Saludo, Secretary of Cerelac, says “Let’s Go, Grow, and Glow!”

In today’s news: Philippines and Australia sign security agreement.

Still-unidentified people tried to assassinate Namfrel spokesman Atty. Jose Bernas yesterday, but no one can say whether it was due to other pending cases or his Namfrel stint.

Speaking of Namfrel, they’re going to end their counting on June 2. Uh-oh.

Ricky Carandang, it turns out, wrote about his now-famous scoop, and asks four questions:

Was it because there was actually no order at the time they were removing the ERs and that it was issued after the fact in an attempt to cover their asses after the people in the treasurer’s office blew the whistle on them?

Is Sarmiento saying that the ERs were safer in the hands of the so-called Garci boys?

Was he lying or was he just so utterly out of the loop that he didn’t know?

Could it be that the story sabotaged an operation to use those ERs to rig the election for some candidates?

Carandang says he doesn’t know the answers to those questions. Inside PCIJ zeroes in on Commissioner Sarmiento in the context of another controversial election -in Maguindanao. South Cotobato recount reveals 9-1-2 says Ellen Tordesillas; Gabby Claudio: 12-0 was just a slogan. Oh?

On to other matters…

I was talking to a friend who is a manager-entrepreneur, about the economy. He pointed out something I found very interesting. Where is all the money being made, I asked. He said, in real estate. Look at the stock market, he pointed out. The property holdings companies are driving the stock market boom. But there isn’t a corresponding boom in consumption, he added. If there was growth in consumption, he clarified, the stock of Jollibee would be leading the market. And it’s not.

Which goes to show, he said, that OFW money is going into buying property, hence the boom in construction (for developments that may be on the lunatic side, as Walk This Way points out), and thus, the attractiveness of property companies. But it’s not filtering through to increased consumption (hence, only a limited trickle-down effect). And he suggested, this means that in 15 years, the OFW’s investing in property now will be coming home to retire: but the question is, what kind of country will they be retiring to?

The scrimping in health and education made possible tiding over the deficit. But it has further underscored the gulf between those who benefit from the boom and the rest who do not feel the boom in services and the property market.

If you visit the Philippine Stock Exchange website, you’ll see the biggest gainers are in Holding Firms (up 2.2568%), Property (2.2663%), and Services (3.0865%), with Services being the biggest gainer for May 31, 2007. If you look at the list of Active Stocks, you’ll see that Property is top of the heap; the list of Top Gainers (APR, PEP, CEU, etc.) is interesting when compared to the Top Losers (LFM, BKD, SFI). But most of all: these are a relatively small number of companies, all of which are significant players anyway, and the market (according to the PSE person who guested on my show) is composed of about 80,000 players (or investors, and that includes corporate investors) in a nation of 80+ million.

So the boom and success –“Let’s keep the nation surging!” Rick Saludo croons (and is echoed by the Palace propaganda machine) is happening, but it’s a boom and success relative to what? This is the perspective that news like a booming stock market requires: it’s booming for 80,000 players, most of them in the big leagues as it is, and again these are gains that are more likely to end up spent on say, new Mercedes Benzes than in economic activity that will make a serious dent on the living standards of the public. Money Smarts points to where the growth is taking place:

The gross national accounts capture benefits from remittance money as they are transferred here, as they are placed in savings and investment instruments, as they are used by your family to buy things they need to live, as they are used by your beneficiaries here to set up businesses. Your efforts not only bring in the cash, but also keep a lot of local companies afloat.

You might be curious what your money bought. Based on figures from the National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB), your money was spent on: food, clothing and footwear, tobacco, fuel, light, and water. These are the items that showed fast increase in growth. Hmm… I wonder what ‘tobacco’ is doing in that list.

The items transportation and communication, household operations, and beverage all exhibited lower growth, so money was still being spent on these items, just not as much as before. Household furnishings however, suffered cutbacks.

Today’s Business Mirror editorial says this kind of growth isn’t enough (Tingog.com gives a homespun example to say something similar, too):

An almost 7-percent growth in GDP for a country with barely a $1,000 per capita GDP is actually quite ordinary.

But let’s drink to that pretty new and higher number, if only because for years now we have been used to being thrashed by the world’s number crunchers, including those from multilateral institutions who kept on telling the international community we “lack global competitiveness,” have “poor infrastructure,” or we have less “economic freedom.”

But this new number may actually give us a hint that good things could happen if only some elements are present, like higher public spending, to compliment people’s expenditures.

On hindsight, this encouraging figure could actually be just an unusual bleep in the economic screen. We just had a midterm election and, certainly, politicians may have started throwing out money around as early as January to beef up their electoral chances. We have a construction ban on election season; the ruling party may have tried to ratchet up spending to put some spine to its hopelessly limp Senate lineup. That is clearly shown in government’s pump-priming activities that caused a 16.9-percent growth in public construction.

Looking at the rest of the numbers, however, it appears that the numbers do look real. As usual, personal consumption explained much of the growth figures. The people purchased more food, clothes, shoes, tobacco and spent more for fuels and light.

And where did they get the money? As usual, the rising personal spending came from the dollars sent in by overseas Filipinos. The number of deployed workers actually went down, but the money coming in is rising since we are increasingly responding to jobs that require greater skills and brainpower (like engineers and medical professionals).

Exports also maintained their double-digit growth, apparently because of the continuing robust demand for electronics and semiconductors.

Also, despite the super typhoons, the farm sector did look stable, and the increased productivity from the fishery sector may also have helped a lot. Manufacturing also remained stable, while mining recovered.

