Manila is to New York as Davao is to Los Angeles

mindanao

A man’s dreams should exceed his horizons, or what’s an imagination for?

Manila is a like Atlas with the weight of an entire nation on her shoulders. She shrugs, shudders, and staggers under the weight of 10 million people looking for opportunity.

It has long been this way. Shipping barons of the great shipping era, as the earth was being resettled across the seas, shipped via the magnificent Manila.

Asia facing the ocean is shaped like a satellite dish and the Philippines is the focal point of all her energies.

But Manila is grossly under-performing.

Manila has struggled to regain her prominence, her port, her prestige. Her dilapidated, aging infrastructure, long ignored so that rich people could get richer and the poor merely subsist, just cannot bear the weight of progress. Her policies are nonsense, a dozen cities each marching to its own beat, layers of tape and fees, the most insane requiring that foreign shippers dump their goods and depart so that official Philippine-authorized ships can move goods inter-island. That triples the transportation cost of goods shipped within the Philippines, jams up the port, and puts money in the pockets of the corrupt. [Reference: “Bam wants foreign ships to have access to local ports“]

The Philippines needs a solution. Manila is Sim City with no more land to acquire, no more roads to build, no more money to be made. The city fights against itself, bound in gridlock by land, by rail, by sea, and by air. Construction causes more gridlock. The city is inefficient in so many ways. Unstable and costly electricity. Weak broadband services. Horrid transportation. More miles of red tape than there are train tracks.

If we look at how the Philippines competes globally, we see that the nation gains economically from a comparatively low wage rate. Unfortunately, that advantage is wasted because of gross inefficiency. Instead of a smooth path to profitability for new businesses, the Philippines imposes barriers.

Where’s the relief for Manila? To keep pushing outward from the dilapidated core into Cavite, Clark and other outlying regions? Adding more miles to the transportation nightmare?

Well, that is naturally what will happen, I am sure. The forces of growth and economics will push that way. So let it be.

But let’s think about relief in a different way, in a big time way.  Let’s dream. Let’s think about changing the entire business dynamic of the Philippines.

I checked the population figures for the largest cities in the Philippines, excluding the broad Manila region, and this is what I discovered:

  • Davao: 1,449,296
  • Cebu:  866,171
  • Zamboanga: 807,129
  • Cagayan de Oro: 602,088
  • General Santos: 538,086

This surprised me. There are few large cities to begin with, and four of them are on Mindanao. The other is the Pearl of the Visayas, Cebu. Only Davao is above the million population mark.

Well, right away, that means opportunity. Opportunity because these cities are not gridlocked into impossibility like Manila. There is an ability to build at a cost that does not break the bank. Put the power of the nation behind these cities and amazing things can happen.

Here’s what I propose:

Develop a master plan for two additional major urban hubs, one in Cebu and one in Davao. With Manila, that makes three super-cities. In doing that, think big, not small. Think ahead of the curve and stop the mind-blowing, relentless reactionary way of always running behind critical needs.

Each of the three Philippine urban centers might have a main emphasis, but it would not be exclusive. For example:

Manila, the financial and services capital of the Philippines

Continue to build and push outward by making steady investments in infrastructure. The master vision sees “clean”, service-based businesses operating in Manila. Rather like New York. Banks, insurance companies, call centers, medical centers, world-class universities, and modern retail gaming and shopping meccas. Clean the place up. Rid the city of diesel engines.

The Manila port will no longer serve the entire Philippines. The port now constrains the entire nation’s economy. Only products used in the Manila area will be off-loaded there. The port will no longer be a hub for inter-island traffic. Trucking will be downsized. More train tracks will be put down as the primary way of moving commuters. Jeepneys and buses will be phased out. Train connectivity between outlying airports will give air travelers a way to move quickly. If Paris can deal with De Gaulle and Orly airports, Manila can deal with Clark and NAIA.

