Labor out of the picture

Check out today’s Business Mirror editorial, on some interesting stock market-friendly legislation poised for passage. In the news, Palace fiat jump-starts national identification system plan (I support a national ID system). Also, Bishops in Palace: What’s wrong with it?True. It’s not as if any should doubt those bishops are Palace acolytes.

Meanwhile, Southeast Asia Vulnerable To Us Recession—Imf. See The Economist’s Next stop Asia? How an American recession might hit Asia:

Asian stockmarkets were until recently big fans of the “decoupling” theory: the notion that Asian economies can shrug off an American recession. This week’s plunge in shares, taking the MSCI Emerging Asia Index down by 25% at one point from its October high, suggests they have changed their minds. But the fact that Asian markets have not decoupled does not necessarily mean that their economies will follow America’s over a cliff.

Decoupling was always a misnomer, seeming to imply that an American recession would have no impact on Asia. In fact exports and hence profits would certainly be reduced. The pertinent argument is that they would be hurt by much less than in previous American downturns.

As well as hitting exports, America’s troubles could affect Asia through various financial channels. Asia’s exposure to the subprime mess is thought to be much smaller than that of American or European banks. Even so, Chinese bank shares tumbled this week on rumours that they would have to make much bigger write-downs on their holdings of American subprime securities. And if stockmarkets slide further as global investors flee from risky assets, this could dampen business and consumer confidence in the region.

Some Asian economies are more vulnerable than others: Singapore, Hong Kong and Malaysia have exports to America equivalent to 20% or more of their GDPs, compared with only 8% in China and 2% in India. There are already some ominous signs. Singapore’s exports to America are down by 11% over the past year, while Malaysia’s fell by 16%. Exports to other emerging economies and to the European Union surged, so total exports still grew by 6% in both economies. But that was much slower than at the start of the year, and the worry now is that demand from Europe has started to flag.

The growth in China’s exports to America slowed to only 1% (in yuan terms) in the year to December from over 20% in late 2006. So far the impact on GDP growth has been modest. Figures on China’s fourth-quarter GDP are to be published on Thursday January 24th and most economists expect growth to slow to a still healthy 9-10% this year.

China’s economy would probably still expand by around 8-9% even if export growth dried up. During the 2001 American recession China’s GDP barely slowed. In contrast, Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan and Malaysia suffered full-blown recessions. America’s recession this time is likely to be deeper than in 2001 and Asia is now more integrated into the global economy. Doomsters conclude, therefore, that these economies could be hit harder this time.

The main reason to be more optimistic is that domestic demand (consumer spending and investment) is likely to remain strong and governments have more flexibility. Last year, despite a slowdown in America’s imports, most Asian economies grew faster as domestic demand speeded up. Robert Prior-Wandesforde, an economist at HSBC, says that those who argue that Asian economies cannot decouple from America are ignoring the fact that they already have. Take Malaysia: exports to America plunged, yet its GDP growth quickened from 5.7% at the end of 2006 to 6.7% in the third quarter of last year.

Something an Israeli businessman asked me about before Christmas, and which turns out to be true: Oil smuggling costs govt P16B yearly.

My column for today is, A familiar passage, more in a Suharto-esque vein. See “Memory holes” by Juan Mercado, too:

Filipinos have “a very special problem” in recalling, Ateneo de Manila University president Bienvenido Nebres, S.J. observes. “It is not just wrong memories. It is the lack of a national memory… The consequence is, we tend to live in a perpetual present. We have little collective memory of the past and thus we can not see well into the future.”

In his novel “1984,” George Orwell depicted a country where citizens thrust into a “memory hole” anything that crossed the whim of rulers. As “memory holes” shredded remembrance, wrong became right, lies replaced truth, and freedom turned into slavery.

Like malign genies, blotted-out memories don’t stay bottled up. They deform daily life. Thus, Imelda Marcos insists that Ferdinand Marcos’ dictatorship was the “most democratic period in our history.” The communists claim that “majority of (pogrom) victims decided to continue their work,” even praising the carnage. Estrada? Well, some days he can’t recall if his name is Jose Velarde.

All the hullaballoo about the 50th anniversary of SM (see SM through half a century), oddly enough, never mentions how salespeople remain contractual, and have had their contracts reduced to 3 months instead of 6 months as before. As the different political groups start marshaling their forces in preparation for the political engagements to come -whether a referendum campaign for or against constitutional amendments, or for the 2010 elections- the labor vote will be courted.

