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The Economist: growth to slow
By mlq3 Posted in Daily Dose on March 5, 2007 53 Comments 12 min read
The Long View: Prove it's a lie Previous Leah Salonga decorated Next

From an email list, the following, latest forecast from The Economist Intelligence Unit makes for interesting (and sobering) reading:

Forecast
Feb 28th 2007
From the Economist Intelligence Unit
Source: Country Forecast

The authority of the president, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, will remain fragile over the forecast period. In the past year she has survived demands for her resignation, an impeachment bid by the opposition and a reported coup attempt. Meanwhile, attempts to reform the constitution have failed, meaning that mid-term congressional elections will go ahead as planned in May 2007.

A poor showing in these elections by Ms Macapagal Arroyo could see an increase in pressure on her to leave office before the end of her term in 2010. The fiscal deficit will continue to narrow, but the budget will remain in deficit in 2007-08. Private consumption will continue to be the main driver of the economy, although GDP growth will slow slightly from 5.4% in 2006 to 5.3% in 2007 and 5.1% in 2008. Annual consumer price inflation will average 4% in 2007-08. Buoyant remittances from Filipinos working overseas will ensure that the current account remains in surplus.

Key changes from last update

Political outlook

Campaigning ahead of the mid-term elections has officially started.

Opposition parties are hoping to win at least one-third of the seats in the House of Representatives (the lower house). This would allow them to send the president to an impeachment trial in the Senate (the upper house), which is likely to be dominated by the opposition.

Economic policy outlook

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP, the central bank) kept its key policy interest rates steady, at 7.5% for the overnight borrowing rate and 9.75% for the overnight lending rate, at its latest monetary policy meeting on January 25th. The Economist Intelligence Unit forecasts that the BSP will cut rates later this year, in response to weakening inflationary pressures in the economy.

Economic forecast

Real GDP growth slowed to 4.8% year on year in the final quarter of 2006, taking growth for the full year to 5.4%. We forecast that annual economic growth will slow over the next two years, owing to a fall in the contribution from the external sector.

Though Abe Margallo has some kind things to say on how I tried to explain my thinking on the matter, David Llorito explains it best in essentially three points: (see his December 24, 2006 entry on the “hollowing out” of the job market, too):

1. The government is taking credit for improvements to the economy that aren’t really its doing. Llorito says,

These are real gains, alright, but in truth Malacañang has little to do with it at all. A look at the national income accounts shows the country’s growth was largely driven by consumption financed by remittances, the rapid growth of cyberservices and the recovery in the export sector. The dynamics of these growth drivers have nothing to do with Palace occupants… If one looks at the national income accounts, one sees that the government expenditures in the last three years are flat or negative despite the fact that the government has been collecting higher VAT rates (12 percent) and higher corporate taxes (35 percent). In fact, the government has actually been reversing the policy reforms that the country achieved after the 1986 Edsa people power revolution. The most recent example is the increase in tariff rates for steel products from 3 percent to 7 percent – one that would surely penalize the construction sector.

2. It’s main activity has been “whack-a-mole,” and in stamping out scandals it has let the national budget and infrastructure slide (neither of which, I might add, is the fault of the opposition forces: at no point did the administration lose control of either house of Congress; at no point did it lose control over government departments). As Llorito puts it,

We could have achieved some more, probably on a par with our fast-growing neighbors, if only the government had been really attentive to the pulse of the economy.

3. The opposition is flat-out wrong to say there isn’t growth or that it’s a “mirage”: Llorito writes,

These growth rates are neither a mirage nor too insignificant to bother about, because they are the gains contributed by the country’s private business sector, the entrepreneurs, foreign investors and the OFWs themselves who sacrificed a lot just to send the dollars that the country badly needs. Everybody should recognize this fact. Are the 250,000 new jobs created by outsourcing a mirage? Is the $47-billion export generated by the private sector, about $30 billion of which came from electronics, insignificant?

4. The economy is increasingly politics-proof, and it goes to show that reforms can be built upon by one administration after another, though it takes time to show. As Llorito puts it,

[these] are mostly the fruits of the painstaking policy reforms started by President Corazon Aquino after the 1986 Edsa revolution and were sustained by succeeding administrations. Specifically, the deregulation and infusion of more competition in transportation, storage and communications industries, as well as reforms in the country’s tariff system.

What I like most about Llorito’s article is that he points out there’s much room for optimism, as long as everyone remains realistic. Things take time. And over time, things have changed, often for the better. So cut the crap that “nothing’s changed” since 1986. A hell of a lot has; but it could still be better, and it doesn’t have to mean an either or situation.

There is so much that’s wonderful about how the country’s changed, how things are changing -and so much that’s frustrating about how things aren’t able to change as quickly, and thoroughly, as they might because some people are too myopic to cherish things that matter and cling to things that get in the way of progress.

Read more from Cielito Habito, the economist.

My column for today is Prove it’s a lie. If you think Ang Ladlad deserves accreditation, please contact the Comelec and give them a piece of your mind. I was very happy to receive a copy of an email from a reader, who emailed the Comelec as follows:

To : The Chairman / Commisioners Abalos, Tuason, Sarmiento, Ferrer – COMELEC

I, together with my family, wish to express our support for the Party List group ANG LADLAD and its representative Professor Danton Remoto.

We were hoping to vote for ANG LADLAD or , if it does not get accredited,to vote for Mr. Danton Remoto to the Senate.

It is unfortunate that you refuse to accredit ANG LADLAD, as well as declare Prof. Remoto a nusiance candidate (based on Newspaper reports).

We hope that the Comelec will reconsider its position to give our brothers and sisters who belong to the marginalized sector of LGBT a voice in Congress and / or the Senate.

Alan D. R.de Luzuriaga
Voters Registration No. 34096314

In her column, Sylvia Mayuga also takes up the cudgels for Ang Ladlad and along the way brings up some interesting things:

…Power to grant or refuse party list accreditation in the Comelec under Abalos continues to be a henhouse door wide open to the wolf of trapo politics.

