Doing business in the Philippines, most ‘difficult’ in the world – World Bank

Two worlds divided by the atrocious processing to do businesses in the Philippines.

The Philippines in terms of ranking on doing business remains difficult and atrocious compared with the hundreds of countries around the world according to the latest report of the World Bank’s “Doing Business 2013“.

The country ranked 138th out of 185 countries according to the latest survey done by the International Finance Corporation and the World Bank in regards of processing permits in order to have a business being a legally recognized by the government. The country remains bombarded by the red tape in regards of processing permits to do business.

It takes 161 days of starting a business, among the worst in the world, compared to only a day in New Zealand, 2 days in Australia, 3 days in Canada, and 4 days in Singapore.

It takes 16 procedures in order for a business be legally approved by the government, making it the third worst in the world after Equatorial Guinea which takes 18 procedures and Venezuela which takes 17 procedures.

It takes also 36 days for entrepreneurs in order their businesses be registered, way longer than the world’s leaders of New Zealand which takes only a day for businesses be registered, Georgia which takes 2 days for businesses be registered, and Singapore which takes 3 days for businesses be registered.

It cost 18.4% of the country’s GDP per capita in order for businesses be legally registered that includes legal fees for registration, compared to nothing in Slovenia, 0.2 in Denmark, 0.6 in Singapore, and 1.0 in the United Kingdom.

It also cost 4.8% of the country’s GDP per capita in order for businesses especially foreign to deposit money to pay the paid-up capital requirement as required by our law, compared to none in many countries like our regional peer, Singapore.

I am not surprised with the current rankings of our country in regards of doing business. Many Filipinos have been frustrated on the procedures imposed by the government on the perspective entrepreneurs who wants to generate jobs for millions of unemployed citizens regardless of whom they came from. Our government seems to be procrastinating in their efforts to improve our business climate in our country so that local and foreign entrepreneurs would encouraged to set-up their businesses that would have generated more jobs and more prosperity for the people but instead, these prospective entrepreneurs have been bombarded with the atrocious requirements in order to have their businesses be registered while the government protects the selected elite oligarchs from the floods of competition that would have provide the millions of poor and unemployed Filipinos an opportunity to uplift from poverty and ignorance.

The government officials should stop pandering the needs of the elite oligarchs and let real competition in our economy to work in order to satisfy the needs of the majority Filipino, who installed them through elections, of employment, education, health care, and many others. The government officials especially the elected ones should stop punishing and blocking prospective foreign entrepreneurs, whether large or small from setting-up businesses here that would have created millions of job opportunities like the constitutional prohibition of 100% foreign equity ownership of businesses outside PEZA-accredated zones and let these foreign entrepreneurs to invest 100% from their own capital and ideas and control what they invest to protect rent-seeking dummies.

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Pedro Calungsod, my own analysis

Canonization of Pedro Calungsod.

Tomorrow will be the canonization of the Blessed Pedro Calungsod, 12 years after he was beatified by the Roman Catholic Church on 5 March 2000.  Filipino Catholics especially the devouts are preparing for the canonization like pilgrimage in his hometown in Ginatilan in southwestern part of Cebu; in Cantabaco, Toledo in west central of Cebu; and those who have enough money for airplane fare, in Vatican City.

Pedro Calungsod will be the second Filipino person to be canonized as saint by the Roman Catholic Church as 25 years ago, a young Filipino also in the person of Lorenzo Ruiz, became a saint because of the same reason on why Pedro Calungsod should be a saint, the martyrdom while working to spread the words of the Roman Catholic Church outside the Philippine territory.

Pedro Calungsod was born during the first hundred years of Spanish colonization of the Philippine archipelago when the transformation into what the Filipino society as a largely Catholic society was ongoing in approximately in 1654 in according to most accounts, he was born in Ginatilan in the southwestern part of the island of Cebu, the cradle of the Filipino Catholicism. The details of his life before his missionary work and martyrdom are sparse. It is probable that he received Jesuit education like mastering the Spanish language and the Catechism.

At the age of 14 in the year of 1668, Pedro Calungsod together with the Spanish Jesuit priest, Diego Luís de San Vitores, traveled to the Ladrones Islands (known today as the Marianas Islands and Guam). Calungsod and San Vitores eventually landed in the island of Guam and converted the Chamorros into Roman Catholicism. Among their converts was the Chamorro chief in Guam, Kepuha.

The death of Kepuha in 1669 was the start of the conflict between the native Chamorros and the Jesuit missionaries led by San Vitores and Calungsod that contributed to their respective martyrdom, three years later as the Chamorro leaders protested the way Kepuha was buried at the church side instead in the traditional way.

The new rulers of Mata’pang and Hurao in 1672 eventually killed San Vitores and Calungsod after San Vitores had baptized Mata’pang’s daughter without the chief’s permission. Some say that Mata’pang had believed holy water used in baptism had caused the recent deaths of babies due to European diseases.

