Sandbagging the opposition

Rain-related news: Despite heavy rains, water supply remains a concern.Put another way, 3 days of rain cooled Metro, but still not enough. Meanwhile, Palace wants P500m released for drought. News like this aimed at justifying such requests: Dry spell impacts on poverty; cost to rice up to P1B.

On the economic front, 38 Cebu firms close, lay off 13,000 (effect of the appreciation of the Peso). Inflation rate inched up to 2.6% in July, the World Bank to double loans to RP, and our Forex reserves hit $27.9b.

The Rich getting richer faster than the poor. A ray of hope is this: Migrant philanthropy slowly transforming provinces, study shows. In his column, Tony Lopez says the auto industry is almost back to 1997 levels.

As Palace keeps hands off on ZTE deal, the buck merrily gets passed along: Ermita: Broadband deal is Mendoza’s baby.

Palace goings-on: Palace bares new gov’t appointments, including Senator Santiago’s husband joins Arroyo Cabinet. Moves include Palace replaces insurance chief. More executive tinkering: GMA transfers Toll Body to DPWH.

New DND head bares plans: speaks in tough terms about the Abu Sayaff, and says he’ll continue Nonong Cruz’s reforms. Meanwhile, Three rebels, 1 soldier dead in fighting. Read Patricio Diaz’s suggestion that there’s confusion in Basilan.

As for the continuing investigation of the massacre of the Marines: Esperon debunks ‘miscom’ report. So what happened? And now, pilots get blame for not firing a shot in Basilan.

In the Senate, Villar faces yet another sticky issue.

The Speaker soothes his erstwhile foes: Garcia, other solons assigned House committees: Cynthia Villar, for one, is officially out of the doghouse, returning as chairman of the committee (education) she’d be deprived of when she signed on to the impeachment complaints against the President.

Speaking of the Speaker, he reminds everyone that his party doesn’t intend to die (to quote Marcos): De Venecia to LP, NP: It’s romantic but get real. John Nery had pointed to an embargoed survey on who the public really considers the presidential frontrunners. The results are still embargoed, but this might be a sign of news concerning that survey, to come: Legarda leads 2010 hopefuls in survey . The Speaker may be on to something.

UNO: Impeach poll execs but Bedol offers help to reform polls. Comelec seems more interested in punishing those that exposed its goings-on: Comelec eyes electoral sabotage raps vs 2 media personalities. Much speculation who the two are. Everyone assumes Ricky Carandang is one. He says he isn’t one of those mentioned.

Newsbreak explains why the Estrada camp has lost its oomph.

Wacky news: ‘Bangungot’ linked to Asian skull shape. Not wacky, but well…. Continue with your ministry, Pope tells Rosales.

Overseas: why hasn’t the US Attorney-General not been impeached yet? Dahlia Lithwick takes a look. Roger Simon ponders the weaknesses of debating as a means of figuring out if a candidate will be a good president or not. In History Unfolding, an update and analysis of the situation in Iraq:

The experience of Anbar province suggests something very important: that an American withdrawal will not, as the Administration argues, mean the ascendancy of Al Queda, whom Iraqi tribesmen have no reason to love. But meanwhile, there has been no rapprochement between Sunnis and Shi’ites. Our strategy appears to be to try to fight the extremists among both groups while supporting the moderates, and it is angering the Shi’ite government while failing to please the Sunnis, who just withdrew their ministers. The need for some kind of partition seems to get more obvious every day, but we are not moving in that direction yet.

An interesting article: Japan’s Democracy Comes of Age:

Last week the opposition Democratic Party of Japan returned the favor, handing the LDP an historic defeat in the election for half of the House of Councilors, Japan’s senate.

To understand what has happened, it is necessary to look back to the situation that prevailed from the founding of the LDP in 1955 to the 1990s. Japan’s Diet was essentially gerrymandered to ensure that the LDP maintained a firm grip on government. Parliamentarians were chosen from large, multi-member districts. That meant that successful candidates often won with only about 10 per cent of the vote, or less. This system put a premium on local connections and pork barrel politics. Issues? Who needs issues?

In Indonesia, the public proves the pollsters wrong, by enthusiastically participating in the country’s first-ever direct gubernatorial elections. In Asia has Jeremy Gross saying the Indonesians are proving to have a strong civic sense. And, is there a Malay malaise? Rot and More Rot in Malaysia’s Judicial System. The Thais are engaged in debating the pros and cons of their new constitution: August 19 referendum: key issue is ‘legitimacy’.

My column for today is Sandbagged opposition (unedifying headlines like this don’t help: Cayetano-Lacson feud erupts over Blue Ribbon). The move by Francis Pangilinan to block Adel Tamano’s designation as counsel for the Blue Ribbon committee’s reported here: Tamano blocked in Senate, tapped for PLM presidency. Incidentally, this makes for interesting reading: Senators of 13th Congress: Far too many hearings, very few reports. I agree that at the very least, the public is owed a report after hearings have been concluded.

An interesting column by Emil Jurado on “Operation Big Bird.” Jurado refers to a recent interview on Ricky Carandang’s show: the original’s disappeared, but the interview’s been cached. Fascinating reading:

Carandang: And how many accounts did you manage to release?

