugar but we are also preventing sugar imports. focusing the discussion locally, these sugar favored policies and plans are simply hurting the filipino.

    i agree that if “people or governments tinker around with the market, it’s bound to go haywire”. that is why you do not want to give subsidies (which is simply government intervention, as the “enlightened” europeans do) because it diverts funds from more essential areas (like the environment, education, health), increases prices and thus harms their own consumers, and deprives more efficient producers from other economies (mostly developing countries)from penetrating the market (i.e., developed countries).

    the rice farmers in thailand and indonesia benefited not from government intervention but because of efficient practices and – more importantly – the bigger land area appropriate for agriculture (plus and other natural resources) allowed them to fully employ economies of scale for rice. this is where you see comparative advantage at work.

    finally,for any question regarding the pernicious effect of the sugar “gentry” to this country, i refer people to “sugar and the origins of modern philippine society” by larkin and, of course, “the rulemakers”. it’s really high time for farmers to own the land they till and cooperatives to empower them.

    anyway, thanks all and thank you manolo. it’s a great blog.

    • Francis on May 5, 2006 at 5:40 pm

    The problem with Philippine agriculture is our methology of farming.
    Majority of our farmers still use barbaric method and technology.

    Farmers don’t have access to market because transportation cost is SO high.

    GMA have already done a ton to alleviate most of it by having RoRo and somehow pushing for the new railroad network. If we can minimize pilfirage of government funds for infrastructures to evolve our agriculture sector we can see more happy Filipinos.

    ay wrong choice of word pala sa pilfirage dapat pala ay garapalang pagnanakaw.

    Good luck to us all!

    • Carl on May 5, 2006 at 6:03 pm

    Rice farmers in Thailand and elsewhere wouldn’t have been able to expand production if government had not intervened by:

    1. Constructing good farm to market roads.
    2. Providing good post-harvest facilities.
    3. Providing certified seeds at reasonable prices.
    4. Providing adequate credit facilities.
    5. Providing farm implements and inputs at reasonable prices and easy credit terms.
    6. Providing farm-gate pricing mechanisms and facilities that do not exploit the farmers.
    7. In some cases, providing irrigation facilities.

    As for efficient practices, Thailand, for one, is more cost-efficient in rice production only because upland rice comprises a large percentage of their cultivated area. Although they get lower yields per hectare, they also incur lower input costs. Actually the efficiencies are in the facilities provided the farmers, as in the cases cited above. In terms of cultural practices, they are not superior to us.

    As for bigger land areas, if better roads were to link the countryside and better facilities were readily available, more areas would be opened for viable agricultural production.

    However, it must be said that we did not adequately plan the allocation of resources for agriculture. Too much has been allocated to Luzon, which is agriculturally a deadbeat. It is right smack in the typhoon belt and these calamities make for much less efficient farming. Government has to rethink it’s agricultural strategy if it wants to become a more efficient agricultural producer. More resources have to be allocated to the efficient producers, primarily Mindanao, which is not within the typhoon belt. This may not be the right move, politically, but it is the reality.

    • morning musume on May 5, 2006 at 6:57 pm

    Just wondering why Bunye (although he’s the mouthpiece of GMA) is doing all the talking. Why not GMA herself??

    • jmakabayan on May 5, 2006 at 7:57 pm

    Carl,

    Thanks for the good news about agri productivity and opportunities in the country-side. I agree with your take on what’s going on and what’s needed for the agri development.

    “However, it must be said that we did not adequately plan the allocation of resources for agriculture… Government has to rethink …”

    These are, you’ll agree, under statements.

    Agriculture must be our top economic dev priority. Resources must be aligned accordingly. Prioritization must be in the context of human security,in these case, food security. Price,supply and demand dynamics in a free market and open economy must be re-examined specially in an unstable domestic and global environment. Your recommendations are very good (understated) and are the things the government should have been implementing even as late as the last decade.

    We need a (back to the) country-side development program in an economic emergency scenario.

    We need an ‘ECO-CHA Now’, emergency economic measures, instead of Cha-cha. Kudos.

    • jhay on May 5, 2006 at 9:56 pm

    Luisita is history, it’s time move on to other things, like the haciendas owned by the President’s family. This will test if GMA is really committed to land reform. (wishful thinking again…)

  1. it is not the demand per se that determines the price of sugar and other agricultural products.

    it is the ARTIFICIAL DEMAND AND SUPPLY created by some people who control the business.

