The little dolphin that could


The Wall Street Journal (which, editorially, has previously been supportive of the President) greets the President’s arrival in New York with a raspberry: see the op-ed piece, Powering Down the Philippine Economy:

Tomorrow in New York, Ms. Arroyo will woo well-heeled potential investors at a $5,000-a-table luncheon at the Waldorf-Astoria, where she is expected to give an upbeat presentation on Philippine infrastructure financing and ongoing privatization efforts.

Ms. Arroyo’s boasts ring hollow, however, given her country’s inhospitable climate for foreign investment… Even worse, Ms. Arroyo and her political allies back in Manila don’t seem to care that they are sending signals that would cause any potential investor to cringe.

Take the most recent bungle: the liberalization of the notoriously inefficient Philippine energy sector. In 2001, a newly sworn-in President Arroyo signed legislation calling for at least 70% of the government-owned National Power Corporation, known as Napocor — long one of the country’s worst symbols of inefficiency and corruption — to be privatized. Even though Ms. Arroyo’s administration has dragged its feet in following through with the reforms, the Electric Power Industry Reform Act of 2001 is working, albeit slowly.

Today, slightly more than 40% of Napocor is privately owned… By year’s end, the reform act’s goal of privatizing at least 70% of Napocor could be realized.

But will Manila allow that to happen? Last December, the Arroyo administration announced that it wanted to amend the reform act by Christmas, to ensure that the government would retain control of at least 50% of Napocor. Hardly for the first time, the government in Manila was reminding foreign investors that the economic goal posts could be moved in the late innings. In the House of Representatives, the antireform legislation’s chief sponsor is the chairman of the energy committee, Rep. Juan Miguel “Mikey” Arroyo, the president’s son.

When the heads of the Joint Foreign Chambers of Commerce protested the roll-back of Napocor’s privatization in a May 27 letter to Ms. Arroyo, the president’s allies in the senate exploded in nationalistic outrage…

“My goodness, get out of this country if you can’t live with us,” Sen. Juan Ponce-Enrile told Mr. D’Aboville, who has lived in the Philippines for 31 years and is married to a Filipina. Added another presidential ally, Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago, “You may not continue. You do not determine what you can say or not say. I determine.”

Unembarrassed by such a display of legislative intemperance, Ms. Arroyo has brought Sen. Santiago with her to New York, where the president is lobbying the United Nations to give her a seat on the International Court of Justice. Asked by reporters right after the hearing if the senators’ June 6 bullying of the foreign businessman had been inappropriate, presidential spokesman Ignacio Bunye said he didn’t think so. A few days later, Ms. Arroyo — possibly having been informed that several European ambassadors were prepared to file a formal diplomatic protest — came out with a statement thanking foreign investors for being part of her country’s “success.”

Ms. Arroyo has argued that government control of power plants is a more efficient way of keeping electricity prices down than private competitors who will compete in the marketplace — surely a strange argument from a woman who has a doctorate in economics. Making matters worse, her administration is engaged in a separate but equally embarrassing power struggle for control of the board of directors of the Philippines’ largest private electricity distributor, the Manila Electric Co. The company is controlled by the powerful Lopez family, one of the Philippines’ most enduring oligarchies. In addition, the Philippine government holds a 30% stake and is represented on the board.

To be sure, there is a case that could be made that Meralco, which controls some 70% of electricity on the big island of Luzon, is a monopoly that should be subjected to the pressures of real market competition. But the political intensity of the Arroyo administration’s personal attacks on the Lopez family suggests — especially to watching foreigners — that an agenda is at work that goes beyond economics. Specifically, the fight between Ms. Arroyo’s family and the Lopez business empire seems to personify the latest example of feuding family clans that have long been a major source of the Philippines’s economic and political fragility. In the early 1960s, when Ms. Arroyo’s father, Diosdado Macapagal, was president, he also tried to wrest control of Meralco from the Lopez family.

Ms. Arroyo needs to understand that when Manila promises to open up major sectors of the economy to reforms that would foster real competition, those promises should not be broken.

Over at Inquirer Current, I pointed out the ratio of Filipino to American congressmen was 5:1. The Inquirer editorial for today points something out I’d observed in my column yesterday:

Is it wrong to criticize the President for not returning to the country immediately?

To answer the question, we must first respond to the image engineering campaign already underway that seeks to paint the President as taking the extra step, as going out of her way, to oversee recovery and rehabilitation efforts in the Philippines. Malacañang has highlighted the fact that she has been conducting videoconferences with the Cabinet and the National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC). On June 24, the meeting was held at 3 in the morning; the following day, it was held at 1:30 a.m.

Allow us to point out the obvious, which seems to have been buried under the publicity avalanche: While it was very early in the morning here in the Philippines, it was the middle of the day in Washington, D.C. In other words, it was the Cabinet and NDCC officials who went out of their way, to meet the President’s schedule.

We have long noted the President’s extraordinary grasp of detail, and even her many political enemies acknowledge her prodigious capacity for work (in marked contrast to her predecessor), but it seems a cruel joke to force her officials to attend meetings in the wee hours, just so she can be seen to call the shots.

Her main ally in Congress, House Speaker Prospero Nograles, argues that Vice President Noli de Castro was “more than capable” to serve as “caretaker president” (gratuitously adding that this was “precisely why we have him as our vice president”). But this able-caretaker argument runs directly counter to the President’s idea of government-by-video-conference. If Vice President De Castro is in charge, why doesn’t Ms Arroyo allow him to take charge? Her intervention by “modern communication technology” undermines the vice presidency, at the exact time her allies in the administration coalition seek to build up De Castro’s reputation.

More tellingly, her use of “modern communication technology” undermines her own case for sticking to the original schedule. If there is a pressing need for the President to actively coordinate the work of the Cabinet and the NDCC at this time of shock and grief, what is she still doing in the United States?

ph5-062608.jpgLatest figures put death toll from Typhoon ‘Frank’ at 622 with 2.4 million people displaced in 14 regions. And as if things couldn’t get worse, they did: ‘Princess’ dives, retrieval stopped due to chemical shipment. And Sulpicio’s yard yields 7,000 sacks of ‘smuggled’ sugar.

Passenger shipping industry drowns while budget airlines fly high points out, though, that if it had happened in previous years, the casualty list from the capsizing of the Princess of the Stars might have been much higher:

The ill-fated Sulpicio Line ship plying the primary Manila-Cebu route had a capacity of 1,992 passengers, excluding crew members. But when it encountered rough waters during a typhoon and capsized in June 21, it was only carrying over 700 passengers and more than a hundred crew members.

It means the massive 23,824-ton ship was going ahead with an expected business-as-usual day with just about 40 percent load.

Compare that with another ship also owned by Sulpicio Line, the M/V Dona Paz, which sank in 1987 after colliding with a small oil tanker. Its weight was just 2,215-ton, a fraction of M/V Princess of the Stars’.