Yet the labor force, perhaps well-organized for certain unions, remains relatively small and if the May 1 mobilizations are any guide, seem to be shrinking. Unions didn’t prevent the collapse of certain industries, such as textile factories, have remained static in others such as the transport industry, and has no presence in growing ones such as call centers or the hi-tech manufacturing ones; they can’t have a presence in other countries yet sympathetic groups have been marginally successful in terms of mobilizing the OFW vote (potentially immense).

For example, would any effort to mobilize contractual workers at SM result in anything but opening up more contractual jobs? A strike would simply create huge lines for other citizens eager for any sort of SM-related job. Workers picketed PLDT for months but the country shrugged off the news, even when some of the workers claimed they were assaulted.

As entrepreneurship is encouraged, so will an anti-union mentality. And the unions themselves, how can they muster the clout necessary to cater to their members’ needs, when unemployment is so high, which makes any kind of employment desirable and permanent employment a losing proposition for most employers?

On a related note, Filipino entrepreneurs lack ‘culture of innovation’–DOST.

Let me play catch-up with stories that deserve to be followed, but which I haven’t had time to tackle.

1. The revival of Constitutional amendments proposals

Dan Mariano in his column points to

At the Kapihan sa Sulo media forum Saturday, Bataan Gov. Enrique “Tet” Garcia unveiled what he described as a “workable proposal” for Cha-cha through a second PI.

The Union of Local Officials of the Philippines (ULAP), he said, is “seriously considering [another] people’s initiative in proposing amendments to the Constitution to change the present [bicameral] Congress into a unicameral legislative body. That’s all.”

Garcia said that the presidential form of government “shall be maintained to uphold the right of voters to directly elect their chief executive.”

This is just one of several trial balloons. There’s Malacañang ally files House bill making all elected terms 5 years, and there are other proposals to Federalize the country, etc: Philippine Government Drafts Constitutional Amendment to Create Muslim Homeland. See also Gonzales for scrapping Comelec through Charter change. And Nograles proposes election of Con-con delegates in 2010.

Cities reel from unseen IRA cuts suggests one motivation for amendments moves: the expenses of the 3 year term and frequent elections, a business class increasingly able to say no to political demands, at least during campaign season, may be conspiring to push local government leaders to pursue brinkmanship in terms of constitutional changes. The different proposals emerging (trial balloons, as I’ve said) all seem to have gotten the hint from last year’s Cha-Cha debate: no one seems to be seriously proposing parliamentary government, but having thrown in the towel as far as trying to scrap the presidential system is concerned, unicameralism and federalism are being put back on the table.

Meanwhile, Cito Beltran has a point that in places where it’s needed, the national government lacks the political will to confront what Beltran calls Little republics of anarchy. Still, gerrymandering will continue apace, it seems: Mayors oppose bill relaxing cityhood: Local officials contend creating more cities will reduce IRAs for existing cities.

Fr. Joaquin Bernas SJ recently discussed Surgical constitutional change. Reforms enabling state subsidies for political parties, and bloc voting, don’t require constitutional amendments, though.

2. The downgrading of our airport rankings

Let’s start with What US air inspectors found unsafe (most embarrassing of all, on the eve that the unfavorable findings were released, Naia circuit box stolen, which had left the fence beside SLEX without lights for two days). The result? Arroyo fires aviation chief: US Embassy tells citizens to avoid RP airlines (and which derailed PAL’s expansion plans). Meanwhile, damage control: NAIA complies with ICAO standards–MIAA.

So, could it be, Aviation deficiencies resolved by April? Yet RP air talks mostly in limbo. But in the meantime, Another blow to PAL: Forwarders migrating.

For a thorough look at the situation, see this feature by Recto Mercene, who used to be an air traffic controller (of whom we have too few, and who are overworked): Dreams a-crashing to the ground.

3.ZTE continues to fester

While DOTC pushes ‘broadband’: New name, new partners, same network project, the autopsy of ZTE proceeds slowly. A comparison of ZTE’s prices, compared to prevalent prices in the industry, only appeared last Wednesday in the column of Jarius Bondoc (see the informative table in his column). You can verify, for yourself, if you’re technically inclined, whether Bondoc is on to something, or not. See the long-awaited NBN Contract Annexes (for example, in Yugatech’s initial NBN contract reaction, he mentioned that the annexes would be crucial to determining if the contract was really fishy or not).

4. Zubiri in trouble

Last August, in Newsstand, John Nery wrote this, concerning Juan Miguel Zubiri:

He has filed an absurd counter-protest against rival candidate Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III before the Senate Electoral Tribunal, contesting the results of a jaw-dropping 73,000 precincts. (That’s one-third of the entire country.)