    Sugar is imported via backdoor using the fast speed banca, pursued by the Coast guards.

    They can be sunk down in the deep blue sea or hoarded in warehouses depending on the market prices.

    So are rice and other staple products.

    As I have blogged a few days ago, effective business strategy/marketing esp. are not written by any author in any
    book.

    • Francis on May 5, 2006 at 11:16 pm

    WE have the BEST technology and knowledge in regards to agriculture compared to our neighbors. Government also allocates huge sums of money for the agricultural sector. Kaso nawawala eh. Ang nakikinabang lang sa ating research institute ay mga dayuhan kasi they have the will to implement the technology.

    Alam nyo ba na me program ang government that they lend you a cow for no cost and you pay back the government pag nanganak na ang cow… guess where most of the cow went..

    Tama sa mga tongressman at various government officials..

    • Doubting_Thomas on May 6, 2006 at 5:01 am

    Re #12: “Agriculture must be our top economic dev priority. Resources must be aligned accordingly.”

    I’m curious what developed country model you have in mind.

    • Antonio Estrada Sr on May 6, 2006 at 6:38 am

    A pleasant good morning to all readers of philippine inquirer and all philippine news. I am a political figure here in my town of Agoo, province of La Union, from 1960 to present. I served Pres. Ferdinand Marcos, Pres. Cory Aquino, Pres. Fidel Ramos and Pres. Joseph Estrada. I am now retired in the political arena now that I am at the age of 79. I am very disgusted and feel sorry about our political situation now., never did I experienced in my political career that we will be exprienced this kind of treatment to political activist (the rightest) and the leftist. Our country is now ruined due to personal self interest of public servants. Where is now the saying ” A Public Office is a Public Trust”. I believed that Pres. Fidel Ramos agenda of reform, his Philippines 2000 moving to Philippines 2006 is still the best agenda of all times.,,,, Pres. Cory Aquino’s EDSA Revolution/People Power is for me the only recognizable Filipino revolt in the 21st century.
    God Bless our country, the Philippines

    • jmakabayan on May 6, 2006 at 7:03 am

    Re #16
    “I’m curious what developed country model you have in mind”.

    Model? None.

    As mentioned,
    “Prioritization must be in the context of human security,in this case, food security. Price,supply and demand dynamics in a free market and open economy must be re-examined specially in an unstable domestic and global environment.”

    But would China provide a good example, feeding almost a billion people? Cuba and Vietnam, and Thailand as Carl had cited above.

    Besides, our Constitution mandates that “industrial development must be based on agricutural development”.

    The prevailing world economic system is unsustainable, based on a kind of development that is dependent on resources that are limited, like oil, which’s scarcity accelerates with development. Can a small, ‘developing’,oil import-dependent economy like the Phil compete with the behemoths for scarce resource?

    The global financial system is in a very precarious situation, some analysts say that it is already ‘on a slide’. Changes in the world economic system are long overdue. Whether this happens or not, the Phil will be sucked into a vortex unless we change the direction of our economic development. We will be forced to anyway, might as well do it proactively. Our fiscal position and dependency on oil imports make our country ‘at risk’ in terms of human security.

    Increasing hunger incidence and rising mortality due to lack of basic health services are the ‘economic indicators’ that are more relevant in the Phil.

    These propositions are rendered simplistically, but the fundamentals are obviously moving towards the predicament.

    The particular issues cited by MLQ3 and Carl indicate that our country-side development is not following a roadmap that would bring us to a more secure position at the onset of a confluence of global crises.

    • jmakabayan on May 6, 2006 at 8:12 am

    “SWS Hunger Reaches Record High

    THE number of households that report having gone hungry, “with nothing to eat” at least once in the past three months reached a record 16.9 percent last March or about 2.8 million families, according to the Social Weather Stations” – PCIJ/blog today.

    May I reiterate, as mentioned in my preceding posts, that,

    “Prioritization must be in the context of human security, in this case, food security. Price, supply and demand dynamics in a free market and open economy must be re-examined specially in an unstable domestic and global environment.”

    And that,

    “We need a (back to the) country-side development program in an economic emergency scenario.

    We need an ‘ECO-CHA Now’, emergency economic measures, instead of Cha-cha Daw.”