This Armida Siguion-Reyna illustrates in her column, noting the recent accreditation of an association of tricycle drivers called Biyaheng Pinoy – with one Arsenio Abalos, elder brother of the Comelec chair, as director and national council member. She asks, why has Ang Ladlad, (“The Laid Out” or “Out of the Closet”) which applied for accreditation “at the same time if not earlier,” been rejected twice?

Ang Ladlad is of course the first-ever Filipino Gay, Lesbian Bisexual and Trans-gender NGO cum political party, with students, intellectuals, and professionals in a stated nationwide membership of 16,000. Public curiosity has been pricked. For one, Miguel Antonio Lizada of the Sun-Star Davao wants to know if this rejection has “something to do with the fact that Ang Ladlad was leading in the race, next to Bayan Muna (Country First)?”

See also the entries of Bong Austero, of tristantrakand, and Martin Bautista of Ang Kapatiran (despite my reservations, the goofy goings-on in Genuine Opposition are making me take a second look at Ang Kapatiran… can you say, “waning, waning,” FVR-style?) Anyway, for anyone interested, the platform of Ang Ladlad is as follows:

1. Re-filing of the Anti-Discrimination Bill that gives LGBT Filipinos equal opportunities in employment and equal treatment in schools, hospitals, restaurants, hotels, entertainment centers, and government offices.
2. Re-filing of the bill to repeal the Anti-Vagrancy Law that some unscrupulous policemen use to extort bribes from gay men without ID cards;
3. Setting up of micro-finance and livelihood projects for poor and handicapped LGBT Filipinos;
4. Setting up of centers for Golden Gays, or old and abandoned LGBTs, as well as young ones driven out of their homes. The centers will also offer legal aid and counseling, as well as information about LGBT issues, HIV-AIDS, and reproductive health. These centers will be set up initially in the key cities/metropolitan areas of the Philippines: Baguio, National Capital Region, Cebu and Davao.

To gain a seat in the lower house, party-list groups need to garner at least 2 percent of the total votes cast for party-list groups. Additional 2% votes cast for a party-list group will gain another seat. A maximum of 3 seats can be secured by a group for representation in Congress’ lower chamber.

RA 7941 (The Party-List System Act) was enacted on 3 March 1995 to implement Section 5, Article VI of the 1987 Constitution. It provides that 20% (53 seats) of the total membership of the House of Representatives should be elected through the party-list system – commonly known as sectoral representatives. A party-list candidate should get at least two percent (2%) of the total votes cast for the party-list system to qualify for one seat.

Consequently, garnering four percent (4%) of the votes mean two seats; and six percent (6%), three seats.

A paper from 2001 by Fritzie Palma Tangkia and Ma. Araceli Basco Habaradas (available online ) says the party-list scheme is intended to “broaden representation in the House of Representatives to include sectors and those organizations that do not have well-defined political constituencies” and “facilitate access to representation of minority or small parties”:

The basic aim of representative government is to attain the broadest possible representation of all interests in its lawmaking and policy-making body. It becomes necessary to give an opportunity to the various social, economic, cultural, geographical and other sectors of our society, particularly the disadvantaged groups, to have their voices heard. And because they are usually without sufficient funding or political machinery, it becomes incumbent upon the government to extend such opportunity without the need to go through an expensive electoral contest. For this reason, the party-list system has been adopted in the new Constitution to assure them of representation in the highest lawmaking body of the Republic.

Furthermore, the

“heart of proportional representation is inclusion: it seeks to facilitate and ensure the entry and participation of all major interest groups, or at least of as many such groups as possible, in the crucial endeavor of national legislation.” Thus, being a system of proportional representation, the party-list system is “intended to give to marginalized parties or groups access to the House of Representatives” and “to prevent [these] small groups from actually being left out in the democratic process.”

The Party List Act states as the policy of the state that,

Declaration of Policy. – The State shall promote proportional representation in the election of representatives to the House of Representatives through a party-list system of registered national, regional and sectoral parties of organizations or coalitions thereof, which will enable Filipino citizens belonging to marginalized and underrepresented sectors, organizations and parties, and who lack well-defined political constituencies but who could contribute to the formulation and enactment of appropriate legislation that will benefit the nation as a whole, to become members of the House of Representatives. Towards this end, the State shall develop and guarantee a full, free and open party system in order to attain the broadest possible representation of party, sectoral or group interests in the House of Representatives by enhancing their chances to compete for and win seats in the legislature, and shall provide the simplest scheme possible.

In Osmeña vs. Commission on Elections, the Supreme Court pointed out,

The party-list system, an innovation introduced by the 1987 Constitution in order to encourage the growth of a multi-party system is designed to give a chance to marginalized sectors of society to elect their representatives to the Congress. A scheme aimed at giving meaningful representation to the interests of sectors which are not adequately attended to in normal deliberations, it is envisioned that system will encourage interest in political affairs on the part of a large number of citizens who feel that they are deprived of the opportunity to elect spokesmen of their own choosing under the present system. It is expected to forestall resort to extra-parliamentary means by minority groups which would wish to express their interests and influence governmental policies, since every citizen is given a substantial representation.

As for “marginalized parties,” they were defined defined by the late Senator Tolentino, as

[T]hose which, on their own strength as political parties, would not be able to elect Congressmen in the different districts because they would not have the number of votes needed in particular districts [and yet] if these [votes] are combined together on a national basis, they may be able to elect even one or two Congressmen on the basis of proportional representation.

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  1. From Rego’s post re Danton’s candidacy:

    http://www.quezon.ph/?p=1171#comment-436225

    heres the latest from Danton about the news of his disqualifications
    ————————————————

    From: “Danton Remoto” Add to Address Book Add Mobile Alert
    Date: Sat, 3 Mar 2007 09:31:26 -0800 (PST)
    Subject: Re: Omigoshhh, Danton was declared nuisance candidate by COMELEC!!!!!!