Cebu, the vacation and shipping capital of the Philippines

Cebu

Cebu

Build a modern expressway ribbon from downtown, along the port region, to the Mactan beach area, with a branch running to the airport and a branch to the docks. This would be of the quality of US interstate highways. Commuter train tracks and communications cables would run down the center medium. Expand the container port as a major, centrally located trans-shipment hub for foreign shippers serving the entire Philippines. Expand the airport big time.

Mindanao, the manufacturing, shipping and agribusiness capital of the Philippines

Huge investment. Gigantic. Mind-blowing.

Are you getting the picture?

Remake the island.

Mindanao will be like Los Angeles of the 1950’s compared to Manila’s land-locked, vertical New York. Mindanao will be an explosive, expansive, fast-growing region, with Davao City as the new heartland of a producing Philippines. Six-lane expressways will connect the four large cities of Davao, Cagayan De Oro, General Santos City and Zamboanga. Commuter train tracks and communications cables will run down the center medium. Major port improvements will be made in both Cagayan de Oro and General Santos City. Davao’s airport will be reconfigured as an international gateway to the Philippines. A nuclear power plant will be built on the southeast coast.

Manufacturing centers will be seeded in Cagayan de Oro, Davao and General Santos. A part of the impetus will come from the establishment of a Philippine military industrial center to build boats, land vehicles and weapons on Philippine soil. Another part will come from incentives: 100% foreign ownership of plants within designated industrial parks, tax breaks, and ease-of-doing-business rules that end layers of red tape. A third part will come by moving manufacturing plants out of Manila.

The entire island will be master-planned with agribusiness reserves, forestry reserves, and national parks. Industrial zones will be separated from residential and service zones. Mining will be closely regulated.

Mindanao will be mean and green.

Mean: world-class competitive and productive.

Green: smart and eco-aware.

 “Joe, that is naive! A pipedream. Unrealistic.”

Okay.

 

Comments
55 Responses to “Manila is to New York as Davao is to Los Angeles”
  1. timowp17 says:

    I think it’s a good proposal, Joe. That’s federalism, like your native land in America. These plans would make the economy more “inclusive” than we have today.

    • Joe America says:

      It seems to me Manila is a bottleneck to progress, and it is hard to get the city uncorked. It will take time. It will be faster to build elsewhere, especially for manufacturing. Mindanao has the room and Cebu the centrality. I’m glad you agree.

  2. Rub Jub says:

    It is sad but I think it is better for any president to hire a manager preferably a foreigner or for example JICA to study the Philippines. No president can think of this nor the cabinets secretaries because of politics.

    • Joe America says:

      The president has a planning department. Maybe it should have a position called “Thinking Big”.

      • Juana Pilipinas says:

        I think that would be under DILG in the Bureau of Local Government Development (BLGD). They have to rename that to Bureau of Local Government Thinking Big Development. I nominate Joe America to be the Bureau’s Head Poobah. I respectfully request the President to expedite this appointment.

        Really, Joe, this is a great idea. Metro Manila is a nightmare. The politicos need to wise up and start thinking outside the box.

        • Joe America says:

          Head Poobah, hey, I really like the title. Thanks!

        • sonny says:

          Joe, I’m a sucker for history. I did a sentimental trip to the Malacanang of the North at Paoay, Ilocos Norte, now a museum. What caught my eye were the mural-like photos of the Philippines, now and to-be, of the Marcos era. It occurred to me THE vision can be in one mind or in the minds of many, like a symphony orchestra: the instruments, the musical piece and the conductor. We learned lessons from Marcos’ & his technocrats, so nothing should stop us from learning and executing from the musical pieces of the past leaderships… (please continue the rest of the metaphor. It’s me just ruminating) Thanks again for starting this. PS. Marcos got as far as the “clearing” and first stages of infrastructure and education, IMO)

          • Joe America says:

            Just use a period. That makes the statement well. 🙂

            President Marcos indeed did a lot of constructive things. That is actually one of the benefits of dictatorships, one can move forthrightly on good deeds . . . and, alas, the drawback is that one can be forthright on bad deeds, too.

