No blog is an island

I read the recent entries of in on the possibility Jun Lozada and Governor Panlilio might embark on blogging, with interest. I disagree with many of the assumptions Rom makes in Too Much. To wit: that there is anything particularly different between Philippine political blogs and those overseas; that the public tired of NBN-ZTE (my understanding is that when those Shenzen photos surfaced, Internet traffic spiked for, and back to pre-Holy Week levels where they’d remained in the doldrums until then); that Ed Panlilio won by force of charisma (he has little of that; it was a revolt on the part of the traditional upper and middle classes of Pampanga, and a victory was barely eked out in the face of the mobilization of the poor, who, despite decades of Panlilio’s involvement with them, still gravitated to the Pineda machine); though I agree Lozada’s run of out anything new to say

I think Benj is wildly off the mark in The Worst-Case Scenario: The Cyber Crackdown. The infrastructure simply isn’t in place, either for regulating or monitoring content a la China (see the analysis of Chinese methods in my conference notes), or simply pulling the plug, a la Burma. Though China does provide the key to understanding how governments will tackle the Internet, not because domestic public opinion matters, but rather, in an effort to damage foreign public opinion. The Chinese government supposedly prefers to apply influence on potential critics to get them to engage in self-censorship, rather than provide ammunition to critical foreign observers by actually throwing bloggers in jail (though it’s done that, but perhaps more to make an initial point).

I’d think that in pragmatically allocating resources to neutralize critics, our government would make the Internet the least of its priorities, not because its an inconsequential field of battle, but rather, because it’s easier to neutralize. The way the government latched on to Bong Austero is a case in point. Whatever he meant or intended became irrelevant: his e-mail, having been produced by a private person helped give the impression that a middle-class constituency was mobilizing, spontaneously, to defend the administration. It was broadcast and repurposed and the buzz his e-mail created gained him a column.

The Internet is a wide field and blogs are just part of the landscape: there’s YouTube, where political messages are broadcast; there’s message boards and groups, where many of the older generation and even a significant chunk of the younger but politically-inclined citizenry is active (a couple of weeks ago I had a round table with some student leaders and the ones from UP told me about how the Peyups message board played a significant role in raising issues that affected the recent student council elections); there’s the passing-on of e-mail, too from person to person; there’s the online news sites, and then blogs; there’s even online broadcast of radio content, particularly effective for Filipinos overseas who tune in to keep tabs on what’s going on at home.

Here, the advantages of incumbency and of managing media scientifically have been magnified, and not reduced. The principle at work, as far as neutralizing critics is concerned, is similar to using chaff to discombobulate the radar signals of the enemy in warfare. If the enemy latches on an issue, simply scramble it by drowning it out in a flood of competing messages; and if that fails, you’re better off launching, say, a denial-of-service attack on an offending website. On the other hand, for the purposes of an offensive or counteroffensive, the Internet is simply yet another platform for amplifying the Message Of The Day -and it can be done relatively cheaply, and efficiently. The message of the day will be seized upon by the genuinely convinced, too. A paid propagandist has an advantage over the committed, but amateur, partisan: there are no ethical concerns to worry about, no effort required to demonstrate respect or even tolerance for contesting claims.

Still, Marocharim brings up the point that interests me the most in Back to Basics. The question of the future of political writing on the newfangled Interweb -particularly for those holding political office. One dominant view of online communication is that it is a conversation; and that a conversation is highly personal, and is less effective when institutional; that it must be characterized by authenticity: which is why the disciplining and clarifying benefits of rhetoric are hotly contested, too. Perhaps, on a person-to-person basis, rhetoric is counter-productive; but in dealing with entire populations, or even segments of those populations, it is essential. Political leaders, particularly in national positions must now balance communicating with segments while those segments, at least for now, continue to believe they constitute a whole: one whose component parts, the citizenry, shares basic values (recall my past reference to Joseph Lane’s reference to Pericles to understand the ongoing American primaries campaign).

The question of authenticity -that bloggers possess it, politicians by their very nature are incapable of it- and the counter-culture self-identification of bloggers as somehow superior even when engaged in political partisanship, is at the heart of whether politician-bloggers should be welcome to, or resisted, when it comes to planting their flags in the blogosphere. Will the politician post manufactured content, in contrast to, say, the more authentic content of even politically-committed bloggers?

James Fallows, journalist-blogger, and incidentally, also a former speechwriter, in tackling criticisms of Barak Obama’s rhetorical gifts, dissects this question:

Several people have written back to say: Well, maybe he just has better speechwriters! And: Since you (me) used to work as a speechwriter (for Jimmy Carter), shouldn’t you be particularly sensitive to this point?

Answer, to the second question: No. And it’s precisely because I have worked is this field that my answer to the first question is: I don’t care who originally came up with these phrases or drafted the speech.

If a public figure’s basic quality of mind or ability to express himself is in question, as frankly is the case with President George W. Bush, then it might be worth investigating whether the words he is uttering actually reflect his underlying outlook and comprehension.

No sane person wonders this about Obama. By himself, long before he had a staff for such help, he wrote one very good book, Dreams from My Father. By all accounts he has written other crucial speeches, including the one about Rev. Jeremiah Wright, all on his own.

So once we have this indication of his basic abilities and outlook, it really shouldn’t matter whether he applies them in every speech he makes. Indeed it would be a misuse of his time and talents to do so. No important political leader can personally perform a lot of the tasks that are carried out in his or her name. The test is whether he can motivate, lead, and manage teams of people to perform in the way, and at the level, he would do himself — if he had a million hours in each day rather than 24. (This is the leadership version of “give someone a fish, and you feed him for a day; teach someone to fish… and soon the oceans will be empty.” Oops, that’s a different point.)