All these factors translated to more money being transacted through banks, money being spent in malls and sari-sari stores, more cash being burned in cellular phones and Internet games, and more money being used to buy vehicles.

No wonder the services sector grew by more than 9 percent, contributing 4.4 percentage points to the 6.9-percent growth rate. Industry contributed 1.9 percent and the farm sector 0.8 percentage points.

Now that we have praised ourselves with this new growth figure, we need to ask whether or not the service-driven economy is the most desirable growth path for us. Growth per se is good; an expanding pie somehow means that more and more people got the crumbs. But crumbs are crumbs and they are not going to create adequate nourishment for the broader sectors of the economy.

Consider these facts: interest rates are low (read: capital is cheap) and the peso has been “strong” (read: imported machines, technology, packaging products and equipment are cheap). And yet, durable equipment has not been rising. That could be interpreted to mean that business organizations are not investing in new machines and are not refurbishing their offices. Isn’t that a sign of a wait-and-see attitude? If it is, investor confidence, therefore, is not yet fully restored.

The real reason probably lies in the structure of the economy, i.e. its being a service-driven one. Service companies, business-process outsourcing (BPOs) for instance, usually don’t import huge machines, nor do they build factories. That means they are not likely to hire workers en masse the way a factory, requiring thousands of skilled and unskilled workers, would. Do we ever wonder why despite all the decent growth we achieved in the last three years, we can’t seem to address joblessness? That’s the reason.

The counterpoint seems to be that the services economy actually creates jobs fast, since setting up a service company like a BPO doesn’t require so much capital infusion. All that is required is a nice building with reliable broadband Internet connection and voilà! hundreds of call-center agents or software programmers are hired.

That’s true in the case of the country’s cyberservices industry. But the one thing that is ignored in this debate is the fact that the services sector has the tendency to hire call-center agents, accountants, medical transcribers, lawyers and software engineers first before they get janitors, street sweepers and errand boys. The ideal thing to do is to provide jobs for both accountants and the like, as well as janitors, street sweepers, farmers and factory workers.

And again, keeping Saludo’s purring in context, read yesterday’s editorial of The Business Mirror:

Citing constrained growth in the region and around the world, the DBCC recently adjusted its revenue assumptions for this year after the Asian Development Bank released its growth projection of only 5.4 percent for 2007.

The revised revenue target of the Bureau of Internal Revenue is P718.67 billion, down from the original target of P765.9 billion; and the Bureau of Customs target to P165.12 billion from the original P228.2 billion.

This means the tax collections of the two agencies will be lowered by more than P100 billion from the original target of P994.1 billion. The new tax revenue is expected to hit P890.209 billion, which includes income from other government agencies.

The DBCC had earlier explained that the committee changed its assumptions as a result of the softening prices of oil in the world market, which will translate into lower collectible taxes by the agencies.

Yet, in the view of some independent fiscal experts, there’s more than meets the eye in the downscaling. It signals, they said, that the government’s technical people are not really sure where the money can still be sourced if the original, high assumptions are rammed through.

This only means that people will be squeezed further in the next few months, and instead of payback, we may see more calls for “sacrifice” from the same people who gave us the expanded value-added tax.

Therefore, when Romulo Neri starts muttering darkly about political risks intruding on long-term prospects, and Saludo starts flogging the don’t worry just surge and be happy line, there’s probably a setup somewhere. And the setup is as old as politics itself: passing the buck, away from the President, and towards everyone else. Quickly, just in case things go wrong, with news like this: Gulf states threaten to ban Filipino workers. Now suppose the government mishandles this? Where will the stock market and the Peso go?

On a related note (remittances and the Peso) read, too, John Mangun’s thoughts on a new paradigm for the Peso.

Anyway, compare the performance in past and recent months of Ayala Land, Filinvest Land, Robinson’s Land, Megaworld, to San Miguel Corporation, and Jollibee Corporation, and perhaps do some comparisons of your own, depending on the types of companies you think are interesting/relevant.

Gladstone Cuarteros of the IPD examines how showbiz candidates did in this election.

Inquirer editorial calls Defensor’s concession a “class act.” Marichu Lambino on why she isn’t giving Mike Defensor a medal just yet. Patsada Karajaw and nina bumanglag on why the Comelec ordering a Maguindanao recount is the wrong move.

Blackshama reflects on closer Philippine-Australian defense ties.

Torn & Frayed on women in politics and society. And these two entries are of a piece: Mongster’s Nest on campaigning and Kataspulong with a particularly fine entry on what candidates can do when they win.

Philippine Commentary continues the language debate; A Nagueno in the Blogosphere weighs in.

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , , ,

139 comments

Skip to comment form

    • Bencard on June 1, 2007 at 5:58 am

    so what are you trying to prove, mlq3, that everything is a mirage, an illusion? what do i care about your friend manager/entrepreneur’s, or business mirror’s thoughts – have they any special connection with truth and reality? i may not have their “gift” of prophecy (of doom and gloom) but i can think and see for myself the real score.

    you always look at the dark side, always trying to convince all and sundry that they are doomed under GMA no matter what. what kind of country will overseas retirees retire to? i think most of us, retirees, are bullish on the Philippines in spite of your dire warnings because we can see for ouselves the right direction the country is heading for. We will come with our wealth of experience, our savings and our pensions and we will support positive governance, not the negativity of the naysayers and bean counters of our land.