    Last year, I’ve been suggesting “Sagipin sa Gutom ang Mamamayan” as a theme/slogan for an economic emergency program in line with an “Eco-Cha Now” campaign as the real priority over ‘cha-cha now’.

    ( If Cha-Cha railroad succeeds, the gov will be in a very messy and costly transition, while Filipinos are dying of hunger. This administration is obsessed with its political survival/interests that funds are being diverted from badly needed basic services, to propagandize and bribe, to fuel GMA’s Cha-cha express.)

    At this point, even if we find the perfect leader with perfect solution, the situation will get worse before it gets better; what more if we have a blinded leader who is insisting that Cha-Cha is the ‘solution’ to all of our problems.

    Sagipin sa Gutom ang ating mahihirap na Kababayan. Eco-Cha Now !

    • Doubting_Thomas on May 6, 2006 at 9:42 am

    Re #16: “Besides, our Constitution mandates that “industrial development must be based on agricutural development”.”

    Is the above a direct quote from the Constitution?

    “The prevailing world economic system is unsustainable, based on a kind of development that is dependent on resources that are limited, like oil, which’s scarcity accelerates with development.”

    There is (was?) an international movement towards sustainable development spearheaded by the United Nations.

    “Can a small, ‘developing’,oil import-dependent economy like the Phil compete with the behemoths for scarce resource?”

    Just to clarify, are you proposing that we stop using motor vehicles and other fuel-powered devices? No more electricity? No more Internet? No more TV?

    “These propositions are rendered simplistically…”

    I can’t help but agree. The devil is in the details, so they say.

    • Amadeo on May 6, 2006 at 10:28 am

    “Slate says it’s impossible to sing the American national anthem.”

    While reading through this blog entry, the above statement immediately caught my attention for a very special personal reason.

    I had just closed a website that gave me the lyrics of this anthem, and a midi file to practice the singing of it, to boot.

    Now, I know this is going to be relevant to me alone, but somehow it has a local component attached.

    I was appointed to be an emcee for a gathering of a FilAm organization tomorrow, Saturday. And one of the items in the program is the singing of both anthems of the Philippines and of course, the US.

    To be reasonably prepared, I printed the wordings of both and started practicing in case there would be no music to go with the singing.

    And indeed singing the Star Spangled Banner is one big ordeal. But with Bayang Magiliw, even after an absence of over 25 years, I got it okay within a couple of repetition.

    That’s one thing to be thankful for, for the patriots out there.

    To end on a little trivia. The entire US piece is composed of four stanzas at eight lines a piece, for a total of 32 lines. But Bayang Magiliw is composed only of three stanzas of four shorter lines each, for a total of 12 lines. Thus, For the US anthem, only the first stanza is typically sung.

    • Carl on May 6, 2006 at 11:07 am

    I can’t recall if there is anything specific in the Philippine constitution regarding industrial development being based on agricultural development. However, in the statement of principles it says that the State shall promote comprehensive rural development and agrarian reform. So there is at least lip service regarding the importance given by the State to rural development, which is generally equated with agriculture. I do not know if the statement regarding industrial development vis a vis agricultural development is a loose interpretation of this statement of principles in the constitution.

    I say “lip service” because so far it’s been only talk and very little deeds. The State has not done much to promote agricultural development, it’s largely been private sector-driven. I do agree with jmakabayan that we should focus on economic measures and food security.

    Regarding the American national anthem, I once read that it’s melody was taken from an old English drinking song, wherein Francis Scott Key’s poem to the “Star-Spangled Banner” was fit in. So it’s composition was rather spontaneous and not very well thought-out. And, apparently, not even original. I think our anthem is much better composed. But in the end, it’s really the people’s patriotism that matters.

  2. The flag, the anthem are all symbolic. What matters is what the citizens believe and do.

    In the same vein of reasoning; charter change, specifically change from presidential to parliamentary, and from bicameral to unicameral will not change what every citizen believes and does.

    The amendments to the constitution, when they’re finally put into place are like building blocks, not the final blocks that produces tangible results.

  3. And then there’s the matter of execution. Will the laws that will be created brought about by charter change be implemented properly? Or will crooks and corrupt politicians again find a way to subvert them?

    That is why Charter Change must be done the right way, and at the right time.

    • jmakabayan on May 6, 2006 at 1:00 pm

    Re #20: Re #16: “Besides, our Constitution mandates that “industrial development must be based on agricutural development”.”

