Andrés Bonifacio came from a middle class family

Andres Bonifacio

Andrés Bonifacio

Today is the 149th birthday of one of the greatest heroes in Philippine history, Andrés Bonifacio. His birthday has been celebrated by the Filipinos for many years and he became an inspiration especially for the nationalists and left-leaning people who taught that Andrés Bonifacio came from the same ranks of his but actually, Andrés Bonifacio came from a middle class family, who became an orphan at his early teenage as his both parents died of illness and working for the British and German business interests before he joined the La Liga Filipina founded by José Rizal, then he created his own Kataastaasang Kagalanggalangang Katipunan ng mga Anak ng Bayan or Katipunan.

The arrest of José Rizal changed the life of Andrés as he decided to establish a secret society called Kataastaasang Kagalanggalangang Katipunan ng mga Anak ng Bayan or Katipunan, with the goal of freeing the Philippine Islands from the Spanish rule through armed revolt. He was influenced by the ideals of Freemasonry through its rituals and organization, and several members aside from Bonifacio were also Freemasons.

At that point, Andrés Bonifacio was losing hope for a peaceful means of getting the Philippine Islands an independence from Spain as the La Liga Filipina founded by José Rizal was split between his Katipunan and the Cuerpo de Compromisarios, dominated by the wealthy members of the La Liga Filipina. 

Within four years, the Katipunan grew up from 30,000 to 40,000 members by the time it was divulged by the Spanish authorities through a member who told a Spanish priest. In reaction of the Spanish manhunt, Andrés Bonifacio called thousands of Katipunan members for a gathering in Caloocan, where they decided to start their revolt through tearing the community tax certificates or Cedula and the event was called as the Cry of Pugad Lawin.

The revolt at first was successful as the Katipunan members took some towns around Manila, Morong, Bulacan, and especially in Cavite (under the command of Emilio Aguinaldo and Mariano Alvarez). However, Andrés and the Katipunan suffered defeat in battles as the Spanish government with mostly native Filipino mercenaries were able to retake Katipunan bailiwicks due to lack of armed equipment  financial constricts, and factional differences especially between Andrés Bonifacio and Emilio Aguinaldo.

It was in Cavite where Katipunan suffered total defeat where the factions of Magdalo led by Emilio Aguinaldo and the Magdiwang led by Mariano Alvarez put Andrés under peril that cost his life later as the two factions cannot agreed on how to establish a national government once they defeated the Spaniards.

Tejeros Convention was held which the delegates elected him as the Director of the Interior which was later protested by a certain Daniel Tirona, who taught that lack of formal education of Andrés will be the hindrance of running such position. Such an insult by Daniel Tirona brought Andrés Bonifacio into anger and decided to annul the election. The complicated factional situation between the Magdalo and the Katipunan derailed the efforts of the Filipinos to gain freedom from Spanish rule as the Spaniards were able to retake all Cavite towns and Emilio Aguinaldo and the remaining members of Magdalo, had to flee to Biak na Bato then to Hong Kong while Bonifacio and the Magdiwang members had been scattered all over the Tagalog region to continue their fight against the Spaniards and the Magdalo. 

Andrés Bonifacio died on 10 May 1897 in Maragondon, Cavite after he was sentenced by a court, established by Emilio Aguinaldo with the counts of sedition and treason. According to Apolinario Mabini, one of Aguinaldo’s aide, Bonifacio’s death demoralized the revolutionaries from Manila, Laguna, and Batangas while other Bonifacio aides like Emilio Jacinto had to hide to avoid Emilio Aguinaldo and his minions.

Andrés Bonifacio was an exceptional man who fought for the freedom of the Filipino people from the excess of the Friar-dominated Spanish colonial rule. He was not intended to make an armed rebellion against the Spanish authorities had they not arrested José Rizal and heeded the peaceful demand of Rizal for a reform or much earlier, the Spanish authorities grant the Filipinos the self-government after the Gomburza fiasco. Factionalism and envy by other Katipunan was the start of his unintended downfall and eventually unintended death. Our country would have been a better ones than right now had the factions of Katipunan stepped aside their differences and focused their energy to defeat the Spaniards and then govern the government of all Filipinos.

7.1% GDP growth rate, nothing to celebrate

The GDP growth in the previous quarter was based on consumer spending not production ones.