I do not know if the SET will give his counter-protest due course; considering that Pimentel didn’t even have enough campaign funds to show more than a handful of TV spots featuring top celebrity endorser Angel Locsin, the claim that he cheated massively is preposterous.

But Zubiri does not need to prove his allegation of election fraud. All he needs to do is tie up the SET in an interminable recount. Pimentel, who believes he was cheated in 2,680 precincts in a total of seven provinces, is confident that the review of election returns he is contesting would be completed in half a year or so. Zubiri’s protest, on the other hand, would take years to resolve.

Redemption? More like a ruthless gaming of the system. The “Senator from Maguindanao” has cynically exploited the limitations of our election rules, to hold on to his job.

Pimentel’s protest has creaked along and while Is it hello Pimentel, goodbye Zubiri? Not quite, it’s enough to have An OFW in Hong Kong comment, sarcastically, he’s convinced Zubiri won -by cheating:

Now that the ballot boxes are being opened for revision (examination to establish correctness), it has even become clearer that all accusations made against Zubiri (and this administration) regarding manipulation of election results in many parts of Mindanao were true.

For how can you explain (a) empty ballot boxes? (b) Ballot boxes containing ballots filled up by one distinct handwriting only? (c) Ballots inside those boxes without the security seals? It’s clear as day, cheating was done!

As expected, the winning senator will not easily abandon his post. That was part of the sham: to be proclaimed as fast as possible because they know that election protests are decided only after soooo looong! Zubiri is now counting on that proven way to cling to a stolen post.

Hence Lakas-CMD projecting Zubiri as one of its spokesmen, as the party wrestles with its lack of real presidential timber, and the “going on leave” of the President’s son, and fresh rumors of the Speaker being toppled when the House resumes its sessions.

In the blogosphere, The Philosophical Bastard reflects on a comment in this blog. Thoughts on what should government’s role be, in Willing Exile:

If we are to look closely at the things that work for us — private initiative in providing services for those who can afford them, courage and determination to work overseas to make extra dollars, contributions by the sectarians in moving education to a higher level (memo to UP on the celebration of your centennial: in five years, if not less, DLSU will overtake you as the pre-eminent Philippine university in terms of academic reputation, quality of graduates, and infrastructure. Accelerate reform now!), innovation and ingenuity in micro-level enterprises — is that in an environment where individual effort and contribution, fairness, excellence, and quality are observed, we do well.

Government’s role has expanded to that point where it has to intervene in everything. When it does that, it tends to stultify initiative and individualism and thus promotes mendicancy and stagnation. Instead of helping themselves, our people point the finger on others, and mostly on the government. Unfortunately, despite our socialist policy efforts, we cannot aspire to become a welfare state like those in Scandinavia. Given the mad scramble of these states to enlist foreign workers to support their retiring citizens, that system is flawed as well.

Methinks the government’s role in most public spheres is to generate consensus to reduce duplication of activities, support innovation, set fair standards. and then punish violators vigorously. This model will definitely work in business, education, sport — while the government can focus on securing our borders within and without, fostering healthy international relations, and promoting cultural identity.

Still, while we can go on theorizing models of government, it still bears to remember that without a proper culture of public service, any model is guaranteed to fail, as it is doing poorly right now in the Philippines. Change must come from the top, while those below must keep on pushing to ensure that happens. To be a truly “strong republic” the citizens will have to be “strong” in mind themselves.

Basapa tackles Why the Philippines Government Can’t Stop Filipinas from Having an Abortion.

And Gridcrosser Files on the Comedia.

132 comments

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    • inodoro ni emilie on January 25, 2008 at 11:06 am

    It’s the remittances and possible cutbacks on the outsourcing side that we should worry about.

    in the event of a u.s. recession, what’s there for our telebabadeers to attend product queries of?

    • BrianB on January 25, 2008 at 11:08 am

    manolo, is the US rich is anything like the Philippine Rich…

    Go fuck yourselves you poor bastards.

    • BrianB on January 25, 2008 at 11:10 am

    Of course, on TV they’d be teary eyed with some pocket change thrown the poor’s way. This is their crass interpretation of Noblesse Oblige.

    • mlq3 on January 25, 2008 at 11:16 am
      Author

    brian, i think one generalization we can make is that the wealthy around the world think alike. the british aristocrat or film star living abroad to avoid british income taxes and death duties, our own wealthy, the wealthy in indonesia, and the usa, are the ultimate practitioners of globalization.

