Noynoy Aquino lambasts Noli de Castro

Last Friday during the 25th anniversary celebration of the long-run newscast program, TV Patrol of ABS-CBN at the Fiesta Pavilion in Manila Hotel, President Benigno Aquino III lambasted the TV Patrol news anchor and former Vice President, Noli de Castro although he never mentioned the name of news anchor directly but it was pretty obvious that he meant it to news anchor.

During his speech as a guest of honor during that event, he lambasted on what he considered the negative criticisms regarding on his governance as a president even on positive news stories. While I agree that the Philippine media really sucks in delivering news to the audience but what the President did last Friday of lambasting Noli de Castro indirectly was really disgusting and never really showed his classiness as a statesman but instead he turned himself like a block-timer commentator or an uneducated person. If the President wanted to criticize against something, he should not do it by directing his criticisms to a persons concerned directly but instead, as a statesman, he should know on when and where he will criticize to someone else.

In a democratic country like us especially for a person like the President, it is natural to meet criticisms from various sectors in our society like from media in order for the President and the government to address what some people asked and formulate a better policy as a result from criticisms. Criticisms are essential for our society to thrive especially the positive ones however not all criticisms are good for us like personal or negative criticism.

My personal critique of 2012 State of the Nation Address

President Benigno Simeon C. Aquino III before the Congress, 23 July 2012.

On Monday, President Benigno Simeon Aquino III delivered his third State of the Nation Address (SONA), a yearly tradition in which the President reports about the status of the Philippines.

He delivered the lists of his economic and political achievements for the last two years, but what he said for me was not enough to impress not just for me but also for the millions of poor Filipinos who never tasted the fruits of relative economic and political stability that he maintained from the efforts of his predecessor, former President and not Pampanga Representative, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, on which he despised personally (for me).

During his one-and-a-half-hour speech, he lambasted his predecessor, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo for the third time before the Congress while never he realized that the relative (although not enough) economic stability was formulated by Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

He bragged in front of millions of Filipino people through the cameras facing on him that the Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) brought more job opportunities for the skilled people on which I never disputed, however the credit of that accomplishment shall not be bragged by any single person not even President Noynoy nor his predecessor as for the last 12 years, American and European companies outsourced some of their low-paying service jobs to the developing countries like the Philippines. Also the Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) is not enough to keep the Philippine economy afloat nor to generate more employment opportunities for the millions of Filipinos as these kind of jobs needs enough English proficiency to be hired as a BPO worker on which majority of the Filipinos cannot achieve that kind of proficiency. Also, it is not a capital-intensive investment unlike mining, manufacturing, or tourism.

He trumpeted the latest 6.4% 2012 1st quarter GDP annual growth over the same quarter of last year as his achievements. Actually, our economic growth never really made a good economic multiplying effects to the majority people as significant of that economic growth was a result of our economy’s dependence to our millions of Filipino workers abroad and the money they remitted never funneled for future investment purposes but instead, that money went for consumption purposes which only created a short-term economic stimulus at the expense of long-term economic growth sustainability.

He used the recent outstanding performance of the Philippine Stock Exchange Index (PSEi) as a proof of the effectiveness of his economic and investment policies. He never realized that the recent inflation of the Philippine Stock Exchange was a result of massive “hot money” inflows flowing to our economy by massive monetary quantitative easing done by the Federal Reserve of the United States to stimulate the American economy and the excess dollars went to the developing country like the Philippines as foreign investors find economically stable countries to deposit their investment portfolios for short-term purposes and that “hot money” inflows never really converted into a real direct invest for our further economic upgrades as most foreign investors are reluctant to invent in our country in long-term basis due to our constitutional barriers on foreign equity ownership of businesses like the 60/40 equity restrictions against foreign investment.

Before I conclude my critique, I would like to appeal to our President Benigno Simeon Cojuangco Aquino to further reform our economic and political system through revising our flawed and outdated 1987 Constitution like scrapping the protectionist economic provisions once and for all and allow 100% foreign equity ownership of business at all economic sectors as much as possible; shifting from unitary to federal form of government where the grip of the national capital on economic, cultural, educational, and health affairs of provinces and instead let the provinces to decide their economic, political, and social development under the umbrella of our country; and finally adopt the real parliamentary system derived from Britain in order to give the best minds of our country to become leaders and never let undeserving people to become our leaders in order to achieve economic and political stability. Thank you.

Remove the 60/40 equity limitations against foreign investments

House Speaker, Feliciano Belmonte (left) and Senate President, Juan Ponce Enrile (right). Credits to the Philippine Daily Inquirer.