The Philippine economy last quarter of this year grew 7.1% (based on 2000 price) compared the same quarter of 2011. According to the National Statistical and Coordination Board (NSCB), the growth was driven by the services sector with the robust performances of transport, storage and communication, financial inter mediation, and real estate, renting and business activities supported by the five consecutive quarters of sustained accelerated growth of the industry and the seemingly weather tolerant agriculture sector.

However, the press release and the NSCB themselves did not look at the bigger picture on the source or components of the economic growth of our economy not just during the last quarter but also with the previous years wherein the economic growth has been driven by the service sector (primarily BPO earnings and indirect OFW remittance spending) while manufacturing and especially the agriculture that could have stimulate more capital and jobs in our economy have been lagged behind.

Let us take the breakdown of the economic growth last quarter:

Gross National Income and Gross Domestic Product by industry:
3rd quarter 2011 and 3rd quarter 2012
at current and constant 2000 prices, in million pesos.

See, the economic growth was mainly based on industry and services while the agriculture was left behind.

Let us take the breakdown of the economic growth in agriculture last quarter:

Gross added value in Agriculture, Hunting, Forestry & Fishing
3rd quarter 2011 and 3rd quarter 2012
at current and constant 2000 prices, in million pesos.

See, the forestry and fishing output decreased from the third quarter of 2011 to the same quarter of this year.

Let us take the breakdown of the economic growth in industry last quarter:

Gross added value in Industry
3rd quarter 2011 and 3rd quarter 2012
at current and constant 2000 prices, in million pesos.

See, mining and quarrying output decreased while the manufacturing growth was lagging behind in relative to the overall GDP growth from the third quarter of 2011 to the third quarter of this year.

Let us take the breakdown of the economic growth in services last quarter:

Gross added value in Services
3rd quarter 2011 and 3rd quarter 2012
at current and constant 2000 prices, in million pesos.

See, only the service sector gave our economy a significant growth while the agriculture and the industry especially manufacturing that should have been a key driver of our economic growth and would have provide jobs to millions of unemployed Filipinos in this stage of our economic development have been lagged behind.

We could see the better and bigger picture of the source of our economic growth if we take a look on the source of expenditures where the government spending component outgrowth the other components like household, capital formation, and current account (exports – imports):


Gross National Income and Gross Domestic Product
by expenditure
3rd quarter 2011 and 3rd quarter 2012
at current and constant 2000 prices, in million pesos.

See, if we look using the components of the Gross domestic product, we will realize that the government spending is one of the principal key drivers of our economic growth and development and that is not really a good habit to maintain by our government to spend further in our economy as the government when it spends tends to misappropriate the money to few benefactors whereas if we let the private sector (local or foreign) as one of the key drivers of our economy, there would be more economic growth multipliers for the rest of the economy as the private sector tends to be competitive in spending money and providing jobs and services to the people as they have to deal with other competitors for the consumers and workers.

In conclusion, the government needs to have structural economic reforms in order to assure that all sectors in our society will benefit the fruits of the economic growth not just the selected few people like improving our foreign investment regime through scrapping the 60/40 forced equity sharing in favor of a Filipino individuals or corporations in setting-up domestic-based firms, extracting natural resources, education, advertising, and media by foreigners that could stimulate further economic growth multiplier not just to millions of unemployed Filipinos but also to existing Filipino-owned businesses and the government like more know-how, technology, expertise, and government revenues for the government to use for social and infrastructure spending by the government; lessening the red tape in getting permits so that entrepreneurs will encourage to set-up their business not being wasted their capital of paying bribes to the government just to start a business; and rationalize the tax system like scrapping imposing the flat income tax system of 12.5% so that the workers and the consumers will have a more purchasing power to spend for services that would stimulate the economy further.

Lynching Laurel

Herman Tiu-Laurel: Anti foreign direct investment yet he is wearing Western business suit, speaking English, writing in English in his column, a partly Chinese. Certified hypocrite indeed.

Last Friday, after reading the article written by Herman Tiu-Laurel through The Daily Tribune titled “‘Opening-up’ RP“, in respond to Peter Wallace’s column titled “Constitutional change now” with a xenophobic rhetoric particular against the Australians, the nationality of Peter Wallace of saying that he should return to the land of “bandits, rogues and garbage”.