    Is the above a direct quote from the Constitution?

    Sorry for that, should have been just a paraphrase not a quote. The phrase “based on sound agricultural development” is a direct quote.

    “ARTICLE XII
    National Economy and Patrimony

    Section 1. The goals of the national economy are a more equitable distribution of opportunities, income, and wealth; a sustained increase in the amount of goods and services produced by the nation for the benefit of the people; and an expanding productivity as the key to raising the quality of life for all, especially the underprivileged.

    The State shall promote industrialization and full employment based on sound agricultural development and agrarian reform, through industries that make full and efficient use of human and natural resources, and which are competitive in both domestic and foreign markets. However, the State shall protect Filipino enterprises against unfair foreign competition and trade practices.

    In the pursuit of these goals, all sectors of the economy and all regions of the country shall be given optimum opportunity to develop. Private enterprises, including corporations, cooperatives, and similar collective organizations, shall be encouraged to broaden the base of their ownership.”

    Reply to other points to follow.

  4. I wish there’s still hope for all of us.

    • chris on May 6, 2006 at 2:49 pm

    To 24

    What do you think – for every good law proposed there are “loopholes” used to get around the implementation, either legally or illegal – the effect is the same. So long as there is corruption in the country there can be no enforeceable law – everything is negotiable.

  5. Chris, that has always been the case regarding laws: people (bad or good) who violated them will try to find loopholes to lessen the penalty, or completely be exempt from punishment. But when laws are drawn properly, these type of stuff is lessened considerably. That’s all we should be looking for, we’re not looking for perfect laws. There’s no such thing.

    • jmakabayan on May 6, 2006 at 6:00 pm

    The UN as a whole has adapted sustainability in principle. UNDP, UNEP (Environmental Protection) Programs and others, are on-going, promoting sustainable development, which has become a catch-phrase subject to differing interpretations and application. Organic farming and population control are both promoted in the name of ‘sustainable development’. As you sad, ‘the devil is in the details’.

    We have many true sustainable development advocates and movements, like OPTA (organic farming) and Dr. Ramon Tan’s (Pres of Carica) movement promoting holistic, indigenous, ‘homegrown’ philosophy of development via a nation-wide network of ‘Bahay Kubo’ centers. If the government will just follow its mandate these movements should have flourished, instead it promotes the interests of multinationals in modernizing the agri-sector.

    “Just to clarify, are you proposing that we stop using motor vehicles and other fuel-powered devices? No more electricity? No more Internet? No more TV?”.

    To clarify I’m not proposing any mandatory lifestyle change. I am proposing an honest-to-goodness response by the government to the crisis. Energy Usec Abaya admits that min of 5 years for the oil crisis to stabilize. That is uncertain. The ethanol as fuel program cannot substitute nor mitigate in time. In the meanwhile, our human development indicators are plummeting.

    “I can’t help but agree. The devil is in the details, so they say.”

    That is why the people must participate and get involved in dealing with the crisis in whatever way or capacity. The biggest problem is that, in the absence of a strong moral leadership, the government cannot even mobilize the citizenry in its call for austerity measures, to avoid less productive energy consumption (mall-ing), car-less and car-pooling and other schemes. The devil is in the apathy in our society.

    The best energy austerity scheme is a comprehensive NEDA program to provide the means and support for the un-employed and un-productive, energy-consuming segment of the metro population to voluntarily move back to the countryside. Besides, with or without the energy crisis this, I believe, should have been the priority of the government since decades ago, our people could have been shielded from the full impact of the crisis. Last year Sec Neri announced their plan to use suitable government-owned idle land to develop for agriculture in line with its job generation projects. But apparently, funds are prioritized elsewhere.

    “The particular issues cited by MLQ3 and Carl indicate that our countryside development is not following a roadmap that would bring us to a more secure position at the onset of a confluence of global crises.” The constitution as quoted above provides the principles for our development that would support and safeguard the well-being of the Filipinos.

