The gathering storm

Yesterday afternoon I addressed a gathering under the auspices of NIPS on the current political situation. I briefly outlined what’s in my column today, Political leprosy (which makes reference to my March 13, 2006 column, Managing expectations), as well as some points raised the paper of Economist Dr. Michael Alba (which I posted, yesterday, at Inquirer Current) and the argument put forward by yesterday’s Inquirer editorial on the repercussions of the Estrada pardon (widely expected to be formalized on Friday).

My column speaks for itself, but here’s two relevant extracts from the pieces I mentioned. First, from Dr. Alba’s paper:

Is there hope for the future? Recall that, from the inference made by Jones (1997 and 2002) on the very long-run evolution of the world distribution of living standards, the Philippines is right on the demarcation line of countries headed for different futures. If it gets its act together–and this is a big if–the country may yet join the high performers that are tending toward high steady-state levels of output per worker. But to do so, it must exhibit a high growth rate (faster than that of the technological frontier) over a long period of time (as Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea, and Taiwan have done), by persistently pushing out the steady-state level of output per worker to which it is headed, not so much by achieving a higher saving rate, a lower population growth rate, and a higher quality workforce, although these will help because of synergistic effects, but by significantly improving its total factor productivity. Growth and modern development economics tell us, however, that this is not so easily done, because it involves improving the quality of the country’s social infrastructure by taking on the vestiges of our history and culture that are growth-constraining, such as flawed leadership that values loyalty more than competence, an entrenched political and business oligarchy that unashamedly promotes and jealously protects its narrow self-interests, and an incentive structure that is nepotistic rather than meritocratic and that rewards thievery and corruption more than honest, hard work. In particular, three absolutely essential and indispensable elements for social transformation are: an effective, efficient, and high-quality education system, a vigilant civil society that demands high accountability from the government, and a competent, corruption-intolerant government administration of firm purpose committed to reform and transformation.

And next, from yesterday’s Inquirer editorial:

The lesson Filipinos have learned is that both leaders have more in common with each other and both have more that sets them apart from a public that is as angry at Arroyo’s cash bar as it was over Estrada’s karaoke governance. In other words, after two years of agonizing over who is the lesser evil, the public can breathe easy, seeing how both are two sides of the same debased coin. It is People of the Philippines now versus Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and Joseph Ejercito Estrada.

Returning to Dr. Alba’s economics paper, he pointed out a dilemma facing our OFW remittance-dependent economy. First, as more people work abroad, and send money home, the more foreign currency they send home, the less it’s worth. The result is OFW income is actually declining.

Add to this another problem: the more Filipinos leave home to work abroad, the less they stand to earn, and thus, the less they can send home, and the less what they send home is worth. This is the root cause behind proposals like the proposed November 1 and 2 Remittance boycott. Besides OFW’s, Filipino exporters have also, by all accounts, been ravaged by the depreciation of the dollar.

Add to this a third factor economists like Alba have noticed: the more Filipinos work abroad, the more their remaining dependents at home are likely to give up looking for work, and the more dependent they end up on those abroad. Short-term, this benefits the government, which can (and has, if you refer to Cielito Habito’s presentation a couple of months ago) then write off Filipinos who have given up looking for work, thereby formally (but not really) reducing those officially classified as unemployed.

Put in another factor, which is unreported in the media but common currency among entrepreneurs and other businessmen: the rampant smuggling of goods, which is also hurting Filipino manufacturers and traders. Simply talk to people with businesses that depend on importation or manufacturing, and you will know the concerns are serious, and resentment has begun to run deep. And you will also know who businessmen consider the godfathers and beneficiaries of smuggling.

Add another factor, which is that the upper and middle class in particular, was willing to tolerate many things about the administration, so long as it maintained the appearance of being marginally more virtuous than the Estrada administration. The handing out of cash to congressmen and governors, however, exceeded any doling-out of patronage in the Estrada years and was even more brazen than in the Marcos years. And the President’s attention to detail and workaholic style seems to have been spent more on manipulating the bureaucracy to approve the ZTE and other deals, than on anything particularly productive.

Add to this the growing realization on the part of military officers that they have to consider their career prospects in a future administration (a reason, I’ve heard it pointed out, that with the retirement of the previous service commanders, current and next-in-line commanders have quietly but effectively put a stop to tolerating extrajudicial killings and abductions, which seem to have subsided), and the realization among the politicians that the President’s solution to party problems –throwing money at people causing problems– has made politics so expensive and so utterly transactional, that they will have to bear the price of this in campaigns to come -and it makes politics a pretty much losing proposition, financially (even with Political Viagra by way of IRAs).

Put together the infighting in the President’s ruling coalition, with the sustained efforts of the various groups opposed to the administration, with the growing dissatisfaction with the President on the part of sectors formerly content to either turn a blind eye to her shortcomings, or who preferred her government to the prospects of a new one before 2010, and you have an administration running out of wiggle room. Not least because the President can no longer trot out her claim (very Nixon-like) that she represents a “silent majority.” If you noticed, her “silent majroty” has been consistently vocal, until now. Since ZTE began, the top 500 Women of Civil Society, the Filipino-Chinese Chamber of Commerce, and so forth have been very, very quiet while the usefulness of organizations such as ULAP has been severely curtailed, because of the payola scandal and clumsy handling by provincial officials (every family dealing with the depreciation of the dollar now has to consider what each congressman’s and governor’s dole out from the President could have done for them, instead, for example). The public hostility to the President over her handling of the Glorietta explosion and the handling by her pet officials hasn’t bolstered the President’s claim to public support, either.

