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FIGHTING POVERTY WITH FASHION 12 We politicize economic issues & give an economic perspective to political issues MARCH 24-30, 2014 • VOL.4 NO.30

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THE FACE OF

CrOnyism By Erick a. Fabian For someone who has been a senator since 1995, Sergio Osmeña III has done very little to improve the issues hounding the country. He has made sure that power and telecommunications are now under the control of very few families. Page 2

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COVER STORY

THE FACE OF cronyism By Erick A. Fabian

Here is the reason ninety percent of Filipinos have gone poorer despite claims of dramatic economic growth: in the 2014 world ranking on crony capitalism, the Philippines takes the 6th spot. Seven years ago, in 2007, we were ranked 9th in the list of countries where crony capitalism ruled a country’s economy.

cronies who are stealing from the people. A consumer-directed DOE has exposed the true face of Osmeña and his facade of ‘doing the will of the Filipino people’ is now falling apart. What is now obvious is, he is doing the will of those who placed him in government. His lies are starting to look like a tired movie script, and it is not solving our country’s problems.

Waste Of Space

For someone who has been a senator since 1995, Osmeña has done very little to improve the issues hounding the country. Some politicians have managed to get laws passed to uplift the country from being ‘the sick man of Asia’. This senator’s actions have only made the country mired in misery and disease. Why he is serving his 15th year in the Senate is so cruel to the poor, but it will continue to happen. Some billionaires and their army of PR people have helped the senator maintain a ‘wholesome’ public image.

Cronyism Just Got Worse

President Benigno S. Aquino III has always been asked the same question: where have the benefits of economic growth gone? In the middle of worsening poverty and unemployment, most of the answers given by the President have become a big joke. Everybody knows, but nobody is talking. The reason there is widespread poverty in the middle of prosperity is that the wealth created by the improved economy went to few families. How this happened is better understood through the latest tirade of a senator from Cebu. Calling a press conference to show his deep concern for the national economy, he said the move by the Aquino administration to bring down the cost of electricity will drive away foreign investors who create jobs. In unexplained fury he accused the President and Energy Secretary Jericho Petilla of lack in management skills that will kill the economy. The timing of the Cebu senator’s angst against PNoy could not have come better. It has shown who the true masters are, that this pretender ‘champion of consumers’ is really serving: the power generators and distributors. He has raised hell because the cost of electricity has been cut down to ten percent, less than what these players planned to take from the consumers. He showed his sharp fangs to scare the President, after the Department of Energy refused to follow his signals: make the families that control the energy business in the country happy.

It’s Who You Know

Osmeña’s public challenge to the President has shown him as the best example of cronyism in this country. He has been shown to protect families that fit to a tee, what the The Economist, a respected journal in world business, described as rent seekers in capture of na-

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tional wealth. Crony capitalism is not new in the Philippines. This has been the rule than the exception in the conduct of governance in this country. We have had the likes of Harry Stonehill, the biggest fixer in in Philippine politics, some decades past. But the brazen display of political power to protect big business could not be worse these days. That a senator will talk to media to insult the President because big business would return and refund unfair prices of power is beyond understanding. Not a few have noticed that the senator makes the loudest noise when it involves energy issues. But of course, he is also noisy on banking issues. In the former though, it has become pretty obvious who he is protecting and which cause he is advancing. Usually, the guessing game on the Osmeña agenda had been based on body language, but now it has become open who he serves. From the passage of the EPIRA law to the unashamed silence on consumers plight against high cost of electricity, Osmeña has deftly navigated the rough seas of Philippine politics. He has gained success here not because he is a brilliant operator, but more because his masters practically own mass media and consequently influence the public mind.

Blame Game

It’s too easy to blame the President for the woes of the country. While it is rumored that PNoy is incompetent as a President, saying that the national economy will fail because of poor management is simplistic. The country will be placed in another economic crisis not because of poor management, but because Osmeña protect

Rather than own up responsibility, Osmeña would rather distract the public with his mud-slinging tactics. On that, he is very effective. The Lopezes and their ilk know that placing him in the Senate will benefit them immensely. If there is anything that the senator is really successful at, it is that he has increased the power of the oligarchs. Osmeña has made sure that all the necessary industries, which include power, telecommunications, and land, are now under the control of very few families. One of these families is the Lopez clan which are known to be kingmakers in the Philippine political arena. Politicians are lining up to eat from their hands. The MVPs and the Aboitizes in this country have grown dramatically in their wealth because of the power industry. The Henry Sy group and the San Miguel Corporation empires have recently stepped in to join in the “killing”. Notice that the number of billionaires in this country has registered record growth among countries in Asia and the world. At the other end of this great wealth is worsened poverty, suffered by tens of millions of poor Filipinos. This is the result of crony capitalism, working against the interest of the market, as these cronies serve and steal from at the same time. The ‘Crony Capitalism Index’ shows glaring proof that the billionaires with government connections have become richer. As big business moves in to grab the largest piece of the pie, the public suffers. The Aquino administration’s campaign to fight corruption in government has become impotent. After all, the powerful few only need to place their cronies in government. Manipulating legislation to suit the self-serving motives of these robber barons will just be a piece of cake. We thought you have to be President to get an army of cronies. Osmeña shows us that it is not the case. You can still advance the interest of cronyism while keeping under the radar of the critical public mind, and it has just been done by simply being a senator. But simple is not what better describes Osmeña. The words that fit Osmeña’s magic is media-created luck. But even when protected by controlled media, the general impression now is that he gives face to cronyism in this country.

Consumer protection group hits protector of big businesses By William Dipasupil THE economy will fall not because President Aquino is a poor manager but because of some politicians who are protecting the interests of big businesses, according to a consumer protection group. The Movement Against Business Abuses (MBA), an alliance of  consumer protection advocates, was reacting to an earlier statement by Sen. Serge Osmeña blaming the President and Energy Secretary Jericho Petilla on the country’s power woes. “If there’s somebody that should be blamed for the country’s problem on electricity, it is Senator Serge Osmeña III, who obviously is protecting the rape of the economy by big businesses,” the group said. Osmeña, they said, has been remiss in his duty as a lawmaker in helping  address the country’s problem on thinning power reserves, much more as  chairman of the Senate energy committee. “He failed to recommend amendments to EPIRA which is the primary cause of our power problems,” MBA added. Republic Act No.9136 or the Electric Power Industry Reform Act of 2001squarely puts the burden of protecting the interest of consumers and ensuring competitiveness in a deregulated industry on the shoulders of the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC). The ERC was created to promote and protect long-term consumer interest in terms of quality, reliability and reasonable pricing of a sustainable supply of electricity. The group pointed out that the recent order by the ERC to void spot market prices of electricity generated and sold to Meralco last December and January were clear indications that the government is aware of the real purpose of regulatory functions. The Movement said that it is about time that the real cost or electricity and how it is computed  should be made public, which could be done by amending certain provisions of the EPIRA law. As chair of the Senate energy committee, they said, Osmeña may introduce the amendments so that the power generators and distributors would be compelled to make public how they arrived at on the cost of electricity being charged to the consumers. “Investors in the energy sector had for decades held hostage the government and consequently the users of electricity by threats of brownouts every time their greed driven profits are threatened,” the MBA spokesman, lawyer Rey Cardeno, said. Cardeno pointed out that the consumers had always been on the losing end and ended up paying more every time Meralco pushed for another round of power rate increase before the ERC. “We were convinced, then, that the ERC was in the pockets of Meralco,” he said, adding that “unless this is a trick, and ERC and Meralco has perfected several tricks against consumers, we are looking forward to a new directions at the ERC and the Department of Energy.” But now, he said, that the ERC is being true to its functions by ordering a review to recalculate the cost power that Meralco wants to pass on to consumers, the national leadership, including Osmeña, should support the peoples’ demand for transparency on the actual cost of electricity.