M/V Dona Paz had a capacity of only 1,518 passengers, but after the tragedy it was found to be carrying more than twice what it was allowed. Investigations following its sinking showed that it was overloaded and up to 4,375 people onboard died. It has gone down in history as the worst maritime disaster during peacetime.

The M/V Dona Paz tragedy, however, occurred during the Christmas holidays, a peak season in the travel industry. M/V Princess of the Stars, on the other hand, was traveling during a traditionally low season…

…Depending on the season and timing of purchase, a round trip plane fare between Manila and Cebu could go as low as P3,000. In the past, round trip boat fares on the same route hovered between P4,000 to P8,000. But even at reduced rates of up to a little over P2,000, the small difference with the cost of flying have enticed some to convert.

The airlines could afford to offer these low fares after they adopted a sophisticated pricing strategy that guided budget carriers in allocating more discounted seats during the lean months of June to October to improve their load factor, or the measure of how full the aircraft is. Thus, even on lean months, Cebu Pacific’s load factor can go as high as 80 percent.

Flying budget airlines is not only more affordable now, it is also more convenient. A Manila-Cebu boat ride, for example, takes almost a day. A plane ride, on the other hand, takes just over an hour…

…According to the Philippine Ports Authority data, in 2005, overall recorded passengers taking sea-based transport grew by only 2.55 percent. It has been downhill since.

In 2006, total sea craft passengers dropped by 8.27 percent. That’s only 42.56 million passengers for the entire year. Data for 2007 is expected to show that passenger counts plunged deeper.

The business decisions of market leader and publicly listed Aboitiz Transport Services in 2007 provided indications on where this industry is headed. The dramatic reduction in their passenger loads cut their revenues up to 30 percent in 2007.

To adapt, they have converted several of their passenger-cargo lines, under the Superferry brand, to accommodate more cargo than passengers.

This means shipping companies such as Aboitiz Transport and Sulpicio lines have joined another competitor – the government-backed roll-on-roll-off (RORO) operations, which resulted in lower operating costs not only for cargo operators but also as another substitute for passengers who still could not afford flying.

Roro is less expensive for those involved in the cargo business because of its multi-port approach. For example, a Roro boat that leaves the Batangas port can pass by various smaller islands, such as Mindoro and a few more islands, which are not traditionally serviced by other big boats because business there used to be not as brisk as, say the likes of Cebu, Iloilo, Davao and Cagayan de Oro, where there are more commercial activities.

Roro, which was launched in 2003, has since led to changes in areas and islands that used to be left behind in terms of economic development. According to Henry Basilio, a transportation export from the University of Asia and the Pacific, cargo traffic for Roro vessels in 2003 was only at 30,000 metric tons. He said this has since increased exponentially to 240,000 metric tons recently.

And the usual gruesome panic: DOH allays fears of fish poisoning. At least here’s some slightly less depressing marine-related news: people have been entranced by the heroic but tragic story of the dolphin that tried to save a fisherman: but both died. See the reactions of Pine for Pine, and view from the sugar island.

The United States gave $100,000 and sent a carrier task force (helicopters from the USS Ronald Reagan are delivering food, water, and generators to Panay; US Navy divers have been helping with efforts at the wreck of the Princess of the Stars); the People’s Republic of China gave $100,000 also, South Korea donated $300,000.

A major fundraising effort’s begun overseas with the International Red Cross and Red Crescent appealing for $8 million for typhoon aid to the Philippines

all these things that i’ve done lists the different ways (direct deposits to bank accounts, credit card and online donations, even donations through SMS) people can make donations to the Philippine National Red Cross.

Individual bloggers have taken to propagating information for those who want to make donations for specific locations. Touched by An Angel has joined an effort to help the children of San Fernando, Sibuyan Island (see Sibuyan mayor cries: We are victims, too). Clothing, books, toys, and food gathered for the kids will be sent through the Red Cross.

Phoenix Portal recounts how a group of animators got together and helped out in relief efforts in Iloilo, with the help of SM Foundation.

Much more needs to be done.

Kalibo residents going hungry, still waiting for relief:

Because of limited supply, the prices of all commodities have gone up. A ganta (2.4 kilos) of commercial rice, which sold at P65 to P70 before the typhoon, now sells at P120 to P150. Fortunately, the National Food Authority loaned the municipal government several sacks of rice. Rebaldo said these have been distributed to the poorest residents of the different barangays. But the supply will not last very long.

“These are all on loan. We don’t have money in the municipal government,” Rebaldo said.

The flashflood also killed most of the livestock of the town. “In one barangay, 200 cows drowned,” the mayor said. Many pigs, chicken and carabaos also died during the typhoon, he said. Water reached a low of 8 feet to a high of 12 feet in the entire town. The waters are gone now but mud is up to one foot high. Kalibo is the catch basin of Aklan. (Aklan means river in English.)

The individual stories are what matter, now, and here they are: Ella’s Virtual Nook has photos of the damage done to New Washington, Aklan, including the wrecking of the blogger’s own home.

In Romblon, gives a thorough account:

Typhoon Frank’s gusty winds and heavy rains where experienced in Tablas island in Romblon Saturday morning. I thought the storm lashed out through the night until I found out that it hasn’t passed by the island yet. The electricity in our shop in Odiongan, Romblon suffered low voltage problems which started last Friday night. It was difficult to acquire some updates in the Internet about Frank’s projected route since power outage is intermittent. Add to that the mobile carrier signal there drops out every time. In a nearby store, I bought some eggs for our breakfast. Mrs. Norie who man the store informed me that there had been a sea mishap happened near Sibuyan Island. Later that morning, I recieved conflicting reports that all the passengers aboard the ship died. Some said there were a handful of survivors. A tidal wave was reported also in Alcantara, Romblon which I assumed it was a storm surge that hit the area.

My companion and I decided we should close the shop for that day. Since the typhoon signal in Romblon had been raised from 2 to 3, it is better that we call it a day-off to us and for our two secretaries. Since it was pouring that time, we decided to bathe ourselves in the rain and traverse the road leading to the famous “Baywalk” in barangay Tabing-Dagat. I managed to fight the freezing temperatures while gusty winds and rain hit me. It took us 15 minutes to reach the area. Upon seeing the area, debris were scattered everywhere. Stalls and cottages were destroyed and big brown waves came rushing into the shore. This could take days to clean up when the storm’s gone. The government spent more than a million pesos to rehabilitate the baywalk area. Good thing the new light posts like that in the Roxas Boulevard in Manila survived the vicous winds. We roamed the area and went back to the shop 30 minutes later.

Around noon, the power went back and I tuned in to the radio for news about the vessel tragedy. It was confirmed, the vessel “Princess of the Stars” of Sulpicio Lines capsized near Sibuyan Island. I was a horrific tragedy and I felt bad learning that there are few passengers survived. Sibuyan Island’s surrounding waters had been always rough even without a storm based from my experiences travelling there before. With that in mind, I could not imagine how big the waves were at that time of the storm. It was unbelievable that the largest ship in the Philippines could capsize like that.

