Business blasts Palace

The big news today is that foreign investors have (uncharacteristically) decided to put their weight behind the cause of human rights. It makes business sense: the news isn’t getting any better, and as the President’s last European trip demonstrated, people are upset. Bleating about “Communists,” in European countries where Communist parties are well-integrated, doesn’t hold water.

Liberals in the United States have also applied pressure on big corporations to be more sensitive to human rights issues, and union-busting overseas won’t hold much appeal in an America that’s just turned out big business Republicans in a big way. European and American investors could find themselves on the receiving end of pressure to pull out if the Philippines continues to be a place of political killings.

And investors represent, on the whole, countries whose societies don’t look fondly on officials running around having journalists arrested.

The Manila mayoralty race continues to heat up: Lacson makes overtures to Lim (both would otherwise carve up the Binondo business base between them); and Rosebud’s in the merry mix as a spoiler. The government’s bringing in Atong Ang points to an effort to blow up both the Lacson campaign and deflate Joseph Estrada’s increasing confidence he will be acquitted (Connie Veneracion has an interesting take on the whole thing).

But just in case, Plan C? or D? Or E? Is back on the table: convene a hand-picked constitutional convention. They might just keep Jose Abueva and friends another lease on life yet!

Newsbreak reports on how Quezon City fixed its deficit problem within a year.

Egyptian bloggers being persecuted. In India, growth isn’t trickling down.

In the punditocracy, the Daily Tribune editorial takes a tart look at administration anger over dynasties.

Luis Teodoro says the President has learned a lesson: only trust military men. Marit Stinus-Remonde on the alarming political murder situation in Cebu.

John Mangun assumes Filipinos in America are Democrats (I tend to think they’re usually Republican: wealthy Filipinos and professionals with a liberal educational background, and academics are the ones usually sympathetic to the Democrats), and warns that the Democratic victory bodes ill for overseas investments.

Edward Ayers says journalists can make better historians than academics.

In the blogosphere, Madame Chiang reflects on my column from yesterday.

James Jimenez comments on the complexities of comparing election documents -and says the opposition and administration lawyers in the vice-presidential electoral appeal should stop dilly-dallying.

caffeine sparks speaks eloquently on behalf of Dodong Nemenzo (who has been arraigned). See Nemenzo’s statement on the charges leveled against him.

Cebu Reporter’s Blog is irritated with critics of the Cebu Convention Center.. Another Cebu City resident, Overkill Unlimited thinks the building won’t be finished on time.Their optimism that it can be used -and useable- is countered by Emil Jurado, who says the security people of foreign VIP’s have rejected the building; only the opening ceremony will be held there.

Iloilo City Boy says Franklin Drilon seems destined to run for congressman in Iloilo against Raul Gonzalez, Jr.; Mar Roxas put his foot down versus the small town lottery entering Capiz.

mongster’s nest meets a congressman who blogs, and has interesting observations on the suicide methods preferred by Filipinos.

Bunker Chronicles is ticked off by the transformation of Bonifacio Day into a long weekend.

Another Hundred Years Hence appeals for help for a kid who needs a bone marrow transplant.

23 Cents has fun with a 20 Peso bill.

This is fun: Filipino Dirty Words. Reminds me I used to find “Peter Pan” hilarious because the dog was named “Nana.”

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Manuel L. Quezon III.

32 thoughts on “Business blasts Palace

  1. The Manila mayoralty is crucial to the survival of Arroyo. If an opposition candidate wins, then rallies will be allowed all the way to Chino Roces bridge. That means Malacanan will have to move to clark or cebu city. So the trick is to get a lot of candidates running for mayor. divide up the opposition votes and get the spawn of atienza elected. Which brings up this question – could either Lim or Lacson be a pawn of malacanan?