In the same forum, Mon Casiple said that there are several confrontations that will determine whether the President recovers her strength or further dissipates it:

1. Today’s hearing at the Senate, and whether it brings to the fore new revelations (see ZTE inquiry resumes; Cabinet men not going and Joey: FG was coach; Abalos’ captain ball ). I don’t know if I’d be as sanguine as New Philippine Revolution who suggests,

1. After tomorrow’s Senate probe, expect a revival of street protests and rallies. These protests will escalate to heights never before seen in both EDSA 1 and 2. The situation, based on objective analysis of existing conditions, is tantamount to the 1986 scenario. People are raring to protests now and it is just a matter of time. Groups should serve as the trigger.

People are saying that the military should move for the kill first before the people support them. I think this is feasible under present circumstances. A repeat of EDSA 1 is in order. I concur with this observation.

2. The resumption of Congress on November 5, widely expected to be a showdown between the President and the Speaker. Tuesday and Wednesday night, apparently, had meetings of neophyte congressmen at the Palace, which suggests the administration is trying to regain the initiative.

3. The fallout from the Estrada pardon and whether, in the weeks and months to come, a quid pro quo between Arroyo and Estrada becomes obvious as a result, which means a burden for the opposition will now shift to the administration (see the letter of Estrada’s lawyers to the President).

4. The serious resumption of Charter Change will make it clear the President does not intend to step down in 2010.

5. The ability of government to convince the public that it’s solved the cause of the Glorietta explosion.

And, I’d add, the ramifications of a far less cheery citizenry going into the Christmas season, as The Unlawyer points out:

It goes without saying that Philippine retailers were the most adversely affected business sector in the wake of the blast. For example, my company suffered an 11 percent drop in business for this Friday to Sunday weekend period – prime shopping days at that – compared to revenues from previous weekends, although I must say that customer traffic rebounded somewhat on Sunday.

What about in the medium term? The explosion happened during the runup to the 2007 Christmas shopping season, which traditionally starts soon after the All Saints’ Day holidays. Indeed, at least two major Metro Manila malls started their respective pre-Christmas sales promotions on the day of the blast. Philippine consumers will definitely stay away from the malls in the next few days, and if the authorities don’t quickly restore confidence to an apprehensive populace, they may just decide to refrain from shopping for quite a while longer.

Philippine retailers are depending on Christmas season sales for a substantial portion of their 2007 revenues, and it is certainly not an appealing prospect for many of them – of us, I should say – to see our customers frightened so.

Imagine how the retailers will feel as their suddenly-slender margins are further eroded by smuggling.

Blogger Scriptorium, unlike Mon Casiple, thinks the odds are still in the President’s favor in terms of staying in power. The blogger starts off with an interesting analysis of the political scene:

The Philippine political system is best understood if we see its major players as estates divided into blocs composed of factions. An estate, following Weber’s usage, is a group distinguished by its specific social functions and conventions (rather than by mere economic standing, as in the case of a class); blocs are subgroups made cohesive by a common ideology, orientation, or interest, and which are the best Philippine equivalents of political parties; and factions are groups usually united by personal antipathy or allegiance. In the Philippines, the estates would be the Thinkers or “lords spiritual” (its Blocs being the Church, the Left, and the urban intelligentsia); the Warriors (i.e., the regular military, the armed Left, and the criminal and private armies); the Commons (the urban middle class, and the rural electorates); and the Magnates or “lords temporal” (i.e., the political elite, big business, and organized crime). There are other estates and other blocs, but they are not as politically significant.

Based on the above, the blogger breaks things down into three main groups:

(1) Since 1986, the successful removal of a sitting President through peaceful mass action has required a coalition composed of at least one bloc from each estate. Hence, the 1986 EDSA revolt was carried out by an alliance of the Church, the non-aligned intelligentsia, the urban middle class, the military, and the Opposition factions of big business and the political elite; and the 2001 EDSA revolt required the same broad alliance, with the addition of the intellectual Left, which directly participated in the protests.

(2) Of these blocs/factions, the most important have been the military, the Church, the urban middle class (as the popular base of the protests), and the opposition faction of the political elite (which provides the leadership). The absence of any one of these blocs/factions, especially the last, renders removal of a President through peaceful mass action unlikely.

(3) A successful removal through peaceful mass action requires a correlation of forces that favors removal; that is, in leadership, will, and political strength, the pro-ouster coalition must have the advantage over the administration. Thus, the 1986 coalition was marshaled against a regime weakened by economic crisis, the President’s wasting illness, and the attacks of the intellectual and armed Left; and the 2001 coalition confronted a President whose main political base was the isolated and untested urban poor, and who had neither the skill nor the machinery to counter-mobilize.