    Ok guys, calm down. On Monday, I will go to Comelec and file:

    1. a motion for reconsideration for the rejection of the party list Ang Ladlad.
    2. a motion for reconsideration for my declaration as a nuisance candidate.

    I was initially irritated when I read the news, especially when they said Richard Gomez was accredited because he was popular. Ha? Is this a popularity contest now? And even Victor Wood was allowed to run, ha.

    One political party has also invited me to join their senatorial slate. I can only divulge final details when we have already signed the agreement. Sorry, guys, it is not the Genuine Opposition.

    Forget the Senate. There’s an easier way to get elected in congress, and that is:

    Join one of the party lists that are already accredited by COMELEC and become it’s candidate. Pwede yan. Join the party list that you are most comfortable with politically (like Akbayan w/ Etta Rosales and Risa Hontiveros? Sanlakas? Gabriela?) and become one of it’s main candidates.

  2. Nakakatakot naman ang headline today,

    Hindi alam nang Executive branch na me naka deploy na military personnel sa urban area…

    And sa magtatanong bakit nakakatakot, research nyo na lang how an army unit is deployed under a democratic country like ours.

  3. I fear I will incur the wrath of Manolo, whom I greatly respect, as well as others on this blog, but if freedom of speech is what this is about, I feel I must exercise mine.

    First of all, I do not think gays are really marginalized in this society. They are out in the open everywhere, and everyone seems to have a gay friend, relative, or acquaintance. It seems no noontime/early morning/variety show would be complete without one, and the success of gay designers and hairdressers is celebrated everywhere. While they are not accepted by everyone, that is something everyone faces one way or another. But there is nothing in the law that discriminates against gays.

    That said, I do not agree with using taxpayer money specifically for gay advancement. Old gays’ homes? Microfinance for gays? Why give special privilege to individuals with a specific sexual orientation? Should straight people also start forming a party based solely on their heterosexuality?

    And what about people who take issue with homosexuality? Will they be prosecuted as criminals, guilty of thoughtcrime? They’re already derided as bigots. A pastor who preached against homosexuality was convicted of hate speech in Sweden in 2003. Is that the sort of direction Ang Ladlad would like to see us go in?

  4. mike, no ire from my part, not least because you’re entitled to your view as a who has the most prevalent sexual orientation. this is precisely why there’s a party list -if enough people from a minority feel un or underrepresented, if they organize and put forward a candidate, and cast sufficient votes, then they are entitled to that representation. that’s why you have people campaigning for representation for veterans (why should tax money be spent for old soldiers?), for women (what? but women even outnumber men, population-wise, in many areas!), for teachers (what? but it’s just a job!), for indigenous peoples (what! we don’t run around killing ateas, do we?), fisherfolk (what? it’s just a job!), farmers (what! it’s just a job!) etc. etc.

    My point is, it will not matter to you and you may find it unreasonable and oppose it. Certainly if on moral grounds you find it wrong, you should. But the law does discriminate, in not permitting civil unions or adoption, for example (never mind marriage with its sacramental aspect), and there are employers who fire homosexuals for no other reason than they’re Gay.

    The minority has the primary responsibility to agitate and demand its due. That’s how women did it. Unlike the British and the Americans we didn’t go around telling the police to beat up and arrest women campaigning to be able to vote in the 20s and 30s -but more reasonably, Filipino men issued a challenge: get 300,000 votes, and Filipina women can vote. The women campaigned and got 400,000 votes, and so Filipinas got to vote a decade before French women did.

    But if the women hadn’t raised a fuss… and the blacks… and… you get the picture.

    Straight people don’t have to organize for representation because -they’re the majority, the entire government is theirs, the state is theirs, the laws are theirs and made by them and perpetuate their beliefs. Surely a minority that feels, as taxpayers and members of the body politic, they have legitimate concerns that could benefit from state support, they should have the chance to propose it, not as a matter of begging favors, but as an authentic advocacy.

    Reasonable debate can then enter the picture -say you believe state funds shouldn’t go to homes for old Gay people. Very well -but shall we discuss tax breaks, so people can get tax deductions? To grant such an incentive for charitable donations requires permission from the state, including quite possibly, legislation.

  5. I certainly wouldnt want Mr. Remoto and his party declared a nuisance, but Im with Mike on the issue of their legislative agenda re using taxpayer money specifically for gay advancement like government funded nursing homes for gays, micro-finance for gays, etc. The law should be blind to sexual orientation and treat each of us as humans with equal rights. I find nothing wrong, for instance, with microfinance that doesnt discriminate against gays or a nursing home that doesnt discriminate against old gays, etc.

  6. I appreciate the reply, Manolo. I do indeed oppose it on moral grounds, and I do feel that marriage is an institution that is designed to protect and nuture a family that can produce the next generation.

    However, I do not think that minority parties are simply playing a numbers game. If a group of neo-Nazis applied for party-list, I think you would oppose their being allowed to take power, no matter how many members they represented, and rightly so. I’m not saying that gays are like neo-Nazis–that would be absurd–but you get the point.

    The fact that a minority may feel entitled to privileges does not always mean it should have them. We have granted privileges to war veterans because they have risked life in the service of the country; to indigenous because of the abject poverty of their situation (and perhaps because we feel guilty that we have encroached on areas they used to occupy?); to women, not privilege, but the rights they are due as human beings. But would you endorse the idea that a party of tea drinkers in our coffee drinking country be accorded privileges because they’re a minority? Or is it just a matter of them getting enough votes?

    As the US debate about affirmative action has shown, efforts to give special privileges (not rights, mind you) to minorities, while they may be well-intentioned, may not always be the most just way to use taxpayers’ money.