If Obama personally wrote both the 2006 and the 2008 commencement speeches, great. To me it suggests that he’s getting better. If he wrote the old one and an assistant wrote the new one, great too. It shows that he is able to have even better work produced in his name. In a way, the second would be more reassuring, as a guide to possible performance in office.

I’ve said before that politics is primarily about communication: a politician either has the ability to communicate, or doesn’t; rhetorical gifts are a definite plus but their absence isn’t a fatal liabilty; but as I pointed out above, the politician’s dilemma is to communicate in general and particular with limited time and resources, and widely-varying expectations and even assumptions on the part of the various audiences. As with so many other activities, the benefits of highly-focused communications has to be balanced with its costs when it comes to equally necessary wide-scale or wholesale communications.

The only member of Congress I can think of who has a genuinely readable blog is Congressman Ruffy Biazon. From what I’ve heard, the entries are actually his: but is the time and thought he puts into it, worth it, politically?

The only national candidates seriously attempting blogging are Adel Tamano and Danton Remoto (with the up-to-now token participation of Gilbert Remulla, JV Ejercito, and TG Guingona) in The Opposite of Apathy, an interesting experiment that still has to gain its sea-legs. Previously, Mong Palatino experienced the shortcomings of online campaigning in 2004, but it isn’t clear if those shortcomings were due to flawed assumptions (that there is a youth vote, for one), flawed messages (can his ideology compete when it comes to the kind of audiences plugged into the world wide web?) or other handicaps (the efforts of the administration to neutralize the Left by hook or by crook, whether by outright liquidation or institutional subversion through the Comelec, etc.).

My own suspicion is that the blogosphere is politically valuable if -and only if- politicians recognize that it’s an effective venue for courting the Middle Class, with an eye to engaging then mobilizing its members. It is not the venue for mass, or wholesale politics, where TV and radio reign supreme; it is the place for retail politics, and for providing access to a limited portion of the electorate -citizens interested in policy debates, regardless of economic status.

The problem, of course, is that the Middle Class has little to offer the politicians, and particularly so, come 2010: the middle class proved itself as manageable as the masses from 2005 onwards, and having neutralized itself with 2010 as its consuelo de bobo, it will truly have proven itself bobo at least as having an impact in 2010 is concerned; but potentially very significant in 2013 and then 2016, because other factors will then start having an impact (but more on that some other time).

Numbers-wise, they (the middle) are inconsequential and would only matter if they donated generously to campaigns, but they don’t. Not being invested, either in terms of time or money, in the candidacies competing for the mass vote, and the mass vote proving itself susceptible to being marshaled by old veterans (the churches, the labor and other movements, the local machines) or managed by institutional intervention (at the Comelec and in the counting), the candidates have no reason to take middle class advocacy into consideration. Not because politicians don’t care, per se, but in a fight that requires the most efficient allocation of resources, there’s little reason to allocate them to cultivating the middle class.

Case in point: if stuart-santiago says, don’t vote for politicians who do product endorsements, what will it achieve? It will validate the assumptions of the politicians when they undertook those endorsements. They won’t lose or win on the basis of a boycott on the basis of their endorsements. And those who do win despite such a boycott will only serve to entrench the practice. An advocacy of a boycott would only be effective if done -now, prior to elections- by boycotting the products they endorse. A mass-based approach to an issue raised and ventilated (and most effectively wielded) by the middle and upper classes is self-defeating. It’s not that it’s the wrong fight -just the wrong target, considering those expected to do the fighting.

So, let me suggest that the middle class’s salvation, politically, is if campaigning for its heart and mind is done on line: because the middle is actually so broad (what, A to C? but only on line do A to C actually meld together, effectively). That is because appealing to Middle Class values (not very different, for now, to those of the upper class in whose image they have been raised and trained) in the mass media immediately alienates the masses; but online it can be done consistently and with less of a chance it will lose mass votes. The politician who devotes energy and resources to cultivating the middle online just might discover getting real bang for the buck -because, if the middle is properly courted online, it might actually mobilize; then the kind of middle and upper class revolt seen in Pampanga might actually have a chance to be replicated in national politics.

But failing that, what the blogosphere is trying to work out, is a larger conflict, one History Unfolding discussed recently:

The most fundamental conflict in western civilization, in my opinion, is probably between reason and emotion. A year or two ago I purchased a most interesting-looking book, The Closing of the Western Mind by Charles Freeman, dealing with the gradual erosion of reason and the triumph of Christian faith between the fourth century B. C. and the seventh century A. D. ,,, the very title raises the issue of whether this could happen again – not a frivolous question in an era in which faith is rivaling reason in struggles to establish an orthodox view of how and when the human race came into being. In fact, surveying the last few centuries, I suspect that the empire of reason has passed its peak. On the other hand, that may not be altogether a bad thing either. Human beings may have some capacity for rational thought, but they cannot rid themselves of their feelings, and attempts to proclaim the supremacy of reason in human affairs have repeatedly led to disaster. What we need is that precious and most elusive of modern outcomes, an equilibrium – and it must be found fairly soon.

Though David Kaiser in his entry has a different time frame, his concerns, to my mind, can be connected with a belief earlier brought up by one of my favorite historians, John Lukacs. In At the End of an Age he says that our present age, the Modern Age (which began in the 1500’s and superseded the previous Middle Ages) is passing:

To list the evidences of the ending of the Modern Age would fill an enormous book. Here I must try to sum up -or better, to suggest- some of them.


