Problems with election-driven economic growth

Philippine GDP annual growth from 2001 to 2012. Notice the 3-year growth fluctuation during election seasons of 2004, 2007, and 2010.

Philippine GDP annual growth from 2001 to 2012. Notice the 3-year growth fluctuation during election seasons of 2004, 2007, and 2010.

The Philippine’s GDP during the previous quarter of this year, 2013, posted an annual growth of 7.8% from 6.5% of the same quarter in the previous year. The first quarter 2013 annual growth is the highest so far under the current government of President Benigno Aquino III. It is also the third consecutive quarter of more than 7% GDP annual growth.

The growth was unusually high due to construction and government spending (posted 33.7 and 13.2% growth respectively) during the first quarter of the year in relation to rush government infrastructure projects to be done before the election ban on construction of government infrastructures. The government has to stimulate this particular economic sector because electorates would like to ask projects from their respective local elected officials a project especially infrastructure and these elected officials would give in just to be reelected in their respective positions. During the first year of the current government of President Benigno Aquino, construction spending had almost collapsed due to insistence of his government to scrutinize any then-construction projects contracted during the previous government of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. When the president realized the economy cannot achieved their 7 -8% annual average GDP growth target until 2016, he resumed the massive infrastructure spending that has been done since the time of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s government to the extent that those projects that have been started by FPGMA, have been credited to the current president like the construction of the new airport in Cagayan de Oro, the Languindingan Airport, that was started its construction in 2006.

The growth was not balanced as usual as during the previous quarter, the exports of goods and services have had been registered with -8.4 and -2.1% respectively not because of lousy economic growth in Europe and the US or slowing economic growth in China, but because of our inability to expand our export markets to the other emerging markets like India, Russia, Latin America or even ASEAN and our inability to diversify our export products from mainly electronics to finished manufactured products like automobile, mobile phone, computers, construction equipment and others.

And let’s talk about the growth by industry, the growth was still unbalanced as usual as agriculture, fishing, and especially mining, lagged behind compared with the construction and financial intermediation which they posted 32.5 and 13.9% respectively while the first three sectors I’ve mentioned only posted 2.9, 5.5, and -17.0% during the previous quarter.

Mining registered the biggest contraction and its growth always fluctuate for many years due to erratic government regulations on mining like profit sharing with the government, Catholic Church and Communist Party-driven opposition on mining in Tampakan, Surigao, Nueva Vizcaya, and especially Palawan. This economic sector should be the prime driver of our economic growth as our country has untapped abundance of mineral, oil, and gas reserves that worth in all beyond trillions of dollars that need to be extracted for export and domestic consumption in order to build a viable manufacturing sector in our country and to assure economic independence from unsafe source of hydrocarbons like the Middle East and Russia.

In conclusion, we must not celebrate the growth but rather, we have to reflect that our economic growth right now, does not assure to have our people be uplifted from poverty, let alone to further generate wealth to create their own businesses to enrich further. Sustainable and inclusive economic growth cannot be measured on GDP growth alone, but can be measured through poverty reduction, unemployment decrease, stable manufacturing base, and secured energy sources.

 

Shame on you, Vice Ganda; Sorry Jessica Soho and rape victims

Jessica Soho and Vice Ganda.

Jessica Soho and Vice Ganda. Courtesy of definitelyfilipino.com

Earlier afternoon while I was attending the mass requiem of my great aunt, I checked my Facebook account on my phone at the middle of the mass and I saw my friend of mine commenting about Vice Ganda. I didn’t bother it at all then as I didn’t want to have my grief be distracted by someone’s foolishness that has become widespread online.

After I arrived home from the burial of my great aunt, I immediately opened my Facebook account, then I saw Vice Ganda’s foolishness of joking Jessica Soho’s weight and the rape victims.

There were many reactions on Facebook or Twitter, mostly negative, and I myself was pissed off of what Vice Ganda did to Jessica Soho and the rape victims. I searched the YouTube video during the latest concert of Vice Ganda last week and I confirmed that Vice Ganda’s jokes were not funny.