  7. I find the dismissal of Ang Ladlad absurd based on the reasons the Comelec gave: there are gay people everywhere, and a pro-homosexual party list, given a chance, will probably even dominate the polls.

    That said, I don’t see much point in Ang Ladlad. With all due respect, I disagree with your analogies, MLQ3. Blacks, and women, raised a fuss because they were denied a right. The gay community is hardly a victim, and many hold positions of power. I think Mon Tulfo has a list *lol*

    Kidding aside, the only area where I immediately see (there may be more, but this is the first that comes to mind) gays having less privileges than straight people is in the family. You mentioned tax deductions. I presume this is for a gay couple living together, to declare dependents? The problem that I see with that is the same reason unmarried straight couples can’t declare themselves as being married to get a bigger deduction. Unless you 1.) add a separate category there, or 2.) allow gay marriages. With the first, by allowing a category for unmarried same-sex couples, aren’t you discriminating unmarried heterosexuals? With the second, we don’t really want to go there, do we?

  8. mike, i myself do not advocate gay marriage because it involves a long and essentially futile debate on the sacramental aspect of marriage. i am, however, for granting the rights and privileges under the law to homosexual couples who make a commitment to each other, that the law grants to heterosexual couples, who are neither obliged to procreate or contribute in any fundamental sense to the community.

    it would be as unfair for me to demand you commit apostasy as i think it would be unreasonable for you to demand i accept homosexuals be classified merely with “tea drinkers.” societies have not persecuted tea drinkers in the way they have homosexuals, for example. it’s a superficial comparison.

    nazism is an ideology that preaches the superiority of the aryan race, and espouses using the systematic liquidation or at least stripping away of political and human rights, in pursuit of the dominance of that race. neonazis would want that, or if they don’t publicly state it, they remain silent on what has been done to promote nazism and fascism in the past, so they cannot be condoned much less granted leeway.

    it depends of course if you think homosexuality is a choice: if a choice, you can outlaw it and persecute it as you would smoking and smokers. but if not a choice, then to discriminate against it is wrong: and opposing discrimination is not the same as insisting on its glorification or toleration, as to tolerate is, again, to trivialize the identity of another person.

    the demands are pretty modest: that a person’s identity -jew, catholic, black, etc.- should not be used against that person. objective standards are fine, so long as the standards were not drawn up to unduly promote the dominance of a group. we all want a color blind society; in the case of the usa, centuries of neglect and oppression had to be counteracted by defying an unfair legal system. if black people sat around praying for equal rights there’d still be jim crow; if homosexuals politely asked not to be beaten up and forced to keep their identity hidden if only to keep gainful employment, well, among other things there’d be many more false marriages.

    the debate on affirmative action is more than the efficacious use of taxpayer’s money -to reduce it to that ignores why affirmative action was considered a moral and political imperative. the question is whether affirmative action has become reverse discrimination or a new kind of discrimation; and whether its goal of helping young black people obtain a future is being helped or hindered by the program.

  9. jorge, again, the question is: gay people not denied a right, according to whom? but in quite a few european countries, for example, it’s become state policy to recognize that gay rights have been violated over time and the violations have to start.

    again, tolerance in our society is built on the premise that being gay is permissible when considered harmless: in entertainment, the arts, fashion, etc. but have an openly gay person in banking, and the clients may not care but i don’t think its unfair to say that among bankers they’d take a dim view to that homosexual’s being given a responsible position. same goes for the military, and other professions.

    again, i submit it’s not overacting or paranoia on the part of many gay people who have felt pressure to conform or who have been on the receiving end of hostility triggered nothing more than by their identity. these are both large and small slights and harassments so common perhaps even straight people of good will disbelieve it’s common. but obviously some, maybe most, gay people think this is so -and what more of those too frightened to even let anyone know what they are. because it could cost them their job, or be dangerous physically or emotionally to them if they’re found out.

    i advocate civil unions and those are for people who profess a commitment and are willing to do so before the law. that is what separates anyone living in with a partner, gay or straight, and a marriage. it’s the commitment, professed to each other and before the law: the essence of a contract, no? and that’s what the law should give allowances for: a couple that makes such a commitment should then be able to own property together, have legal standing in case of accident or illness, etc. -things straight couples and families take for granted.

  10. Part of today’s “Demand and Supply” article of Boo Chanco:

    Desperate businessman

    I got this e-mail from a local businessman, A. Ong.

    I am just an ordinary citizen trying to go about living my life in the Philippines. I do not hold any degree in economics and finished my bachelors degree in computer science. I work for my father and we are in the agriculture business. I read your column almost everyday and can’t help but react to what is going on in this country.

    Price of milk: the price of milk has indeed gone up. We import whey powder from the US and prices used to be at $650-$750/MT are now at $1750/MT. I was also told the same reason for it — drought in Australia and the huge shortfall of milk production.

    World prices for farm commodities are going up because of the demand for ethanol. Farmers are converting their farms to grow corn, wheat, etc. with the intent to sell to ethanol producers. Isn’t it a bit crazy that we grow crops so we can have fuel in our cars instead of food? China has stopped the construction of ethanol plants because it will compete with the food resources for its people.

    I think government should focus more on infrastructure development and work towards a long-term goal of improving the most basic skills of people. I work with people and I noticed that their comprehension skills are getting progressively worse every year. Quality education, not the number of people who finish college should be stressed. Working to lower prices of basic commodities and not the increase of daily wages is the answer.

    Anyway, I just pray that we TRULY prosper as a nation and that people on the street can feel they are better off.

  11. A friend of mine and I share a common trait.

    We’re mediocre in Mathematics. And he exemplifies it in a statement that goes “wala kang ma review”. And I believe him. It’s not as if you can read a mathematics book and all of it will come back!

    Anyway, it quite obvious that you can’t get 53 party list members of Congress when each needs at least 2% to win a seat!

    The SC decisions on the party list is an interesting reading material. It can show you how a law can be followed/not be followed and still be constitutional.