The storm arrived in Romblon around 5:30 pm and brought strong winds and pouring rain that night. I took my digital camera and recorded a video of the storm inside the shop before dark. I hope I could upload it and post it in my blog. The next morning, only a handful of GI sheets, uprooted trees and trash clutter the streets.

In Roxas City, news reaching chemical rhapsody isn’t good,

Right now, my mother has to travel to Roxas City in search of a photo processing shop so she could have the pictures developed, as well as coordinate with DepEd Capiz. She’s been working closely with concerned agencies and they’re putting together a situational report for an upcoming meeting with the President.

My in-laws, however, said the electricity in Roxas City is still too feeble and could only power lights — not enough output yet to power an establishment. I hope the more-established shops there have their own generators. Otherwise my mother would have to go for Iloilo.

…as confirmed by Bloggy Blog: A College Student in Capiz:

Some parts of roxas city, capiz have no power supply because of the damaged hits by typhoon frank last saturday. According to Provincial Disaster Coordinating Council(PDCC) in the Province of Capiz, the number of Barangay affected by the typhoon frank are 47 brgy in roxas city, 5 were died, 5 were also injured, and 6 persons are still missing. Not only roxas city was affected in this typhoon frank but the other places also in western visayas were affected.

In Iloilo, Barangay OFW reprints an email from a nun, Sister Fidelisa Portillo, who recounts the situation at Aklan and then,

But as far as storms go, this is nothing. The wind was not that strong. Iloilo has experienced typhoons far, far worse than this. Which is why it was an utter shock for me when I turned on the radio at 1 pm nga grabe na gali ang situation in the city and Pavia. By 3-4 pm, a lot of calls were coming in asking to be rescued. We were caught flat-footed and we were really not prepared for this. It was each to his own.

Even the radio reporters felt bad. There really was no way to get to those who needed to be rescued. Just listening made you also feel bad. Each town knew they’re on their own. Roads were under water, bridges had collapsed. The city was able to borrow 10 jet skis, some rubber boats and two pump boats. 7 pm pa lang, naguba na ang pump boats.

The family of Mayor Treñas was rescued out of their house at past 10:30 pm. Big boys are not supposed to cry, but several mayors were crying, their voices breaking! Out of helplessness at the overwhelming cries for help nga wala man sila mahimo.

Vivian called the Disaster Coordinating Center to help her sister in Alta Tierra but she was told that there’s nothing more they can do at the moment.

The sugar central in San Enrique had 10 feet high of water, tunaw ang sugar. The NFA warehouse, flooded ang sacks of rice nga bag-o lang na deliver. For the first time ever, would you believe, the road from SM City up to the Marina had waist-high water? A lot of people, among them, one of George’s med reps spent the night at SM City. It became an evacuation site of sorts sang mga surrounding baranggays.

SM opened their food court area and the canopy and stairs to accommodate people. And they had to close the malls yesterday and today. School will resume on Wednesday. Now, there’s cleaning up. Nagakaubos pala diri. The mud can’t be rid of by just hosing it down. Sobra 1 foot ang thickness sang mud.

Worse, some areas will take 4 to 5 days for power to be back. Ang area Jaro up wala pa water coz the water pipes from Maasin are broken. Wala ni rich or poor subong sa areas affected. All of them are buried in muck.

By way of village idiot savant, the testimony and pictures of Bored Blather: mud, mud, everywhere.

And Bits and Pieces of Roxie provides snippets from typhoon-related stories:

*Gigi and her daughter were trying to save their television, when they saw a snake slither through the water. Plok! Down goes the tv under water, and up they run to the second level of their house.

*Nora spent three days on top their roof. She lived near Jaro CPU area. Saw her yesterday, puffy eyed and dead tired. She was able to save three backpacks of belongings and the rest were stuffed in two plastic bags.

From someone, Nostalgia, on an unidentified island:

Typhoon “Frank” hits our island at around 3 p.m., at first it was just signal number 1, but eventually turned into number 3.Apprehensions flood my mind as the storm brought down heavy downpours and very strong winds. We were covering the windows with heavy blankets just to fend off splashes of water and laid out on the floor rags and old clothes to absorb the rainwater that has finally seeped in.At around 7 p.m. the wind grew stronger and trashings and poundings grew louder and louder. Our house being the tallest in the neighborhood almost had all the beatings of the storm. It lasted until the wee hours of the morning, the longest that I’ve witnessed so far. By the morning, the intensity of the damage spread before our eyes. Whew!

And from a foreign tourist, in Adventures in Asia 2008, tracing their journey from Camiguin to Manila to Taiwan:

The night before we were due to leave for the mainland all the ferries had been cancelled and the part of the beach that wasn’t already under water was constantly beaten by frothing waves. Amazingly, the wind had eased by morning and we felt lucky that we wouldn’t be missing any of our upcoming flights. At the airport, on our way from Cagayan to Manila, I made the mistake of thinking that we had a good chance of experiencing our first on-time departure with Cebu Pacific Air. 7 hours later, freezing from the powerful A/C and braindead from watching the same five horrible commercials on loop in the departure hall (literally a big room with nothing but chairs and said crappy TV) the loudspeaker announced that all passengers should go through security and get ready to board. As if we hadn’t already been ready and waiting for half the day!

The Manila that we landed in was completely different from the sunny place we had left about a month earlier. Palmtrees looked like they would snap in half from the gale force winds and it was difficult to find shelter from the downpour. During the cab ride to our hostel we were in the midst of scenes I’ve only seen on the news before – people wading in knee-deep water surrounded by cars that should have been rowed rather than driven down the street. The disappointment of our flight to Taiwan having been moved forward by a day so as to avoid Frank, who was supposed to have been wreaking havoc in Taipei around the time we were due to land, was tempered by our discovery of Manila’s shopping malls. We were luckier than many people in that the main damage caused by Frank was to our bank accounts!

And it’s inevitable paranormal concerns have been raised, see sweet n sour and the more elaborate theory of Ang Umalohokan on “The Romblon Triangle”:

A lot of folklore surrounds the story behind the Romblon Triangle, from mermaids to cursed seas. Even galleon crews plying the Sibuyan Sea as they follow the Manila-Acapulco Galleon trade route are enchanted by the waters of the area. Everytime a galleon enters the waters, special prayers and offerings are performed to appease the spirits haunting the area.

But one well-known legend behind the countless of maritime disasters in Romblon was the legend of a certain Lolo Amang. Lolo Amang is said to be the Flying Dutchman of Romblon, a local version of the famous Cape of Good Hope ghost ship. Lolo Amang is said to frequent the waters of the province aboard a huge golden boat at night. His boat is so beautiful and shiny that seafarers can see it even a mile away. Once lured by the light of his golden boat, eyewitness claim to see a huge party aboard the ship with fair-skinned women, music and food. One eyewitness of the M/V Don Juan tragedy reported seeing Lolo Amang’s ship before it collided with M/V Tacloban. The captain tried to avoid the ghost ship but ended up colliding with the ill-fated cargo vessel.