I could not control myself but to respond his garbage, miseducated, and xenophobic editorial that was published not just in the internet through the website of The Daily Tribune but also in the conventional print circulation distributed nationwide wherein few could had read his editorial and I have to write his rebuttal in order not to be brainwashed or mislead by a certain Herman Tiu-Laurel.

He writes that our neighboring Asian countries have restrictions in foreign equity ownership in certain economic sectors, except except in sectors where locals have no competence, inclination or capital to venture in. I do agree on that however, he forgot that their restrictions in foreign equity ownership in certain economic sectors have been done through a simple legislation framework that would be easier for them to restrict or relax foreign equity ownership restrictions in certain economic sectors unlike here in the Philippines, wherein our foreign equity ownership restrictions have been stipulated in our 1987 constitution at all economic sectors practically (Article XII, Section 2, 10-11; Article XIV, Section 4; and Article XV, Section 11) or what we known as the 60/40 forced equity ownership sharing in favor of a Filipino individuals or corporations where foreign investors have to surrender their 60% of control of their own capital to a certain Filipino individual or corporation which is riskier compared of letting foreigners invest 100% from his/her own pocket and control what he invest in a particular business.

He forgot to realize that as of July 2012, the Philippines only got $900 million foreign direct investment inflows compared with $800 million in July 2011, a growth of 10.6% but still one of the laggard in Asean compared on what Singapore got in July 2012 of $27.4 billion, slightly 1.9% below compared with the same period last year but still one of the prime destination for foreign investments in Asean.

I will show you a differences between the Philippines and Singapore in terms of its openness on foreign investments according to the 2010 World Bank study, Investing Across Borders:

You see, the Philippines has more restrictions of foreign equity ownership because of the idiotic 60/40 forced equity sharing in favor of a Filipino individuals or corporations.

Singapore has the most relaxed foreign investment regimes according to the 2010 IAB study by the World Bank.

He writes that the country already has significant surplus in foreign exchange holdings relative to its foreign debt, and P1.8 trillion in savings from overseas Filipino workers, export and BPO sectors held in the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) paying four percent to keep in its vaults. While I do agree that we have a significant surplus in Forex holding but he did not realize that the money is not meant to be spend for other expenses to our government like social, infrastructure, and many others but the bulks of Forex reserve by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas will be used to cushion our foreign exchange relative with other world currencies from the fluctuations of global economy, therefore our foreign exchange holdings are for the protection of our currency. He says that we have P1.8 trillion savings from overseas Filipino workers but I tell you, Herman, what’s the use of that trillions of pesos of remittances from our OFWs only 15% is meant for investment that would have provide jobs for Filipinos at home while the other 85% is meant for consumption whether needy or conspicuous, you cannot grasp the spending attitudes of most OFWs who went abroad forcibly just to support their remaining families here in our country while causing other social problems like adultery, drug addiction, early pregnancy, and among others yet you are encouraging more Filipinos to go out of our country while not fixing our investment climate so that instead of Filipino workers going abroad, the foreign investors should be the one will come here in our country to provide jobs to millions of unemployed Filipinos, give technical expertise to the Filipino workers, give technological expertise to the Filipino entrepreneurs, and many others. The goal here in order to lure more investors is to give them a better environment so that they will invest here in our country instead of driving them out of our country like foreign equity ownership restrictions in the constitution.

He keeps saying that the money from the Forex reserves, our OFWs remittances, exports, and BPO revenues should be used for productive agriculture and manufacturing enterprises which would necessarily compete and substitute for goods imported today today — local dairy, shoes, clothes, steel, machinery and others. He did not realize that the money the government gained through taxation does not have enough capabilities and manpower on spending it in agriculture or manufacturing and instead, the government cannot fulfill those tasks compared with the private sector in running enterprises as the government had to rely on appropriations not on profit on targeting the market needs or allocating money for improving services. Without real foreign competition in the domestic market as a result of restrictive investment regime stipulated in our 1987 constitution, there is no motivation from the locally-owned enterprise to expand their market or improving their services to the consumers and their workers. His argument that we have no shortage of local capital is useless as long as the people does not have enough purchasing power to spend beyond their basic needs.