    There was an issue once wherein party lists groups sought to have the full complement for party list filled even though the groups were shy of the 2% needed but the law mandated that 20% of Congress be allotted for the party list. If I remember right, the SC put its foot down and mandated that the 2% each be followed. there was also a time wherein the rest of the seats to be alloted were dependent on the 5 of votes of the highest ranking party list (had something to do with the “proportionality clause”). The SC obviously overturned their own on that one as they follow now the 2% rule.

  12. Oooopps. What a bummer.

    there was also a time wherein the rest of the seats to be alloted were dependent on the “5” of votes of the highest ranking party list (had something to do with the “proportionality clause”)

    Should be:

    There was also a time wherein the rest of the seats to be alloted were dependent on the “%” of votes of the highest ranking party list (had something to do with the “proportionality clause”).

  13. A vibrant GLBT party-list in Congress would act as a countervailing force to religious-oriented parties. Just like women’s groups, they can act as a shield against Catholic, evangelical or even Muslim conservatives and serve as vanguards for secular values.

  14. but have an openly gay person in banking, and the clients may not care but i don’t think its unfair to say that among bankers they’d take a dim view to that homosexual’s being given a responsible position. same goes for the military, and other professions.

    But the example you gave isn’t a case of gays being denied their rights, it’s a case of dumb prejudice, and that can’t be tackled by laws, but by time. It’s like being part of the rakista crowd and sporting long hair (as I do): you’re not denied jobs or anything, but whether you get hired or not depends on the HR department’s bias.

    What rights, exactly, have gays been denied wholescale? I just think comparing the bias against gays to the struggles women and people of color had to go through belittles the latter’s triumphs; gays do not face the same kind or degree of persecution.

    I am for civil unions; I know gay couples more loyal to each other than most straight ones, and I believe that they share some rights that straight couples do. But that’s as far as I go; I’m with Mike on this one. Old gay’s homes, microfinancing for gays… that’s just increasing the differences between gays and straights, when there should be none. That’s just government sanctioned bigotry in reverse, and does more to discriminate rather than integrate.

  15. But the example you gave isn’t a case of gays being denied their rights, it’s a case of dumb prejudice, and that can’t be tackled by laws, but by time – Jorge

    time to take its course is to submit to the tyranny of the majority.

    …whether you get hired or not depends on the HR department’s bias..

    This is unacceptable. We should make it illegal to deny employment based on the HR department’s (or anyone’s) bias towards sexual orientation.

    …gays do not face the same kind or degree of persecution…

    Only gay people can make that determination one way or the other. The fact that Tulfo sees value in keeping a ‘list’ speaks for itself.

    From an economic standpoint, and considering our location, making Manila (or the Philippines) a Mecca for the GLBT community makes sense. If we become the San Francisco of the Far East, perhaps we can attract the GLBT’s of our more conservative neighbors. One more ingredient for our economic takeoff, if only we get over our own prejudices.

  16. The above should read…”Allowing for time to take its course is to submit to the tyranny of the majority.”

  17. In response to Mike question why spend the taxpayers monye on gays? and why not? Here was an entry in my site which I also Posted at Lagablab site why not?

    Equality—Gay Survivors Win Benefits
    The Supreme Court of Canada says it was UNCONSTITUTIONAL for Canada Pension Plan to deny Survivors Benefits to Gays and Lesbian, ending one of the last Battles for Equality for Homosexuals.

    But instead of ordering the Federal Government of Retro-active payments of Benefits to l985 when the Guarantee of Equality first come into force, the SC bowed to the choice of the Parliament to limit payment back to 2000 when the Government first tried to update its discriminatory law to include Sexual Orientation.

    The ruling means the federal government will now pay out about $50 million to $75 million in back payments to about 1,000 gay and lesbian individuals whose spouses are deceased. From now on, those surviving spouses will continue to receive monthly cheques averaging about $500.

    Of the 1,500 people who originally joined the class action against the federal government, about 500 have since died, and their estates are not entitled to claim the benefits, the court ruled.

    In 1985, the Charter, which protects against discrimination on grounds such as age, colour, race or sex, did not specifically include sexual orientation
    .
    Equality Rights: Charter Or Rights and Freedoms-

    15. (1) Every individual is equal before and under the law and has the right to the equal protection and equal benefit of the law without discrimination and, in particular, without discrimination based on race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, age or mental or physical disability.

    (2) Subsection (1) does not preclude any law, program or activity that has as its object the amelioration of conditions of disadvantaged individuals or groups including those that are disadvantaged because of race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, age or mental or physical disability.

    But over the years, the Supreme Court of Canada “read in” such protection, and ruled the Charter does prohibit such unequal treatment against homosexuals. The biggest case was M v H in 1999, when the high court extended spousal support payments under family law to same-sex couples.

    In yesterday’s ruling, Justices Louis LeBel and Marshall Rothstein wrote that the federal government – whose job it is to decide “the distribution of government resources” – was attempting to correct a wrong soon after that 1999 ruling. They said it acted in “good faith” given the legal uncertainty that existed up until that point, stressing the fact that the law was evolving.

    “Just as ignorance of the law is no excuse for an individual who breaks the law, ignorance of the Constitution is no excuse for governments. But where a judicial ruling changes the existing law or creates new law, it may, under certain conditions, be inappropriate to hold the government retroactively liable.”

    Under the current Chief Justice, the trend of court when face with rights claims and remedies that entails considerable spending, it has the tendency to be much more differential to the expertise of the legislature and the legislative choices.

    The Decision although may not all what the claimants want, is still a landmark for now the Equality among individuals is complete…

    http://www.thestar.com/News/article/187482

  18. If we become the San Francisco of the Far East, perhaps we can attract the GLBT’s of our more conservative neighbors.

