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The best defense is a political offensive
By mlq3 Posted in Daily Dose on January 22, 2007 61 Comments 8 min read
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Talk in political circles is that the various candidates are salivating over purchasing the rights to what could be The Mother of All Jingles. If they can be bought, the use of it promises a massive advantage in the senatorial race.

Last Saturday, the Daily Tribune published an intriguing story on a closed-door strategy session held at the Palace. Apparently, the meeting was accidentally broadcast over the government radio station!

[Ermita’s] orders… to all public information officers (PIO) …. was accidentally aired over government’s radio station dzRB yesterday.

“The image of the President is at stake in these elections,” Ermita told the PIOs… attending the close-door workshop organized by the Philippine Information Agency (PIA)…

Ermita intimated that no expense would be spared for this massive election propaganda, saying Malacañang is ready to tap and hire well-known commercial directors to produce television ads that would create a strong impact on the public, and with reports similar to the media hype created by the boxing matches of Filipino boxer Manny Pacquiao as well as the TV programs, Pinoy Big Brother and Philippine Idol.

“We need to be more aggressive and more proactive. We need to manage media, and not the other way around. And we need to dig deep into our creative spirits and be resourceful enough to get the right message through and across. Do we need a media director for each project, much like a director of a movie or a musical concert to get people’s attention? You tell us after this day is over,” Ermita said.

The Palace aide also admitted at the workshop that the public response to the “achievements of President Arroyo” has been “lukewarm” and “negative,” adding that the public has reacted negatively to these “achievements.”

“Government manages only a few applauses here and there; most of the time, the halls are silent. As public information officers, it will be your responsibility to get our people to heartily applaud those messages. Instead of applause, we get survey results that speak of people’s dissatisfaction toward government, all because of media’s penchant for what sells — politicking, political personalities and political controversies,” Ermita stressed.

Ermita said that the fate of the administration candidates, especially in the Senate slot depends on how the public perceives the governance and leadership of Mrs. Arroyo and that it is necessary to step-up public —  awareness on the achievements of the administration.

“The fate of these officials in May, depends on how well the people perceive governance. How well the people see the President. The image of the President is at stake here. While the President is not seeking elections or reelection because this is a midterm election, perhaps it will not be difficult for the people to accept the results of the elections since this will be based on the performance of the President, the performance of her government,” Ermita said.

Ermita told the PIOs that the Palace aims for an 8-4 slot in the Senate…

On the part of the Cabinet, Ermita said Cabinet officials must hold regular press conferences and even visit universities and colleges…

“All Cabinet members and their respective agencies are to actively lead in stepping up the dissemination to the citizenry of the effective socio-economic reforms, enhanced pro-poor programs and evident economic gains, specifically those brought about under the Medium-Term Development Plan and the 10-Point Legacy Agenda. All Cabinet members, together with their officials, should continue to hold press conferences to ensure the proper dissemination of the government’s programs, efforts and achievements,” he said.

“All Cabinet members are also enjoined to visit State universities and colleges to inform the students, faculty, and staff of the economic gains primarily brought about by the socio-economic reforms initiated by the government, and to encourage their active participation in meeting the socio-economic targets,” Ermita added.

Comprehensive! Over the weekend I had a chance to exchange scuttlebutt with well-informed people on the other side of the political fence. Their reading is that the President has given up on the Senate and is devoting her energies to building a solid majority in the House. The strategy, then, is to take the fight to every district with a pro-impeachment congressman, and to defeat such congressmen. If possible, while eliminating anyone who dared oppose her, she will also try to build a new majority composed of Kampi congressmen. The only difficulty is that the President is unpopular in Luzon, to the extent that even local races are being affected.

However, while the Visayas and Mindanao don’t equal Luzon in terms of congressional seats and voters, they can knock out opposition leaders there. Suspend first and ask -or face- questions later. The various groupings of local officials, though, will be hard-put to prove if they have the clout to deliver national votes from congressman upwards to the President.

The weekend also saw rumors of the President being booed during an Il Divo concert. Reyna Elena and An OFW in Hong Kong cover the incident pretty thoroughly. The best I’ve been able to ascertain is one source, whose mother was at the concert, and who said there was some when it was announced the concert would start late, but “whether,” as my source put it, “it was due to the delay of the concert or dislike of [the President] is hard to ascertain.” A journalist who was there said there was no booing: “People muttered, but no booing.”

MindaNews reports that Davao City mayor Duterte is being considered for the position of Secretary of National Defense. Manila Times lists possible candidates for the vacancy in the Supreme Court. One vacancy the President’s in no hurry to fill: the Comelec.

A million Filipinos due to leave this year, but not for Nigeria.

Pura Santillan-Castrense passes away; a distinguished Filipina.

My column for today is, Half a People Power (see ExpectoRant’s reaction).

Politically, Amando Doronila says the administration made a big mistake by throwing its weight around in Iloilo. This is the sort of political behavior that negates news of the stockmarket booming.

