Understanding President Duterte #2: The fight against poverty

local store - source usaid

Local market [Photo source: USAid]

What do we know about poverty in the Philippines, statistically?

  • During the first six months of 2015, 26.3% of the population was below the poverty line.
  • The poverty line at that time was P9,140 per month for a family of five.
  • The poverty line was 17% higher than it had been in the first half of 2012.
  • Furthermore:
    • “An additional monthly income of Php 2,649 is needed by a poor family with five members in order to move out of poverty in the first semester of 2015.”

The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) has elegant ways of calculating the impacts of poverty, but the methodologies, which include various statistical tests of probability, are a challenge those of us who prefer literature to statistics. I suppose that’s why the 2015 PSA report is signed by a PhD, to cut through our certain befuddlement to show that at least THEY know what they are doing.

Here’s my more simple way of looking at it.

The poverty goal is a moving target. It’s not a stationary bull’s eye, it is a duck moving across the shooting range at variable speeds, those speeds determined by:

  • How fast babies are being made (5,000 per day) or 1.9% annual growth.
  • How fast consumer costs are rising (causing that afore-cited 17% increase in the poverty line from 2012 to 2015).

The ammunition we have to throw at it comes from a number of guns, but they are pointed all over the place, because there are other targets to shoot at in nearby ranges: rabbits, frogs, spiders, ants . . . national defense, agriculture, energy, teacher’s salaries, judges and other creatures on the move.

How much money does the Philippines have? Well, it’s annual government budget is now around three trillion per year. But there is also this animal called gross domestic product that generates the riches that build the high rises and incent stock holders to invest in a company. The socialist mantra of re-allocating wealth presumes the nation can continue to grow its wealth yet funnel more of the profits from fat cats to starving cats. It is a wobbly presumption because socialist nations usually find productivity lags as money is sucked away from those doing the innovation and work needed to generate wealth. So there ends up being less money for everyone.

We can tuck that in the back of our minds.

Let’s start by sizing the population. From here on forward, consider this brainstorming built on a few assumptions that I’ll make. It is aimed at helping us understand the scope of the problem.

  • The Philippine population today is pegged at 102 million, plus or minus a few hundred thousand.
  • That calculates out to be 20.4 million “families of five”.
  • Figuring 26% of the families are below the poverty line, we have 5.3 million families below the poverty line.
  • At a gap of P2,700 per family per month to get them above the line, we have a pooled need of about P14.3 billion monthly . . . or P172 billion for the entire year . . . if we just did a cash payout to get those families up. Like PPPP on steroids.

Well, now let’s move the ducks. If population growth is a nice round 2% and costs go up at 4% a year, then next year, our payout will be P182.2 billion. And something similar until people have gotten the jobs needed to move themselves out of poverty with no assistance from the government.

The more jobs the government can create, the more people can help themselves out of poverty. So we start to look with attraction on ways to build, say, manufacturing, which can generate from 3 to 5 related jobs for each manufacturing job.

We can also look at the national budget and see that P172 billion is 5.7% of P3 trillion. To put things in perspective, the 10 departments receiving the highest allocations in the 2016 budget are:

  • Department of Education (DepEd) – P411.9billion;
  • Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) – P384.3 billion;
  • Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) P124.2 billion;
  • Department of Health (DOH) – P123.5 billion;
  • Department of National Defense (DND) – P117.5 billion;
  • Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) – P110.8 billion;
  • Department of Agriculture (DA) – P48.4 billion;
  • State Universities and Colleges (SUCs) – P47.4 billion;
  • Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) – P42.7 billion;
  • Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) P28.5 billion.

[Source: Rappler]

A “cash out” effort is feasible, however it likely would have to be funded through debt. Imagine transferring P172 billion from defense or health or education, and what that would mean in terms of lost jobs or resources. Factor in as well the current request of incoming DepEd Secretary Briones for an additional P45 billion to bring unschooled children into the fold.

So, yes, President Duterte could pay cash to lift a lot of people out of poverty. But it would either stress the budget or go against the grain of other efforts aimed at building the job base or teaching kids or defending the PH against terrorists and land grabbers.

And he’d have to find or fund P182 billion the next year to keep people above the poverty line.

To pay cash is the short term solution that immediately helps people and makes the President look good. To build jobs so people can earn their way up is the long term solution that makes the Philippines look good.

The following chart shows employment trends (thousands). It is a hard trend line to move, other than through natural, slow economic growth. Getting 5.3 million more jobs (remembering our 5.3 million families below the poverty line) on top of natural growth is nigh on to impossible.


It seems to me there are three elements to meaningful poverty reduction:

  • Time and strong economic growth that well exceeds population growth.
  • Emphasis on manufacturing or other industrial initiatives (like the BPO industry) that can leverage up jobs.
  • Shift more cash to the PPPP (CCT) program, or something similar.

Poverty is deep and enduring. A quick fix would be cosmetic, and it would burden the economy and overall productivity.

The nation needs economic growth and jobs. It is somewhat disconcerting to hear the Duterte Administration’s financial people saying we should expect slower economic growth in the future.  They seem to be scaling down expectations, which  . . . as far as poverty reduction is concerned . . . scales back confidence that they can solve this enduring problem.


202 Responses to “Understanding President Duterte #2: The fight against poverty”
  1. karlgarcia says:

    Drilon on institutionalization of the cct etc.
    Safeguarding the economic gains the country enjoyed under the Aquino administration would be the focus of Senate President Franklin Drilon during the 17th Congress, which would begin during the term of President-elect Rodrigo Duterte.
    Drilon, who will be the Senate president pro-tempore in the new Congress, said he intended to push for the approval of bills related to the reform agenda in the 16th Congress.
    These bills include the income tax reform bill that is seen to increase the take home pay of many workers, the salary standardization law IV to increase the salaries of government workers, and the institutionalization of the conditional cash transfer program for the poorest families.

    Read more: http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/789805/drilon-ill-pursue-economic-gains#ixzz4B44rTBGy
    Follow us: @inquirerdotnet on Twitter | inquirerdotnet on Facebook

  2. uht says:

    Socialist mantra aside, I think an expectation of slower growth in the future is not that disconcerting. I am not an economist, but the expectation of slower growth in the future has many implications. Some of those I observed could be:

    – Duterte is planning some hard socialist reform and the economic people are telling us to not be surprised when the GDP growth starts to slow.
    – The finance people do not wish to be overconfident with their results and as such lower their expectations.
    – The finance people themselves are not that confident with Duterte’s policies….

    There are others but I may have not caught them….

    That being said, one thing I learned from my father’s work is that one must build the capability for something first, before building that something itself. Build the engine first before the car. One nice thing about Aquino’s policies was that rather than just promise hard gains, they promised to make those hard gains possible and feasible. With Duterte, it is very hard to tell if he will prioritize capability before the results. Based on what he has said so far, he may very well not do so. It will be a sad day if he goes full steam on that, that’s what I am sure of.

    ….or he could very well focus on his crime crusade and not pay the economy any attention at all. I don’t know. It is very hard to see through his actions and words that way.

    • Sup says:

      There are other info’s that it could be much higher like the 111.500.000 in this page..

      I don’t understand also the question in the street if you are ”poor”, Lucio Tan will say ”i am poor compared to Henry Sy….

      If i look at the reality in the street the conclusion must be that there are a lot more jobs because all the new build houses and new cars (suv’s mostly) everybody can see left and right in all barangay’s all over the Philippines…

      They just say i am poor to get free items from government..look at it as showtime, wowowillie etc, they will humiliate themselves to get some cash…

      The ones conducting those SWS survey’s don’t check bank accounts, money send from abroad, if they did really try to find a job or are just hanging around at the street making chismis, playing the fighting cocks, singing karaoke every night so they will not get up early to go to their job….If the bosses in the Philippines were more strict (like in USA) and gave info to each other by checking the resume they would not dare to be absent every time ”they” like it.

      My 2 centavos,….

    • Joe America says:

      NEDA is the driver of the infrastructure plans and implementation, and, as I recollect, the incoming cabinet appointee is being given favorable reviews. See the link I provided to Karl regarding the discussion of growth prospects and how it is keyed to infrastructure.

      The subject of this article is poverty. My point is that it is not so easy to cure because quick fixes burden financials and economic growth takes time. If there is a quick way to poverty reduction, someone will have to explain to me how that might occur, because I don’t see it.

  3. purple says:

    Consumer costs are a major issue with the poor based on what my relatives have said. This also explains why Roxas lost, many people did not see gains from the Aquino years. This is why people overlooked Duterte’s ravings. I suspect he won despite those not because of those. Any weakness in the Philippine economy is going to mean big trouble for Duterte.

    Emerging markets are going to be exposed in the coming months. Either the US raises interest rates because the economy is OK, or the US economy stagnates and there are no interest rate increases. The former means hot money is coming out of the emerging markets and a lot of bad debt is going to be exposed. China is weak now too so don’t expect a rescue there. As for the later, if the US stalls , there are no bright spots in the Big 4 (EU, China, Japan, US) to propel global demand.

    I think the post 2008 economic era is over and we are entering something new.

    • Joe America says:

      Interesting take, purple. As per usual, I suspect the OFW remittances will insulate the PH against serious downturns, but I don’t see many OFWs returning home.

  4. ” A “cash out” effort is feasible, however it likely would have to be funded through debt. “

    How about the Philippine gov’t target the Ecleos, Quiboloy, INC, etc. and Drug Lords (don’t forget them), seize all that God and Drug money and fund the “cash out” effort?

    If the bigger feudal Lords over there, all come together and sacrifice lesser feudal Lords (especially ones already detrimental to society) , like Ecleos, etc. can the amount seized cover it?

