Cyberspace will determine 15 percent of 2010 poll results, says Gatmaitan

Conflicting news on rice: DA reports big summer rice harvests: Grain traders, farmers urge gov’t to buy local produce: Summer rice harvest now 5.9-M metric tons on one hand, and Farmers fail to benefit from record rice prices on the other. Meanwhile, overseas, the blog Darwiniana points to Americans being asked to consider the possibility of food riots over there.

Even as Polls in Maguindanao automated, the brittle peace ontinues to be a cause for concern.

In What’s behind the delay of the signing and the IMT pullout? , Mahdie Amella distills the MILF position concerning Philippine political priorities in Mindanao:

Deceitful attitude has become a government tradition in dealing with the revolutionary groups who are legitimately fighting for their rights to self-determination, thus war continuously happens that brings the government down.

The Philippine constitution has always been used by the government to delay the signing of a peace agreement. Recently, it organized a legal group that has been tasked to carefully study the constitutionality of every thing that will be entered into as an agreement with the MILF. Has the government made a critical study when it illegally annexed Mindanao to Philippine territory? The said legal group has apparently been made to derail the peace process so as to eschew the possibility of signing an agreement.

Using the constitution to hinder the attainment of peace is like saying that the people who are fighting for secession are right. There is no such “unconstitutional” thing. It depends on how people behind the constitution make something constitutional or unconstitutional as it is merely a man-made law.

Other countries that have already been able to address problems like what has been besetting us in the Philippines also have “constitutions”. Any government that sincerely enters into negotiation with the aim of bringing peace to the nation will not find this thing difficult. The constitution can be amended to accommodate any peace agreement but an agreement can not be shaped by the constitution, otherwise the other party is being deceived. It fights the government as it does not recognize its existing laws. How could it be a basis for any talking point or agreement?

Looking at these points, it is not the constitution that hampers us toward attaining peace but the people who can not sacrifice their personal interests in favor of national interests. These people (in Malacanang) who are very influential in terms of decision-making all have possessions in Mindanao. They fear to lose these should there be an honorable agreement signed with the MILF.

Now, what is the government’s purpose in entering into peace negotiation with the MILF? It is manifest that the negotiation is only a diplomatic tool in putting the MILF down. It has never been initiated to once and for all address the never ending Mindanao conflict.

Apparently, President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo has never thought of resolving the Mindanao strife. If she is for its resolution, she could have done it already as the solution for it is very straightforward — just return everything that was usurped so easily. It is not demanding. In fact, the MILF has already practically reduced its territorial claim into only the areas where the Bangsamoro are dominant.

On the other hand, in What is the guarantee? Who will guarantee? Roberto C. Layson, OMI says peace negotiators are prepared to kneel on the ground to keep the Malaysians involved in the peace process:

The problem is when you later ask both the government and the MILF who started the violations, no one would take responsibility. As usual, it ends up with no one taking accountability with the government and the MILF pointing finger to each other. It’s sometimes disheartening. That is why in our experience in rehabilitation, the most challenging and difficult part is not to rehabilitate the physical damage inflicted by war such as the construction of houses, roads, water facilities, day care centers or even school buildings. This is the easiest part of rehabilitation, we found out. The most difficult part really is how to restore the belief of people in the peace process and in peace in general.

But what can you expect between the two parties. It’s like a basketball game without a referee. That is why, the civil society organization in Mindanao lobbied so hard for the third party ceasefire monitors because the ceasefire mechanism then was not effective in controlling the situation on the ground. And as always the case, it’s the innocent civilians who suffer the brunt of war — the ordinary Lumads, Muslims and Christians.

The Inquirer editorial today looks at the Speaker of the House playing footsie with the Senate, and points out there remains Unfinished business. On a related note, Ricky Poca in The time is now points to the main priority of congressmen at present:

Cebu City Mayor Tommy Osmeña’s proposal to merge the Municipality of Cordova with Cebu City appears to have been rejected by all of the six congressional representatives of the Province of Cebu. Even if pursued in the House, it would be difficult to have the proposal approved, given the present sentiment of the six representatives and even Rep. Antonio Cuenco (Cebu City South District).

Moreover, the six representatives are busy with the plan to increase the legislative districts of Cebu, given the latest census that shows a considerable increase in the province’s population. Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia, together with the provincial board, is serious about discussing with all the district representatives the plan to add more congressional districts in the province.

But the resolution filed in the Senate, calling for Charter change to institutionalize a federal system of government, may put on hold any plan of having more seats at the Batasan. Some representatives believe that Congress will prioritize the resolution authored by Senator Aquilino Pimentel Jr., as the proposal has also reportedly gotten Malacañang’s nod. Some congressmen think it’s better to wait for the result of the move to shift to federal system because if it pushes through, it will practically affect the arrangement of the districts and provinces.

The plot thickens! Tony Abaya thinks Federalism will only provide an opening for a Putin-style move to stay in power, on the part of the President. And objects to the proposal being made on the basis -specious, he says- of its spurring economic growth. As he put it in a May 5 column,

My critique of his resolution rests on five principal grounds: a) it is a Trojan Horse to re-introduce a twice-defeated (in 2006-07) maneuver to shift to a parliamentary system, to enable President Arroyo to remain in power beyond 2010, as prime minister, similar to the maneuver of Vladimir Putin in Russia;

b) the resolution’s stated objective, “to spur economic growth,” is a no-brainer since, as I pointed out in my article, the Philippines’ failure to develop as fast as its neighbors in the past 50 years can be traced to poor, even stupid economic policies and strategies, not to its being a unitary state;

c) most of the successful countries in our part of the world — Japan, China, South Korea, Taiwan, Vietnam, Indonesia, Thailand — all achieved economic success as unitary states; only one – Malaysia — as a federal union; so there is nothing wrong with being a unitary state as long as the correct economic strategies and policies are pursued; on the other hand, a federal union with wrong economic strategies and policies would stagnate, e.g. autarkic and xenophobic Myanmar, under military rule since 1962.

d) archipelagic countries — Japan, Indonesia, the Philippines — are unitary states also for pragmatic reasons: being made up of islands, they are vulnerable to centrifugal forces that would encourage secession and disunity.

e) I challenged Sen. Pimentel to name even only one example of a country that shifted from unitary to federal — or from federal to unitary — and thus achieved prosperity as a result of that shift. He has not obliged.

