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.

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139 comments

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    • cvj on June 1, 2007 at 8:34 pm

    Benign0, aren’t these same Chinese businessmen the ones who are currently heading up the real estate and retail empires that are catering to the Pinoy consumer? Why not criticize them for lacking ‘the imagination’ to put up factories or engage in more productive businesses just like their mainland or Taiwanese counterparts? The gap that i see in your analysis that you give the current holders of capital a free pass for their lack of imagination while you place the burden of putting up factories on those who’s priority is to feed and educate those they left behind. If the best Henry Sy can do is to open up Malls and if all Lucio Tan can do is use to his influence to take over a government airline, what kind of examples are these? On the other hand, you put the burden on the average Pinoy the burden to become captains of industry without the institutional supports and against all previous precedent in other late industrializing countries. Your recommendation has been tried before in the form of Mao’s Great Leap Forward (i.e. a steel mill in every backyard) and we know how well that went. What we need to develop are social policies to free up dead capital (e.g. Land Reform), institutions to channel resources (e.g. Development Banks) and an industrial policy to fundamentally accelerate the growth rate of invested capital.

    • cvj on June 1, 2007 at 8:41 pm

    MBW, i agree that should be a major part of what government should be doing via its network of State Universities. We cannot expect the multinationals to take the lead in this as most of their R&D takes place in their home countries.

    • DJB on June 1, 2007 at 9:03 pm

    MBW,
    OFWs are our middle class in the sense that they are neither the rich who own and run the land and the businesses, nor the helpless poor. They are “in the middle” in the sense that they are earning much more than the poor, while rivalling many of the rich in earned income, though not in power or resources. They are the middle class in the sense that they can aspire to go to the top while fearing a fall to the bottom. Socially and financially speaking the middle classes are the most mobile. Just because they are not physically present doesn’t mean they are not an integral part of the Philippine economy. They most definitely are. But most of all they are the middle class because they offer the greatest hope of change through self-improvement, competition, daring-do and risk-taking. I daresay, many of our future entrepreneurs are the returning OFWs.

    But you can call them anything you want, just not “toilet bowl cleaners of the world”.

    • DJB on June 1, 2007 at 9:12 pm

    MLQ3: What problem with the Constitution? The EO is well within the declared BILINGUAL official language policy in the Constitution, which by the way applies not only to Deped but to the entire govt.

    As for the factual bases of the Petitioner’s plea for less English and not more, the Supreme Court can not try such facts nor evaluate the competing and controversial claims in so fuzzy an area as medium of instruction and early childhood education.

    There is, in short, no real question of LAW involved here, but a judgment over educational policy, which even the good Justices may feel out of their depth in.

    I predict dismisal via Minute Resolution, or a long cold sleep in the pile of cases never to be passed upon for being simply polemic.

    • supremo on June 1, 2007 at 10:00 pm

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

    My answer is also yes and I’m a computer programmer. The PROBLEM is translating the business process written in English to computer code. You still need to speak or at least understand English to have an accurate translation.

    • UP n student on June 1, 2007 at 10:27 pm

    cvj: It would not surprise you, would it, that some of the same rich you call lazy also call the “generic middle-class and the masa” as not motivated enough to create wealth?
    I probably have read about/seen/been an audience to over two hundred pitches on “… this is where you should put your money” presentations. I have created nearly a dozen business plans — detailed, to the point of a month-by-month cash flow projection. The plans were for my own benefit so I can make better decisions on where to put my money. Just from this experience alone, I am probably right when I tell you that Henry Sy stays with real estate/malls/office buildings because that is where they are good at. I know that if you give me a solid business plan on how to build a job-shop to produce hand-tools or cooking utensils (and that will be able to hire eighty employees within three years), I will still tell you that I’m the wrong one to talk to because the job-shop is not my niche and I will most likely lose money in that venture. Heck, I’ll probably lose money opening a coffee shop, and a coffee shop should be an easier project, won’t you agree?
    You should realize that the rich are just as anxious to create wealth as you are, maybe even more so, and those who already have created wealth use “core-competency” as an important reason as to why they do not go into the industries that you say they should go into.

