My post-debate analysis of the second presidential debate

2nd Presidential Debate

From left to right: Jejomar Binay, Rodrigo Duterte, Grace Poe, and Mar Roxas (courtesy of Rappler)

I have mixed emotions on the entire process of the debate because of prolonged delay of the commencement of the actual debate as Jejomar Binay brought documents to supposedly present his rebuttal against corruption allegations and reportedly, Mar Roxas vehemently opposed it based on COMELEC debate rules where no presidential or vice presidential candidate should bring notes with him/her to use as references of his/her arguments against its opponents. There was really inconsistencies indeed, as TV5 had contradictory rules from COMELEC and created miscommunication between Binay’s camp and COMELEC and TV5.

Speaking of actual debating performances, I think Grace Poe outwitted everybody else because she remained herself cool despite personal tirades thrown at her by Jejomar Binay regarding her natural-born status.

Mar Roxas had an impressive performance but the problem as when Digong Duterte and Grace Poe both grilled him on his performance as DILG secretary in dealing illegal drugs problem and Mamasapano massacre respectively, he lost his cool and kept throwing tantrums to them to the extent that moderator Luchie Cruz Valdez warned him to rein himself as he ran out of time in answering Poe’s questions.

Digong Duterte had really difficulty articulating issues which didn’t have expertise in particular on climate change issues and he really sounded like a denier nut and really, missed a point on how to eradicate crime problems in our country within short span of time and Roxas actually swept him regarding the issue. Back of climate change issue, he had a point that developed and highly industrialized economies are hypocritical regarding the issue, but it doesn’t mean that our country should invest more on environmentally destructive coal power and instead, we should allow foreign investors to invest in much cheaper but cleaner natural gas or even nuclear fission energies.

Jejomar Binay really doesn’t deserve to attend the next presidential debate anymore because of his primary goal was to embarrass Roxas via slapping him with documents which it was an epic fail and aside to that, he sounded like a twat bigot who cannot accept the fact that Grace Poe is a Filipino citizen and has remained to be such for her entire life though she used to be an American citizen.

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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.

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.

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.

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.