Vice Ganda joked Jessica Soho’s weight by saying whenever she would step in a weighing scale, the machine would complain repeatedly, “One at a time, one at a time.” He repeated it thrice which gave Jessica Soho’s attention today. He added that should there be a launching movie for Soho, it will be titled “Tinimbang Ka Ngunit Sobra.”

After that, Vice Ganda joked Jessica that if she were to be raped, it should be done by a “gang”, which made his joke disguising not only to Jessica but also to every rape victims who have not moved on from their traumatic experience. He added that the rapists would say: “Ipasok ang lechon!” OMG, Vice Ganda thought Jessica Soho, a respected journalist, is as good as sex toys.

Vice Ganda, whether you admit it or not, what you did to Jessica Soho and every rape victims of poking them were tasteless and not only that, instead of making them happy, you have further hurt their feelings and let your ego to inflate just to laugh your audience during your concert at Araneta Coliseum. You should have also consider that not all audience were adults but minor children also who cannot fully grasp the world’s imperfections yet like rape. You should be thankful, Vice Ganda, that you were not a rape victim otherwise, it would have been hypocritical to joke rape victims. It’s fine to joke something or to someone else but make sure that you have to consider inner feelings of someone you are joking or the audience too.

With this, I would like to give my deepest sympathies to Jessica Soho, internationally-awarded journalist and every rape victims of the world.

President Aquino’s misconception on land and corporate ownership

President Aquino's intransigence on proposed constitutional reform does not assure long-term economic progress in our country.

President Aquino’s intransigence on proposed constitutional reform does not assure long-term economic progress in our country.

Three days ago, in reaction to reviving initiatives to amend the protectionist economic provisions of the 1987 constitution, President Benigno Aquino III affirmed his intransigence against reforming the 1987 constitution especially on protectionist economic provisions, citing that China has become an economic giant despite of no private ownership of land. The president said that there are many things that need to be tackled before constitutional reform like inefficient bureaucracy, peace and order, infrastructure according to the recommendations of big business sectors in our country like PCCI, and MBC.

President Aquino was cherry-picking here. In China, private ownership is prohibited as the lands are owned by the state and anyone (Chinese citizen or not) who wants to use land for business and residential purposes have to ask the Chinese government of 99-year land lease. He forgot to say that China allows 100% foreign corporate ownership in anywhere in China, unlike here that foreigners cannot own more than 40% of share in a business anywhere in our country.

The Wholly Foreign Owned Enterprise (WFOE or WOFE) is a Limited liability company wholly owned by the foreign investor(s). In China, WFOEs were originally conceived for encouraged manufacturing activities that were either export orientated or introduced advanced technology. However, after China’s entried into the WTO, these conditions were gradually abolished and the WFOE is increasingly being used for service providers such as a variety of consulting and management services, software development and trading as well. With that, any enterprise in China which is 100% owned by a foreign company or companies can be called as WFOE.

The reasons on why amending the protectionist economic provisions of the 1987 constitution are necessary because foreign investment ownership restrictions have been embedded in our Basic Law like only 40% foreign equity ownership on extracting natural resources (Article XII, Section 2); only Filipinos can own land privately (Article XII, Section 3); only 40% foreign equity ownership on domestic-based enterprise (Article XII, Section 10); only 40% foreign equity ownership on public utilities (Article XII, Section 11); only Filipinos can work on professional jobs (Article XII, Section 12); only 40% foreign equity ownership on education (Article XIV, Section 4); only 30% foreign equity ownership on advertising and foreign investment is prohibited on media (Article XVI, Section 11), cannot be relaxed or repealed by legislation alone and to do so would be “inimical” to national interests (Article XII, Section 22).