  1. Excellent post, Mlq3! You are spot on as usual.

    • DJB on June 1, 2007 at 6:56 am

    Bencard,

    The real naysayers and doom-n-gloomers are those who call the OFWs “toilet bowl cleaners of the world” or deride teachers, nurses and doctors who emigrate or work abroad as traitors and ingrates. Those who think the OFW phenomena is a disaster for families and the economy of hospitals, schools and those left behind. These are usually writers who wring their hands over how terrible it is MOST don’t have what they have: a piece of the rock, a job in Media, a place in one of the established arrangements like universities, newspapers or business. Those whose inheritance was poverty have fled but are often blamed as the cause of the archipelago’s miseries by depriving it of “skilled manpower”.

    What MLQ3 offers today is proof to the contrary for all of these pseudonationalists cringing at the sight of the world and its potentials. If OFWs are fueling investments in land and housing, surely their billions of dollars are also funding small sari-sari stores, tricycles, taxicabs; paying for aging parents healthcare, funding younger siblings’ education!

    And WHY are Filipinos so successful in the world that their rising tides from distant shores are raising all our boats, even that of the Stock Market? WHY are Filipinos all over the world making their way, gaining acceptance, being hired? It’s not just our looks and good manners you know, but our entire CULTURAL HERITAGE which is a marriage of East and West–the best and worst of both born in us, part of us, defining us!

    We are already English-speaking Asiatics. Our culture is Chinese-Malay-Spanish-American. We’ve been in and out of madrassahs and convents and Hollywood. Now we are taking over the world! We are already the First Human Citizens of the Planet Earth. The Filipinos are leading the way to One World for all of humanity, for they see how SMALL nationalism and tribalism are compared to the Future.

    We are possessors of the most valuable tools of all: language and communication. Our ENGLISH is our secret weapon in the ECONOMY of the whole world. OFWs and their families should defend this patrimony against the ELITISTS and the ABORIGINALISTS pretending to be nationalists.

    What they do not realize is that there is a VIRTUE that is even greater than NATIONALISM. But I have not yet found the word that the 21st Century will use….

    Charles Darwin is quoted in Robert Wright’s book NONZERO, The Logic of Human Destiny:

    “As man advances in civilization, and small tribes are united into larger communities, the simplest reason would tell each individual that he ought to extend his social instincts and sympathies to all the members of the same nation, though personally unknown to him. This point being once reached, there is only an artificial barrier to prevent his sympathies extending to the men of all nations and races.”

    • Bafil on June 1, 2007 at 8:07 am

    Whoa! DJB,

    you really got going there, huh? I almost hear echoes of Jose Rizal himself in your elated speech. But honestly, I am glad you feel that way and I do share your optimism no matter how idealist it seems. My only wish is more people see it that way too. Let´s bury the nationalism once and for all and be just human!

    • DJB on June 1, 2007 at 8:18 am

    Bafil–Bury the nationalism? No. Subsume it in something greater, grander! We are no less Filipino for also being Pampango, Ilokano, Cebuano. We can be human beings too, and Filipino. The ascent of Man goes many steps further, in other words, than even Jose Rizal did, though I daresay most have some catching up to do with him. Who was already a GLOBAL MAN by the time he returned from travels in Europe and America (which continent he crossed by train).

    Maybe that is the word for the virtue greater than nationalism: globalism.

    • inodoro ni emilie on June 1, 2007 at 8:19 am

    “The very idiom and vocabulary of modern computer languages at the most critical level of the source code IS English!”

    wrong, dean. the very idiom and vocabulary of computer language is based on math language. the language of mathematical logic can be understood by any mind trained in any natural language provided he or she can make deductive or inductive inferences. am sure the source code of japan’s computer program IS NOT english. so is it in china, russia, or france. and i don’t think they’ll find english as “most critical” to run their syntaxes.

    here we go again ranting about english’s language monopoly to access of knowledge.

    on michael tan’s eloquence of the english language, what’s so surprising about that? no irony there–it only proves that bilingualism is effective. am sure he could have eloquently written the same piece in filipino, but the cebuano speaking readers may not appreciate it. marketing consideration.

    news for the day from the english-language paper inq.:

    “Spanish may become the new language in call centers”
    By Vincent Cabreza
    Northern Luzon Bureau
    Last updated 07:53pm (Mla time) 05/31/2007

    • tonio on June 1, 2007 at 8:25 am

    DJB:

    wow, your piece is nice and very well thought out. not something to comment on before one has had his morning coffee. i’ll be back later.

    Bencard:

    Nice to know you guys are still bullish on the Philippines. My aunt and uncle are heading back here too (from Illinois), to retire.

    • mlq3 on June 1, 2007 at 9:09 am
      Author

    bencard, what i’m saying is, to be bullish on the philippines because of the president’s say so is b.s and it is a dangerous kind of b.s. because if people risk their hard-won earnings on a smoke and mirrors act, instead of a sober appreciation of what’s really strong and really not, then don’t boo-hoo later,

    and by all means you can thunder you’re bullish on the country and ignore what the business journalists observe and some entrepreneurs think. in the end, it’s your money, and your decision to drink the palace cool aide. may your tribe increase, no one wishes ill to a person in their sunset years.

    • mlq3 on June 1, 2007 at 9:12 am
      Author

    djb, i know quite a few people who work abroad and who don’t, and still can’t, speak much english. their english is on par with their competitors, who are indonesians, sri lankans, etc. not all of whom have any competitive advantage in terms of english, either.

    again we are the product of our times, and you may be thinking of a kind of filipino worker overseas that isn’t mainstream anymore.

