Yellow zombie ideas on our China dispute

PRESIDENT Duterte’s comments on our disputes with China over the South China Sea in his recent State of the Nation Address (SONA) have resuscitated Yellow zombie ideas.

That phrase was coined by Nobel laureate Paul Krugman, who titled the latest collection of his columns, Arguing with Zombies: Economics, Politics, and the Fight for a Better Future.

“Zombie ideas,” he explained, are “ideas that should have been killed by contrary evidence, but instead keep shambling along, eating people’s brains.”

Such a huge zombie idea is the Yellow claim that the arbitration suit against China that the Aquino 3rd government filed in 2013, the award for which was handed down in 2016, was a victory in that it upheld our territorial and maritime claims in the South China Sea.

Different names, different claims for the same territory. MAPS FROM THE TWO COUNTRIES, PHILIPPINE MAP BY AUTHOR USING GOOGLE EARTH PRO
(more…)

Continue Reading Yellow zombie ideas on our China dispute

Duterte takes on, or vows to take on, the oligarchs

PRESIDENT Duterte’s fifth State of the Nation Address (SONA) is historic in that it is the first to make a clarion call for the country to fight the scourge of oligarchy, one of the obstacles to becoming a developed nation. How difficult and messy that could be has been demonstrated in the battle against, and defeat of, the Lopez oligarchic clan.

Even if he fails in this agenda, Duterte has undoubtedly made what before was an obscure academic term, part of this country’s political discourse, to inspire future leaders to take on the challenge.

(more…)

Continue Reading Duterte takes on, or vows to take on, the oligarchs

IMF warns of conglomerate’s default

The International Monetary Fund has warned the Philippine government that the economy faces a risk that a “highly-leveraged conglomerate”, or one part of it, would default on its “foreign obligations and/or domestic loans”.

“With a handful of large conglomerates following broadly similar business models, and bank exposure to them equivalent to a sizeable share of total capital, systemic risks are heightened, “ the IMF explained in its Country Report No. 12/102, or its staff report for the 2013 Article IV Consultation with the Philippine government dated April 2013. (Each member country of the IMF is required to provide data to and consult with the Fund’s staff regarding its economic situation and policies as provided for in Article IV of its Articles of Agreement.) (more…)

Continue Reading IMF warns of conglomerate’s default

Zygotes and zombies: The Unborn, the Undead

When is a creature a person?

That really is the question the Supreme Court justices felt was most crucial in order to decide whether the reproductive health law is constitutional or not. It is not the newspaper headline “When does life begin?”, since obviously even a spermatozoa or an egg on its own is already a living thing. (more…)

Continue Reading Zygotes and zombies: The Unborn, the Undead

Corruption persists: Why wouldn’t it?

Transparency International’s Global Corruption Barometer for 2013 confirms what most informed Filipinos have concluded after three years under President Aquino’s administration: Corruption in this country persists and has increased.

Based on 1,000 respondents in the Philippines, the organization’s survey showed that nearly two-thirds (62 percent) believed that corruption has remained the same or increased. (more…)

Continue Reading Corruption persists: Why wouldn’t it?

Pea-brained plunder prattle

Mad that Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo was freed on bail on a clearly trumped-up electoral sabotage case built entirely on the claim of a massacre suspect, President Aquino pivoted: “But there is a case pending before the Sandiganbayan for plunder, and plunder is not bailable.”

There you have it straight from the horse’s mouth. This isn’t about accountability, certainly not about justice. It’s a President ruthlessly using all his resources he can wield, all the technicalities he can find just to jail his predecessor. (more…)

Continue Reading Pea-brained plunder prattle

11M bosses now without work, not enough work

Blah-blah over inanities like “the people are my Boss” and “the impossible becoming possible” may be inspiring to some. For most Filipinos, however, these mean absolutely nothing.

What matters is whether a President has created a national environment that generates jobs enough to allow most Filipinos to keep body and soul together. (more…)

Continue Reading 11M bosses now without work, not enough work

The 2000s: lost decade or best decade?

Appointed only two months ago by President Aquino as the chief of the National Economic and Development Authority, former UP School of Economics dean Arsenio Balisacan seems to have fast caught the yellow I-hate-Arroyo bug that afflicts this administration.

In a speech last week, Balisacan even mimicked the Aquino propagandists’ crass tack of using clichés in the asinine belief that catchy terms can substitute for facts and reason. Balisacan labeled former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s years from 2001 to 2010 as a “lost decade,” because, he claimed, poverty was not reduced during the period. “You know what happened in the last decade? Walang nangyari sa poverty talaga, flat lang,” he said. (more…)

Continue Reading The 2000s: lost decade or best decade?

What do they do with their billions?

Forbes Magazine’s annual listing of billionaires is a reminder to us mortals that society really has changed little from ancient times—it is still dominated by a tiny elite for whom earth is a paradise; while for the rest of humans, struggling to alleviate hunger daily is what life is about.

I used to be a big admirer of Henry Sy, No. 1 in Forbes’ list of Filipino dollar billionaires with a net worth of $9.1 billion—nearly P400 billion.  His malls are not just huge retail buildings, I wrote in a Far Eastern Economic Review article in 1994, when he had only four SM malls. SM malls were the equivalent of Japanese sogo-soshas (diversified conglomerates) like Mitsui and Mitsubishi, nurturing entrepreneurs (i.e., would there be French Baker or Toby’s Sports without SM?), with its department stores and supermarkets functioning as aggregators and distributors of the products of thousands of farmers and small businesses. (more…)

Continue Reading What do they do with their billions?

Remember Aquino’s ‘all-out justice’?

That’s the term the President thought he was clever in coining to replace “all-out war,” as his strategy in dealing with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front’s massacre of 19 Special Forces troopers, including a captain, in Al-Barka, Basilan, on Oct. 18 last year.

In a televised address a week after the carnage, Mr. Aquino said: “We will not pursue all-out war; we will instead pursue all-out-justice.” He also boasted: “There is no question the state will find [the attackers]; the only remaining question is when.” (more…)

Continue Reading Remember Aquino’s ‘all-out justice’?