    Does the government follow the contitution’s mandate for development? While ‘waiting for the verdict’,

    “SWS: Hunger Reaches Record High

    THE number of households that report having gone hungry, “with nothing to eat” at least once in the past three months reached a record 16.9 percent last March or about 2.8 million families, according to the Social Weather Stations” – PCIJ/blog today

    • emilie on May 6, 2006 at 9:09 pm

    If we keep on depending and asking for everything from Govt then this country is destined to be a failure. Private citizens should take leadership in developing this nation. We should be PROACTIVE and not REACTIVE. The laws of this nation should be CAPITAL friendly to attract more private participation and encourage wealth creation for a greater number of citizens. After all the Govt is good for nothing ( this is true even for the smallest unit of govt) its just a big piece of non performing asset that cant even deliver basic services how much more ethanol? Govt ( all 3 branches) with its incompetence and lack of common direction delivers the kiss of death to any project. We should take the agenda away from govt and make it irrelevant. I am aghast that we ask for Govt response to crises…Since 1983 we have been in crisis everyday. Dont you ever get sick and tired of it?

  6. jmakabayan,
    if you think the past governments had not done their part of
    encouraging/motivating/pushing people to the countrysides,
    there is a need for you to do some more reading.

    The time of Magsaysay, “homesteads were granted to families
    who were willing to relocate to areas where there were uncultivated lands.

    Many went to Mindanao and Visayas, including the grandparents
    of an acquaiantance. Guess what happened.

    During the time of Marcos, sugar farmers cannot even use
    their sugar crops because future harvests had already been committed to the sugar world market by you know who.

    Try living in the countryside as a farmer and you will come into a reality that you may be able to avoid income taxes to the legitimate government but not revolutionary tax for what they so called alternative government.

    Many provincianos go and starve in the city than live
    without peace in the countryside where life is thereatened
    instead of being protected.

    The problem with us writing in our blogs is most of our
    basis of opinions are what are just read from newspapers and
    shared with the groups of the same political color/agenda and affiliations.

    Madali ang magsabi ng opinion na para bang alam mo ang lahat
    lalo pag talagang hindi mo alam ang totoong pangyayari.

    Hohum.

    To Jon,

    Mas maganda naman ako kay Simon Cowell. 🙂

  7. MLQ3,
    Indeed, Fidel Castro did the distribution of his family’s
    estates but guess what, he is ranked as one of the
    world leaders by FORBES MAGAZINE. I just got the article
    last night and am blogging about it.

    • Carl on May 7, 2006 at 9:02 am

    jmakabayan said: “The best energy austerity scheme is a comprehensive NEDA program to provide the means and support for the un-employed and un-productive, energy-consuming segment of the metro population to voluntarily move back to the countryside.”

    Decades of neglecting the countryside has contributed greatly to the swelling up of the urban population. To my mind, this is the result of myopic and selfish policies. It also reflects a skewed sense of priorities by the people holding the levers of power (who are mostly based in Metro Manila and have vested interests in Metro Manila). The powers-that-be are bankers, real estate developers, industrialists, traders, along with government officials. Together, they make policies which determine the direction that the economy and the country will take. Most of these powerful people live in highly urbanized areas. Most have property and businesses in Metro Manila. As long as real estate, for example, is booming in Manila, and property values are going up, these people don’t care if farmers in Abra or Agusan are being squeezed for revolutionary taxes. As long as factories are running at full capacity and all the production is sold to an ever-growing population, these people don’t really care what happens to Moslems in Mindanao. Oh, they may show some concern through some social projects or foundations, but these are only superficial remedies.

    The center of power has always been more concerned about shor-term gains, never about long-term, comprehensive progress. Much of our problems can be traced to myopic and selfish policies. And these have been carried out for decades. Reversing the damage cannot be done in a short time.

    emilie said: “If we keep on depending and asking for everything from Govt then this country is destined to be a failure.”

    True. JFK said as much more than 40 years ago. However, the least that government can do is to set policies that can do the most good for the most number of people. If government is too incompetent and bankrupt to be the engine of growth, at least let it be the rudder to guide us to a better life. Government policies affect everyone. Bad or myopic policies have far-reaching consequences. That is why we are in such a mess.

    • pinoy on May 7, 2006 at 10:46 am

    re #22. “The flag, the anthem are all symbolic. What matters is what the citizens believe and do.”

    What do we do if this is done to our flag?

    http://buhaypinoy.wordpress.com/2006/05/06/di-na-naawa/

    • chris on May 7, 2006 at 2:32 pm

    Jon, you missed the point – tolerance of rampant corruption has destroyed the structures of the country. As an aside why would “good” people steal your money? Corruption is theft of your and mine money, and people who steal for no good reason other than buying themselves a nice new car or a second or third house etc should be punished. It is not the laws – we have plenty of those, but it is the way in which they can be evaded.

