On PNoy’s decision of vetoing the 2,000 pesos increase in monthly pension

IMAGE_UNTV-News_JUNE232015_SSS

President Benigno Aquino III vetoed 2,000 pesos increase in monthly pension.

Last Friday, President Benigno Aquino III vetoed the House Bill No. 5842 or an act mandating a two thousand pesos (P2,000) across-the-board increase in the monthly pension. The proposed House Bill seeks to amend Section 12 of Republic Act No. 1661 or the Social Security System Act of 1997.

The bill was easily passed in both houses because the deliberation was already coincided with the ongoing electoral season and to win votes from millions of pensions who could benefit from the increase of monthly pension. The president decided to veto the bill because of fragile financial capacity of SSS in the long-term. He justified his veto by saying that it is the responsibility of the government to ensure that all its obligations to 31 million SSS members could be met. Of course, pensioners were not amazed of the president’s decision because they had expected that he will leave a sentimental legacy to them before he leaves office and help his presidential candidate, Mar Roxas, to win the presidential derby over other 4 presidential candidates.
Well, there are around 2.15 million pensioners awaiting for 2,000 pesos increase in monthly pension and SSS has annual investment income of 30 to 40 billion pesos and if you multiply 2,000 pesos monthly pension increase by 2.15 million pensioners who are expected to receive the increase, the SSS has to pay them 4.3 billion pesos per month. If you multiply 4.3 billion pesos by 13 months (including 13th month pay), SSS will pay pensioners with 55.9 billion pesos this year alone and that’s way beyond the annual investment income of estimated maximum of 40 billion pesos. By using simple mathematics, the SSS has to drastically increase the monthly contribution by more than 100% from its members to support 2,000 pesos monthly pension increase and I don’t think members will support drastic monthly contribution increase. The bill will really hurt both working members and pensions in the long-run and lawmakers should stop pandering to certain voting groups in exchange for votes this coming election. Don’t make SSS a piggy bank by certain populist politicians.

Juan Ponce Enrile resigns as Senate President

Excerpt of Senator Juan Ponce Enrile's resignation speech as Senate President.

Excerpt of Senator Juan Ponce Enrile’s resignation speech as Senate President.

Just few hours ago, Senate president Juan Ponce Enrile announced his resignation as the President of the Senate. I wasn’t surprised with his announcement as the ruling party of President Benigno Aquino III has gained an upper hand in the upper house during the recently-concluded senatorial elections last 13 May where 9 senators from the ruling party have won over only three from Enrile’s United Nationalist Alliance. His own son, Jackie, never won the election because of allegations that he killed a certain a certain Ernest Lucas had unveiled during the campaign season that doomed his own candidacy. On Senator Enrile on his part, he faced several criticisms on what he did of giving “cash gifts” to some senators including Miriam Defensor Santiago during Christmas season.  He also gained several ire from his younger colleagues like Alan Peter Cayetano and Antonio Trillanes IV where he unveiled the former’s father debt obligations when he was alive while for the latter, he exposed his “connivance” with the Chinese government regarding the Spratly and Scarborough issue which of course, Trillanes was angry on Enrile’s revelations.

During his resignation speech as the Senate president, he expressed on regrets on what he did during his 5-year Senate presidency which I think a typical political warrior should say. He lambasted of course, Alan Peter Cayetano and Antonio Trillanes IV. He defended his actions like giving cash-gifts to some senators. He defended his son, Jack from accusations that doomed his  candidacy like killing certain Ernest Lucas Jr. and Alfie Anido during Martial Law days.  He also vowed to clean-up his name for the remaining three years as a senator.

Senator Alan Peter Cayetano said that Enrile should explain his issues on Senate funds. Senator Antonio Trillanes said that Enrile’s resignation speech as the Senate president was just a “Drama for the media” to gain sympathy for him.

Senator Jinggoy Estrada as the Senate president Pro Tempore, was designated as the Senate president for the meanwhile.