Lolo Amang is so well known in Romblon that some of his believers even collected taxes from unsuspecting residents. My great-grandfather who was the police chief of Banton Island in Romblon reportedly investigated this scheme and found out that some albularios or quack doctors are taking advantage of the Lolo Amang myth. When interviewed, these herbalists claim that Lolo Amang resides in a secret lair in a certain Barangay Cayatong in Looc or Ferrol town in Tablas Island. Up to this day, such place in Tablas is still shrouded in mystery, with reports of mysterious ships being sighted and late night parties in the middle of coconut groves were heard of.

In the end, there is not concrete evidence to prove the Lolo Amang myth. It could’ve been invited by the crews of the sunken vessels themselves to escape liabilities. It could also be a deliberate hoax to instill panic and fear among the islanders of the archipelago. It is only a matter of circumstances that made the waters of Romblon famous in the history of maritime disasters.

We keep hearing that the sinking of the Dona Paz was the “worst peacetime maritime disaster in history.” So what was the worst wartime maritime disaster? The sinking of the “Strength Through Joy” ocean liner Wilhelm Gustloff in 1945.

Also, here’s another thing to worry about: RP faces corn shortage: Official blames high prices of fertilizers for crisis.

In a consultative meeting Thursday on the commercialization of organic and microbial fertilizers, Dennis Araullo, the head of GMA (Ginintuang Masaganang Ani) Corn Program, said the high prices of inorganic fertilizers are forcing many farmers not to plant corn, or cut their planting of the crop by half. Corn in the Philippines is largely grown for animal feeds.

If the national production of corn does not meet the 7.9-million metric ton target for this year, the country may have to import the grain. This option poses problems, since corn is in short supply worldwide because it is a major biofuel crop…

…The Department of Agriculture has declared a no-corn importation policy for this year, even if about 120,000 metric tons of corn were imported in 2008.

Araullo said a corn shortage will badly hit the domestic livestock and poultry industry, possibly forcing the closure of many firms in that industry.

If that is not enough, people who eat white corn in place of rice will also be affected, and might switch back to eating rice. Based on estimates of local food experts, up to 15 million Filipinos are eating white corn instead of white rice.

Filed away for future reference department: Beyond brain drain: Human capital increasingly votes with its feet in The Economist. Link to Tourism stakeholders: No other way but to train people to replace those who go abroad and New hires in Metro Manila firms replaced those workers who exited from The Business Mirror.

Headaches for America’s allies: In South Korea, US Compromise on Beef Fails to Dent Korean Protest; in India, Nuclear Heat in India. In Japan, note Sino-Japanese oil exploration deal in Breathing Room for Japan’s Fukuda.

Manuel L. Quezon III.

247 thoughts on “The little dolphin that could

  1. mlq3 on, “the president herself accepted the ronnie reagan but told it to keep out of our territorial waters.”

    from below on, “There is really no pressing need to develop relationship between and outgoing (Arroyo) and incoming president (Obama) of the two countries. UNLESS, OF COURSE, SHE IS THINKING OF BEYOND 2010.”

    Even with “nuclear” clause, the master planner in President Arroyo has calibrated a defensible position versus the nationalist. This combined with her reaching out to a potential US president, suggest a long term hold to power beyond 2010.

    Tuloy ang malas, ani Mikel.

  2. The CAT on, “I worry for their mental health. This is a kind of desperation because they are not successful in unseating GMA.”

    Sorry. I am not unseating GMA. She can glued herself to Malacanang Palace and “tuloy ang malas ng Pilipinas”. This does not concern me at all because I am here in the US like you (how is SF?). You are too kind to worry about my mental health. Please don’t because my employer just promoted me.

  3. I’m tired of Arroyo. Naghihintay na lang ako ng 2010 para mawala na siya sa puwesto. Sa ngayon, nag-aaral lang ako ng mabuti para naman pagdating ng mga panahong matanda na ako ay maging isang useful kong citizen ng Pinas.

    Sana lang talaga maging maayos na ang sistema sa Pinas at sana pagpokusan ni Arroyo ang mas mahahalagang bagay bago man siya umalis o mapaalis sa posisyon niya.

  4. cvj, i was referring to your’s @ 8:37 pm in which you first mentioned “nationalist war” in which u.s. was “defeated” by vietnam. all i said, in effect, was that t’was all water under the bridge. now it looks more like a failure of comprehension.

  5. Bert on, “You have to understand that Gloria is in place for decades already, the last more than 6 years as president.”

    Along the same period from Senate through Presidency, the economic doctorate has charted the Philipine dependency on imported rice than any president in the past. Today, the Philippines is proudly the world top rice importer. In her recent US visit, she was proud to get a commitment from US President Bush on rice supply. In addition, she inked a deal with Vietnam to supply 1.5 million metric tons of rice annually in 2008 and beyond. We have a president who relies heavily on importation and little on its farmers and agricultural sector (unlike Vietnam and Thailand) and wanted the Filipinos to be proud of her achievements.

  6. mlq3 on, “i have a terrible foreboding that what she has unleashed will make it that much more difficult for whoever becomes the next president.”

    That is what I thought too. Just take the case of the Spratly deal with China it was sealed and details are hard even with Senate investigation (on territorial waters) trying to open it. The only aborted deal was the NBN in which US has greater security interest. Anything signed by the President with soveregn guarantee is binding to the next president.

  7. I am not going to waste my time arguing with you, providing the links and explaining what constitute the foreign investment.

    You are one person who wants to change economics and math principles just so you can prove your points.

    Believe what you want to believe but you can never convince me of whatever you say. Sorry.

  8. to cvj: There is the 8 year-old girl, divorce, and Yemen, and one more lesson. Parents and grandparents should really get their kids to tell stories of what happens in schools (and in catechism classes) as the kids deal with adults. Listen to the instructions that the kids have received from the adults, especially what the kids have been told. If they are talking about sex-education topics way too mature for their age group, rightfully you should react.

    AND WHEN the kids have been told about certain things that are only between the child and the adult and that the child should not tell “the thing” because…. you know…. the adults may not understand, then alarms should ring all over your psyche.

    to cvj: This attitude of yours — being afraid of discussing things “…. for fear of being misunderstood” “… or “… don’t bother to share this or that thing with others…. the others are incapable of understanding what is the truth” is one of the greatest covers of pedophiles. Do not let your nieces and nephews be victims because “…. they got embarassed to make kuwento to you this special secret” that is only between them and their teacher.