In order to have our economy more inclusive economic growth, let us encourage foreign capital, technology, and expertise to enter in our country without much restrictions and with proper regulations so that if there will be more competing companies for jobs in order for their businesses to operate, more unemployed Filipinos will be given an opportunity for employment at home instead abroad as more competing businesses for jobs tends to increase wages over time in order to maximize the labor supply and order for a company to maintain its workers from transferring to other competing companies. Higher wages over time means that there will be an increase of  purchasing power among the workers to spend for conspicuous necessities or for establishing a small enterprise to compete with existing enterprises for consumers and workers.

The power of free flow of capital, technology, and expertise are what Herman Tiu-Laurel cannot or maybe will not bother to grasp as he had to defend the interests of his bosses who are afraid of foreign competition that would diminish the profit margin of his bosses, therefore his financial survival while the Filipino people would be empowered with more competition in the economy whether the players are local or foreign.

Herman, you should eat your own words.

Maguindanao massacre, three years on

Authorities had to use backhoes (used to bury the victims) just to excavate the remains of the victims of the massacre.

Today is the third anniversary of the infamous Manguindanao massacre where 58 innocent civilians were killed by the then-ruling Ampatuan clan led by Andal and Zaldy Ampatuan, mayor of Datu Unsay, Maguindanao and governor of Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

The massacre happened during the midst of the filling of certificate of candidacy for the candidates of then-upcoming 2010 elections. The then-Buluan vice mayor, Esmael “Toto” Mangudadatu, the current Maguindanao governor and relative of the Ampatuan clan invited 37 journalists to cover his filling of his certificate of candidacy as Maguindanao governor candidate against Andal Ampatuan, Jr., Datu Unsay mayor and son of then-governor Andal, Sr..

While Toto was waiting for the six convoys that contains the 37 journalists and his wife, the massacre happened, just 10 km away from Shariff Aguak, the provincial capital and the location where Toto was going to file his certificate of candidacy wherein the convoy was stopped by 100 armed men who abducted and later killed most or all of its members.

The abductors had to use a backhoe to bury the 58 victims including 34 journalists, Toto’s wife, Genalyn, and the vehicles. The perpetrators were not able to complete the job when a helicopter was spotted in the area. The backhoe, emblazoned with the name of Maguindanao Gov. Andal Ampatuan Sr., was later identified to belong to the Maguindanao provincial government.

In the aftermath of the incident, then-President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo declared martial law in whole province of Maguindanao to restore law and order and to give the police and military forces a flex muscle to arrest the perpetrators like Andal Sr, Andal Jr, and Zaldy.

At least 198 suspects, including Andal Ampatuan Jr. and Andal Ampatuan Sr. and several other members of the Ampatuan clan, have been charged with murder. In April 2010, the government dropped murder charges against Zaldy Ampatuan and Akhmad Ampatuan who had presented alibis. This led to protests by family members of the victims.

As of 23 November 2011, two years after the massacre, only Andal Sr. and his son Andal Jr. had been charged, and some 100 of the 197 persons listed on the charge sheet were still unaccounted for.

The aftermath of the incident was really devastating and probably the scars of the incident will remain forever as our judicial system cannot even tried the perpetrators, let alone giving the justice for the victims of that massacre. The Maguindanao massacre case is one of the signs of the crawling judicial system in our country as cases especially involving prominent persons will have to take years to resolve the case and give the verdict to the perpetrators as the perpetrators through their lawyers would make any excuses and technicalities for their clients to evade conviction like using “health reasons” as an excuse for the perpetrators of not attending the trial.

I only give my prediction that the trial will take years to resolve and probably even the perpetrators will die someday, the case will be still unresolved that would make the case a moot therefore, no justice will be served for the victims of the massacre due to our crawling justice system.

Too much emotion, too less reason among Filipinos

Smiling Filipino child.

According to the latest poll done by the United States-based research firm, Gallup, the Philippines is one of the most emotional countries in world compared with other 152 countries surveyed by the Gallup from 2009 to 2011. According to the survey, Filipinos were most likely admit feeling both positive or negative emotions, while other countries especially Singapore, were least to do so.