    • vic on May 7, 2006 at 4:59 pm

    Theft is a crime and it should be prosecuted to the fullest force of the law without exemption. And corruption is theft. Even worst, because it has no specific victims, but everyone-from a hungry child to a sick mother to the safety of the water supply and to the security of the retiree, who have have spent their lives paying taxes and found out nothing left for them after. And no amount of charter change can correct this defect in our society, but to change the mindset of citizenry that in end it is the future of their children that they are putting in jeopardy for the temporary wealth of corruption provided them today. Yes,we have enough laws to deal with this crime. Even subject to Capital Punishment. But are they enforced? No because the Corrupt is capable of corrupting others and the cycle goes on. Where do we start? Ourselves..

  8. Chris,

    I understand where you’re coming from. But my comment was a generalization. You know, somebody breaks the law, maybe he knew that be broke a law, maybe not. He’s going to try and explain himself, try to lessen the penalty if not evade it entirely.

    As for corruption, it’s not just about money all the time. To me corruption is when you have to pay some money to get a good bed in a hospital, when you have to pay the firemen before they serve you (while your house is on fire), when you can pay a judge so that you can be set free, etc.

  9. The comments are all insightful and perceptive.

    It is refreshing to read this blog sans anymosity and the insults.
    I hope this keeps up!

  10. even for such a short comment, I misspelled a word again.
    I mispelled animosity.

    I can uderstand where Emilie is coming from that we need foreign capital.But I also agree with the comment that it is not the silver bullet.

    there is no silver bullet and there is no band aid.

    We may not feel it now,but blogs and comment threads help in policy making and nation building.No matter how arrrogant or annoying or even passionate a comment may seem; as long the element of respect is not erased that comment is a contribution.

  11. My view on bloggin is: It helps bloggers frame their own views. It makes their own views clearer to themselves. Helps in forming new ones and correct wrong ones. It’s cool.

    • vic on May 8, 2006 at 12:57 pm

    On blogging: it makes me do some writing (again) which I had not done since the phone rate become affordable. Oh! how I miss those days when you have to write a letter home and wait another 3 weeks for a reply. Now it either a text or long distance and not even email, cuz usually pick up the phone and ask if the email gone thru. And it also widen my perspective of events and accepts the fact that my view is not always the right one. And most to respect the thoughts and views of others, be they are contrary or in agreement with mine. thanks..

    • hvrds on May 8, 2006 at 1:07 pm

    I can’t resist this one. The Peoples Republic of China was forced to sign an agreement with the EU and the USA as a condition for joining the WTO classifying the country as an NME. (Non- Market Economy). That way both the EU and the USA can impose protective tariffs without having to go to the WTO arbitration process. They have a rigid fiscal and monetary system owned and operated by the national government on behalf of all their decentralized provinces whcih have their own branches of the Peoples Bank. Land ownership is restricted to the State. However property rights are imbedded in their basic laws being that the fruits of labor from the land belong to the tiller. (the basic foundation of private property)The State takes a portion of the harvest as owner of the land. (Not the lion’s share.) Their basic monetary system is isolated from the world financial system and the power to create money substitutes (Credit) lies with the State and not private enterprise. From the time of Mao’s death in the mid seventies this non-market economy has left all free trade model economies in the dust. They copied the dirigist model of Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and even Singapore. They followed the Hamiltonian model together with Lincoln, T. Roosvelt, Jefferson and Washington who according to Patrick Buchanan did not practice free trade during the almost 200- years of industrial development of the U.S. that kept U.S. markets protected behind a high tariff wall till the early 50’s. So much for the free trade arguments.

    Dani Rodrick economist from MIT and professor of political economy at the JFK School of Govt., Harvard, Stiglitz economist Columbia and Krugman economist MIT in the last few years have all written of how the unorthodox non-market policies of the Chinese government have transformed this backward country in such a short time and has created an industrial behemoth unlike anything ever seen in economic history of humanity. In approximately a genration and half they have uplifted millions out of poverty creating a domestic market of maybe 300 – 400 million people with another 700-800 million people still realtively poor in the countryside. They have created the beginings of a industrial juggernaut that will eventually threaten the major industiral communities.
    All this under a homegrown non-market economic model.