    • DJB on June 1, 2007 at 9:12 am

    Inidoro:

    The subject of the quotation was “modern computer languages” like Basic, Pascal, C++, Fortran, Java, HTML, Python, etc. There is no emotional payload in the observation, factual and undeniable enough, that the KEYWORDS and COMMANDS which make up these languages, are ALL in English.

    English, if I may be so bold to say it, is the MOTHER TONGUE of all modern computer languages. So using even Michael Tan’s logic, I would say, teaching math, science and computers can be taught best in its Mother Tongue!

    This has nothing to do with “monopoly of English” in “access to knowledge” or cultural supremacism of any kind. It is mere scientific history of the 20th century.

    Now of course it is true that anyone can learn mathematics, even if one starts with Japanese or Korean or Sanskrit, and from there develop and evolve programming languages with keywords and syntax like those that now exist.

    But that isn’t what happened in history, is it?

    Computer languages are necessary for BOTH the Man and Machine to communicate with each other. One disadvantage of the Men is that they die and their children are not born with their knowledge. Whereas the Machines are all mental clones of one another at the level of the operating system software.

    Thus, the Men must constantly re-learn what was already known by other men, through the cumbersome process of educating every single generation. For that they have books, the Machines and the human languages, which are really the only way to get at understanding the mathematics as well.

    For whatever it is worth, my observation is simply that the “modern computer languages” are all written by people using English both for the math and the logic, the machine and the human aspects of the enterprise.

    I think many people underestimate the stupendous intellectual achievement the creation of computer languages really was. These tools of superb construction that are NOT our grandmothers’ English Composition.

    Modern computer code is English poetry so powerful the electrons jump to and fro to their rhythm and rhyme, driven by logic that even the Machines obey their commands without question and in compleat comprehension.

    Now here is a strange thing: you can translate English poetry into Japanese and vice versa.

    But I challenge anyone to apply the idea of LINGUAL translation to a piece of Basic, Pascal or Python code!

    So Inidoro I have bad news for your reasoning. Even the Japanese programmers coding in Basic have to type RUN and PRINT and INPUT in the source code.

    Only their non-executable comments are in Katakana or Hiragana.

    Haha, even my brand Nikon Cool Pix appears to be running a version of DOS 6.2

    I think there is a deeper importance of computer languages: they unite mankind through Mathematics and Science. There is no need for translation because the idea was that computing involves man’s encounter with the universality of numbers, logic and science.

    If Filipino is the National Language, modern computer languages are the Global Language.

    • DJB on June 1, 2007 at 9:16 am

    But English is the Global Vernacular!

    • Nick on June 1, 2007 at 9:31 am

    I clearly understand the point that Manuel is trying to drive home here.

    Here’s the last paragraph of a current blog post I recently wrote,

    What I’m saying is that the whole of the economy doesn’t always mean that the poor of the nation are enjoying that increase. For this to happen, the increase in value must be utilized in such a way that the wealth trickles down do the poor of that nation. Until this happens, I’m happy that the economy is doing well, but don’t shove it down my throat and tell me to jump with joy.

    By the way Manuel, my pingback may still be on your moderation queue..

    • Bencard on June 1, 2007 at 10:25 am

    we are smarter than you think, mr. explainer, and we don’t appreciate being patronized by a doctrinaire cum historian with an ax to grind. you’re right, its our money but we know a “smoke and mirror act” when we see one, and smell bullshit thousands of miles away without your help, thank you. furthermore, we’ve gone through a lot, lot more than your “readings” of history books, or college degrees, can ever give you. we know a lot about the real world and their imperfections, not the type of world that your kind inhabits in bitterness and despair.

    • DJB on June 1, 2007 at 10:38 am

    Nick,

    I think that “trickle down” is the wrong picture to evoke. While it is true that the Stock Marketeers are lapping up the icing, there IS a real cake being baked by 10 million overseas Filipinos. Their double digit billion dollar annual repatriation is the “rising tide” buoying up all boats, including GMA’s unfortunately. We should nurture and expand overseas employment and global competitiveness of Filipinos so we can be assured of continuing inflows. Then we ought adopt policies friendly to capital formation, investment and aggregation of savings, small and medium entrepreneurship, educational plans and training programs.

    Yet who stands up for OFW interests as the exchange rate plummets and their local buying power shrinks? It’s really no skin off their nose of course, because OFWs just buy abroad and send the goods back home to avoid the taxation and inflation here. But that hurts us two ways: loss of commerce and loss of investment potential. OFWs are savvy too: investing in real estate in the homeland.

    The “increase in value” of which you speak is really the money sent back to individual families by individual OFWs.

    OFWs are our real middle class.

    I would leave the government largely out of the process of making something of these repatriations. I am against taxing such returns for example. There should be minimum exclusion credit for income earned through a relative abroad, who already pays taxes in the foreign country.

    But the government, particularly Deped, should be doing one thing: making sure that Filipinos are ready for globalization. English, Math and Science cannot possibly hurt.

    • Nick on June 1, 2007 at 11:03 am

    I definitely agree with not taxing the OFWs, especially in the light of the fact that we can’t even get our own local tax infrastructure and enforcement down pat.

    The remittance alone will be reinvested anyway.

    I think trickle down is still part of the issue. And this is also why I bring up, in my article post, the following,

    For everyone to take advantage of this great economic improvement, the government still has to work in its infrastructure, health programs, education programs, and overall government oversight, so that the governments funds goes to those who need it most.

    Because in a multitude of these instances, the middle class that you speak of, is one health incident or accident away from being dislodged from that class altogether…

    So, I think the trickle down issue is still in play until the issue of health, education, and overall government oversight is implemented.