  9. cvj: it may get your nieces and nephews a little bit in trouble for being brave to talk about this or talk about that, so teach about being plastic or teach them the art of diplomatic talk. BUT you the adult should be aware of deadly secrets, and especially how vulnerable the youth can be. Do not hush them up too quickly when your nephews and nieces talk about topics that scandalize you. In fact, because their survival may depend on it being so, encourage your nieces and nephews to gab away —- talking to you but especially to their parents or their grandparents about uncomfortable topics or uncomfortable experiences.

  10. UPNS

    pasensya na pero you have your shares of exchanges of the socety’s ills with cvj directly and indirectly..

    I know one mentioned the word first kaya nagkalecheleche ng ganito.

    excuse muna at meron din akong gutso sabihin sa kanya.


    You seem to be quoting field of dreams: “Build it and they will come”.

    you could have been the author of this book:

    Social Murder
    And Other Shortcomings Of Conservative Economics

    By Robert Chernomas and Ian Hudson

    Corporate power is one of the strongest forces shaping our world. More than half of the top 100 economic entities today are private corporations. With their immense size comes commensurate influence, to the point where corporations are able to wreak social and environmental destruction with few serious consequences. Yet, amazingly, this subject is essentially absent from the study of economics.

    The conservative economic theory that dominates the profession is based on the core belief that as little as possible should interfere with businesses’ pursuit of profit. This approach to economics ignores history, politics, poverty, the natural environment, and social class, among other inconvenient realities. Conservative economics would almost be laughable—were it not for the fact that this way of thinking helps prop up the worst excesses of capitalism.

    Social Murder examines the connections between the destructiveness of global capitalism and the professional economists who help keep it that way.

    According to the song Crush: Do not over analyze

    if you want to over analyze the consider this.

    we denationalized retail:nagdagssan ba yung mg retail giants na kinakatakot ng mga against dito .

    the wsj article of foot dragging on the privatization of napocor, does mean that power should be nationalized again.

    you have mentioned smuggling,with that let me mention tarrifs to protect local producers..
    will slapping high tarrifs prevent smuggling,no it is an invitation to it and it becomes more expensive.

    sampol mga hinharang na container van containing smuggled chicken from china(sana peking duck na lang.)

    we have ship builders it is so expensive to produce sa iba na lang natin ibenta wala kasing pambili ang nenaco,sulpicio at aboiitiz dahil wala silang laban sa airlines.

    sa sugar naiinggit satin ang mga neighbors natin nung 1930s dahil me direct access ang production natin sa US,ngayon anong nagyari?

    you talk about food sovereignty and the way of the peasant,you talk about de soto,negative income tax and many more.

    they only lead back to the chicken and the egg question.

  11. and cvj: have you been cowered already? This soon wanting to be quiet?? and you have not even been targetted yet.

    In my opinion, you should not do that. Of course they do not know you, but I think they, too, will tell you not to duck your head too fast into the sand, Muslims inside Islam states who talk about atrocities committed in the name of Islam.

    cvj… the following would have been of interest to you because it relates to freedom of the press, but maybe you’ll be disinterested because it touches on Islam’s holy book. However, Pinas journalists may want to google-search on

    Ghaws Zalmai translation iwpr

    to see the happenings about a journalist who wanted to better spread their faith by translating a holy book into the local dialect.

  12. How open is the Philippine economy to trade, investments and labor?

    Is it more or less equal to India and China as to openness or what?

    Does Big Mike and GMA have to go to the U.S. to spread the word about the Philippine economy to the Big American conglomerates?

    The last one is a rhetorical question as the international bankers, credit rating agencies, multilaterals and financial information companies have more data on the Philippine economy than the Philippine government actually has.

    Example, the actual appropriations of Congress annually apart from the General Appropriations ACT is the Automatic Appropriations Act that includes the principal payments of loans. It is not mentioned as a defict as we simply borrow again to revolve the loans. This year it is about Php 300B+. It also does not inform the people that the budget deficit is part of the total public sector deficit to include all LGU debts together with debts of GOCC’s. The NFA has a huge deficit and their budget is not reflected in the national budget. Their deficit is growing. If we add up all of this the public sector defcit is actually between 3-4% of GDP. Shhhhhhhhhh… Do not tell anyone as it is a state secret that our bonds are rated junk.

    So the government including GMA does not tell the truth to all when they say that their plans are to balance the budget by 2010. The budget only contains the annual appropriations for interest payments.

    When Big Mike and GMA go abroad they do so with the country’s debt paper rated as junk (below investment grade).

    Vietnams rating is even worse but they pull in more investments. The reason is simple. Borrowings and investments for Vietnam are going into the importation of productive assets and not consumption. The major imports of Vietnam are gold and capital equipment. Also Vietnam does not have a huge debt overhang.

    Direct or long term investpors see a general plan for development and building up the productive capacities of the Vietamese economy on top of their food self sufficiency.

    Their problem is the absorbtive capacity of their primarily agricultural economy to huge inflows and creation of money. Hence together with the huge surge in oil prices they have the worst inflation in Asia.

    The government has responded with high interest rates to stem the surge in money supply. Banks are now paying as high as 18% for deposits.
    They have to suffer to fix the excess. But generally being basically agricultural the state will have a smaller probelm in funding safety nets for the urban workers.

    So if one were a serious investor which country would one invest in for the lone haul.

  13. The three basic conditions for economic development to occur in any country is – Resource Nationalism, Technological Nationalism and Monetary Nationalism.

    All three are interlinked and interdependent. But for that to happen the people in a country have to be conscious (self-evident) that they do have a country to develop are are convinced that they have the capacity to do it. And it ain’t God’s will contrary to popular belief. The Americans do not respect the pinoy because he does not have respect for himself. They are more interested in doing business with the guys who had gone to war with them.

    Alam nang Kano na halos ng lahat ng mayayaman including Big Mike and GMA park their wealth (ill gotten or not) outside their own country.

    The argument over the role of the state and private business (both domestic and foreign) will look after itself only after the collective becomes self aware about their own country and the need to develop.

    Where and when in history has the country ever had this basic concepts in operation?

  14. to KG: That book “Social Murder” is a political book, political in that it wants politics to kick in to get something to happen. It is a book by two Canadian professors — the two professors want Canada to behave in a particular manner. They say “… don’t do it the “evil economists'” way, the evil economists to mean the economists of US-of-A (translation — World bank/IMF) with their platform (of late 80’s but getting modified) for support for the invisible hand of business — less government regulation of businesses is better. The 2 Canadians know about the “good economists”, namely the economists of European Union. [Side-note: Al Gore is a de-facto political economist. American Al Gore (global warming message) is considered a “good economist” by the Canadian economists because Al Gore wants just as intense direct-intervention in business practices as European Union economists want to manage the business-practices of European manufacturers.) So the 2 Canadians are basically saying that Canada should do more of EU-style economics (i.e. their politicians should mimic more the politicians of the EU) and less dependence on what Abe Margallo has written before — “The Washington Consensus”.