This month, the talks about a constitutional amendment on certain provisions especially the economic ones of the 1987 constitution has been resurfaced once again as Juan Ponce Enrile suggested to amend the 25-year old constitution in order for the Philippines to compete militarily and economically and supported by the leadership of the House of Representatives lead by Feliciano Belmonte.

However, it never gained an approval from the President, Noynoy Aquino when he said that “if ain’t broke, don’t fix it” on which he referred to the economic provisions of the constitution especially the 60/40 equity restrictions against foreign individuals or corporations where any prospective foreign individuals or corporations who wishes to invest in our country needs to find a Filipino individuals or corporations to tap the 60% of equity shares asked by foreign individuals or corporations in order to operate their businesses in our country as stated in the Article XII, Section 10 of the 1987 constitution.

This is not the first time in 25-year lifespan of the 1987 constitution where the proposals for amendments or even revisions in our constitution have been in the conversation. Way back in 1997 when Fidel Ramos’ term as president was coming to fulfillment that time and when he felt that his economic reforms were not enough, it proposed for the revision of the 1987 constitution through the third method of amending the constitution which was the People’s Initiate where amending the constitution needed 12% of the total registered electorate in order to have a fulfillment however, in September 1997, he suffered a setback when the Supreme Court decided to grant the appeal of his political opponent, Miriam Defensor Santiago on the basis that there was no statutory law on People’s Initiative to give that constitutional provision with teeth (even until now) and also the People’s Initiative option of amending the constitution doesn’t apply for revising the constitution as what Fidel Ramos asked.

In 1999, after Joseph Estrada took over the Presidency from Fidel Ramos after the ill-fated initiative for the revision of the 1987 constitution, Estrada created a Preparatory Commission on Constitutional Reforms (PCCR) to study the possible amendments to the 1987 constitution and the recommendations of that commission was later approved by Estrada which the recommendations for constitutional amendment like the scrapping of the 60/40 equity restrictions against foreign investments, allowing foreigners to own land properties in our country, and allowing foreign investments in media sector. Later, this commission was renamed into a Constitutional Correction on Development or CONCORD. However, the CONCORD was faced with protests from different sectors in our society who felt that the 1987 constitution shall not be amended that time especially from Manila Archbishop, Jaime Cardinal Sin and former President Corazon Aquino, the president when the 1987 constitution was ratified. Later, Joseph Estrada dropped the CONCORD as he felt that he could not gain a traction from these two influential persons in our country that time.

After Joseph Estrada’s ouster in 2001 due to the aborted impeachment trial case against him regarding on his involvement, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo succeeded him on historic EDSA II Revolution on 20 January 2001. The entire Arroyo’s presidency from 2001 to 2010 was marred on severe political and economic instability due to lack of popular support in her installation as president in 2001 and she was nearly ousted many times in separate occasions during her entire span of her presidency. Her election for a full term in 2004 was marred on severe allegations of electoral fraud which made her most economic and political reforms unachievable for her entire term from 2004 to 2010 that includes her proposed revisions of the 1987 constitution from presidential to parliamentary system, from unitary to federal form of government, and from protectionist to free market economic system.

Right now, the both chambers of the Congress agreed the necessity of amending the restrictive economic provisions of the 1987 constitution which seems to be the most restrictive not just in Asia but also in the entire world as the economic policies of our country like the foreign investment laws are being stipulated to our constitution like the 60/40 equity restrictions against foreign individuals or corporations where any prospective foreign individuals or corporations who wishes to invest in our country needs to find a Filipino individuals or corporations to tap the 60% of equity shares asked by foreign individuals or corporations in order to operate their businesses in our country as stated in the Article XII, Section 10 of the 1987 constitution. That 60/40 equity restrictions almost covers the economic sectors in our country especially the sectors that really needs 100% FDI participation like mining, oil and gas extraction, agriculture, forestry, public utilities, transportation, education, construction and many others as these sectors that I have mentioned for many years have been deteriorated its services to the people and its technology is getting outdated by year because of lack of foreign capital inflows flowing in our economy as a result of that restrictive economic provisions stipulated in our constitution.

The 1987 constitution also restricts foreign individuals or corporations from investing or setting-up an advertising firms to 30% and also prohibits foreigners entirely of investing in media sector on which I believe it contributes to the deterioration of the Philippine media for the last half century as there is no much competition in producing movies, shows, and news in our media industry and being monopolized by the few rich local moguls who profiteered with no foreign competition policy of the 1987 constitution at the expense of the Filipino audience.