    We are still more tolerant to gay people compared to San Francisco. I am a San Franciscan and I should know. Except during the Annual Gay Pride Parade where the people in the third gender can dress and act in their preferred sexual orientation, they don’t and can’t walk like our sashaying
    cross dressers in the Philippines without fear of being mauled.

    Gwen Araujo a 17 year old Filam was mauled to death because of this homophobia.

    The same sex marriage allowed by Mayor Gavin Newsom was invalidated and the domestic partnerships for insurance and property ownerhip are only recognized by selected corporations/organizations.

    The discrimination of the HR is still has to be proven if it is because of gender preference, race or age.

    The process is long and the success is not guaranteed since there are valid reasons that may be cited for employment rejection or promotion.

  19. HR departments in the Philippines are notorious for discrimination.
    Why do they require photos in your job application? So they can choose the pretty ones.
    Why do they require your birth date or age? So they can weed out the old ones.
    Why do they require that you state where you graduated? Because it’s easier to sort the applications based on schools then throw out the graduates of STI, PLM, MU, NU. Etc.
    SM is notoriuos for hiring only ladies who have good legs. Part of the interview involves lifting the skirts to make sure the legs are good all the way.

    These biases will not go away if the government will not intervene.

  20. Allowing for time to take its course is to submit to the tyranny of the majority

    It takes time to get people to change their inherent bias. Laws won’t cure it, merely widen the gap and highlight the differences, instead of striving for acceptance. Let me put it this way: the “tyranny of the majority” is based on uninformed bigotry, which in turn is based on the most vocal aspects of gay culture — the parlorista or the loud in-your-face showbiz personalities. It is uninformed because we know that is not an accurate portrayal of the entire gay demographic; it might not even be the majority, just the most visible. The key to defeating that bigotry isn’t to have laws that make being gay distinct, but exposure to all sorts of gay people (ok not the best choice of words, please no puns) and information drives that make being gay acceptable, if not normal. After all, if the goal was to stop bigotry, it is counter productive to promote the differences.

    This is unacceptable. We should make it illegal to deny employment based on the HR department’s (or anyone’s) bias towards sexual orientation.

    I agree. It should be illegal. Don’t stop there, though; how about a person’s lifestyle in general? I know I’ve been given a hard time applying for positions in well known companies because of the way I look. I resent it. I can’t even begin to imagine how it is with the gay community. But why stop with gays? Employment should be based on merit anyway — which may include personality traits depending on the job. As a general rule, the best fit for the job should get it. Regardless of sexual orientation, lifestyle and whatnot. My issue is, why should the burden of pushing for that be left to Ang Ladlad? That should be a cause that every lawmaker ought to consider. Making it a solely gay issue cheapens it.

    Only gay people can make that determination one way or the other. The fact that Tulfo sees value in keeping a ‘list’ speaks for itself.

    The basis for my comparison was the discrimination against gays today on one hand, and the lack of women’s suffrage and the prosecution of blacks on the other. While granted discrimination against gays exist (and rampantly), I don’t see the equivalent of burnt crosses and white-hooded fascists anywhere. Both parties’ plights may deserve equal attention, but I hardly believe them to be equal in intensity, hence my objection to the analogy.

    The Tulfo reference was a joke, seeing as how every time I watch him he’s always calling someone ‘bading’.

    My bottom line is this (and I’m sounding like a broken record): the gay community would be better served by fighting the stereotype that causes the bias and bigotry rather than trying to promulgate laws that cater to their specific need. The goal should be integration, not segregation. To this end, I’m all for civil unions and joint-ownerships and equal benefits, but not for gay-specific government sponsored privileges like, in the example above, retirement homes for gays.

  21. My only criticism of Ladlad is their overly civil response to the pambabastos of Abalos and Comelec.

    Wake up! You are dealng with bigots. Talk is useless. Bigots don’t listen to reason. Take to the streets. The only way that you, an oppressed minority, can get what you want is by taking it. No one will hand you your rights on a silver platter.

    Every gay rights movement in the world created a lot of disturbance before people even paid attention to them.

    For oppressed minorities, talk comes only after action. Talk comes only after bigots realize that they must listen or else. Show the country you are not a group to be trifled with.

  22. “Every gay rights movement in the world created a lot of disturbance before people even paid attention to them.”

    You’re damn right MB. It took George Hislop a lifetime of activism, a challenge to the Charter provisions, a few arrests, and not even there to see the culmination of his long struggle for Equality. Apples don’t just wait for those who wants, you go up the tree and pick them. (well, nowadays you can buy them, but someone has to pick them still).

  23. Ang dami nang wirdo sa gobierno, dadagdagan pa ng mga bading. Hinde ba may mga bading na diyang nakaupo? Kung united sila-sila bakit di nila ipalakad ang inters nila sa mga bading sa kongreso? Susunod niyan e yoong mga unano naman, tapos yung mga anak sa araw, at kung sino-sino pang nagdedemandang api sila.

    Ang common tao nga e hinde masilbihan ng gobierno ng tama, ito pang mga interest groups na ang gusto e pansarili lamang.

    Dapat itigil na iyang party list system. IMO pangulo lang yan.

  24. realist,

    just pray that none of your kids will be bading, unano at anak ng araw.

  25. supremo,

    nariyan na ako! Mayroon akong mga kamaganak na bading. Thank goodness hinde sila tulad ng ibang exibitionists, although I don’t know what they do when out of sight. I have to say that they are good fellows with talents.

    Now, it does not mean that just because there are baklatots in my family, I have to agree with this party list system. And just because I disagree with this ladlad group, it does not mean that I’m against badings.

    My nephews do pretty good on their own and are free to support this gay ladlad group, if they wish. I might support certain bading movements but not the party list way.

    I really believe that this party list system is not good for our country.

    ————

    “just pray that none of your kids will be bading, unano at anak ng araw.”

    Bakit supremo end of the world na ba kung magka-anak ng bading? I don’t think so. Maybe for you. Sa salita mong yan, it is clear where you stand o kaya naman you’re just pretty loose with that trap in your face.