  2. Atong Ang is playing the most difficult gamble of his life. He could take the administation’s offer but how much does he really know that could cause a very heavy dent on the opposition and Estrada . Is he going to side with a government in very serious danger of collapse? Only to face the wrath of another…

  3. Why is everyone saying that the Democrats are protectionist while the Republicans are not. They must be either ignorant or act like they know but that means they are not stupid but deceitful. This guy Mangun is just plain trying hard ignoramus. How can they talk so authoritatively with so much ignorance. With the Democrats in power that means the AFL-Cio will push their issues of labor rights for exporting countries to the U.S. The majority of exports from the developing world are outsourced manufactures from American corporations who use contractors. That is not protectionism that is paying fair wages. Let us look at the subterfuge that the U.S. says is their open economy. Why are people so stupid to read an idiot like Mangun and others who says that open economies are the road to development. Why does the U.S. protect even the smallest group of their labor force 2-3% in agriculture and less than 20% in manufacures. Because the big agricultural companies ADM, Cargill, Continental and the cotton produciong states will lose their subsidies.

    “But the coup de grace was delivered by the world’s richest country, the United States, which once again decided to demonstrate its hypocrisy. The US ostensibly agreed to a 97% opening of its markets to the poorest countries. The developing countries were disappointed with the results of Europe’s EBA initiative, and Europe has responded by committing itself to dealing with at least part of the problem that arises from the rules of origin tests. America’s intention was, to the contrary, to seem to be opening up its markets, while doing nothing of the sort, for it appears to allow the US to select a different 3% for each country. The result is what is mockingly coming to be called the EBP initiative: developing countries will be allowed freely to export everything but what they produce . They can export jet engines, supercomputers, airplanes, computer chips of all kinds—just not textiles, agricultural products, or processed foods, the goods they can and do produce.”
    “Consider Bangladesh. If we go by the most widely used six-digit tariff lines, Bangladesh exported 409 tariff lines to the US in 2004, from which it earned about $2.3 billion. But its top 12 tariff lines – 3% of all tariff lines – accounted for 59.7% of the total value of its exports to the US. This means that the US could erect barriers to almost three-fifths of Bangladeshi exports. For Cambodia, the figure would be about 62%”.
    “The situation is no better if the 3% rule applies to the tariff lines that the US imports from the rest of the world (rather than to the lines individual poor countries export to the US), for then the US can exclude roughly 300 tariff lines from duty-free and quota-free treatment. For Bangladesh, this implies that 75% of the tariff lines, accounting for more than 90% of the value of its exports to the US, could be excluded from duty-free treatment. Exclusion from duty-free treatment could reach 100% for Cambodia, which exported only 277 tariff lines to the US in 2004.”
    “The official argument for the 3% exclusion is that it affects “sensitive products.” In other words, while the US lectures developing countries on the need to face the pain of rapid adjustment to liberalization, it refuses to do the same. (Indeed, it has already had more than 11 years to adjust to liberalization of textiles.) But the real problem is far worse because the 3% exclusion raises the specter of an odious policy of divide and conquer, as developing countries are invited to vie with each other to make sure that America does not exclude their vital products under the 3%. The whole exclusion simply undermines the multilateral trading system.” J. Stiglitz

  4. I cannot help but laugh when I saw the names of the businesses that are putting pressure to the government for human right’s cause. Some of them have issues of their own.

  5. It is not wise to rely on the assumption that GMA’s government is ready to fall. The overconfidence makes one unprepared for the surprises of the GMA thinktanks.Makes them speculate what comes next.

    And bringing in Ang is one among the list of contingent plans of action after the people’s initiative was trashed that is to eliminate possible strong Mayoralty candidate contenders and or endorsers in the coming elections for the local execs and senatorial candidates.

    Because that’s how GMA mind works. It is not plan a,b,c. But it is PLAN A all the time with potential problems and contingent plan of actions in its implementation. What’s the difference?
    There are short term and long term goals and corresponding strategies . This Ang factor was not hatched overnight.

    Definitely, imho Lacson is not a pawn. His term as a senator is almost over.

    The pawn should be popular but without potential to win. Guess who.

  6. There is a difference between the Arroyo and the Estrada dynasties.

    The Estradas are running for national office. The Arroyo’s are running for elections in safe districts. Mikey is running in his mother’s bailiwick and a deal was worked out between the Andaya’s and the Arroyo’s so that Dato can run unopposed in Andaya’s bailiwick.

    I’d like to see any Arroyo gamble big. I want to see even one of them run against the Estrada’s for national office.

    It’s not easy to establush a nation-based dynasty if one is running in the opposition.

    I often wonder – why is it that the children of a man facing plunder chatges are highly electable while the relatives of the woman who gave us a strong peso and a booming stock market cannot run for office except in safe districts?