  5. Sup says:

    Off topic…

    DAVAO CITY – The wife of Peter Laviña, spokesperson of President-elect Rodrigo Duterte’s transition team, will be appointed undersecretary at the Department of Agriculture.

    Laviña, in a Facebook post, has announced that his wife Evelyn, will be taken in by incoming Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol, to focus on high value crops.

    “Evelyn studied pharmacy and the medicinal values of plants. Little wonder she was drawn more to plants rather than marketing drugs. Eldest among eight Gonzales (from Balanga, Bataan)

    Read more: http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/789893/duterte-taps-top-aides-wife-as-agriculture-undersecretary#ixzz4B4H1DZK4
    Follow us: @inquirerdotnet on Twitter | inquirerdotnet on Facebook


    Daughter of Norberto Gonzales? Under Gloria secretary of National Defense?

    I am sure now…

    • Joe America says:

      Remember the two-link limit, Sup, as more puts a comment into moderation.

      • Sup says:

        I did ”after posting”, was busy to remove the links to comment again but then you allowed it already…thanks…

        • Joe America says:

          We editors do what we must do . . . heh heh.

          The relationships you cite are most interesting. I like the focus on “high value crops” and I know boosting agriculture is one of the key goals of the admin. I hope it goes well, as I think the nation needs “field jobs”, technical jobs (TESDA trained workforce), and professional jobs (BPO). I wonder if there will be any “primary manufacturing” initiatives, rather than the piecemeal work that now dominates PH manufacturing.

  6. chempo says:

    In managing the economy, the incoming admin has 2 good things going for them, courtesy the Pnoy admin.
    (1) the substantial amount of budget underspending of Pnoy (don’t have the figure off my mind). Duterte has mentioned that underspending means inefficiency and corruption — but boy, would his finance guys love to have that cash in the kitty.
    (2) the implementation of K-12 means 2 years of delayed entrants to the labour market of hundreds of thousands of college grads. Obviously, there will be less pressure on the employment numbers.

    These offer an undue advantage to the new admin to translate into better poverty metrics in their first 2 years.

    • Joe America says:

      Ah, very good! That K-12 point is new to me. That’s true, and the incoming DepEd Sec has voiced his support for K-12.

      The Aquino Admin is turning over a financially sound government to the Duterte Admin. The incoming Admin has considerable latitude to work with.

  7. cwl says:

    Before anything else, how accurate are those statistics defining the income level of a family as benchmark to be classified as poor or living below poverty line.
    Neda and Labor departments gave some benchmark wherein one can be classified as poor family as stated in article. But I repeat, are they accurate ?
    The Filipino culture of “extended and close family relationship”, in my opinion, rendered those statistics “short” in measuring the level of poverty in the country.
    In our area, to set an example, there are heads of families earning less than what is required to be classified as living below the poverty line.
    But their parents are the gasoline owners, landlords and others who are considered the moneyed ones. In other cases, some of their children are even jobless.
    Are they included in the statistics defined as living below the poverty line. If their incomes are to be considered, they will be the poor ones but their lifestyles will show otherwise. Nightly drinking sprees, vacations and flashy cars. Courtesy of their parents of course.
    How do you reconcile statistics which are merely numbers and the Filipino culture?

    • Joe America says:

      Good questions. If you discover the answers on the validity of the numbers, let us know.

      The statistics are useful as benchmarks to understand the general size and scope of the hurdle. Without question, 5 million more jobs would significantly benefit the poor, either directly or in support from family members. As to cultural trends, drinking and the like, which came first? The lack of opportunity or the drinking sprees?

      I’m inclined to think that more jobs and more wealth would encourage more wholesome behaviors, like vacations and dining out. It falls to government to provide the opportunities that encourage citizens to live well.

  8. bill in oz says:

    With the current rate of population growth there will always be a huge underbelly of unskilled, uneducated and potentially homeless poor. Limiting family size is needed. And Duterte knows this. He has already said no more than three kids pr family.

    The CCT program is already established. It can be improved and used to reduce population growth. .One way of doing that would be to increase the CCT monthly payment but make it conditional on acceptance of vasectomies for husbands or tubal ligations in families with 3 or more children.
    That way the CCT program does not become an incentive to have more kids and maximise monthly income. Instead the increased CCT payments along with the requirement that kids attend school, actually help lift people out of poverty.

    • Joe America says:

      Such a program would be difficult to implement in the Catholic Philippines, I think. Indeed, the key question is, how would the three-child limit be enforced. There are a good many pro-life senators, and I don’t think the Duterte coalition in the legislature would survive drastic measures. I do the math. Population growth at 2%, economic growth at 7% sustained, and man I would have my best and brightest working on that 7%, family planning services and contraceptives would be made available broadly, and national pride would be focused on limiting families voluntarily to no more than 3 children. Economic benefits might be provided to small families, but there would be no punishments for large families.

      • bill in oz says:

        Joe an incentive is not a punishment…An increased CCT in exchange for not having more kids and sending the existing ones to school and infant health care is a good option.

        As for the Philippines being Catholic, I think that the Philippines is entering the ‘post catholic’ stage that every other catholic country has entered already..Nominal acceptance combined with actual rejection of the hierarchy’s orders. That is another ‘significance’ of the Dutt victory… Eg’s of countries that have already gone into this phase : Italy, France, Ireland, Mexico, Argentina, Uruguay, Chile, Spain, Portugal, Poland, Hungary etc etc.

        Now that would be an interesting blog.

        • Joe America says:

          It would. I’m not that up on global catholicism myself. The Philippines remains confusing to me, with Duterte values and Catholic values co-existing in the same populations. I’m not inclined to write about it because I don’t see a way to promote any positive acts and don’t care to offend a lot of people.

          I think vasectomies and tubal litigations could not be introduced as a part of public policy. Contraceptives are still controversial, and the RH Act’s passage remains a bitter loss for pro-life Catholics. Divorce is not on any official’s agenda as far as I know.

          • bill in oz says:

            Yes it could be controversial ! But worth it. Why ? In Catholic countries, the church always thinks, believes, acts on the assumption that it’s dogma and morality is law. even where the constitutions demand the separation of church & state. It is the arrogance of those who think they are servants of their god the only god.

            All of these nations I listed have gradually made a transition to a truly modern secular society. A society where the church exists, is tolerated but largely ignored in major aspects like marriage, divorce, contraception, sexuality, child rearing, censorship, spirituality, dress etc.

            Think about how many of these aspects, where the church is ignored, right now in the Philippines. Marriage, so many couples are not married, it’s the norm, and thus they all can also ‘bypass’ the church’s no divorce rules.. Censorship, what censorship ? Dress : women ignore it completely. Sexuality, ditto. Contraception, well the RH law is law despite the opposition of the celibate priests.

            Population control is just the next step on the way to a modern, prosperous & secular Philippines.

            • Joe America says:

              Those are the ideals of someone from outside the culture wanting to impose their “better way” on a population that is not motivated by the ideals or principles we might hold as important for prosperity and healthy living. The arrogance may not be within the culture, but from outside. I thought as you do for quite a long while and have railed against the church now and then, but stopped when I started not liking my own overbearing thinking about wanting to impose western or ‘enlightened’ ideals on a people who really don’t relate to them. I shifted to education and the economy as more likely drivers of changes in cultural values than trying to change deeply entrenched values by policy.

              • bill in oz says:

                Joe, nothing I said is about ‘imposing’ my ideals on the Philippines or Filipinos.

                in fact I was just DESCRIBING a process which is already happening in the Philippines.. What I see before my eyes.

                That’s the significance of literally millions of couples living together here and having children and creating homes, without the ceremony of marriage.

                That’s the significance of literally thousands of young attractive Filipina women wearing skimpy clothing.( Far skimpier than in Oz by the way)

                That’s the significance of rich & middle class women not having big families despite have boy friends, partners, & husbands.

                I do not like Duterte & would not have voted for him if I was allowed, but, I think that 16,000,000 filipinos voted for him despite the cautions of the church.. What is the significance ? They are ignoring the church and hoping he will lead the Philippines to a better, less corrupt, more prosperous future.

                Meanwhile I assume that most Filipinos want to be part of a modern prosperous nation. Being officially ‘secular has just been a requisite for every nation’ so far to achieve this. The only exceptions are countries like Iran & Saudi Arabia where religious ideology is imposed.

                <y basic interest & training are in history & economics.. Very descriptive; what happene; what worked; what failed; Not very ideological a all

              • Joe America says:

                To call the church arrogant, to me, is imposing an ideal, that people’s lives would be better without the church in it or with the church doing things differently. I watch my wife, and the peace and assurance she finds in her faith is touching in ways I can’t describe. I think that may be common, and in no way would I try to impose my way to change it. Something important would be lost. I don’t know about younger people, if it is different.

                Also, I don’t think voting for Duterte is a vote against the Church. It is a vote for hope.

              • Joe America says:

                I forgot to note that I don’t think the masses comprehend what a modern Philippines means. If they did, they would have stayed on the straight path.

              • bill in oz says:

                Joe,I do not wish to challenge your wife’s spirituality as it manifests in your life and in your family…I have my own beliefs of a religious nature… But they are my private business and definitely not something I seek to to impose on others…

                Christianity has mostly, like Islam, gained adherents by forcing itself on others…It is in the DNA. That is again history..descriptive

              • bill in oz says:

                A late comment on vasectomies…In Oz since the 1980’s many many thousands of men have chosen to have vasectomies – including me. We call it ‘shooting with blanks.’. The main reasons for this is are a 1) a desire not to have numerous children with consequent poverty. 2) A desire not to burden our partners / wifes with numerous pregnancies and infant care…
                I am sure many Filipino men understand & support this logic even if for reasons of delicacy, it is never discussed publicly.