Ducky Paredes makes a good point: the term “third force” is a throwback to a different era. But even he points out the instinct of most voters is to think in pro- and con- terms. I think news items that say a “third force” is well, gathering force (endorsed, for example, by today’s Inquirer editorial), shouldn’t be ignored, but I do think everyone for it should shut up about it, until the actual slate can be announced. The idea will only be as good as the composition of an alternative slate.

Dan Mariano says despite public opinion being hostile to the administration (at least in vote-rich Luzon, from what I hear), the opposition is in a Catch-22 situation:

The general consensus seems to be that the May polls will be bloody. If our worst fears come to pass, out the window will go whatever investor confidence the country has generated thus far.

Similarly in peril are the policies of fiscal restraint, which have led to a reduction in the budgetary deficit. Suspicious eyes are now cast on the administration of President Arroyo whose ability to complete her term would depend on the outcome of the congressional elections.

If the opposition manages to gain enough seats in the House of Representatives, expect it to launch a third bid to impeach her. All it needs are 79 congressmen to endorse the impeachment complaint, and automatically the complaint goes to the Senate. If the Senate retains its oppositionist bent, there is a good chance that an impeachment trial would end in a conviction.

The temptation, therefore, is great for the ruling coalition to pull out all the stops as it tries to hold on to the House and keep the contrarian senators at bay. Such an effort will require money, lots of money, which observers fear would be sourced from state coffers – in the process, bloating the budgetary deficit. Back to square one.

The opposition, on the other hand, has to dig deep into its depleted pockets so the bulk of its war chest will have to come from big businessmen.

Here the opposition faces a quandary. Big businessmen have been the main beneficiaries of the economic turnaround. Would they be willing to risk it all by helping the President’s foes gain control of both congressional chambers?

An interesting article from an educational professional: Juan Miguel Luz on the “English first” policy.

In the blogosphere, Screenshots has some kind words for Filipino bloggers; he also points to Walk With Us, a blog that discusses the Malaysian’s blogosphere’s wrestling with cases filed against bloggers in that country.

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  1. We already have the back-breaking evat and the local governments are abusing their power to generate income. In both Manila and Quezon City, property taxes have matched the association dues of exclusive subdivisions. Add to that the rampant mulcting. It is true that capital was infused into the economy but only because the people are being forced to heavily subsidize government. We have become worker ants of the Pidal regime. It must be dismantled now. Can a third force do this? I believe it depends on its composition as our good host here has said above. With the names being floated now, however, I think I will stay with my fellow toothless, unwashed and uneducated citizens.

  2. I do not see anything wrong with this campaign strategy. It is just like a MARKETING strategy covering all niches, demographic wise.

    ermmm Manolo it is Castrence and not s.

    I am glad to hear about her even it is sad news. One of the authors in my lit. subjects that I can not forget with Manuel Arguilla, Maximo and Socorro Ramoses.

  3. an LP-NP coalition of villar & drilon will make a better alternative than the recyled uno candidates of erap whose only platform of government is to return erap to malacanan. the businessman whose business suffered a lot during erap’s dismal reign will think twice about financing the uno candidates and will either support the administration lineup or the LP-NP coalition.

  4. On the Il Divo concert…. how can OFW-Hongkong ‘..cover the incident thoroughly’ from his perch a thousand miles away?

  5. Nah, I wouldn’t support a third force. Like somebody else said, it would only divide the anti-administration vote, and the lackeys of Arroyo would easily win and she will stay till 2010.

    Besides, it isn’t about Erap. Even if each one of the candidates endorsed by Estrada win, would Estrada become president? Hell no! If Gloria Arroyo is impeached and convicted, would Estrada be president?

    Hell no! It would be Noli de Castro. And no matter how much a lightweight he might be, he is a better alternative than Gloria Arroyo.

    I think to say that the UNO’s aim is to return Erap to Malacañang is simply not true. Deposing Arroyo does not equate to returning Estrada. Deposing Arroyo means that she goes out and Noli comes in!

  6. Cut-and-paste from Ducky Paredes/Malaya,Jan 22’07 article on some things lost when there are no strong political parties:
    “The dictator destroyed the two-party system when he left the Nacionalista Party that he used to become president (he was a Liberal as Senate President) to create the KBL (Kilusang Bagong Lipunan). Marcos effectively destroyed the two-party system and set up a multi-party system. No more election inspectors, only election watchers.
    …What we now have are elections that are heavily biased in favor of the administration. Whoever is in charge (in Malacanang) has all the resources, money and power on its side (and is) ranged against the other political parties who, in all probability will even fight among themselves for whatever votes may be available to them. Isn’t this what happened in 2004 when there were five running for president against what was perceived as a very politically weak Gloria Arroyo?”