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Politics

News from Where You Stand

A Supreme Court Affair By OpinYon Research Staff

When this “God of Padre Faura” fi rst met one of “God’s gifts to journalism” years ago, there wasn’t any spark. He was busy with his duties in the academe while she was just a fresh graduate trying to fi nd out which journalistic career she wanted to pursue. But now that he’s in one of the 15 seats inside the august halls of the Supreme Court, that every lawyer would ever aspire for, and she’s making her own name in online reporting, they got their eyes on each other. Morally and legally speaking, there’s nothing wrong with Mr. Justice seeing Ms. Journalist - as what sources from the Palace would say - both of them are not married anyway. Probably, if not for his age that’s double hers, it would have been a perfect match. “She could be his daughter already,” commented a conservative official. But the source, who requested anonymity due to sensitivity of the matter, revealed that the two have been “dating for quite some time now. “ And because he’s in a sensitive, very “privileged” position, people can’t help but speculate on a “romancing the source” scenario. While the female journalist is not exactly covering the court, her media outfit has been getting instant “scoops” from the highly confidential halls of the Supreme Court every Tuesday, after justices hold their weekly deliberations on cases. “Now we know who’s tipping them off. What do you expect? There’s just one secret that can cheat love - having an affair with another right?”, the source commented. Their affair is so clandestine that people in the SC - including members of the press corps - were so shocked to hear about it for the fi rst time recently. Too bad the “breaking” rumor had to come from a colleague of the journalist in her media outfit. A male court staff would easily figure out who Mr. Justice is. He was the one who berated him with the words “Get out of my room! You don’t tell me what to do inside my room!” after simply asking him to sign an urgent paper.

Cayetano For President? By Elcid Benedicto

It’s the presidency or nothing, as far as Senator Alan Peter Cayetano is concerned. The Senate majority leader, more than two weeks ago, confi rmed what has long been widely speculated as presidential ambition in a television interview, yet he still played coy, as to whether he’s out to challenge Vice President Jejomar Binay in the race to the Palace seat in 2016. “I want to be president of this country someday. I think I can do something great for God and our people. But is 2016 my time or is it 2022, 2028 or never?” Cayetano was quoted as saying when asked to state categorically whether he has presidential ambitions. Despite his and his camp’s attempts to apparently rouse the public attention on his eventual “candidacy”, the senator’s moves appear to be only backfiring on them. Cayetano himself announced that his party, the Nacionalista Party (NP) and the administration’s Liberal Party

(LP) “may join forces for the 2016 presidential elections.” But party stalwarts of both LP and NP immediately doused cold waters on the idea being floated by Cayetano. His presidential ambitions was criticized by Sen. Jinggoy Estrada in his privilege speech last March 12, alluding to Cayetano as someone who have been using the Senate blue ribbon committee hearing on pork barrel scandal in advancing his political agenda. This sparked heated exchanges on the floor between the two senators. Not a few have claimed that Cayetano’s all poised and bracing up for his race to the presidency this early, and has in fact already set up a “war room” in a building in Bonifacio Global City in Taguig where his wife, Lani, is the mayor. He has in fact practically admitted that political ads are already in the can and will be released in the coming weeks, apparently in hope of creating a buzz and get a feel of the public’s awareness on him. Based on information that had reached some of his colleagues,

Cayetano allegedly is already staying in the same building that occupies his “war room” and is keeping tight watch on his position in the surveys that currently still being dominated by Binay and Roxas. The senator who claimed that his “strong stand against corruption has always been  the highlight of my long career in government service”, once had former First Gentleman Jose Miguel “Mike” Arroyo as his campaign benefactor, when he was running for a congressional seat and elder sibling Pia was still seeking a seat in the Senate, reports said. Shortly after the siblings became critics of the Arroyo administration, the former presidential husband was prompted to reveal in an interview that during the 2004 campaign, the Cayetanos asked for additional campaign funds from him. An article that came out in the online news organization Rappler detailed how “money seems to continue hounding the Cayetanos in the Senate.”

Extractive Practices

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would defi ne extractive practices in terms of the economy as those practices that take advantage of the vulnerability of people who have no access to influence and do not receive satisfactory service from the company they are dealing with. This is notorious in the insurance industry. I do not question the need for documentation and verification but that is not what I refer to. It is the experience of most ordinary people that companies like insurance companies, deliberately confuse people with their procedures calculated to delay as long as possible their having to pay claims made under their policies. Now, I do not write from theory but from experience. Someone who owed me money assigned to me as partial payment the proceeds of her car insurance, which car had been car-napped. All of the needed documentation, even the one concerning the assignment, which was notarized, were provided to the insurance company. This vehicle also had been mortgaged to an affi liate bank but the insurance proceeds was well in excess of the remaining balance. When the vehicle was car-napped, the bank was also advised of the event by phone

but not in writing. Months of evaluation by the adjuster took place although one of the hangups was the need for a PNP certificate of non-recovery. In due time, this was provided although that is another matter as this certificate is not issued for at least 60 days from the time the vehicle was lost and reported to the police which means that that is the minimum time to be able to obtain one. The bureaucracy in the PNP is altogether another issue. All I know is that it sucks! It, of course, took more than 50 days. Of course, there is nothing in the policy which requires the owner to obtain this certificate before claims are processed. It would seem to me that from the time the report was formally made to the insurance company, the certificate of non-recovery should be the responsibility of the insurance company because it is their interest now involved and title to the vehicle passes to the insurance company should the vehicle be recovered and the insurance company has become liable to the insured for the loss. That is what the insurance is all about. Well, most of you can guess what happened thereafter. Many, many days of “processing” took place, first through the adjuster. When the adjuster