Almonte: I think at that time initial I think eight or ten with a total of 213 million US dollars.

Carandang: Was there more?

Almonte: Yes.

Carandang: How do you know?

Almonte: Because at that time there were already so much cooperation from the people there. I hope I’ll just say it this way because I don’t want to jeopardize them.

Carandang: So you had informants in the Swiss banking system?

Almonte: Of course and they are the ones who know.

Carandang: So they were feeding you this information?

Almonte: Yes.

Carandang: And in effect, the Swiss government was confirming it by releasing the money.

Almonte: yes. They release it if they confirmed that what we are saying is in their document.

Carandang: So why did you stop at $213 million?

Almonte: We did not stop, that was the initial release. After that, because we have to present the other accounts that we like to release, we have to present it when we already have the complete documentation. Now we don’t have the documentation of all the accounts. That is why after this $213 million what came in later was about $3.8 billion and this we have the documentation.

Carandang: So you had the knowledge of an additional $3.8 billion in the Swiss bank accounts.

Almonte: Yes after the $213 million…and after that we had more information and our people there were working on another $4 billion. That is why by that time we had about all in all 3.8 plus 4 plus 3 we had about 8 billion immediately although of course the 4 billion is identification is being… The documentation it means is being worked on.

Carandang: But this whole time Marcos and Mrs. Marcos still thought that the money was being transferred to another account of theirs?

Almonte: Ah no more. By this time I cannot recall anymore. But I think it was July, it’s in the records. But the following day, because I think it was Friday. Saturday…Sunday…Monday is supposed to be the release of the $213 million nothing happen, Ordoñez disappeared. We cannot locate him. Later we’re able to confirm that he left Manila by himself.

Carandang: This was before you actually had the money released?

Almonte: No, after the money was released, the 213 million was released by the Swiss government but they transfer actually to export is what we were waiting for. Before they transfer there, Ordoñez disappeared and he is the only one according to the arrangement and the Swiss law as a constitutional officer who can receive this money in behalf of the Philippine government not me or anybody else.

Carandang: So without Ordoñez’ signature the money could be transferred out of Marcoses account but could not be transferred to the Philippine government.

Almonte: Without the signature of Ordoñez.

Carandang: And Ordoñez signed for the $213 million but he disappeared after that.

Almonte: No he did not sign yet. He just left without receiving the $213 million because what happened was this, when the$213 million must release and this is in the record, Ordoñez and of course Salvione and for Salonga that this going to be released, in fact we didn’t know because they kept it from us already. Anyway what happened is when Ordoñez disappeared we came home. I decided to leave immediately for manila.

Carandang: And what the money was left in an escrow account?

Almonte: Not yet. The money was.. You know the order was there but there is no execution. There was a decision but the actual execution of the decision was held.

Carandang: Pending the signature…

Almonte: Well pending the receipt…because what happened was this, Salvione and Salonga approved it and this in the annex, in the document… That he believed, Salvione, this money will be lost to the Philippine government. The implication is that Mike and myself will run away with the money, that’s the implication.

So he was telling Salonga that they should not be transferred to the export financier’s bank but it should remain in Credit Suisse and the fellow who suppose to take care of this…ironically was the man of Marcos but anyway it’s under their control. Now because of this the Credit Suisse informed Marcos that they have…they are helpless that this money, his money in the bank will be returned to the Philippine government. Because of his authority to de Guzman to withdraw his money…

Carandang: And that is when Marcos knew that he had been scammed.

Almonte: Yes that was the time. Soon after they decide to release this money, so Marcos claimed that “I don’t know of any de Guzman,” “I did not give anybody authority to withdraw the money” and he did not have any account in Switzerland this is Marcos letter to the Swiss. However if there is a money under his name and there is such I think as de Guzman who is withdrawing on his authority, he is revoking all of that.

Carandang: In other words Marcos was trying to tell the banks that he had revoke the authority of Mike de Guzman to withdraw the money but he is also trying to say that you cannot claim that I own the money.

Almonte: That’s what he’s trying to say.

Carandang: In other words Mike can’t withdraw but I don’t own it.

Almonte: Yes, that’s what his trying to say. “I don’t have anything but in the event there is something there in my name I am in control, Mike has no authority.”

Carandang ends by pointing out Almonte & Co. managed to get $213 million which was duly given to the government. By 2001, the money had grown to $680 million:

Under the law, all money recovered from the Marcos family is to be spent on agrarian reform.

In September 2005, the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism reported that a portion of that $680 million was diverted to President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s 2004 presidential campaign.

In March 2006, a Joint Senate Committee concluded that President Arroyo “be held accountable in the mismanagement of the fertilizer fund.”

Former agriculture undersecretary Jocelyn Bolante, who authorized the release of the fertilizer funds, is seeking political asylum in the United States.

(Brief backgrounder on Operation Big Bird, courtesy of the Manila Times). See Juan Mercado’s column today, which places the efforts of the Marcoses to recover their assets, in perspective.

In Inquirer Current, John Nery “impeaches” Francis Escudero. Gets a swarm of replies!