  7. For those who wanted to impeach Gloria, I believe the real fight is not in the senate slate but in the congress. The pro impeachment group should identify 79 districts that known to be rabid opposition and make sure that opposition candidates win in these districts. With Drilon running for congress, he can very well become the Speaker of the House.

    Erap, if he wanted to get back at Gloria, should stop feilding his off springs in the Senate slate. He should feild all them in the congressional districts that they belong. And where they have a a very good chance of being elected and at a lower cost than that. Tama na si Jinggoy sa senado. He can very influence other senators during teh impeachment.

    Spare the senate. Kasi kung walang maitratanmit na impeachment sa senate eh di wla ring impeachment. Lets keep the integrity of the senate intact and really put people that are objective and can handle the impeachment proceedings very well.

  8. bogchimash pinpoints three issues when he moans about “…the back-breaking evat and the local governments are abusing their power to generate income….Add to that the rampant mulcting.”
    The 3 issues are: (a) (mulcting,) graft and corruption; (b)taxation-policies and (c) income and jobs.
    ..Item(c) remains highest priority since it describes “cash-flow” need : that what one earns is enough to pay for all cost-of-living stuff (taxes, transportation, food, even mulcting).
    GMA still works with the proposition that a large proportion of Filipino voters will applaud GMA’s tenure up to 2010 (and there may even be clamors for a constitutional change so she stays longer) if majority of the Filipino citizens can achieve SAFETY:
    –physical security (from violence, aggressions)
    –security of employment and that inflow (from wages/salaries, other sources) exceeds outflow (food, housing, transport, education, plus mulcting);
    –security of health
    –security of family;
    –security of property against crime/confiscation

  9. It good to read people like UPn talk about issues for this coming election. However I have a feeling that peopel will not be voting based on issues. It will be all about personalities and what have they done to somehow improve the voters life. even just for entertainment.

    Unless all of us will get out of this blog and really went our way to the rural areas and explain the issues to the people.

    However come to think of it, kahit tayo nga dito di rin tayo mag ka isa kung pano ba talag tayo boboto? Yung masa pa kaya?

  10. I strongly agree with Juan Miguel Luz that the focus should be teaching math and science in the mother tongue. English should be properly taught as a foreign language (just like any other). On the longer term, widespread teaching of Mandarin as a foreign language in primary school should also be phased-in. The next generation will thank us for it.

  11. Comes election time, I think all candidates, be a candidate representing a Political Party, or individual (independent) will be all in the level playing field. Then how come Ermita urged civil servants to campaign for the administration candidates, when such would be violating the “fair play” rule. And when he said no expense be spared are there still no limit to election Campaign Expense? No wonder, election is a dirty game, there seems to be no rule or the rules are not that effective.

  12. UPn Student:

    are we safe in the sense that you have used the word? was my moaning justified?

  13. Practically everyone expects massive cheating in the coming elections! It might be a great idea to invite foreign observers to help honest elections along.

  14. stunted poisoned minds of the opposition can offer no more than the hatred. this is nothing more than hate campaign, devoid of reason and objectivity. this is not for love of country this is self gratification!

    read this:

    But whether the electoral process and results would trigger investor flight – and thus clip our economic momentum – is something you and I will have to determine over the next few months. In this regard, the opposition – with its lack of platform other than the agenda to oust Gloria – has made the choice much simpler for many of us. Vote for the opposition slate if you want to be stuck in the quagmire of vindictiveness. Vote for the administration slate if you want more of the economic prosperity that has come upon us.–from ms Torrevillas

  15. james, but what if:

    1. none of the salaries you earn has increased over the past two years, which means your bosses aren’t making more money, and your wages buy you less and less
    2. all your bills have increased, your grocery bill keeps going up
    3. every time you eat out there’s a huge 12% surcharge (VAT)
    4. the dollars you earn are worth less and less
    5. every entrepreneur you know is having a harder and harder time
    6. the only people who seem to be making money are either the bosses (but they’re not sharing the wealth) or those taking advantage of rampant smuggling and the industries that activity feeds

    where’s the prosperity then? if you want me to vote strictly on the basis of my economic circumstances i’d vote against the administration!

  16. This is another perspective on the so called Edsa I revolution and the upcoming elections.

    The economic crisis hit in early 1983. However this was followed by the brazen, brutal murder of Ninoy Aquino done with impunity in full view of all and the world doomed Marcos.

    To prove his political capital he was goaded later by Ted Koppel of Nightline to call a snap election. (Ninoy’s brother in law Kashiwara was an ABC reporter then.) He was on board the plane that brought Ninoy home.
    The elections were rigged off course to insure his victory. These sequence of events led to the attempted coup by RAM. Enrile then send out an SOS when they were discovered. The first to respond to Enrile’s call was the foreign press. My daughter then was a string reporter for AP. She was there during the early hours. Then Butz Aquino’s group, Atom came out and were the first to march to Edsa before Cardinal Sin made the call the defend Enrile and the Ram boys with people power. The entire machinery of the Catholic Church moved. The left stayed out. The so called middle forces were already highly charged and conscious that Marcos and his group were dangerous and with the leadership of the Church behind them they moved. The brutal murder of Ninoy convinced many sitting on the fence and even those who sided with Marcos that the government under dictatorship which they had implicitly supported had become untenable. The American based illustrados then together with the U.S. Embassy engineered the Marcos downfall. When Marcos knew he had lost American support he capitulated and rationally disallowed any use of military force.