RAY OF HOPE Ramon Orosa had finished whatever they had to do after repeated follow ups , the claim documentation was then forwarded to the insurance company. Follow up with the insurance company took place for some time, including by yours truly. Well, to my surprise whoever was handling the matter in the insurance company fi rst claimed that they had not yet received the report and the documentation from the adjuster. Eventually they acknowledged that they had it and that the check was being prepared to pay the claim. Weeks followed and no word from the insurance company and we just kept being referred from one desk to another. When patience dried out, the insured and I went to the claims department to inquire what was the status. We found out that yes, the check had been

prepared for some time, but no one bothered to call the insured to say so. Mind you, the insured and I never objected to the insurance company deducting the remaining balance of the obligation to the bank and only sought the difference. Then we were informed that we would have to go to the bank several days after to be accompanied by someone else and that the check had to be deposited in an account to be established in the name of the insured. This someone else then kept changing the instructions as to when. But, the bank claimed that the remaining balance of the loan was inflated because the bank then began to apply penalties on the insured for nonpayment when clearly, the obligation to pay them had shifted to the insurance company and that is the reason that mortgages are annotated on the policy. Moreover, the bank and the insurance company are commonly owned! One is left with little but to conclude the connivance between the bank and the insurance company to fleece the insured. It seems legally clear that while a reasonable time is needed to process the claim, the mortgagee must now deal with the insurance

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company, not work with them to defraud the insured and pass on the penalty to the insured if the insurance company is now principally liable for the payment of the obligation. and take such a passive role, to the extent of even denying that they were never advised of the loss of the car, a clear untruth! I was witness to the cavalier and incredibly infuriating behavior of the one handling the matter for the insurance company and the very obvious collusion between them and the mortgagee bank which is commonly owned. It is high time that the insurance commissioner not sit on his backside and be pro-active in protecting the interests of the customers of insurance companies. This one claims to be service oriented, but that applies only when they seek payment of premiums. When it comes to claims, that is another matter, and perhaps that is one way they become extractive.taking advantage of claimants. Shame on them! It is like the known practice of certain large establishments to accept goods on consignment and then hold back payments until it is convenient to them and not when the goods are actually sold. But that is another extractive practice that deserves some examination.

OpinYon

march 24-30, 2014

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OPINION

The Info-War Rages, And We’re Winning

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A Bad Reflection The latest tirade of Senator Serge Osmeña III thrown against The Philippine President and his cabinet does not bode well of his stature as senator. This can be likened to a man uttering vindictives to a reflection in a mirror. When there is a remiss in governance by government officials, it is construed as a failure in legislation. The legislature in any society performs the important function of deliberating policies for the people and passing them in the form of statutes- statutes that govern any act of the three branches of government: the executive, the legislative, and the judiciary. These are all provided in the Constitution. Any act that is not within the purview of the Constitution is deemed unconstitutional. This function of making or enacting laws is vested in the legislative branch of government. This branch is composed of The Lower House and the Upper House that do legislation and these laws are a guide to all functions and functionalities of government. The legislative act is a formal written enactment produced by a legislature or by a legislative process. Senator Osmeña being a member of the Senate is also to blame in the malfunctioning of government. The economy will fail and basic services jeopardized not only because the President is not a good manager but also basic governance guidelines were not enacted into laws. The power mess is a good example of a problem that has emanated from a flawed Electric Power Industry Reform Act that can be traced to the wheeling and dealing of those in the Legislature which Senator Osmeña is a member. Has he done something to amend these flaws? What is he Chairman of the Energy Committee of the Senate for?

HERMAN TIU-LAUREL Publisher

OpinYon is published by Digitek Publishing House, Inc., with editorial and business offices at No. 10 Pacita Avenue, Pacita Complex I, San Pedro, Laguna. TELEPHONE NUMBER

San Pedro: 214-0766 Email: opinyon.2010@ gmail.com website: www.opinyon.com.ph ISSN 2094-7372

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FREDERICK FABIAN Managing Editor DAVE DIWA Opinion Editor CARLOS RAJAMIRA Creative Director

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ith many other conscientious citizens of this country and the World, this columnist has waged a war against manipulated media controlled by the oligarchs for the past decade and a half. We’ve lost some battles, won many, and we are always on the way to winning the war. The battles for delivering comprehensive, accurate and fair information to the people are waged every day and every hour, both in domestic and international issues. This week’s column summarizes some of the information and media battles we are waging now.  

Meralco’s criminal “market manipulation” and “price fi xing”

I and my colleagues in the anti-EPIRA and anti-privatization of power movement have waged the war against power privatization for two decades now. Last month, we won a major victory. Millions of Meralco consumers woke up to Meralco’s “market manipulation”. With Makabayan Coalition congressmen Nery Colminares and Magdalo senator Antonio Trillanes IV, we have turned back a Php 24-billion swindle by Manny Pangilinan, the Aboitizes, and the leeches in the ERC, WESM, and PEMC. ERC has belatedly disapproved the hike. Still, the leeches and their oligarch masters are not stopping. Criminal market manipulation is covered up with ERC declaring “market failure” and exonerating all in the criminal price fi xing. “False prices”, PEMC president Melinda Ocampo said, were due to power producers who violated market rules, yet there is no prosecution of those behind the “false prices”. On the contrary, the culprit in the market price rigging, Meralco, will still get an increase: “Recalculated rate hike for January is P0.45 per kWh” (ABSCBN, 03/20/2014). Filipinos’ hope for justice is repeatedly frustrated by the power privatization in EPIRA law. The public must be informed that only EPIRA repeal and returning power industry its ownership to consumers will solve the problem. Meanwhile, the country’s retail power rate is still basically overpriced by 50% due to Meralco’s 500% overprice on power transformers and 900% overprice on electric poles, as well as the 100% overprice in its asset base.  

De Lima’s “media payola” investigationdiversionary move

You can read the headline of the Inquirer of last Friday, March 21, “Media men in payoff may face bribe raps....    No spe-

JOJO VALENCIA Layout Artist Editorial Consultants DIEGO CAGAHASTIAN LINGGOY ALCUAZ ERICK SAN JUAN RODRIGO CORNEJO RAY L. JUNIA Board Chairman & President ATTY. SALVADOR S. PANELO Ombudsman ATTY. RICKY RIBO Legal counsel JOACHIM JOSHUA P. MEDROSO V.P. Business Development

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PEOPLE’S STRUGGLE Mentong Laurel cial treatment for broadcasters tied to pork scam–Palace”. This headline launches DOJ secretary Leila de Lima and Malacañang’s defense strategy on the emerging and devastating scandal to hit – revelation from the two unjustly sacked NBI deputies Reynaldo Esmeralda and Ruel Lasala, that a video tape exists and will be released of the De Lima and BS Aquino appointed former NBI director Nonato Rojas meeting with the PDAF-NGO queen Janet Napoles. Rojas resigned after media exposed NBI “leaks” of impending arrest of Napoles while De Lima and Malacañang cast diversionary aspersions on the other NBI officials and raise the media payola issue. Media payola is nothing new and the habitual takers of these “envelopes” are known to most savvy member of the media community and to PR agents employed by politicians on all sides of the fence, by major government agencies and giant

A 2013 YouGov U.S. survey showed that one in two Americans doubt the official U.S. government investigation blaming bin Laden. 46% believe the third building, Bldg. 7 that collapsed on its own footprint was caused by controlled demolition, only 28% still believe that fi res caused it. 41% support a new investigation, compared to 21% who don’t. Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth composed of 1,500 top professionals and scientists are campaigning to reopen the 9/11 investigations. And the Navy SEALS team (all killed in a suspicious copter crash a year later) raid on bin Laden? Famed My Lai Massacre and Abu Graib prison journalist Seymour Hersh in a book says “not one word of it is true” and “one big lie”; a gigantic stage production to reinforce the “bin Laden did it” diversion.