Words of wisdom, as he reminds us in a recent blog entry, from David Llorito, circa 2005:

All those who want to reform the Philippine politics and economy should therefore strive to remove the nexus between politics and the economy. This policy reform objective could be achieved through measures including low and neutral tariff rates (to discourage smuggling as well as the incentive to make deals with Customs officials), the removal of the pork barrel system, opening up entry and exit of all businesses including utilities and telecommunications without having to acquire franchise from Congress, and lowering of corporate taxes coupled with the removal of fiscal incentives, among many others. The central idea is to prevent political motivations to encroach in people’s economic decisions, subject to certain limited criteria such as environmental regulations and national security.

We should adopt the concept that doing business or engaging in entrepreneurship is an inalienable right on par with our freedom of assembly and speech as well as of pursuit of happiness. That way mayors, governors, and bureaucrats will not have any power to put barriers against people’s entrepreneurial energies. You remove political intervention in economic decisions and you can see that “public service” will only attract two types of persons, either statesmen or masochists, and that will be for the good of the country.

Agree? Disagree?

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    • tagakotta de cebu on August 14, 2007 at 8:22 pm

    “benign0 :What I do have is a flowchart illustrating the solution framework that may underpin a prosperous future for Pinoy society. ;)”

    Keep it up ,your pomposity makes you the top contender for my “PATAASAN NG IHI” award!

    • tagakotta de cebu on August 14, 2007 at 8:28 pm

    “GMA’s spinal cord is made of titanium — it will never break. Ganyan siya katibay. She’s never the type, like me, who will reach the point who will hold up my hands and say, ‘That’s it. I’ve drawn the line. I’ve crossed it.”


    • rego on August 14, 2007 at 9:17 pm


    Im stil waiting shaman on what have you done or have been doing to be help to this country.What are the progress so far? If politocs is your cup OK, just share it to this forum. How you were able to be of help. Be as academic like hvrds if you want…

    I think Manolo and CVJ, already mentioned a while ago that my our scholarship project is irrelevant to the political sitiuation. But, our group beg to differ. We we believe by arming poor and deserving students education we are giving a good fighting chance in life….

    I dont have a very specific issue with Gloria that would convince me to join your civil society group that seek to ovethrow Gloria. I already have my own group which I help found, a huge group really although they are not as noisy as your group. Im still very happy with my group for 9 years now.

    My stand about Gloria has been very clear at the start. Follow the process defined in the constitution in removing a president………

    • rego on August 14, 2007 at 9:28 pm

    Ca T, Benigs

    There is so much animosity between the two of you. Para kayong cat and dogs ;). Curious toluy ako kung kelan nag simula yan. Mukhang matagal na….

    Anyways I like you both….

    • vic on August 14, 2007 at 9:50 pm

    Quote from Tommy Douglas when asked why he declined an offer from then PM of the day to switch Party in exchange of a “Juicy Job” (he belonged to a Socialist Party and the Government was Liberal) his reply was.

    “I was not interested in getting power unless you can do something about this power. I have watched politicians for last 40 years drop their principles to get power, only to find that those who controlled the Party that they joined prevented them from doing all the things that the really believed in”. Tommy Clement Douglas (l904-l986) The Greatest Canadian…

    For more of Great Ideas and how to put them to work, take a look at the life of this Great Man…

    • cvj on August 14, 2007 at 10:06 pm

    Rego, i did not say your group’s scholarship project was irrelevant. At that time you told me about it, what i actually said was:

    Rego, actions speak louder than words, so on balance, you and your group may actually be doing more for our country than the average Filipino of similar means.

    What i took issue with was the ideology of your ‘silent revolutionaries’ who believe that you can make government and politics irrelevant. I explained to you that:

    …the ideology you and your group promotes – that of making government and politics irrelevant, is self-defeating. While there are areas where collective action can be done through NGO’s and other private initiatives, there are limits to this approach. In any case, NGO’s and private initiatives work better when supported by an environment that has a just and responsive government.

    As it turns out, Danton Remoto, who was one of the leaders of your group, became one of the victims of the very political system that you wish to make irrelevant.

    • DuckVader on August 14, 2007 at 10:38 pm


    Where did you get the empirical basis for this assertion:

    “no culture of saving and accumulating surpluses for the winter (our climate stays the same all year round).”

    Please show me a study that links climate to the savings rate. Because if you take a look at indicators of southeast asian economies, you will see that the really hot countries like Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand have very high gross domestic savings rate. And that savings rates have gone up and down, if you’ll notice, which means that they’re based on other variables. Because last I looked Vietnam was as hot in the 1990s as when I was there just a month ago. But their savings rate shot up from 2% to 30%. Would liberalization and development have something to do with it? My sense is savings rate are influenced more by proper capital market and development policies, rather than the weather.

  1. Tuloy natin ito hanggang 2010 campaign,ibigay natin sa mga candidato…joke

    me isa pang tama sa sinabi ni Benigno…kawawang pinoy!

    Di ba nakakabusog ang pride at support? kung ganyang ang sinasabi mo araw na ginawa ng diyos,paano nga tayo aangat
    with out pride and support.

    Kawawa nga ang pinoy kung di man lang nila maipagmamalaki ang ginawa nila o ng kababayan nila.