    Raghuram Rajan the present head of the Economics research department of the IMF in a recent paper points to the main cause of the spiral of poverty. The unequal distribution of factor endownments (land) in economicspeak and basic education. Stiglitz when asked on solutions to the unending causes of poverty pretty much said the same thing and suggested radical solutions to the problem of unequal distribution of natural endownments.

    That prety much leacves the solution to an enlightened government that truly wishes to proel the country forward to solve the effects of maldistribtuion of assets which is poverty.

    Unless the probelm is pretty well defined the solution then becomes obvious. Poverty will always be the effect of maldistribution of assets and not the problem itself. On that score both Adam Smith and Karl Marx ageed. The issue then becomes one of what process is one to follow to solve that problem of maldistribution.

    That is where the debate should concentrate on. The process of solving the maldistirbution of factor endownments and the rest will follow.

    Sometimes I am convinced that the English language when used in the context of what we really mean to say makes all of us functionally illeterate.

    The worlds, economics, property, markets, trade, state and even government all have different applications. Language after all is a basic human technological tool. Adam Smith reminded us all that dogs cannot count their bones. He said that writing and money were two of the world’s greatest technological advances.

    • hvrds on May 8, 2006 at 2:03 pm

    I hope everyone understand the implications of this piece done by technocrats from the neo-classical economic religion. Who would have the political will and leadership of a Mao and Deng to resolve the contradictions once and for all of a deeply feudal system in the country held in place by a deeply flawed international system in favor of the rich countries of the world under the theology “daw” of a free market system. Nobel prize winner Stiglitz warned developing countries about pursuing this mythical free market which according to him has never existed.

    Raghuram G. Rajan (I.M.F. and N.B.E.R.)
    Luigi Zingales (Harvard University, N.B.E.R. & CEPR)
    Why is underdevelopment so persistent? One explanation is that poor countries do not have
    institutions that can support growth. Because institutions (both good and bad) are persistent,
    underdevelopment is persistent. An alternative view is that underdevelopment comes from poor
    education. Neither explanation is fully satisfactory, the first because it does not explain why poor
    economic institutions persist even in fairly democratic but poor societies, and the second because it
    does not explain why poor education is so persistent. This paper tries to reconcile these two views by
    arguing that the underlying cause of underdevelopment is the initial distribution of factor
    endowments. Under certain circumstances, this leads to self-interested constituencies that, in
    equilibrium, perpetuate the status quo. In other words, poor education policy might well be the
    proximate cause of underdevelopment, but the deeper (and more long lasting cause) are the initial
    conditions (like the distribution of educational endowments) that determine political constituencies,
    their power, and their incentives. Though the initial conditions may well be a legacy of the colonial
    past, and may well create a perverse political equilibrium of stagnation, persistence does not require
    the presence of coercive political institutions. On the one hand, such an analysis offers hope that the
    destiny of societies is not preordained by the institutions they inherited through historical accident.
    On the other hand, it suggests we need to understand better how to alter factor endowments when
    societies may not have the internal will to do so.

    • hvrds on May 8, 2006 at 2:36 pm

    To digress a bit. Yesterday a commentary done by Maria Ressa on the war on terror appeared in the Philippine Inquirer. She also happens to be the head of the news department of ABS-CBN. She wrote the piece in her personal capacity as a so called expert on terrorism.

    I read the piece three or more times and came away a little frightened. Her words resonated with the ideas being put forth by Dick “Mad Dog” Cheney on the establishment of a Muslim Caliphate. She presented her arguments virtually agreeing with Huntington that the war on terror is a war of civilization. A very dangerous conclusion. Her mindset will probably determine the way ABS-CBN would and could present perspectives in covering terrorism. This in light of recent attempts of the government to abolish the Bill of Rights and relate ity to terrorism.

    Amartya Sen pointedly says that the U.S. has repeatedly in the past supported dictators for their narrow self interest and this narrow interest has led to an arrogance of parochialism of western triumphalism over other countries history. This has indirectly led to the rise of Islamic fundamentalism. Secular muslims who are in the majority have been marginalized by this. It is a fact that 15 of the 20 or 21, 9/11 Al Qaeda operatives came from Saudi Arabia. Usama Bin laden’s entire family were rounded up in the U.S. and flown out by the U.S. government right after 9/11 per request of the Saudi government. Culturally Saudi Arabia is living in old testament times. We live in interesting times, an old Chinese expression is actually part of a curse.