US-Russia: Battle of the Timelines

To understand propaganda one must understand timelines. What an observer, i.e. the general public or analysts, concludes will depend on how much of the timeline he or she is made to see. In stories Western media now spins about the tumultuous events in Ukraine and Crimea’s secession to Russia, everything started with “aggression” of Russia “annexing” Crimea. Western media cuts out

“False prices” were due to power producers who violated market rules, yet there is no prosecution of those behind the “false prices”. corporations engaged in government projects. The biggest payola masters are the oligarchs who own the major media establishments, paying off star news broadcast anchors and desk editors seven digit salaries to read skewed news and/or black-out news that the public need to know. The vital news about the DOJ is not the media payola but the incontrovertible video evidence that can lead to an investigation of Nonato Rojas who may just directly link De Lima and BS Aquino by his “secret” talks with Napoles.  

Diverting 9/11 WTC attack blame

Last week this hit global and local  headlines, “Osama Bin Laden claimed responsibility for 9/11 attacks, says sonin-law”. Suleiman Abu Ghaith, married to bin Laden’s daughter Fatima, recounted a meeting in an Afghanistan cave hideaway on the night of September 11, 2001, where bin Laden supposedly said about the 9/11 WTC attack, ““Did you learn what happened? We are the ones who did it,...” A 10-year manhunt ensued and ended with bin Laden supposedly shot dead by US Navy SEALs in a raid in an Abodabad, Pakistan hideout in 2011. This latest “Osama did it” story has long been discredited as a yarn diverting blame from the conspiracy of Bush, Cheney, Jew oligarch Silverstein, Saudi and Israeli intelligence - for profit and the “perpetual war”.

the violent coup d’etat using the terrorist forces of neo-Nazis supported by the U.S. (ex. McCain’s photo ops with its leaders) that physically threatened the elected president Yanukovych into fl ight and intimidates the rump parliament to “impeach” him, and announce a new government- U.S. subversion that started it all. Russia traces the crisis to the E.U. betrayal of a Yanukovych deal with the opposition to hold early elections, withdraw the police. The E.U. supported the coup government. Sniper killings of civilians and police blamed on Yanukovich was used as a pretext, but later exposed by Estonian foreign minister as coming from opposition elements. Crimea, in Dr. Paul Craig Roberts’ recollection “Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn: Ukraine and The New Russia”, cites the Gulag novelist: “In 1919, ... Lenin gave her (Ukraine) several Russian provinces to assuage her feelings.... Then, in 1954, Khrushchev, ...made a “gift” of the Crimea to Ukraine. But even he did not manage to make Ukraine a “gift” of Sevastopol, which remained ...under the jurisdiction of the U.S.S.R. central government.” Russia is indeed Crimea’s home.   (Tune to 1098AM, DWAD, Tues. To Fri. “Sulo ng Pilipino” program; watch GNN Sat. 8pm and Sun. 8am “Manila’s Truck Ban” and “The Napoles-de Lima Scandal”, Destiny Cable ch. 8 or SkyCable ch. 213, or www.gnntvasia.com; log on to www.newkatipunero.blogspot.com)

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Opinion

The Viewpoints and outlook of the well-informed

Core Values

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ast March 16, at Fort Del Pilar, Baguio City, 222 Philippine Military Academy (PMA) cadets received their graduation diplomas in a somber atmosphere heightened by the academy’s Code of Honor, engendered by separate speeches by Commanderin-Chief Benigno S. Aquino lll, PMA Superintendent Maj. Gen. Oscar Lopez, and newly commissioned 2nd Lt. Jheorge Llona, the class valedictorian. All three spoke about the glowingly sterling asset the academy holds dearest to its heart: The PMA Code of Honor. Although in the three speeches his name was not mentioned, it was clear that the embattled PMA Cadet 1st Class Aldrin Jeff Cudia had failed in his bid for the President’s grant of a “second chance”, after he had been dismissed from the service for lying when he tried to explain why he entered a class late by two minutes. He would have been the 223rd cadet to graduate.

PMA, a Public School

It would later be reported that Aldrin was tentatively allowed to pursue his OJT (which had been aborted by the investigation) in order to qualify for next year’s graduation, pending a review of his case by the AFP Chief of Staff, Maj. Gen. Emmanuel Baltazar, as ordered by Pres. Noynoy. However, should all “become well and end well” with Aldrin graduating next year, the citizens’ anxieties over the PMA’s worthiness as the country’s prime military training institution would still linger

unabated, without a review of the Code of Honor, and of all the curricula and administrative matters that are subject to the powers of the State or, in the ultimate sense: to the authority of the sovereign people of the Republic. It was absolutely wrong for the academy’s authorities and their trainees to pronounce that the Cudia case was an internal matter over which Pres. Noynoy had the last say. The PMA is a chartered institution, meaning: Filipino taxpayers, being its stakeholders, may advance their interests before the proverbial court of last resort in a textbook move, short of resorting to any of a number of drastic sovereign options.

Fight For Justice

As Aldrin’s fate hangs in the balance, social media and the public, those whom PMA authorities and their cadets ignored when they sympathized with the entreaties of Aldrin’s sister, can only disconcertedly speculate: what if a dejected Aldrin had joined rebel forces up in the hills to fight for justice, not for himself, but for the citizenry for whose sake he had precisely enrolled in the PMA, the institution that now appears in his tortured mind to have lost its raison d’ être, or reason for being the people’s sentinel!? His life might have been ruined, indeed, and this might well be his way of rebuilding it. To be sure, Aldrin, born of poor parents who had themselves served the military in their prime, had chosen to pursue the family tradition of serving his country with a commitment to safeguard its

MUSINGS Ronald Roy interests, including defending it against aggression with his own life. And now he’s told that he has been tentatively expelled for having breached the Code of Honor with a lie, and that any lie of whatever size, “big or small”, would suffice to cause dismissal. Huh? It is bothersome that the PMA does not teach the principle of punishment’s “commensurate-ness” to the offense; a postulate practiced in all religions and legal systems the world over. Appropriately, Aldrin has gone the course of “exhausting administrative remedies”, an avenue where some theorists see Pres. Noynoy as having the fi nal say. But I differ. It is the Supreme Court that will decide with finality if Aldrin’s human rights have been violated in the premises, guided as it essentially is by the interests of the sovereign Filipino people.