The blogger points out that the Catholic Church lacks a Cardinal Sin, and the political class either a Ninoy Aquino willing to embrace martyrdom, or a Doy Laurel willing to subordinate his ambitions; and because of these, the military is, in a sense, incapable of moving (for the same reason, the German military proved incapable of challenging Hitler; it’s interesting to me that the blogger compares the current AFP mentality to the old Prussian military mentality that equated professionalism with blind subordination to the state). Anyway, the blogger then concludes,

At present, however, the preconditions for successful removal of the President through peaceful mass action simply do not exist, as was amply demonstrated in the almost-successful ouster attempt of 2005.

To begin with, the main social blocs have been isolated, neutralized, or weakened. For one, the urban middle class, especially the all-important 18-35 age range, is sheltered from economic pressure (like that faced by the urban poor) by the existence of outsourcing and emigrant (OFW) employment, which also siphons off discontented urban intellectuals; and it is diverted from politics by the expansion of the emigrant- and outsourcing-driven consumer market. (Some writers, in fact, have noticed the discrepancy between the youth that fueled the First Quarter Storm and the young adults of contemporary Philippines: once, they say, the paradigmatic activity of college and young professionals was public protest against oppression and injustice; but today, one finds the youth in Starbucks and the ever-ubiquitous malls.)

Even if it were politically active, the urban middle class has declined in relative strength with the politicization of the rural electorate, which tends to be less pro-Opposition than the urban sectors. The presence of this new countervailing force allowed GMA to fight the 2005 ouster-movement by counter-mobilizing the provinces, somewhat as the 14th-century Valois mobilized rural France against the Jacquerie; and with the dominance of patrimonial politics in rural Philippines, which, as I explained in another essay, is under Presidential control, she can well use the provinces again to resist urban protest. Another additional factor has been the rise of urban poor as a potential force. Being less inclined to liberal-democratic ideology and oriented to bread-and-butter issues, the urban poor’s very existence as a mobilizable force serves to weaken the claim of the urban middle class to represent the public will. In a word, we are seeing in the Philippines the beginnings of the process that, in Europe, led to the displacement of middle-class Liberal power with the Conservative, Catholic and Socialist movements.

I can’t wait for Part 2 of the blogger’s essay!

See the PNP Presentation 1 and the PNP Presentation 2 on the Glorietta blast. See also the observations of Tongue In, Anew and The Journal of the Jester-in-Exile and Manuel Buencamino in his column and Inner Sanctum in his blog and Jessica Zafra in hers. Some news: PNP probes army official who found plastic bag with RDX and Ayala Land says PNP theory of methane gas blast unlikely. Whatever the case, the Inquirer editorial urges authorities not to rush it.

A very poignant reflection by Luz Rimban on journalists and their having to pry into the sorrows of individuals in times of crisis or disaster. See Rabid Pirate Tanuki on the reactions of an office mate, a survivor of the blast; I feel blest publishes a letter by a bereaved husband (her harrowing account of the husband and his ordeal is in this entry). helen’s site has harrowing rescue photos, and Life No. 2 reflects on how people coped with the tragedy.

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

271 comments

Skip to comment form

    • grd on October 26, 2007 at 3:34 pm

    dOdOng, i think you got it wrong re remittances. you might be talking about immigrants or those ofw’s who have their families with them. you should know that most ofw’s (or the migrant workers) left their families back home and so the bulk of their earnings abroad are being sent directly through remittances (for basic needs and education). it’s not just about what’s left for savings or the small portion of the ofw’s salaries. if you are say in the middle east or a seaman, it’s either 70-30 or 80-20. it means 70% is being remitted while 30% is kept by the ofw’s (maybe in western countries it could be 50-50 for those whose families are in the phils). but imagine now with the dollar continuously dropping plus the local price increases, an ordinary ofw who’s sending P50,000 per month has to shell out more dollars to maintain it.

    how can you stop the bleeding? maybe one solution for ofw’s is to bring their families with them abroad but not all can have this kind of privilege.

    • Shaman of Malilipot on October 26, 2007 at 3:34 pm

    The official inflation rate is one of those economic metrics that the ordinary man in the street finds irrelevant in his day-to-day life, together with the GNP, GDP, Phisix, etc. Let us remember that the inflation rate is a weighted average of the prices of a basket of goods and services.

  1. I do not see any logic in th Boycott remittance. The difference is only the date for remitting.

    Don’t they know that there are really no remittances done in November 1 and 2 because it is a holiday in the Philippines.

    So most remittances are done before and after.

    Especially door to door.

    In the banking system, it is the same. Even though it is sent here in Nov. 1, the banks acceptance would never be reflected on the same date.

    NO brainer. Sus.

    • ramrod on October 26, 2007 at 3:38 pm

    Dodong,

    My office rental is based on Usd and contract made last year was 1000Usd/month. Please see the impact of strong peso against the Usd. So now I’m short of 8,150Usd or 185.86Usd (based on current rates).