See also Leonor Briones’ Financing Federalism. The only thing Measly Meanderings sees coming out of the whole thing is an infestation of officials.

In politics and business, Oscar Lopez, the current Lopez patriarch, is quoted as saying, ‘Buy us out if you want’: Suggests removal of VAT, royalties. According to The Mount Balatucan Monitor, the GSIS gambit sends the wrong message to business; though I’m not convinced, because other big businesses aren’t vulnerable the way Meralco is (either on the basis of existing share structures or of being subject to government regulation). the blogger and Patricio Mangubat in, though, share a skeptical attitude concerning the supposed benefits of a change in corporate management:

Garcia says its not the board they’re after — its management, dummy. Winston, we’re not kids and that stupid, okey? A management filled with government appointees is worst than the Lopezes. Replacing management is a de facto takeover.

Whatever the palace says, one thing is perfectly clear — these palace men are not creating noise out of nothing. They all say the same thing though — they’ll be doing this to force a lowering of electricity rates. All of them though, including Gloria, knows that a takeover will not immediately result to a lowering of electricity costs. Why? Because Meralco will lose considerable profitability.

Besides, government is the worst administrator of all time.

For Philippine Commentary, the problem of high electric rates boils down to what he calls two insane policies:

(1) Napocor has steadfastly refused to sign long term supply contracts for its dirty coal fired power plants, insisting instead on buying coal primarily on the spot market current at over $130 / ton; and

(2) P1.46 government royalty on domestic natural gas amounting to more than a third of the P4.10 per cubic meter paid by First Gas (a Lopez-owned independent power producer).

The Economist points to Goldman Sachs predicting oil at $200 a barrel by the end of the year. Sensing an opportunity (for its airline, among other things), Gokongweis offer P24.6B for gov’t stake in Petron Corp. In his column, John Mangun explains, in his view, Why P100 gasoline might be good:

When, two years ago, oil was $50 and Goldman forecast $100, the Philippines’ political leaders did nothing to prepare for $100. Now they have the opportunity to prepare for $200 a barrel.

Who wants to be the next president? Raise your hand. I have the guaranteed political strategy for making you the overwhelming landslide choice in 2010. Tell the people what you are doing today to handle a doubling of oil prices in two years. Because all the other contenders are going to tell the people what they will do after they take office and after gasoline doubles in price. It will be too late, then, to take action, just as it is now.

Here’s another thing to consider for your political campaign. If conditions continue unchanged, you may not be able to afford to give away that T-shirt and can of sardines to win a few extra votes. And your provincial political sortie might have to be on the back of a carabao instead of a Ford Expedition.

People worry about how much it costs for a tank of gas while Dubai, using our Filipino workers, is spending billions of dollars, some of it ours, to build artificial islands as playgrounds for the rich and famous.

However, no one is confident that solutions will be sought until the problem grows bigger. And that is why P100 gasoline might be good for the country. At P50, the pain is still bearable. When the situation deteriorates and the pain hurts badly enough, then the leaders might finally take some constructive action…

…There must be something in the air inside government offices and legislative halls around the world that causes political leaders to lose their common sense. Ideas and policies they would never apply in their own occupation – be it in commerce, education, medicine and media – are often the standard when they enter politics.

Virtually every government leader has, directly or indirectly, engaged in wealth creation in the private sector. They built something, taught others to build or found the capital and noncapital resources to create wealth. But when they join the government, they suddenly forget how to create national wealth…

…You want more and cheaper rice? Grow it. You need domestic oil so as not to be hostage to the Middle East oil sheiks? Dig it up.

No nation taxed, untaxed, subsidized, politicized or legislated itself to prosperity. They created wealth. Why is Vietnam now a net rice exporter? When I last visited it in 1990, this was the only national rice policy: “Everybody grow rice!”  Every square meter of usable land in rice-friendly areas was planted. The monthly salary of the hotel night manager was $5.

We have huge mineral wealth. Do we dig it up? No. We may have enough oil for self-sufficiency. Do we exploit it? No.

Find a leader who applies the same wealth-creation techniques and policies in government that they do in the real world.

Mangun’s musings brings to mind an aricle in the Asia Sentinel, Asia Faces an Inflation Quandary:

Nowhere is the dilemma more acute than in Vietnam, which currently tops the consumer inflation league table at around 20 percent annually. In a seemingly belated response, the government dramatically tightened money supply growth, driving up interest rates and causing the country’s stock and real estate prices to crash. But the connection between consumer prices and money supply was tenuous. For sure, money had been far too loose for too long as Vietnam basked in international esteem and capital inflows. But the main inflation culprit was food, with prices up 35 percent thanks in large part to Vietnam’s open economy and role as a major food exporter — particularly of rice and fish.

Belated efforts to dampen domestic prices by limiting exports merely served to add to panic in importing countries like the Philippines which had failed to keep adequate stocks.

Now the pressure is on Vietnam to try another tack in its inflation fight — allow the dong, which has fallen against almost every currency except the US dollar, to appreciate significantly as it likely would given continued capital flows and strong commodity exports. But it isn’t that simple. The government and private sectors alike recognize that workers must be compensated for rising prices, so double-digit wage rises are in prospect. Combined with dong appreciation, that could undercut competitiveness just at the time when markets in the west are already weak and those in Asia are going off the boil.

…Elsewhere, in India, Indonesia and now the Philippines, subsidies, at least for the poorest, are a partial answer to the food price problem. But in India and the Philippines in particular they add to existing serious budget problems. India however does have a strong case for tighter monetary policy after a period of being carried away by India-rising euphoria and the impact of massive inflows of (mostly short term) capital which could yet cause balance-of-payments angst again.