    • mlq3 on January 25, 2008 at 11:27 am
      Author

    but brian, there’s a reason the truly rich remain precisely that: rich. they’re kuripot.

    • BrianB on January 25, 2008 at 11:36 am

    I don’t think the US situation is a matter of being kuripot. The problem there is that rich people don’t want other people to tell them what to do with their money. Remember Ted Turners donation to the US government?

    It’s a matter of priorities. There are some rich Americans who’d choose their country over their wealth, without question.

    • cvj on January 25, 2008 at 11:37 am

    Manolo, thanks for the pointer to Slate. Unfortunately for America (or maybe fortunately for the emerging markets), they may not get a Mahathir-type leader that will compel the rich to keep their capital at home.

    • supremo on January 25, 2008 at 11:49 am

    cvj,

    ‘set the tax rate to negative’

    There are several tax rates ranging from 10% to 35%. There are tax brackets that correspond to those tax rates.
    Let’s say a single taxpayer has a taxable income (income after all deductions) of $10000. The tax would be computed like this for 2007

    $0 to $7,825 10% of the amount over $0
    $7,826 to $31,850 $782.50 plus 15% of the amount over $7,825

    The IRS do not change the tax rates just the brackets. It is required by law to adjust the dollar amounts based on the tax provisions each year to keep pace with inflation. No need to have a negative tax rate. The current system is confusing enough.
    The nearest thing to a negative tax rate is the $1000 per child credit. This is separate from the child deduction. If your tax refund (you paid too much tax) is $10 and you have a kid, your final tax refund is $1010.
    The Fed will think of another plan if more stimulus is needed. An example is if you buy a car that weighs at least 6000 pounds (think SUV) then you get some kind of rebate or deduction. Crazy but it happened in 2002.

  1. BrianB,

    The good old Atty. Fernandez is from a rare breed. Guess how much he charged the lady client – P2,500 for all those years of hardwork and sacrifice! That case I wrote about was but a small fraction of this poor guy’s legacy. And that overhauled many workers’ views about getting social justice and inspired budding lawyers who believed Don Quixote actually slew the windmill. Many similar cases have prospered since.

    I know he published some books before he died, his mind remained sharp where his knees failed him. He never made money through lawyering, though, just enough to send his son through UP Law. They don’t make lawyers like him anymore.

    May he rest in eternal peace.

    —————–

    As for SM’s contractualization, ad infinitum, the Labor Code Arts. 279 and 280 (now amended to consider even broken employment as regular, as long as it totalled one year) is explicit in prohibiting such practice. So does Department Order #3 (DOLE) which outlaws labor-only contracting/subcontracting.

    Never mind if we have Section 3, Article XVI of the Constitution defining the State’s policy to assure the workers to security of tenure and free them from the bondage of uncertainty woven by some employers in these contracts. The implementors of the law in the executive are often in cahoots with the violators, or are violators themselves. They don’t even respect this Constitution. So much for rule of law.

    As I replied to UP n student earlier, why blame everybody else when it’s the lawyers who are responsible for this social menace?

    • benign0 on January 25, 2008 at 1:15 pm

    “but brian, there’s a reason the truly rich remain precisely that: rich. they’re kuripot.” — mlq3

    I think this is not entirely true. The rich (those who legitimately acquired their wealth) see thing ordinary people don’t see. They see potential in what to most people are the most mundane of things (kind of like the way Pinoys see their forests merely as a cash crop — to be harvested and exported RAW, while more innovative societies see their forests as an asset that yields SUSTAINABLE income and benefits to wellbeing for GENERATIONS ahead).

    Rich people scrimp on the things that don’t matter but would RISK sizeable chunks of their personal assets on things that have POTENTIAL.

    Compare that to the ordinary Pinoy schmoe who would scrimp on their own kids’ education but then go out to splurge on the latest karaoke, celphone trinket, or ocho-ocho party.

    Seeing the rich as merely kuripot is an underclass trait. Catholics are raised to regard generosity as a be-all end-all virtue. So we tend to lionise people who throw lavish parties and dole out wads of cash to “the hungry”. We were raised to remember that tired old parable about the camel fitting through the eye of the needle before the rich man could — all but forgetting that there is also a parable saying that servants who don’t invest their masters’ money profitably also go to hell.

    This is the kind of mentality that elects visibly “generous” bozos like Erap (remember how the poor lined up at the gates of Malacanang?) to office. It is the mentality behind why voters can be bought by distributing sacks of rice to every barrio, and the reason behind why Pinoys turn straight to the ninong/ninang list to count the number of generals and senators whenever they receive an invitation to a wedding.