    • UP n student on June 1, 2007 at 10:34 pm

    Nope… neither Henry Sy, Bill Gates, Lee Kuan Yew nor Michael Jordan are thinking much about how many years they have to work before qualifying for a pension.

    • UP n student on June 1, 2007 at 10:41 pm

    supremo… and I know that you know this.

    The requirements document, the analysis document, the functional document, the Test Plan and Acceptance documents will most likely have extensive English. [The detail design document — in pseudo-code — will be the more logic-based gobbleygook, but it will still have do-while or perform-until along with get and put.]

    • cvj on June 1, 2007 at 11:12 pm

    UPn Student, i agree that Henry Sy and Lucio Tan probably still work on the basis of business plans and core competencies which is probably the reason why they would rather bet on real estate, retail and/or rent-seeking activities. For all their business acumen, they realize that without government support similar to that given to their counterparts in China, Taiwan, India, Japan and Korea, it would be too high a risk. This is why i find Benign0’s exhortations for the average Filipino to go into productive industry, where even the current local tycoons fear to tread ill-focused to say the least. (Not to mention trite.)

    • cvj on June 1, 2007 at 11:17 pm

    The requirements document, the analysis document, the functional document, the Test Plan and Acceptance documents will most likely have extensive English. – UPn Student

    You are of course talking about your experience in English-speaking countries. Other countries use their native languages for these documents.

    • devilsadvc8 on June 1, 2007 at 11:34 pm

    “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”

    That hit right home MLQ3. That’s why I love forums. It allows for ideas to rise and fall based on their merits.

    “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.”

    I have a very vivid image of this: where the Phils will have no one else left living here except society’s dregs and those who flourish on corruption.

    The OFW phenom is something. Both good and bad. The social costs of parent-less families is more than what we can afford, I think. The flip side of that is, as Mike and Tonio have pointed out, OFWs having experienced life elsewhere, knows there is a better way to live than what we have here. Which scares me more the most. Not everyone wants to return, and those who do cannot have a guaranteed good life here. Not when every scoundrel out there know you’re a balikbayan and sees you nothing more than but a milking cow. Anyone care to disagree that OFW pensioners get screwed more than the average pensioners who receive their pensions in pesos rather than dollars? Even more so, OFW families get milked a lot by those who know they have someone abroad who sends money here. But back to what scares me the most. As I said, not everyone wants to return, but most want to flee. The danger is not in losing skilled people, the danger lies in not producing enough to replace them. We are not in any danger of “population winter,” but we are in great danger of plunging into an “intellectual wasteland.” We must avoid the time when the middle class that buffers the rich and poor gets fed up so much they will jz up and leave this country, never to return. Who will be left then? That is SCARY.

    I love my country, and I don’t want to give it up (in default) to those who never cares for it anyway.

    On another note, I agree English is important. But to put that in front of our own language does not make sense. If there is one part of our society where I want Tagalog to supersede English, it is this: LAW. It just doesn’t look good when you have the judges and the lawyers all arguing, objecting, conversing in English, and there in front of all of them, the poor accused (pardon the pun), hardly knowing if what they are saying bodes well or ill for him. By all means, it is better to be bilingual. But for godsakes, cut the hypocrisy trying to speak English when you can’t even communicate clearly what you wanna say.

    On globalization being better than nationalism: no country worth its salt ever rose to global standards w/o 1st having that one capital every nation needs. Yes, individuals may brook and go over the barrier. Become a global man (by all means, today’s youth in this aspect doesn’t even need a helping hand). But for our entire nation to be at par with the world, we need to start strong from within. Have our own identity then expand out. Become one with everyone yet retain what is uniquely US. But we cannot do this with our current state now can we? Much has been written and said abt the Filipino diaspora. Are we really lost as a nation? I envy the Japanese. They have so much culture to define them and make them proud. Samurais, bushido, kanji. What do we have? Artifacts and ancient structure destroyed by colonizers, alibata only for the history books, the code of kalantiaw (which some experts think may even have been fabricated)…

    All we are is an amalgamation of every culture. But maybe that is why the Filipino is unique. Maybe that is why we thrive everywhere. Maybe we are the TRUE first global people. With no roots to speak of, we are everyone and everywhere all at once. Maybe that is our destiny. To let our country dissolve and spread out all across the globe. A citizen of the world.