              • Joe America says:

                If they understand the logic, the ability to afford or get one escapes most of them. Consider that 30 million people live at or below the poverty line, provincial hospitals are overloaded with demand, local doctors are pill dispensers, their faith opposes the procedure, and one has to go to Cebu or Manila to get the operation done with any confidence that the wrong incision won’t be made and you might leave as a girl.

              • In Marcos’ time they offered free vasectomies – I remember a man from the slums on the usual propaganda TV smiling and saying he had one after his 8th child, tama na iyon.

                I wonder if that smile and the vasectomy was forced, or if there was PC beside him…

              • Joe America says:

                Very interesting. So Bill’s idea might have a precedent.

              • bill in oz says:

                Population growth dropped during Marcos time.. And rebounded up after EDSA as the Marcos population limit program was dropped due to the new president’s devout catholicism…Ummmmm !

                The attempt by a conservative politician as minister for health, in Oz to defund similar programs met significant criticism from women in his own party. and ubiversally across the political spectrum.. He learned to separate his catholic faith from his role as a minister in the government…His name was Abbot. He was PM from 2013 till 2015. he learned to separate church & state.

              • During Marcos’ time there was the Family Planning program. There was the secularization of state schools like UP Elementary – religion was abolished as a subject for example. But now it has returned and even is in Philippine Science High School – including creationism!

                In fact there were attempts at sex education in the Health Subject which was part of “Youth Development Training” during the dictatorship. The mistake of Cory was to abolish many good aspects of the dictatorship along with the bad – her son’s RH is a good thing…

          • chempo says:

            “….vasectomies and tubal litigations ….”
            Joe, please don’t legislate the job to lawyers.

    • Nora de Guzman says:

      Actually in an indirect way, the CCT is already being used to influence population growth. CCT beneficiaries need to attend what are called Family Development Sessions (FDS) of which Family Planning and Reproductive Health (FPHR) is one session. Attendance to these sessions is mandatory for continuous receipt of monthly benefits. The FPRH session identifies those who have what is called “unmet need” for family planning i.e., those couples/women who say they don’t want any more children or want them later but are not using a contraceptive method. PopCom handles the FP/RH session and it has a list of these women/couples with “unmet need” in all regions (already running to hundreds of thousands). In some cases, the couples are referred to health centers for FP/RH services, but in many more cases, they are not. This is a gap (effective referral to services) that needs to be filled. FYI, CCT benefits are given to a maximum of three (3) children only per family.

      As a family planning advocate, I believe that managing population growth is key to true economic progress for the majority. There is evidence for this. Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, even India are examples of democratic countries that incorporated population management into their development policies. Look where they are now.

      • Edgar Lores says:

        Nora, good to hear that. Point of clarification re your statement, “FYI, CCT benefits are given to a maximum of three (3) children only per family.”

        Does that mean that (a) only families with 1 – 3 children are eligible to receive CCT? Or (b) does it mean that families with more than 3 children are still eligible, but the benefit can only be assigned (or limited) to 3 children? My understanding is (b); that is, the CCT is computed and fixed per head.

        I guess the point of my clarification is that population management would be more effective under (a). Something like, “Strike 4 and you’re out!”

        • Actually just passing casually by, but to clarify from expert view the Indonesian population policy is “Dua Anak Cukup”. This has been since Suharto era- meaning “two children is plenty/enough”
          Since state subsidization is minimal there are no penalty for having more children than one can provide for, but of course and perhaps the best tool against overpopulation is that effects the transgressors wallet, not the public purse directly. Indirectly another story- crime poverty, water, health, disease, infant mortality, education- massive strains on the national budget.
          In the post 1998 period there have been major inroads by external actors seeking to influence a specific under-educated, under-employed rural demographic to multiply and let God sort out the rest- who of course will seek assistance from these self same “altruistic” foreign actors. This is the reason behind the post 1998 population explosion.

          But even those that tolerate external actors for their own ends are beginning to see the possibility of losing grip on the reins and publicly acknowledge the sense that having essentially a new Singapore in population every year is not sustainable.
          Under the Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono Presidency it is planned to reduce childbirth to 2.1 per female as it has begun to rise dramatically (also during a paucity of available funds to finance Family Planning- in which case the opportunistic external actors were able operate without any ideological competition ) to the post Sukarno disaster levels of 5.2 per female.
          Also- very correlative to population- there is a major drive to electrify Indonesia and get televisions into as many houses ass possible.

          Here is a reasonable article on Indonesian family planning


          • edgar lores says:

            Thank you for your more than a casual answer.

            Having no state penalty for more than two children is penalty enough for the family budget.

            I get the drift.

  9. bill in oz says:

    A key question you skirt Joe, is whether the current rate of economic growth is self sustaining or is it completely reliant on OFW’s & BPO’s ? the short answer is no.
    It is possible that OFW’s will become fewer in the future because of the oil glut and the crash in oil & gas prices. But BPO jobs are still increasing/booming.
    But I suggest that the past 15 years have initiated a major change in Filipino society. Growth is being fueled by demand from consumers .. who do NOT want to back to what things were like before.

    • Joe America says:

      If either the BPO or OFW components were stripped from the PH economy, it would be a tremendous economic blow but I have no idea of how it would roll through the economy. If the BPO industry died, would the condo market crash? I have no idea. The economy is thin, as I’ve said repeatedly before. It needs more robust manufacturing, service and agribusiness components. Consumers are for sure doing their part, or the heat, which drives people into free air conditioned malls to spend a day. I’d guess the spending per visitor is pretty modest though.

      Off topic, but I visited the new Seaside Mall in Cebu a few weeks ago. As modern and elegant as the top malls in Singapore and Kuala Lumpur, but I’d suspect not yet paying returns due to unleased space and light foot traffic. My kid loved the arcade area though. Five different arcades there. He drilled basketball shots better than the teens on either side, absolutely raining them in. Made his dad proud.

  10. bill in oz says:

    I think the BPO will survive & grow. It is driven by big corporation cost cutting & labor shifting from countries like the USA, UK, Australia, Canada, NZ. Also large corporations in non English speaking countries that want or need an English speaking customer relations ‘face’ : think China, Taiwan, HK, Germany etc..

    OFW is more iffy I think.. but culturally, many rich Arab families do not want to do house work or be low paid work in hospitals as assistants .. Such work is below them.

  11. josephivo says:

    Poverty is much more than poverty. The economic aspect in terms of income is only one facet. There are many others such as dignity, the perception by others, having no or a very cheap cellphone. Access to services, water, sanitation, health care, education and so on. Security or vulnerability, violence in the area, the effectiveness of policing, conflict resolution. Inequality, how do I relate to others in the area, hear from visitors or what I see on TV. Exclusion of the consumption world, malls, neighborhoods. Physical consequences as stunting.

    Would appreciate a more comprehensive approach, just pesos and financial grants is too narrow.

    • bill in oz says:

      Josephivo, you are right about all these things..but money in the wallet helps solve a lot of them : better food, clothes, cell phone, etc.. Isolation in villages with no good roads or phone towers or schools are all bad. But money spent is also demand for services.. These all help improve self esteem, dignity.

      And so does NOT having 5,6, 7,8, 9, 10 kids with no or little work to support them.

      • josephivo says:

        It is an illusion that money is the only driver. Money attract thieves, gives access to alcohol, drugs, guns. Money does not guarantee access to education, health care, condoms…. Only money wisely spent creates progress, If all rise 10%, there will still be the bottom 10%. Absolute poverty and relative poverty.

        Poverty is inherited. Breaking this chain requires a lot more than money alone. Look what happens to a lot of OFW money, people love to buy things they don’t need to impress people they don’t like with money they don’t have.

        A comprehensive approach is required. Education, clean water, CR’s, health care, contraceptives, inclusive activities on barangay level, genuine success stories…. Talk to experts, Leni Robredo….

  12. karlgarcia says:

    Pnoy’s Veto message for the magna carta for the poor.


    without my signature.

    My administration fully recognizes and embraces the intention of the proposed bill; uplifting the standard of living and quality of life of the ordinary Filipino is a cornerstone of my administration. I take pride in the fact that our administration continues to provide all the possible “requirements, conditions and opportunities” so that all Filipinos, especially the less fortunate, are able to fully attain and enjoy all the basic rights of the poor as identified in the bill. To be sure, this basic thrust of our administration is encapsulated in our Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program, our pursuit of Universal Health Care, and our successful and continuing efforts to close resource gaps in education, and other programs.

    However, even as the laudable intent of the proposed bill is in harmony with the basic thrust of my government, I cannot, in good conscience, give my imprimatur to it in its present form, as it suffers from substantial infirmities that will, among others, wreak havoc on government’s existing and planned programs for the poor.

    The proposed bill mandates a funding mechanism that is, or may very well be, at cross-purposes with the necessary funding for existing pro-poor government programs— resulting in an unwarranted diversion of funds from these existing programs that are already producing results, and from programs to be implemented in the near future. Instead of attaining the lofty goals enumerated in the proposed bill, its enactment at this time will effectively result in adversely affecting other programs that are, at the end of the day, for the benefit of all, including the poor. In its present form, the proposed bill will unnecessarily hamper the ability of my administration, and even of succeeding administrations, to precisely determine how best to address the priority and critical areas of concern of the poor that require adequate funding.

    The government coffers are already stretched to their limits. I have consulted with the different agencies that are already addressing the needs of the poor: and I am convinced, from their feedback, that their on-going programs will be jeopardized because their current funding will have to be reduced and even diverted if I sign this bill into law. Signing this bill into law as it is worded and at this tame will detract from the need to address other equally significant areas of national development such as infrastructure, education, and sustainable economic progress—areas that ultimately redound to the benefit of the Filipino poor.