However, in the globalized economic realities of today, these ownership restrictions on foreign investment do not assure economic progress that is inclusive but exclusive because forced equity sharing would force foreign investors to find a local partner who is rich enough to tap 60% of an investment project. Also, these provisions that I have mentioned are hypocritical in our part as Filipinos can own land or own 100% of businesses abroad like the United States, Singapore, Japan, Hong Kong, South Korea, Poland, Chile, Brazil, and many others while these nationals cannot own land or businesses they invested 100% here in our country.

The 60/40 equity sharing is a forced bribery in favor of local conglomerates like the Sys, Ayalas, Cojuangcos, Tans, and many others as they are the only few can afford to tap 60% of a particular large-scale investment project that involves foreign companies. The 60/40 equity sharing is giving these local conglomerates an unfair advantage compared to foreign companies who in fact with superior capital, technology, expertise, and management style and the Filipino consumers and workers who are ripping for quality services.

The government should stop pandering local business and nationalist interests and allow everyone regardless of nationality to do their businesses everywhere in our country. Crafting legislation to allow 100% foreign corporate ownership especially with the important economic sectors like mining, oil and gas extraction, manufacturing, agriculture, forestry, public utilities, education, and media within the current provision of the 1987 constitution are unconstitutional. Therefore, the long-term remedy is to repeal the 60/40 from the 1987 constitution.

Allowing full ownership regardless of citizenship is one of the big steps to become developed country someday.

Shame on you, butthurt “makabayan” Filipinos

Butthurt letter by the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority condemning Dan Brown's description of Manila as "Gates of Hell"

Butthurt letter by the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority condemning Dan Brown’s description of Manila as “Gates of Hell”.

This week, the latest newly-released Dan Brown’s book “Inferno” has gained mixed reactions all across the Philippine cyberspace as the book starts to be circulated all over the country. The same author who wrote “Da Vinci Code”, ten years ago, described in his book that Manila, the capital of the Philippines, as the “Gates of Hell”.

Of course, butthurts have already been expected as many Filipinos, despite of bitching government’s ineptness like MMDA’s handling with Metro Manila, will dearly defend the Philippines especially the capital city of Manila, no matter how untidy it is as we unfortunately hate criticisms from outsiders in our weaknesses as we think foreigners complaining our country are like they are “invading our national territory”, OMG butthurt “makabayan” Filipinos. You cannot even understand metaphor, how much more thinking a solution to Manila’s woes.

As much as I am not a fan of Dan Brown as he was just a pseudo-historian who argued that Jesus Christ had a wife that was Mary Magdalene and had a child in his best-selling “Da Vinci Code”, but I agree with him that Manila is somehow a “Gates of Hell”.

“Gates of Hell” in the sense that the Philippines is a “hell” in the heart of Asia where economic, political, cultural, and social systems sucks and people are eager to get out of “hell” through working in highly economically developed countries like US, Singapore, Japan, Saudi Arabia, and many others while those who opt to stay the country have suffer perpetual economic perdition where millions cannot even ate, three times a day while politicians during the eve of the election day were always promising voters from the “masa” sector in urban areas in Manila and other major cities a broken promises of economic prosperity then buying these voters with random amount of money to vote for them but after they won, they already screwed these voters through enriching themselves to fund for the next election.

Manila itself really sucks in terms of cleanliness as the Manila Bay area is full of wastes brought by massive overpopulation, squatters anywhere in Manila, floods during rainy seasons, chaotic traffic systems, polluted air, unbridled prostitution, and the worse, Manila City has elected a convicted plunderer but pardoned person (Joseph Estrada) to lead Manila for the next three years after defeating inept incumbent mayor, Alfredo Lim.

This should be a wake-up call for all Filipinos to accept criticism especially from outsiders on what is wrong with our country, so that they would impress our beauty of our country, hospitable people and pristine tourist attractions. These criticisms will continue unless we swallow our shallow national pride of praising everything “Pinoy” regardless of defects. To butthurt “makabayan” Filipinos, SHAME ON YOU.