    But damn, I will miss taho, balot, isaw… (lol. is Filipino food the only thing I’ll miss?)

    • UP n student on June 1, 2007 at 11:43 pm

    DJB: was it not Conrado DeQuiros who coined that phrase “toilet bowl cleaners of the world”?

    • supremo on June 1, 2007 at 11:48 pm

    cvj,

    “You are of course talking about your experience in English-speaking countries. Other countries use their native languages for these documents.”

    I agree that other countries use their native language for these documents but I bet you those documents originated from a business requirement written/discussed in English.

    • cvj on June 2, 2007 at 12:09 am

    Supremo, i think it’s more the other way around. The locals get the requirements among themselves and then translate them to English as necessary for us foreign consultants.

    • cvj on June 2, 2007 at 12:14 am

    On globalization being better than nationalism: no country worth its salt ever rose to global standards w/o 1st having that one capital every nation needs. Yes, individuals may brook and go over the barrier. Become a global man (by all means, today’s youth in this aspect doesn’t even need a helping hand). But for our entire nation to be at par with the world, we need to start strong from within. Have our own identity then expand out. – devilsadvc8

    I couldn’t agree more. I remember one of the final scenes in the ‘Last Samurai’ where the Tom Cruise character taught the Emperor just that very lesson, and look at where Japan is now!

    • camry on June 2, 2007 at 12:41 am

    devilsadvc8,

    About ur latest post. That’s what scares me since I bacame aware of this site.

    Paano na ang mga anak natin?

    I hope the youth of today will care for the motherland.

    But, wait if children of “non-corrupt & less-corrupt” will be feed up on the children of “too corrupt” in the society, what do you think will happen?

    • watchful eye on June 2, 2007 at 1:32 am

    I am probably right when I tell you that Henry Sy stays with real estate/malls/office buildings because that is where they are good at.

    With a consumption-driven economy owing to OWF remittances 4 or 5 times as much as FDIs, “Henry Sy stays with real estate/malls/office buildings because that is where” his money is safe, the rest of it being securely lent to RP gov’t at guaranteed rates and/or invested in US treasuries or parked in Shanghai. Where is risk-taking here?

    When the virtuous cycle stops, “Who will be left then – to buy those condos or shop at the mall? That is SCARY.”

    devil, may i borrow your fork?

    • supremo on June 2, 2007 at 1:40 am

    cvj,

    “….and then translate them to English as necessary for us foreign consultants.”

    which brings us back to DJB’s point

    “Our ENGLISH is our secret weapon in the ECONOMY of the whole world.”

    • watchful eye on June 2, 2007 at 2:28 am

    “Become one with everyone yet retain what is uniquely US.”

    This line made me smirk haha bec it could also be read as “uniquely U.S.” (READ: uniquely little brown joe.

    I remember a lawyer in a courtroom asking this cross-examination question: “Then, what did you saw after that?And the judge corrected the counsel: “Did see atty.” Then the witness began to explain: After the incident I see the accused …” The judge was furious and interrupted rudely: “Tang ina mo SAW na ngayon.!!!”

    Anyway, eto ang counter coup de grace:”All we are is anamalgation of every culture”. If Pinoys are conscious ofthis now, isn’t it a good starting point to build anew?

    • cvj on June 2, 2007 at 3:16 am

    Supremo, yes which is why i believe DJB has been repeatedly committing the fallacy of ignoratio elenchi, i.e. “the logical fallacy of supposing that an argument proving an irrelevant point has proved the point at issue”.

    • UP n student on June 2, 2007 at 3:53 am

    watchful eye: On (lack of) risk-taking with real estate. You may not yet have invested in a strip mall or an 8-story office building. I guarantee you that you make 2 wrong steps and half (and most likely all) of your investment will be gone.