The progressive spreading of democracy has marked the history of mankind, certainly during the past two hundred years but in many ways throughout the entire Modern Age. This progress was usually gradual, at times revolutionary, and not always clearly visible on the surface of world events. How long this democratic age will last no one can tell. What “democracy” really means is another difficult question. But there is a larger consideration. We are living through one of the greatest changes in the entire history of mankind, because until relatively recently history was largely (though never exclusively) “made” by minorities, while increasingly it is “made” by majorities. (In reality it is not so much made by majorities as it is made in the name of majorities.) At any rate, this has become the age of popular sovereignty (at least for a while). History has moved from the aristocratic to the democratic era -a passage occurring mostly during the Modern Age, and one that may transcend even the great accepted (Western) scheme of Ancient and Middle and Modern times.


This spread of democracy was the vision of Alexis de Tocqueville; it is present throughout his writings, most clearly in the second volume of Democracy in America, where his very method of description was to summarily juxtapose and contrast how society, politics, arts, and even more, mores and manners, formed differently in aristocratic ages before the developing democratic times. And within this very large vision there was a historically more limited one: Tocqueville’s recognition, more than a century ago, that this had been and still was a gradual process: with aristocracy declining and democracy rising, the existence of some kind of aristocratic order was still necessary to maintain some of the freedoms of otherwise increasingly democratic societies… Nearly 175 years later, at the end of the Modern Age, much of this is past. Still the Modern Age was marked by the coexistence of aristocracy and democracy, something which has now come to an end.


“Aristocracy” ought not be categorically defined as the rule of kings and/or noblemen. “Democracy” also means something more than the rule of “the people,” more, indeed, than mere popular sovereignty. Bust especially in Europe, between the highest and the lowest classes (or between the rulers and the ruled) there was another, rather particular, class in the middle: the so-called bourgeois class or classes…

And he says that as the Modern Age now undergoes its terminal decline, it should more accurately be known as the Bourgeois Age. In a most lyrical passage, he distills what that Age has been all about:

The Bourgeois Age was the Age of the State; the Age of Money; the Age of Industry; the Age of the Cities; the Age of Privacy; the Age of the Family; the Age of Schooling; the Age of the Book; the Age of Representation; the Age of Science; and the age of an evolving historical consciousness. Except for the last two, all of these primacies are now fading and declining fast.

Indeed! The challenges to, crumbling of, and increasing certainty that all these Ages of have passed -of the state, of money, of industry, the city, of privacy, of family, of schooling, the book, and representation- are played out in this blog nearly day-to-day; just as the debate over which should be exalted, reason or emotion, periodically re-erupts here…
But this clash between Reason and Emotion, as Kaiser sees it, or the passing of the Modern Age, as Lukacs put it, in either case is being played out in blogosphere, too, between those whose references are to a longer framework of time (the Internet Age being the latest evolution of the Modern Age, for example, a view I subscribe to in my attitude to blogging being the latest reincarnation of the Era of the Pamphleteers: see the latter part of my May 7, 2008 blog entry) and those for whom the present Age has vanquished all that’s come before (the Internet as the successor to the Modern Age, though not necessarily a Postmodern Age, as expressed by big mango in Are You a Member of Generation V (for Virtual)? ).
To return where I started: it’s folly (and fallacious) to think a present or future tyranny would be a carbon copy of past tyrannies; tyrants and tyrannies evolve and they thrive when their victims think that so long as the old ways aren’t repeated, exactly, then they are free.

Manuel L. Quezon III.

151 thoughts on “No blog is an island

  1. ‘Leytenian, the ‘protectionist’ policies that the Philippines pursued during the 1950’s is what resulted in our period of highest GDP growth. Weren’t those supposed to be the good times?’

    Possible reason for the protectionist policy adapted in the 1950s. From Ronald E. Dolan, ed. Philippines: A Country Study

    ‘At the time of independence in 1946, and in the aftermath of a destructive wartime occupation by Japan, Philippine reliance on the United States was even more apparent. To gain access to reconstruction assistance from the United States, the Philippines agreed to maintain its prewar exchange rate with the United States dollar and not to restrict imports from the United States. For a while the aid inflow from the United States offset the negative balance of trade, but by 1949, the economy had entered a crisis. The Philippine government responded by instituting import and foreign-exchange controls that lasted until the early 1960s.

    Import restrictions stimulated the manufacturing sector. Manufacturing net domestic product (NDP) at first grew rapidly, averaging 12 percent growth per annum in real terms during the first half of the 1950s, contributing to an average 7.7 percent growth in the GNP, a higher rate than in any subsequent five-year period. The Philippines had entered an import-substitution stage of industrialization, largely as the unintended consequence of a policy response to balance-of-payments pressures. In the second half of the 1950s, the growth rate of manufacturing fell by about a third to an average of 7.7 percent, and real GNP growth was down to 4.9 percent. Import demand outpaced exports, and the allocation of foreign exchange was subject to corruption. Pressure mounted for a change of policy.

    In 1962 the government devalued the peso and abolished import controls and exchange licensing. The peso fell by half to P3.90 to the dollar. Traditional exports of agricultural and mineral products increased; however, the growth rate of manufacturing declined even further. Substantial tariffs had been put in place in the late 1950s, but they apparently provided insufficient protection. Pressure from industrialists, combined with renewed balance of payments problems, resulted in the reimposition of exchange controls in 1968. Manufacturing recovered slightly, growing an average of 6.1 percent per year in the second half of the decade. However, the sector was no longer the engine of development that it had been in the early 1950s. Overall real GNP growth was mediocre, averaging somewhat under 5 percent in the second half of decade; growth of agriculture was more than a percentage point lower. The limited impact of manufacturing also affected employment. The sector’s share of the employed labor force, which had risen rapidly during the 1950s to over 12 percent, plateaued. Import substitution had run its course.’