    Because in all reality, only the wealthy and the upper middle class of The Philippines can truly feel a sense of safety when it comes to the economy.

    • DJB on June 1, 2007 at 11:07 am

    MLQ3,

    Regarding the people you know who work abroad but “can’t speak much English” — they will surely know MORE of it if they survive and thrive abroad. In other words, it certainly couldn’t hurt them to know another language than Filipino or Hiligaynon.

    If we accept that OVERSEAS EMPLOYMENT will be a more or less permanent feature of the Philippine Economy, even as a SAFETY NET, the matter of proficiency in foreign languages cannot be avoided. The Public Schools have a responsibility to make sure Filipinos are well equipt for what seems to be a common “career path”.

    Now consider a statistic I read somewhere: over 60% of the OFW contributions are coming from OFWs in America, Canada, Australia, and Hong Kong, yet they constituted less than 30% of the OFWs. I also understand that many of the higher paying jobs in the Middle East are with Western employers.

    Since these are English-speaking destinations it behooves us to improve English proficiency among Filipinos.

    How can we deny them the advantage?

    Language training is just like training in nursing, medicine, etc.

    • Nick on June 1, 2007 at 11:08 am

    But I definitely agree with the following,

    Then we ought adopt policies friendly to capital formation, investment and aggregation of savings, small and medium entrepreneurship, educational plans and training programs.

    Especially small and medium entrepreneurship!

    • camry on June 1, 2007 at 11:09 am

    Bencard,

    easy lang. yung blood pressure mo. Mahirap ma-stroke sa Pilipinas. I know a family who have spent so much money after their parents had a stroke in RP while vacationing.

    Not even one of their grand kids wants to visit RP now after their experience.

    • realist on June 1, 2007 at 11:19 am

    Assuming that the administration did not fix the numbers(composition of the index or the like), a 6.9% growth rate is great!

    To the poor and hungry, however, the question remains: is this growth rate, gma’s claim of glory, as in the past just a meaningless number?

    • PBF on June 1, 2007 at 11:56 am

    To everyone (especially mlq3)

    From the very start your article is already biased. You never acknowledge anything good that is happening in our country, and maybe you will argue that nothing good is happening anyway. You people are very hard to please. When most of us see light you cast shadow on us because just bec your anti-GMA. Do you see a bright future at GO? Only villar can make a difference at GO i think.Maybe u should go elswewhere, let us live here in our beloved country

    • DJB on June 1, 2007 at 12:02 pm

    Going by total minutes assigned to subjects taught in Filipino under the present Basic Education Curriculum, I can say without fear of contradiction that the PRIMARY medium of instruction in the public schools is NOT English.

    The Executive Order assailed by National Artists and other petitioners, would make English the medium of instruction in 70% of the classroom time at the the high school level (up from less than 50% now) to respond to perceived needs of both OFWs and BPO industries.

    What the National Artists want the Supreme Court to do is stop the change, and in fact reverse it by having more Filipino and vernacular instruction done even in the Math and Science areas, even if the textbooks and reference works, and qualified translators and teachers are nonexistent. That would be tantamount to Italy’s Deped decreeing that henceforth all Arithmetic shall be done with Roman Numerals, since it is feasible and patriotic. It can be done of course, but why? All simple and serious computation, from Philippine elementary school to NASA, uses the Mother Tongue of Arithmetic: the Arabic numeral system, with its decimal place notation so eminently accomodating of fractions, big numbers, exponents, and even al-jabara (algebra) and childhood pastimes of +, -, *, and /.

    What I think the Petitioners are missing is this: the Medium of Instruction for the Math and Science subjects in high school has to be a written language ideally replete with the letters, numbers, symbols, marks as well as the vocabulary of words and grammar to best teach these all-impt subjects. It is not enough that the Medium of Instruction be a spoken language with no standard written forms that everyone is familiar with and capable of using.

    • Jon Mariano on June 1, 2007 at 12:10 pm

    Generally, real estate investment in the Philippines is good because a house and lot almost never loses it value even during the asian crisis. The value remained but it was just very difficult to move/sell. The caveat is in condomininiums, they lose value over time. Can anybody confirm that?

    • BKK on June 1, 2007 at 12:12 pm

    So its not the booming stock market, a strong peso and highest GDP growth in 2o years, the real measurement of a strong economy depends on what MLQ3’s friend, a manager-entrepreneur, thinks.

    • inodoro ni emilie on June 1, 2007 at 12:39 pm

    dean,

    the technology english you are referring to is not even prosaic (okay, just my terminology, for lack of the proper linguistic jargon). which means, it can easily be understood if taken in isolation.

    here’s source code of mlq3 blog:

    href=”http://www.quezon.ph/xmlrpc.php?rsd” />

    • inodoro ni emilie on June 1, 2007 at 12:41 pm

    here’s source code of mlq3 blog:

    href=”http://www.quezon.ph/xmlrpc.php?rsd” />

    • inodoro ni emilie on June 1, 2007 at 12:43 pm

    why can’t i publish my entire contention here? something is wrong with the comment box.

    will get back to you later, dean.

    • inodoro ni emilie on June 1, 2007 at 1:19 pm

    from where i left off, dean:

    the technology english you are referring to is not even prosaic (okay, just my terminology, for lack of the proper linguistic jargon). which means, it can easily be understood if taken in isolation.

    here’s source code of mlq3 blog:

    href=”http://www.quezon.ph/xmlrpc.php?rsd” />

    • inodoro ni emilie on June 1, 2007 at 1:20 pm

    i give up on this comment box prob.