Looking with the results of the latest survey done by Gallup, it only shows that our society has been embedded with emotions especially in decision-making at all aspects in life whether political, economic, and social. Our culture tends to reward people who can give emotions so certain things of life while penalizing those who use reason and practicality in resolving problems on whether a individual problem or social problem.

It also shows the correlation between the tropical climate region where both the Philippines and Singapore located with opposite aspects on emotions and reason does not really in case as for many years, Singapore had developed their investment climate friendly for all investors from around the world and then gained enough capital from foreign investments to spend for developing their educational system that promotes logic and reason, while us did not develop as we cling to our empty emotions against foreign capital and investments that could improve our educational system.

The lesson with the survey was that we need to balance our emotions with reasons especially in decision-making in our daily lives and especially in the decision-making in our government like economic, political, and social ones in order for us to achieve a better development for our country. Our leaders should not be swayed with the emotions of the majority people without empirical evidence to support their emotions rather our leaders should make their policies based on reason and practicality.

The ordinary people should also realize that reason ought to be prevailed at all decision-making rather than emotion especially in comes of a romantic relationship for example. Our society should reward people who use reason, practicality, and critical thinking over those people who think only emotions without using reason in achieving goals of life.

#AMALAYER, my analysis

Last Tuesday, another confrontation incident happened at the LRT Santolan station between an on-duty security guard and a student from La Consolacion College named Paula Jamie Salvosa as the security guard told Salvosa that she entered the LRT station in the exit side (wrong way). Unfortunately for Salvosa, her confrontation with the security guard was taken through video then uploaded on Facebook and Youtube by a certain Gregory Paulo Llamoso RN on which it gained millions of viewers and negative reactions especially to Salvosa, the one who confronted the security guard for her mistakes of passing the exit area.

I think that we blame Salvosa too much as her actions (not the way she shouted the security guard) are inevitable at times as we commuters tend to be in hurry just to come up with your appointments on time but it does not mean that I sympathized with her actions as she should have not raised her voice to confront the security guard but she should have kept her tantrum in explaining on why she passed the exit line instead the entrance line. I cannot blame the security guard as she did her duties on maintaining the order of the MRT Santolan station.

The most of the blame should go to a certain Gregory Paulo Llamoso RN as he uploaded the video without knowing that it could damage Salvosa’s future through taking the video then upload it on Facebook and Youtube. That man should have been a conscious and analytical enough that Salvosa’s actions are typical for a commuter who cannot bear the entrance and exit system in a public transport terminal but instead, when the confrontation was ongoing, he took a video and uploaded it that caused the millions of netizens to throw their anger to Salvosa with statements that were derogatory. As a result of the incident, Salvosa was advised by her school, La Consolacion College not to attend classes to avoid further humiliation and as a result, her personality and reputation was tarnished forever without a possibility of redemption for her in the future.

The lesson of that incident was that we need to keep our temper from exploding that could cause your destruction of reputation in front of many people especially if there is someone taking a video then uploading it on the internet and to the persons who want to take videos during incidents like what happened at the LRT Santolan station should be careful and conscious enough that he/she cannot destroys person’s reputation who may have a potential for redemption.

ERRATUM: She was not expelled rather, she was advised by her school not to attend classes to avoid further humiliation. Apologies.

China’s new rulers

Li Keqiang and Xi Jinping, the new leaders of the People’s Republic of China.

Earlier,  the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China selected the new leaders to seat the seven seats of the powerful Politburo Standing Committee, the committee consisting the top leadership of the Communist Party of China and therefore, the highest committee of the second largest economy, the People’s Republic of China which to be lead by the new General Secretary, Xi Jinping and the new Deputy Party Secretary, Li Keqiang. Xi Jinping will assume as the President of the People’s Republic of China from Hu Jintao, the outgoing president on 15 March 2013 and Li Keqiang will assume as the Premier of the People’s Republic of China from Wen Jiabao, the outgoing premier on the same date.

Their selection was a already expected as in 2007, Hu Jintao and Wen Jiabao chose Xi Jinping and Li Keqiang as their successors taking them the position as the Vice President and the Vice Premier of the State Council of the People’s Republic of China.