  2. UP n student,

    ‘A more liberal attitude towards foreign investment could do the job, I suppose. Give them competition. The 40-60 restriction in the Constitution only serves to preserve the stranglehold of the oligarchy.’

    I think the parity rights in the 1935 constitution removed the 40-60 ownership requirements for some decades. The parity rights expired but the oligarchy cemented and welded its stranglehold of the Philippine economy by buying the majority shares in those American companies. Think PLDT, ABS-CBN and MERALCO.

  3. What is needed (and what was required in the beginning of the Republic) in the Philippines is a type of sovereign democracy, also sometimes referred to as the Asian variant of representative democracy, e.g. Korea, Singapore, and Taiwan.

    With the kind of family-and-friends connections pervading in our society, the State should be able to intervene in order provide some hope and respite to the marginalized.

    Now, all we need is benevolent dictator.

  4. supremo, i think that was a reasonably accurate presentation by dolan of contemporary history of philipine economic policies particularly in the 50’s, except for one thing. there is a dinosaur of a difference between devaluation of currency and removal of artificial controls on foreign exchange. the philippines did not “devalue” the peso in 1962. the administration of pres. diosdado macapagal sought to remove the controls and let the peso find its own level. of course, it had the effect of lowering its real value as against the dollar and other currencies. it put an end to the illusory valuation which was nothing more than ‘smoke and mirrors’.

  5. btw, the peso showed remarkable strength after the decontrol and as of 1970 (when i left the country to live in the u.s.) it was 4 pesos to a buck, a far cry from today’s 43 to 1.

  6. UPN,
    Tama nga ano, bakit college lang ang mga sinosoportahan, pati ng mga “godfather types”,and some foundations.
    siguro yung iba para me pagbasihan ng the best and the brightest or the lucky few at ang gauge nila elementary at high school.

    The group mentioned by Monsod who gives money to parents on the condition that the child stays in school made a good move. tama na siguro elementary ,siguro napaka abusado naman ng parents kung lubos lubusin na nila sa high school at college di nawalan ng role ang parents sa education ng bata.The special interest group would not just throw away money and let the parents be parasites,di ko lang alam kung ganun ang nagyayari at kung gano na katagal ang group at buhay pa din ngayon.

    If they do good, di may chance na sila maging scholar sa college.

  7. Leytenian,

    If that is the case,ok

    but what is it by finding solutions.As you said” finding” meaning some bright guy out there already proposed it.

    You are doing it the scholarly way then;like having
    a thesis proposal with a laundry list of references,then surprise! a recommendation and a conclusion would always appear at the end.Ang dami pala nating scholar di lang selected few.

    cheers,miss leytenian !di kita inaaaway,makulit talaga ako.Force of habit sa skwela dami tanong,post shift meeting sa office dami pa ding tanong oras na madinig ang any questions? kaya lahat ng uwing uwi na gali na galit.

    buti naman nagkasundo rin kayo ni the cat

    eye opener yung sinabi ni Anthony tungkol sa Fil aussie, sa akin dati laging pumapasok sa isip ko,bakit di ka ba pinoy Benign0? ay natanong ko pala ng derechahan dati, kaya pala ako na adhominem foul.

  8. KG,
    ” As you said” finding” meaning some bright guy out there already proposed it.”

    agree… all these economists have been writing articles but they have never been heard by majority. Manuel L. quezon is a BRAND name… we are in the best blog site.. actually top 10 blog site in Philippine in terms of hits per minutes. if we can take all the positive data and blog it over and over again .. this blogsite will become an aid.. aid not by money.. but aid or donations of intellectual wealth coming from you and from everybody.

  9. Leytenian,
    In addition:

    Like a wiseman once said: we learn from those who disagree.
    This is the place to be,pangit naman yung, puro di ba pare?oo nga pare :Hi Five!

  10. PIDS study: Increased budget for education to benefit the poor .

    there is also FAPE supplementing tuitions for private secondary school ( not sure)..

    anyway, the program is already in place but other issues such as quality of education, lack of school buildings, and lack of teachers skills must also be taken into consideration. currently, DECS regulation is one student per square meter and maximum of 60 students in one classroom. DECS and other governmental bodies must have a somekind of standardized lesson planning. I think UP and other prominent schools can provide guidance to these public schools in terms of “how to teach”.

    Building maintenance, disasters readiness, emergency, flooding, and other risk caused by nature must be added to every schools policies and procedures. our children spend most of their time in school. it should be safe.

    i really feel that we need cash flow to finance all of our needs. I am hoping that our government should really look into lowering our debt payments and negotiate its term. Any president who can decreased our payments will be motivated not to waste it on corruption. If corruption first is her/his agenda, then we will also be in a position for Cash. Other economic stimulus such as increasing the gap between 40-60, attracting more FDI’s and investing some of our surplus in international market. Let the local businesses compete. What they are doing is investing it with the local Oligarch. Of course, conflict of interests will happen. Let our money grow on a separate account and penalize the others who try to manipulate the system. it seems like the rich penalizes us.. LOL

  11. in our country, we borrow money and invest into a project that depreciate and most of it are stolen. if we have to compare our government spending to our own individual spending, we are buying mercedez that loses value in 5 years. a good example is Napocor.. Napocor is not utilized in its full capacity and yet we continue to spend just to maintain. ( someone was blogging about this- can’t remember)
    link to our debt monthly payment… few politicians have their opinions on this article.