            • sonny says:

              Touche! Shades of “impact.” You’re right, Batman! 🙂

              And, whatever you do to Manila, please include grand plans for unclogging the drainage systems of the Marikina and Pasig Rivers and resettling the “informal settlers” of MetroManila. The MetroManila of my childhood could hold comfortably only close to 2 million citizens. I’m sure the future metropolises of Mindanao and the Visayas can make use of their services. (I can dream too. Yes?) 🙂

              • Joe America says:

                The unclogging and improvements to drainage are underway with the likelihood that 2015 will see noticeable relief. It is a DAP funded program. Relocating of settlers was underway, but the Supreme Court’s ruling on DAP curtailed the program. I’m not sure exactly which settlers the program was aimed at. If there are complaints, I suggest Filipinos register them with the Supreme Court, which has been interfering with good programs (tomorrow’s blog).

        • sonny says:

          PPS. Big caveat: pls NO nuclear reactors. The tectonic profile of the Philippines is like San Francisco & the Bay Area multiplied 2 or 3 times. The islands belong to 3 active plates.

  3. Christopher Fortinez Torres says:

    I must say, this feeds my lucid dreams! The Philippines is very Manila Centric. And I often imagine having the development being spread throughout the archipelago. My line of work does not have a lot of job offerings back home in Mindanao. But here in Manila there’s an insane human resource shortage. If only these companies would put up shop down south.
    Alas, the concentration of development is very much driven by politics: corrupt, terroristic or the likes.

    BTW, Manila is NOT New York! JK. But seriously, it’s not. Spoken like a true Mindanaoan 🙂

    • Joe America says:

      Ahaha, yes, not New York. The parallel is very broad, one city being financial and constrained geographically, the other being industrial and widespread. Happy to feed your dreams . . . 🙂

  4. JM says:

    I was born in Manila and studied in UST. It’s a $h1thole in my opinion (i.e. Old buildings, dirty streets, too many robbers, beggars, scammers, corrupt cops, traffic, network congestion, etc.). There are still people from the provinces who think highly of it. If I lived in the provinces, I wouldn’t move there. I moved to Makati and now Taguig. Fort Bonifacio is a lot better.

    I also agree to open up the ports to intl shippers. It’s frustrating to see how corruption slows down the growth of the country.

    I went to Davao and I find it really beautiful. Clean streets, quiet, breathable air, less traffic, and GREAT and FRESH FOOD (The only thing I find weird is that they stare too much). Anyway, I think your idea is good but I also think that we should have trains that connects the entire Philippines to distribute growth. I would not live in the city, I would choose a quiet and clean place if transportation wasn’t a problem. People working in the cities would spend on the places they live and distribute the money. Growth will automatically come next. A lot of people wouldn’t have to move which will balance out real property prices (i.e. Properties in Manila costs millions vs. thousands in the provinces). More work will be available in the provinces. More land will be available for expansion.

    • Joe America says:

      Good additional ideas, JM. There are so many people here without a way to travel because of the expense. Electric trains are important, I agree, for cities as congested as they are here.

      I empathize with your feeling about being stared at. That is very common I find, old or young. People-gawking is a passion I think. Especially if the target is 6’4″ and white. 🙂

  5. Juana Pilipinas says:

    Young Bam Aquino is sure an impressive young man. He is the co-founder of Hapinoy, an entrepreneurial endeavour that is turning the lackluster sari-sari business into a legitimate profit making business by training owners the nitty-gritty about running a business the capitalistic way. Of course he had to divest from Hapinoy when he became a senator. He is also active in pushing for an IX through peering so Filipinos could enjoy the amazing internet speed that we enjoy in the US of A.

    I read his Wikipedia profile and I was pleasantly surprised about the numerous achievements of this junior senator. Surely, the people who voted for Bam are not the same as those who voted Nancy in. 🙂

  6. mirano353 says:

    Joe, you make a lot of sense. The Philippines should seriously consider walking back on its focus on Metro Manila, or we’ll end up like Metro Tokyo, a huge mess of 35 million people spread over 3 perfectures.