    • inodoro ni emilie on June 1, 2007 at 1:36 pm

    dean,

    does this [i.e., the source code] speak to you in english? it appears that many of the words are indeed in english; and for all i care, they could be alien words that appear in english: src, http, type. but the critical thing to think about is is:t what’s the computing logic behind this?

    michael tan’s argument is focused on the language of instruction. the operative words are language and instruction. not just language.

    can a programmer be instructed to learn the goobledygook i just cut in paste in a language other than english? certainly.

    if many of the words that appear in this source code are written in english, so be it. but can one understand the logical syntaxes in those scripts? tan–in the context of instruction–is leading us to think: is english the more effective language to understand the logic behind those english-worded syntaxes?

    dean, i throw back this question: for learners with english as second language, are they less effective in learning math and computing language if taught in their mother tongue (and i mean that in the natural language sense of the word, not in your play of syllogism)? if the textbooks are in english, can the textbook stand is isolation of the teacher’s language of instruction? which then is the more effective language of instruction: english? filipino? bilingualism?

    i don’t think the advocate of vernacular language instruction are all for shutting out the use of loan words. if these loan words are in english, so be it. [hurray for bilingualism].

    but i think the point tan is driving at is that crucial to the language of it is the language of logic, and how effectively this language is taught.

    shaman has already pointed out before that much of the cognitive processes that take place in our brain is closely tied to language.

    • manuelbuencamino on June 1, 2007 at 1:38 pm

    DJB,

    I hope you can convince your government to accept ESL certificates as green cards or, at the very least, working permits while we await our membership as a state in your great nation.

    Bencard,

    I am not against everything Gloria does or has done.

    In fact, I praised Gloria to high heavens for withdrawing from Iraq ahead of schedule.

    Don’t you agree that was praiseworthy?

    • manuelbuencamino on June 1, 2007 at 1:38 pm

    MLQ,

    CERELAC. …MISMO!!!

    • inodoro ni emilie on June 1, 2007 at 1:39 pm

    language of it = language of i.t. [let’s not get into the language of call center. tomorrow it could be chinese.]

    sorry mlq for the series of comments.

    • Jon Mariano on June 1, 2007 at 2:07 pm

    Numbers seem to point that the economy is doing okay, but how long should an economy do good before it can be considered really okay? 1,2 or 3 years? During FVR’s time, how many years was it before the economy was proclaimed good?

    If GMA gets the praise for that, well and good. If it becomes sustainable, more will be happy than sad I guess.

    I however buy into MLQ’s argument that this doesn’t answer the issue of GMA’s legitimacy and her being unloved by many.

    The same success can be achieved with Villar at the helm for example. And that comes without the issue of legitimacy.

    • jepo on June 1, 2007 at 2:21 pm

    MLQ3…..this ain’t deep at all….for all your unending demands to GMA to fix this & to fix that….why can’t YOU have your blogsite fixed so it’s not always down? Sheesh! Wouldn’t hurt to start at somethin’ basic you know…

    • hvrds on June 1, 2007 at 2:29 pm

    The only thing good about the government hyping the GDP growth rate in the abstract realm of constant terms is that a lot of people show that they don’t know they don’t know.

    The GDP rate in current terms is slowing down. The tax guys are worried since this is the figure all tax projections are based on. Phils. is a Php 6 trillion + economy is current terms. The growth rate from 05-06 compared to 06-07 is slowing down. You pay indirect and direct taxes on this figure.

    Now everyone is arguing on the abstract representative figure of constant measurements taken from the current numbers minus the abstract representative general inflation rate. The effects of growth in constant terms can never be generalized. The effects on the owners of capital, workers (here and abroad) and the government are relative. Most especially in a third world economy. The three listed above are the principal agents in the economy. Now as for the subsistence workers and unemployed the effect is also relative. Off course the government is going to announce that it had accomplished something extraordinary. This country is so full of the lumpen it is not funny. The worst are those who believe that there are only known knowns. It is pathetic

    I always marvel at the Pinoy habit of crowding or blocking the doors of the trains of the MRT/LRT in an attempt to get in preventing those who want to get out from doing so.

    The Pinoy does not dare do that abroad most especially in New York City or elsewhere as the people who wish to come out will surely trample those who block their way. Pinoys are smart enough to do as the Romans do when in Rome.

    In the Phils. It is every man for himself. Hasn’t anyone here heard of anthropological liberalism. The last columnist Mike Royko of a premier Chicago paper once wrote, The idea that the early settlers to the U.S. came here to promote an ideal or principles is a big lie. They came and took over from someone else who owned this place.

    That is the basic idea of American culture. Power defines the reality. That is what we learned from the Americans. The last elections are proof positive. If JFK got elected as they say courtesy of Mayor Richard Daley and Sam Giancana who they say organized the stuffing of ballots in the Polish Catholic neighborhoods of Chicago why waste so much more time on the past elections. GMA at a maximum is a de-facto President or at a minimum is a minority President. That is why she has had to grow show her “cojones.” Dinky Soliman tried to grow hers but failed.

    So we saw the utter idiocy of trying to hold credible elections in the ARRM and still insist on having counting and canvassing there. Abalos is not the sort of guy who has the balls to declare what most sane and rational people saw. There was an utter failure of elections in that area.

    Big Mike and GMA are preparing the largest pork in the history of this country in preparation for the 2010 elections. Infrastructure spending plus the removal of the necessity for approvals by the ICC of NEDA will mean the fast tracking of projects on all levels.