  12. Supremo, the 1960’s was indeed a pivotal decade. That was also the time when South Korea started its industrialization under Park using the combined import substitution & export-led model. That’s how companies like Samsung, which used to be in sugar refining and textiles, moved to mobile phones, semiconductors and computers. Here in the Philippines, napabayaan ang manufacturing industry natin.

  13. cvj,

    why do you have to say (June 2, 10:23 pm)

    If you don’t hear much about those things, how come you know that corruption is worse over there than here?

    if you agree that corruption exists in China?

  14. supremo,

    any discussion of South Korea during the 1960s is incomplete without including the role of ‘very limited democracy’ that time

  15. Who is Manny Villar.. He seems like he has a grasp of our economic reality. he sounds like the guy i was talking on comment: June 2nd, 2008 at 11:03 am ” i think i prefer regulations back to basic and mix it with financing talent”
    Note: I don’tknow him and i’m not promoting him. Basing frommy own experience the human resources recruiting management… his experience fits the description to somewhat alleviate our problems.
    His website is very professional and this is what i’m looking for.

  16. “i really feel that we need cash flow to finance all of our needs. I am hoping that our government should really look into lowering our debt payments and negotiate its term. Any president who can decreased our payments will be motivated not to waste it on corruption.”

    You are in florida, right?

    You use credit cards,I suppose.

    You know why people ask why their minimum payments is so high?
    It is because of this Office of the Comptroller of the currency guideline for lenders including credit card companies for them to have this % minimum payment

    In a way that guideline was supposed to prevent debt trap scenarios.But why on earth,many are still trapped, maybe that is why it remains a guideline until now and not a federal law.

    Then apply that in da pilipins,the appropriation for payments is set by congress.many congressmen and lobbyists tried to propose that we do away with the fixed payment,some even want us to deafult and pay it on our own terms like what cvj mentioned on the Argentina scenario. The pay everytime this fixed amount lobby won.

    I guess,you already know that and that did not even address your concern about corruption.well we can take a look at those corruption in china exchanges above and make most out of it for now.

  17. One of the more important asepcts of China’s rise in the last 20 years is the fact that FDI’s in China were directed primarily to the export carrying trade.

    There are very stringent rules and limitations for FDI’s in the domestic economy including asccess to domestic savings which for the uninitiated is loans.

    The PRC does this in line with the same principle that propelled Japan – reverse engineering.

    In point of fact Hank Paulsen had quit his p[ostion at Goldman sachs and started teaching in a Chinese University Finance. This was the reason he was appointed Treasury Secretary.

    China and India are the most protectionsit countries in the world when it comes to their consumer, financial and industrial markets.

    Simply stating that China allows open investment in its economy is totally wrong.

    Even when SM invested in China they were surpirsed to know that their invesmtynets had to funded directly from outside savings and they had very limited access to Chinese banking facilities.

    When you come to invest in China you havce to bring cold hard cash. That is the primary reason the reserves of China are where they are. In 2003-2004 they were only $300-400M. Today they are over $1.5 trillion and still rising. Most of those investments are from japoan and Greater China. Even the major financial markets in China are off limits to foreign investors.

    We are a more open economy than China. We got screwed and continue to get screwed. Our stupid debt polcies since decontrol is the problem that has never been solved.

    We have been under the IMF-WB structural adjusment policies since the early 60’s. We have become the premier guinea pig. Now after over 40 years they admit that they were wrong.

    The only reason for that was in the 90’s countries started questioning their rigid dogmas and acted versus it.

    The world economy operated under the fixed rates of exchange till 1972-73. Since the Philippines was a semi colony then we devalued much earlier in the early sixties. The vaunted decontrol program.

    TRhat was a strategic mistake. Till 1972 the Americans were still exporting gold out of the Philippines since they could do so legally.

    We aqctually contributed a lot ot their gold reserves during the days of the gold exchange standard.

    No President has had the wherewithall to use our resources for our benefit.

    “During the debt crisis of the 1980’s and 1990’s, the International Monetary Fund and World Bank forced dozens of poor food-importing countries to dismantle these state systems. Poor farmers were told to fend for themselves, to let “market forces” provide for inputs. This was a profound mistake: there were no such market forces.”

    “Poor farmers lost access to fertilizers and improved seed varieties. They could not obtain bank financing. To its credit, the World Bank recognized this mistake in a scathing internal evaluation of its long-standing agricultural policies last year.”

    “The time has come to reestablish public financing systems that enable small farmers in the poorest countries, notably those farming on two hectares or less, to gain access to needed inputs of high-yield seeds, fertilizer, and small-scale irrigation. Malawi has done this for the past three seasons, and has doubled its food production as a result. Other low-income countries should follow suit.”

    “During the debt crisis of the 1980’s and 1990’s, the International Monetary Fund and World Bank forced dozens of poor food-importing countries to dismantle these state systems. Poor farmers were told to fend for themselves, to let “market forces” provide for inputs. This was a profound mistake: there were no such market forces.”

    “Poor farmers lost access to fertilizers and improved seed varieties. They could not obtain bank financing. To its credit, the World Bank recognized this mistake in a scathing internal evaluation of its long-standing agricultural policies last year.”

    “The time has come to reestablish public financing systems that enable small farmers in the poorest countries, notably those farming on two hectares or less, to gain access to needed inputs of high-yield seeds, fertilizer, and small-scale irrigation. Malawi has done this for the past three seasons, and has doubled its food production as a result. Other low-income countries should follow suit.” Jeffrey Sachs

  18. Leytenian mukhang ang tagal mo na sa tate ah
    That is why I have the feeling that I was talking to myself about that federal guideline.

    manny villar was the speaker of the house (erap impeachment)and now the senate president.