    Even as my administration continues to discharge its obligation to alleviate the condition of the poor, it behooves us to be truthful to them at all times. I cannot approve a bill that, I believe, raises false hopes. In stating that the poor can demand “as a matter of right” all the rights enumerated in the proposed bill, an illusion is unwarrantedly created that they can immediately make this demand of government when, in reality, the government may not be in the financial position to comply. It is unfair to the less privileged if they are led to believe that they will receive all that has been promised by the proposed bill as soon as the bill is passed.

    Inasmuch as the proposed bill was crafted to comply with the principles enunciated by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, then it should have made it dear that the only means of attaining full and lasting realization of these basic rights is through the institution of progressive measures over an adequate period, giving full consideration to the limitations of the State and its available resources.

    If we are to create a regime of opportunities, one that empowers our people by allocating the resources of the state in a strategic manner, then it is incumbent upon all of us to ensure that such policy is built on firm fiscal foundations and realistic programs—not just on words and promises.

    In line with the foregoing beliefs and sentiments, I have directed the immediate drafting of a substitute measure that will provide a more effective mechanism for the alleviation of poverty—one that will be in line with, and supportive of, our on-going anti-poverty programs. You have my pledge that I will be submitting this alternative bill to the next Congress as a priority measure of this administration.

    In view of these considerations, I am constrained to veto the abovementioned enrolled bill.

    Very truly yours,

    My question is what happened to the hearings with the necessary cabinet secretaries or undersecretaries? Was it due to lack of Ledacs?

    The veto message implies it is doable so long as it won’t eat up the other programs.(canibalize)
    Then why not scrap everything and replace with the programs set by this bill?

    I assume this will be refiled.There is an appearance of a cooperative legislature.If the cabinet supports this vetoed bill,I believe Duterte will sign this.

    • chempo says:

      The bill impresses with details, but careful reading shows grand-standing for it’s scope, duplicity for a lot that’s already in place, non-commitment to details on the executory part (who does what, where, when, and how) — that’s someboday elses’ problems ??.
      I’m not impressed.

      • karlgarcia says:

        They can still fix it, like the CCT needs institutionalization.There is a reason for the bill being vetoed.I think they did not listen to the suggestions of the government side like dbm and dswd,they just made a bill based on consensus among peers.

        • chempo says:

          I agree with you Karl.
          But I think the bill is more like a CEO’s mission statement. It would make a good President’s mission statement on poverty. But to legislate a bill of this nature is to create unnecessary minefields for the Executive going about their work. It makes things too damn complicated.
          In any case, much of what’s desired in the bill for the poor seems to be more like a privilege than an entitlement. Having a bill for entitlements is crazy.

        • bill in oz says:

          I have been thinking about this Magna Carta For the Poor idea, wondering where it comes from and what it means, and why it will not work.
          1 I think it is inspired by an odd coalition of catholic, communist & socialist thinking…Which ignores the origins of wealth & prosperity, and says there is all this wealth, it should be taken from the rich & given to the poor ..Like a magic pudding

          2 But wealth & prosperity do not come out of nothing. They are a result of people thinking about how to improve their situation in life and working towards that goal. Here in the Philippines the OFW’s are the classic examples,,, They go overseas for years and end money home to partners and children. My lady has 2 brothers who do this as seamen in Europe .. OFW”s are another example. So too are the many people operating businesses in malls and cities and towns all over the Philippines.

          The logic is they do the work, they earn the rewards ! This logic says if you ‘change what you do’ you will have a better life.

          The Magna Carta for the Poor throws that logic in the bin. It says the poor do not have to change to get a lot of money, health care, and even housing…. Just because they are poor…with no incentive to change and improve themselves at all…

          But no incentive to change means more of the same…people without jobs or skills which are needed; people having large families and creating the next larger generation of poor needing more via their Magna Carta rights

          Frankly, be careful what you ask for here..If the rich & middle class are taxed to do this they will take defensive actions like sending wealth off shore or simply migrating and taking their wealth, ideas & businesses with them. And there is the risk of blow back by the rich against the poor . A good example over the past 60 years is Argentina ever since Peron.At times they have come close to civil war with military dictatorships.

          • karlgarcia says:

            There is change the poor become poorer and the rich become richer.

            • bill in oz says:

              Globaly that is factually not so Karl. Check out this new boook on the issue :Stephen Radelet : The Great Surge, and the Ascent of the Developing World.

              • bill in oz says:

                Factually about 2 billion people world wide have been lifted out of endemic poverty in the past 35 years…Think China, India, Eastern Europe, Mexico, Brazil, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Viet Nam… And in the Philippines as well…

                The proportion of Filipinos who are poor has gone up slightly in the past 40 years..courtesy of population growth.. But the absolute number who are no longer poor has gone up by about 20 millions..

                Recently I saw a Filipino with a tea shirt : emblazoned on the front was ” Make love Not Babies”
                Now there lies a true path out of poverty for the poor.

              • karlgarcia says:

                RH Law us one way out if it,but even if you subsidize contraception without tubal ligation or vascectomy making love is the same as making babies because all it takes is the husband or the wife to tell one not to use them.

  13. karlgarcia says:

    Duterte wants more ecozones,one reason is to decongest urban regions like mega-manila.
    But Anak-pawis says these eco-zones only favor foreign businesses.For me there nothing wrong with that.I don’t get those that say we do not need foreign investments.

    CLARK FREEPORT — The Anakpawis Partylist criticized Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte for favoring the setting up of economic zones like Clark.
    The group instead asked the presidential candidate to work for the establishment of national industries to generate jobs.
    The partylist issued the statement after Duterte threatened to kill workers under the Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) during his proclamation rally in Tondo, Manila.
    “Though we respect Duterte as he is supportive of the farmers and workers in Mindanao, we are compelled to criticize him for siding with foreign businesses in eco-zones, than promote respect of Filipino labor rights such as wage hikes, form unions and strikes,” Anakpawis Representative Fernando Hicap said in a statement.
    Hicap said that foreign capitalists take advantage of low wages and repression of workers’ rights as eco-zones implement “no union, no strike” policy.
    In Central Luzon, workers earn as low as P350 daily, while their produced foreign branded bags were priced from P12,000 to as high as P80,000 per piece.
    Many of the workers want to demand wage increases and form unions but are hesitant as the industrial estate where they are located is on guard against labor demands.
    In Clark special economic zone, workers who attempt to form unions are immediately retrenched, according to Hicap.
    He added that in Subic, many workers have died and suffer the worst conditions inside Hanjin shipbuilding plant, but the government is exempting the Korean firm from accountability.
    In Calabarzon, workers are usually retrenched and demoted to contractual as what happened in Tanduay plant, Hicap said.
    In another foreign company, the Office of Presidential Legal Counsel even got involved in repressing the workers to form a union, at their certification election.
    “Eco-zones that claim ‘industrial peace’ are actually zones of plunder of surplus value of Filipino labor, we actually demand the dismantling of these establishments as they enjoy tax holidays, labor repression, even sovereign guarantees,” Hicap said.
    The partylist asserted that eco-zones is part of the third of triad plunder of the national economy, plunder of surplus value of labor, accompanied by plunder of natural resources and surplus product of agriculture.
    “Duterte’s declaration of his bias to foreign businesses is detrimental to his candidacy, it exposes that he has no concrete plans for genuine national development, but replicating ‘Daang Matuwid’s puppetry to foreign monopoly,” Hicap said.
    The Anakpawis is also frustrated of Duterte’s announcement of allowing majority ownership of businesses to 70 percent by foreign investors.
    The group said that it would affect the vast population of farmers, as it would lead to foreign ownership of land.
    “It is puzzling to see Duterte to rely on foreign investors for capital when they are actually here to profit, we urge him to promote the perfect combination of nationalist industrialization and genuine land reform as key to development,” Hicap said.
    The group affirmed that nationalist industrialization would lead to generation of jobs for Filipinos, curbing mass unemployment, while genuine land reform is causal to food sufficiency and supply to the requirements of the domestic industry.
    Aside from this, it would lessen if not wipe out the country’s dependence to foreign imports and even produce the much needed machineries and technological advances, Hicap said.
    “We have the natural resources, the skilled labor, the talented intelligentsia, the food supply, we have what we majorly need, the foreign monopoly is actually stealing our social product we need for development, there is no condition to allow them to dictate the country’s future,” he added.
    Published in the Sun.Star Pampanga newspaper on February 15, 2016.

    • bill in oz says:

      Sorry Karl, the only people who advocate this type of program are ‘primitive communists’. Even the Swiss, last week, knocked back the proposal to have a statutory monthly stipend for all citizens. It’s idealistic nonsence akin to the belief that money grows on trees.

      • If you are referring to basic income I think you have to take a look at all the experimental things that are slowly being done to test this radical idea.

        The usefulness of basic income is explained by how risk averse people are. Lots of welfare studies suggest that a form of basic income does not make people lazy on the contrary it has a tendency to create businesses. When the basic needs of food shelter is going to be met then people have the freedom to be bold, to start businesses.

        The wager is people are not naturally lazy, that lot’s of activities fall beyond what can be funded, that some activities that people are not willing to pay for are very productive and a net positive for humanity.

        If my melancholy leaves me I may just write a post about Basic Income.


        • bill in oz says:

          Gian, we have here you a filipino suggesting as evidence, a Kiwi commentating on a USA sourced proposal. But each of these countries is profoundly different. economically, politically, culturally, demographically.. It’s kiwi fruits & bananas & durians.. They are not the same

        • chempo says:

          The universal basic income idea pre-supposes all recipients will behave in rationally and spend the free cash on their social security, health, insurance needs. There should be a survey to determine how many of these 21 year olds will spend their first month’s free cash on an Apple iphone upgrade..

          • bill in oz says:

            or Samsung Galaxy.upgrade…Much sniffier !