    Curiously, I read an article yesterday touting Angeles (specifically, Metro Clark) as part of the second major metropolis in the Philippines. Granted, the Sun Star Pampanga is talking its book, but the case is being made, and the article has some valid points.

    http://www.sunstar.com.ph/pampanga/local-news/2014/09/12/angeles-become-part-2nd-major-metropolis-ph-365228

    • Joe America says:

      The second Philippine metropolis seems to me to be Davao. Clark/Pampanga/Angeles City/San Fernando do make a significant urban area, widespread, more residential than office or big business. The new Green City complex est of Clark may be an office center hub. But I’d argue the Philippines needs a second city in the south, and a regional development plan for Mindanao could get real power into Philippine production. Get rid of the red tape. Zone it right. Offer incentives to, say, the Japanese to move from China. Lots of jobs would be created. Mindanao would no longer be the troubled region it is now.

  7. macspeed says:

    Manila was re-developed after WWII and still re-development is applied every new mayor comes in, saturated areas like Manila can never grow more beautifully and economically. Limited spaces for new buildings and huge traffic jams will destroy any planned development.
    .
    The key to development of the Philippine as a whole is introducing new “Manila” somewhere in Cavite or Batangas. Create a new Landscape, where residents of these Metro Manila areas will be automatically relocate themselves with their families.
    .
    The Political building such as Malacanang can be relocated to new place, one sample is relocation in Nu-Valley in Sta Rosa, Laguna.
    .
    Same case with Davao and other cities lacks Economic Planning. Sim city is a very nice software for city developer. My youngest child when she was 7 years old played Sim City and were able to build a good city earning and spending money. The whole country can be managed by similar software developer. The talented graduates for engineering were servicing other nations instead of Philippine due to lack of opportunities. The Philippine previous government lacks the overall developer but indulged in too much political planning for corruptions and plundering. The Aquino government somehow is on the right track, however this governance has less time to fulfill its plan, it must transfer the good governance to any future un-corrupt winner of Presidential election, it does not need to be on the same party with Aquino. It can be anyone whose vision is profitable Philippine in the years to come.
    A bill that would stop political advertisement of any winner in Senators, congressmen and President and Vice should be made and approved now. The bill will punish any political servicemen find guilty of political playing to gain popularity.

    • mirano353 says:

      Points well taken. Any execution of these growth plans should include training the bureaucracy that will be setting up the new businesses in Davao and Cebu. It should be efficient.

      If you want to see a model of efficiency, try starting a company in Singapore. The customer service, startup support and efficiency is unbelievable – follow up (and follow-through) is excellent.

    • Joe America says:

      That’s an interesting point, Mac, trying to get the politics out of government jobs. I think that will be tough, as the job often IS politics, trying to collect enough votes to get a bill passed, for instance. So favors are done in the course of business. Trillanes and Cayetano are clearly using politics to energize their work at the subcommittee hearing on the Makati parking garage. Roxas running around the country giving out aid money. Impeachment . . . a political process. Cayetano’s face all over television promoting his city. So I see that as just the way democracy runs, grinding away politically. The dividing line for me is when they use public funds for self-gain, like Arroyo’s face on construction road sites, or PDAF as cash favors.

  8. J says:

    I’ve long thought of something along these lines, Joe. The only thing different is that, in my plan, the national capital would move to the City of Rizal, which will be built on central Luzon, there the vast Fort Magsaysay currently is.

    • Joe America says:

      I had to go to the map to find Fort Magsaysay. It is rather remote to me. I’d put a nuclear power plant there. 🙂 In my own dreams, the basic infrastructure is already in place, like ports, and the connectivity and investments would leverage that up with manufacturing and better pro-business policies. Have you followed the Green City project east of Clark? It has the kernel of an idea for a fresh, new business hub. I may do a blog about them. Great vision already churning out the lawsuits . . .