    What about your theories,and your book did it not need pride and support,hindi ka ba nabusog? O baka nga hindi,did it sell on its own,is it for a non-profit foundation?

    It took more than two hundred entries to get at least one percent of us to take a look at your idea you call a solution ,nabusog ka ba sa pride mo and support na naibigay sa iyo?

    • tagakotta de cebu on August 14, 2007 at 11:45 pm

    KG:tama ka pare!

    Kaysa sarap maging Pinoy sa sariling bayan natin!

    Ingit lang ang iba!(lol)

    • tagakotta de cebu on August 14, 2007 at 11:47 pm

    “Masarap maging Pinoy sa sariling bayan natin!”

  2. 1) Right philosophy —

    Philosophy is the love for wisdom,if it does not contain any wisdom how can it be called philosophy.
    So what exactly is right philosophy?

    (2) Efficient communication — I worked in a call center and communication barriers cannot be avoided even by the so called best of them,some how meron pa din ditortion along the way.

    Don’t call english elistist,if you want to get real,it is impossible to promote Tagalog as the common language,because many will object,so English even if it does not sound nationalistic is the most common denominator.If mode of instruction in scools the native dialect should be forgotten even for the the formative years.

    (3) Wealth creation ethic —

    Eto matagal na sana nating na optimize kung wala lag kumontra.

    Abaca was very abundant,then sayang di natin na optimize.

    We were better than the Thais in terms of rice.

    Ngayon sa bio fuels.pakakawalan pa ba natin ito.

    We already lead in coconut production.
    Sa ethanol,pwede din

    Mining,sabagay mas maraming disatster kesa proof of environmental friendly ways of doing it,although claimed to be isolated ang accidents; just make them environment friendly and many will accept.

    madami pang laman ang small mind ko,pero di bale na lang,I will just enjoy my sex life,instead.

  3. correction(self)

    di naman pwede palampasin:the native dialect should not be forgotten even just during the formative years.

    Tagakotta,will heed your advice ang good night!

  4. Just finished reading Benigno’s “Solution Framework.” I thought of saying a lot of things, but decided to keep it to myself (as of now). Well, to Benigs and the GetRealists, I hope all of you find some time in the future to all go back home to your native land and try to oversee the implementation of your “Solution Framework.” It sounds really good. While at it, you should continue breaking it down till you have it to specifics, step by step, etc.

    To go back to this blog post’s original question: will dissociating business from politics be for the better?

    maybe the question we should ask is: can we?

    The US of A would be a great case study. A nation with very strong institutions, slowly being ground into dust by one stupid man, and his neocon friends.

    Keep off politics you say?

    Everything is politics my dear friend. Even the war bet heaven and hell.

    • cvj on August 15, 2007 at 1:32 am

    Devils, and if i may reinforce your point by quoting below a passage from economist Dani Rodrik who in his blog, talks about two schools of thought for countries such as the Philippines who are in the shadow of China. The first approach follows a path similar to what David Llorito prescribes:

    For countries such as the Philippines, without a big arsenal for public investment, policy recommendations from most business people for competing with China involve no magic elixir. Governments should improve logistics, infrastructure, the business climate and education; try, possibly, to spot specialities emerging and support them, but otherwise get out of the way. They warn against governments crashing into the market having decided what the economy is likely to be good at and then promoting it at all costs.

    Rodrik does not agree with the above and instead recommends an alternative approach:

    The other school (which includes me) thinks that by following this route you not only remain in a rut, but you also miss out on the most important lesson from China’s success: the need for the government to be strategic (and yes also flexible) in supporting industries. Yo do need an industrial policy–but…not of the traditional type.

    He then links to his paper “Industrial Policy For The Twenty-First Century, Dani Rodrik, Harvard University, September 2004” (available online) which describes the latter approach in detail.

  5. “Everything is Politcs”

    Don’t go as far as heaven and hell,just look at your home.
    There are lobbyists,law makers, decision makers and judges,and the whole nine yards.

  6. “To go back to this blog post’s original question: will dissociating business from politics be for the better?”

    Quick answer:lobbyists and the law makers.

    Bussiness seeking mayor’s permits,etc.

    Don’t tell me it is only in the Philippines. Tell me that and I will tell you, “GET REAL”.

    ure in Australia,you can get a permit within minutes,but tell me if certain “system failures”,would sudenly change that to days.

  7. As I have said I have worked with Australians before,not in Australia but in the Port Area,and don’t tell me it is a when in Rome thing,when they do business here.

    And when I say system failure,I may mean accidental or otherwise.

    And when system failure happens in the ports we rely on I.B.M meaning ibalik sa manual.

    • tagakotta de cebu on August 15, 2007 at 8:20 am

    “And that’s the beauty of all the reactions I get whenever I publish my brilliant assertions. The reactions merely highlight further the very points I make. ;)BENIGN0”

    I like you fighting spirit hijo.If you know no one will
    praise you,you praise yourself!

  8. Here is what can help in your solution framework an ealy ninties management fad called system thinking. I have to rely on good old wikipedia just to get the definition.

    “Systems thinking is an approach to integration that is based on the belief that the component parts of a system will act differently when isolated from the system’s environment or other parts of the system. Standing in contrast to Descartes’ and others’ reductionism and philosophical analysis, it proposes to view systems in a holistic manner. Consistent with systems philosophy, systems thinking concerns an understanding of a system by examining the linkages and interactions between the elements that comprise the entirety of the system.