    • manuelbuencamino on June 2, 2007 at 4:07 am

    “Our ENGLISH is our secret weapon in the ECONOMY of the whole world.”

    Spoken or written?

    • watchful eye on June 2, 2007 at 4:19 am

    On (lack of) risk-taking with real estate. You may not yet have invested in a strip mall or an 8-story office building. I guarantee you that you make 2 wrong steps and half (and most likely all) of your investment will be gone.

    First of all, make sure the stair has full landings not half steps. Second of all, don’t rent out the place at half the going price and require tenants to bring their own elevators. And third of all, be patient and don’t panic when the going gets rough. Buildings have no feet, you know. They won’t go away or perish lake taho, balut, isaw . . .hehehe. If you are insured you are safe. And lastly, don’t sell yet even if Trillanes and gang help themselves inside temporarily. Ok?

    • cvj on June 2, 2007 at 4:51 am

    And then there’s the well-timed fire which i remember has become a periodic occurence in some malls along the San Juan-Mandaluyong area.

    • DJB on June 2, 2007 at 8:05 am

    When all is said and done, an outstanding FACT cannot be denied. The English Language is a BIGGER part of the modern Filipino cultural heritage than Filipino aka Tagalog is. Or any other vernacular dialect. It is the language of the Law, of government, politics, business, telecommunications, and all higher education.

    English also happens to be the MOTHER TONGUE

    • DJB on June 2, 2007 at 8:13 am

    When all is said and done, an outstanding FACT cannot be denied. The English Language is a BIGGER part of the modern Filipino cultural and intellectual heritage than Filipino aka Tagalog is! Or any other vernacular dialect. I don’t see why we cannot be just as proud of it as Pampango or Ilokano or more.

    It is the language of the Law, of government, politics, business, telecommunications, and all higher education. Has been for a century! Longer than Mahoma ruled! English is an ineradicable and indispensable part of Philippine society. We are the third largest English speaking country in the world ferchrissakes, although India and China will soon overtake us in sheer numbers. I don’t see how we can deny this heritage, this history, this intimate connection!

    English also happens to be the MOTHER TONGUE of all the math and science subjects, which need not only a spoken tongue, but a written, formal medium of instruction. Lucky for us! It is the basis of our future success in the world.

    And I daresay, no one here could dispense with their English proficiency, even just to argue with me, much less survive wherever in the world you are.

    If that is irrelevant to you, so be it. But National Artist Petitioners are just being silly elitists and aboriginalists.

    • DJB on June 2, 2007 at 8:30 am

    MB,
    Of course the Medium of Instruction should be a WRITTEN language in addition to being commonly comprehensible to the students. How do we teach math and science without symbols, numerals, letters, expressions?

    But who are the authorities on the written forms of Tagalog, Cebuano, Ilokano and the other dialects? How could we seriously consider them for use as media of instruction in all but the most rudimentary and informal way at the earliest levels?

    Notice that National Artists want even the teaching of Math and Science to be done in Filipino or the vernacular, just because it is theoretically feasible to do so. I think it is perverse.

    Yes of course we could make textbooks on arithmetic, algebra and trig in Tagalog or Lilibuagan (Michael Tan’s example). But one practical problem is how do we decide what is correct and what is wrong in Tagalog or Lilibuagonon trigonometry, or even punctuation! There is no community or authority higher than individual experts and authors in both trig and these languages.

    Stripping away hurt feelings, one finds that Filipino aka Tagalog leaves much to be desired as a Medium of Instruction in math and science subjects because its formal symbolic aspects are so lacking.

    It’s just a practical choice. You use Arabic numerals and not Roman numerals for arithmetic right?

    • DJB on June 2, 2007 at 8:40 am

    ROMANTIC ABORIGINALISTS have their heads so far up in the academic clouds they really have no idea what the 20 million kids in Basic Education need.

    They need classrooms, computers, teachers and textbooks, but all they really get is teachers who get paid a nice salary which is now equivalent to the pay of a starting police officer.

