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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…)

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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…)

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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…)

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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…)

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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…)

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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…)

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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…)

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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…)

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Drilon led assault vs Corona, didn’t he?

How short our memories are.  It was Sen. Franklin Drilon who fired the opening salvo of this regime’s assault against Chief Justice Renato Corona.  When the idea of taking out the Chief Justice had seemed too reckless a campaign for President Aquino to undertake, it was Drilon who launched the attack.

Drilon issued on Nov.  28, 2011 a widely circulated press release, using the Senate’s stationery, entitled “Drilon: Corona voted in favor of Arroyo in all 19 cases brought before the Supreme Court.”   It was the most comprehensive—even if fallacious—brief alleging the Chief Justice’s bias for former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. Before that, Mr. Aquino could only whine against Corona, with no understandable, specific accusations against him. (more…)

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Give up Hacienda Luisita now, Mr. Aquino!

With so much of our nation’s attention and the regime’s resources focused on the impeachment of Chief Justice Renato Corona, with even the press shamefully yoked to this project, and especially with the damage it has inflicted on the Supreme Court as an institution, President Aquino owes it to the country to make a declaration.

This is necessary to convince everyone that his is really an anti-corruption crusade, and not just a last-ditch effort to prevent the bankruptcy of his Cojuangco clan because of the Supreme Court’s decision on the Hacienda Luisita case. (more…)

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