    1 year ago

    1 Usd = 52 Php
    1000Usd = 52,000Php

    Now

    1 Usd = 43.85Php (Chinabank)
    1000Usd = 43,850Php

    Difference of = 8,150Php

    As for price increase of commodities, just look at the current prices of groceries, gasoline, electricity, compared to last year, no just 3 month’s ago. I accompany my wife when buying groceries, if you don’t believe me I’ll show you my credit card bills.

  2. GDP does not include OFW earnings. It measures ONLY domestic production. There is the word DOMESTIC.

    GNP includes Gross Domestic Product plus overseas earnings
    of Filipino nationals whether individual or corporations.

    • ramrod on October 26, 2007 at 3:43 pm

    Dodong,

    PS.

    Thats why I made arrangements for my salary to be converted into pesos using 52Php = 1Usd (arranged by HSBC) as early as last year when it was evident that I will be staying in the Philippines for a long time.

  3. That “OFW income is declining”, is false. You are implying of the value of goods and services that money can buy or purchasing power which is different from earnings or income. Simply, income does not change except for salary increase.

    Agree.

    • ramrod on October 26, 2007 at 3:46 pm

    The Cat,

    GDP = gawa dito sa Pinas

    GNP = gawa ng Pinoy

    for easy reference…

    • Shaman of Malilipot on October 26, 2007 at 3:51 pm

    The official inflation rate is one of those economic metrics that the ordinary man in the street finds irrelevant in his day-to-day life, together with the GNP, GDP, Phisix, etc. Let us remember that the inflation rate is a weighted average of the price increases of a basket of goods and services. To the ordinary person, only very few of the items in that basket matter to him, and these are basicaly food items. Anybody who goes to market will know that prices of fish, meat and vegetable can increase anywhere from 10% to 15% or even higher. And this is what hits the pocketbook. So, an official inflation rate of 2.7% is meaningless vis-a-vis the realities of the palengke.

    (Please disregard the previous post. It was sent prematurely.)

  4. On Dr. Michael Alba’s paper.

    MLQ3, he did not quantify. He merely presented secondary data and put them into graphs.

    Quantification is different in economics. When you quantify, you make use of the mathematics and quantitative methods t or prove your point.

    It is this scholarly presentation that I dislike when I sit in a panel.

    Its nothing but collating some figures that are not even comparable.

    One flaw in comparing GDP or GNP across nations is the currencies to which these measures of growth of economy are presented. When converted to common currency, there is another flaw that sticks to people who are analytical enough to undertand that there are deflators and inflators that have to be considered.

    There are also other economic environments to consider.

    The statement that OFW’s relatives stop working while receiving remittances may just be PERCEPTIONS. It does not necessarily follow that they do not work because they’re lazy.

    They stop working to concentrate on studying.

    I said perceptions because I do not see quantifications like there are 1000 OFWs and 200 members of their households stopped from working. And how many of these stopped for the reason that they just became lazy. NADA.

    To describe the shrinking purchasing power of money to lay people, I would just say, bring a smaller basket. There are not so much that you can buy anyway.

    • alas ka dora on October 26, 2007 at 4:23 pm

    Hindi ko nga alam kung ano ang kasali sa basket of goods that is used to measure inflation. Kasi galunggong nga lang dating 70/k ngayon 90/k. kamatis, sibuyas ganun din. Ang alam ko isa sa kasama sa goods ang alaska milk. I wonder kung magkano an increase nito from last year. Meron tinatawag na distortion or biases in measuring cpi. halimbawa yung milk na Nido can be repackage in such a way that it will come out as a different product from the Nido that we know a year ago so that altough its price may have increased significantly, it will not be recorded as a price increase because there is nothing to which you can compare this product last year. O di ba smart yan.

    • cvj on October 26, 2007 at 5:30 pm

    cvj, my complaint abt dina’s statement wasnt abt the old deregatory use of “pinoy” vs Filipino, but the overall use of the name Pinoy or Filipino to attach it to our character faults. it simply promotes a vicious cycle of looking down on our own race, thereby ensuring that we practice those char traits bec fighting it is useless bec it’s in “our blood.” – DevilsAdv8

    Point taken.

    rule of flaw. that’s the new clique today. i wonder where i can buy a conscience that can tolerate that… – DevilsAdv8

    I think if you take up law as a profession, you’re halfway there. (There’s definitely something in our law schools that molds lawyers consciences a certain way.) Then go into politics and stay there until you reach a ripe old age. Almost guaranteed, you’ll be another Joker Arroyo.

    • grd on October 26, 2007 at 5:39 pm

    “To describe the shrinking purchasing power of money to lay people, I would just say, bring a smaller basket. There are not so much that you can buy anyway.” The Cat

    eto naman si cat-cat. akala subra-subra ang napapamili ng tao pag namamalengke at sasabihin liitan ang dala-dalang basket. umaangal na nga yung tao dahil kapos ang kinikita. para ka ring si ate glue ng sabihing kayang mabuhay ng isang tao sa P36/day. puede sana kung kagaya lang yan ng pusa mong si muning na puede mong sabihang “muning, dalawang beses ka na lang kumain sa isang araw ha? medyo tipid-tipid muna tayo at tumataas ang mga bilihin.”

    http://www.pcij.org/blog/?p=1242

    • ramrod on October 26, 2007 at 5:48 pm

    Was there ever a study made to the reasons why consumer spending is not in consonance with the reported 7.5% GDP growth? or even 2.7% inflation rate?

