The train, it seems, has entered the station: Zubiri wins Maguindanao; Pimentel pins hope on SC ruling. The thing is, what did Zubiri win, exactly? Anyway, all eyes will be on the Supreme Court today, as Fight for 12th Senate seat shifts to Manila, with the Chief Justice making broad hints: Puno reiterates wish for freeze of canvass. Is he running out of time? Party-list, senatorial winners could be proclaimed June 30. Could, or will?
Revamp? What cabinet revamp? Arroyo reappoints CA’s 12 bypassed Cabinet members (see also 12 Cabinet men get new papers). While there’s this naughty story, Palace in-fighting worsens; Ronnie Puno tipped to replace Ermita, I still believe the real story is one of plain insubordination: the president made a wish, which might as well have been a command -and people didn’t obey.
JDV allies say he is GMA’s anointed, although Jose de Venecia, supposedly, followed the President around Singapore like a lonely puppy. But the President’s still being coy: Ermita: Race for House speakership just a numbers game. The word war continues among her other allies: Shut up, Palace tells Congressman Teves.
A new front? US military offers help in war vs NPA.
My column for today is It’s up to the Supremes. See also my entry yesterday.
There’s a very interesting speech titled Is the 7% Economic Growth Sustainable? by Oscar Lopez. He points out the 6.9% First Quarter growth of the country, and asks, what caused it?
The phenomenon of 6.9% GDP growth, at least during the first quarter, has been explained from the perspective of expenditures, as opposed to production, as follows: first, our economy’s growth continued to be propelled by consumption spending, which averaged 5.9% over Q1, and this was sustained to a large extent by the continued strength of overseas remittances. Second, government spending grew by 13.1%, lifted no doubt by pre-election spending like road building, etc. A third component, surprisingly, was robust 9.1% growth in exports. In contrast, investment expenditures posted negligible growth, a mere 0.6%.
Then he asks, can that level of growth be maintained?
Asking if we can sustain a higher rate of growth is asking if each of these components of expenditure can continue at the same levels. Let’s take them one at a time. Can remittances from abroad continue at the same levels and higher? Well, our overseas partners and friends like Balfour Beatty and British Gas take the view that if the current rates of growth of major world economies continue at their present levels, there will be an increasing shortage of skilled human resources of all types all over the world. You hear of the nurses and caregivers, the domestics, the seamen, the musicians, the pilots and the professionals that we supply the rest of the world, currently running at an estimated eight and a half million strong. What you do not often hear about is that Philippine companies are continually being stripped of our best engineers; our environmental, safety and health specialists; our quality control people; our maintenance mechanics, our commercial contract specialists and many other such hard-to-find-and-train skills. We simply cannot compete with the sort of salaries and benefits they are being offered in such far-flung places like Dubai and Louisiana. Yes, Louisiana. After Hurricane Katrina, Meralco lost many of its senior linemen and leadmen to the southern US utilities.
He goes on to suggest that if the world remains a peaceful place, things might be ok: but there remains a big challenge:
I believe that as long as there is no global recession, no great bubble bursting in China, or other such similar phenomena, then demand for Filipinos all over the world will continue and that their remittances to relatives remaining in the Philippines will also continue to prop up domestic consumer spending. But let me pose this question to you: can our economy afford to continue losing our skilled manpower over the longer term? Remember, we’re not educating and training them as quickly as we’re losing them. I will leave that question with you.
He also then goes on to say he doesn’t believe increased government spending is sustainable; exports can grow, but only if investors maintain their appetite for risk, which would fuel expansion; but that much more needs to be done in terms of actual investments and not merely attracting hot money. Read the whole thing.
The Lonely Vampire Chronicles presents two contrasting tales of bravura and machismo.
My Not So Secret Garden points to the inspiring story of Judge Lee of Cebu:
Judge Lee of Cebu rose to the occasion. He was in a ship that was sinking. He organized the distribution of the life jackets. When all available life jackets were distributed, there were still people in line. He took of his life jacket and gave it away. A few days later when search and rescue operation was underway, his body was found floating in the sea. What he did was heroic. He choose to rise to the occasion.