  9. Greg Hill says:

    Davao and the city where I live, Sydney, face a greater challenge in much the same time frame you’re talking about, and that’s climate change. Not only is Davao a sea-side city, it’s very flat and not far above sea level. It already suffers serious flooding at times. Climate scientists are convinced we’ll experience increasingly severe weather events, storm surges and rising sea levels. This could be disastrous for Davao, and of course millions of other people living in cities, towns and villages around the Philippine’s coastline.

    Much of the transport infrastructure takes the easy way along the coast, such as between Davao and General Santos where the road is only one row of shacks away from the sea in many places. Many (most?) airports are very close to the ocean and I suspect not far above sea level.

    So is Davao in its present location suitable for the plans you’re talking about. Are Cagayan De Oro, General Santos City and Zamboanga as exposed to climate change as Davao?

    Here’s the challenge: any master plan for redevelopment must factor in climate change. And as soon as that’s published, millions of poor people subsisting in untenable coastal regions will want to know what’s going to happen to them.

    In the interests of balance, here’s an alternate view to mine on climate change in Davao. It appeared in the Manila Times about a year ago, and referred to a report by the World Wide Fund for Nature. This is the link to the article:
    http://www.manilatimes.net/wwf-study-cites-davao-city-as-among-those-least-vulnerable-to-climate-change/44488/

    The writer seemed quite relaxed about the risks for Davao, so maybe I’m getting myself unnecessarily concerned. I think the WWF report the Manila Times article refers to is this one:
    http://wwf.org.ph/wwf3/downloads/publications/Business%20Risk%20Assessment%20and%20the%20Management%20of%20Climate%20Change%20Impacts%20-%2012%20Cities.pdf

    The WWF report also covers the other cities you talk about in this post.

    Cheers, Greg.

    • Joe America says:

      Maybe the writer is relaxed because he is ignorant. 🙂 He now stands informed and agrees with you that this deserves careful study. One would think that after Tacloban was almost wiped out by sea surge from Yolanda, we’d be more proactive in our planning. They are rebuilding right in the flats next to the ocean there. The Mindanao plan I proposed does say “eco-aware” so consider rising oceans a part of the thinking going forward.

  10. i7sharp says:

    Joe, you wrote:
    x-
    A man’s dreams should exceed his horizons, or what’s an imagination for?

    Let’s dream. Let’s think about changing the entire business dynamic of the Philippines.
    -x

    Joe,

    At what point do dreams because so patently unprecedented, so seemingly unattainable, or so seemingly implausible, that the one who dreams them can only be deemed insane in other people’s eyes?

    Before this person tells you of his dreams of the future, let him first ask about the past.
    Particularly, about “Ophir”

    “Ophir is a port or region mentioned in the Bible, famous for its wealth.”
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ophir
    Couldn’t the Philippines have been “Ophir”?

    Is it a coincidence that the Philippines have been assigned these country codes at one time or another?:
    PI,
    RP,
    and now
    PH.
    (We need a letter, “O,” to come up with “OPHIR.”
    Anyone here knows where we can get an “O”?)

    Almost eleven (11) years ago, this person saw something that, he could swear, made him dream … in a flash, instantly!

    Circumstances, however, soon dashed that dream … but they also enabled him to dream even bigger ones.

    Again, what has Joe written?
    Joe has written,
    x-
    A man’s dreams should exceed his horizons, or what’s an imagination for?

    Let’s dream. Let’s think about changing the entire business dynamic of the Philippines.
    -x

    Let’s dream of a Philippines that is not only as wealthy as “Ophir” must have been but also greater than any nation has ever been.

    Impossible?

    “… with God nothing shall be impossible.”
    Luke 1:37

    i7sharp

    • Joe America says:

      Well, now, you have inspired ME, i7sharp.

      • i7sharp says:

        Thank you for the kind words, Joe.

        (btw, If I may ask, did you work in downtown Los Angeles?
        Like around the time ARCO was still headquartered there?
        I ask because of what I think I have read about you in your blog.)

        You wrote:
        x-
        Shipping barons of the great shipping era, as the earth was being resettled across the seas, shipped via the magnificent Manila.