          • chempo says:

            My life’s experience regarding free cash:
            Free cash is appreciated but not treasured, thus the tendency to be callous in spending it.
            Try setting up a business venture with a partner who has no cash. He contributes time, muscles and ideas, but no capital. Chances for success? Minimum. Been there, done that, couple of times. Heard similar stories from friends.
            It’s human nature. When it’s not your hard-earned money, you tend not to respect the money as much as you normally would.

            • bill in oz says:

              I think I am discovering the same story Chempo with a relative of my lady… Ahhh well not too much lost and the lesson has been learned

      • karlgarcia says:

        Thanks Bill,Giancarlo and Chempo.

    • madlanglupa says:

      The first thing I think about the left’s “nationalist industrialization” is backyard smelters. They better look at Vietnam and learn something from them instead of whining for decades about why the masses can’t embrace their pure Maoist program.

      Ah, yes, Duterte also infuriated the labor movements.

    • chempo says:

      Karl, back to serious idea of ecozones and leftist unions.

      Ecozones are great ideas, but it would be absolutely naive to think that all one needs is to set up the physical zone and populate it with factories and bam you have roaring business and employment. There are so many things required to make an ecozone a success, one critical aspect is that it has to be tied in with the overall economic plans of the state. Why go an create an ecozone only to allow a willy old senator to lord over it?. Is that zone considered a success story?

      Leftist unions — From the moral standpoint, unions are good. But unfettered unions cause mayhem everywhere in the world. Unions are good if the state and people are civil and union leadership are people of strong moral fibres with calm minds. It works best in countries where there is strong tripatite relationship of unions-government-employers. Unfortunately, most union leadership quality is questionable. A great example can be seen in article from Anak-Pawis. The ideas expressed are so skewed to the left and flawed.

  14. karlgarcia says:

    DOF recommendations for Duterte.


    The DOF made the following proposals in its Comprehensive Tax Reform Program (CTRP):
    Lower individual and corporate income tax from 32 percent to 25 percent
    Exempt 11 million wage earners from income tax
    Fiscal incentives rationalization
    Index excise taxes on gas, diesel, and other oil to inflation
    Expand Value Added Tax (VAT) from 12 to 14 percent and remove exemptions replacing with direct subsidy
    Tax administration reforms
    – See more at: http://www.gmanetwork.com/news/story/567701/money/economy/dof-recommends-for-duterte-admin-lower-income-tax-higher-vat-replace-senior-citizen-discounts#sthash.b5ZK30PQ.dpuf

    Will the incoming DOF sec be receptive?

    • bill in oz says:

      Karl an indirect tax like VAT is regressive. It taxes the poor more harshly than the rich Check the maths : a poverty line family on 9000 pesos a month will spend every centavo every month. So they are being taxed at 12% VAT.

      A wealthy family on 90000 pesos a month is probably saving money in the bank or investing in property or shares..And si definitely paying less than 14%.. blessed are the rich for thy will be taxed less ?

      • chempo says:

        On the contrary, I think VAT is equitable. VAT is a consumption tax, the more you consume, the more you contribute to the coffers. If you take a roadside meal for P50.00 you pay 6 peso VAT, if you splash at a fine-dining restaurant for 5,000 peso, you pay 600 peso VAT.

        The safety net is zero VAT on basic necessities — like sugar, rice,cooking oil etc.

      • karlgarcia says:

        Thank you Bill and Chempo for your inputs and enlightenment.
        Bill since the lower income people might get exempted from oncome tax at least they will still pay taxes through vat. I even proposed to scrap other taxes and just pay vat.
        I might be wrong,though.

      • karlgarcia says:

        Bill you still had jet lag and were very busy on the road when this was published.


  15. andrewlim8 says:


    Ben Diokno is incoming Budget Secretary, not Finance Secretary. I am closely monitoring his statements, because now that he is riding the saddle, you can expect a different tone.

    The tempering of expectations brings a wry smile, because if you go back to many of Diokno’s previous columns in Businessworld, it was as if the world was coming to an end, and Aquino could not do anything right.

    Which shows that economics really is that dismal science, and Diokno will be proven inaccurate with his previous columns by the same benchmarks he will now have to use.

    • I am behind you andrew. Diokno and Briones.

      Thinking of archiving their statements about economic policy and how they will do things now that they are the ones in the hot seat.

      I specially hate how they seem to think it is very easy to spend 5% of GDP for infrastructure with all the paper work that government requires.

    • Joe America says:

      Ah, thanks for the correction, Andrew. Yes, we can watch the worm turn, as the old saying goes.

    • chempo says:

      Good for you Andrew. I’m sure your collections will make for a fine piece from you not too distant future. Not saying this to spite, but it would be really interesting.

    • karlgarcia says:

      I agree,I think the pronouncements of Villar to rollout only those feasible projects means they cant fo the massive simultaneous projects that DBM sec Diokno is suggesting.

      Let me see what Briones will say about the presidential pork now that she is on the cabinet.
      She had many suggestionsto Abad,let me see her do that to Diokno.

      sorry for not correcting that Diokno is DBM and not DOF sec.

  16. bill in oz says:

    How quickly & easily we have run out of ideas to suggest to Dutters on reducing poverty !!!
    Well I will restate one from Wallace a few weeks ago. ( NB not all he says is wrong headed or even self interested )

    Get rid of the NFA rice buying monopoly ASAP !
    Internationally rice is traded at around 18-20 pesos a kg. Simultaneously wholesale rice is selling in the Philippines for 33 pesos a kg.

    13 pesos a kg extra !!! And the quanta is 72% Wow !

    That is a monopoly rent racket. A government corporation making profits by exploiting poor city Filipinos ! .It is in fact a rice tax . And as rice is the staple of all poor urban filipinos, it rips them off and impoverishes them .

    Of course their rural cousins who grow their own pallay are to some extent protected. But as more and more poor village Filipinos are migrating to the big city slums the policy is more and more evil in it’s effects.

    A history note : Britain abolished it’s corn laws ( preventing ‘corn’ actually meaning wheat imports ) for exactly this reason in 1832.to allow the poor in it’s cities to eat cheap bread. It helped prevent revolution in Britain.

    • The NFA is truly old – it’s predecessor I mentioned in the diaries I posted in my blog started in Quezon’s time and ran even through Japanese times.

      If ever, NFA might have to SUBSIDIZE local rice by selling it as cheap as international rice, because one needs to keep farming up somehow… the EU does it for food security reasons. But keeping stuff expensive for everybody is even worse than communism.

    • The other part of the equation is that ,majority of low wage workers are farmers mostly of rice whose average income yearly is around 10-20 thousand pesos. If you allow the price to be depressed by opening the importation then we have to not forget the farmers whose produce is no longer competitive in terms of price.

      • bill in oz says:

        Farmers need clear market signals about what crops to grow,,and how to maxinise their farm income. Otherwise they just keep on growing what has worked in the past.

        Penalising city based mostly poor Filipinos by fiddling the market price is just another form of corruption…

    • karlgarcia says:

      The rural folks are not that lucky,the farmers gets small change and their stuff gets sold with a very high markup.The traders get rich and the farmers stay poor.

  17. Donna says:

    PNoy’s reference to his countrymen as mga Boss Ko is a reference to Servant Leadership that is his guiding principle in his Presidency. He truly tried his best to lead our country of 100M people plus and until now he is not tainted by corruption. His performance is hard to beat. Now for PE Duterte, I hope he succeed and as to quote Mr. Mar Roxas when he conceded to him, “his success is our success”. If PE Duterte fails, it is not because of the lack of support of the saner member of our society, it will be because of the huge and weird ego of the incoming President. If he truly love our country he should learn that governance is not just about him and that there are about 25M Filipinos who live below the poverty line. Solving crime should be easy and his threats should be directed to the police and the military and not to unarmed civilians like the journalists. If he cleanse the ranks of the police and the military he has already fulfilled his campaign promise because crime thrives because of them.And the PNoy Admin failed to put them in check or PNoy avoided a clash with the bad “guys” to ensure his economic agenda are put in place first and he performed in that area exceptionally well. Now, let’s see what PE Duterte will do with our already robust economy. I hope he will not be our most frightening nightmare.

  18. karlgarcia says:


    The Department of Agriculture usually has small budget.
    The Agriculture and Fisheries Modernization Act turned out to be just an act,because of lack of funding and devolution turned out to be more of a problem than a solution.

    The problems of farmers getting shortchanged by the traders,must be resolved soon.
    The poorest sector are the agriculture and fisheries sector.Having a plan for agriculture and fisheries will lift poverty.

  19. chempo says:

    Off topic, but here’s where I would have liked Duterte’s larger than life persona.

    After some prior arrangement and discussions with some higher level people at a city hall to clear the way for cleansing some real estate titles, sent junior staff with cash to city hall today to pay up and do the necessary paper work. Staff called back, Sir, they ask for some representation, the clerk’s birthday, How?. Sir replied ##%&**!!!.

    I wish Duterte will set up a hotline. In situations like this, we call this hotline and then we whistle to the civil servant hey kuya, Mr Duterte wants to speak to you!

  20. karlgarcia says:


    Duterte already said that CCT or 4Ps will continue,but the incoming sec said she will review it.

    I have mixed feelings with the dswd sec,she back tracked from calling Soliman hypocrite for hiding the street children during pope’s visit and the APEC.
    But,I agree with her position on the no to the Libingan ng mga Bayani burial of Marcos.

    • What exactly are the requirements for someone to get 4Ps? I have read they must send their children to school. Are those with pre-school children also covered?

      Because the most important age for brain development is before 3 years old, is important that kids are not undernourished then. In terms of psychological development the most significant age is 3-6 years, so deprivation at that age is VERY bad for the child…

      • bill in oz says:

        Absolutely true Irineo. Maternal & infant welfare centres are the way to go. And also a simple way to deliver information about contraception & RH.