    So, do we have enough teachers? Here is the scoop. We have a terrible shortage in qualified Math, Science and English teachers, but a surplus in the Filipino and Makabayan areas.

    The classroom shortage will be worse this year than last, with 10,000 units short of projected enrollment demand.

    Why? Because we spend 110 billion out of 130 billion budget on salaries…60% of which goes to Filipino and Makabayan subject areas because of the curriculum.

    I claim the money for all the classrooms, computers and textbooks needed is in the UNNECESSARY subjects within the curriculum, mostly within the Makabayan supersubject area.

    • Francis on June 2, 2007 at 8:41 am

    GDP growth is still too small compared to our population growth rate, and with growth comes inflation.

    The rate we are converting our farm lands into commerce is too frightening to even think about how were going to feed our population in the next decade. I guess we better ship them(populace) off to far away lands.

    Being a service driven economy is nice if we can educate majority of our populace and make NCR not the center of everything we do.(One of GMAs goal that is unfolding)

    We need tons of infrastructure to support such economy and it seems that’s the least of path resistance for every investor for this decade.

    If we can exploit our mineral deposits(we have billions of them) [mining industry] and not destroy our environment at the same time we can be right up next to Australia as largest commodity economy in south east Asia.

    • DJB on June 2, 2007 at 8:53 am

    Example: in the 2007 Deped Budget, I estimate that the allocation for teaching EKAWP (Values Education, religion in disguise) is about 5 billion pesos per year. That is FIVE TIMES the allocation for the School Building Program(P1B for 2007)!

    Hey but try to take away even a small fraction of that humongous Sacred Cow Steak from the biggest Labor Union in the Philippines to build classrooms instead and you’d get your hand chewed off with some rat-rat about how impt every subject in the curriculusm is, and besides it would only go to the DPWH.

    Susmaryosep!

    • hvrds on June 2, 2007 at 10:57 am

    Where’s the money going to come from for capital expenditures in public goods and investments for human capital? No funds no schooling whether it be in Filipino or English.

    Please note that Moody’s makes a distinction between investments for capital formation and portfolio invesments. For a lot of the unintitated capital goods invesment is key to industrial capitalism. A distressing picture is emerging. This vital sector is still in the doldrums. It seems the narrow base of the economy could be further narrowing.

    Let’s see what the credit rating agencies have to say. They make their money by crunching the economic fiscal numbers of countries and corporations as financial institutions pay them for their analysis as they need quantitative picture to assist in selling financial products. They (credit rating agencies) a part of the underwriting fees.

    http://business.inquirer.net/money/topstories/view_article.php?article_id=69126

    “The Philippines’ public sector debt ratios have receded from their historic peak, but remain relatively high compared with the country’s rating peers,” Moody’s said in its latest sovereign report, released Friday.”

    “The government’s revenue base cannot yet support spending to meet major needs in public infrastructure … because of large interest payments on debt,” it added.

    The ratio of the Philippine government’s debt to GDP was 66 percent in 2006, higher than those of similarly B1-rated Indonesia, Pakistan, Mongolia and Ukraine.

    Moody’s said support for the Philippine balance of payments — an account of the country’s foreign exchange transactions with the rest of the world — was provided by a flexible exchange rate policy, a stable export production base — in which foreign companies play a large role — and sizeable money remittances from overseas workers.

    Moody’s added that overall weakness in the country’s investment climate were reflected in lagging fixed capital formation which, as a share of domestic output, had declined to one of the lowest levels among emerging market economies.

    “Philippine economic policy has yet to translate its initial successes in fiscal consolidation to improved underlying performance in the economy,” the report said.

    Nevertheless, unresolved political and social discontent could become disruptive to economic stability at some point in the future,” it warned.

