A whole gaggle of headlines spoke glowingly of the Philippines: see Forbes.com, the Wall Street Journal, and Money Morning for examples (and why the news seems particularly cheery, can be gleaned from Bloomberg.com‘s contrasting coverage of Thailand). The President was quick to trumpet the news -and just as quick to give dagger looks to the skeptical, see Jove Francisco for an eyewitness account.
My column today is Official figures aren’t carved in stone (many thanks to Community Indicators for linking to, and commenting on, my column); I started with the debate on the origins of the saying, “Lies, Damned Lies and Statistics” and I also pointed to a column by Bloomberg’s William Pesek, to point out the skepticism that tends to greet the President’s announcements of good news, and how it bugs her that people question the numbers.
The numbers, after all, she might insist as a former professor, don’t like. And even if they did, there are enough numbers from different sources, that would still add up to something positive for her. .BusinessWorld’s Misery Index for example, argues that the population is less miserable under the present administration.
I also pointed to Carlos V. Jugo’s blog. His June 24 and June 28 entries in particular, take apart official statistics so people can make sense of them. His June 28 entry, in particular, has this handy-dandy visual, which shows how GDP figures are arrived at (and how each component’s rated by him).
Unfortunately, my attempt to digest the information failed on one account: in a comment, CVJ said I got it wrong:
… unless i’m mistaken, i think what happened was the reversed, i.e. the 6.4 and 6.2 percent growth figures were retrospectively adjusted upwards to 7.15 and 7.10 percent. The former was in the press release while the latter is in the time series tables of NSCB which is why i believe the higher figures are the adjusted ones. Also, from what i saw in the NSCB website (currently down), the adjusted figures for 1Q 2007 GDP growth is 7.1 percent (from the originally reported 6.9 percent).
Noted! I’m happy to say, though that reversing the figures doesn’t invalidate my point. And I’m glad similar points were raised by an expert, Cielito Habito, in his column for today, too. Read his take on the numbers.
Called China’s caddy by an Inquirer editorial, Comelec Chairman Benjamin Abalos continues to provoke controversy. Arbet [email protected], says there’s an Abalos in every all; a pretty exhaustive look in A Pinoy Investment Banker’s Homepage.
there is also the continuing question of Jose Ma. Sison and his detential and trial. See my entry Why the Dutch are being harsh, in Inquirer Current. A recent roundup is Philippines wages counterinsurgency on multiple fronts, in the Christian Science Monitor.
A column by Patricia Evangelista looked at the issue of fraternity-related violence was also tackled by Luis Teodoro. See the blog lecture on anti-hazing law by Punzi; an interesting entry over at Sassy Lawyer, too.
Overseas, Sorry, Mr. President, You’re All Out of Troops takes a look at a problem the USA is bound to face in Iraq (see History Unfolding for a fascinating comparison of Presidents Bush and Truman). Also, as Malaysia recently marked its 50th year of independence, Asia Sentinel looks at the issues that confront the country.