    Those guys in Congress are salivating at the almost Php 2T in projected projects ongoing and to be started. The global savings glut makes it all the more tantalizing. Cheap money.

    The question is will Manny and Cynthia, Mar and Korina or Kiko and Sharon allow them the playing field. Loren had better hook up with someone soon.

    • hvrds on June 1, 2007 at 2:46 pm

    Memo to GMA:

    If all Filipinos with savings accounts would open brokerage accounts and buy stocks we could also construct a money machine in our stock exchange.
    The Chinese money machine. Something in financial history that the world has never seen. The sheer numbers are staggering
    From the Daily Reckoning – (A financial adviser)

    “Hold on tight…this is one helluva ride!”

    “Wow! Maybe it really is a new era. The world has never seen anything like it…at least not on this scale.

    Like everyone else, we are standing back in shock and awe.
    How much farther can this go? How much longer can it go on?
    That is, we wonder -how new is this new era?

    We’re talking about the Great Big Bucking Bubble, of course.

    Get this: on Memorial Day alone, 455,111 new brokerage accounts were opened in China. That’s as if every man, woman and child in the city of Luxembourg had opened an account, and it’s happening every day.

    This puts the number of investment accounts in the People’s Republic at over 100 million. Naturally, the market reflects all this new buying pressure from The People. Stocks in Shanghai have doubled since the spring of 2005…and doubled again. Just look at the chart. Prices have gone parabolic – rising almost straight up. It’s the Peoples’ Own Bull

    Market…when the people are enjoying their own precious moment of happy delirium.“It is glorious to get rich,” said Deng Tsaio Ping. And now, millions of Chinese are getting gloriously rich.

    We wonder if “easy come, easy go” is an expression in Mandarin. If not, someone might want to translate it. As far as we know, no market has ever gone up so steeply without going down just as steeply later on.

    But, hey…dear reader…this is a new era. Anything can happen.

    Meanwhile, the Chinese authorities are getting worried. They may not have seen bubbles up close, but they’ve read about them. So, they’ve tried warnings…increasing reserve requirements…tightening credit. Last week, the Education Ministry came out and told students to forget the stock market and stick to their books. Apparently, a lot of college students are standing in line
    to open investment accounts, next to the widows and orphans.
    They’re neglecting their studies, say the authorities.

    But who can blame them? Speculating on stocks, especially
    in a bubble, is so much easier than differential calculus.
    It is also much more profitable. Why go to the trouble to become an electrical engineer, earning $5,000 a year, when you can borrow,invest in stocks, and earn millions?

    But the Education Ministry should relax. We have a feeling
    that all these green, young investors are about to get a
    valuable lesson.

    And back in the 50 states, another kind of speculating frenzy has got a grip on the market. There, the furies have lit up the pros, more than the Moms and Pops.

    Merge…acquire…buy…sell…deals, deals, and more deals. This month of May will see more new buyout deals bloom than any month in history. It is like the Chelsea Flower show!
    Buyouts so far this month total some $82 billion.
    The hottest month of deal making ever.”

    “Is deal frenzy nearing end?” asks the Wall Street Journal.”

    • Mike on June 1, 2007 at 2:57 pm

    I am glad to hear Bencard will “support positive governance” when he comes here to retire. Because there sure isn’t a lot of it here.

    That’s actually something that is perhaps even better than the dollars the OFWs remit: having experienced how it is to be governed well, I hope they will not put up the crap that passes for governance, politics, and law and order here. Of course, they may rely on their wealth to insulate them to some degree from it, but maybe, just maybe, they will question why they need to keep losing more and more of it to padulas, pang-kape, arreglo, and kurakot.

    • Mike on June 1, 2007 at 3:02 pm

    I just forgot: Bencard is a lawyer! So he is really going to have such a grand time here. Who knows, he may even get appointed Secretary of Justice! (Assuming someone can get Raul G to step down–but I don’t see it happening.)

    • Nik on June 1, 2007 at 3:21 pm

    Nah, not likely. Payload would be too heavy.

    I do remember that Nikon (like most other digicam manufacturers) formats the memory cards using an MS-DOS FAT filesystem.

    [quote]Haha, even my brand Nikon Cool Pix appears to be running a version of DOS 6.2[/quote]

    • mlq3 on June 1, 2007 at 3:43 pm
      Author

    djb: again, i am all for english, you have the little problem of the constitution and the valid objection, i believe, that the e.o. confuses strengthening english instruction with adopting it as a medium of instruction.

    bkk: i think i’ve been careful enough not to deny certain sectors are booming, but i think it’s fair to point out we need to examine what the booms mean, both in the long and short term. again: oodles of money is being made on the stock market, but there are about 80,000 players on that market. isn’t that significant? you’re welcome to dispute my belief some of the current growth is due to election spending -another reader pointed out it’s enrollment season, hence a spike in remittances. and what people on the ground say matters to me: it’s the manager-entrepreneurs who are also building the country, too.

    pbf: you are welcome to review my writings. i’ve spent my share of time pointing out the exciting and encouraging things taking place. it’s just i think those good things have little to do with the president. take a look at naga city.

    • mlq3 on June 1, 2007 at 3:44 pm
      Author

    jepo: noted.