    From my favorite Queen of Spin – Monsod

    She who has said repeatedly – GMA may have cheated to win but she won anyway.

    http://opinion.inquirer.net/inquireropinion/columns/view_article.php?article_id=69111

    “First of all, the 6.9 percent GDP growth in the economy does not mean that every single sector and sub-sector in the economy has grown at that rate. There are huge disparities that are hidden by that average. For example, the real growth rate in nickel mining was 120 percent while the real growth in tobacco manufacturing was negative (it contracted by 34 percent). The growth rate for beverages manufacturing was also negative at -5 percent. (I call attention to the “contraction” in beverages and manufacturing because these figures are belied by the 8 percent and 7 percent growth in consumption expenditures on these two products respectively. The inconsistency suggests underreporting of production on the part of some firms, which calls for action on the part of the Bureau of Internal Revenue.)”

    “Second, while growth is a necessary condition for the increase in well-being of the people, it is not sufficient. That is why there is a distinction between economic growth and human development. The quality of that growth is important. The UNDP Human Development Report warns about jobless, ruthless, voiceless, rootless and futureless growth. The acid test is whether the growth we are experiencing is the right kind.”

    • inodoro ni emilie on June 2, 2007 at 10:58 am

    “My answer is also yes and I’m a computer programmer. The PROBLEM is translating the business process written in English to computer code. You still need to speak or at least understand English to have an accurate translation.”

    supremo, i wouldn’t worry much about that because i expect that programmers–given their sophisticated level of logical thinking–shall have mustered a parallel level of english proficiency by the time they practice their profession.

    we are talking here of language of instruction basically for math and science (so dean, filipino is not quite the PRIMARY language of instruction because english still detracts our incipient learning in the basic r’s. Sus mio, tell me how effective is the concept of place value by counting eleven instead of labing-isa?). we can learn all the englishes we want in english AS A subject in the appropriate grade level (3 and up). that i think bilingualism should go–pretty much like the european model.

    dean,

    “English also happens to be the MOTHER TONGUE”

    u.s. based filipino writer eric gamalinda succinctly translates this phrase as:

    “ang inglis ay tongue ng ina mo!”

    http://www.philpost.com/0103pages/english%20(1)0103.html)

    😀

    • rego on June 2, 2007 at 12:48 pm

    “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: ”

    Manolo,

    My impression is that you are actually objective in your writings. Your object is Gloria and her enemy, the opposition. You write as everything and anything that will put Gloria in a bad light consequently deodorizing the opposition. And it seems to me that you are so sucessful so far….I just sincerely hope the nation will eventually benefit positively well on your cause.

    • rego on June 2, 2007 at 12:52 pm

    DJB,

    Ang galing galing noon first comment mo sa thread na to. Im very very impressed!

    • inodoro ni emilie on June 2, 2007 at 12:54 pm

    mlq3,

    was my comment to djb’s one-line phraser censored? there was nothing offensive in it–the quote borrowed from literary academician gamalinda is pun intended, which am sure djb has the wit to take it.

    • inodoro ni emilie on June 2, 2007 at 12:55 pm

    oops, sorry, it’s all there. mea culpa. must be this firefox browser.

    • devilsadvc8 on June 2, 2007 at 2:26 pm

    “My impression is that you are actually objective in your writings. Your object is Gloria and her enemy, the opposition.”

    Lol. this was funny. And so was this,

    “ang inglis ay tongue ng ina mo!”

    • manuelbuencamino on June 2, 2007 at 2:34 pm

    Spoken or written?

    “Of course the Medium of Instruction should be a WRITTEN language in addition to being commonly comprehensible to the students.

    But one practical problem is how do we decide what is correct and what is wrong in Tagalog or Lilibuagonon trigonometry, or even punctuation! There is no community or authority higher than individual experts and authors in both trig and these languages.”

    In elementary, my teacher told me to bing a picture of an Epol to school for show and tell. I couldn’t find the goddam fruit in any encylopedia or botany book anywhere.

    I was standing on the corner of 14th and Mass. Ave NW DC. I walked down two blocks and I was on 12th and Mass. NE DC.

    In NW, I saw an obese white woman walking down the street. I commented – “She’s fat and that’s bad.” The woman heard me and she was offended.

    Two bocks later, in NE, I saw an obese black woman walking down the street. I heard a black man say, “She’s phaaat and that’s baaad.” The woman heard him and thaanked him for the compliment.