On a related note, the interest of the China financial markets blog was piqued by a report on big banks engaging in hoarding -of money:

Large international banks, in other words, are responding to the current financial crisis by hoarding liquidity, as they have always done, at least since the invention of joint-stock banking, I think in the very early 18th century, and even before. We have been reminded very dramatically that banks are clearly vulnerable to liquidity runs. The collapse of my old employer Bear Stearns occurred largely, as far as I can see, because of a very old-fashioned bank run on an institution that was far from bankrupt, or would have been had it not experienced the bank run (i.e. until the forced fire-sale, its assets were worth significantly more than its liabilities). That, plus the experience of Northern Rock and a number of other close calls has made it imperative for banks that they have sufficient liquidity to meet any potential liquidity run, and for this reason they may simply be unwilling to lend to each other.

Returning to Mangun’s looking forward to the 2010 race, his views also brings to mind 2010 polls a 5-way race – forecast (hat tip: dantonremoto2010).

To my mind, Tony Gatmaitan is the first political professional to quantify the value of the Internet if we have presidential elections in 2010. He says the presidential derby at present has five main contenders who “well positioned to convert their vote-generating capabilities into the next elections” : Manuel de Castro, Jr.; Manuel Villar, Jr.; Manuel Roxas II; Loren Legarda; Joseph Ejercito Estrada.Then Gatmaitan identifies the three main arenas where the 2010 campaign would be fought out:

1) battle of the airwaves (50% of the contest);

2) ground level war (35% of the battle); and,

3) cyberspace, (15%).

Gatmaitan pointed out that prior to TV and radio political advertising being legalized, TV and radio influenced only 10% of the vote. But since the ad ban on radio and TV was lifted in 2004, the percentage has swelled (with an accompanying, and fast, collapse of the traditional political culture of mitings de avance, etc.) so that TV and radio will account for 50% of the vote come 2010:

“Prime time television is going to be inundated by political advertisements coming from all sides. There will be a shift from politicians to image makers. The latter will take the place of political operatives. The traditional areas controlled by politicians will now shrink,” he said.

Gatmaitan identifies the ground level war as centered on guarding votes on the precinct level. This used to account for 50% of the fight but Gatmaitan thinks it’s now been reduced to 35%. But it’s where the Palace has an ace up its sleeve:

The ground level war includes the national canvassing of all city, provincial and other electoral returns by Congress. And in this battle, the administration candidate has the inside track. “In a tight contest, they can ram through [Congress] anything,” he said.

It’s in the last zone of battle -cyberspace- that Gatmaitan (and the report) are vaguest:

While Internet penetration is still low in the Philippines, Gatmaitan said the influence of cellphones has increased to “63% of the population and still growing.” By 2010, it may reach 72%. “By 2010, voters will be read to accept imaginative SMS messages from candidates and political parties,” he said.

Which isn’t particularly enlightening at all. Gatmaitan is correct in pointing out the Internet includes cell phones in its ecology (think Chikka, and how you can get Yahoo messenger updates on your phone, Twitter from your phone and receive Twitts, post to Flickr from your phone, etc.) He seems dismissive of blogs, social networking sites, etc. And there is, too, the possibility that the Internet will have a spill-over effect, both when it comes to media and people evangelizing for their candidates.

To my mind, Francis Escudero was the most innovative and shrewd user of the Internet for his senatorial campaign, and also the first to take out online advertising. He used a combination of ads, appeals, and gimmicks such as one site of his that asked people to describe him, to solicit support.

A thought-provoking inquiry into where ICT is bringing (or could bring, rather) our democracy, is undertaken by Martin Perez in Critical Convergence, Part 2: Knowledge Politics. Of interest, considering his views, are these entries, part of the continuing coverage of the conference I attended in Sweden. The first, A game of snap, is someone’s reaction to the talk I gave. The second is self-explanatory: How ‘Facebook Girl’ turned up the heat in Egypt.

Overseas, Richard N. Haass says we have ushered in The Age of Nonpolarity:

At first glance, the world today may appear to be multipolar. The major powers — China, the European Union (EU), India, Japan, Russia, and the United States — contain just over half the world’s people and account for 75 percent of global GDP and 80 percent of global defense spending. Appearances, however, can be deceiving. Today’s world differs in a fundamental way from one of classic multipolarity: there are many more power centers, and quite a few of these poles are not nation-states. Indeed, one of the cardinal features of the contemporary international system is that nation-states have lost their monopoly on power and in some domains their preeminence as well. States are being challenged from above, by regional and global organizations; from below, by militias; and from the side, by a variety of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and corporations. Power is now found in many hands and in many places.

In addition to the six major world powers, there are numerous regional powers: Brazil and, arguably, Argentina, Chile, Mexico, and Venezuela in Latin America; Nigeria and South Africa in Africa; Egypt, Iran, Israel, and Saudi Arabia in the Middle East; Pakistan in South Asia; Australia, Indonesia, and South Korea in East Asia and Oceania. A good many organizations would be on the list of power centers, including those that are global (the International Monetary Fund, the United Nations, the World Bank), those that are regional (the African Union, the Arab League, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, the EU, the Organization of American States, the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation), and those that are functional (the International Energy Agency, OPEC, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, the World Health Organization). So, too, would states within nation-states, such as California and India’s Uttar Pradesh, and cities, such as New York, Sao Paulo, and Shanghai. Then there are the large global companies, including those that dominate the worlds of energy, finance, and manufacturing. Other entities deserving inclusion would be global media outlets (al Jazeera, the BBC, CNN), militias (Hamas, Hezbollah, the Mahdi Army, the Taliban), political parties, religious institutions and movements, terrorist organizations (al Qaeda), drug cartels, and NGOs of a more benign sort (the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Doctors Without Borders, Greenpeace). Today’s world is increasingly one of distributed, rather than concentrated, power.

As far as the United States is concerned, after briefly enjoying the status of being the only Superpower on earth after the fall of the USSR, Fareed Zakaria ponders The Future of American Power and asks if comparisons between the USA and the decline of the British Empire beginning with the Boer War, are as apt as many would like to think:

The United States’ recent military interventions in Somalia, Afghanistan, and Iraq all have parallels in British military interventions decades ago. The basic strategic dilemma of being the only truly global player on the world stage is strikingly similar. But there are also fundamental differences between Britain then and the United States now. For Britain, as it tried to maintain its superpower status, the largest challenge was economic rather than political. For the United States, it is the other way around.