    • cvj on October 26, 2007 at 6:19 pm

    ramrod, what do you mean by that? isn’t consumer spending consonant with the 7.5% GDP growth? it rose by 6%.

    • cvj on October 26, 2007 at 6:27 pm

    i do believe Mike Wallace that the GDP is being inflated because imports are under-reported since smuggled goods are not counted.

    • ramrod on October 26, 2007 at 7:31 pm

    “ramrod, what do you mean by that? isn’t consumer spending consonant with the 7.5% GDP growth? it rose by 6%.” – cvj

    The consumption of packaging (paper) material is the not much different from last year, even magazine paper (advertising), is there a breakdown of sectors where this 6% growth came from? Did this really come from consumer spending or basically government spending?

  5. Just a thought, but maybe the worrisome aspect of the increase in money supply is its uneven downstream effect on real incomes. Shaman of Malilipot has a point: Beyond mean and aggregate economic numbers is the stark reality faced by the fixed or piece wage earner whose income hasn’t yet caught up with prices…

    • cvj on October 26, 2007 at 7:48 pm

    ramrod, i had a blog entry on the the GDP growth for last quarter here here.

    i tried to study the growh patterns here.

    • cvj on October 26, 2007 at 7:51 pm

    Ramrod, my links are still under moderation but in my blog, i tried to study the GDP quarterly results as well as the growth patterns. Will have to wait for Manolo’s approval.

    In computing for GDP, Government consumption is a separate item from personal consumption but we cannot discount the possible multiplier effect, i.e. that government consumption put money in the hands of individuals which then spent it under personal consumption.

    • cvj on October 26, 2007 at 7:57 pm

    indignus, i agree. the increase in GDP juxtaposed with the SWS’s findings that the poor are spending more of what they earn on food means that the gains of the economy are being channeled to the relatively well-off. It’s a ‘trickle-up’ effect, a hallmark of Arroyonomics.

  6. eto naman si cat-cat. akala subra-subra ang napapamili ng tao pag namamalengke at sasabihin liitan ang dala-dalang basket. umaangal na nga yung tao dahil kapos ang kinikita.

    You didn’t get what I mean?

    Instead of depreciation of pesos due to inflation and any other high sounding economic jargons, I rather use the term basket for lay person. As the basket shrinks it means the goods that the peso can buy get a lot lesser.

    Too many economists in this forum who hardly understand what’s the difference between the inflation and deflation, real GDP and REAL GNP blah blah blh.

    • ramrod on October 26, 2007 at 8:22 pm

    cvj,

    Another way of looking at it is, the consumption of packaging and advertising material (printed) this year is more or less the same as last year’s, in effect this means the consuming population is buying less in terms of food products or magazines. The previous quarters showed that the actual consumption of packaging material from large food companies like Nestle and SMC, even cigarette manufacturers like Philip Morris and Fortune Tobacco were very much less than what was forecasted at the beginning of the year.
    Thats why its very difficult to reconcile the 7.5% GDP growth to the actual consumer scenario. Most businessmen are asking where is this growth?
    As The Cat would put it bluntly, the consumer is going to the supermarket with a smaller basket (which is quite accurate also from the businessmen’s point of view).

  7. That “OFW income is declining”, is false…Simply, income does not change except for salary increase.

    oh sure, their incomes are not declining. so Manolo was wrong on this one word. but the intended message was unmistakable. fixed income or not, the strong peso is affecting the “remittances” being sent back home. and “remittances” po ang nababawasan. happy?

    pero bakit ka ba subrang nagagalit kay dodong? dahil sa pagiging ignorante niya or dahil lumiit na ang natatanggap mo na allowance sa perang padala ng nanay mo?

    neither. porket di sya apektado, kung makapagsalita tong mokong na to eh solb-solb na lahat.

    how can you stop the bleeding? maybe one solution for ofw’s is to bring their families with them abroad but not all can have this kind of privilege.

    one component of my barren Philippines, precluding Bastille.

    • vic on October 26, 2007 at 9:07 pm

    bencard, yeah I was in record saying to move to California and to New York To stay a little longer with my youngest twins sisters and their family after I retire, which is anytime now if I so choose, but to live there without my Universal Publicly funded Health care, you must be kidding? How many thousands of Retired Canadians own houses and cottages by the Southern States during winter and come back during summer, why because we are allowed 9 months (maybe 4 mos. in the u.s., 4 in pinas and 4 in To) out of the country and still covered by our Health Care . no Cost at all, no premium whatsoever. And I can cross the border anytime by just showing my passport and stay there as my second residence and to get that paper is as easy as 123 and you know that, don’t you…and you also know that thousands of Americans also own cottages by our Lakes and they can come Anytime and stay as their second residence…

    • grd on October 26, 2007 at 9:34 pm

    “You didn’t get what I mean?” The Cat

    whoops, sorry cat-cat. my bad, i just missed it. 🙂

    • cvj on October 26, 2007 at 9:42 pm

    ramrod, in terms of industry sectors, my counterparts in the Philippines have been very upbeat this year. i share Geo’s optimism on the BPO and IT Services industry especially since the big wigs who grew the business in India are now focusing attention at us. i guess the same sort of optimism is felt in the Mining sector.