The selection of Xi Jinping and Li Keqiang was significant as for the last decade, China has been experiencing one of the most spectacular economic growth and international rise in recent history as China has been able to grow economically with an average of 10% annually from 2002 to 2011 and became the second largest economy after the United States in 2010, surpassing Japan as China has able to benefit the dividend of the WTO’s membership in 2001 like increased FDI inflows, freer capital inflows, lesser inflation, and the increased standard of living.

China has able to expand their economic and political influence for the last 10 years as Chinese companies whether state-owned or privately-owned has able to tap the opportunity given by the globalized economic system to cover the needs of the increasing domestic demand of Chinese people within the Mainland China like pouring investments  in Argentina, Australia, Africa, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Indonesia, Iran, Russia, Saudi Arabia, and the United States that have bring a increased economic growth and development with the rest of the world for the last 10 years.

The new leadership will be different from the previous two leaderships of Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao as Xi and Li was not chosen by Deng Xiaoping, the father of China’s peaceful rise to govern the People’s Republic of China and expected to have different visions from Deng as the rising middle class for the past decade means that more political and civil rights to be demanded for them in

Despite of the enormous economic gains, China is still experiencing massive income inequality; tight control on political and civil rights of the people;  political corruption; fragile financial sector; poor relations with its immediate neighbors like Vietnam, Taiwan, South Korea, Japan, and the Philippines; and environmental degradation that the newly designated leaders of the People’s Republic of China needs to be addressed in order to continue the peaceful and gradual rise of the People’s Republic of China as one of the leading countries in the world that would be beneficial not only to their citizens but also the rest of the humanity.

Why Obama won re-election

Breakdown of electoral votes where Obama and Romney won by state

It has been four days after the incumbent President Barack Obama won an another four-year term as the President of the United States over Mitt Romney. I was not surprised that Obama won with 332 electoral votes over Mitt Romney, who got 206 electoral votes. However, in terms of popular votes, it was a close race between them as Obama barely got half of 61,907,639 or 50.5% while Mitt Romney got the another half of  58,648,640 or 49.5%. but the closeness of the popular votes does not matter in the discussion as the selection for the next president will be decided by the Electoral College composed of 538 electors chosen by their respective states.

Many said that Obama won despite a lousy economic recovery was due to Mitt Romney’s pandering the sentiments of the old white electorates like hardline stand on immigration, same-sex marriages, marijuana legalization, dealing with China and the Middle East, and corporate welfare which for me was true as the electoral base of Mitt Romney had been declining even before the election and still had to win support from the largest Republican voter, the white Evangelical electorates from the Southeastern part of the United States. It would had been impossible to get the Republican presidential nomination for Mitt Romney if he did not pander the voting sentiments of the white Evangelical electorates as Mitt Romney during the Republican presidential nominee was more moderate and winnable than his rivals like Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich, Rick Perry, Herman Cain, Michelle Bachmann, and Ron Paul.

Mitt Romney could have won the election had he moderate his immigration stance like supporting the DREAM Act in order to gain a chunk of Hispanic electorates but instead, he lost miserably the votes of the Hispanics to Barack Obama. Romney’s flip flopping stance didn’t help him either.

The increasing Millennial (born between the 1980s up to present), Hispanic, Asian, and of course monolithic African American electorates was the source of electoral victory for Barack Obama last Tuesday. Barack Obama was able to consolidate the sentiments of emerging electorate like reforming the immigration laws through the DREAM Act, legalizing the same-sex marriages by state legislation, legalizing the usage of marijuana by state legislation, increased social spending, and withdrawal of US armed troops from Iraq and Afghanistan.

In order for the Republican Party to be competitive with the changing demographics of the United States, they should moderate the social stance like the issue of legalizing same-sex marriages, legalizing marijuana, legalizing abortion, increased spending on stem-cell research, and moderate immigration policy especially to the Hispanics. The Republican Party should realize their foreign policy platform of American Exceptionalism cannot work in an increasing multipolar and more globally integrated world like their hardline stand on Iran, China, Cuba, or many other countries that they perceived as the America’s enemy. The Republican Party should also return to their economic conservatism roots like reduced government spending on military, subsidizing failing corporations, and subsidizing big farm interests.



2012 United States presidential elections

Mitt Romney and Barack Obama

Today is the presidential election in the United States where the American electorates will decide on who should be the President of the United States beyond 20 January 2013. The main candidates are the incumbent President Barack Obama and his challenger, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney.