Through shrewd strategic choices and some sophisticated diplomacy, Britain was able to maintain and even extend its influence for decades. In the end, however, it could not alter the fact that its power position — its economic and technological dynamism — was fast eroding. Britain declined gracefully — but inexorably. The United States today faces a problem that is quite different. The U.S. economy (despite its current crisis) remains fundamentally vigorous when compared with others. American society is vibrant. It is the United States’ political system that is dysfunctional, unable to make the relatively simple reforms that would place the country on extremely solid footing for the future. Washington seems largely unaware of the new world rising around it — and shows few signs of being able to reorient U.S. policy for this new age.

And even as the Democratic nomination seems In Obama’s grasp, Vanity Fair takes a look at The Last Good Campaign (RFK, 1968!).

The Marocharim Experiment confesses to contributing to society’s decay.

Manuel L. Quezon III.

95 thoughts on “Cyberspace will determine 15 percent of 2010 poll results, says Gatmaitan

  1. Who in the world would trust a government led by a woman who used the public purse to make herself popular before the 2004 elections(Caping the PPA price of NAPOCOR from 2002-2004)that resulted in the horrendous red ink (over Php 1 Trillion) that led to the increase in 2005-2007 in power rates and the imposition of the E-VAT.

    Off course the Lopezez family takes advantage of their position in MERALCO to get richer. They have long ago shifted to becoming private equity holders and use project managers to expand their base empire. That is what they are supposed to do. They are merchant/trader/bankers. They are not industrial builders.

    But do not expect to get a concomitant response from government to regulate their activities. Most especially this government.

    It is not about royalties. There are two plants that use natural gas and government must and should charge royalties for non-renewable resource but the probelm is there is no plan to put in place long term public goods to replace those non-renwable resource.

    The Philippine energy picture is a mismash of different types of power plants from geothermal, hydro, oil fired gas driven turbines, coal driven and natural gas fired and even windmills.

    The Lopeze’s own one natural gas fired power plant.

    Apart from that it buys its power for local distribution in their franchise areas from the WESM and NAPOCOR.

    The probelm with power rtaes and food in this country is not simply a matter of how good is either MERALCO or NAPOCOR. The problem is structural and fundamental.

    When your entire supply chain for hardware is imported and denominated in dollars and the country has consistently devalued it’s currency the cost in pesos multiplies and since the income is denominated in pesos you will always have a mismatch in prices.

    Hence the government is forced to use and drive plants to the ground as the replacement cost becomes prohibitively expensive.

    However since the middle of 2003 since the U.S. drove interest rates to almost zero combined with Japan’s rate also at zero thus driving dollar liquidity – more dollars less in value the peso has gotten stronger.

    That means that NAPOCOR, Meralco and other capital intensive industies that depends on imported hardware have seen their asset base rise in value vis a vis their dollar procurement. Plus interest rates have dropped in both currencies.

    Though under Philippine accounting rules you do not mark to market the valuation of your assets, automatically these companies have gained a windfall already.

    Under these conditions it would be a good time for the Lopez family to exit.

    The future will be most challenging. This shift in the prices of energy and food is not simply a cyclical event.

    People all over the world are scratching their heads and wondering why with spot prices of oil at above $100 a barrel why is demand still rising? What is the price that will eventually affect consumption to drop?

    The answer lies in the emerging markets where oil and food prices are subsidized by states. Plus you have national state owned companies in the game apart from the transnational integrated companies who are seeing their influence drop.

    The big consumers of energy in the emerging markets, India, China, Russia and the M.E states all subsidize their energy industry. Combined they now surpass the demand of the U.S. Indonesia who used to be a net exporter of oil is also now a net importer having neglected to maintain and develop new fields. They still subsidize some oil products most especially kerosene which is being used by the masses to cook.

    It will be a most wrenching adjustment for government today to simply stop subsidizing these prices as the social impact would be devastating in countries that have huge urban populations.

    The oil producing countries today want to make sure that their oil reserves go alonger way and are writing long term contracts with the integrated companies with escape clauses.

    For example, Saudi Arabia would like countries that buy their piol to also allow them to refine the oil and sell it directly to the huge markets in the emerging economies. China and India being deficit economies when it comes to oil reserves with huge populations that are moving up the ladder of economic development.

    Added to this the M.E. today is being called the Land of the New Pharoahs where new cities are being built and still on the drawing board. All air condtioned and off course they have cheap resources to turn salt water into fresh water.

    Add to this equation – the exhaustion of easy to get to oil and move to hard to get to or tough oil.

    This in turn has forced the move for alternative sources. Add to this equation the contues pump priming of the u.S. economy since late 2002 and once again today. In less than five years the U.S. Central Bank has been forced to lower interest rates drastically twice (2003 and recently) to save the U.S. economy from a deep crash.

    The recurring bubbles another sign of the structural problems in the U.S. economy. This time the rest of the world is having second thoughts about bailing out the U.S. economy. Except that is for the Philippines.

    The country will have two choices – dismantle the nation state or move to build it up. The latter a much more difficult move.

    The country is totally dependent on foreign capital (all types)to survive. That is the reality of being a neo-colony.

  2. China Eyes Overseas Land in Food Push
    By Jamil Anderlini in Beijing FT

    Published: May 8 2008 19:26 | Last updated: May 8 2008 19:26

    Chinese companies will be encouraged to buy farmland abroad, particularly in Africa and South America, to help guarantee food security under a plan being considered by Beijing.

    A proposal drafted by the Ministry of Agriculture would make supporting offshore land acquisition by domestic agricultural companies a central government policy. Beijing already has similar policies to boost offshore investment by state-owned banks, manufacturers and oil companies, but offshore agricultural investment has so far been limited to a few small projects.

  3. As far as i can remember, it was John Marzan who first brought up the Putin-Medvedev scenario a few months back. Translated locally, this could mean the admin backing Noli de Castro who has a genuine popular following, who will in turn sponsor Charter Change opening up the way for GMA as Prime Minister. To confirm if this is indeed the case, let’s wait for 2010.