    This was no revolution. It was changing of the guard when the guy became so obviously dangerous and brutal openly. The brutality and carnage of the Marcos regime was primarily foisted on the left during the martial law years. The left paid with broken bodies and salvagings. When the brutality reached the illustrado ruling class they reacted with the Church and the U.S. The Marcos reign of terror lasted from 1972 till 1986. The quantitative and qualitative nature of society in the Philippines did not undergo any major change.

    In point of fact the country economically regressed. Today the country sends out more workers to earn incomes based on full time employment aborad then it creates domestically. Approximately 20% (7 million) of a total labor force of 35 million are full time regular salary or wage employees.
    The rest are part time or seasonal workers, self employed or unpaid family workers. The government then is able to qualify these realities by using different definitions on how one measures employment. But all classifications mentioned above are considered employed.

    The economic reality known as “full employment” does not exist in the Philippine economic context. In point of fact the financial managers have removed this concept in their calculations of inflationary expectations. (Read Rafael Buenaventura’s book)Contrast thsi with the U.S. where the Federal Reserve is mandated by law to fight inflation and ensure full employment.

    These ideas may be too complex for the country to grasp. I have heard no one in Congress discuss this.

    That is a fundamental fact of the Philippine political economy.

    This becomes a major barrier for a real democratic electoral exercise. Elections are like the stock market remarked, Robert Rubin. People vote based on fear and greed. Everyone votes their self interest. For the vast majority of Filipinos to get a bowl of porridge for a day or two would suffice for their vote. Their patron, warlord, governor, mayor or congressman know this.

    Abstract concepts about state, constitution, rule of law are not material to them. The idea of nation refers to the town or municipality.

    Maybe it would be a good idea for the country to break up for it to become a nation.

    1776 created the idea of the American Republic. Lincoln and the Civil War created the American nation. It also was the treasury department under Lincoln that mandated the printing of the U.S. greenback to prevent the counterfeiting of the U.S. currency.

    The Philippine historical experience is still too short to have any meaningfull historical perspective. Being a product and construct of empire does no guarantee that a nation will rise. Being a Balkanized archipelago does not help.

    All this talk of Erap vs GMA in the upcoming elections is pure nonsense. All this talk of a third force is even more nonsense. He who has the gold will win the contest.

    Please note that the Reagan government was embroiled with the Middle East and Nicaragua from 1983 till 1988. The Marines barracks in Beirut was bombed in October 1983. After supporting Saddam vs Iran in Hussien’s war the U.S. then secretly started selling arms to Iran to pay for funding the Contra’s in Nicaragua. Congress had passed a law cutting off funding for the Contra’s. The man at the lead on the ground in this fight was John Negroponte with Oliver North, Gates and company. Gates is presently the new Secretary of Defense.

    Please note that the U.S. will not allow any government under its empire to tinker with any ideologies of nationalism. Communism as practiced in the past is dead. The next enemy of empire is nationalism. Empire creates its own enemies. It either annihilates them or is forced to accept them. Just like nature.

  17. Sorry for being off-topic, but it looks like the COMELEC is finally ready to conduct internet voting in Singapore. So, I’d love to hear input from our compatriots based in the lion-city. Thanks.

  18. From The C at I do not see anything wrong with this campaign strategy. It is just like a MARKETING strategy covering all niches, demographic wise.

    Here’s what’s wrong: “Ermita intimated that no expense would be spared for this massive election propaganda, …”

    The last time out they used govt funds to finance their campaign. Funds for fertilizer for example ended up going to places with no agriculture to speak of apart from the odd backyard flower garden. We the people will end up footing the bill for this “MARKETING strategy covering all niches, demographic wise.”

  19. Besides, it isn’t about Erap. Even if each one of the candidates endorsed by Estrada win, would Estrada become president? Hell no! If Gloria Arroyo is impeached and convicted, would Estrada be president?

    Hell no! It would be Noli de Castro. And no matter how much a lightweight he might be, he is a better alternative than Gloria Arroyo.

    nah. if arroyo were to be impeached and convicted for rigging the elections, then may bagon special elections na gaganapin to replace arroyo, whose term will begin from 2007-2013. and noli will just be an acting president.