The United States presidential election is one of the most watched elections in the world as the decisions of the American electorate does not only affects the lives of the American people but also the lives of the world as the United States maintains its economic, military, political, and cultural influences around the globe. Choosing who is the next president of the United States should be responsible and capable in dealing not just the domestic affairs of the United States but also its interests around the globe.

The main issue this election is about the economic state of the United States where for the past four years, still fighting the effects of the 2007-09 Subprime financial crisis as the real estate boom pooped due to the loans that the American debtors cannot pay on time. The burst of the real estate boom in the United States lowered the confidence to the American financial system on which by 2008, it became a full-blown recession as the Lehman Brothers, one of the leading American investment banks then, declared bankruptcy. The severe recession in 2008 brought Barack Obama to the presidency in the same year and had to deal not just the effects of the Subprime financial crisis but also the foreign policy blunders of the George W. Bush administration in Iraq and Afghanistan that drained the America’s finances as Bush cut the tax rates among the upper-class people while increased the spending on military.

Obama’s presidency for me does not meet my expectations, four years ago as he merely continued the heavy spending spree by the government not just in military but also in social entitlement programs like the food stamps and his watered down medical care system (Obamacare) which will be expected to drain the America’s finance beyond 2014. Obama’s spending spree has reduced the economic competitiveness of the United States compared with the rest of the world where the Standard and Poor had to reduce the credit rating of the United States by a notch as Obama and the Republican-controlled Congress cannot agreed on paying the debt obligations of the United States until the last moment in August 2011 just to avoid default that would have been a disaster to the world’s economy.

Obama has committed foreign policy blunders like trying to contain the China’s economic rise, costing the live of an American ambassador in Libya, angering the Israelite for somewhat, angering the Iranians further, and many others.

However, Mitt Romney for me will continue the Obama’s blunders in domestic and foreign affairs as he postulated his platforms pretty similar or maybe worse than Obama. In conclusion, I have no reason to support both of them as the Americans and the world will be the losers in the end unless there will be a sensible and pragmatic president of the United States to come in the future.

Aquino expands foreign investment limitations list

Noynoy Aquino, shame on you!

I cannot understand on why our president, Noynoy Aquino prefers to limit instead of opening more economic sectors for 100% foreign equity ownership or foreign participation in our white and blue-collar jobs just to protect the interests of his benefactors during the campaign period who happened to control more than half of our economy from real foreign competition in job generation and developing our infrastructure.

Our president did not realize that the draconian and idiotic 60/40 equity-sharing in favor to a Filipino individual or corporation over a foreign individual or corporation on extracting natural resources, setting-up domestic-based businesses, education; 30% foreign equity ownership limit in advertising; and zero foreign investment in media sector have contributed economic dislocation of our country as foreign investors have a difficulty of finding a Filipino individual or business which have enough capital to tap 40% at most in a investment project or the worst, using a local dummy to act as a whole owner of a business which in reality (many case) a foreign individual is the one who invested a business with 100% from his pocket.

Due to the draconian and idiotic 60/40 equity-sharing in favor to a Filipino individual or corporation over a foreign individual or corporation has been stipulated in our constitution for more than 75 years, the Philippines has been left behind with the rest of East Asia in terms of gaining massive foreign direct investments that would have generated massive jobs for millions of Filipinos at home but instead, our workers especially those with higher educational attainment prefers to seek high-paying jobs abroad due to lack of high-paying jobs here in the Philippines, leaving their respective families behind that have created another social problem of family dislocation. The remittances of our OFWs cannot guarantee long-term economic stability as the money they remit to their families here in the Philippines tends to spend for consumption not for investment like starting a small business for example as our laws does not guarantee a  better environment for starting a business.

Due to lack of foreign competition in our domestic economy thanks to the constitutional prohibition of 100% FDI in most of our economic sectors, businesses owned with landlord origins does not have a motivation to improve their services to their consumers and increase the wage of their workers which results to general suffering of our people especially the lower class who cannot afford to go abroad for high-paying jobs. Lack of foreign competition has motivate elite oligarch-owned businesses of controlling not just the market share of our domestic market but also the politics through their relatives holding the electiv positions in the government that makes any reform to break the grip of elite oligarch-owned businesses difficult.