  26. It takes time to get people to change their inherent bias. Laws won’t cure it, merely widen the gap and highlight the differences, instead of striving for acceptance – Jorge

    I agree, thankfully a lot of the homophobia will go the way of the elder generation, but in the meantime, at least the law should make it harder for bigots to express their bigotry, and not the other way around.

    After all, if the goal was to stop bigotry, it is counter productive to promote the differences.

    Hiding differences will only prevent inciting the latent bigotry that is within. We will only know if bigotry is stopped if we do not feel any prejudice despite being confronted with differences.

    Don’t stop there, though; how about a person’s lifestyle in general? I know I’ve been given a hard time applying for positions in well known companies because of the way I look. I resent it.

    I agree with you on this and we have to thank the gay community for pushing the envelope, so why do you think the gay issue cheapens it?

    The goal should be integration, not segregation.

    The goal is integration that allows full expression of one’s individuality.

  27. So cut the crap that “nothing’s changed” since 1986. A hell of a lot has; but it could still be better, and it doesn’t have to mean an either or situation.

    Let us quantify what a “hell of a lot has shall we.” Let us do the math please …… Sources of data the NSCB

    Real per capita income in 1985—- 2006

    Php 10,492 PHP 14,648

    Real GNP per capita income in 1985

    Php 10,115 PHP 16,123

    Real per capita income in personal counsumption expenditure in 1985——

    Php 7,717 PHP 11,489

    Please note that if total national incomes were divided equally for those years which is actually not the reality.

    Please note that total national incomes are divided between the three basic economic agents. The government, owners of capital and households.

    The average growth of incomes over the last 21 years was between 2-3%. Population growth 2.0% + Net growth rate is 1% plus. At that rate of growth it will take 70 years for the economy to double in size per capita.

    That is not qualified for who will benefit from that growth. Normally only 20-30 percent of national incomes go to the workers.

    How much has really changed????? Very little!!!!!!

  28. but in the meantime, at least the law should make it harder for bigots to express their bigotry, and not the other way around.

    IMO, the law shouldnt muzzle the bigot’s right to free speech just as the law shouldnt muzzle our right to condemn the bigot’s bigoted speech. The right to freely express opinion, no matter how offensive, should be protected. Yes even ‘hate speech’ as long as the hate speech is given in an atmosphere of dialog of free exchange of ideas. (This means, a school teacher teaching bigotry to students isnt protected.)

  29. hvrds, i think that’s what Manolo meant by it still could be better…. Hardly anyone will disagree that 1% per capita growth needs to be improved drastically, but we must also not turn a blind eye on our accomplishment which is to get out of the hole we dug for ourselves during the Marcos years. Also, looking at aggregate figures alone does not reflect the underlying changes that have been taking place. An example may be the mix of components (e.g. agriculture, manufacturing, industry) that contribute to the GDP figure. That’s a hell of a lot, but of course, not nearly good enough.`

    Jeg, i agree that bigots should still be protected by free speech, it helps us identify who they are. However, the law must make it hard for bigots to turn such sentiments into substantive action prejudicial to the GLBT community.

  30. Hiding differences will only prevent inciting the latent bigotry that is within. We will only know if bigotry is stopped if we do not feel any prejudice despite being confronted with differences.

    and

    The goal is integration that allows full expression of one’s individuality.

    My point was never about hiding differences or suppressing individuality. I’m saying that there isn’t much difference to begin with, so why highlight it even further? By all means make the rights equal, but to grant special privileges based on one’s sexual orientation is merely asking for more discrimination. Being gay does not mean being unique, and should not be a free pass for anything. That said, neither should being straight, and levelling the playing field is something we’re pretty much agreed on 🙂

    why do you think the gay issue cheapens it?

    Making it solely about gays is a disservice to other people who are similarly discriminated. Focusing on the gay dilemma cheapens it because it’s not a problem unique to them; supremo in his comment above me enumerated other sectors marginalized in much the same way. Setting up micro-financing and centers for LGBTs only (as Ang Ladlad stresses in their platform) is in itself discriminatory if built upon taxpayer money. I won’t support you (well, not you specifically, cvj, but you know what I mean) because you’re different (again, especially because I consider the differences trivial — it doesn’t matter to me what your sexual orientation is), but I will support you because you’re a fellow human being and a Filipino.

  31. Jeg, i agree that bigots should still be protected by free speech, it helps us identify who they are. However, the law must make it hard for bigots to turn such sentiments into substantive action prejudicial to the GLBT community.

    Not just speech. The bigot’s right to free association must also be protected. For example, they could form a party for the elections called the Bigot Party or something like that. If they own a business, they can refuse to service gays as customers as company policy as long as this prohibition is prominently displayed whether outside the establishment or by other means. Things like that.

    If Ang Ladlad’s legislative agenda don’t seek to curtail the free speech and freedom of association rights, then yes, I would consider supporting them.

    (I recognize of course that refusing to hire someone based on sexual orientation is a pretty gray area, rights-wise. What if, for example, the business is a small, family-owned one run by a religious person who doesnt want to hire gays on religious grounds? Do we really want the government to tell them they can’t do that? Something perhaps for Ang Ladlad to answer?)

  32. jeg, what is the difference between what you consider ok and the old “no dogs and filipinos allowed” signs in the army and navy club during the american era?

  33. jeg, what is the difference between what you consider ok and the old “no dogs and filipinos allowed” signs in the army and navy club during the american era?

    First of all, I dont consider bigotry of any form ‘ok. Anyway…

    Is the army and navy club a ‘government’ club? If it is, then that is the difference. The government is a government for all and not for a select few.

    If the army and navy club is a private club, then there is no difference. It is offensive in the extreme, but they have a right to put it up and face the consequences of that sign.