    • supremo on October 26, 2007 at 10:10 pm

    Peso o dollar yata mismo ang kinakain ni dOdOng at Cat. Ano ba ang magandang luto sa peso? Sinigang o adobo? Ang dollar grilled na lang?

    • ramrod on October 26, 2007 at 10:10 pm

    cvj,

    I see, I was also optimistic about the BPOs (my brother is with People Support and I have good friends in Sykes), IT Services, mining, and SMEs earlier, and expected quite a strong upward impact to our industry (paper and board) but the businessmen (mostly large paper traders and industrial/commercial packaging/publication printers seem to report a flat growth or none at all) which is strange. Anyway, the year isn’t over yet and the only way to look at it sensibly is to compare the yearly figures and not look at the “now” only. I probably need to do more digging…

    • d0d0ng on October 26, 2007 at 10:50 pm

    “An inflation of 2.7% is still a price increase of that rate from a year ago level. We have a situation here where our disposable income has shrunk but prices of goods continue to increase”

    The inflation rate is national average of increase of prices of goods and services. If you live within NCR, you have 2.8% price increase but outside it is 2.5% increase. Of course, one can claim paying 15% increase. To hold that it is true, somebody is paying 9.6% decrease in price to have the 2.7% average. But that is not the point.

    I would like to bring up the fact that “we always blame the government for anything including inflation, in particular President Arroyo.” That would have been okay if supported by facts. However, inflation a year ago was 5.7% and reduced to 2.7% in September, is an improvement we just ignore because it does not fit your thinking. That is not objective anymore, is it (in this habitual blaming game)?

    The other part, is why Filipinos think they are cheated paying 2.7% price increase while Americans are paying the same price increase percentage. Somehow, something is wrong with that because Filipino entrepenuer wanted something more also in delivering necessary goods and services to the market.

    • d0d0ng on October 26, 2007 at 11:25 pm

    supremo on, “GDP = consumption + investment + (government spending) + (exports − imports). OFW earnings remitted to the Philippines falls under consumption.”

    That is not correct either. Only the portions of the remittance that was actually spent.

    The obvious flaw is that GDP is regional. It only applies to spending activity in the Philippines. It does not capture the consumptions of OFWs abroad, say buy his clothes, food, drinks, etc. Plus items bought abroad and sent in balikbayan boxes.

    • d0d0ng on October 27, 2007 at 12:20 am

    ramrod on, “My office rental is based on Usd and contract made last year was 1000Usd/month. So now I’m short of 8,150Usd or 185.86Usd (based on current rates).

    I assume you set your contract in USD rather in pesos in anticipation of deteriorating foreign exchange because of historical data. That would have been true until the time of President Arroyo.

    But that is part of business decision, you lose in stronger peso but you would stand to gain on weak peso either.

    • Bencard on October 27, 2007 at 12:33 am

    whatever their purposes are, i must thank all those who painstakingly compiled my past comments concerning my position on erap’s pardon. i just wish these same people had the same zeal in opposing it when it was just being talked about, as now that it has become a fiat accompli. with the exception of a few that i could remember, such as rego, geo, rom, and mlq3 (who, i think, i prodded to make a mild and qualified statement of opposition), etc., etc., i did not see any real interest on the issue in this blog, especially among the hate-gloria club members. i wonder what could have happened if there was an edsa-type demo against the pardon before it was granted. the “anti-corruption” lip-servers and breast-beaters must have been sound asleep.

    i have not wavered, nor i am wavering, on my sentiments against the pardon. i still see, from my personal point of view, that the action was a mistake. i cringe whenever i see the convict triumphantly waving, wearing a sinister and mocking smirk, on tv to his admirers as though he was found “innocent”. i feel outraged whenever his son, jinggoy, insist on calling him president (while addressing the incumbent, plain Mrs.Arroyo), and proclaiming that the pardon was a vindication of his father’s “innocence” (an idiotic utterance, i might say).

    but, at the end of the day, erap has been pardoned by the president in exercise of her prerogative under the constitution. the deed is done, signed sealed and delivered. perhaps, it’s my decades of living in a real democracy, and working as a litigator, that sets me apart from the ordinary “pinoy” mindset. i have long realized that one cannot always win, and so must learn to accept defeat, after a good fight. after the initial shock of losing, one must learn to reconcile his beliefs with the reality, and look for the silver lining in the big picture that could transform defeat into a bigger triumph.

    in the context of erap’s pardon, the way i see it, pgma was faced with a gut-wrenching dilemma. from day one of her presidency, she has been begging for a national reconciliation necessary to channel the nation’s energy to improving the lives of its people, her ultimate goal. instead, she has been relentlessly thwarted, attacked, ridiculed, undermined, if not totally ignored. much of the onslaught comes from erap’s fanatics, whom he controls, and who would do his bidding anyhow, anytime. it would not be too hard to see (from gma’s standpoint) that removing estrada from the equation, or at least neutralizing him, would substantially diminish, if not totally eliminate, vicious opposition to her governance.

    i can understand the reaction of the people here to my apparent “change of heart”. these are the same people with one-track, one dimensional view of politics – people who could not concede election defeat, who could not even consider that ” the other guy makes sense”, or that “the other guy is right”. rather it’s always “a, basta, ako ang tama, walang makapagbabago sa aking pananaw”.