    Maybe the rich are ‘kuripot’ because they themselves worked hard to accumulate their wealth and EXPECT OTHER PEOPLE to have the same attitude towards the aquisition of assets. Which is why they have a ‘tough luck’ attitude towards people who say “buti ka pa ang yaman mo”.

    People who say “buti ka pa ang yaman mo” come across as people who think that wealth is a matter of luck or “blessing”. I think this is what annoys rich people (those who worked hard and risked a lot for their wealth) the most.

    • cvj on January 25, 2008 at 1:23 pm

    Rich people scrimp on the things that don’t matter but would RISK sizeable chunks of their personal assets on things that have POTENTIAL. – Benign0

    When a person risks sizeable chunks of their personal assets on things that have potential, is there a guarantee that they will be rewarded for taking such risks?

    • cvj on January 25, 2008 at 1:24 pm

    sorry the next paragraph above should be outside the blockquote.

    • UP n student on January 25, 2008 at 1:30 pm

    TonGuE-tWisTeD : Based on what you state, the responsibility for SM contractualization legal convolution lies with the judges who rule on the cases (and any and all influence peddlers in the background). The worker loses because the judge, thru incompetence(lack of knowledge the Labor Code Arts. 279 and 280 you state), or thru culpability, pens the wrong decision on the case. The organizational structure has the local judges report to the Supreme Court, doesn’t it? And of course, blame is on any and all influence-peddlers in the background (and any incompetent labor union unable to get the Labor Laws implemented consistently).

    • benign0 on January 25, 2008 at 1:34 pm

    “When a person risks sizeable chunks of their personal assets on things that have potential, is there a guarantee that they will be rewarded for taking such risks?”

    Of course not. KAYA NGA ‘RISK’ E.

    You can go through life with the notion that you are OWED a profit whenever you risk some capital on a venture. That kind of thinking is for morons.

    • benign0 on January 25, 2008 at 1:37 pm

    I meant to say “You CAN’T go through life…” pala.

    • UP n student on January 25, 2008 at 1:39 pm

    People interested should also google for “philippines ITUC trade union labor laws” to see what the international community reports.

    • BrianB on January 25, 2008 at 1:50 pm

    “You can go through life with the notion that you are OWED a profit whenever you risk some capital on a venture. That kind of thinking is for morons.”

    I think one of the older Lopezes once said something like they deserve their “due return for their investment.” I tried writing a short letter to the inquirer describing how stupid such a statement was coming from a businessman. The thinking of these people…. The most primitive Filipinos are not the aetas in their land reserves but these conglomerate families.

    • inodoro ni emilie on January 25, 2008 at 2:32 pm

    there is also a parable saying that servants who don’t invest their masters’ money profitably also go to hell

    only if the servants were charged to do so. but if these servants earned that money it is up to them to decide how to spend it: if the money is earned, then it’s theirs.

    • Jeg on January 25, 2008 at 2:40 pm

    while more innovative societies see their forests as an asset that yields SUSTAINABLE income and benefits to wellbeing for GENERATIONS ahead)

    What Im batting for is a society that sees their forests as capital. That’s not innovation. That’s just common sense.

    But I think MLQ3 means the old rich, benny. The stagnant, old rich. Not the kind you were talking about in your comment.

    • cvj on January 25, 2008 at 2:42 pm

    Of course not. KAYA NGA ‘RISK’ E. – Benign0

    I thought so as well. If that’s the case, then that would open up the possibility of people who have risk-[ed] sizeable chunks of their personal assets on things that have potential but for one reason or another did not succeed. Do you have an idea of the relative proportion of those who succeeded and those who did not? And of those who did not, are they to be considered, in your words, ‘morons’?

  2. UP n student,
    But the courts only decide on cases as they are presented by the lawyers. Those lawyers who can not (or will not, intentionally) anchor their arguments on solid ground such as the laws I’ve mentioned are doomed to lose from the start. In racetrack lingo it’s called “biyahe”.

    Look at the list of cases decided after that landmark case, even industry heavyweights represented by topnotch law firms, it would seem, were gypped by their counsels into fighting an expensive lost cause. On the other hand, unions struggle with payday collections for retainers that don’t win them cases. Pepsi, Philips, Purefoods are some examples.

    More workers/unions are now better informed of their rights as are the employers that very few such cases are now taken up in the Supreme Court. The best thing that happened is that many firms have avoided the practice completely.

    I don’t know how SM can still get away with it though.