    Systems thinking attempts to illustrate that events are separated by distance and time and that small catalytic events can cause large changes in complex systems. Acknowledging that an improvement in one area of a system can adversely affect another area of the system, it promotes organizational communication at all levels in order to avoid the silo effect. Systems thinking techniques may be used to study any kind of system — natural, scientific, engineered, human, or conceptual.”
    This is why I understand most who argue against the sweeping generalizations,you make and also why I understand your holistic approach.

    It is a good start,though

    after that ibenta natin yung ideas mo sa isang kandidato sa 2010.



    since you are a democrat…sa tingin mo ba dapat tanggalin ang outsourcing na maraming pinoy ang nakikinabang sa ngayon.

    Or just separate business from politics.

    I forgot to acknowledge that you agreed on some of my points earlier,and you know I was exaggerating on the alcoholism part..

  9. Bencard,

    Sorry for the wrong punctuation marks.

    • benign0 on August 15, 2007 at 8:41 am

    “Congatulations. It was actually a nice that you were able to put all your ideas in a book. How I wish I have the time to read it now so I can give some reaction. But just the same Im getting a copy”

    rego, no problemo, dude. Just read it at your leisure. 😉

    “It took more than two hundred entries to get at least one percent of us to take a look at your idea you call a solution ,nabusog ka ba sa pride mo and support na naibigay sa iyo?”

    One thing’s for sure, you can keep guessing ’til kingdom come about what my PERSONAL motives are for doing what I do and writing what I write. But at the end of the day, regardless of what you find out or don’t find out about why and how I do these things, the ideas I present are either valid or invalid regardless. So if you are going to make a hobby out of coming up with conjectures about what makes me tick, well, that’s YOUR prerogative, dude. 😉

    Devil, that was actually the intention — to bring the “framework” to the next level of detail. Trouble is, concept and framework level pa lang, di na magka-sundo (ironic, considering that many here say that these ideas are all “Widely known and acknowledged”).

  10. “A Solution Framework that aims to address the cultural dysfunction of the Philippine Nation hinges on three solution classes. These classes represent the key roadblocks to change at the cultural grassroots level of Philippine society (in contrast with the more often-highlighted political roadblocks which to a large extent have merely cured the symptoms of our cultural malaise).

    (1) Right philosophy
    (2) Efficient communication
    (3) Wealth creation ethic

    bahala ng masali sa PNI awards mukhang I am in good company naman eh.


    Tama si Cat,where is the Cause and effect here?
    Is the cause cultural dysfunction…effecting to what,if I may ask? (everything in the flowchart?tapos to follow pa yung iba.)

    To follow pa yung ibang problema that is solved by the three mentioned mentioned above?!

    that is why I suggest the systems thinking approach,cause and effect and archetypes,d systems thinking,organizational learning and as Peter Senge et al’s book says is to dance with change.

    Sayo Solution first and the rest of the problems it can solve will follow is that what you call a framework?

    Again with assistance of pareng wiki,not that I don’t have other sources.

    “Conceptual framework:
    A conceptual framework is used in research to outline possible courses of action or to present a preferred approach to an idea”

    Not the other around ,my dear brilliant man.

    • ratatouille on August 15, 2007 at 9:19 am

    Usually, we start with ideas, then the Plan of Action or Action Plans, then financing source if needed, result expectations and then actual results. only then we can judge if those ideas really worthwhile. sabi ni daga…

  11. O baka naman mali ako at yun nga ang ginawa mo,

    OK you used the alternative courses of action approach,displayed in the flow chart

    pero puro solution,how do you demystify cultural dysfunction,what lead to it.

    You don’t have to go far as the precolonial years.

    Kahit mahaba,I think HVRDS explained it better.

    Prof.Hiro Vaswani,you have been an idol since way back.

  12. Benigs,

    This is just one blog entry.And you call several entries a hobby,now that is also a conjecture.

    i have not disagreed in enirety with you,because I know we are human and we can’t be right or wrong all the time.
    I do not guess or conclude,on what your motives are or what the hell it is for…

    As to conjectures,I do not judge or guess a person based on the entries found in cyberspace…kung me tirahan dito pag nagkita ba sa labas yan magsusuntukan yan di naman siguro.

    Kahit mga artista na nakita natin sa sine,ibanaman sila sa personal di bah. Kahit na yung mga so- called open book daw me mga sikreto din yan.

    My raising the issue about pride and support as to whether it is nakakabusog,is a reaction to what you said about my entry,which I apologize for such a childish reaction.

    tama na nga,enough said.

    • benign0 on August 15, 2007 at 10:00 am

    “My raising the issue about pride and support as to whether it is nakakabusog,is a reaction to what you said about my entry,which I apologize for such a childish reaction.”

    No problemo, Karl. It’s all about the issues, not the people (in a perfect world, that is). 😉

  13. Benigs,

    Thanks for acknowledging.

    I have to apologize as well for the other points and questions I raised that you might have found offensive.

    Mabuhay ka!