OFWs biggest losers on Philippines-Taiwan fishing dispute

Taiwanese protesters burning the Philippine flag, protesting the Philippine Coast Guard actions of killing Taiwanese fishermen, off the coast of the Batanes.

Taiwanese protesters burning the Philippine flag, protesting the Philippine Coast Guard actions of killing Taiwanese fishermen, off the coast of the Batanes.

Days before the election day, there was a shooting incident between the Philippine Coast Guard and Taiwanese fishermen, who entered the Philippine territorial waters but within 200 nautical miles Exclusive Economic Zone of Taiwan (ROC)/China (PRC), which resulted to the death of Hung Shih-cheng.

The government of Taiwan led by Ma Ying-jeou asked the Philippine government a formal apology, which the latter had given to the family of the slain fisherman, but the Taiwan government never accepted it because the apology given by our government was not enough and insincere as they wanted to give the formal apology to the Taiwanese government, not just to the family of the slain fisherman.

These mistakes committed by our government have created hysterical jingoistic reactions by some angry Taiwanese and their government itself against Filipinos working in Taiwan, which there were already Filipinos being mauled, the Taiwanese government stops hiring Filipinos to work in low-paying jobs, boycotting our exports by the Taiwanese, and other backlashes that our government’s response was very shortsighted like diverting our labor export to Korea, Malaysia, or Middle East, countries which are inhospitable for Filipinos as Taiwan. Therefore, in case of diplomatic lapses by us in our neighboring countries, our OFWs will suffer backlashes by host countries who cannot relate our cultural sensitivities.

I think the government should take the lesson that we must be careful in dealing with collectivist, highly emotional, and highly nationalistic Confucian countries like Taiwan (ROC), Mainland China (PRC), Vietnam, the Koreas, and Japan. The faults of the aftermath of shooting incident between Taiwanese fishermen, who entered the Philippine territory and the Philippine Coast Guard should go to hysterical Taiwanese citizens who attacked suspected or actual Filipino OFWs and the Philippine foreign affairs department which gave their insincere apology to families of the killed Taiwanese fishermen.

I think the long-term solution for our country so that in case of future incidents against OFWs like this in any Confucian countries will never ever happen again should be:

1. Open the domestic economy to 100% foreign equity ownership of all kinds of businesses in anywhere in our country, so that more businesses to compete in our economy means more opportunity for Filipinos to take high-paying jobs at home, not abroad.

2. Stop deploying Filipino Overseas Workers (skilled or unskilled) in any Confucian countries (or Middle East) and deploy any Filipinos who want to work abroad in Greco Roman Germanic-dominated societies like Europe, North America, Australia, New Zealand, and Latin America.

2013 election: most stupid election ever

An indelible mark in my right hand fore nail, showing that I already voted the election.

An indelible mark in my right hand fore nail, showing that I have already voted the election.

For the first time in my life that was yesterday morning at around 7:40 AM, I cast my first electoral vote in my life where I chose 12 senators, 1 party-list, 1 district representative, 1 governor, 1 vice governor, 2 provincial board members, 1 mayor, 1 vice mayor, and 8 municipal councilors of my town in Argao, Cebu. I went early to the Argao Central Elementary School at around 6 AM and while the polls had never started, I was roaming around the polling place and I found out the Board of Election Inspectors only posted the list of voters by the time I passed in some polling precincts. The PCOS machines had never been operated even beyond 7 AM in some precincts because technicians never came on time. Nevertheless, my polling precinct, where happened to be my classroom when I was Grade One, had opened, 20 minutes past 7 AM and I was able to join the first batch of voters in line and by around 7:35 AM, the BEI gave my the ballot and I started to vote my candidates who deserved my trust.

After I cast my vote, I returned immediately home and monitored the voting process through social media websites of Facebook and Twitter and established media websites like GMA 7. As I monitored, some of my Facebook friends all over the country complained several problems like PCOS machine malfunction, BEI’s non-issuance of receipts, vote buying inside the polling places, and others. On the same day, I went three times to my polling place to monitor the voting process. Fortunately, when the 7 PM came, the BEI were already preparing for the counting process in the precinct level and hours later, they submitted the results to the Municipal Board of Canvassers for transmission to the COMELEC headquarters in Manila.