  20. 1. none of the salaries you earn has increased over the past two years, which means your bosses aren’t making more money, and your wages buy you less and less
    2. all your bills have increased, your grocery bill keeps going up
    3. every time you eat out there’s a huge 12% surcharge (VAT)
    4. the dollars you earn are worth less and less
    5. every entrepreneur you know is having a harder and harder time
    6. the only people who seem to be making money are either the bosses (but they’re not sharing the wealth) or those taking advantage of rampant smuggling and the industries that activity feeds

    where’s the prosperity then? if you want me to vote strictly on the basis of my economic circumstances i’d vote against the administration!

    i’ll just add one more. jobs.

    cost of living has gone up. cost of doing business has gone up. maraming shops at small and medium sized businesses continue to close down. and people can find any decent jobs around anymore. the decent paying entry level call center jobs are going mostly to the fluent english speaking ateneo, la salle types, which shuts out the majority of filipinos.

    that’s why more and more people are overseas to find work or a better paying job. H.S. teachers become maids in H.K. and Doctors apply for nursing jobs in the US.

    (pero maybe magkaroon ng temporary jobs ang mga mahihirap this election season, when the administration temporarily hires another bunch of “Walking Ads” streetsweepers for the duration of the campaign till after the elections.)

    (ang mga small businesses na kumikita lang ngayon ang ang pagbebenta ng mumurahing pirated na dvds, at ang pagbebenta ng cellphone cards at loads.)

    From The C at I do not see anything wrong with this campaign strategy. It is just like a MARKETING strategy covering all niches, demographic wise.

    Here’s what’s wrong: “Ermita intimated that no expense would be spared for this massive election propaganda, …”

    reminds me of Road User’s tax, PHILHEALTH Cards, Bolante funds, Bong Pineda’s COMELEC funds…

  21. john, just curious, what led you to make that forecast? if gloria is convicted, how would special elections take place without noli voluntarily resigning?

  22. he doesn’t have to resign. acting president lang muna siya habang ina-ayos ang special elections. once a new prez is elected, balik VP si noli.

  23. I dont think that’s how it works, John. If Noli gets sworn in as Prez, that’s it. If he doesnt resign, the Senate President doesnt get to call for a special election.

  24. so kung nahuli natin na ninakaw ni arroyo ang eleksyon as early as june 2004, automatic na magiging permanenteng presidente na si noli, at hindi acting president o presiding or caretaker president?

  25. That’s correct. The rules for succession are President, Vice, Senate President, Speaker of the House. In the case of senate president or speaker, they act as caretaker president and they issue a call for an election. The Vice President doesnt have to do that. He or she finishes the term of the original president. In this case, until 2010.

  26. MLQ3 wrote:

    1. none of the salaries you earn has increased over the past two years, which means your bosses aren’t making more money, and your wages buy you less and less

    Cat says: It does not necessarily follow that the reason why the bosses are not increasing the wages is because they are not making money. Greed will be most likely
    be the culprit.
    2. the dollars you earn are worth less and less

    The dollar value depends on so many factors, not because of the Philippines. 🙂

    5. every entrepreneur you know is having a harder and harder time

    Cat says: For all those years, i never hear any entrepreneur says they’ re making good. Bad for BIR report.

    6. the only people who seem to be making money are either the bosses (but they’re not sharing the wealth) or those taking advantage of rampant smuggling and the industries that activity feeds

    The smuggling activities have been with us since time immemorial.

    It is also rampant in first world economies.

  27. Here’s what’s wrong: “Ermita intimated that no expense would be spared for this massive election propaganda.

    There is still nothing wrong. That’s still corporate lexicon which means there is no budget constraint.

    Something’s wrong when he says that the government fund will be used for these massive campaign which you already assume they will.

    Your honor, suspicion alone does not make the person guilty.

  28. bogchimash, the philippines is third-world and the level of business-activity (from factories to call-centers to farming and fishing and recycling/scavenging) means that too many of its population are at subsistence-level and below. So on that item alone, the Filipino population has not yet obtained “security of employment/other-sources-of-income” that puts them at “second-tier” of world-economies.
    Remember, though, that the government does not put up breweries, call-centers or even sarisari stores nor gasoline stations — the Filipino class-B and class-A entrepreneurs/businessmen have to do that. Obviously, there is not yet enough new factories/call-centers/gasoline-stations being created to hire all the young adults/workers entering the marketplace. Combine that with a number of Filipinos finding overseas employment more rewarding and stimulating than the romance of starting their own businesses in the Philippines. So the economy may be growing (see cvj and others who have posted about GDP) but the growth is not strong enough to anyone’s liking.
    On the issue of personal-safety : same now as during the worst of Marcos-years, or even during the Cory years when bullets were flying from coup-attempts. [Media “muckrakers” and leftist-leaders always had been targets!] Folks in GenSan city probably worse-off now, what with the Abu Sayaf bombings. ManilaBay now less safe (evidenced by the ferry bombing).
    On health… there seems to be more food available (at least for classes C-B-A) and lives are getting longer for all (than during the Garcia/Quirino years), but wouldn’t it be better if cost-of-medicine not that high? It is also apparent that the current administration does not have an answer to Filipino nurses and doctors joining the OFW-phenomenon.
    bogchimash… there are millions of Filipinos, and many will say that “yup… my life and my family’s life is better this year than 15 years ago”; there will be millions saying “…damn! bakit mas humihirap ang buhay!!!” and many more who will say “…eto… ganoon pa rin” while muttering “kayong mga pulitiko… pare-pareho lang kayo.”