    • benign0 on January 25, 2008 at 5:06 pm

    “Do you have an idea of the relative proportion of those who succeeded and those who did not? And of those who did not, are they to be considered, in your words, ‘morons’?”

    Nope. I called ‘morons’ those who live by the notion that they are owed a profitable outcome whenever they risked some capital.

    As for the relative proportion stats you — as is typical of you — requested. My answer is: I don’t know. What’s the point in knowing that? If someone told you that 80% of people who invested in a lechon manok stand succeeded, will that make you any more comfortable or uncomfortable with starting a lechon manok business?

    • cvj on January 25, 2008 at 5:48 pm

    Thanks Benign0, i wanted to find out whether you had a way of determining how many are, and are not ‘morons’ in Philippine society. From what you’ve said, you can only identify the subset of ‘non-morons’ who have already succeeded in getting rich.

    • benign0 on January 25, 2008 at 6:06 pm

    cvj,

    Yet again you didn’t get it.

    The moron statement I made had nothing to do with how many succeeded and how many failed as businessmen.

    My statement was to do with people who entertain the notion that they are owed a profitable outcome (by God, society, or whoever else) whenever they put some capital at risk. And my assertion is that such people are morons.

    Understand the argument first before you respond to it.

    • cvj on January 25, 2008 at 6:28 pm

    Benign0, who are these people who think ‘they are owed a profitable outcome whenever they put some capital at risk’ whom‘ you’re referring to?

  3. In SM and other Pinoy stores, there are more personnel manning EACH P.O.S. station than it takes to crew up the average army tank — one to punch in the sale, another to stamp, countersign, and tape the receipt onto the item, and another to bag it.

    What you see are just the sales personnel who service the customers. What you do not see are the house detectives wearing street clothes and posing as customers.

    The overhead cost of the Pinoy stores are mostly the salaries of the sales people. The overhead cost of the
    Western retail stores include the salaries of the sales peoples, the house detectives and the humungous insurance against losses from theft thru shoplifting.

  4. And yet, in these Western department stores, service is vastly superior and staff far more helpful and knowledgeable about the merchandise than the average SM chick.

    You still believe this crap eh? Haven’t we argued on this before –not unless you still frequent the beauty counters where the sales personnel are taught how to apply make-up for demos.

    The one or two staff in a Western department store would not bother to educate you about the products on they carry. They do not have the luxury to waste time on one customer. All the staff does is use the keyboard (which doesn’t require a brain of Einstein) to check the availability of the product item that you want to buy.

    Most of them are also seasonal or on a part-time basis.
    What’s the use of training them?

    • anthony scalia on January 26, 2008 at 10:17 pm

    mlq3,

    “As entrepreneurship is encouraged, so will an anti-union mentality”

    Try being an owner-employer for a few years, and see if your views on unionism will stay the same.

    Put yourself in the shoes of an owner-employer who couldn’t meet the orders of a prized overseas client on time because his workers are on strike.

    • cvj on January 27, 2008 at 2:53 am

    Anthony, maybe that owner didn’t treat his workers well.

    • vic on January 27, 2008 at 12:19 pm

    Magna International, One of the World’s Biggest Auto Parts Manufacturing expecting sales of $26B in a recession this year has no unionized labour force and is planning to organize. The President and CEO (the father)is against the Idea, but her daughter retiring MP Belinda Stronach is not against it..Ms Stronach who is retiring to return as CEO of the Co. had been running the company in the past and was quite successful..the employees reaction..Unions who made the Big 3 less competitive is not very attractive for a well-treated group of employees, though most unionized Public Employees and Publicly owned corporations here enjoy much, much better pension plans and benefits, some private concerns are very Wary because it may make bussiness less competitive and therby layoffs or worse even close shops…My bet they will reject the Plan of Organizing the Union…

    • Silent Waters on January 27, 2008 at 8:53 pm

    CVJ

    Hahaha. Didn’t treat his workers well my ass. My dad treated his workers very well, and still, they decided to form a union anyway because the KMU chuchus decided to influence them on the communist way fo thinking…which makes me wonder why you’re in capitalist SIngapore…you should be in CUba so you could see for yourself how communism really works….