    • mlq3 on June 1, 2007 at 4:08 pm
      Author

    incidentally, why is it that criticism of the president is “bias” while defense of her is automatically assumed to be something else? one can be biased for or against the president. there is nothing wrong with either position, it’s a choice, an expression of political partisanship. there is a third course, too, which is to be neither for or against the president.

    i am not a believer in “objectivity” simply because i think it’s impossible. what we can do is express ourselves and explain why we think certain things. point to our sources, go through our reasoning, make a proposition: and everyone is welcome to dispute, debunk, etc. now i try to marshal my arguments; i think those with a contrary opinion would do well to marshal theirs: disagree with my views on politics, the economy, culture, history, whatever? that is why this is an open forum: go ahead. but i think those with a contrary opinion would do better if they put some effort into explaining why they disagree and why they have a contrary opinion.

    • tonio on June 1, 2007 at 4:23 pm

    Mike:

    spot on. the one thing the government might not realize by sending out all of these people to work in foreign lands is that they will get a tide of people who have experienced how it is to live in a place where things are run differently. so when these people come back, they might not have such a compliant bunch. and i’m all for this.

    after all, how can you know better if this is the only place you know?

  2. I think the more succinct way of stating the whole problem with the Pinoy economy is that money is not being channeled into the expansion of the capital base of the economy.

    Nothing is actually being built that contributes to improving overall industrial productivity. Everything gets spent on non-durables, real estate, and personal essentials.

    OFW funds flow into the Philippine economy, changes hands a few times (which artificially props up economic indicators), and either exits the economy as profits are remitted back to MNC’s head offices, or ends up in landfills (when these funds are converted into Starbucks lattes, cellphone trinkets, and “trendy” clothes by the OFW’s island relatives).

    Only a small portion of this capital is converted into permanent factories, better ways of doing things, and new/innovative brands or products. It takes *imagination* to turn money into durable assets that generate *recurring* income.

    Unfortunately imagination is not exactly something Pinoys are known to exercise.

    • cvj on June 1, 2007 at 7:45 pm

    Benign0, aside from the fact that you should be blaming your own kind (i.e. the economic and political elite), and not the average Filipino who can hardly afford to put up his/her own factory, i think you’re correct (albeit in a broad strokes, and simplistic sort of way). In the previous thread, devilsadvc8 pretty much made the same observation that a real-estate or mining driven boom is hardly evidence of sound economic policy. What distinguishes China and India’s growth rates from ours is industrial policy (built up and refined over decades) where their respective governments playing a significant role. In our case, the government is already crowing about something that is potentially destructive in the long run which is the ‘Dutch disease’ that is a result of the OFW remittances.

  3. cvj,

    The Pinoy-Chinese started out as third class citizens in the Philippines. They built up their capital base by accumulating slowly.

    Compare that to Pinoys who are more into instant gratification, payabangan, and pasiklaban than on slow but steady accumulation.

    So whilst it is easy to put the burden of building capital on the elite, the truth is, it all begins with every Pinoy.

    OFW remittances are indeed, as you said, destructive. They have become an addiction and a heady substitute for smart work. Rather than develop our human capital into a sustainable resource, we are exporting them raw (just like we did with our forests).

    So this is just another resource that the unimaginative Pinoy mind is squandering yet again.

    In less than a generation we will be left with nothing more than the human equivalent of tree stumps dotting the landscape of our society.

  4. DJB,

    “OFWs are our real middle class.”

    But these OFWs aren’t in Pinas – they can’t be YOUR middle class as of yet – I doubt they are middle class where they are either. So how can you say that they are YOUR middle class? Besides, what is your gauge for someone to belong to the Philippine middle class? In my part of the woods, middle class (lower middle class that is) means earning at the very least 36 thousand Euros a year. Any family earning lower than that would be looking for State freebies to keep up with the junior Joneses.

    If or when the OFWs decide to go back home, what assurance do they have that they will “remain” YOUR middle class? Will they have jobs back home? Will they earn the same amount of pay they’re earning abroad to qualify as YOUR middle class? Assuming that if or when they return, they have some savings with them, will their savings be enough to sustain YOUR middle-class standard of living?

    Technically, OFWs are those workers registered with DoLE and deployed by DoLE. Obviously, many Filipinos have been able to go on their own, land jobs on their own without the DoLE and they are not in your DoLE radar but as we have been hearing lately, there are more OFWs returning home with barely anything in their pocket.

    However, there are OFWs who have worked their asses out, i.e., house maids, nannies, drivers, house boys, waiters, in Western countries who are qualified to receive pension from their Western states, i.e., European countries, when they retire after 25 years of employment or at age 60 at least. Of course, their pension will be delivered to them once they retire, whereever they may be. On that score, true, when these qualified OFWs return home, there’s a chance they may indeed qualify as YOUR middle class.

    • cvj on June 1, 2007 at 8:10 pm

    Regarding the role of innovation, it goes without saying that being innovative is a good thing. However, you have to take into account the fact that the countries that were more successful in their efforts to catch up to the Western economies were largely second movers (aka copy cats). They did not invent or innovate much less imitate and reverse-engineer their way into growth. Only at a later stage did they start coming up with innovative brands and products of their own.

    However, i do agree that it is never too early to start supporting home-grown innovations. We need to spend much more in local R&D since it still takes some time (at least a generation) to build up the local pool required to transition between a lower to higher technology driven economy which we will have to do at some point in the future. This is one of the yardsticks with which our government should be measured.

  5. Caveat: To qualify for State pension, 25 years of employment must be solid, i.e., OFWs must show proof that they pay taxes on their earnings, must show proof that they have paid into the state pension fund scheme, etc. without those solid 25 years of evidence, the OFW in Europe cannot claim pension.

  6. Cvj,

    “We need to spend much more in local R&D since it still takes some time”

    To achieve a decent R&D level, the country has to be highly innovative on its education sector too. Capital must be poured in that sector.

Load more

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.