  34. Why do some LGBT feel that they cannot achieve parity in success without getting preferential action? Do these LGBT feel that they have less capabilities?

  35. There is also the sentence, “I” don’t need help, I’m much more than your equal. But “my neighbor” does because he is less than capable???

    Anecdotal statements can not be the basis alone for making government policy.

  36. the army and navy club referred to is the AMERICAN army and navy club. personally, i feel Filipinos (not that generation raised during the American occupation) are more accepting of differences than Americans… I cannot imagine the kind of bigotry and hate that led to the terrible death of Matthew Shepard in rural Wyoming happening in our country. ugh.

    i’m not gay so i really cannot say whether the gay community IS marginalized or just feels marginalized…i do have an issue with redundant party lists though. abanse pinay and gabriela both represent women – do we really need two parties representing one marginalized sector??

    IMO the rules on party lists accreditation are too loose that we open the door to actually marginalizing the really marginalized!

  37. jeg said :”I recognize of course that refusing to hire someone based on sexual orientation is a pretty gray area, rights-wise. What if, for example, the business is a small, family-owned one run by a religious person who doesnt want to hire gays on religious grounds? Do we really want the government to tell them they can’t do that? Something perhaps for Ang Ladlad to answer?)”

    It really depends on the law of the land. In our case if that Employer refuses to hire someone on religious ground, the government can do nothing about it, but the courts could and he could be sued for violation of the constitutional rights with a substantial penalty for the injured party. It is no longer Gray, because the SC had already handed decisions that even the Homosexuals, which was not specifically mentioned in the Equality Rights Provision (sexual orientations) the SC had already decided that the Charter prohibits unequal treatment with regards to sexual orientations and the statute had been passed to include “sexual orientations” among the groups protected under the provision. So it all depends on the Provision of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms of a Particular country and how the SC interprete the provisions as challenged…

  38. while this is all going on…there’s a report in the inquirer about 3 inmates in Samar dying from starvation because the governor wouldn’t release food subsidy funds.

    It is just so INHUMANE…talk about marginalized …yan ang marginalized. No matter what convicted felons did, they are still human. And when the State takes over their lives and keep them like caged animals for the crimes they committed, they become the State’s responsibility – never mind if rehabilitation is too complex a concept for our government, let’s set that aside – but keeping them fed in order for them to stay alive…

    I’d love to see this Samar governor in the same jail cell where those 3 people died! I do not advocate violence…just put the B-@*&^! in the very same cell where those men died.

    And people around the world have organizations to protect dogs and cats and they protest for the poor chickens of KFC and fur – FUR!!! Makes me absolutely sick…

  39. maybe inmates should also think about party-list representation like REHAS haha

  40. Why do some LGBT feel that they cannot achieve parity in success without getting preferential action? Do these LGBT feel that they have less capabilities? – UPn Student

    The need for preferential action is based on the reality that prejudice against homosexuals results in a situation where they are evaluated on something other than their capabilities.

    And people around the world have organizations to protect dogs and cats and they protest for the poor chickens of KFC and fur – FUR!!! Makes me absolutely sick… – Mita

    That just goes to show how far we still have to go when it comes to developing a sense of compassion. Over here, there are still people who stand by the morality of extrajudicial killings. That is what makes me sick.

  41. The need for preferential action is based on the reality that prejudice against homosexuals results in a situation where they are evaluated on something other than their capabilities.

    cjv, it can also be said that preferential action is presents a situation where they are evaluated on something other than their capabilities… thereby causing more prejudice. Preferential action, affirmative action… these just serve to perpetuate the cycle by creating more and more differences.

  42. Jorge, yes there’s always a risk of going overboard the other direction. However, unless we legislate minimum hiring quotas for GLBT’s, the risk iof that happening is minimal. As a society, we still have a long way to go in terms of accepting people despite their differences.

  43. From vic: In our case if that Employer refuses to hire someone on religious ground, the government can do nothing about it, but the courts could and he could be sued for violation of the constitutional rights with a substantial penalty for the injured party.

    That’s Canada, right vic? Interesting. What if for example, there’s a private all-male club–let’s call it the Boy’s Club of Toronto–and a woman wanted to join and she was refused. Could she sue and seek damages? And would she win?

  44. jeg,

    surely, but if you take a good look at our charter the very first section, has this to say.. All rights and freedoms are subject to reasonable limitations…and that limitations is to be determined by the court if there is a challenged. And I believe there are quite a few successful challenges in gender dominated club or organizations now and are open to all not just sexes but races, colour, and remember the physically and mentally handicaps have also the same rights..

  45. surely, but if you take a good look at our charter the very first section, has this to say.. All rights and freedoms are subject to reasonable limitations…and that limitations is to be determined by the court if there is a challenged.

    Interesting indeed. So the Canadian government, if it sees fit, can limit an individual’s right of free association within ‘reasonable limitations.’ Thanks, vic. Im sure a lot of Filipinos would want something like what you have in Canada.

  46. CVJ: minimum hiring quotas for GLBTs??? So if you were making government policy, I would be forced to hire a certain number of gay persons in my company, even if they weren’t the most qualified, just because they’re gay? I’m going to have to ask for a person’s sexual orientation on my application forms? “Oh, I’m sorry, I can’t hire you, the position’s only for gays.” Isn’t that the mirror image of the kind of discrimination against gays that you’re fighting against?

    I’m all for equal treatment–I’m not going to fire someone just because he’s gay–but preferential treatment will lead to all sorts of absurd situations, such as people pretending to be gay in order to get jobs, scholarships, etc.

    There are many companies doing that sort of thing abroad, and that’s fine. But making it a government requirement is something I oppose.

  47. Mike, apologies for the confusion is probably due to my sentence construction. What i meant to say was that unless we get into the territory of imposing legislated minimum hiring quotas for GLBT’s, the risk of going overboard in terms of preferential treatment is minimal. Bottomline is, we’re on the same side in this matter.

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