While I was monitoring the senatorial election results at around 9 PM online, I was pissed off but unsurprised with the results where Grace Poe emerged in the first place and Nancy Binay in the fifth place in which until this moment of writing, they still hold their respective places as the votes are still counting. Not only that, convicted former president, Joseph Estrada won the mayoral race in the country’s capital, Manila over Alfredo Lim which pissed me off further. Pissed off because many of my compatriots voted according to family name not competence and experience and in fact, I ranted my disappointment to the people especially those who voted them online and realized that we will not going to move on unless we and the political elites realized our system is rotten at its core. Unsurprised because they were expected to win because of voters’ ignorance in voting candidates.

I realized that ignorance among voters was very endemic and cannot be fixed with short-term freebies by winning candidates, but uprooting the cause of the problem of our political and economic system embedded in our 1987 constitution. The ignorance of the people has been exploited by the politicians under the flawed system of voting candidates especially for senator. The senatorial race has become a popularity contest for the past 25 years and my entire lifetime, I never experienced a real contest on who should be the senator or in any elected position in our country through platforms but personalities, pities, freebies, broken promises, and many others. As a result, those who have enough billions can win a Senate seat or any elected position regardless of lack of experience, education, competency, knowledge, credibility, and sensibility. Those who are less informed due to poverty, have been exploited by these elite people in the name of “general welfare”.

My question to the voters, when will we learn from our mistakes of choosing leaders who could have uplifted us from poverty?. My question to the political and economic elites, when will you lose your respective grips in political and economic aspects of our country?. I think if I were to force the people and the political/economic elites to answer my question, they would say, I don’t know when.

Unless we realized that our political and economic system are rotten in their core, I think we will going to suffer more humiliations in our respective lives and keep ranting the faults of our country.

Tips on how to vote tomorrow

It has been less than 12 hours before we have to vote for our candidates, whom they deserved our votes. It is very important for any registered voters to know the right procedures on how to vote. Here are my tips:

First, I recommend every voters to list their candidates wanted to be voted by tomorrow. It’s good to have your list written in any paper of yours so that you won’t have a difficulty of choosing your candidates to be voted for.

Second, every voters as much as possible, should bring valid identification cards so that, the Board of Election Inspectors can able to verify your identity listed on the electoral rolls.

Third, every voters should go to their respective polling sites, 2 hours before the time where voting starts that will be at 7 AM (Philippine Time), so that you can vote early in your respective polling precinct.

Fourth, once you were in your respective polling precinct, present your identification cards to the BEI and once they verify your identity, they will give you the ballot and the marker pen to be used to vote your deserving candidates.

Fifth, in every section of the ballot, You have to mark the oval only once, depends on given elected position like for senator where you can vote as much as you want as long as it never exceeds 12, for provincial board member where you have to vote not more than twice, or for municipal or city councilors where you have to vote not more than 8 for municipal or 10 for city.  If you overvote in a particular elected position, the PCOS machine will not count your vote.

Sixth, do not make unnecessary marks as the PCOS machine will not going to read your votes and swallow your ballot away, thus your vote never counts.

Seventh, once you’re done voting, approach the PCOS or Precinct Counting Operating Machine and make sure that you inserted it properly.

Eighth, place your right forefinger nail with an indelible ink to show that you have voted already and take pride that you exercised your right and moral responsibility.

Ninth, leave the precinct immediately so that you would not be a disturbance to those who haven’t voted yet. Monitor unnecessary commotions within your polling site.

Tenth, monitor who’s winning on television, radio, internet or even going to counting center of your respective city or municipality.

I hope my tips will guide or help you on how to vote tomorrow to ensure an orderly elections, thus a better path of our country.