Senator Franklin Drilon, a close ally of President Benigno Aquino III, was rumored to take over the Senate presidency by the start of the 16th Congress session in July.

I think his resignation was honorable way to give-in to the newly elected senators and of course, to the strengthening PNoy coalition in the Senate. His resignation has signaled the beginning of the end of long and colorful political career of Juan Ponce Enrile from being a Defense minister during the Martial Law years of Ferdinand Marcos, being one of the protagonists of EDSA I, and up to the present senatorial career. His resignation should be a reminder that we cannot last forever in a certain position in the government and have to give way for younger and yet deserving ones to lead our government. I would like to say, good hindrance to Senator Juan Ponce Enrile.

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.

 

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.

Politicizing the severe flooding in Metro Manila

Repacked noddles with the Yellow Ribbon, symbol of Aquino-Cojuangco’s political hegemony.

Just few hours ago on my Facebook news feed, I saw a picture (above) that contains a repacked noodles with the Yellow Ribbon which symbolizes with a political color.

The Yellow Ribbon symbolizes the hegemony of the Aquino-Cojuangco families in Philippine politics for the last centuries and was used during the 1986 EDSA Revolution that brought Ferdinand Marcos and his cronies into the knees and installing a member of the Cojuangco family in the person of Corazon Cojuangco-Aquino, a housewife and widow of the assasinated former Senator, Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino, Jr. Their only son is the current President of the Philippines, Benigno Simeon “Noynoy” Aquino III.

I got irritated when I first saw the picture of a repacked noodles with the label of the political symbol of the Aquino-Cojuangco families as helping anyone especially the victims of severe flooding in Metro Manila doesn’t need to use their personal image and political aspirations to impress the needy people during the difficult times.

Our President instead of being a inspiration and a model during this difficult times in Metro Manila, he became a divisive person in front of the victims of severe flooding as the President used this disaster again to blame the past government of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo with the severe flooding where in fact, he (and practically all residents of Metro Manila) was also to be blamed with the severe flooding happened in Metro Manila due to its negligence on disaster preparedness like cancelling a dredging contract with a Belgan contractor that could have minimize the flood supposedly.

Any politicians who wants to help anyone else during a natural disaster are fine for me but mixing their political colors and aspirations in any packed or canned goods just to impress the needy ones for political advancement are really disgusting.

Aquino’s hypocrisy of not signing a waiver

Noynoy Aquino

If you really want transparency, practice what you preach by signing a waiver to show the SALN to the public.

Yesterday, two days after the former Chief Justice was ousted by the Senate through the Impeachment Court for merely and unintentional non-disclosure of dollar accounts to his Statements of Assets and Liabilities or SALN, President Noynoy Aquino refuses to accept Corona’s challenge and public’s clamor for waiving his right of confidentiality of his dollar account to his Statements of Assets and Liabilities.

This is contrary on what the President pledges during his campaign sorties way back in 2010 states that he would waive his right of confidentiality prescribed by the country’s banking laws and release it to public scrutiny if elected President.

I don’t understand on why our President being a highest public official refuses himself to show his dollar accounts to the public just because your political enemy in the person of former Chief Justice Renato Corona was the one who challenged you, Noynoy to waive your right of confidentiality and show your dollar accounts to the public. That’s unfair, Noynoy.

I understand you that there is no law mandated you to waive your right of confidentiality of releasing your dollar accounts to your SALN from public scrutiny but the issue here is that on how to practice what you preach during the campaign period of “Matuwid na Daan” and yet you refuses to show your dollar accounts to the public just because there is no law mandated you, come on, Noynoy, you are a highest public elected official and if you really want a transparency in the government, you should open yourself to public scrutiny not just taming your political opponents only.

If you really have a clean hands, you should waive your right of confidentiality and show your dollar accounts to public scrutiny. There is nothing wrong of it if you really have a clean conscience.