    • d0d0ng on October 27, 2007 at 12:35 am

    devilsadvocate on, “intended message was unmistakable. fixed income or not, the strong peso is affecting the “remittances” being sent back home. and “remittances” po ang nababawasan. happy?”

    mas pikon pa si misis kay sa yo…naintindihan kita. Let assume Manolo is right. It should be a stronger motivation for you look for a job locally to support you and your family to become selfsustaining without the financial support of your mother. I am sure you can do it because you have been knowledgeable in this forum.

    • Bencard on October 27, 2007 at 1:08 am

    btw, the deed is done. you can’t put the genie back into the bottle. now, you will be marching in the streets without erap’s minions. i will have the rags ready to wipe your faces once again with you-know-what.

    • d0d0ng on October 27, 2007 at 2:24 am

    grd on, “how can you stop the bleeding?”

    Let us understand what is going on. The BSP can stop the bleeding and intervene by mopping up excess dollar on the market. However, it stands to absorb the forex differences as a loss. The strong peso is brought about by 3 factors, increase remittances, surge of investments and export receipts.

    I tell you why BSP intervention is unlikely through year end. One component is the investment surge which is speculative. Meaning, traders bought Philippine peso early anticipating it will be strenghtend further at year end because of increasing OFWs remittances, evidence of economic growth and reigned inflation (gov’t trying to hold prices down towards Xmas). You can infer in the link that traders were moving as early as June.

    http://www.iht.com/articles/2007/06/21/business/sxasia.php

    The traders will gain on foreign exchange difference of stronger peso. If I am the BSP governor, I will not subsidize the traders gain.

    What can you do? Defer remittances as far as you can towards early 2008 when foreign exchange will usually go up and traders will be changing investments, or encourage your family to borrow (if interest is less worth the fx difference) for a while until you can send remittance on 2008.

  8. Peso o dollar yata mismo ang kinakain ni dOdOng at Cat. Ano ba ang magandang luto sa peso? Sinigang o adobo? Ang dollar grilled na lang?

    Whatever I am spending is irrelevant to the topic. Don’t try to explain phenomenon that you cannot fully understand.

    it is your explanation of the GDP which is wrong.

    • Shaman of Malilipot on October 27, 2007 at 9:16 am

    “Of course, one can claim paying 15% increase. To hold that it is true, somebody is paying 9.6% decrease in price to have the 2.7% average. But that is not the point.” -d0d0ng

    Somebody is paying 9.6% decrease in price of what? Air-conditioner? In a country where the main concern of the majority is how to put food on the table, a decrease in the price of luxuries is hardly a cause for rejoicing if the aim is the improvement of the general quality of life. To me, that’s the whole point.

  9. It should be a stronger motivation for you look for a job locally to support you and your family to become selfsustaining without the financial support of your mother. I am sure you can do it because you have been knowledgeable in this forum.

    dOdOng, kung makapagsalita ka para kang kung sino. eto, isampal mo sa mukha mo. I AM LEAVING. yes. for a job overseas not here. ang sweldo ko sa call center na ikinakainggit ng iba, pinagtatawanan lang ni mama at tinatapatan lang ng allowance ko. so look for a job locally? thanks but no thanks.

    kaya ako nagagalit di dahil sa kulang pera ko, bagkus dahil sa mga kapatid ko na umaasa pa rin kay mama. pito kaming magkakapatid at ang dalawang pinakabunso ay magdo doktor, kaya wala akong maitutulong kung dito na lang ako magpapakahirap sa sweldong di angkop sa kakayahan ko.

    wag ka ngang magsalita na parang me kinalaman ka sa buhay ng iba. oo na, maayos buhay mo kesyo bumaba o tumaas man ang piso. kaya wag ka na sumingit sa mga bagay na di ka naman apektado!

    • inodoro ni emilie on October 27, 2007 at 1:16 pm

    “i can understand the reaction of the people here to my apparent “change of heart”. these are the same people with one-track, one dimensional view of politics – people who could not concede election defeat, who could not even consider that ” the other guy makes sense”, or that “the other guy is right”. rather it’s always “a, basta, ako ang tama, walang makapagbabago sa aking pananaw”.”

    your conscience is screaming, i can hear your soliloquy loud and clear.

    one track indeed. we are living in hyperspace. in politics, there is more to the rule of law. what is legal is not necessarily moral. prerogative na kung prerogatice, ang tanong bencard, was her action just? your idea of governance is myopically focused on the opposition to her contested leadership. my idea of moral governance is one who can whip the lash on corruption. which universe are you in?