The Foible of Narcissism

I was once an ROTC cadet officer of the Model Battalion. DMST was grooming me for Corps Commander, but after the basic two years, I stopped. Reason: I wasn’t really serious in becoming a soldier. I joined the Model Battalion because, with

highly specialized training, I would also look smart in a gala uniform, an elitist cut above the field of ornery mortals. That was how most of my fellow Model Battalion cadets likewise narcissistically felt. That is how most PMA-ers likewise narcissistically feel, hence, the urgent need for a re-orientation on PMA’s core values. Transcending the Cudia case is the bigger picture necessitating the academy’s reexamination of its vision and mission, and a determination of how well life has been breathed into them. But this task would

be an exercise in futility if there were no clear understanding of the academy’s core values among its authorities and cadets. At this point, the core value of leadership comes to the fore as a timely reminder that: he who leads must be last, and he cannot lead who cannot follow. Valor also comes to mind, as exemplified by the bolo-wielding and barefooted Andres Bonifacio who wore no gala uniform. ( http://musingsbyroy.wordpress. com | 09186449517 | @ronald8roy | #musingsbyroy)

‘Chubibo’-Taken for a Ride on Rotational Basis

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ccording to Defense Undersecretary Pio Lorenzo Batino, “the new access agreement with the US will not require the signatures of either President Aquino or US President Obama. It will be signed by concerned cabinet members, other diplomatic officials or heads of concerned agencies. The said agreement will not be a treaty or executive agreement but an implementing agreement of the Visiting Forces Agreement and the Mutual Defense Treaty. So, it will not require Senate concurrence.” But Senator Miriam Santiago argued that any agreement involving the posting of troops and war equipment in another sovereign state is a treaty. She said that while the president is authorized to negotiate or even approve an agreement, such deal “should only be limited to a topic connected to a prior treaty.” She said it would not be right for the government to invoke the Philippine-US Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT) of the 1950s as the “prior treaty” since allowing foreign troops and equipment on Philippine soil “is a major subject in itself” and “not a minor case of detail.”

“So it cannot be classified as an executive agreement but as a treaty to which the Philippine Senate must give its concurrence,” she added. Santiago advised the executive branch to let the Senate examine the deal or risk having it challenged before the Supreme Court (SC). “The Senate is going to scream because we always fight for our power to concur with any ratification made by the President. That will become a constitutional issue and the case will automatically be elevated to the Supreme Court,” she said. “So it’s much better to have the Senate to concur with its ratification.” (Source: Marvin Sy,  philstar.com March 17, 2014) As Chairperson of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, Sen. Santiago said that “I have a problem with this proposal to embody American rotational presence in the form of an executive agreement. The administration knows or realizes that whatever the negotiations will immediately revive recent memories of the acerbic debate between those in favor and those against the Visiting Forces Agreement. The Constitution mandates that treaties and international agreements should be made in

WHISTLE BLOWER Erick San Juan concurrence of the Senate. She said the US just wants to go around the Philippine Constitution by negotiating another agreement. Finally, she warned “Please don’t try any tricks for I am here.”    (Source:  philstar. com by Christina Mendez Aug. 16, 2013). Sen. Santiago is consistent and vigilant so as not to commit the same mistake when it comes to ratifying a treaty or agreement. People repeating history is not a good sign in this exciting time when the perceived epicenter of the next global confl ict will start here in the Asia-Pacific region. We should heed the warning of Sen. Santiago for the nth time that we will be the lightning rod attracting the master’s enemies in the process and be use as canon fodders. Same is true with our last article that we ex-

pressed our doubt that this administration has actually did a patriotic shift. The lip service that we heard before is now being practiced again and in the process will take us all for a ride (translation – chubibo) on a rotational basis like what Uncle Sam wanted to do with this so-called enhanced military cooperation. So what the f--k do we need another agreement when in reality this ‘new animal’ is already being covered in the Visiting Forces Agreement that US troops will come and go on a rotational or on a temporary basis. They have

The lip service that we heard before is now being practiced again and in the process will take us all for a ride on a rotational basis like what Uncle Sam wanted to do with this so-called enhanced military cooperation. So why do we need another agreement when in reality this ‘new animal’ is already being covered in the Visiting Forces Agreement?

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been doing this for over a decade now and the truth is the temporary camp (a.k.a. base) in the south is off-limits, meaning exclusive territory rights for the US military. So what else is new with another agreement? Is there something that the big brother is not telling us? Or our leaders are too loyal to say no to a perceived master’s whim? Instead of making the so called ‘camp sharing’ agreement conform with our constitution, these not so bright boys will make the constitution conform with the agenda of their real ‘boss’.  Only in the Philippines!

OpinYon

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Environment World Water Day 2014 to focus on water-energy link

Eco group calls for more action on global overfishing Ministers from some of the world’s largest fishing powers, including the EU, the US, Japan, Indonesia and the Philippines recently gathered at a high-level international conference in Greece, where they reiterated commitments to reduce global fishing capacity and to ensure accurate information on fishing is readily available, including through the creation of a global record of vessels . The conference was organized in Thessaloniki by the European Commission under the auspices of the Greek presidency of the European Union. The conference declaration, which also aims at improving data collection to assess stocks and fishing capacity, was signed by several countries including the EU, the United States, Japan, Colombia and Indonesia. However, Greenpeace warned that it is high time for governments to turn words into effective action to ensure a healthy future for fisheries and fishermen around the world. Similar commitments have been made already years ago, but have not necessarily tuned into effective action. In June 1999, the FAO adopted the International Plan of Action (IPOA) for the Management of Fishing Capacity, whose immediate objective was for “States and regional fisheries organizations, to achieve world-wide preferably by 2003,

but not later than 2005, an efficient, equitable and transparent management of fishing capacity”. A number of other global instruments and conferences have emphasized the same call, but global fishing capacity has continued to expand regardless. Excessive fishing capacity drives overfishing and illegal fishing, displaces coastal communities, causing environmental harm and making fishing fleets economically unviable. The EU fishing fleet, for example, is able to catch two to three times more fish than is sustainable in most fisheries. “Across Southeast Asia, many fishing grounds are already either depleted or currently being overfished. The capacity of the fishing fleets— specifically the larger commercial vessels— are decimating the marine resources to the detriment of coastal communities,” said Mark Dia, Regional Oceans Campaigner for Greenpeace Southeast Asia. “Governments in Southeast Asia should take the lead in this global effort to restore the health of our seas by managing the ability of their own fleets to fish, in line with the state of fish stocks. These countries must also ensure that they develop their fishing capacity in a way that is sustainable, benefit their coastal communities and is based on low-impact gears and best available practices,” added