    • Bencard on August 15, 2007 at 10:08 am

    karl, business vs. politics? i think business will beat politics anytime, anywhere with one hand tied on its back. i think in america, as well as in the philippines (or elsewhere), big business is the invisible government to which the visible one must pay homage to. it will take a long dissertation to analyze and explain this point. suffice it to say, for now, that most, if not all philippine, as well as american, politicians kowtow to big business to acquire and retain power.

    i have grave misgivings about whether outsourcing will be curtailed in america. it works and works well for big business. it will raise a big stink should such a proposal
    be formally made. and, i believe, big business will prevail.

    • cvj on August 15, 2007 at 10:51 am

    Bencard, i agree with your description above on the power relations between business and politics (so will Marx), although i have a hunch that we will differ when it comes to its normative implications.

    On outsourcing, i agree with your take as well. Back in 2003, i attended a Company function in the US and our Chairman told us that outsourcing/offshoring is a reality that everyone has to accept. Of course that delegation from India was delighted and i suppose our American and European counterparts were not. As India becomes more mature (and labor starts to get expensive), we in the Philippines are starting to fall within the radar. If we play our cards right, this will result in thousands (or even tens of thousands) of new jobs. (Puwera usog.)

  14. cvj,

    If I may parse what Rodnik said in the context of our present exchange, what’s needed in order for the Philippines to join the big-timers in the big world out there, are:

    1) Not necessarily for the small guys to think big as a condition precedent but for the bigwigs (the political leadership, the economic elites and the technocrats) to think big TOGETHER. However, during this process of big thinking, the petty Pinoy of the tingi mentality must be given a bigger voice than usual, allowing the Bayanihan spirit thus generated to legitimate the process.

    2) The taipans must realize that low private returns from vigorous entrepreneurship in new activities may be compensated by high social returns. This demands of the economic elites a high “sense of country.”

    In earlier post I have also noted: “The key to economic progress is somehow attitudinal too and this happens when economic men and political animals judge such progress to be good not only for the material comfort it brings forth for their pioneering spirit but also for national identity and dignity, the welfare of the next generation and the common good.”

    Historically, according to Rostow, the decisive ingredient during the transition is the building of an “effective centralized national state” imbued with a “new nationalism” versus regional interests, the colonial power (if any), or both. When growth becomes steady and normal and institutionalized into habits and social structure and dominates the society, takeoff is said to occur. Likewise, Rostow postulated, takeoff is spurred not only by the investment in “social overhead capital” (such as in railways, ports, roads or education) and the expansion of technological development in industry and agriculture, but also by the rise to political power of a group dedicated to the proposition that the modernization of the economy is a national goal of paramount order.

  15. I mean Rodrik.

    • Jeg on August 15, 2007 at 11:24 am

    Historically, according to Rostow, the decisive ingredient during the transition is the building of an “effective centralized national state” imbued with a “new nationalism” versus regional interests, the colonial power (if any), or both.

    Interesting. Would it therefore be necessary to manufacture the effective centralized national state if one didnt exist? How does one do that in the Philippines without resorting to government via strongman?

    • cvj on August 15, 2007 at 11:54 am

    Abe, i agree. Rodrik emphasizes that industrial policy is needed to facilitate coordination to, among other things, remove information externalities and encourage the creation of markets. As you say, it is the big guys (the economic and political elites) that are in a position to do this.

    Rodrik explains that industrial policy has to be a process of exploration and discovery between government and business which necessarily involves winners and losers which is why it is counterproductive to have either (1) a completely arms-length relationship between government and business or a (2) a too-cozy relationship between politican and business crony. The former will not help in the process of identifying which business ventures to go into while the latter will just encourage rent-seeking in place of engagin in productive activity.

    I agree that ‘sense of country’ is important. During the 1998 financial crisis in South Korea, you had ordinary citizens coming forward and offering their personal jewelry to save their country from default. While, objectively speaking, it was a futile gesture, it demonstrates the same sense that enabled them to achieve what they have.

    Jeg, whether democratic or authoritarian, the problem to be solved is the same – discovery of profitable business ventures and coordination on a national scale. So to answer the question, we have to determine which system is best able to foster coordination and discourage rent-seeking (and therefore encourage productive activities).

    One thing i know is that unless we are willing to trust the current political-business elite, then maintaining a mindset of making government and politics irrelevant is the wrong philosophy to follow.

    • Jeg on August 15, 2007 at 12:11 pm

    Thanks, cvj.

    And I agree with the last bit. Making government and politics irrelevant is a goal of government, not the citizens.

    • Shaman of Malilipot on August 15, 2007 at 12:26 pm


    I don’t have to justify myself to you. Suffice it to say that if I’ve been into granting of scholarships longer than your seven years. Professionally, I’m in senior management level in a group of companies (Filipino) that has an annual turnover in hundreds of million pesos and employs thousands of our countrymen. I’m not going to be provoked into an “achievement race” with you. I don’t intend to join tagakotta’s pataasan ng ihi. Deal with my views and ideas, not with my person. It’s the mature thing to do.

    I advocate government accountability, regardless of who the President is, Gloria or someone else. My main issue with Gloria is that she refuses to be accountable to the people.