    Ang campaign nya ay sipag at tyaga.
    he has his share of skeptics,and doubting thomases sino ba ang nawalan ?
    he started from scratch and is now one of the top ten richest guys in our country.

    was that a trick question?

  19. I strongly recommend to pundit bloggers to read and check on their accuracy when putting forth their opinions. The fifth president Duhalde was the man who ordered the default. The riots happened way before that.

    The default was the effect of the massive devlaution. Just think what would happen here if by the end of this year the peso would touch Php 120 to the dollar. it would be interesting to ask all the major contenders to the Presidency what they would do. that is what happened to Argentina.

    By 2005 their debt default resulted in a restructuring that was more benficial for them to prevent probable civil war.

    They did it going against all the doctirne imposed by the IMF-WB. By 2006 the WB opened its lending window again to Argentina. They could do it because they are major food surplus economy.

    Timeline: Argentina’s Road to Ruin
    • Back to Article: Argentina Didn’t Fall on Its Own (Aug. 3, 2003) Washington Post

    Argentina’s Economy Minister Domingo Cavallo introduces the system of peso convertibility, guaranteeing an exchange rate of one peso for one dollar.

    The dollar peg helped bring inflation under control. In 1989, the country’s inflation rate stood at 5,103 percent. It fell from 84 percent in 1991 to 17.5 percent in 1992 and 7.4 percent in 1993.

    1993-94 The economy soars, at an annual growth rate above 5.5 percent, as inflation subsides and the government embarks on an ambitious program of deregulation, lowering trade barriers and privatizing state-owned enterprises including oil, telephones and power.

    Argentine financial markets are battered by “contagion” from the Mexican peso crisis, and the economy falls into a brief recession, but the currency peg survives.

    1996-98: The boom resumes, and Wall Street eagerly finances a massive amount of borrowing by the Argentine government. Meanwhile, however, Argentina’s debt burden is growing.

    Mid-1997: Financial crises begin to devastate Asia’s emerging economies.

    April 1998: IMF economists warn Argentine officials that the country’s economy may be vulnerable to an Asian-style meltdown, but their admonitions are essentially ignored, in large part because foreign capital is flowing into the country.

    October 1998: As Argentina continues to avert the crises that have now spread to Russia, Argentine President Carlos Menem is invited to address the IMF-World Bank meeting in Washington, reflecting the country’s status as a sterling reformer.

    Jan. 1999: Brazil is stricken by financial crisis and devalues its currency.

    Mid-1999: Recession hits Argentina, thanks in large part to the impact of the Brazilian crisis. State workers take to the streets, demanding back pay from the provincial government.

    October 2000: With recession dragging on, interest rates high, and Argentina’s debt reaching 50 percent of GDP, Columbia University economist Charles Calomiris privately urges the government to restructure its obligations

    November: A political split in the government sends capital fleeing and interest rates soaring

    December: The IMF approves an emergency rescue package that includes $14 billion in IMF loans plus $6 billion more from other official lenders

    February 2001: Argentine markets begin to slide anew as turmoil in Turkey undermines confidence in emerging markets, and evidence suggests that the government will not fulfill the IMF’s targets

    March: Domingo Cavallo, the father of the peso convertibility program, returns as economy minister.

    May: A “mega-swap” of Argentine bonds, aimed at giving the country breathing space to resume growth by stretching out the government’s principal and interest payments, is concluded, with nearly $30 billion worth of bonds exchanged.

    June-July: Markets continue to slide, and Argentina turns again to the IMF for help.

    August: IMF, under Horst Kohler’s management, approves an $8 billion increase in its loan package for Argentina, including a vague proposal for some of the money to go toward restructuring the country’s debt, but markets resume their decline soon thereafter.

    October: Top bankers meeting in New York conclude that the country must restructure.

    November: The government announces a partial debt restructuring plan.

    December: To halt a flight of deposits from the banking system, Cavallo imposes restrictions in withdrawals, and the IMF announces that it does not intend to disburse a $1.3 billion loan installment. Riots ensue, forcing Cavallo and de la Rua to resign. Political chaos envelops Argentina as a succession of presidents assume office briefly.

    January 2002: The government of President Eduardo Duhalde announces a formal default on the debt and ends the peso convertibility system

    Argentina’s economy contracts by 11 percent, unemployment soars above 20 percent.

    The economy has rebounded, along with the peso and the stock market. Many forecasters expect growth in gross domestic product to reach 5 percent or more this year, and inflation remains relatively tame. But the economy is still operating well below its pre-crisis levels, and economists question whether the expansion will continue, especially because the government has not yet addressed crucial problems such as the need to restructure the banking system.

    (Back to Article)

  20. KG,
    “It is because of this Office of the Comptroller of the currency guideline for lenders including credit card companies for them to have this % minimum payment”
    I may beg to disagree with you. It is not the comptrollers guidelines. Individual interest rates on credit cards varies according to individual’s credit score and her/his history of payments. In the US , we have what we call credit scoring system ( FICO score). the lower your score, the higher your interest rates and the higher your credit score, the lower your interest rates. Same principle applies to commercial bank borrowing. As an enterprenuer myself, I borrow money from the bank using my company’s credit score,(assess by dun and bradstreet using my tax ID number or the bank can use my personal credit score using my social security number). The higher my company’s score, the lower my interest rate…

    In terms of our country, there is a credit scoring system used by world bank. The Philippines might have a very low score that’s why interest payments are high.

    Yes there is minimum payment and it will be high if your credit score is low, not because it is the policy.

  21. In our country, it is world banks policy to pay our debts regardless of amount. our debts are just way too high. it needs to be re-negotiated. check out odious debts.