    The Canadian authors could have given the book a more appropriate, but boring title — Economic Policies — EU versus Washington Consensus —- but the “murder” blahh-blahh-blahh is packaging to ooommph the hype to get more bookstore shelf space and higher sales.

    hvrds can explain more about WB/IMF Washington consensus economics. hvrds has an incisive understanding of the strong currents that explains national economics, e.g. “….The Americans do not respect the pinoy because he does not have respect for himself. “

  15. more on FDI’s: Inflow of Money
    According to the Philippine Department of Agriculture, Spanish biodiesel firm Bionor Transformacion S.A. is to invest US$200 million to develop at least 100,000 hectares (247,105 acres) of land into jatropha plantations. The company disclosed its plans to invest in the Philippines through a memorandum of agreement signed recently between AME Bionergy Corp. and the country’s Agricultural Development and Commercial Corporation (PADCC).

    “Where and when in history has the country ever had this basic concepts in operation?”
    y own simple answer: the world bank and the IMF will not lend us money if we filipinos don’t have the potentials and capacity to develop.

  16. In my opinion the greatest obstacle to our economic progress are the twin insurgencies of the CPP NPA and the MILF/MNLF/ASG. The first is not nationalism at all but the attempt to establish a totalitarian dictatorship — that’s clear to most Filipinos, which accounts for its utter failure except to get a toehold in media and academe, thanks of course to democracy and freedom of speech. The second is certainly a nationalism bred by nationalism, but it is not Filipino nationalism. It is an attempt to re-establish the old Maguindanao Confederacy and the Sulu sultanates through secession, which I aver were political economies based on human trafficking, piracy and slavery from an era when human resources were more important that natural resources (which were relatively abundant), when the basis of wealth was how many people you controlled to produce surpluses that could be traded and appropriated. I oppose both vigorously not only because they are holding back national progress, but if successful would deliver either the entire Filipino people or the Bangsamoro people to theocracies (one in which the CPP would be the deity and the other to Islam).

    In some ways we are at the point in time when the Union was fighting the Southern confederacy. Who will be Abe Lincoln?

  17. “But for that to happen the people in a country have to be conscious (self-evident) that they do have a country to develop are are convinced that they have the capacity to do it.” -hvrds

    Kinda vicious circle over the decades of Philippine history:

    1. The kind of leaders the people elect/put into power.
    2. The kind of governance from these leaders
    3. The kind of socio-economic conditions created
    4. Which make the kind of people who could help develop the country leave
    5. Which make the kind who remain more to susceptible to corruption
    6. Which make worse the kind of leaders elected

    Kinda back to square one, yes?

  18. Rising growth, declining investment : the puzzle of the Philippines

    From World Bank:Cut and Paste

    The economy of the Philippines is open to trade and capital inflows, and has grown rapidly since 2002. Over the last 10 years, however, domestic investment, while stagnant in real terms, has shrunk as a share of GDP. In an open and growing economy, why the decline? Three reasons explain the puzzle. First, the public sector cannot afford expanding its investment at GDP growth rates. Second, the capital-intensive private sector does not find it convenient to raise investment at the economy’s pace. Third, fast-growing businesses in the service sector do not need to rapidly increase investment to enjoy rising profits. Yet, the economy keeps growing. On the demand-side, massive labor migration results in remittances that fuel consumption-led-growth. On the supply-side, free from rent-capturing regulations, a few non-capital-intensive manufactures and services boost exports. The economic system is in equilibrium at a low level of capital stock, where all economic agents have no incentive to unilaterally increase investment and the first mover bears short-term costs. As a consequence, growth is slower and less inclusive than it could be. To make it speedier and more sustainable, and to reduce unemployment and poverty, the economy needs to move to a “high-capital-stock” equilibrium. This would be attainable through better-performing eco-zones, a competitive exchange rate, greater government revenues, and fewer elite-capturing regulations.

  19. In short, I believe it is the duty of nationalists in this epoch of history to fight and defeat these twin insurgencies, so we can get on with the further evolutionary step of becoming part of the global republic of the human species.

  20. to DJB: It is unfortunate Filipinos not fully cognizant of the extremely high friction-costs that CPP/NPA and ASG/MILF have brought.

  21. CVJ,

    Nationalism and liberalism have been owned by the elite.

    And I agree with you, foreign investment i.e. foreign businesses setting up shop contribute to a lagging economy. What we need is foreign capital for local businesses, The problem is local businesses are non-innovative and their main target is the local population. These conglomerates do not have “conquering the world” in their short term or long-term plans. Very parochial in their outlook, parasitic, dependent on OFW money and BPO wages. Retail, restaurants,, etc. Tsk.

  22. “Sabularse said Del Monte and Dole only uses small amounts of endosulfan on the pineapples they grow, and by the time the pineapple is ready for harvest, the chemical is no longer detectable.” She supposedly in an interview with dzMM radio.

    Small amounts? Why ten tons of that chemical, then?

  23. An overeager radio announcer said that there is even rejoicing in Aklan and Panay over the victory of Pacman.

    Adding insult to injury.
    Pathetic, indeed.

  24. Brian, regarding your remark on the need for foreign investments to ‘contribute to a lagging economy’, i think i have to clarify. The point of my comment above (at 10:43 pm), is that foreign investments usually arrive after the host country’s economy is already in order, not before. If you think about it, it make sense that a prospective foreign investor wouldn’t want to go to a country where the economic outlook is less than ideal.

    I saw that first hand in the MNC that i work for. We sent Filipino expats to the Vietnam subsidiary in the mid-90’s (to grow the business), only after it got it’s house in order (i.e. after its second land reform which dismantled the collective farms in favor of family/household farms). We also re-entered India (after being kicked out in the late 70’s), when it was clear that there was potential as shown by the example of a Tata Consulting Services (a local Indian firm).

  25. Its not surprising that a lot of people were dismayed with GMA for the lack of “pakikiramay” or “pagkakaisa” to the victims of typhoon Frank. Its completely understandable since the virtue of “bayanihan” is ingrained on our collective psyche.

    While “pakikisama” or “pakikiramay” is a good virtue on its own in emoting to people who are in need. The question is if GMA’s presence is really needed to get this important value come accross to them. It is more sentimentalism which does not give much help except for giving someone a shoulder to cry on. It is the expressiom of solidarity and looking for ways to help that is important and not her physical presence. At a time of modern communication at warp speed, cultural values of “pakikisama” and “pakikiramay” are good but “pagaabot” o “pagtulong” are more important.

  26. @magdiwang, it goes beyond ‘sentimentalism’. Read this Philstar news item (c/o Mon Casiple’s blog):

    Suplico revealed that last Tuesday, officials of the regional disaster coordinating council (RDCC) who were in the province were not able to distribute rice to typhoon victims because they were awaiting clearance from Malacañang.

    He said local officials of Iloilo, including House Majority Leader Arthur Defensor and Rep. Ferjenel Biron, even pleaded with the RDCC officials to distribute the rice, but their appeals fell on deaf ears.