        The 4Ps has two types of cash grants that are given out to household-beneficiaries:

        health grant: P500 per household every month, or a total of P6,000 every year
        education grant: P300 per child every month for ten months, or a total of P3,000 every year (a household may register a maximum of three children for the program)
        For a household with three children, a household may receive P1,400 every month, or a total of P15,000 every year for five years, from the two types of cash grants given to them.

        These cash grants are distributed to the household-beneficiaries through the Land Bank of the Philippines or, if not feasible, through alternate payment schemes such as Globe G-Cash remittance and rural bank transactions.

        As of August 2015, a total of P27.15 billion cash grants were paid to eligible and compliant beneficiaries for the first to third period of 2015 covering January to August disbursements. From this amount, P13.23 billion was paid for education, and the remaining P13.92 billion was disbursed for health.

        In order to receive the abovementioned subsidies, all the succeeding conditions must be met by the household-beneficiaries:

        Pregnant women must avail pre- and post-natal care, and be attended during childbirth by a trained professional;
        Parents or guardians must attend the family development sessions, which include topics on responsible parenting, health, and nutrition;
        Children aged 0-5 must receive regular preventive health check-ups and vaccines;
        Children aged 6-14 must receive deworming pills twice a year; and
        Children-beneficiaries aged 3-18 must enroll in school, and maintain an attendance of at least 85% of class days every month.

    • Joe America says:

      I think review of the program is appropriate for a new administration to make sure the incentives are working properly and rosters have integrity and are not just cash out to connected people. It is a matter of discussion as to whether the secretary is correct to state opinions opposed to those of the new President. She also opposes the death penalty. Some say she should be “loyal” to the Duterte initiatives.

      • karlgarcia says:

        That is one way of looking at it,and I must admit that I thought she was thinking of abolishing it all together.
        They must clarify things like in the case of K12,many actually did not enroll their kids to senior high,because they think that Duterte will abolish K12 .

  21. andrewlim8 says:

    And now for some macabre humor….


    What great timing! Just when drug dealers are dropping like flies!

    • Joe America says:

      And we thought it was going to be expressway relocations!!

    • Joe America says:

      Heh heh. I tell you, that entitled class knows where to invest!

      • andrewlim8 says:

        Suggested marketing slogans:

        1. Everyone’s dying to get in.
        2. Put them in the ground, no money down!
        3. We put the fun in funeral!
        4. Discounts to die for.
        5. Bad trip ends here.

        Tombstone: They were dead serious.

        And for those who speak tagalog: Libing Things Here.

        I kept laughing until it wasn’t funny anymore.

        • bill in oz says:

          Funerals & burial customs here are among the most perplexing things to understand… I just cannot ‘get’ why cemeteries have concrete boxes stacked 4-5 high… Must be because of a land shortage. But I guess someone will be very busy moving boxes and lifting lids when/if the trumpets do blow… Meanwhile there is money to be made in the business.

          • chempo says:

            I attended a burial once, in Cavite. The deceased was to be laid to rest at a certain place I knew before where there were stacks-high. I though the deceased will be stacked at the 4th level. To my surprise he was pushed into the lowest level. Later on I enquired what happened to the previous occupant at level1. It seems there is a sort of first-in-first-out system. The one at level one was bundled up and stacked somewhere together other older ones. I asked a friend whatever happened to RIP and he told me oh it’s still RIP but it means Rest In Pieces.

        • Joe America says:

          “You stab ’em, we slab ’em!”

  22. NHerrera says:


    The blog topic is presently “out of focus.” The pre-occupation is crime, drugs, death penalty by hanging, and “reconciliation” with the Left. In fact that started in the election period. Soon the growling stomach will take precedence. Thus in six months to a year, the blog will clearly be “in focus.” And the delayed mantra — “it’s the economy, stupid” — will become the sustained flavor.

    If I were the PE, while still playing the first part of the game still, I will do my darnedest to focus on the economy — behind the scenes, so as not to diminish my tough macho image. When the appropriate time comes, surprise everyone with my great concern for the economy as it relates to poverty reduction. In this regard, it is good that he has appointed Pernia and Dominguez in the NEDA and the DOF, among others. Along with that is the equal focus on foreign-affairs related items.

    I believe still, or hope if you will, that there is a method to the “apparent madness.”

    • cwl says:

      Yes, I agree that there is method in his madness. But I think we differ in perspectives. His madness, as in madness, is is madness. There is no positive attribute about it. His is not creeping dictatorship but a coup de etat. golpe de gulat, in the 21st century. No need of tanks and armor but manipulation of information and bullying. He is re defining dictatorship. And we will lose if we are not vigilant and innovative. Duterte is introducing a new kind of war while but freedom fighters here is fighting as if they are in the last war against dictatorship.

  23. karlgarcia says:


    CJ Sereno said she looks beyond the words of Duterte, to avoid misinterpretation.
    I nominate her to be secretary of the Bureau of Interpretation and context thing Joe posted a few days ago.

  24. Sup says:

    Reduce, Reuse, Recycle?
    ‘Bato’ ultimatum: I’ll quit if crimes not reduced after 6 months

    Did they promise that during election time?


    Ps, the comment section is amusing…………

  25. I don’t know about you guys about ” MORAL STANDARDS”. Is it after all the most important foundation of humanity, if you disregard your standards in morality to achieve something greater what kind of achievement is it??
    I genuinely believe that Duterte had no class at all, no offence to the extreme supporters but I choose to be represented by someone who can achieve the job through decency, civility & respect the law.

    • Joe America says:

      I agree, James. Values are everything, the guideposts to deeds, sorting out the good from the bad.

    • josephivo says:

      Or values or communication. Someone should explain him a communication model.

      Communication is trying to get a concept you have in your mind into the mind of someone else. If many people and even the Secretary General of the UN misunderstand you, you have might have a problem with the way you communicate.

      Phase one is translating your thoughts into words. A lot can go wrong there, consciously while you add spin, humor or whatever and unconsciously because of emotions, using a wrong vocabulary, a wrong grammar, reflecting very individual experiences or whatever. Phase two is the receiver decoding what you said, he might try to misunderstand you consciously because you do not confirm his feelings, beliefs, political agenda or whatever and unconsciously because he has a different background, colors words differently, is in a different emotional state or whatever. Good communication is not only formulating clearly but also double checking the understanding of the recipient.

      Du30 lacks values or is extremely sloppy in the way he communicates with some audiences.

    • madlanglupa says:

      He still have to be reminded that he is the penultimate role model, and it’s already cringe-worthy that some kids want to be him: swaggering, swearing, and toting a gun, talking about killing rapists and drug addicts.

      • Song text of Gangsta’s Paradise by Coolio…

        As I walk through the valley of the shadow of death
        I take a look at my life and realize there’s not much left
        coz I’ve been blastin and laughin so long, that
        even my mama thinks that my mind is gone
        but I ain’t never crossed a man that didn’t deserve it
        me be treated like a punk you know that’s unheard of
        you better watch how you’re talking, and where you’re walking
        or you and your homies might be lined in chalk
        I really hate to trip but i gotta, loc
        As I Grow I see myself in the pistol smoke, fool
        I’m the kinda G the little homies wanna be like
        on my knees in the night, saying prayers in the streetlight

        been spending most their lives, living in the gangsta’s paradise
        been spending most their lives, living in the gangsta’s paradise
        keep spending most our lives, living in the gangsta’s paradise
        keep spending most our lives, living in the gangsta’s paradise

        They got the situation, they got me facin’
        I can’t live a normal life, I was raised by the stripes
        so I gotta be down with the hood team
        too much television watching got me chasing dreams
        I’m an educated fool with money on my mind
        got my 10 in my hand and a gleam in my eye
        I’m a loc’d out gangsta set trippin’ banger
        and my homies is down so don’t arouse my anger, fool
        death ain’t nothing but a heartbeat away
        I’m living life, do or die, what can I say
        I’m 23 now, but will I live to see 24
        the way things are going I don’t know

        Tell me why are we, so blind to see
        That the one’s we hurt, are you and me

        been spending most their lives, living in the gangsta’s paradise
        been spending most their lives, living in the gangsta’s paradise
        spending most our lives, living in the gangsta’s paradise
        spending most our lives, living in the gangsta’s paradise

        Power and the money, money and the power
        minute after minute, hour after hour
        everybody’s running, but half of them ain’t looking
        what’s going on in the kitchen, but I don’t know what’s kickin’
        they say I gotta learn, but nobody’s here to teach me
        if they can’t undersstand it, how can they reach me
        I guess they can’t, I guess they won’t
        I guess they front, that’s why I know my life is out of luck, fool

        been spending most their lives, living in the gangsta’s paradise
        been spending most their lives, living in the gangsta’s paradise
        spending most our lives, living in the gangsta’s paradise
        spending most our lives, living in the gangsta’s paradise
        Tell me why are we, so blind to see
        That the one’s we hurt, are you and me
        Tell me why are we, so blind to see
        That the one’s we hurt, are you and me

  26. NHerrera says:


    The non-public bargaining of the Senate Coalition of some 17 Senators which will elect Pimentel as Senate President — at least as of this time with no absolute guarantee it will not change — resulted in the following Committees to be headed by non-pushover fresh Senators (in the current cycle of two terms):

    Senator Panfilo Lacson — Committee on public order and dangerous drugs;
    Senator Leila de Lima — Committee on justice and human rights.

    Sen Lacson: the Senate was not like a provincial, city, or municipal council that could be controlled by local executives. Having said that, we will conduct investigations in aid of legislation whenever necessary, and nobody, not even the President of the Republic, can dictate and stop us from doing our job. The President should not and cannot stand in the way of our mandated duty … In a civilized society, respect deserves respect. On the other hand, unmannerliness deserves some rudeness.