        Asia facing the ocean is shaped like a satellite dish and the Philippines is the focal point of all her energies.
        -x

        Hasn’t this ever made you think “ships of Tarshish” and … “gold of Ophir”?

        “… Fr. Francisco Collin SJ. He claims that the Filipino people were descendants of Tarshish.”
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tarshish

        “… the Philippines is the world’s main supplier of seamen …”
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Filipino_seamen

        Joe, have you ever thought of this coast/area of the Philippines?
        121.7 m/sqkm
        Indonesia, which has more islands than the Philippines, has only
        30.2 m/sqkm
        Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_length_of_coastline

        Should be good for seaplanes?
        Isn’t Dornier supposed to be building them out of Clark Free Zone?

        The HondaJet is not a seaplane, by any means, but
        the Philippines should be perfect for it?

        Back to Ophir (or OPHIR).
        From a previous post:
        The codes for the country
        PI,
        RP, and now
        PH
        cannot quite make an OPHIR out of them – for the lack of “O.”

        Can’t we make use of the “O” in “ROP”?
        http://bit.ly/ph-rop

        Enough for now.

        i7sharp

        • Joe America says:

          Indeed, I used to cut through ARCO plaza regularly, hiking to lunch or this meeting or that. I go back to the days when the financial district was located at Sixth and Spring and dinosaurs were still getting stuck at the La Brea tar pits.

          I’m aware of the great days of Manila when it was a shipping hub and indeed the pearl of Asia, and appreciate the additional reading on this point. Seaplanes would be useful, eh? It is just that they are so expensive to ride in, I doubt that they can replace the old iron ferries. Ideas usually come crashing down when they meet the reality here that no one has any money to spend on much other than food and clothing.

          As for O, hmmmmm . . . we need to get Edgar working on that. He is the Society’s expert at literary tricks and treats. Or Andrew Lim. He has skills, too . . . 🙂

          • i7sharp says:

            Is that the ARCO Plaza in the background?
            http://www.southlandarchitecture.com/Building/3628/The-Bunker-Hill-Steps.php
            I don’t quite remember now.

            I worked with ARCO (through an agency) for some months until the very day they closed – to move to Plano, Texas. Worked long enough to feel, appreciate, enjoy the ambience:
            walking up the Bunker Hill Steps, an occasional visit to Angel’s Flight, Tuesdays (?) at Pershing Square (featuring mariachi bands, etc.during lunch hours)
            Of course, the Los Angeles Library.

            Any comment on the HondaJet?

            Perhaps tourism (medical and other types) will so flourish that there would be a big demand for Dorniers and HondaJets.

            Joe, would you believe that, with enough organization, we can connect all 42,028 barangays to the internet in one day?
            A person – such as a high school student – can set up a site for a barangay in less than a minute. (Please ask me how. )

            Can you imagine all the barangays “fitly joined together”?
            Making the three hubs you have in mind operate together like clockwork,
            like an iPhone .. iPhone??? hmmm …
            “iPH” or “iPhilippines” – an iPhone in MUCH BIGGER scale.

            “From whom the whole body fitly joined
            together and compacted by that which every
            joint supplieth, according to the effectual working
            in the measure of every part, maketh
            increase of the body unto the edifying
            of itself in love.”
            Ephesians 4:16 KJV

            i7sharp

            • Joe America says:

              The building is not ARCO Towers, which were a pair of dark green paneled towers, fairly unremarkable. That building might be the Crocker Bank building, I’m not sure. It has been renamed since the early demise of that bank.

              I think the Hondajet is a cool airplane, but put it in the category of private airplane, which, incidentally, could be landed at the Biliran airport. But I don’t see it as practical for public transportation. When I get rich from blogging, maybe I’ll buy one, eh?

              Your idea to link the barangays is FANTASTIC. Exactly the kind of thing that could be done for superior disaster preparedness and recovery, or lessons on civic responsibility and health care, or preparing for elections. So simple. So seemingly undoable hereabouts.

              DILG!!! – – – are you reading????