    And then this letter was forwarded to me –

    To Marjie,

    I am not surprise or wander why Dennis leave you. Why? What reason you
    can think about but you’re very fat body. I’m thought before that Dennis
    only use me to his toy but sooner and later I’m realize that he really
    can’t not beared or stomached to be with you anymore because at first,
    Dennis say he could not stand you’re habit of making pakialam all his
    walks and always calling to their house what time he go home or this or
    that and then he say he get ashame to met you iether in school or in his
    family and then asking you to exercise you’re very, very, very fat body
    but you hate it you thoughth you’re the most prettiest girls he know
    about what do you think you are “Beautiful Girl” of Jose Mari Chan even
    you are beautiful face (to your think) you do not have the rigth to
    called me whatsoever or else different name one time or the other for
    the real purposed to insults my personality because I’m never call you
    names before iether in front of Dennis or in the backs of Dennis, but if
    you start already to calling me different name, I’m don’t have any other
    choice but to called you other different name to like you are a PIG,
    FAT, OBESSED, OVERWIGHT AND UGLY SHAPE girl. Shame to you’re body that is to a BUDING. You can’t not blame Dennis for exchanging you to me
    because I’m am the more sexier than you when you look to us in the
    mirror. I’m repeat again that you are like Ike Lozada when she is a
    girl.

    FROM: THE SEXIEST GIRL OF D.M.
    Ps. You say that I’m the bad breathe
    But who is Dennis want to kissed.
    Me or you? You or me?
    And the final is me.

    So DJB, what english, whose english, do you propose we use as a medium of instruction?

    • devilsadvc8 on June 2, 2007 at 2:53 pm

    cvj – yeah, i remember that one.
    camry – ur last question doesn’t make sense. There is NO less, more, or too corrupt people. There are only those who do, and those who doesn’t. That is why we never move past that accountability stage. ‘coz some think that there are such things as “acceptable corruption.” We let the little bit slide, until it gets bigger, and ultimately we can’t stop any of them.

    “devil, may i borrow your fork?” – ur welcome to it anytime, watchful

    “This line made me smirk haha bec it could also be read as ‘uniquely U.S.’ (READ: uniquely little brown joe)”
    – yes, the pun wasn’t lost on me when I was posting that. My intention was to emphasize the word US before I noticed it somehow read as U.S.

    • Bokyo on June 2, 2007 at 3:12 pm

    “…that will put Gloria in a bad light…”

    that’s funnier.

  1. The fact is, Pinoy society does not have an extensive track record of contributing significantly to the collective intelligence of humanity.

    Not surprisingly, our languages reflect this pathetic reality.

    As such, people who have superior command over English will always be at an advantage over those who find childish comfort in withdrawing to their “native” language. People who are comfortable with English not only have access to an immense wealth of knowledge, they are able to confidently go head-to-head with others of equal calibre.

    Therefore it is one of the biggest crimes against Pinoy humanity to be depriving Pinoys of a chance to partake in this wealth of knowledge by imprisoning them in Tagalog-based education.

    • justice league on June 2, 2007 at 7:15 pm

    A few days ago, a kid won a spelling contest in America.

    What criteria was used for the contest?

    Will any other criteria suffice for such a national contest?

    • watchful eye on June 2, 2007 at 11:24 pm

    You write as everything and anything that will put Gloria in a bad light.

    With GenieMA looking increasingly phaaat, baaad and, hmm, compaact – the stool and platform flip-flops notwithstanding – mlq3 will have to work harder to put her back in a bud light.

    • baycas on June 2, 2007 at 11:27 pm

    To Poet Eric Gamalinda*:

    Ingles ba, you said, ang tongue ng ina mo?
    Filipino naman, I say, ang mother tongue ko.
    Sa opinion ko lang…
    Hirap to teach ng ilang subject sa mother tongue ko,
    Mas easier yata kapag sa tongue ng ina mo!