    Sen de Lima: The concept of checks and balances is seemingly lost on the President-elect … Duterte’s statements were intended to have a “chilling effect [on] Congress … Lawmakers would not take his warnings sitting down and would investigate government abuses and “continue to fulfill their mandate as the people’s last guarantee against a possible tyranny of the executive branch … When this so-called all-out war against crime is conducted without regard for the rule of law and human rights, then I think it would be an abdication of our mandate if we keep our eyes closed to abuses in the name of fighting criminality … We were not elected by the people to be a rubber-stamp Congress.

    No such strong words came from any member of the House of Representatives to my knowledge.


    • Joe America says:

      I suspect there are a number of other senators who also would not stand for Executive interference in Legislative affairs. Senator Elect Hontiveros was among the three who spoke up, and I can’t help but think that long time senators like Drilon, and upstanding senators like Aquino, would not take kindly to being made mere puppets of a strong-armed President.

      We are already seeing the problem with unity that comes at the end of threats. It generates hard line opposition, and can have no good end.

    • madlanglupa says:

      Anti-human rights apologists of the PE say harshly of de Lima, seeing her as a “cuddler of criminals” as there’s this video circulating around, depicting New Bilibid as an out-of-control prison where it has become a self-contained city; the same apologists want those inmates “cleaned” out, expecting the PE to fulfill his campaign promises.

      Sanamagan! Turn Bilibid into an Auschwitz?

      The supercop Ping, questions about his past still linger, although he is now taking a stance against “instant justice” since he now knows about due process and how it affects our standing in the world.

  27. BARA BARA or shortcut or cowboy job is another damage culture of Filipinos that are putting our country in such a big mess. People are very impatient they want to do short cut job.
    Why short cut job? They are impatient of the justice system because it’s too slow & what they want is to kill the criminal.
    First of all it is ignorance because technically you are not sure who is the real criminal is by not examining the evidence through courts.
    And the most important thing is due to laziness, if the problem is a slow justice system ” why not reform it to make it faster. Why not reform the justice system?? It is because it takes time, too much work to be done, they are all lazy.
    Filipinos will do short cut if there is an opportunity to do so. You can all be angry at me but it’s true, it is part of the damaged culture.

    • karlgarcia says:

      An academician,offers a different view.Re: Culture.


      It is of great benefit from this study of Prof. Clarita Carlos that she is analysing the deep causes behind the problems which plague the Philippine Democracy from its restoration in 1986, nearly 25 years ago. Many people are blaming the Philippine culture for the flaws and weaknesses of the democratic processes; for the lack of progress in poverty alleviation – as opposed to neighbouring countries like Malaysia or Vietnam. But Prof. Carlos shows, that it is mainly the institutional set up of the Philippine brand of Democracy which, in spite of the good principles and intentions of the 1987 Constitution, perpetuated the patronage system inherited from the Spanish colonial period. It likewise prevented effective participation of the ordinary people in the political system that lead to lack of control of executive powers and subequently to overwhelming corruption.

      For damaged culture some of us have read Fallows,Acemoglu,etc.
      Is there such an animal such as an undamaged or intact culture?
      Methinks culture evolves so all cultures are mutants.

  28. Sup says:

    Arroyo has no problem with poverty..

    It paid well staying in the veteran, saved a lot of money, SALN

    2013 2016 %
    Macapagal-Arroyo, Gloria Pampanga, 2nd district 136,757,425.47 393,915,603.71 188

  29. bill in oz says:

    Joe, Sup, Nhererra, Edgat, Karl, everyone…I am perplexed.. This blog is about suggesting ways that the new incoming government can reduce ‘the enduring poverty’ in the Philippines.

    But mostly the comments are about how Duterte’s new government will destroy human rights and undermine the law. Is this an important issue ? Yes. Can we do much about it ? No. Firstly Duterte is not in office yet. In fact Aquino still is. If there are are any derelictions of law and human rights happening NOW, it is the moral & legal duty of the Aquino government to investigate, prevent and prosecute the perpetrators.

    If the Aquino government does not do this it is betraying the Filipino people & Aquino’s own “Straight Path” ideology.

    what happens after the 1st of July is stil in the future.

    • Joe America says:

      The Administration, I suspect, judges that it does not have the evidence needed to pursue any legal cases, and it has an obligation to the Filipino people to assure a smooth transition to a new set of leaders. There is no betrayal.

      The curing of poverty does hinge on stability and economic wealth-production, the point of the blog. To the extent that the Duterte Administration loses track of this need in favor of crime reduction or other priorities, it cannot cure poverty, as promised. To the extent that it accomplishes what has not been done before – peace across the Philippines – it could accelerate growth. People are rightfully concerned about a deterioration of peace and social stability, and erosion of civil liberties.

      • bill in oz says:

        Aquino has a obligation under his own oath on taking office in 2010..He has moral obligations as well.. until he lays down the office of president. on the 30th of June.. No exceptions Joe.. No get out of jail cards.. No sit down money either.. He’s paid to do the job of president

        • Joe America says:

          Which he is doing. He doesn’t have to do it your way to do it responsibly, as he has the advice of counsel, DOJ and others. You do not. How can you hold that you have higher moral authority? Frankly, it boggles my mind.

          • bill in oz says:

            Joe we disagree…We come from different political cultures with different expectations of leaders…I guess Filipinos are free to choose what they expect of their leaders. But I am presenting a different ( foreign ) view which thus allows real choice….

            • bill, you’re obviously part of the problem! 😉 (tongue in cheek)

            • Joe America says:

              Apparently so. The Philippines is not Australia by so many different ways that they are hard to enumerate. One of President Aquino’s achievements was establishing law as the foundation of decisions, as a way to anchor deeds on some basis other than the culture of entitlement and impunity. If you study him enough, you will see this in all his ‘stressed’ positions, from the arbitration filing on the West Philippine Sea conflict to how the various crises were handled (Sultan’s escapade, Hong Kong bus massacre, Zamboangan siege, Taiwan fisherman’s murder, INC protest, even Mamasapano). Development of the BBL, and considerable progress on peace with the NPA. EDCA. He is disciplined, not undisciplined. He goes by what is best for the Republic, not what is best for critics. That’s why his trust ratings remain favorable even through all these crises, and the brutal criticisms waged by crooks, political opponents and leftists. The people have confidence in him. They have had to put up with so much worse.

              I think you judge too quickly, too easily, and without a full appreciation of what he brings to the Philippines, and why he does what he does. You want Aussie thinking, principles, form of government and behavior when there is nothing Aussie about the Philippines. The Philippines has been through hell repeatedly over the past 100 years, has a culture some call damaged, and is economically disadvantaged. In the chaos of history and culture, President Aquino has steered a steady, earnest, honest ship. Not perfect. But quite elegant, for the distance covered.

              • Law as the foundation of decision” – by Joe America – masterpiece.

              • Joe America says:

                Mass media play up incidents but seem to have no clue as to operating demands and styles of the people who run agencies or happen to have all the enormous responsibilities and demands of the president. Well, we can all generate an opinion about incidents. Easy. But holding this unwieldy, multi-dimensional ship steady against a barrage of crises and critics? President Aquino was steady as a rock, it seems to me. Could Duterte handle a protest like the INC rally, that got personal the way it did against Aquino? President Aquino just stayed within the law and a policy of maximum tolerance, and used the PNP to PROTECT the protesters protesting HIM ahahaha. He kinda steered onto a sandbar at Mamasapano, but otherwise worked earnestly and got good results.

              • NHerrera says:


                And if I may add my view via my four-keyword model — Situation, Goal, Means and Constraints:

                1. Forty percent of the electorate and now PE Duterte took PART of the Situation — poverty, crime, drugs, corruption by the media, police, judiciary and other officials, slow pace of bureaucracy, traffic congestion — and focus on substantial reduction if not elimination of those as the Goal .

                2. The OTHER PART of the Situation — the historical accumulation of successes and mistakes to the present; the on-going albeit slow progress and process for the addressing of the problems through the Constraints of the established Constitution and Laws; the economic progress essential to poverty reduction — is set aside.

                3. Thus, the drastic Means articulated pre-July 1, which runs smack against the Constitution and Laws. Which short of martial law and dictatorhip may not be realized and thus not achieve the stated Goal.

                4. Meantime, the country, in contrast to the INITIAL call for Unity by the PE himself after the election — complete with the timed video showing the prayer to the mother over her grave and shedding of tears — is even more divided by the day.

    • The physical poverty & moral issue are well connected, if you have a leader that have very low moral standard then what kind of society are we expecting from it.

  30. josephivo says:

    Du30 took hours to discuss with Marcos jr. in Davao, Burial of the “hero” Marcos sr. in September.

    Wonder if did spent the same time already to read in “Never Again” from Raissa…

    • madlanglupa says:

      Trading political favors, I suppose. Or talking about war stories, tall stories, or repeating how BBM’s old man ran the so-called “Maharlika” guerilla unit.

      All the while, after much searching, Leni will have to make do with the otherwise ostentatious Coconut Palace once occupied by Binay.

    • andrewlim8 says:


      1. Erect a memorial specifically countering this revisionist move (location to be determined later). Have a plaque in that memorial that specifically states, in no uncertain terms: “…that on this day, Rudy Duterte and Bongbong Marcos conspired to revise the historical record, (summarize the atrocities and corruption), Reiterate that Marcos was a soldier but he was not a hero during the war (summarize the historical references of the US and Japanese and Filipino armed forces here).

      2. On the day Marcos Sr is buried, freedom loving Filipinos who know their history ought to signify their protest via social media by changing your profile pics or putting up a protest symbol (symbol to be determined later).