  29. Ca T and Q3… wages are governed by “supply and demand”. When there are too many worker-bees lining up for the chance to work at a single office-desk, then expect wages to remain low.
    The preferred construct nowadays is “trickle-down bonuses” and pay-for-performance. The “rules” for trickle-down, though, is the higher your grade, the higher your bonus.
    Pay-for-performance is better. This is especially true for entertainment- and media-personalities. On top of their base-pay are bonuses based on TV-ratings or seats-sold, not on the profitability of the entire enterprise. Both Quiros and Ramon Tulfo can do this — they can be so obnoxiously-guttural in their writings that they have a following. But the negotiations are done up-front, and at the end of each 2- or 3-year term period.

  30. UPn Student, like you, i have a deep respect for the market and its ability to create value without sacrificing order. I also believe that we should maintain the right incentive structures that will encourage people to work (as oppose to slacking off). However, when it comes to social welfare, we cannot leave everything to the forces of supply and demand. As a principle of justice, we need to shape our society according to the Maximin rule which directs us to:

    …identify the worst outcome of each available alternative and then to adopt the alternative whose worst outcome is better than the worst outcomes of all the other alternatives” [Source: Justice As Fairness, A Restatement, John Rawls (2001)]

    Using the above framework, a minimum wage is needed to redistribute wealth and address inequality. One thing that can be said against such a policy is that it does not go far enough since it does not address the needs of the unemployed which, in our society, do not have any safety nets. Even a champion of free markets like Milton Friedman believed in the wisdom of a guaranteed income (even for the unemployed) via a negative income tax.

  31. UPn,
    not necessarily.
    In the governmment, there is what you call the plantilla. The position comes with the salary rate. Only the increase in the budget would raise the salary scale. Even with the announcement of the President that there is an increase in wages or salaries, the public agencies have to wait for additional funding. Their budget are already pre-allocated.

    The minimum wage earners in the government sector is part of the casual employment system reserved for political appointees and accommodations. We have to accept this reality, even in embassies, they provide for visa allocations for political reason’s accommodations.

    In the private sector, the industry dictates the salary scale as well as the skills requirements.

    Have you read the statement of Jinggoy about reducing the proposed 125 wage hike to 100 because economy will collapse? (roll eyes)

  32. cvj and Ca T… I should have started with “… in my line of work — professional, in private sector –…”, which is where Tulfo and Quiros are, and which, I am confident Q3 also is. Having said that, the both of you are right — Ca T’s point about civil-service rules and the budget, and cvj’s point about “minimum-level of safety net” for all.
    /You may have seen some TV-shows where 70-year olds rob banks, not to steal money, but to land themselves in a US-of-A jail with guaranteed food, lodging, and health care.
    / The other side of the coin is that a few US jails (especially in smaller towns) periodically release 60-and-older inmates even before their jail sentences have completed. The reasoning is economics, not goodness-of-heart. The older-generation inmates are released so the local community do not have to pay for heart-angioplasties or even dental services.
    /. It’s dog-eat-dog out there.

  33. In a first world country where tax-based is rather large and the per capita is way above the Poverty Line, the social safety net for the society’s marginalized or even the perpetual non-performing segments are possible.
    But this is only possible at the sacrifice of a higher tax rate for the performing segments of the society.

    Take our mix of Socialism, Free Market, government financed and controlled health care and welfare programs where the poor and the disabled both mentally and physically, and single parents with no means of support, and just every individual who thru no fault of their own, or even those who just refuse to make a living are entitled to minimun welfare and available government assistance and a free health care. The sufferings are quite evenly distributed among the working poor, the middle income, who are taxed to the limit, but as always the 10% wealthiest among us still as in any other society are unaffected..

  34. cvj… I actually disagree with the Minimax rule. I know who agrees with it — Dick Cheney. The Dick Cheney doctrine as follows: “Even if there’s just a 1 percent chance of the unimaginable coming due, act as if it is a certainty.”
    /.. The Minimax rule binds you to act in fear of the least-common denominator as opposed to obtaining the greatest good. A very simple implementation of the minimax rule is : find the individuals who are affected by the worst-of-the-worst, and give them 3 sacks of rice and 4 sets of clothes. Haven’t solved the problem, just helped a few.
    /.. Triage is the better rule. This usually translates into “save the women and children…”; the fertile women and children… to help the productive set that can sustain the next generation.

  35. from The C at: Your honor, suspicion alone does not make the person guilty.