              • R.Hiro says:

                Short term solution: Let the Philippines and Japan merge. They need people and space.

                We need their know how and financial resources. Give the Japanese exclusively national treatment….In one generation they could vastly improve the physical infra of the country.

                Our low cost labor could make the Philippine a agri-manufacturing powerhouse with the Japs behind us. We have a potential labor force of 50 million plus….We are quick learners….

                We could match in 3 generations China’s rise….

              • Joe America says:

                Ummm, there is a difference between dreaming and projecting a nightmare. Filipinos would become second class citizens in their own land.

              • R.Hiro says:

                REMOVING ALL RESTRICTIONS ON FOREIGN INVESTMENT WOULD PROVIDE THE SAME RESULT FOR FILIPINOS. IN FACT THE PRC WOULD BE THE PRIMARY BENEFICIARY…

                YOU ARE ON RECORD AS TO REMOVING RESTRICTIONS ON GIVING NATIONAL TREATMENT FOR ALL FOREIGNERS…CHINESE, RUSSIANS, ARABS INCLUDED…WEALTHY RUSSIANS MOVED THEIR ACCOUNTS TO HK AS A RESULT OF SANCTIONS…

                WHY NOT… THE RESULT WOULD BE THE SAME…

                MARKET CAP OF ALIBABA THAT RECENTLY WENT PUBLIC IN NY IS ABOUT THE TOTAL SIZE OF THE OUPUT/INPUT OF THE PHILIPPINES. LARGEST PUBLIC OFFERING BY A CHINESE COMPANY IN HISTORY…

              • Joe America says:

                I don’t argue for unrestrained foreign investment, but permissions to own properties and businesses under certain guidelines that make sure the Philippines manages size and areas of investments. I’ve also argued for nationalization of mines, so don’t put me into a box where I don’t belong. Foreign ownership is no longer a hot button for me as I think red tape within the Philippines, and poor electricity and broadband infrastructure, are greater barriers to investment than limits on foreign ownership. As the Philippines integrates into ASEAN, ownership rules are changing. It is water that will find its own level.

              • RHiro says:

                Joe the managed limits on foreign direct investment are all listed in the Constitution….The economic managers of this country want them changed.

              • Joe America says:

                While they are at it, trim the Supreme Court’s operating mandate. (Wednesday’s blog)

                But leave term limits alone.

                There are probably some other sections that could use a tweak, too. I hope they have someone studying that.

              • i7sharp says:

                Joe,

                Take, as an example, barangay “Santissimo Rosario Pob. (Santo Rosa)” of the municipality of Naval in the province of Biliran.

                If DILG were to set up an official site of the barangay, what do you think the URL would be?
                When do you think they can set up one?

                A few minutes ago, I put the bare bones of the site for the barangay.
                https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/RP-BBINVSR/info

                Shortcut:
                http://bit.ly/rp-bbinvsr

                Keyword: BBINVSR
                B – prefix
                BI – Biliran
                NV – Naval
                SR – “Santissimo Rosario Pob. (Santo Rosa)”

                One can create such a site in literally less than a minute.
                And one can, almost instantaneously, start uploading files and photos, posting messages, creating links to news, books, maps, etc.

                What else can one do with such a site?
                How about, for one, making it function as a “poll precinct”?

                The site is, as you may know, … a “Yahoo! Group.”
                http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yahoo!_Groups

                Marissa Mayer will be 40 next year, 2015.
                Perhaps 2015 is a good year to get the Yahoo! CEO get involved – in a big way – in the Philippines?

                Salamat.

                i7sharp

              • Joe America says:

                Now I have to drive downtown to figure out where that photo was taken from.

                It is impressive that you can create that so easily, as an experienced hand with Yahoo groups. I suppose for me the question is on content. Who provides it, and who uses it. I think there are few computers in most barangays, and very few computer literate people. Now you could link the barangays together through a Naval site, and that might have more utility. Barangay hub to barangay hub. But again, I don’t know what the content would be. That would require some knowledge of what the city has to deal with daily.