    On Gatmaitan’s figures, it wouldn’t have hurt if the reporter asked him how he derived those values. (sigh)

  4. I predict the following 2010 dream teams as the strongest possible combinations in terms “masa” appeal /political networks/resources:

    1) Senate President Manny Villar/Senator Jinggoy Estrada(Nacionalista Party/Partido ng Masa):will get the endorsement of former President Estrada.

    2) Senator Mar Roxas/Senator Noynoy Aquino(Liberal Party):will ride on the public respect for the “Roxas and Aquino” political names.

    3)Senator Loren Legarda/Senator Chiz Escudero (Nationalist People Coalition-NPC and possibly also become the GMA
    Administration Bets)

  5. “By 2010, voters will be read to accept imaginative SMS messages from candidates and political parties,” – Tony Gatmaitan

    I’m not sure about the effectiveness of this. If attention span is short in front of the PC monitor, I wonder what would it be looking at the very tiny screens of a cell phone/PDA/smart phone.

    As it is right now, people get irritated getting promo texts from Globe and Smart. Receiving campaign ads from politicans would be doubly so.

    What was Mr. Gatmaitan’s basis in his analysis?

  6. @Equalizer

    Chiz a GMA Admin bet? It would be a cold day in hell indeed, Equalizer.

    Although I do see the strength of these teams… Manny Villar’s image and Estrada’s appeal, against Roxas and Aquino’s collaboration, against Legarda and Escudero’s opposition [Just as most anyone]… Time to bring on the popcorn, because we would see everyone’s real face there… [Where’s Noli in the equation? He has the masa appeal too, even though he’s somewhat affiliated with the Administration.]

  7. Mahdie Amella should read the Tripoli Agreement between the GRP and MNLF brokered by Libya.
    The first part says
    ‘The establishment of Autonomy in the Southern Philippines within the realm of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Republic of the Philippines.’
    Number 16 of the third part says
    ‘The Government of the Philippines shall take all necessary constitutional processes for the implementation of the entire Agreement.’

    Even Libya recognizes the the importance of constitutions and territorial integrity.

  8. ‘We have huge mineral wealth. Do we dig it up? No. We may have enough oil for self-sufficiency. Do we exploit it? No.’

    I agree with Mangun. Take tourism as an example. We have a lot more than Boracay to offer the world. Do we provide enough airline seats to bring in the tourist? No. Do we have enough hotel rooms to house those tourists? No. Look at Dubai. They just finished The World. Those small man-made islands have a minimum price tag of $30 million. We have several thousands of those small islands. What do we do with them?

  9. supremo, i also think amella ignores the lessons of history, i.e., the american civil war. if the milf doesn’t trust the constitution and the law of the land to improve the lot of the muslim world, how can it trust the antiquated rule of religious autocracy and fundamentalism to fight poverty and ignorance among its ranks? self-determination that enables despots to rule by force is the single most potent threat to world peace (think myanmar and most other “third world” territories).

  10. “PhilwoSpEditor :Chiz a GMA Admin bet? It would be a cold day in hell indeed”

    Senator Loren Legarda/Senator Chiz Escudero (Nationalist People Coalition-NPC and possibly also become the GMA
    Administration Bets):

    These two were the NPC senatorial bets and topnotchers in the last Senatorial elections.

    Most likely to get Gloria Arroyo’s endorsement and Danding Cojuangco’s financial backing!

    Old School Ties;Loren is so different in looks compared to Gloria but has exactly the same character!

  11. On federalism (11/7/4 federal states?)

    Are the Filipinos ready for…

    1. Additional levels of corrupt bureaucrats, politicians
    2. Bear the hardships of having several sets of legislators,national guards (Metrocom?),different sets of boards for each profession (11 sets of medical licensing boards, CPA boards, nursing boards, etc.)
    3. constant arguments between federal states ( there is a tendency for Filipinos to argue till kingdom come, hehehehe, like in this blog)
    4. possibility of of stand offs between national guards and Philippine army (we have Mindanao conflicts for decades,we certainly don’t need others, remember the Alabama and other stand offs in the past? the Red River stand off between TX Rangers and the Okies led by Alfalfa?)
    5.Finally, sooner or later The Republic of Muslim Mindanao, The Ilocano Republic, The Visaya Republic, The Bicol Republic, etc. (the mother of Balkanization in Asia!)

    Are we going to ignore the reasons why the Katipuneros died, why Rizal was shot in Luneta, why MLQ tried his best to introduced the National Language, Pilipino? Why divide something what we have fought and died to unite?

    The type of government is not the major reason why Philippines is having all these problems. It is the inefficient and corrupt officials who are making all these problems.

    Some of the solutions….computerized Comelec, replace all Comelec officials, abolish pork barrel and introduce line item veto on national budget, abolish dynasty, enforce strict term limits, upgrade government salaries from President to janitor, introduce provincial taxation akin to federal tax plus state tax to have more fiscal autonomy for local governments.NO PADRINO.

  12. On Malaysia, MILF and RP…

    I am just wondering why Malaysia got involved in this local problem? By all accounts, there is conflict of interest for Malaysia, our claim to Sabah, Malaysia’s association with MILF leaders and of course, Malaysia is predominantly Muslim country. IMHO, the basic problem in Mindanao revolves around Muslim/Christian and territorial questions. This has been so since time immemorial, from Spanish time, to American occupation and now our brothers are fighting with each other for the same basic reasons.

    Why not solve this problem without foreigners meddling in the negotiation or maybe why not ask the help of a true NEUTRAL PARTY, maybe India, Korea or Japan….they are not Muslims nor Christians, nor they have interest in Sabah or Spratley.

  13. The Philippines needs a government who will start addressing the problems and not add to it. Some problems only require simple solutions.

    How do you solve a problem like the MILF? Ignore it. It will die a natural death. It is technically defeated anyway.

    How do you increase tourist arrivals? Buy jet planes in bulk. Let Boeing and Airbus outbid each other. Lease the planes to local airlines. PAL and Cebu-Pac will no longer complain about not having enough planes to compete in an open skies environment.

    How do you solve the housing problem? Repeal the rent control law and more people will invest in apartments for rent.

    How do you solve the garbage problem in MM? Amend the Clean Air Act to allow the operation of incinerators. Build a power plant beside the incinerator and capture the heat to turn water to steam etc.