  22. wow, hvrds… you are even more accurate.. good blog about argentina… so should we bankrupt? LOL
    last friday night…hanging out with a friend from switzerland who manages two disney cruise lines.. he said .. we have to do what argentina did? LOL.. he also said that filipino workers at the disney cruise lines are hard working people. He would rather hire us than others. so i asked him? why are you here in the US. he said swiss are close minded then we both got drunk. LOL

  23. Thanks Leytenian,

    I know about fico score,kailangan sa pinas yan,dito ibang klase ang data mining, the data is mine so you are not allowed to to look at it.

    kidding aside,I was not saying that the guideline caused debt traps,I said it was a tool to prevent debt traps, like pay this certain amount or else you will end up paying for ever.

    of course all you other obligations are looked into.
    screw up on one of them , it does not matter if you are religious paying your credit card and the APR is supposedly based on the prime rate right? But is it,really?

    High credit lines,the higer you have they will say it is a bigger chance to max out,multiply that by 3 to five credit cards your APR will increase due to being a risk based customer because of maintaining too many credit cards.

    having one card for so long is no good either,they have another reason for increasing apr other than fico score and that I do not know.

    Dito gawa ka ng batas na katulad ng FICO score, eh mas accurate pa nga daw ang meralco kesa BIR sa pag estimate ng income.

  24. “having one card for so long is no good either,they have another reason for increasing apr other than fico score and that I do not know.”

    I can think of something like bakit ang tagal tagal na umuutang ka pa din sa amin, ang tagal na naming nagpapalugi sa iyo(low apr for a long time) kailangan na naming bumawi ginagastusan ka din namin no.

  25. Hi Karl,
    having 5 credit cards are not very good personal finance. one or two is ok but only for emergency used.

    big credit lines like equity lines from a business or home equity lines are only good if you invest it into something that will give you a return of over 50%. as i have mentioned before… borrow only if return is greater… or else. ang mga filipino dito sa america mabaon din sa utang. kayud nang kayud, uwi sa pinas na parang mga milyonaryo. yun pala galing sa utang… hay naku.. bakit kasi natoto sa ating gobierno..utang lang nang utang…. kaya masakit sa ulo.

    when my brother came after me.i told him the rules and regulations of borrowing.. he did listen so he did not experience what I have experienced. Now he is learning debt to income ratio. gumaling na rin ang budgetting niya. takot na ngang mangutang… LOL.

  26. hvrds (at 9:49 am), thanks for the timeline. That sure clarifies the cause and effect relationships.

  27. Here in the Philippines, napabayaan ang manufacturing industry natin.

    Johnny Litton (of Litton Mills) said that what killed our textile industry was smuggling. I believe we have innovative, creative people who want to go into manufacturing. It’s just that they can’t compete with the smugglers which offer lucrative profits at minimal costs. (I suppose that’s why controlling the ports is so important to this administration, eh? wink-nudge)

  28. KG,
    “having one card for so long is no good either,they have another reason for increasing apr other than fico score and that I do not know.”

    3 things could happen with only one card.

    1. credit line will increase if your balance is less than 30% of total line.
    2. interest rates is tied to prime rate. if prime rate is high then interest rates will be high.
    3. if one make a late payment over 10days or 15days,interest rates will increase to maximum.

    anyway, let’s apply Philippines.. take the number one example… credit limit. let’s assume that credit line did not increase but only the balance has decreased because of our monthly payment. Section 26 (B) Book 6 of the Revised Administrative Code of 1987 is the mother of all these debt-creating laws.

    Here’s the culprit… Because of the automatic debt servicing provisions, payments for both principal and interest on public debt are automatically appropriated. Section 26 (B) Book 6 of the Revised Administrative Code of 1987 is the mother of all these debt-creating laws.
    meaning, kahit nabayaran na ang isang utang, we can still borrow because the credit limit is still the same. this provision is not good in acorrupt government.. the line available is an attraction for corruption.. check this link:

  29. …if you agree that corruption exists in China? – anthony scalia

    i was just wondering how else you would’ve known about corruption if, as you said, “you don’t hear much about those things

    any discussion of South Korea during the 1960s is incomplete without including the role of ‘very limited democracy’ that time – anthony scalia

    ‘Limited democracy’ is a feature of both North and South Korea.

  30. Again thank you, I was thinking of reasons beyond primerate

    have you received leters of change in terms or have you read in the fine print of your welcome letter, that they have the right to change the terms at any time.Some credit card companies do that,the others who do not dies a natural death.

    Those change in terms letters always go with prime rate plus blank percent

    of course the APR would be less if the prime rate lowers and other wise if the prime rate rises.

    If the FED decides to lower the interest rates,do you think that you will have lower aprs even after two billing cycles?

    You are lucky you have a grace period,some credit cards when you are late you are late,you can have a refund on the late fee but no assurance on the APR.

    Now kahit apples and oranges ang national debt at credit cards,we can’t afford to default and dictate our terms.To play safe at least for now.But I really do wish we can.Can loren do that ?sya nga ba ng nagsabi nun o si FPJ?

    Ty again!