    I strongly suggest everyone refer to this very interesting discourse between Robert Kagan senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and transatlantic fellow at the German Marshall Fund. Amartya Sen is the Lamont University Professor at Harvard and the winner of the 1998 Nobel Prize in Economics.
    http://www.slate.com/id/2140932/entry/2141222/

    • cvj on May 8, 2006 at 7:15 pm

    hvrds, i agree when you say that our focus should be on maldistribution of factor endowments, but i don’t believe it’s automatic that the ‘rest will follow’. We can end up as successful as Malaysia with its affirmative action for the Bumiputra’s or as chaotic as Mugabe’s Zimbabwe.

    Deng’s policies may have been unorthodox in the sense that they did not follow IMF or laissez faire prescriptions but we cannot go so far as to call it ‘non-market’. Anyway, maybe the issue is just semantics so you can judge for yourself with this description from Robert Cosbey’s ‘Watching China Change’:

    “…The big change was eliminating the commune as a political, social and economic structure. Ownership of the land reverted to the government, meaning, practically, local government. The use of the land was contracted out to individuals or families or small groups. For example, one farmer might contract to grow rice in a certain field, guaranteeing to give the village ten per cent more rice than it had been getting, and keeping any surplus as his own, to sell to the government on the open market…”

    “…The rural contract system that supplanted the communes made it possible for millions of peasants to decide individually for themselves what kind of work they would do, what hours they would keep, what they would do with their money, where they would go to sell their products or to look for work. In the cities more and more people set up their own small business…”

    In #41 above, i haven’t come across Stiglitz saying that a free market ‘never existed’. Could it be he was referring to the idealized model of ‘perfect competition’, which requires assumptions such as the individual possessing perfect information which are impossible to achieve in real life? This does not mean the model is useless, but economists should be (and often are) mindful of what assumptions are being broken in the real world and how this affects the model’s relevance. Also, from what i read, what Stiglitz objected to was free movement of financial capital which can wreak havoc on economies like what happened in Thailand and South Korea in 1997 and 1998. He was not against free trade, but against the US and Western Europe bullying weaker countries in order to get trade concessions.

    As to #45, i’m totally with you on that one. Thanks for linking to the Kagan and Sen exchange.

  12. Mao was not able to solve poverty by implementing his grand plan, In fact, millions died due to hunger or did you not know that? His communes did not deliver the expected harvests/produce that can feed the big population which kept
    on growing despite the restrictions imposed on marriages and births.

    Otherwise, his followers, should not have brought capitalism back to the country, months after he was gone.

    Poor people in China now are demonstrating since the government started taking their lands away to give way to industrialization and modernization.

    Political will or authoritarianism?

    Kung nasa Tsina ka noong kapanahunan ni Mao, matututo ka sigurong kumain ng rationed na bigas na may amoy, sira
    at kakarampot dahil nabrainwash sila na kailangang ireserve ang bigas para sa giyera.

    Kausapin ninyo ang mga Tsinong may edad na nagmigrate na sa
    ibang lupain, hindi yong mga propaganda ng mga sumusulong ng
    mga adhikain na yan. tssk tssk.

    • Carl on May 9, 2006 at 6:36 am

    It would be naive to think that belligerent groups like Muslim fundamentalists or Communist insurgents would not use democratic space to subvert these same Western-influenced liberal societies which they are trying to topple. Vigilance is the price of freedom. After all, history has shown that these groups do create the most rigid, intolerant and tyrannical societies when they assume power. This was demonstrated by Stalin and his Gulags, Mao and his Great Purge and Pol Pot and his killing fields. And, of course, we have witnessed in recent history the cruelty and intolerance of the the Taliban in Afghanistan.

  13. that’s one sad thing about being a public servant slash leader slash politician. unlike businessmen, you can’t just always retire. you have to keep on fighting until your light ultimately diminishes or your integrity becomes tarnished, whichever comes first….

    • Karl Garcia on May 9, 2006 at 4:29 pm

    “Poor people in China now are demonstrating since the government started taking their lands away to give way to industrialization and modernization.”

    Just observe what China has been doing to drive away people from their land in preparation for the Beijing Olympics.

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