    • Silent Waters on January 27, 2008 at 8:57 pm

    The real problem is the false hopes these union leaders give these workers…they give them the notion that because they produce the goods, they should reap the most benefits….forgetting that somebody else put up the capital and the equipment in order to produce the goods…yan ang hirap sa inyong mga do gooders..porke yung mga capitalista, may pera na kasi, ang dapat pagbigyan na ;ang lagi, yung mga manggagawa. Kung ganun ng ganun lang, mawawala talaga ang mga manganaglakal sa Pilipinas. Tignan niyo na lang ang Valenzuela. Every yearm nagsasara ang mga pabrika. DI niyo man lamang iniisip na isa sa mga dahilan ay ang pagiging militante ng mga manggagawa. Sanakung productive. Hindi naman.

    • cvj on January 27, 2008 at 9:23 pm

    Silent Waters, he’s your Dad so it’s natural you’d take his side. Besides, if he treated his workers well, how come he can’t convince them to stay loyal? There must be a breakdown in communication somewhere. Maybe he lacked empathy. BTW, unionization is not a communist idea. It is also practiced in Western Capitalist countries.

    I wonder why businessmen don’t agree to deal with labor on equal terms. Hindi iyung parang alipin ang tingin. Government, labor and business should get together and have some give and take. Perhaps government should protect home grown businesses like yours, labor should avoid labor strike, while businessmen promise to keep their capital at home, i.e. avoiding capital strikes. Daanin sa magandang usapan.

    • Silent Waters on January 27, 2008 at 11:58 pm

    CVJ

    You really live in an ivory tower…..no wonder your ideas are so unbelievably utopian. Sorry…kaming mga nasa lupa, alam namin ang tunay na nangyayari. ANd sorry rin, I am not biased FOR my dad. We don;t see eye to eye on how to run a business but I know for a fact that he took care of his workers well. So Ikaw lang ang may problema, basta kapitalista, masama na. Basta unyonista, mabuting tao sila.

    • Silent Waters on January 28, 2008 at 12:01 am

    you obviously looked at businessmen with biased eyes so there’s no point in having a discussion with you at all.

    • cvj on January 28, 2008 at 12:30 am

    So Ikaw lang ang may problema, basta kapitalista, masama na. Basta unyonista, mabuting tao sila. – Silent Waters

    That’s a mischaracterization of what i said. Since when did a dialog between government, business and labor become utopian?

    • Silent Waters on January 28, 2008 at 7:19 am

    Since I never heard anything spew out of your mouth other than businessmen being the source of evil in our country. Whenever somebody criticizes labor, you come up in their defense. Lahat nga kami, masama. Sorry, keep going back to the previous blog comments and read them yourself.

    • Silent Waters on January 28, 2008 at 7:38 am

    ANd not only that. Whenever we make the slightest critique of the FIlipino labor’s character flaws, you come to their defense like they’re angels and can do no wrong. You never want to acknowledge that they have their share of the faults too. Responsibility should not be their concern. Yun ang mindset mo.

    At least, ako, alam ko may mga problema rin ang mga businessman sa atin. I admit as much. Pero I don;t make blanket accusations the way you do. There is a presumption on your part that all businessmen are shady unless proven otherwise. At the same time, when labor is involved, they are all so innocent. Lagi silang pinagsasamantalahan ng negosyante. Hoy, each side have THEIR share of the problems.

    And I never said there should’t be a dialog. I was just responding to your comment to Anthony. You presume immediately the workers weren’t treated well. hey, guess what, the workers at Nestle we’re given good salaries and benefits. Yet, they still went on strike. A Janitor who gets 25000 a month? That’s not being treated well. Jeezzz.

    • anthony scalia on January 28, 2008 at 10:19 am

    cvj,

    My point there is for commenters to see the big picture, before rushing immediately to labor’s side. More often than not, those who take the union point of view do not see the big picture.

    While i don’t discount the reality of workers being oppressed, let us also not discount the reality that labor is not the innocent pristine creature leftists picture it to be.

    And ‘taking care of his workers well’ is a very subjective idea. For the likes of KMU, owners never take care of their employees enough.

    • anthony scalia on January 28, 2008 at 10:30 am

    Silent Waters,

    Did you know that the brand name of leftist labor unions carry a big wallop?

    How?

    Lets say the workers of a company decide to form a union, and chooses to be affiliated with a leftist union. The company workers then apply for the conduct of an election with DOLE. If the company learns that their workers are affiliating with a known leftist union, it will panic (strikes all over)! And guess what? The leaders of that leftist union will offer to withdraw either the application for election or disaffiliate the company workers. For a fee.

    Walang problema sa mga uring manggagawa. Ang tutoong problema ay ang mga leaders ng umbrella unions. Mga sulsulero. Pag nagsara ang pabrika, di naman magugutom ang mga leaders na ito, dahil di naman sila empleyado ng mga pabrikang nagsara.