    How do you clean the Pasig River? Flush it with water from Laguna de Bay (please stop calling it Laguna Lake) by opening the Napindan flood gates when the Pasig river level is low.

    How do you prevent hunger? Reviving the Green Revolution is not so bad. Get Imelda to manage it without pay.

    How do you recover Marcos ill gotten wealth? It’s about time that the cases are settled out of court. The Marcoses should apologize or promise that no more Marcos will hold any public office.


  14. jackast writes:

    What was Mr. Gatmaitan’s basis in his analysis?


    Mr. Gatmaitan was pulling it OOHA. If anyone can find a study that points to internet/cellphone messaging and its influence on voter preference, let us know. Otherwise, Gatmaitan’s number is a POC.

  15. duckvader, well, gatmaitan is an ole time pol. operative, he has eons of experience in the nuts and bolts of politics. so at the very least his are educated guesses. i think his line of work doesn’t encourage his going into detail as it would lower his premium at a time when all politically-useful people are gunning to be hired for the presidential campaigns.

    edsa dos and tres certainly show the effects sms have on mobilization, public awareness, etc. you might want to check the links from my notes on the conference i attended in sweden, there’s many people studying how cells have and are affecting politics throughout the world in an academic manner.

  16. RATING SCALE: Economic Policy Analysis

    5.0 Perfect Facilitation of Wealth Creation
    4.0 Midway between Perfect and Neutral
    3.0 Neutral Effect on Wealth Creation
    2.0 Midway between Neutral and Obstructionist
    1.0 Perfectly Obstructionist to Wealth Creation

    Communication Rating: 4.0

    The Philippines certainly has the sufficient communication equipment in its possession. The Philippines for one, is considered to be the texting (cell phone messaging) capital of the world, outnumbering the number of texts continental Europe does in a month compared to what the Philippines does in the day. In addition, most television sets have access to news and entertainment through its local channels, not to mention the option to have cable access in order to see international news (e.g. CNN). Radios are perhaps the most abundant of all media sources in the Philippines; every house is certain to have one. Newspapers are widely spread and faxing and the computer (internet) has already been introduced quite some time before. However, the downside to this is that it is not totally spread throughout the country; most of it is only available in the urban areas. It is indeed understandable why the country does not expand its technology to the rural areas (the country is exceptionally culturally diverse with over 7100 islands) but the country does take a hit on this from an economic standpoint. The Philippines gets a marginal high score for this policy.

    More on Philippine Economic Policy Analysis:

  17. What is interesting to note that in recent weeks voices from the multilaterals came out in unison urging surplus countries in rice not to distort the regular markets by banning exports or in efforts to drive prices higher.

    It is strange that all these multilaterals have kept silent about a more strategic anomaly.

    Prices that are flashed daily on oil prices are spot oil prices for immediate delivery. Most converters have supply contracts that are lower. The bulk of the remaining oil supplies are increasingly being controlled by state oil companies. The physical trading in commodity markets are one thing but the paper trading is another thing altogether.

    Why no mention of these monopolistic practices of these countries, most especially in the M.E. Information of current and future supply contracts are kept secret. Hence the true cost of it is being obscured.

    That is affecting the future expectations of prices and a benchmark that is being used is completely out of whack with realities. Why is the U.N. keeping quiet about this. Why are governments scared to delve into this?

    How will government get a true picture of whether there is price gouging or not when the basis for prices are kept secret even from government? The more people know about this anomaly the better.

    Karen Davila, Pinky Webb and Korina Sanchez are nice to look at but they are simply talking heads and simply parrot all these numbers without informing people that the basis for oil prices is unknown!!!!!! I still would love to see them compete in a thong bikini contest.

    Here we simply say it is the market. Even the buffoons at the DOE don’t know. The worst is Reyes.

    Food and energy are necessities and there has to be an interplay of state and private interests in these markets. The profit picture in both sectors have to be under very close state scrutiny. This is where multilaterals come in. The common good versus the profit picture must be allowed to interact to come to a common ground. For that to happen there must be transparency. If that is missing then the oil markets really is not a market after all.

    We see the Queen in waiting inolving herself in the prosecution of so called rice hoarders. What about the oil hoarders? That is why the major integrated transnationals are raking it in with their supply contracts in place.

    Is ExxonMobil’s Future Running Dry?
    The petroleum giant is shying from risky exploration and spending money on buying back stock. Over the long haul, those moves could lead the company to go private or disappear. Jim Jubak

  18. “Why no mention of these monopolistic practices of these countries, most especially in the M.E. Information of current and future supply contracts are kept secret. Hence the true cost of it is being obscured”

    APEC has been formed to alleviate this problem.
    . The liberalization of trade and investment
    . Business facilitation
    . Technical and economic cooperation

  19. Canadians generous with Burma relief
    World Vision Canada says $560,000 already raised toward $3 million goal
    May 09, 2008 11:37 AM Curtis Rush
    staff reporter

    “Compasson fatigue may exist, but it’s not evident right now,” said Dave Toycen, president and CEO of the charity, in a statement released Friday morning.

    “Canadians are proving again just how generous they are. They put people over politics every time, especially when it comes to caring for kids.”

    World Vision Canada reports Canadians have contributed $560,000 in response to its increased appeal for $3 million.

    Burma’s junta has seized the first UN shipments, forcing the world body to suspend further help.

    The government says it will distribute international supplies itself.

    Ottawa has pledged up to $2 million in urgent relief and has also offered the services of Canada’s Disaster Assistance Response Team, also known as DART.

    On Thursday, United Steelworkers’ announced the Steelworkers Humanity Fund is donating $20,000 to the Canadian Red Cross for emergency relief in Burma, also known as Myanmar. Other aid organizations in Canada have also responded.

    Happy Mothe’s Day to all Mothers all Over, Have A Great Day!!!

  20. Sorry Leytenian may napansin na naman ako.

    1)Apec does not involve ME countries.
    2)It was a rhetorical question.

    Do you prefer, that I just ignore your comments,or say something about it.just tell me ,and that is what I will do.