    I’m for constitutional processes. Impeachment is a constitutional process, but it should be honored in its spirit, not in its letter. It’s in the constitution precisely to make a President account for his/her actions, not to play a numbers game.

    • Shaman of Malilipot on August 15, 2007 at 12:41 pm


    Hotstove discipline means making the President account for his/her individual acts. We can’t wait until a President finishes his/her term to make him/her account for his/her acts. That would be too late.

    As I’ve told Rego, impeachment is the constitutional process to make a President account for his/her individual acts, not on account of, but despite public opinion. Gloria has the propensity to act unconstitutionally, but she has not been impeached. The hotstove has gone cold on her.

    We could just imagine if Marcos was allowed to finish his term (until his death). How could he be made to account for his acts?

  16. Jeg,

    A strongman?

    I have instead rooted for a “revolutionary government” possibly in the nature of what Rostow has called the “transitional coalition” of intellectuals, soldiers and business leaders sharing one common conviction, which is the creation of an independent modern state.

    Here’s a old and pertinent entry of mine:

    When many saw President Arroyo to be at the end of her tether [because of “Garci” tapes debacle], a transition government or a provisionary council of varied composition was also proposed. More than anything, the revolutionary nature of that proposal is what won me over to it as against “snap elections” as the immediate alternative for a post Arroyo government.

    Why would my own instinct go against my entrenched belief in People Power democracy? Well, the self-contradiction was merely more apparent than real.

    Firstly, I thought and wrote that GMA without declaring a revolutionary government “(lost) one great window of opportunity by balking to fully legitimize People Power II and to venture into a fresh start, preferring to look backwards to the status quo ante . . . .” Indeed, as quickly as she was swept to power, GMA lost no time recoiling to employ extraordinary powers to put the house of the state in order the way she is determined today to avail of similar methods to ensure her political survival. It was a great disappointment.

    Secondly, I believe a revolutionary route is the best imperfect solution to the long-standing scourge of the nation and that a piecemeal, painful, slow and deadly approach to the monstrosity of the problem would fail as any other incremental attempts before. Think about it again, do not the extreme destitution, desperation, and powerlessness of tens of millions of Filipinos deserve the use of extreme measures? But against whom should extraordinary powers be exercised? The state employs coercive actions against street marchers or labor strikers. Should the same strong-arm tactics be used against senseless and heartless capital strikers and fly-by-night operators? Whose liberty it is that is protected when the rights of others to seek redress for grievances are trampled upon in the name of commerce, for instance?

    Thirdly, I draw certain philosophical parallelism BETWEEN the belief of some in the value of limited (versus universal) suffrage, that is, limited only to those who have a stake in the system (the stakeholders so-called) to the exclusion of the uneducated and the unpropertied until the latter earn and learn enough to become stakeholders themselves AND the idea of political sovereignty being withheld, albeit temporarily (hence, the preference for the establishment of a revolutionary government to the holding of status-quo-preserving snap elections), if only to hasten and secure direly needed political, social and economic reforms.

    When political, social and economic resources are distributed, the attainment of true political capacity for fully qualified citizens cannot be far behind.

    The transitional coalition is a short-term goal in the attainment of a longer-term vision of an independent modern Philippine state of free Filipinos associated with one another on terms of equality.

    • Jeg on August 15, 2007 at 2:16 pm

    Thanks Abe. That is a bitter pill, but Im afraid we have indeed come to that point. There is nothing in what you wrote I could disagree with except for the participation of ‘soldiers’ but I suppose your revolutionary government needs muscle to match its heart and mind. Im assuming of course, having read your comments before, that this revolutionary government will not curtail the rights of the citizens.

    I dont remember who said it but he said we’re fond of doing the same things over and over again but expecting different results each time. I think he was talking about our representative democracy.

    When I read an interview the late Teddy Benigno had with Ninoy in Boston and he reported that Ninoy said that he wouldve done the same thing Marcos did (form a revolutionary government) I thought it was time for a re-examination of Marcos’s justification for his coup d’etat and examining what both he and Ninoy saw. Alas, Marcos turned into a despot, and whatever he saw then, no one wants to look at now for fear of being associated with his legacy.

    • cvj on August 15, 2007 at 2:29 pm

    Abe, effective transitional arrangements assume that wisdom is concentrated on a subset of the Filipino population and that power is best wielded by this subset. It also assumes that such wisdom will not leave them once this select group attains power. In Philippine Society, while the former assumption is debatable, the latter is untenable.

    • rego on August 15, 2007 at 2:40 pm


    Precisely, you same way that I am not answerable to you.

    And mahirap sa yo. Pinagmamalaki mo ang sarili sa pamamagitan ng pag hahanap ng mag naitulong namin. Pero ano naman ang ginawa. Ano naman ang naitulong mo?

    You are deluding yourself that have the monopoly of the your advocacy. Your advocacy is everybody advocacy. Sino ba ang ayaw ng government accountability dito sa forum na eto.

    So what have you been doing to promote your advocacy. Any plan of action? And progress? If bengino provided his solution framework, where are yours.

    And what help do you need from us?

    • Jeg on August 15, 2007 at 2:45 pm

    effective transitional arrangements assume that wisdom is concentrated on a subset of the Filipino population and that power is best wielded by this subset.