    —–
    *isang tulang pigged from past works ni tinio

  2. In all this has anyone bothered to ask those most affected what they think? Regardless of how DepEd fashions the curriculum to favor English, Tagalog or Lilibuagonon, I doubt the children of anyone commenting in this blog will be much affected by it. They’ll still go to private schools and be taught mostly in English. It’s the public schoolchildren’s opinions we should be soliciting, or that of their parents. If they find it easier to be taught in the vernacular, then so be it, they would be the best judge of that. If they seek the advantages that English proficiency allegedly brings, then who are we to deny them?

    • baycas on June 3, 2007 at 12:35 am

    A head-to-head comparison between Mother-Tongue MOI and English-As-Second-Language MOI should be done similar to the study done in Hong Kong: Evaluation of the effects of medium of instruction on the science learning of Hong Kong secondary students: Performance on the science achievement test, Bilingual Research Journal, Summer 2003 by Yip, Din Yan, Tsang, Wing Kwong, Cheung, Sin Pui.

    If ever this was done here before, I think, the result of a new study would be prudent enough to be applied to our present situation.

    • Bencard on June 3, 2007 at 12:54 am

    demosthenes, not to sound like a “naysayer” that i don’t care much about, but if we cater to schoolchildren as to what is “easy” for them, why bother going to school at all? unless all they need is to learn the abakada, write their names, read komiks, or count their fingers and toes for rudimentary ‘rithmetic, then your prescription makes sense. but i’m almost sure, if you ask them, they will opt for the easy road.

    • vic on June 3, 2007 at 2:55 am

    These Programs were brought down in 2004 by the current government as a four-year Program for improving the educations of our youth. It will culminate this year at the end of the the Governemnt Mandate and it was detailed in the budget.

    The emphasis is on three basics; reading, writing and math.

    Note: Education is publicly funded from JK(Junior Kindergarten) to Grade 12 (High School). Colleges and Universities are subsidized only for landed residents and citizens. Foreign students must pay the full school fees. Catholic Schools are also Publicly Funded, other Religious Schools fees are entitled to Tax Credits for Parents and Guardians.

    And this is the final year of the program.

    Four Year Program as Introduced in the Budget in 2004…
    ******
    Success for Students

    * by 2007-08, the government’s investment in Ontario’s schools will increase by $2.1 billion, increasing per-student funding by more than $1,100;

    * smaller class sizes phased in over four years, with a cap of 20 children per class for JK to Grade 3;

    * increasing from 50 per cent to 75 per cent the target rate for students meeting the provincial standard for reading, writing and math by 2007-08;

    * funding training spaces for 1,000 additional teachers in 2005-06;

    * training 4,000 new teacher specialists in literacy and numeracy, bringing the total to 8,000; and

    * more than doubling the number of schools that receive extra support from turnaround teams.

    “Our plan will make public education the best education. It will help our students achieve their true potential – and that is the most important thing we can do to ensure Ontario reaches its full potential,” said the Minister.
    *********
    My thoughts, the Philippines Government at Present can not afford a 100 % publicly funded Secondary Education, but improvements of what could be done of present conditions should be strived, like additional training for Teachers, Reducing the number of Students per Class and emphasis on Reading, Writing and Math at early stages of Learning, then we can look at how effective the Medium of Instruction as it is used as we improve the quality of our Education. Maybe the Medium of Instruction may not even relevant to the issue.

    And then maybe then, a careful study and research and a long term plans have to be done, before attempting the overhaul of the system as to the Introduction of Tagalog or any other vernaculars as the Medium in some courses.

    • DJB on June 3, 2007 at 9:13 am

    ERIC GAMALINDA won a Gold Medal and ONE MILLION PESOS in the National Centennial Heritage Prize Literary Contest in 1998 for his entry in the NOVEL category, My Sad Republic.

    In ENGLISH!

    (I know, coz I was there at the Manila Hotel when Joseph Estrada handed out the prize monies and medals to 30 winners in English and Filipino categories in Novel, Screenplay, Drama, Essay and Poetry.)

    • DJB on June 3, 2007 at 9:31 am

    Shameless Plug:

    The Bells of Balangiga by DJRB

    (Bronze Medal, Epic Poetry in English)

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