The restrictive economic provisions of our 1987 constitution are contributing to further and complex problem that our country plunging right now that is the severe unemployment and underemployment due to lack of competition in our job market as foreign investors are being driven out in our domestic economy and the local investors cannot provide the necessity of our growing labor force due to lack of capital and technology as foreign investors are reluctant to have a large-scale partnership with any local companies due to the notorious corruption in the Philippine business sector.

Those who were luckily educated were driven out of the country and forced to seek lucrative jobs abroad to earn money to support their remaining families here in our country at the expense of emotional troubles to their remaining children in a long-run which contributed to a further socio-economic problems among the Overseas Filipino Workers’ families where their remaining wife/husband in our country tend to dump their husband/wife who was working abroad or their remaining children tend to engage strange activities during their adolescence especially where some of them got married early of their ages or committed juvenile crimes due to the absence of one or two of their parents when they grew up.

If we, Filipinos wanted to have a real economic, political and social prosperity just just for today but also forever in our lives, let us support the initiate of Juan Ponce Enrile and Feliciano Belmonte of amending the restrictive economic provisions of our 1987 constitution.


Dolphy passes away

The King of Philippine Comedy, Dolphy. Credits to Voltaire Domingo/NPPA Images.

Last night when I slept, a news came out that the King of Philippine Comedy, Dolphy had pass away after for years of battling with acute pneumonia. His death was unexpected as he initially showed a signs of recovery after he was brought last month at Makati Medical Center.

Dolphy’s contribution to our country was enormous as for many years in the show business industry, he contributed a lots of humors and comedies to our daily lives as a Filipino and his passing put the Filipino people including me into mourning as we all know already that there would be only one Dolphy in our lives and no other Filipino comedians could emulate on what he did.

For 19 years of my existence in this world, I grew up with Dolphy’s works like Home Along Da Riles, Home Along Da Airport, John En Shirley, and many others although I never lived up during Dolphy’s prime when he starred as “John H. Purontong” together with late Nida Blanca and Maricel Soriano. I really impressed on what Dophy’s contribution to our culture and I would assure to the Filipino people that no one could surpass Dolphy’s works in the future.

With his passing, I would like to express my condolences to the family of Rodolfo Vera Quizon or well known as Dolphy.

Reintroduction of Spanish language in the Philippines

Queen Sofía of Spain together with young students during her visit in the Philippines. Credits to Fonso Velázquez.

This week, the queen consort and the wife of King Juan Carlos I of Spain visited in the Philippines with the purpose of inspecting the Spanish development projects in the Philippines through its development cooperation agency, Agencia Española de Cooperación Internacional para el Desarollo or AECID.

Her visit was coincided with the rising interest among the Filipinos to learn the language that made possible among all ethno-linguistic regions in the Philippines to unite under a single political sovereignty under the Spanish colonial rule from 1565 until 1898 and still continues to be united and not fractured into dozens of nation-states all over the archipelago.

For many years after the Spaniards left the country and successive governments of discouraging Filipinos from speaking Spanish through the intensive instruction of Tagalog aka “Filipino” to students all across the archipelago, the Philippines never achieved a real cultural, economic, political, and social prosperity because our leaders and the people themselves forgot on what their forefathers taught to them, but instead, they even destroyed it like for example, embracing anything American influences even though some of the influences will not work for Filipino setting while forgetting some of the Spanish influences being instilled to our culture.

Also, the abandonment of the Spanish language in favor of Tagalog language aka “Filipino” way back 1935 during the presidency of Manuel Quezón never fulfilled the goals of most Tagalog nationalists of uniting the archipelago under a common language of Tagalog but instead it only created resentment among non-Tagalogs even until today. The faulty language policies done by Quezón and his successors only created a favorable treatment among the Tagalog people over the non-Tagalogs at all aspects of development of the Philippines at the expense of other regions.

By restoring gradually the Spanish language into the mainstream, we can repair our damaged and distorted culture done by our founding leaders into what is the real face of our Filipino culture and also restoring Spanish language will enhance our knowledge of our Philippine history.

Replacing the Tagalog aka “Filipino” language with Spanish as our official and national language will unite the Filipinos regardless of religious and cultural differences from all over the archipelago as most Philippine language already contains 30 to 50% of Spanish lexicons and also most Filipinos shares cultural similarities with the Spaniards and the Latin Americans and further learning the Spanish language would enhance our full integration with them who are the real siblings of the Filipino culture.