  7. Just a minor note… blogger caffeine sparks did not speak eloquently on behalf of Dodong Nemenzo — caffeine sparks posted a defense of Prof. Dodong Nemenzo (former UP President) authored by Roland Simbulan.

  8. i cannot see how atong ang can affect lacson’s bid for the mayoralty seat of manila. the former can only testify in illegal gambling matters. the star witness against erap in the jueteng gate, chavit, has already cleared the former pnp chief of any involvement. he said, during erap’s impeachment trial, that all payola intended for the pnp chief stopped during lacson’s time because unlike his immediate predecessor (lastimoso, code named goma), the new agency head disliked protection money from illegality. i heard it myself. it was aired live. when asked why protection money was not being appropriated to lacson, chavit said “ayaw niya ng mga ganyan.”

  9. Re: Filipino political leanings…

    I think it depends on how religious they are. Devout Catholics and Evangelical Christians will lean Republican. Others will lean Democrat. Sort of like how the entire American society is.

    BUT… the added wrinkle is the stereotypical image-conscious Pinoy. I really believe that quite a number of Filipinos vote Republican for no other reason than the GOP is commonly perceived as the party of the rich. Politically colored “pa-sosyal”. I’ve spoken to quite a few who think this way.

    My FRIENDS are even willing to CAMPAIGN for the OPPOSITION
    Anyone EXCEPT Candidates endorse and close to the FAKE President ,,, TIME to END the RULE of the CHEATERS and LIARS

  11. corruption is not an issue against mike d. the worst press he got was for kidnapping the witness against fg, using the poor guy’s family; plus the padi’s point pickup ladies. other than that, there are no issues against him. i sort of admired him in his standing by the president during her darkest hour. prior to the rescue of fvr, lakas stlawarts like jdv, nograles, pichay etc etc sat on the fence. mike d. never abandoned gma. nonetheless, you are right. we should not vote for him. hehehehe

  12. While the international business community steps up its pressure on GMA to address the unabated political killings – the military cries foul and fully endorses the proposal put forward by retired generals that Amnesty International (AI) be declared persona non grata. AI is accused of “unfair” reporting of the killings. AI has, of course, played a decisive role in bringing the issue of political killings to the attention of the international community. It would not have been effective in its role as a huuman rights watchdog if its track record of impartial and rigorous reporting is not trustworthy. It has been consistently reporting about human rights violations in the country since the Marcos regime. It did not spare even the Aquino government, at the height of its popularity, in its critical assessment of the state of human rights during that period. There is no love lost between AI and the military who is the constant subject of AI’s exposés. The military’s attack on AI’s alleged “unfair “ reporting provides a very convenient distraction from the core issue of State’s responsibility under international law to protect its citizens from these wanton killings. And the Arroyo government is seriously failing in this regard. One can only hope that her presidency will not only de-legitimize this call by her generals but would in fact dismiss it as irresponsible as it adds further risks to the lives and security of human rights defenders associated with Amnesty International. She should take her role as commander in chief decisively in addressing this problem that is increasingly fuelling another political crisis in her government.

  13. yes Ca t, I bet you’re refering to Walmart, whose more than a thousand stores accross The US and Canada, not a single one of them is unionized. One that successfully organized in Quebec, was closed by Walmart for the ‘reason’ that it is not a “profitable” operation. And they were caught red-handed employing illegal alliens as sub-contractors. well, it’s easier for them to look at other shortcomings, but i rather see Walmart shares that mammonth profits among the thousands of its employees.

  14. Some people think two sides of the brain are one and the same. It will surprise them that what one side could do may not be true to the otherside. It may educate these people to check on brain lateralization and split brain syndrome instead of telling people how to use their brain.

    GMA government ready to collapse?! Maybe if one is an avid reader of PDI. Not so according to Manila Standard. Not so if we ignore the noisy few.

  15. vic… if you own WMT shares, you may consider selling. WMT is putting its merchandise on sale way too early, which tells me that WMT management expects lousy holiday sales. Lousy holiday sales translates into a drop in the stock-price. [One or two retail analysts (from investment firms) have also commented that WMT is holding the wrong mix of products in its inventory.] The 5-year chart also shows the deadly “lower-highs; lower-lows” pattern, which further indicates continued erosion in the stock price.
    [Royal Bank of Canada [RY] has outperformed Walmart, and RY has a larger dividend-rate, too!!]