    We’re not talking about guilt, C at. We’re talking about trust. We’ve entrusted these people with our hard-earned money but they screwed us. We’re talking about a “fool me once” type of scenario as cvj said. When we hear Ermita suggesting to the propaganda officers that no expense will be spared, and remember the last time they financed their campaign, I dont need a full blown court case to conclude that I dont trust these people one bit.

  36. On the other hand Manolo…,

    if you realized that the administration is working so hard to improve the economy. And the opposition is hell bent on destroying what ever gains attributable to the efforts being exerted by the administration in order to humiliate and descredit the admnistration. Or the opposition not lifting even a finger to improve the economy for fear that the credit will go to the administration and even constantly intending to sow instability!

    I rather would not vote for that kind of opposition!

  37. mlq

    haste makes waste..don’t be sooo impatient. economic upliftment starts somewhere..if foreign investors, having so much more to lose can see the positive ecoomic signs why can’t you.

    what do you think we should do about the national debt? budget deficit? ignore them? i thought you can sacrifice for country’s sake.

    these economic figures don’t lie.
    60% jump in direct foreign investment.
    PSE performance not seen since last asian financial crisis
    GDP of 6%
    Narrowing budget deficit

    so, should we stop the momentum by voting the opposition whose only platform is the ouster of GMA and nothing more? sheer vendictiveness according to ms torrevillas. or just poor losers?

    your economic situation might have come as a result also of restrictive economic provisions of the outmoded constitution which you choose to keep intact and defended for whatever reason. opening media to other investors will certainly maximize your potential.

    we do what we can during elections. but to undo things after the election….this is the attitude that is tearing us apart as a nation.

  38. james, but what if:

    1. none of the salaries you earn has increased over the past two years, which means your bosses aren’t making more money, and your wages buy you less and less
    2. all your bills have increased, your grocery bill keeps going up
    3. every time you eat out there’s a huge 12% surcharge (VAT)
    4. the dollars you earn are worth less and less
    5. every entrepreneur you know is having a harder and harder time
    6. the only people who seem to be making money are either the bosses (but they’re not sharing the wealth) or those taking advantage of rampant smuggling and the industries that activity feeds

    where’s the prosperity then? if you want me to vote strictly on the basis of my economic circumstances i’d vote against the administration!

    nakalimutan mo pa ang isang bagay. jobs.

    ever since tinaasan ang buwis natin at dinagdagan ang singil sa mga gov’t fees, the cost of living has increased. the cost of doing business has increase.

    (many shops and small/medium business continue to close shop. it seems na the only small business na kumikita ngayon ay ang pagbebenta ng pirated dvds at cellphone cards.)

    more and more filipinos now can’t find any decent job here in our country, so there’s a tremendous increase in the number of people leaving the country to find work abroad. teachers have applied for supermaids in HK. You see doctors working as nurses in the US.

    sure, may call center jobs dito, pero napupunta siya mostly sa mga english speaking ateneo or la salle grads, at hindi sa mga ordinaryo filipino grads. if most poor or middle class filipino grads can’t even compete with the atenistas for an entry level job like a call center operator (albeit a high paying one), what chance do they have of finding a decent job here to cope with the increasingly higher cost of living (kuryente, tubig, pagkain).

    even the price of fast food is slowly being priced out of reach to the ordinary consumer, kaya hindi na rin masyadong kumikita ang mcdo and jollibee. and from what i can see, it’s only going to get even worse for them.

  39. That’s correct. The rules for succession are President, Vice, Senate President, Speaker of the House. In the case of senate president or speaker, they act as caretaker president and they issue a call for an election. The Vice President doesnt have to do that. He or she finishes the term of the original president. In this case, until 2010.

    pero iba yung kaso kay arroyo. she wasn’t legit in the first place dahil nang-Garci nga. si noli naman eh sa tingin ko hindi kasama sa dayaan, so hindi na siya dapat mag-resign.

    if during the canvassing noong 2004, nagkaroon ng recount at lumabas na may anomalya sa bilangan bigtime sa boto ni Arroyo, AGAIN, ibig sabihin ba na automatic na magiging PERMANENTENG presidente na si Noli? That’s crazy.

  40. mlq

    haste makes waste..don’t be sooo impatient. economic upliftment starts somewhere..if foreign investors, having so much more to lose can see the positive ecoomic signs why can’t you.

    what do you think we should do about the national debt? budget deficit? ignore them? i thought you can sacrifice for country’s sake.

    these economic figures don’t lie.
    60% jump in direct foreign investment.
    PSE performance not seen since last asian financial crisis
    GDP of 6%
    Narrowing budget deficit

    so, should we stop the momentum by voting the opposition whose only platform is the ouster of GMA and nothing more? sheer vendictiveness according to ms torrevillas. or just poor losers?

    i think the opposition/coalition can do a better job if it abolishes the pork barrel of the tongressman/senators/and malacanang. it reduces corruption, cuz pork barrel funding is one of the most inefficient way of spending our tax money.

    i think gov’t needs to reduce it’s wasteful spending, especially the spending that will be done for partisan purposes during the elections. if we abolish the pork barrel and reduce wasteful spending, we’ll be able to give our citizens some tax relief, which in turn will lower the costs of doing business and help encourage entrepreneurs and more foreign investors to do business in our country.

    arroyo is not doing that much in reducing corruption and is merely doing the minimum for window dressing purposes. nani is not charged with plunder? give me a break, ombudsgirl. i’m very disappointed na siya lang ang makakasuhan over the 14 mil impsa bribe. what about mark jimenez? what about the “malacanang residents”? i’m underwhelmed. we’ve already seen the slap on the wrist punishment on gen. carlos garcia.