    • cvj on January 28, 2008 at 2:08 pm

    Whenever somebody criticizes labor, you come up in their defense. Lahat nga kami, masama. – Silent Waters

    Lahat ba ng Tsinoy businessmen pusong mamon? BTW, what do you think should be the proper salary for janitors?

    Anthony, if the KMU does that, then why don’t the employers get together and report their activities? Unfair practices by certain unions is not a basis for trying to eliminate them altogether. In the same way that businessmen not paying their proper taxes should not be a reason for altogether eliminating private enterprise.

    • anthony scalia on January 28, 2008 at 4:21 pm

    cvj,

    what can reporting do? those concerned will not bother. besides, that form of ‘extortion’ isn’t a crime, its the labor union equivalent of ‘greenmail’.

    im not saying do away with unions. my point is that we should see the big picture, and acknowledge that both sides can be in pari delicto

    • cvj on January 28, 2008 at 4:35 pm

    Anthony, that’s the price of apathy, i.e. the businessmen’s unwillingness to engage themselves in the public sphere.

    • anthony scalia on January 28, 2008 at 7:43 pm

    cvj,

    Businessmen have more profitable things to do than ‘report the matter to those concerned’. If a union isn’t formed, or if the union doesn’t affiliate with a leftist umbrella, that’s already more than enough consolation for him not to bother.

    By the way, I have yet to hear you take issue with that so-prevalent practice of labor unions. You’re not faulting them for such ‘creative extortion’

    • cvj on January 28, 2008 at 8:02 pm

    Anthony, there lies our own tragedy of the commons. We all know that everyone will benefit from a healthier public sphere that comes with greater public participation. However, businessmen choose to focus only on their own little concerns which is why corruption and dysfunctional practices persists. It’s that “don’t bother” attitude. There is little sense of belonging to a larger polity.

    For the record, i condemn labor unions that engage in ‘creative extortion’.

    • Silent Waters on January 28, 2008 at 10:38 pm

    CVJ

    At long last, you see the big picture..like I said, I never claimed businessmen are pristine. What I am saying is that you should not just defend labor like they’re never at fault. At the end of the day, each side have their valid concerns and you are right that these should be discussed. I am only taking issue with your knee jerk defense of labor every time somebody bothers to critique their wrong behavior.

    Now regarding your question on what should be the salary of a janitor, that is NOT the point of the argument. The point of the argument is that they still struck even if they’re one of the mroe highly paid workers in the Philippines, and in fact, higher than a lot of middle managers in most local companies. Now, you may argue that it certainly is not enough considering the talent. Then the problem goes back to the lack of jobs available, right? Supply and demand. We have too many college graduates running after too few jobs. So guess what, ganun talaga ang buhay.

    Now, as for job creation, Anthony has some valid points about just shutting up and get into the mode of job creation rather than trying to keep on disrupting the political situation, thereby possibly causing distress on the economic front. Of course, one may argue the point that GMA is the cause of said instability, not the other way around. But then there are consitutional routes one can take. Pagalingan na lang yan. Eh kung magaling yung adminstrasyon mag-parry ng mga atake sa kanya, sorry, di ba? Ibig sabihin, mahina ang oposisyon.

    • Silent Waters on January 28, 2008 at 10:41 pm

    Oh By the way, the BMP and the KMU are masters of creative extortion. This is from personal experience so don’t wonder why I have a very biased view against labor. I am not againts labor unions per se as it has it’s place in society. I do abhor labor unions as practiced in the Philippines. It’s only goal is to extort money from the businessmen by creating this class war between labor and capital.

    That’s exactly my point as to why I told you to get down from your ivory tower and be down here, where its gets dirty so you’ll see how corrupt Philippine society is.

    • cvj on January 28, 2008 at 11:37 pm

    Silent Waters, i don’t think its consistent for businessmen to lament how corrupt Philippine society is while taking advantage of that very same corruption.

    • anthony scalia on January 29, 2008 at 6:42 am

    cvj,

    There goes your presupposition on businessmen again.

    If you’re a businessman who gave in to the creative extortion of a leftist umbrella, you’ll know the feeling of ‘don’t bother’.

    A businessman knows he’ll profit more if he exercises self-restraint in the enjoyment of his freedoms under the Bill of Rights.

    • cvj on January 29, 2008 at 8:29 am

    Anthony, which is why this is another tragedy of the commons. The businessman behaves in a way that may be good for him/her as an individual business but is harmful for the system, (including the business environment) as a whole.

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