In my own analysis about the martyrdom story of Pedro Calungsod and Diego Luís de San Vitores, I could say that the people especially the Catholics (forgive me to say this) somewhat overrates their devotion to the persons that the historicity has been questioned because of last of written documents. I think that the Catholics should reflect on what they are devoting not just to Pedro Calungsod but also to all “saints” canonized by the Roman Catholic Church on whether they give them a freedom for expressing their ideas against their church or not. I think the Catholics should abandon the pagan-styled practice of venerating deceased persons and should start to think that no religion or even the “saints” could give them a personal freedom and prosperity but themselves.

The GRP-MILF Bangsamoro agreement, a precedence for the break-up of the Philippines

MILF rebels in uniform.

After years, the Philippine Government (GRP) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) have ended negotiations on the framework agreement for Mindanao in Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia and are set to sign the peace agreement on October 15 that will establish the “Bangsamoro” state within the Philippine territory, President Benigno Aquino II said last Sunday.

The goal of the upcoming peace agreement with the MILF is to create a government that is in conform with the traditions of the minority Filipino Muslims or Moros living in some parts of Mindanao. It would also aim to end the armed struggle by the MILF rebels fighting for an autonomy for almost 20 years. Allowing the Moros to run their basic internal affairs such as education, health, culture, and many others would assure the long-run survival of the Moro identity in the sea of the predominant Christians in the Philippines.

The details of the framework agreements states the creation of the Bangsamoro autonomous political entity to replace the current Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. It entails the creation of a parliamentary form of government to be headed by a Chief Minister with the ministries who would govern the proposed Bangsamoro autonomous political entity. It gives a way for the implementation of the Shari’ah law in the internal matters in Bangsamoro. It gives the leverage for the Bangsamoro to create its own sources of revenues and to levy taxes, fees, and charges.

The powers that would be reserved for the national government, however, are defense and external security; foreign policy; common market and global trade; coinage and monetary policy; citizenship and naturalization; and postal service.

The upcoming agreement between the Philippine Government (GRP) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) would open the doors for the restructuring of our system of government through a Constitutional Reform or more known as the Charter Change that would be unlikely in a short-run but likely and necessary in a long-run. The agreement would be just a paper tiger if we stick with the outdated unitary-presidential and protectionist 1987 constitution. It would give a reason for other regions of our country to ask for greater autonomy from the national government in the matters of basic governance with the upcoming agreement as the precedence.

Our national leaders should now realize the nature of our country that is culturally, economically, linguistically, and politically diverse that needs to decentralized the matters of basic governance to the regions instead to be concentrated to the central government. Our faulty unitary system that was installed by the Spaniards have created a series of resentments of almost all Filipinos to the national government due to the latter’s incompetence in running the affairs of various regions that are different to each other.

The agreement between the GRP and MILF would give a reason for other regions including the Bangsamoro to secede from the Philippines especially if our national leaders would try to insist the flawed 1987 constitution in chest. If we really want to preserve our unity as a multicultural country, we need to give all regions a sort of autonomy through federalism in order to avoid a (bloody) break-up of our country in the future.

A day before the death of internet freedom

Resist the tyrannical government until the death just not to destroy the human essence of freedom of expression.

Tonight is the moment before the freedom of internet usage that we enjoy for decades be banished as the implementation of the infamous R.A 10175 or the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 signed by the President Benigno Simeon Aquino III.

Once again, the goal of this bill enumerated in Chapter II of the Republic Act No. 10175 is to curb the crimes committed online like cybersex, child pornography, cybersquatting and identity theft, spamming or unsolicited commercial communication, computer-related forgery, illegal access to a computer system and/or illegal interception of data, data interference, including intentional alteration or damaging of data; system interference, including damaging or altering computer data or programs as well as the use of viruses, the misuse of devices; and the use, production, sale, procurement, importation, distribution or making available without right of malware, passwords or codes.

However, the provisions stipulated especially the libel clause added by Senator Vicente Sotto III gained massive criticism from online community including me because the legal definition of libel whether in the RA No, 10175 or in Revised Penal Code does not address the nature of the content done by a person using the internet especially. With the application of libel offense done by traditional media according to the Revised Penal Code that is stipulated in the RA no. 10175, you may imprison up to 12 years or a fine of 200,000 pesos for damages committed even though you share or re-twit other person’s posts.  How ridiculous.

Because of the libel definition of the Revised Penal Code that would be applicable for cyber crime offenders and the libel provisions of the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012, you could be persecuted with two counts with a same charge that would not be only costly and destructive for innocent internet users but also a violation of the Article III, Section 21 of the 1987 Constitution that would protect any person living in the Philippines from being charged of two same counts at the same time or what is known as the Right Against Double Jeopardy.

Last, the law itself is a violation of the fundamental right of a person to express his feelings or grievances especially to the government that is guaranteed to our 1987 Constitution, Article III, Section 4 states:

“No law shall be passed abridging the freedom of speech, of expression, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble and petition the government for redress of grievances.”

The implementation of that law will not address the problems of cyber crime, contrary on what the bill says as any persons who pisses off soon especially politicians and business corporations will use this law to suppress any dissents of their actions and therefore suppressing dissents and criticisms would destroy the versatility and dynamics of the internet of our country. The passage of that law will give a precedence for political tyrants in the future to restrict the Filipino people of internet access of all kinds of purposes like what China have right now.

Therefore, we the Filipino citizens who loves freedom, we must fight these politicians and their financiers until this law will be repealed.