            • wjarko says:

              Barangay! the most inefficient level of the Philippine bureaucracy. Thick fat that should be shed.
              Imagine 42,028 Barangay chairman + 42,028 secretaries + 42,028 treasures + 42,028×7 Barangay councilors + hundred thousands of low ranking employees.

              Barangays are only effective in the low density areas of the country. They are just another set of red tape to be cut in the cities, another set of hungry mouths to feed and greed to satify.

              Roughly 80%-90% of barangay budget is spent on Personnel Services (a fancy way of saying salaries, allowances, etc.) and Maintenance and Other IOperating Expenses (another fancy term for gasoline and electricity cost). This leave 10%-20% for development projects, which aint much.

              • Joe America says:

                Interesting statistics. I’d imagine you are right. The barangay here seems mainly to deal with dispute resolution, enforcement of noise ordinance, and so forth. The one thing I do see barangays being advantageous for is to communicate quickly in the event of a natural disaster . . . to the extent that communications lines are set up. No effort at all is put into job creation, other than spending the City’s money to whack weeds, that kind of thing.

  11. R.Hiro says:

    Let us list the items—-Moro autonomy, economic provisions, separation of powers, term limits, form of government… n Call a constitutional convention and let his bosses the autocrats decide.

  12. wjarko says:

    I had the same idea years back in my Polsci and public administration exams during college. Where we were asked what was the fundamental defect of the philippine government and how do we plan on fixing it.

    I argued the strong centralization has been the major problem, most if not all the national agencies are HQ’d in Metro Manila area. All the natural resources and human resources (the best talents and minds) are siphoned by the imperial capital, and this creates issues of its own.

    Whereas, most LGUs are dependent on IRA for budget, dependent on decisions made from Imperial Manila that took months before being acted upon. LGUs from the provincial down to the barangay were sleepy, not competitive, there just aint any incentive.

    What i proposed was to Federalize, Each region would act like a state would in the US of A. enact laws, have their own agencies that cater to their needs, etc.. The object is efficiency and speed in making decisions and taking actions.

    The Big departments would stay in Manila, but agency central offices would be relocated closer to their stakeholders, i.e. Sugar Regulatory Administration be located to Negros Occidental, Tarlac or where ever most of the sugar is produced. This way the money moves out of Imperial Manila, and so do the people and their talents. The objective here is mobility and anti-regionalism/ cultural exchange to foster/create a coherent national identity.

    To address the competitiveness of LGUs, distribution IRA would no longer follow the current protocol based population size, area size, and classification; it would based on performance scorecards where they are assessed on their ability to implement policies, and most importantly create jobs, lower poverty incidence and better communities.

    Whilei liked the idea of three main cities across the country, I think it would still leave out a number of regions and provinces, like Leyte-Samar and Cagayan-Ilocos regions. I believe a certain region should decide which development direction it should take given their respective comparative advantages, it should also assess its impact on the national level and should ensure that compliments other regions.

    • Joe America says:

      You have taken the idea a step past mine, and that is excellent. How to energize local agribusiness, tourism . . . in my area energy production . . . and manufacturing to the extent there is a base for that. Fishing, of course, properly managed so as not to deplete the seas.

  13. re Bam Aquino’s foreign ships/local ports, did he have cruise ships in mind?

    especially the smaller more adventurous cruises that don’t require ports,

  14. Jorge Blanco says:

    No manila is to los angeles

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  1. […] a Mindanao beltway between Davao and Zamboanga to take some of the pressure off Manila (“Manila is to New York as Davao is to Los Angeles“). Perhaps you have some […]

  2. […] It is wise to think about infrastructure and how to do even MORE than the aggressive work now being done. I wrote a while back about building new master-planned metropolises in Cebu and Mindanao (“Manila is to New York as Davao is to Los Angeles“). […]

  3. […] All he would need is an economic launch pad and cross-island infrastructure along the lines of that proposed by forward-looking Sir Joseph America in his article “Manila is to New York as Davao is to Los Angeles”. […]



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