    OTOH, tho opposition coalition, having seen how the past few years after edsa dos were full of broken promises and disappointments, will do a better job in not repeating arroyo’s mistakes.

    and i must say, hindi naman lahat ng ginagawa ni arroyo ay mali. like having strong relations with the US, which means more foreign aid. and having strong relations with china, which means more business opportunities. i’m sure the opposition will maintain status quo on some of the things arroyo is doing right, while discarding or reforming the things she’s not doing right.

    (we know marcos was a dictator too and he’s an evil guy, pero hindi naman lahat ng ginawa niya ay mali or palpak. it’s just that the evil things he did outweigh some of the things he did right. is all.)

  41. if during the canvassing noong 2004, nagkaroon ng recount at lumabas na may anomalya sa bilangan bigtime sa boto ni Arroyo, AGAIN, ibig sabihin ba na automatic na magiging PERMANENTENG presidente na si Noli?

    Yep. That’s the way it works. And I dont think it’s crazy. In fact it makes a lot of sense. The Vice President is voted by the people for the specific purpose of replacing the president if she resigns, is incapacitated, or is kicked out of office.

  42. Rego,

    if you realized that the administration is working so hard to improve the economy. And the opposition is hell bent on destroying what ever gains attributable to the efforts being exerted by the administration

    …then that means that you have fallen for the administration’s propaganda (or in John’s words, window dressing). The problem is that the occupant of Malacanang who is supposed to be an economist, is not telling the complete story and is instead trying to paint a self-serving picture, grab credit where she can and ride on the people’s own hard work. At this point, she’s basically taking credit for the weather. If she has any professional integrity left as an economist, she will only take credit for the variables under her control (or influence).

    If you want an unbiased picture, take a look at the World Bank’s governance indicators to see how far we’ve deteriorated since Arroyo took over.

    James, we’ve been in an analogous situation before, i.e. the 1975 to 1980 period under Marcos where the country enjoyed a debt fueled average per capita gdp growth of 2.9% per year while, at the same time, the poor got poorer. With that lesson behind us, we do not have to wait for the party to end before we act.

  43. UPn Student, triage is only practiced during emergencies and preferably on short timescales. On the medium to longer term, that’s a formula for revolution. I don’t think Cheney’s One Percent Doctrine which you have described is similar to Rawl’s Maximin. Cheney’s concern is risk (particularly its propaganda uses), while Rawls is talking about social justice. Grinding poverty is not ‘unimaginable’. It is a day to day reality experienced by many others who are not as lucky as you and me.

  44. if during the canvassing noong 2004…

    Ooops. You were talking about the canvassing of 2004 pala, John. In that case, I have no idea if the Vice President wouldve taken over permanently. More likely FPJ wouldve been declared winner by the Congress instead. Unfortunately, that’s not the situation we’re faced with now. GMA has been declared winner by Congress and sworn in by the chief justice.

  45. rego:

    Erap, if he wanted to get back at Gloria, should stop feilding his off springs in the Senate slate. He should feild all them in the congressional districts that they belong.

    if the arroyos thought that their sons and relatives have a good shot at winning a senate seat, they would have fielded mikey, datu and iggy too to show that they have popular national support.

    but since they know they’re going to get clobbered nationally. hanggang House seat na lang sila.

    jeg:

    The Vice President is voted by the people for the specific purpose of replacing the president if she resigns, is incapacitated, or is kicked out of office.

    i have no problems with noli replacing a LEGIT president if she resigns, was incapacitated, or impeached.

    but how can the VP become president if the president wasn’t legitimately elected to begin with? hindi ba vacant yung presidential position na yan from the very beginning kung hindi lehitimo ang prez election?

    ibig sabihin non, kung nandaya si marcos, eh di dapat pala si arturo tolentino ang pumalit, imbes na si Cory?

    I think you’re wrong. the right way, the fair way is once natanggal si Arroyo sa malacanang (because she was never elected to the office to begin with), noli becomes ACTING president and help prepare for the special elections. and if arroyo’s LEGIT replacement resigned, was impeached or incapacitated, THEN atsaka lang pwedeng pumalit si noli as president. And i don’t have any problems with that (noli as prez).

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