    Before you do that, I know you try your very best to express your opinions, It is not the articulation,bcause you are articulate ;it is something else, maybe eagerness to share or whatnot.

  21. “(1) Napocor has steadfastly refused to sign long term supply contracts for its dirty coal fired power plants, insisting instead on buying coal primarily on the spot market current at over $130 / ton; and

    (2) P1.46 government royalty on domestic natural gas amounting to more than a third of the P4.10 per cubic meter paid by First Gas (a Lopez-owned independent power producer).”

    A sad reality, but a few more things to consider;

    50 % of our electric bill come from generation charges.

    It is said that most of our power plants,lack preventive maintenance, particularly the boilers and the condensers including the heat exchangers.

    Most of the delapidation is due to biofouling.

    maybe just a basic preventive maintenance technology to maximize the heat transfer process, and it would also help in reducing generation costs,which is half our electric bill.

  22. THE PHILIPPINES | World | All eyes on price of rice
    All eyes on price of rice

    Government gambles on its ability to supply 675,000 more tonnes of nation’s staff of life
    May 11, 2008 04:30 AM Bill Schiller
    Asia Bureau
    MANILA–The Philippines went to the international auction table like a high-stakes gambler, desperate to win rice for its 88 million people – lots of it, in fact 675,000 tonnes.

    But when regular supplier Vietnam upped the ante to something close to $1,200 per tonne, the Philippines held its cards and walked away.


    Or just plain foolish?

    “We’re in a precarious situation,” says Dr. Robert Ziegler, head of the International Rice Research Institute here.

    “Of course, if all goes well, we’re fine. But if a few things go wrong, we’re not so fine. And if more than a few things go wrong – well, then we’re not very good at all.”

    The Philippines is the world’s single largest importer of rice.

    Some 35 million of its people teeter on the brink of survival, earning less than $2 per day.

    These poorest of the poor outnumber Canada’s total population. And every day the price of rice climbs higher.

    Today, the government of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo still needs another 675,000 tonnes.

    In addition, the government is betting on domestic rice harvests will come on stream swiftly – just as the typhoon season is set to explode.

    But nothing is certain in these times of unpredictable turbulence.

    Except for this: as the West looks on from the cocoon of its comforts – seeing rice as little more than a side dish for an exotic Asian meal – in the Philippines, rice is destiny.

    Its importance cannot be overstated

    More about the articles and comments and remarks from around the country including that of Senator Pangilinan:
    Sol Vanzi contributed to this report.

  23. KG, it’s my eagerness ( i’m new here – addicted to blog) and truthfully, I did not notice ME. Thanks for the correction.

    Napocor: Buying coal on the spot is a disadvantage to consumers but an advantage for those who are corrupt.
    it could try to achieve by re-establishing longterm
    price-bounded contracts, whether de jure or
    de facto which would offer supply security and demand security to producers.

    Long term contracts will fix the price and maybe to our advantage. On the spot transactions may involve mini or massive corruption. In every little transactions in our country, there’ always corruption involve. Not sure what policy we have in this type of contract transaction.

    I believe we have department of energy to make a solid plan to address the current issue of maintenance and rising coal prices.

  24. hvrds,

    “Here we simply say it is the market. Even the buffoons at the DOE don’t know. The worst is Reyes. ”


  25. “…it’s my eagerness ( i’m new here – addicted to blog). – Leytenman/ma’am

    Welcome! You have your opinions. Don’t let the others intimidate you.

  26. vic, there is no question that this is a big gamble by gma and the repercussions will be tremendous if she loses the bet.

    she however knows that our farmers has the knowhow to produce the staple. The only thing that deters them before is its low price with no incentive to plant it. why cultivate it when they can earn more on other crops. now with the price aligned with its production costs. im sure thousands of hectares now are being planted with rice and barring any unforeseen circumstances like pests and typhoons, they will possibly be able to fill the gap of the short fall.

    agricultural lands in central luzon and southern tagalog regions where they have decent irrigation are flexible enough to convert to rice crops at a short notice. im sure progressive farmers there will soon producing tons of this grain in months to come.

    i still hope though that gma is right in this high stakes game of chicken with vietnam.

  27. magdiwang,

    I do hope so, because the People who have their resiliency and “pliantness” stretched more than the limits may finally just give up if the Government losses the gamble.

    As the writer stated, Rice is Destiny and nothing can be definite than that…

  28. jackast,

    thank you very much. i really appreciate that. i am a woman originally from leyte. I don’t get intimidated anymore except understand the purpose and result of intimidation. Been there done that in real life too. It will not kill me. LOL. Life’s too short. I find manolo’s blog mentally seductive. thanks again.

  29. @ benign0

    Cool and tight. But wasn’t Juan supposed to wait for the guava fruit to fall?

  30. Leytenian,
    Definitely,intimidation is not my purpose.
    Since I now know you’re a woman,but don’t know if you are a mother,bahala na, belated happy mother’s day to you!

    Now on this comment from you to me:

    leytenian :

    Thanks for the info.But my concern now is this:
    “former dean of the business department of a certain university there”
    a dean saying “bobo” what kind of dean is he/she?
    to make our discussion more peaceful at your end, this topic is about federalism appeal… national debt cannot be ignored and should not even be ignored. One should at least think about it on how it affects us and the next generation. If you only care about yourself and unable to go beyond yourself except sharing your own specialty of work without grasping reality then it won’t matter who is wrong or right. If you can only leave your theory and technical knowledge behind and share your thoughts on this topic , it might make others to see both sides of the situation. Whether i’m right or wrong with my opinion, its’ not your problem. It is me who will deal with my own embarassment not you. I can always defend myself. No hard feelings and let’s move on..

    May 7th, 2008 at 12:48 pm”
    first of all you are not bobo,secondly mistakes are not embarrassments they are learning opportunities, I am glad that you still have the eagerness to share,and lastly;sorry for my nitpicking.

    ok,no hard feelings and let’s move on.

  31. southern leyte mudslides,
    The local government and residents of st.bernard say that the area was forested in defense to the findings of the “experts”.

    But that’s beside the point, nice video,Benign0.People still remember Ormoc,or do they?