Dia. Greenpeace wants the Philippines, Thailand and Indonesia to start by scrapping the largest and most destructive industrial fishing vessels, initiating a shift towards small-scale low-impact fishing, which is more environmentally sustainable and creates jobs to supports local communities. The Philippines has had their exemption to commercial purse seine tuna fishing access in the high seas pockets in the Pacific extended again at the last Western and Central Pacific Commission Meeting in Australia last December. “The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources has admitted that we have nearly finished up all the tuna in our waters and this is the reason why we now need to send the commercial fleets all the way to the Pacific high seas,” added Dia. “If we only took care of our own resources and fishing grounds, then there will be more than enough fish to feed our people. We must reverse the current trend of overfishing in the Philippines and around the world. Better management of fishing capacity is critical and long overdue.” For more information: Mark Dia, Regional Oceans Campaigner, +63917- 8430549, mark.dia@ greenpeace.org. Virginia Llorin, Media Campaiger, +639178228793, virginia.benosa-llorin@ greenpeace.org

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) will bring together the country’s water and power sectors to raise public awareness on the close link between water and energy consumption as the nation joins the rest of the world in celebrating World Water Day (WWD) on March 22. DENR Secretary Ramon J.P. Paje said this year’s celebration, which has a local theme “Water is Power,” will focus on the growing awareness that saving water may be one of the most effective ways to save energy – and vice versa. “We wish to highlight the important link between water and power, and how they are highly dependent on each other,” Paje said, noting that producing energy uses water, and providing freshwater uses energy. He said both processes face growing limits and problems. He added: “In fact, much of our generated power relies on water, while many Filipinos rely on electrical power for domestic water supply.” Paje said that aside from providing Filipinos access to clean water and electricity, “the efficient use of both water and power is also an urgent issue the government is trying to address.” According to statistics, about 17 million people in the Philippines have no access to safe drinking water and over 15 million still have no access to electricity. To mark WWD 2014, the DENR, its attached agencies and partners have prepared a week-long program from March 17-22. On March 17, a kick-off event will be held at the Angat Hydroelectric Power Plant in Norzagaray, Bulacan. Expected to attend are Paje, Energy Secretary Carlos Jericho Petilla, Public Works Secretary Rogelio Singson and National Power Corp. (NPC) president Ma. Gladys Cruz-Sta. Rita. These officials, along with other representatives from NPC, National Irrigation Authority, Metropolitan Manila Water Sewerage System, and water concessionaires Maynilad and Manila Water, will be treated to

a “Water Energy Tour Nexus” of the Angat, Ipo and La Mesa dams. On March 18, the DENR’s Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) will hold a daylong World Water Day Exhibit at the Activity Center of the Glorietta 2 in Makati City. At 5 p.m. on that day, there will be a free four-hour concert that will feature pop and alternative rock artists to draw attention to current efforts to revive Manila Bay, and major rivers and creeks in Metro Manila. On March 19, the EMB will hold an on-the-spot postermaking contest for elementary and high school students at the SM North EDSA, while their teachers undergo a Water Education workshop at the Air Quality Training Center inside the DENR compound in Quezon City.   On the same day, employees of the Laguna Lake Development Authority will lead tree-planting activities in Antipolo City and Taytay, Rizal. They will also hold a river clean-up in the nearby towns of San Mateo and Rodriguez the following day. The Pasig River Rehabilitation Commission, led by its chairperson Gina Lopez, will conduct an “estero tour” featuring the rehabilitated Estero de Aviles in San Miguel, Manila on March 20.  Employees of the DENR and Maynilad will hold a “Plant for Life” mangrove tree-planting activity along Cavite shores on March 18 in Bacoor and March 20 in Kawit. The DENR will also host “Water is Power” lecture series in selected schools in Pateros and the cities of Quezon, Marikina, Pasig, San Juan, and Taguig from March 18 to 20. All activities will culminate on March 21 at the Music Hall of the SM Mall of Asia, where a two-kilometer walk will be held outside to raise awareness on various water-related issues. The celebration of March 22 as “World Day for Water” was declared in 1993 by the United Nations General Assembly. This year’s international theme is “Water and Energy.”

Turnover of Equipment In CDO

Minister Akio Isomata, Embassy of Japan’s Minister for Economic Affairs turned over fishing nets and dredging machines to the Department of Agriculture (DA) and Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) in a ceremony last March 14 for the Japan-funded Non-Project Grant Aid for the Restoration and Disaster Prevention in Cagayan de Oro, Misamis Oriental. The ceremony was also attended by Cagayan de Oro Mayor Oscar Moreno and Congressman Rufus Rodriquez. The assistance, signed two years ago, provided 600 million yen (approximately 315 million pesos) for the purchase of necessary products for the recovery and disaster prevention of Typhoon Sendong affected areas. Aside from the fishing nets and dredgers, housing materials will also be provided under this project to assist the victims in the restoration and rebuilding of their homes. This assistance comes on top of the 25 million

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yen (approximately 14 million pesos) emergency relief, composed of water tanks, tents and other relief items, and the 2 million US dollar emergency grant through international humanitarian agencies. In his speech during the ceremony, Minister Isomata referred to the importance of proactive involvement of local communities in enhancing disaster preparedness and said, “Japan, being also a disaster-prone country, is committed to assist the Philippines in enhancing its ability for disaster risk reduction and management, and have worked together with the Philippines in this field for many years through various ODA projects. But, there is one thing we always have to bear in mind in implementing any kind of disaster-related efforts. That is, we need a heightened awareness of local communities for the prevention of natural disasters even at normal times.”

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Agriculture

DA Secretary Proceso Alcala pose with Ilocos Norte Governor Imee Marcos and other Top Rice Achievers

DAR Builds P5.9M Warehouse for Cagayan Farmers The Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) recently launched the construction of a warehouse facility worth P5.9 million for the agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs) of Rizal, Cagayan. The post-harvest facility will consist of a 60-square meter warehouse with a 2,000-cavan capacity, a 48-square meter office, and a 450-square meter solar dryer. DAR Regional Director Marjorie Ayson led the groundbreaking rites of the Malasatco Post-harvest facility project along with Rizal Mayor Joel Ruma, in the agrarian reform community (ARC) of Malaueg, in Rizal town, Cagayan. Ayson said the farmers suffer spoilage of harvested crops due to lack of proper storage facilities.  “Our farmers experience losses because most farm family houses don’t have enough space in their lots to properly store their harvested crops. Another major reason is the very long distance of Malaueg ARC to the market center,” said Ayson. According to Ayson, because of the remoteness of Malaueg ARC to the town proper “very few public vehicles ply the long stretch of rocky road. Delivery vehicles for farmers’ produce are also very few and are put on a schedule basis by the farmers to accommodate

their transportation needs.” Ayson added that during summer, it takes at least two days for the farmers to traverse the rough roads to bring their produce to the market. It takes them longer days during the rainy season when the roads are deep with thick mud. “By the time they get to the market center the crops are wilted and some are already spoiled. The wilted produce don’t sell as much as fresh ones,” said Ayson. Ayson thanked Mayor Ruma for his support for his farmer-constituents in donating the lot where the storage facility is being constructed.  Apart from the storage facility which will be finished by May 23, 2014, the municipality of Rizal was also provided by the DAR with a communal irrigation project in Bgy. Mauanan and a potable water supply in Bgy. Illuru. Malasatco is a farmers’ cooperative where most members are agrarian reform beneficiaries.