  16. hvrds.. the same web-site you did the cut-and-paste from (the Stiglitz article) contains response. Now Stiglitz is a world-heavyweight in economics, but Rogoff is also well-accomplished (he is now a Harvard professor). Professor Rogoff says:
    “…Has anybody noticed that for more than a decade now, US imports have been averaging several hundred billion (thousand million) dollars more than exports? Do people seriously believe that the US has accomplished its majestic trade deficit by shutting its doors to foreign goods?
    On the contrary, through its low tariffs and general lack of import restrictions, the US has turned itself into an international shopping theme park. Americans buy more foreign-made refrigerators, cars, clothing, computers – you name it – than anyone else. Happily for world exporters, the same binge mentality that makes a whopping two-thirds of Americans either overweight or obese seems to extend to all their purchasing habits. Since the start of this decade, neither recession nor hurricanes nor sky-high oil prices have seemed to dent their appetites.”
    Rogoff does make mention of the particular clout that American farmers have in the halls of the US Congress and with the White House.

  17. Whoever runs for office in an election must be A Spartan. Whatever one believes in – power and wealth at all costs – or any other belief is ok. Lacson is a typical example. GMA is another one. Ramos and Erap were not Spartans. Mar Roxas is not. He and Pangilinan should go into business and not politics. Loren Legarda looks to becoming a Spartan but she has no political line except planting trees. They are good at marketing. I do not think this country will tolerate any more governance by PR and photo-ops.

    The left has never been able to shake off the American inspired demonization and no progressive ideas will prosper as labor migration has become acceptable to all under the constant drumbeating of globalization. The diaspora and braod inequalities at home will insure that the electoral system will always be flawed. It is already a self-sustaining process that for the economy to grow we have to send our best and brightest and most desperate abroad.

    The recent elections in the U.S. clearly shows that even with serious issues ( foreign) at stake – slightly over 40% of the electorate voted. The majority of Americans still have not showed up in the electoral process.

    The American middle is is a much better shape than their parents were during the depression and the early years after the war. Thier concerns are future wages (pensions) and decent affordable healthcare) That is why Bush was able to get away with his liberation theology policies for the Middle East. Milton Friedman was right, people only get involved and are forced to move in a crisis. He said at that point all the texbooks become useless. The crisis in America is pretty much a future crisis of being able to meet the social safety net promised to those who will retire. Debts do not matter as long as you have more poeple at the base of the triangle to fund it for the future. That is the beauty of national currencies and most esp[ecailly if yours is the world currency. You never run out of funds to borrow cheap since there is so much of it.

    Meanwhile here the percentages are almost double. It is an income generating enterprise for most of the poor. Looking back the history of elections, this is to be expected. The poor support their elected ones and the elected ones subsidize the poor for their votes. It’s a business enterprise with organized structures down to the barangay and household level.

  18. Please note that when you speak of trade make a differnce between the import and export trade of consumption and the carrying trade.

    Almost 50-60 percent of Chinas exports to the U.S. are part of the carrying trade. Perfect example is the I-Pod. The manufacrturing process is contracted out to many factories all over S.E. Asia and the product is asembled and packaged in China.

    If you look at the manufacturing valued added and compare it to the wholesale and retail price which redounds to the American corporation you will begin to understand what the carrying trade is all about. China’s exports which is part of the import and export trade of consumption is very small. China si simply a labor contracotr in most of its exports. Where they are gaining fast is their reverse engineering. They are slowly staring to climb up the value added ladder but that is where they are running into problems. They are not paying for the patents and simply copying technologies and copyrights. That is where they ran inot problems with Cisco when they started selling knock offs of routers and servers.

    I have been in the trade most of my life and am now retired from it. People are making fortunes getting those knockoffs cheap and selling them all over the world. Without the label of Apple or Sony for digital cameras I can opoint out to you the facties that produce these and you could buy these things dirt cheap. But you have to be ready to pay and buy by the container load.

    That is how Europe and Amercia stole patents and copyfirghts from each other during the 18th and 19th century when the applications of technolgies exploded.