  32. But that’s beside the point, nice video,Benign0.People still remember Ormoc,or do they? – KG


    Re: Ormoc, see that’s the whole trouble with us. If we stop to think, Ormoc was a tragedy of the magnitude of 8000 DEAD.

    A hundred people dying in a similar accident elsewhere would have made headline news for months.

    Not in the Philippines.

    Politics and hollow-headed intrigue usually regain centre stage as soon the token lip service has been paid to the dead by the politicians.

    Not surprising in a society where warm bodies are seen more as a commodity to be exported raw. 😀

  33. I know of two states in the Union of the Federal Constitutional Republic that is the U.S. that controls its own natural resources (including public lands). One of them even has a Sovereign Wealth Fund for its resource rents that it collects in the form of taxes and royalties that it shares with its own state residents.

    Which states are these?

    If this the format that Pimental is going to propose for the ARRM? Hey Palawan are you awake?

  34. former dean of the business department of a certain university there”
    a dean saying “bobo” what kind of dean is he/she?

    I respect other people’s opinion. But facts lifted from books and other publications are not opinions. It does not sit well with me when a commenter posts bits and pieces from different sources/references and express an opinion which are totally contradictory.

    If I were a doctor, I would say that she copied several prescriptions and write that as medication for different illnesses hoping nobody would notice. But I did.

    What kind of a person I am?I correct what is wrong. If the person is still insistent despite the glaring fact that she does not know what she’s talking about, the word bobo is still a kind word. I could have used the word moron.

  35. MERALCO has the privilege by law of franchise monopoly rents in the largest market for distribution in the country.

    The Lopez family have already transformed themselves into ‘investment bankers’ using their franchise rents into the future to leverage themselves into other business platforms.

    They are among the most progressive merchant/banker class the country has ever produced. They are now operating as a financial enterprise. Outsorucing remember!!

    Please note G.E. was able to transform itself into the giant it is today through technological franchise rents and is now a powerfull financial institution more than simply a manufacturer. The Federal Government helped along the way. They have been subsidizing their knowledge base for a long time.

    Doing what G.E. did is tougher with the help of the U.S. government.

    Here the government helps people make money from planting bananas, mangoes and pineapples.

    The oversimplistic solution that market competition alone will bring down power rates is a stupid idea. Think Enron…..

    The invisible hand cannot build and manufacture the steel, turbines and steam to produce electricity in the country.

    J.P. Morgan, Carnegie, Rockefeller did it and they all hated competition and destroyed the competition wherever they operated. U.S. Steel, G.E., Esso. -Now known as JP Morgan Chase, G.E. Finance and Exxon Mobile.

    We need the right kind of greedy people here with the right kind of government in the country.

  36. “What kind of a person I am?I correct what is wrong.”

    Wrong. You need to go back to kindergarten. Or make that pre-school. To learn good manners.

  37. Benigno,
    educational video… but here’s the response of the congressman after the tragedy:
    He who plants a tree
    Plants hope. …Little tree..What the glory of thy boughs shall be?

    He who plants a tree
    Plants a joy;
    Plants a comfort that will never cloy
    Everyday a fresh reality…
    If you could but know, you happy tree
    of the bliss that shall inhabit thee!

    He who plants a tree
    He plants peace..

    He who plants a tree
    He plants youth;
    Life of time, that hints eternity!
    Youth of soil is immortality.

    He who plants a tree
    He plants love.
    Gifts that grow are best;
    Hands that bless are blest;
    Plant! Life does the rest!


    Jackast, agree Juan should not wait for the guava fruit to fall.

    KB, Ormoc tragedy should have been the learning foundation for the rest of Leyte. Saint Bernard belongs to Southern Leyte and Ormoc belongs to Northern Leyte close to Imelda. Each North and South is managed by a different governor and congressman.

    Our country has no policy and rule of law in the department of forestry. If there is, it is not implemented properly. If implemented, its’ too late in the case of Leyte.

  38. Thank You for the Philippine geography and Philippine government lesson,leytenian.

    I know that,but thanks anyway.

  39. some people give too much credit to themselves that they cannot even see beyond themselves. they only wanna hear what they want to hear for their own benefits. they even forget to listen. Oftentimes they used these words for defense like “duh, stupid , bobo and many more.”

    Some will make a mistake but can easily move on and learn to forget. those who truly discern or are enlightened are quite positive. they do not attack. rather they serve.

  40. We need the right kind of greedy people here with the right kind of government in the country

    yes. ‘long-term greedy’ people

  41. “By 2010, voters will be read to accept imaginative SMS messages from candidates and political parties,” – Tony Gatmaitan

    I’m not sure about the effectiveness of this. If attention span is short in front of the PC monitor, I wonder what would it be looking at the very tiny screens of a cell phone/PDA/smart phone.

    As it is right now, people get irritated getting promo texts from Globe and Smart. Receiving campaign ads from politicans would be doubly so.

    people are only irritated because their load gets deducted from ads they never gave permission to receive. Smart and Globe are STEALING, plain and simple. imagine if those campaign ads came with free load…

  42. Leyetenean, I hink you are just being a newbie, kaya sentibo ka pa. Eventually, I think you ll get used to it. Each of us are our own person. I dont believe we can change each other here.

    Stupid, moron, those are very common words over here. I was playing chess in yahoo games two weeks ago. After I lost a game my opponenet type Moron and left. I felt so bad. Talo ka na nga nasabihan ka pa ng Moron. So every time I play since then, I disabled the chat.Then can just play.

  43. “We need the right kind of greedy people here with the right kind of government in the country.”

    That’s just bullshit. Just like saying that there is a “tolerable” amount of corruption.

  44. jude: One of the “right kind of greedy people” is a farmer who is willing to go for a third planting (and “lose” 3 months of vacation-time) even if he gets the same 15% return on costs (fertilizer, fuel for tractor, etc) while he sees the price of rice at Divisoria to have gone up 40%.

  45. Wrong. You need to go back to kindergarten. Or make that pre-school. To learn good manners.

    Oh yeah so all those who call GMA bansot and all other names should also go back to kindergarten?

    I can understand why you can not criticize her. You must be in the same league. Parehong hindi nakakaintindi kung ano ang tama. bwahaha

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