  31. KG,
    thanks for the article. on FPJ 2204 “He cannot just practice saying the word “restructuring”.

    this is what I meant that education on my comment on:
    June 2nd, 2008 at 9:00 pm “I have to expect each of them to provide their track records of cost savings, implementation and what was done during the process of implementation”

    an actor may be able to understand a little but will not be able to explain it when questioned on how this process will be done and what’s the benefit not only for the Philippines but also to world bank. I can only trust the one who have the education and experience. FPG don’t have both. but sorry to bring him back…

    on the other article: So where does FPJ or Raul Roco or Ping Lacson or Eddie Villanueva or Eddie Gil come in? what are the background of these people? sounds like they didn’t know what they are doing?

    anyway… with the economic crisis and tightness of money…it might be a good time to revisit the “re-structure” or let me say re-negotiate. i am assuming that since we are only paying principal, our government might have what we call adjustable loans, which will adjust according to current rates. if so… then your statement will apply:
    If the FED decides to lower the interest rates, do you think that you will have lower aprs even after two billing cycles? Yes ( not sure with two, some banks are have their own policy too but mine was one billing cycle) so maybe our government loans have now adjusted after ???? billing cycles? anyway…. i wish someone in our current admin will try to do this in a very professional manner that will result into a win-win situation for both world bank and Philippines. defaulting is not good for world banks. these defaulted loans becomes non performing loans. if we also default, our credibility will turn sour. a solution must be in the middle.

  32. correction: i am assuming that since we are only paying interest ( not principal)

  33. So villlar was not a trick question afterall, since you do not know the accomplishments of Roco and Lacson.

    I guess that it is never too late to be involved in the issues, you can do back readings of this blog by clicking on the month and year, at the upper left hand corner.

    Hvrds often cites project syndicate: I just visited it and what a rush ,if you are interested in international news and commentaries.

    You can click on the names of some or most of the commenters and they will lead you to their blog site, ako wala na ako blog,comment na lang ng comment .itrial and error mo na lang kung me blog ang commenter o wala.

  34. KG,
    “So villlar was not a trick question afterall, since you do not know the accomplishments of Roco and Lacson.”

    nope… i have forgotten Philippines for 18 years until lately. i was concerned due to US economic crisis. I know it will affect my fellow filipino people…I am now being proactive and trying to be positive. as i said I am new here.I did read previous blogs but most of the comments don’t have much substance and value. sorry and sad to say. lately… it’s amazing we have our own “project syndicate” . our very own.

  35. Leytenian,

    “project syndicate”LOL
    if not the comments why not the blog itself, it has links to other blogs who do not make commentaries on the comment thread except for thank you for the mention and the link.

    I said this is the place to be, akala ko may point of reference ka, I too did my back reading nakita ko nakikita mo lang yung blog ng commenter pag ni link nila sa comment.tapos you did mention that you went to rickycarandang’s.

    The blogosphere has much to offer,other than the comments(wala namang ganyanan,joke).
    good luck in your quest for finding the right president.
    will you do it via absentee voting o uuwi ka sa 2010?

    those guys better have good publicists for people abroad who never heard or seen the news about the Philippines for almost two decades,sigurado ako di ka nag iisa.

  36. i will go home and forget politics. i go home to party and enjoy the beaches… so many things to see and so many friends to enjoy. i still like manny villar. ikaw anong plano mo.. hahahah

  37. I forgot to mention, Raul roco already passed away, dalawa na sila 2004 candidate na nauna na.
    Baka kasi i lookup mo sya,but it is nice to know his accomplishments.Si lacson, wait for another controversy baka madinig mo pangalan nya, sa ngayon may fertilizer scam na bubuhayin .

    You can google:
    richard gordon,mar roxas,loren legarda,panfilo lacson,noli de castro for possible presidentiables.

    for possible senatoriables.
    click on the oppositeof apathy link above by a certain viktor12 or the link in the blog itself above.

    me nilink si mlq3 sa taas na congressman ruffy biazon baka tumakbo din ito sa senado.

  38. thanks KG… i will definitely listen to their debates. do we have a rational presidential debate? yung hindi nagbabastusan.. yung tama lang ,like hillary and obama… LOL

  39. Di pa lumalanas comment mo nung nag submit ako comment.

    Malaya ba miami beaches sa tampa? o sige enjoy tampa bay

    saan mas maraming retirees from the north east,miami o tampa?

    ako wala layo beaches at Killjoy ako sa misis ko pag nagyaya ng boracay ,dun kasi kami nag honeymoon ten years ago, oo nga ano ten years na pala kami sa july,bahala na.

  40. leytenian, unfortunately hindi uso ang Presidential debates dito, at least between the front-runners.

  41. i pa uso na natin para meron tayong bagong entertainment. LOL… yeah i was just in boracay and el nido in september 07.. I haven’t seen a place like El Nido. south beach, tampa, daytona and florida beaches are nothing compared to ours…
    the baby boomers are all over florida. both the oldies and the tourists from all over the world coming to florida are causing too much traffic. they don’t know where to go. LOL

  42. blogging can be a force to reckon with in the, but like what you have said in iblog4, some of us has to become martyrs. and are we ready to become martyrs. thats easier said than done. the dangers are not that high there in manila but here in bikol, in a small municipality, things are different.

    you post anonymously about your personal knowledge about cheating last election. even if you don’t name them, they will found out who were you referring to, and by process of elimination, they will know who was responsible for it. then, one night, several suv (which only politicians can afford to use in this parts of the philippines) would park in front of your house and you’ll know you are in trouble.

    the will knock on your door, they would come in threaten you. then what would you do – nothing you apologize. then the next day, you have to resign from because a member of the political dynasty is your employer. there are no other employment available because most of the businesses here are owned by them or by their friends or they will not hire you because of fear of antagonizing the local political kingpins. you have no other opportunities except the government, but you will need their recommendation – hell you cant even go to the municipal hall.

    you are in away ostracized and you will have n choice but to leave that place because there is nothing for you there anymore.

    so is anyone willing to become a martyr

  43. “project syndicate” – what in the world is that? sounds like another cabal.

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