    Referring to our past discussion on suffrage, I take a slightly different tack: power is best conferred by this subset to those whom they choose to wield it.

    • benign0 on August 15, 2007 at 2:50 pm

    “I draw certain philosophical parallelism BETWEEN the belief of some in the value of limited (versus universal) suffrage, that is, limited only to those who have a stake in the system …

    …When political, social and economic resources are distributed, the attainment of true political capacity for fully qualified citizens cannot be far behind”

    One of the things Lee Kuan Yew focused on in the early days was to get as many citizens as possible owning (or at least paying off) their own properties.

    There is no better way to get people to have a stake in the way things are run than to give them not just a sense of ownership but ACTUAL ownership of the system they are part of. This is the reason why many companies have employee shareholding plans and stuff like that.

    Maybe that’s the reason why Manila is such a dump — because a big chunk of the population there is made up of squatters and dumpster scavengers.

    The real issue though is why Pinoys don’t seem to see themselves as stakeholders in our governance institutions and the due processes these institutions embody. It’s the reason we have such a penchant for street parliamentarianism and participative cheating during elections — despite the fact that these institutions are funded by taxes. Oh but wait, maybe it’s because many Pinoys for their part don’t pay taxes either!

    • cvj on August 15, 2007 at 2:58 pm

    Jeg, the same assumptions hold even if that subset delegated, instead of actually wielded, such power. What is the probability that this subset (whether they be bloggers or oligarchs) will choose a leader who will uphold the general welfare even when it conflicts with the interests of that subset?

    • cvj on August 15, 2007 at 3:06 pm

    Benign0, i totally agree with you on giving the Filipinos a sense of ownership. Someone told me last week that the LKY government, early on noticed that the apartment blocks that were owned were better maintained than those that were leased which is why they mandated government housing (and discourage leasing of government housing). I take it then that you’re in favor of land reform (both agrarian and urban)?

    BTW, the biggest tax evaders are the Taipans whom you otherwise praise as worthy of emulation. Where would that observation fit in your solution framework?

    • Jeg on August 15, 2007 at 3:08 pm

    What is the probability that this subset (whether they be bloggers or oligarchs) will choose a leader who will uphold the general welfare even when it conflicts with the interests of that subset?

    I would think the probability that they will choose a leader who will uphold the general welfare would be greater than if suffrage were universal. My suffragists and Abe Margallo’s suffragists are composed of different, but possibly overlapping people. For example, I dont have a property requirement.

    Oh what the heck. Here’s a link for all those interested in what cvj and I discussed a long time ago:

    • Jeg on August 15, 2007 at 3:14 pm

    Maybe that’s the reason why Manila is such a dump — because a big chunk of the population there is made up of squatters and dumpster scavengers.

    Developing the agri sector would take care of that.

    Instead of turning our farmers into factory workers, we need to turn them into better farmers. Land reform is just a start.

    • cvj on August 15, 2007 at 3:41 pm

    Jeg, the subset you defined in your blog thread i.e. an intellectual and moral elite on which the viability of your scheme of limited suffrage depends on, is just not there. (I’m sure there will be no shortage of applicants but that’s another story.)

    Anyway, issues surrounding suffrage (universal or limited) deal only with the representative aspect of democracy. I believe that such a subset (if it does exist) will be more helpful in the area of direct democracy, in terms of pushing for their advocacies.

    • Jeg on August 15, 2007 at 3:49 pm

    Anyway, issues surrounding suffrage (universal or limited) deal only with the representative aspect of democracy.

    True. I thought we could still save representative democracy by electing true representatives. Im beginning to be convinced though that the problem of representative democracy is systemic; that it is inherent in the system itself. Technology will bring us closer to direct democracy.

    Jeg, the subset you defined in your blog thread i.e. an intellectual and moral elite on which the viability of your scheme of limited suffrage depends on, is just not there.

    Then we’re worse off than I thought.

    • benign0 on August 15, 2007 at 3:54 pm

    “Please show me a study that links climate to the savings rate. Because if you take a look at indicators of southeast asian economies, you will see that the really hot countries like Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand have very high gross domestic savings rate”

    I think you are evaluating that statement using the wrong timescales.

    Whatever way those three countries were performing over the last 3-6 decades is a small blip compared to the gap in technological and organisational development that saw societies from the more temperate climates surge way ahead of their tropical counterparts of over the last several centuries.

    Of course that does not mean that climate is the ONLY factor that determines how prosperous a society becomes in the same way IQ is no guarantee that a person will be successful in life. But people with high IQ’s are statistically MORE LIKELY to succeed. And just like this whole business with climate as a factor to success, there is still an on-going debate as to how IQ contributes to individual succcess.

    So if I were you Lord Vader, I’d try to have a bigger mind and process this idea from the perspective of a broader frame of reference. 😉

    • inodoro ni emilie on August 15, 2007 at 4:34 pm

    “I’m not going to be provoked into an “achievement race” with you. I don’t intend to join tagakotta’s pataasan ng ihi.”

    shaman, please don’t. we have too many resume builders here already. you don’t have to prove your worth to rego. readers in here can tell who are a boastful lot, and who can stand and deliver.

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