    Exasperated, Biron, one of the richest congressmen, ordered his people to buy rice, sardines and noodles using his own money, according to Suplico.

  27. The Americans do not respect the pinoy because he does not have respect for himself. They are more interested in doing business with the guys who had gone to war with them.

    Walang respeto? Tapos na kasi ang parity right. Wala na silang pag-asang makapag-invest para makakuha ng natural resources natin. Kita nila ang Vietnam na malaki pa ang natural resouces na puwedeng idevelop.

    mga corrupt din ang mga opisyales.

    Ngayon katatapos lang ang high economic summit between US and China para mag-ease out ang China sa mga restricted investment areas nito.

    many of commenters here talk about foreign investment as if they are talking about a tree when they are only referring to the branch.

    Sa lahat ng bansa, may mga investment policies para protektahan ang mga industriyang nagsisilbi sa mga mamamayan na kung ibibigay sa foreign investors ay maarig mawalan ng control ang gobyerno. Walang kaibahan sa Pilipinas.

    kaya nga may sinasabing encouraged investment, restricted investment prohibited investment sa China at sa Vietnam din.

    Sa atin ginawang madaling mag-invest dito by increasing foreign equity share from 40 per cent to 60 per cent especially in preferred investment areas.

  28. And I agree with you, foreign investment i.e. foreign businesses setting up shop contribute to a lagging economy. What we need is foreign capital for local businesses

    What is the difference between the two if we are talking about capital and not loan?

  29. In addition to Vietnam being a new market, part of its attraction is its location in the continental mainland. Companies who wish to sell or continue serving the Chinese market will choose Vietnam for its lower costs. Its also the reason why a lot Taiwanese firms are going there.

    Same reason why Intel is moving out from RP. Of course, of no help is the high cost of power in the Philippines.

  30. dapat sigurong malaman ng mga nagkukumpara sa Vietnam sa Pilipinas, sa Vietnam, lahat ng lupa ay pag-aari ng gobyerno.

    Kapag bumili ang mamamayan ng bahay nila, ang bahay ay hindi mapupunta sa kanilang tagpagmana. ito ay pupunta sa gobyerno. kailan lang binago ang batas na ito para makaattract ng mga foreign investors at mapauwi ang mga vietnamese na yumaman na sa Esados unidos.

    Bangkarote ang Vietnam. Sino man ang nagsasabing self-sufficient sila bago ang foreign investments inflow ay kailangan kausapin ang mga Vietnamese-americans na kagaya ng Pilipino ay pabalik-balik na rin sa Vietnam mula ng magbago ang gobyerno.

    So anong nauna, yong itlog o yong manok?

  31. Hanoi is getting a $1.1 billion loan from ADB to build a new road linking Vietnam and China. Will be completed in 2011.

  32. Ca t, tama ang sinabi mo na “gobyerno ng Vietnam ang may-ari ng lahat ng lupa”.

    “Households would not own the land (all land in the nation still ‘belonged to the people’ and was ‘managed by the state’). But they could use the area allocated to them for a ‘prolonged period’ and keep or sell whatever they produced on it” – Benedict J. Tria Kerkvliet, The Power of Everyday Politics: How Vietnamese Peasants Transformed National Policy

    The Vietnamese peasants were happier with this arrangement, compared to the previous one where the allocation was to the entire collective.

    “To villagers, having their own fields was the end of collectivization and a new beginning. ‘It was a second land reform’, said Tran Hung Son of Da Ton subdistrict in rural Hanoi…A 1992-1993 survey found better living conditions during the previous five years in 95 percent of sampled rural communities across Vietnam. The main explanation vilagers cited was agricultural policy change- Benedict J. Tria Kerkvliet, The Power of Everyday Politics: How Vietnamese Peasants Transformed National Policy

    Any story of Vietnam’s economic growth has to take into account its land reforms as there is a complementary relationship between agricultural emancipation and industrial development. (Naka-dalawang round na sila. Tayo, hindi pa nakukumpleto ang nasimulan noong panahon ni DM.)

  33. to leytenian: hvrds may have already pointed to that World Bank cut-and-paste that you provided, but your version is the first one I saw, so thanks. It really explains a lot, e.g. why the Cojuangcos and the Lucio Tans are happy with the current economy (in short — local businesses are making good profits) and also why they are investing the profits overseas instead of the Philippines —

    all economic agents have no incentive to unilaterally increase investment and the first mover bears short-term costs


    Usually, the first-mover has the advantage, but I guess it is because contracts, intellectual- and other property-rights are low-value in Pinas that the first mover bears short-term costs. So the World Bank pushes for what others in this thread have pushed for — for Pinas to invest to “high-capital”. So less retail as cvj and more projects that require higher-capital-investments, i.e. job-shops and assembly-lines.

    The WorldBank (and again, this is red-alert for being non-European-thinking but being WashingtonConsensus thinking)…. the World Bank says:

    …to reduce unemployment and poverty, the economy needs to move to a “high-capital-stock” equilibrium. This would be attainable through
    — better-performing eco-zones
    — a competitive exchange rate,
    — greater government revenues and
    — fewer elite-capturing regulations.

    The last one means “…reliance on the invisible hand”. The second-to-the-last-one is usually implemented as VAT while Bush Millenium DevelopmentFund wants it to be via capturing the smugglers (that KG complained of) and the income-tax evaders.

    So the “outsiders” want to set up shop inside Pinas (safer against terrorism by being in an eco-zone). They can bring money AND equipment and 3 or 4 managers and the rest of the workers will be locals.

    The script is similar to Buld-Operate-Transfer or investment in another power-generation plant ——- they want a return on investments to be guaranteed in dollar- or euro-denomination.

  34. to KG (who conveys himself to me as more “action-oriented” and less the analysis-paralysis blah-blahhhh) the action-items from WB cut-and-paste are:
    — eco-zone;
    — catch the smugglers, catch the income-tax evaders (and yes, more income revenue from other tax sources if necessary);
    — the projects should not be ” toothpick assembly lines ” which are low-capital;

    I think the “Washington Consensus”-guidelines will say “yes” to another power plant nuclear or not. So will the european economists.

  35. leytenian: the european economists (who have european businesses talking into their ears) are not interested in projects to parcel out small chunks of land to Pinas farmers. What europe wants (and have gotten already) is access to very large parcels of Philippine land so they can plant… plants to feed a factory, not plants to feed people.