    • triolosbogus on October 27, 2007 at 1:18 pm

    Devil, what the American is suggesting maybe to join Politics and make yourself a millionaire, just like most of the them, but to suggest personal choices to someone you don’t even know just exposed the Arrogance of those who themselves are working and residing abroad and take the local situation for granted.. I myself decided that working locally even with a better than average income would still put you in insecure position when you have to pay taxes and not enjoying the benefits from them. Just the cost of Medical care for oneself and family member is enough to lose a lifetime savings, and sending your children to get the most valuable treasure in life, the Proper Education is a daily struggle.. Had I stayed and not so lucky to be a politician, I won’t be seeing the family get off from the never ending search of living in Human Dignity…as we see it day to day, in the squatter’s ghettos, in poor barangays all over the country especially in Southern Philippines and for us living in Middle Class societies, enjoying our starbucks in the morning before going to work and having a beer or two or wine after a sumptuous dinner, a suggestion to those left in the country for a choice that is personal is smack in pretentious arrogance and will cause more divisiveness…

    • inodoro ni emilie on October 27, 2007 at 1:45 pm

    MLQ3, he did not quantify. He merely presented secondary data and put them into graphs.

    Quantification is different in economics. When you quantify, you make use of the mathematics and quantitative methods t or prove your point.

    did you bother to check his primary references?

    (1) Penn World is readily available on the net
    http://pwt.econ.upenn.edu/php_site/pwt61_form.php

    (2) Barro and Lee (2000) provides measures of human capital stock for a broad number of countries that pertains mostly to OECD members, and does not include the Philippines.

    if quantification is what you are looking for, did you bother to read section 4 where alba explicated how he extended barro and lee’s study to provide estimates (using cobb-production function) not just for the philippines but also for other asian countries to provide meaningful comparisons. the tables he provides in the appendix are not merely “secondary data and put them into graphs” but are derivatives of his own based on indices provide by penn and barro & lee’s study. hindi po cut and paste. Por que ba’t sinabi ni alba “drawing national income accounts and population data from blah blah” ay voila, eto na in graphical form lang po ang mailathala ko sa mga mambabasa.

    mag-cross research ka, nasa panel (ehem, ehem, what’s next in this resume building?) ka pa naman.

    • BrianB on October 27, 2007 at 2:15 pm

    Re: Dollar rates. I personally lost what amounts to a new high-end phone because I didn’t convert my dollars late last year.

    I’m guessing it’s high time I went to the US.

    • ramrod on October 27, 2007 at 10:11 pm

    BrianB,

    I am contemplating on going to Europe but lets see what happens.

    • ramrod on October 27, 2007 at 10:18 pm

    i can understand the reaction of the people here to my apparent “change of heart”. – bencard

    Bencard, there is nothing wrong with changing your heart, mind, views, or direction…

    a foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds. – Emerson

    • Bencard on October 28, 2007 at 9:29 am

    ramrod, maybe you misunderstood. i said “apparent” change of heart. there has been no change in my belief that the pardon was ill-advised. i said that now that it’s been done, nobody can undo it (except, perhaps, estrada himself by violating the conditions attached to it), and we should look for the possible benefits, i.e., unity and reconciliation to a significant extent at least, if not totally. would you not like that?

    • d0d0ng on October 29, 2007 at 10:48 pm

    devilsadvocate on, “I AM LEAVING. yes. for a job overseas not here. ang sweldo ko sa call center na ikinakainggit ng iba, pinagtatawanan lang ni mama .”

    This is the issue in Manolo’s blog that foreign earnings is losing value (in purchasing power due to strong peso). Then having local job is better. Apparently, that is not the case as you proudly proclaim yourself to become another OFW despite of stronger peso.

    • d0d0ng on October 29, 2007 at 11:01 pm

    inidoro on, “did you bother to check his primary references?”

    Penn World data has its limitation. It cannot capture both the earnings and consumption of Filipinos ABROAD which is a significant to the analysis.

    Data such as Penn World is as good only as its own limitations . The other way to say it is inconclusive as far as OFW is concerned. DR Albas study is good only if it excludes OFW.

    • d0d0ng on October 29, 2007 at 11:40 pm

    Shaman on, “Somebody is paying 9.6% decrease in price of what? Air-conditioner? In a country where the main concern of the majority is how to put food on the table, a decrease in the price of luxuries is hardly a cause for rejoicing if the aim is the improvement of the general quality of life. To me, that’s the whole point.”

    Let us look at your whole point. It is true that the concern is how to put food on the table. Americans will not take it lightly to see their food basket shrinking either.

    So let us look at CPI US vs Phil. Let us pick up NCR which has 2.8 price increase compared with US Urban cities incidentally has 2.8 price increase.

    In Philippines, the food went up by 3.8 while energy (light & water) by 4.5, all other items being lower to have 2.8 increase.

    In American urban cities, the food went up by 4.4 while energy by 5.3, all other items being lower to have 2.8 increase.

    Whew! Americans are paying more than Filipinos and they are not as whiny as you guys blaiming the government.

    • d0d0ng on October 29, 2007 at 11:49 pm

    devilsadvocate on, “kung makapagsalita ka para kang kung sino. eto, isampal mo sa mukha mo.”

    Get used to that kiddo. When you are in another country you will understand what I am saying. Learn it from me. Hehe.

Load more

Leave a Reply

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