DA Honors Top Rice Producers THE country’s top rice-producing municipalities, cities and provinces, farmers and irrigators’ associations, and agricultural workers were honored by the Department of Agriculture in an awarding ceremony held at the Resorts World Manila, March 14. This year’s Rice Achievers’ Awards conferred a total of over PhP110 million in prizes from the DA National Rice Program to 12 provinces, 48 municipalities and cities, 10 irrigators’ associations, three small water impounding system farmers’ associations (SWISAs), and 496 agricultural extension workers (AEWs). For surpassing their palay (unhusked rice) production targets, attaining higher average yield, encouraging more farmers to use quality seeds and appropriate technologies, and prioritizing rice-related projects, the provinces of Nueva Ecija, North Cotabato, Nueva Vizcaya, Isabela, Pangasinan, Ilocos Norte, Bukidnon, Bulacan, Kalinga, Mindoro Occidental, Laguna, and Lanao del Norte were declared as the country’s top rice achievers for 2013. Each of the provinces’ governors received a trophy and check worth P4 million for rice-related

The provinces of Nueva Ecija, North Cotabato, Nueva Vizcaya, Isabela, Pangasinan, Ilocos Norte, Bukidnon, Bulacan, Kalinga, Mindoro Occidental, Laguna, and Lanao del Norte were declared as the country’s top rice achievers for 2013.

projects from Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala and National Rice Program coordinator and acting undersecretary for field operations Dante Delima. The top municipalities and cities, including the exceptional IAs each received P1-million worth of project grants. Outstanding SWISAs got P500,000 each in project grants, while the leading AEWs took home a cash

incentive of P20,000 each. Alcala said the annual contest, now on its third year, is the government’s way of thanking the country’s rice farmers and their respective provincial and municipal officials and AEWs for their continuing efforts and contribution to increase rice production. “The Agri-Pinoy Rice Achievers’ Awards is part of DA’s interventions and incentive system to encourage LGUs, IAs, SWISAs and AEWs to contribute their share in increasing farmers’ harvest and incomes, to attain national rice sufficiency,” the DA chief said. The top provinces, cities and municipalities were chosen based on the following criteria: incremental increases in rice harvest and average yield per hectare over 2012 levels, increases over their 2012 targets, amount of budget devoted to rice projects and initiatives, number of farmers benefited, and degree of quality seed utilization, among others. The combined palay production of the top 12 provinces amounted to 6.65 million metric tons (MMT), which represents about 36 percent of the country’s total harvest of 18.42 MMT last year.

DOE Approves Extended Production Tests at Malolos Field Gas2Grid Ltd. reported Thursday that it has just received written approval from the Philippine Department of Energy (DOE) to commence the Malolos-1 extended oil production in the Philippines. The operations will commence as soon as the crew and equipment have been mobilized to the site with likely initial oil production commencing in April. This testing is being carried out in order to confirm the commerciality of the Malolos Oil Field. The DOE had previously extended Service Contract 44 (SC 44) for a 12 month period starting Jan. 29 in order to conduct the tests. The extended oil production testing program aims to gather sufficient technical information to confirm commerciality of the

Malolos Oil Field to justify the Department of Energy awarding a 25 year production period leading to full field appraisal and development. Proving commercial production at Malolos Oil Field will have a very significant impact on the value of the Company and will benefit the Philippine economy. On Jan. 29 the Company reported a “Contingent Resource” of oil in the two productive sandstones for the Malolos Oil Field between a “Low Estimate” (1C) of 6.8 million barrels and a “High Estimate” (3C) of 68.1 million barrels, with a “Best Estimate” (2C) of 20.4 million barrels of “Total Oil Initially in Place”. This Contingent Resource is in addition to the Unrisked Prospective Resources released to the ASX on Jan. 29. WE TAKE A STAND

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The large size of contingent and prospective resources justifies further exploration within SC 44. In that respect, the Company is continuing discussions with interested parties for funding the complete appraisal and development work (seismic acquisition, production well drilling and production facilities) at the Malolos Oil Field and additional exploration prospects by a farmout of part of its 100 percent interest in Service Contract 44. In view of the time frame available to the Company for SC 44, it will also consider sole funding some of the work early should farmin terms and agreements take undue time to finalize. The Company is funding the extended oil production testing from existing cash reserves which were raised last year.

OpinYon

march 24-30, 2014

9 3/21/14 10:26 PM


OPINION

Battle Plans Versus Safety Nets

G Liz Uy for Rags2Riches

Social Entrepreneur.... From page 12

of five children. The woman collected scraps of cloth and weave the scraps of cloth she found into foot rugs. She would sell them everyday but she earned less than Php20 a day despite her hard work. “When I saw this, I got really mad,” Reece remembers. Scrap cloth handwoven by women from indigent communities were normally used for ordinary rugs for doorways and bathroom floors of Filipino homes. Rags2Riches thought that these very same materials can be used in making luxury bags, which can be marketed to the high fashion market. The company has elevated the status of these textiles. They have also uplifted the lives of the people who had previously been selling these items at Php1 to Php2 a piece, earning a miserable Php10 to Php16 a day. Reece thought that there is something wrong with the fact that poor people who work hard earn so very little from their efforts, while there are people who easily get money through corrupt means. Believing that she has to correct this wrong, she formed Rags2Riches with several business partners. Their business model is simple but meaningful: ‘people, profit, planet, and positive influence’. The company was put together in 2007, and it partners with artisans from all over the country, from the “mountains” of Payatas to the mountains of southern Philippines, giving them not just skills-training, but lessons in health, fi nances, and well-being, so they can help themselves out of poverty. The families involved were not just able to support their families, they also take pride in their work. TV personalities Bianca Gonzalez, Ces Drilon, and Liz Uy are seen wearing and using their products. Rajo Laurel, Amina Aranaz-Aluna, Oliver Tolentino, Olivia d’Aboville, and other designers are some of those who collaborated with Reese and her business partners in Rags2Riches. The company’s designer bags are a combination of fabric, leather, and metal. The designs are also reminders of the amazing stories about the people that the brand wanted to empower. Reece says that it was a simple solution to a social problem, and an effective way to lift Filipinos out of poverty. The business has enabled the artisans to access the fashion bags market. In six years, they were able to uplift the lives of 900 artisans, distributing the latter’s work through 70 retail outlets in the country and in the international market. The mother of five, ‘Ate Ning’, is now an empowered community member who trains others to weave scrap cloth and make fashion bags from them. Reese, as the company’s CEO, shares gladly that she wakes up every Monday morning happy to work in the company that she helped build. Not all people can say the same for themselves. Which a shame, according to the young social entrepreneur, as working days take up the majority of the week. Reece wanted not to be just successful, but to become significant in changing people’s lives for the better. As a young girl, she remembers going around different churches with her mother, a Catholic missionary worker. She encountered street children in the parishes, who became her friends. They played together and shared their dreams with one another. Many of them wanted to become doctors, lawyers, and teachers when they grow up.That one little girl eventually became a social entrepreneur, while the world lost potential doctors, lawyers, and teachers. Reece doesn’t think she was better than them, but only that she had better opportunities. She has her own amazing story to share: a group of anonymous people, probably involved in the parishes her mother was working in, gave her a scholarship so that she could attend the prestigious Ateneo de Manila University. To this day, she has no idea who they are, but she is thankful nonetheless. Now, it’s her turn to do the same thing to those less fortunate. “No matter what we do, our decisions will affect someone in a positive or negative way,” she says. Asked what advice she would you give to aspiring social entrepreneurs, she says, “First of all, it is good to know that it is possible to be profitable and socially relevant at the same time. I would like to share to future social entrepreneurs that yes, it is possible. It is a viable life and career option for those who want to have a business and help others at the same time. If you do decide to take it on, the result could be world-changing! It may be daunting to start though so let me share with you some simple steps and tips. First, try to fi nd your passion, then get together with a few like-minded friends, commit to some milestones (do not just have a vision, have a plan), and never, ever give up. It is not easy, but it is so worth it!”