    By the way as another example – As part of the payment of the loans England got from the U.S. during the war, the English were forced to give advances in technologies in payment of debts.
    From the Guardian.
    “Between March 1941 and September 1945, the United States’ lend-lease programme transferred some $48bn worth of war material to other nations, the largest part of it (worth some $21bn) to Britain. This was an enormous sum, nearly equal to an entire year’s UK gross national product. But it came at a price and the Americans drove a hard bargain. At one point Washington pressed for the transfer of the British West Indies in return. Though that proposal fell through, Britain did agree to give up the rights to and royalties on innovations such as radar, antibiotics, jet aircraft and nuclear research to the US as part of “reverse lend-lease”. And when the war was over, the Americans handed in their bill.”

    The point in all of this: Advances in technolgies since the time of Hamilton till today is the driving force that drives the U.S. economy. Read Rogoffs piece on how funds towards military technology drive Americas place as number 1. Some people call it military Keynesianism. It is part of America’s Industrial policy.

    That by ther way is the proactive – or pre-emptive form of mercantilism. I hope you understand that concept. If you do you understasnd why the U.S. is funding the drive to make the worlds even faster and more powerful super computers. If you know about walmart you will understans why they have some of the most powerful computers to manage their sales and inventories.

    Plus they have made their currency the dollar the worlds predominant currency.

  19. hvrds, Jane Jacobs in her book ‘The Economy of Cities’ describes a similar dynamic where items that are previously imported start to be locally manufactured. That means that one key benefit of trade happens when imports are eventually substituted for locally manufactured products. The idea is similar in spirit to ‘import substitution’ but in this case, the substitution comes at the end of the cycle. A threat to this is the industrialized country’s enforcement of Intellectual Property rights (i.e. patents, copyrights) which, if carried too far, would upset the entire process.

  20. Folks,

    It’s foul, I think, to:

    a) use someone’s handle to mock them, so please do not use someone else’s name to attack them

    b) just to call someone, specifically, a commenter, names without addressing their arguments. call public officials what you like, but let’s be civil to each other even if we strongly disgaree.

  21. I don’t think Lim is a pawn.

    and IMO, lacson is known more for his popularity with the chinese community than with ordinary manilenyos in general (cuz baguhan pa lang siya sa manila. having said that though, the guy is nationally popular).

    Lim, OTOH, even though he’s Chinese, is not as popular as lacson in the Chi-Com, But his strength lies with his popularity with ordinary Manilans. Ganyan rin si Lito Atienza.

    So can Lito Atienza transfer some of his popularity to his son Ali? Kung si Councilor Kim Atienza ang tumakbo sana sa pagka-mayor ng mayniLA, maybe mas magiging competitive ang mga atienzas.

    i don’t see lim dividing the votes of lacson. but i see lim taking away the lito atienza vote from son Ali.

    anyway, lim or lacson are the top two candidates, IMHO. Darkhorse Ali is third.

  22. The government’s bringing in Atong Ang points to an effort to blow up both the Lacson campaign and deflate Joseph Estrada’s increasing confidence he will be acquitted

    I remember noong 1998, pinakawalan ni fvr tabako si rey berroya (who was once erap’s deputybat PACC) before the 1998 presidential elections para akusahan si erap of plotting to assasinate FVR at pagiging isang “kidnapping mastermind”.

    Of course, hindi na tatakbo si erap ngayon, pero Ang has credible information about Kuratong Baleleng and Bentain against Lacson raw. I wouldn’t be surprised too if he has info on the dacer case and the hidden bank accounts exposed by corpus and rosebud.

  23. hvrds… Some folks should really get together with you with regards trading, especially finding those factories in Asia that are part of the logistics chain of Walmart.

  24. UP Student,
    It’s not only the chains but the suppliers as well especially the garments and home accessories which are manufactured in some sweatshops not only in the Third World Countries but also in the hearts of the cities, the destinations of the smuggled, undocumented aliens.

    Ever heard of the Thai women who were victims of these sweat shops in Los Angeles some ten years ago?

  25. Thanks for the mention, mlq3.

    Your blog is one of the more insightful (and palatable) political blogs I’ve read in a while. Will visit regularly.

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