  36. UP N Student,
    The concept of a Bangsamoro, a Moro “nation”, did not even exist before or during Spanish times. The Moro peoples and surrounding lumads were either vassals (endatuan), debt-slaves (ulipun or alipin) or tribute-paying freemen (ransom in installments!). Moro nationalism was a notion stimulated by American colonialism and largely invented AFTER Philippine Independence was restored in 1946. The so called Golden Age of Mindanao was grim, nasty place ruled over by sultans and datus claiming hereditary descent from the Prophet Muhammad based on documents called tarsilas. Yet many writers like Randy David and his imitators, as well as “Muslim scholars” are telling a false history to justify the Moro insurgencies, which will never end because they hate each other more than they hate the Christians. They were never united as three sultanates constantly fought each other for the right to raid the Visayas and Luzon, and stole each other’s slaves as a matter of culture and tradition. No wonder kidnap for ransom is so engrained as their modus operandi. The Moros will always be better off under a democracy than a restored Maguindanao confederacy. They are the equivalent of blacks in the USA.

    Support for the “Bangsamoro” homeland idea and the various insurgent groups would be the equivalent of calling for the restoration of the CSA and reversal of Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation!

    All this hand-wringing over the poor oppressed Moros ignores the fact that other Filipinos are equally poor and oppressed, historically and even in the present.

  37. Just a reinforcement to investments in vietnam. and below about land reform.

    quite an old article (2005) but pwede na.

    Like most of the world, Vietnam is actively competing for foreign investment (FDI). Recently, there is a bad news/good news story on this in Vietnam. Whether the story is good or bad depends on which side of the table you are sitting on. First, any fair observer has to admit that Vietnam has done much over the last several years to improve itself as an attractive location for someone to relocate a factory, open a company or in general invest. When President Clinton lifted the Trade Embargo with Vietnam in 1994, Vietnam was in many ways like the American Wild West in terms of infrastructure, law, regulation and many other factors – that is to say there wasn’t much infrastructure and there wasn’t much meaningful law on business. What law and regulation there was usually turned out to be more applicable to Socialist operations and highly costly and time consuming to investors. Because of the hype on Vietnam as being the next “Asian Tiger”, investors were oftentimes too quick to reach for their wallets and the net result was that a lot of money, time and goodwill was lost by most if not all investors.

    sa land reform ,tulad ng sinabi ko dati ang daming namatay .it worked pretty well daw pero only in some parts of the country..

    * Vietnam: In the years after World War II, even before the formal division of Vietnam, land reform was initiated in North Vietnam. This land reform (1953-1956) redistributed land to more than 2 million poor peasants, but at a cost of from tens[18] to hundreds of thousands of lives[19] and was one of the main reason for the mass exodus of 1 million people from the North to the South in 1954. The probable democide for this four year period then totals 283,000 North Vietnamese.[20] South Vietnam made several further attempts in the post-Diem years, the most ambitious being the Land to the Tiller program instituted in 1970 by President Nguyen Van Thieu. This limited individuals to 15 hectares, compensated the owners of expropriated tracts, and extended legal title to peasants who in areas under control of the South Vietnamese government to whom had land had previously been distributed by the Viet Cong. Mark Moyar [1996] asserts that while it was effectively implemented only in some parts of the country, “In the Mekong Delta and the provinces around Saigon, the program worked extremely well… It reduced the percentage of total cropland cultivated by tenants from sixty percent to ten percent in three years.” [4].

  38. to DJB: Bangsamoro sounds like a slick allusion to an icon with a lot of romantic aura — Palestine.

    “But the history of the place does not support you.” “No! Palestine.”

    “But there was no … “No! Palestine.”

    “But…” “Bangsamoro!!!”

    “Let’s…” “No… bangsamoro!!!”

  39. Of course the RDCC in Iloilo and other calamity areas will not distribute the rice yet, they are waiting for the Boss to arrive from Las Vegas so the entourage for the photo-ops in the distribution will be more meaningful.

  40. UP N student:
    europe wants larger parcel of land inside the Philippines for factory? why not? they have to follow the rules of foreign investors like the non-phil citizens. the government must calculate cost and effect , the result should be both a win win and establishing close relationship/team building. if employment and manufacturing require many people to generate its production which will result to massive taxes revenue, well maybe it’s time for Philippines to accept that. The concept of OPM ( other people’s money) has long been the strategy of American money system. they borrow money from china, iraq because they are confident that an 8% investment with no initial capital taken from their pocket will return to 25% or even higher. The US government project cost and return to 25 to 50 years. I always invest with no money out of my pocket. my cash is hidden under my pillow for emergency.
    I will not oppose Europeans in our country. We will learn from them hands on , not from the book and its business history. I also would love to have new retail for french cuisine around the islands, like the french side of St Marteen. I can picture Philippines with very many French tourist in the long run.
    This is another way of understanding HVRDS ? of how open are we to foreign investment?

  41. to DJB: Amazingly, a lot of people buy this charade:

    I will again tell you that separatism and the desire for their own bangsa — a bangsa of moros ruled by moros is very strong in Mindanao. I speak truth!!! So NO, NO, NO — “no” to referendums or such silly instruments to measure the will of the people. No need for referendum… the truth is spoken by men with rifles!!!!

    Ignored is the trivia that the many Maguindanawans who flee the poverty, oppression and lawlessness in their villages migrate to Bicol, Cebu, Leyte, metro-Manila.

  42. the advantages of having europeans to have large factory with their own money — is the true concept of using other people’s money. let them invest and employ our people. we have nothing to lose.
    is this the enrile pointing finger to aboville? if s, then enrile is very stupid.

  43. “Exceptionally high power rates were cited as one reason why Intel Philippines, one of the country’s biggest foreign investors and largest employers, with over 5,000 workers, plans to close down its Philippine operations and divert the company’s investments to lower-cost Vietnam ..”

    It’s a combination of factors, both macro and micro, including markets and internal rates of return. It’s not just about the business environment, legal framework, incentives, etc..

    These businessmen know how to make money

  44. “Households would not own the land (all land in the nation still ‘belonged to the people’ and was ‘managed by the state’). But they could use the area allocated to them for a ‘prolonged period’ and keep or sell whatever they produced on it” –

    Prolonged period depends on the government’s need for the land.

    land reform was a joke because even though they got the right to the “title”, the State can still expropriate the land anytime a foreign investor is interested to develop the farmland into industrial estates or tourist resorts.

    more than 1,500 villagers opposed the government expropriation of their farm lots. Yep there were no news when the military clashed with these people who did not want their lots converted into luxury golf course.

    The same thing happnened when a Korean car company got interested in croplands of a group of farmers. The foreign investor paid the corresponding amount for the expropriation but only a very small percentage of went to the farmers.

    Same thing in china. When the dam that is being built to ensure adequate supply of water for the idustries were built, several home and lotowners were displaced.

    What makes these places attractive investment areas? They can suppress the news. Bloggers are never free like in the Philippines to write negatively about intended projects and human rights violation.

    They can always control press releases to project good image to the world (promotion baga) and these press releases in the form of books or articles are linked by the wannabe economists in this blog. Sheesh.

  45. So don’t take everything that economists in Washington D.C. tell you. They are really not sure of what this new, flat world is all about.

    Nor was Greenspan, Bernake, and most central bankers for that matter.

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