President Noynoy Aquino has expanded the list of investment areas and economic activities that prohibit or limit the participation of foreign investors under the 9th Regular Foreign Investment Negative List. The list enumerates the industries and business activities that are open to Filipino businessmen, and defines the extent of participation of foreign investors in areas allowed by specific laws and the Constitution.

Aquino signed Executive Order No. 98 on 29 October, Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr. said on Friday. The order, which also expands investment opportunities reserved for Filipinos, replaces E.O. 858 that started to take effect in February 2010.

EO No. 98 takes effect 15 days after its publication in a newspaper of general circulation.

“There are investments areas or activities which foreign ownership limitations imposed by law were not included in EO 858. Those changes are now reflected in the ‘List A’ of the new presidential directive,” Ochoa said.

Ochoa said among E.O. 98’s amendments to E.O. 858 are:

  • The foreign ownership and foreign practice limitations imposed under the Real Estate Service Act of the Philippines (Republic Act  9646); (allow foreign professionals to participate)
  • The Philippine Respiratory Act (R.A. 10024); (allow foreign professionals to participate)
  • The Philippine Psychology Act (R.A. 10029) (allow foreign professionals to participate) and
  • The Lending Company Regulation Act of 2007 (R.A. 9474) (allow foreign professionals to participate)

Except for R.A. 9474, which allows foreign ownership of up to 49 percent in lending companies, the three other laws limit the practice of non-Filipinos in the areas of real estate and health care such as respiratory therapy and psychology, unless there is a reciprocity arrangement prescribed by a law.

List A of EO No. 98 specifies the areas of economic activity where foreign ownership is prohibited or limited by the Constitution or laws, among them:

  • mass media (scrap the ban against foreign investments in media and allow 100% FDI)
  • practice of all professions, cooperatives (scrap the 60/40 equity restrictions through a constitutional amendment and allow 100% FDI)
  • private security agencies (scrap the 60/40 equity restrictions through a constitutional amendment and allow 100% FDI)
  • small-scale mining (scrap the 60/40 equity restrictions through a constitutional amendment and allow 100% FDI)
  • private radio communications network, private recruitment for local or overseas employment (scrap the 60/40 equity restrictions through a constitutional amendment and allow 100% FDI)
  • advertising (scrap the 70/30 equity restrictions through a constitutional amendment and allow 100% FDI)
  • ownership of private lands, (allow indefinite long-term lease in agricultural lands for foreigners; allow fee-hold ownership of land in residential and commercial lands for foreigners)
  • lending companies, (scrap the 60/40 equity restrictions through a constitutional amendment and allow 100% FDI)
  • financing companies and investment houses regulated by the Securities and Exchange Commission (scrap the 60/40 equity restrictions through a constitutional amendment and allow 100% FDI)

List B contains economic activities regulated by law such as:

  • small- and medium-scale domestic enterprises (scrap the 60/40 equity restrictions through a constitutional amendment and allow 100% FDI)
  • defense-related industry (i.e., manufacture of firearms, etc.) (scrap the 60/40 equity restrictions through a constitutional amendment and allow 100% FDI) and
  • businesses that have implications on public health and morals (i.e., gambling, sauna, massage clinics, etc.) (scrap the 60/40 equity restrictions through a constitutional amendment and allow 100% FDI)

List A may be amended any time to reflect changes brought about by new laws, according to Ochoa. (scrap the Foreign Investment Negative List)

List B may be amended not more than once every two years upon the recommendation of the departments concerned and endorsed by the National Economic and Development Authority, or upon NEDA’s own initiative and recommendation, approved by the President and promulgated by a presidential proclamation. (scrap the Foreign Investment Negative List)

“For now, List B stays while the changes to the negative list covers only List A,” Ochoa said.

Under the Foreign Investments Act of 1991 (R.A. 7042), foreign investors are allowed to own 100-percent equity in businesses excluded from the negative list. (amend the 1987 constitution to scrap any references of 60/40 forced equity sharing in favor to a Filipino individual or business against foreigners; replace the 60/40 with equal protection between the Filipino and foreign investors; then, revise the Foreign Investments Acts of 1991)

The bold sentences with parenthesis are my recommendations for total foreign investment and professionals participation.