lobalization is not yet over and as far as I know, more of it is yet to come. The WTO drives globalization, now it is the ASEAN that is going to drive regionalization, if we could call it that. To some extent however, we could say that regionalization is part of globalization, and the same rules and regulations would be applicable. Generally speaking, we could say that we were not, or we are not ready for globalization. The question now is, are we ready for regionalization or not? Globalization is supposed to be a two-way street, and so is regionalization. Along with many problems, there are also supposed to be many opportunities that we could tap, in order to come out as the winner in these two frameworks. The bottom line at the macroeconomic level is how much our Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has grown, and how much our Per Capita Income (PCI) has increased. As I see it however, the bottom line at the microeconomic level is how much market share we have gained (or have lost) in each product category. Looking at globalization and regionalization from another angle, it seems that we could also measure success and failure in terms of factories that have opened (or have closed), and in terms of jobs that have been created (or eliminated). As we enter the era of regionalization next year in 2015, it is necessary for us to know how we have really fared in these two measures in the era of globalization. Words are just words, but more often than not, words would reflect the way we think, and the way we plan our actions. In the era of globalization, we often used the words “safety nets” to refer to our plans of actions, in relation to how we would “survive” the “damage” that was going to come. Looking back now, I think that that was really a defeatist approach, because we were already preparing to fall, and that is why we thought of “safety nets” to catch our fall. We also thought about surviving the damage, without thinking that we could have won many of the battles in the midst

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SCIENCE WORKS Ike Señeres of the carnage. I believe that globalization and regionalization are battles for economic growth (not just economic survival) and for market shares. Therefore I think that we should have a battle plan in order to come out as the winners and not as the losers (or as the fallouts needing safety nets). Of course, we could defi nitely win all of the battles, and that is why we need to choose which battles we should fight where we have a chance of winning. This is just like the Olympics, wherein we should not even think of joining the events where we could not hope to win any medal. As far as I can recall, we jumped into the globalization era without a battle plan, and all we had was a plan to have “safety nets”, and apparently, none of these were built or installed. I even heard talks that “farm-tomarket” roads were supposed to be included as part of the “safety nets”, and this was debunked by activists as false representations, because road building is really supposed to be a regular function of the government, with or without globalization. This is similar to the position taken by activists that basic government services should not be considered as part of poverty alleviation measures, because basic services are supposed to be delivered by the government with or without poverty. In order to prepare battle plans for globalization and regionalization, we need software for game theory, and software for operations research, also known as the science of maximization. In both types of software, it would be best to have high performance computers (HPCs), because the processing power needed is beyond what ordinary personal computers (PCs) could do. Both types of software are used for highly intensive com-

puter simulations. These are not ordinary tasks, but on the other hand, we are not facing ordinary challenges either. Which Department of the government is supposed to lead in using game theory and operations research for computer simulations that could be the basis for preparing a battle plan? Should it be the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) or the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI)? This is not a problem for Australia, because they have combined these two functions into one Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT). In our case, we have come up with a country team approach for purposes of economic diplomacy, but that does not seem to be working very well. If you are afraid of global warming and climate change, you should also be afraid of globalization and regionalization, but only if we are not prepared. ASEAN integration is just around the corner, but there is still enough time left to prepare a battle plan that could make us win in some industries or product categories. What is important is that we could win some, even if we would also lose some. That is the nature of the game, but we have to play it. Our battle plan should be divided into four categories, namely: processed goods, manufactured goods, on-site services and online services. We should no longer export raw materials and at the very least, we should process into higher value goods, and that includes our agricultural products. We already have many manufactured goods; we just have to choose which ones we should support for export purposes. There are very few Philippine companies that are operating abroad to provide for on-site services. We should encourage and support this kind of companies. As a matter of fact, this could be a way to minimize the oppression of Filipino workers abroad, if their employers could also be Filipino companies. We already have many companies that are providing online services. We should just help them. For feedback, email iseneres@ yahoo.com or text +639083159262

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REESE FERNANDEZ-RUIZ

Social Entrepreneur Fights Poverty with Fashion

R

EESE Fernandez-Ruiz, the co-founder of fashion line Rags2Riches, used to have a clear-cut idea for an ideal career: graduate with the highest honors, get a high-paying job, do “amazing” things at work, get a master’s degree in business administration, retire, create a business, and when she became rich enough, give to charity. Although there is nothing wrong with following this path, Reese felt that it was not what she really wanted to do. Her calling actually started with a pet peeve. Reese is bothered by social inequality. She hates seeing people work hard their whole lives, only to end up at a dead end because they did not have the same opportunities that more privileged people have. Such “irritations”, according to her, can help people fi nd their calling. Whether they are against involuntary hunger, racism, and other injustices, fighting for social justice can become a life profession. It was on a volunteering trip in Gabaldon, Nueva Ecija that made Reece decide what she will choose as a life profession. She met some of people there who have stayed hopeful despite crippling poverty and lack of opportunities. Reece spent Sundays helping build homes for landslide survivors, which resulted to an entire village of 100 new houses for several affected families. After college graduation, she would visit the depressed areas in Payatas with some young professionals. That is where she met ‘Ate Ning’, a trash collector for 14 years and a mother Turn to page 11

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WE TaKE a STaND

3/21/14 10:26 PM


Opinyon430 rikitiks