      3. If you belong to the academe, this is the time to make your mark and do the right thing.

      Reputable institutions of learning and reputable academicians (unlike those universities in Ilocos) ought to take the lead in setting the record straight.

      Whenever a Dutertard or Bongbongtard reacts, challenge them with this: can you cite one credible reference – an author, one book, one paper, one reputable academic instittution that supports your assertions( the way Leloy Claudio smacked the GetReal people, or the way former PCGG commissioner Carranza smacked Tonyo Cruz)

      We owe it to future generations not to allow them to be fooled into thinking that Marcos was a hero.

      • If the Marcoses truly love the Philippines as they always say, first they have to make an official apology to the Filipinos about their father brutal dictatorship.
        They have to accept the fact that their father is not a hero & only an ordinary soldier that doesn’t deserved burial in heroes cemetery. Then the healing process will start.
        It’s not the other way around.

      • bill in oz says:

        Get Real Philippines is a Bong bong English language propaganda outlet…
        I wonder if it is voluntary or if it is paid for.. One thing certain : none of them were alive when old man Marcos was killing and torturing people in the 1970’s & 1980’s..

  31. There is one thing I like about Pres. Duterte he is very determined in population control program, there is no need though to swear against the Catholic Church in a very disrespectful manner.
    It’s about time for the Catholic Church to finally meet their match when it comes to the issue of the population control.
    I really hope this will be given a priority once he started as President.

  32. bill in oz says:

    @Joe & Lance : I have been busy but I saw a reply of yours earlier that I cannot find again now. especially with active comments happening for 2 blogs with similar names…Just a suggestion : it might be better to have different names in future..

    In making comments I am trying to avoid making comments that put down other people commentating here. You have asked for that and I think it is a worthy guide for conduct by all of us..
    And so Lance I found many of your comments to Joe too demandingly personal.. That’s over the line in my view.

    I said earlier today that you & I Joe are unlikely to agree : Too many differences in political philosophy & culture & history…That is simply a fact..It is not a put down…So there is no reason to imply I am ignorant of US or Filipino situation…

    • bill in oz says:

      @Joe..I have just remembered my thought from earlier today : I come from a country that expects/demands good, sound, honest, uncorrupt government as a matter of course… the normal state of affairs..It is our straight path. iIn this context even a few mafor mistakes are reason for a minister to lose his job or even a PM to be thrown out by his own party. or at an election So my perspective is different to yours..

      And so my view of Aquino ‘s government is from that view / perspective

      I present it here fo Filipinos to see 7 think about as an alternative to what exists currently..

      • Edgar Lores says:

        Bill in Oz,

        I generally concur with what you say about Australian politics, but it is not as clean and as straightforward as you claim it to be.

        Political parties here present platforms that they are voted upon. The winning party takes election victory as a mandate to implement its platform.

        There are two issues as I see it. There may be more.

        One, victory is sometimes attained not because of a better platform but because the public is reacting against the current government (or administration). They are not voting for. They are voting against.

        I think this was the case with the Labor Party’s lost under Julia Gilliard. And who did they put in her place? Liberal Party’s Tony Abbott who has proved, in my opinion. to be a far worst prime minister, perhaps the worst since federation.

        Two, platforms are multi-threaded, not single-threaded. So while victory is taken to be a mandate to implement the whole caboodle, it should not be so. The fact is that the system does not permit demonstration of voter preference on single issues.

        In the case of Abbott, there are two threads in which they had arguably incorrect policies: climate change and broadband. On the latter, the Labor government put in place a plan to provide internet speeds of 100 Mbps via fibre to house premises. The Abbott government emasculated this plan and cut down speeds to 25 – 50Mbps via fibre to the node, a foolish hybrid plan that would make use of optic fibre connected to the old telephone copper cable network. The rationale for the hybrid plan was cost and an earlier implementation date. These are not being achieved.

      • Joe America says:

        Right. My background is also very different. The US has high ethical standards for professionals and politicians. Here, ethics are not generally discussed or applied. But preaching ‘our’ way gives us the standing of arrogant meddlers and people don’t listen. Nothing changes. The outsider’s way can be framed as an example, but not as ‘the correct way’. The ‘correct way’ should consider only Filipino values and institutions, if it is to be accepted here. Also, adhering to western values in PH environment is a quick path to lunacy.

        • Joe America says:

          Put another way, it is important to talk TO Filipino readers, not DOWN to. You generally do it right. It is not so much a matter of the message, but how it can be presented to get people’s interest . . . and then understanding.

      • bill in oz says:

        Thanks Edgar for your comment…I disagree about your comment on the winner in Australia having a ‘mandate’ .. I like millions of others have always voted for one party in the House of reps. and for another in the senate…This ensures that the government of whatever color has to face a Senate where it does not have the numbers.. Being South Australian Nick Xenophon has had my vote since 2007 in the senate.. He is our local hero..
        Re Broadband internet access for all..It is an admirable aim. But in a nation of 23 million spread over 5 million square ks. simply to expensive to provide fiber optic to the door….

        Re Abbot : I think of him as an aberation which proves the rule. He won in 2013 & got arrogant. The hostile senate braked most of his excesses.And finally when he was very, very on the nose with the public he was replaced by his own party. So we have Turnbull.But I think it good and democratic that the past 4 PM’s ( Howard, Rudd, Gillar, Abbot ) have each lost office because they abused the trust of the Australian electorate and made major policy errors..

        • Edgar Lores says:

          1. In my experience, the winning party always claims a mandate… to implement their policies. And they do have that mandate… not only insofar as economic policies are concerned but even to the extent of overturning law which was passed by the losing party. This is supreme idiocy because assumedly the losing party, which previously held government, had a mandate when they were in office.

          Budget bills (the supply side) are mostly guaranteed to pass through parliament, otherwise a double dissolution of both houses will occur as what happened in the Whitlam case. Bills which are amended by the Senate, where the amendments are rejected by the Lower House, may also trigger a double dissolution, and a new election called, as what happened in the current election.

          So the term “mandate” is widely used to justify implementation and, at the same time, wreak havoc.

          2. The original NBN plan was never 100% fibre-to-premises. I never claimed it to be so. As you say, it is an impossibility given the size of the country. But it was fibre-to-premises for urban areas. The plan for the bush was a mixture, I believe, of wireless and satellite technology. The Liberal party, as I said, emasculated the original plan and replaced it with that fibre-to-node technology that will be obsolete before it is fully implemented.

          • bill in oz says:

            ” In my experience, the winning party always claims a mandate’…Yes because it is in their vested interest to do so…But if they do not have a majority in the senate then they don’t..They have to negotiate their policies through the senate..
            The lat time a government had a majority in the senate was the Howrd government in 2004-7. And they used their numbers to put through labor relations law changes never presented to the people at an election.. Result : Howard lost his own safe Liberal parliamentary seat in November 2007. Semper Vox populi !

            Broad band is a swamp of vested interests clammering for their own rights to ultra high speed internet wherever they live or work..paid from the public purse.

            • edgar lores says:

              1. And, yes, the government will persuade the Senate because they have the “mandate.” The Senate, in the majority of cases, is bound to honor the mandate. And the mandate, as I pointed out, is sometimes used to overturn previously implemented policy.

              2. My point on broadband was simply that the overall “mandate” is also used to implement a questionable and unpopular single policy in a party’s platform.

              Definitely, you are correct in describing Oz politics as “superior” by the terms you enumerate – goodness, honesty, incorruptibility, accountability and so forth.

              On accountability, I might comment in passing that prime ministers have been known to protect their own ministers for a long period until the criticized minister’s position becomes untenable. Some non-performing ministers have been able to hold out until a change of prime ministers. I am sure you can think of examples.

              But the thrust of my original comment to your post was to highlight the fact that not everything is hunky-dory in Oz politics. As an outsider to Philippine politics, it is easy for you to see the shortcomings of the system as you compare it against Oz politics. For me, as an outsider to both systems, I can see some of the shortcomings of both systems.

              Now, JoeAm says we should not make criticisms from our external view of superiority, looking down on internal shortcomings. I think you are right in your we-do-it-this-way comments, because how else will we discern what is wrong and uplift the country except by comparison? I take both viewpoints, and see it as a matter of phrasing and balance. But the balance should also be not one of claimed perfection vs. imperfection, but perhaps what-is-imperfect-but-better vs. what-is.

              • bill in oz says:

                You are right Edgar..Oz politics are not perfect..Oz politicians are human like in the Philippines and some have proved to be ‘fallible’.. And Some get to hang on to their ministerial positions despite proven incapability.. The former treasurer ( I forget the idiot’s name ) managed to hang in for 2 years. with Abbot’s support.
                But once the boss was gone last September he was gone too..And Bronwyn Bishop’s hiring a $6000 helicopter at public cost to go to a party event last January was plain corruption…Public opinion took her down from her plum job in 6 weeks even though she paid it back And now she has lost Liberal party selection… So out completely,,,..

                Quick sackings after stuff ups preserve public faith in poliics..And mostly that is what happens. My own local member ( Mayo) resigned as minister after some drunken cavorting in Hong Kong last November..And maybe he will lose his seat as well on the 2nd. The public is informed and demands politicians be good & honest servants of the public.

              • edgar lores says:

                Joe Hockey. Your examples are what I had in mind!

              • mercedes santos says:

                Edgar Lores, your clarity is just, how shall I put it ?? Wunderbare !!! One thing to admire about Oz politics , shenanigans are dealt with fast and swift, no need to seek refuge in illness or surgical procedures.

              • bill in oz says:

                Mercedes Australians believe this in our guts : we give power & authority to our politicians. If that trust is abused, there is no patience. The public will kick them in the butt where it hurts.. Blunt & too the point, but very, very effective.

                Here politicians abuse the Filipino extraordinary patience.

    • “And so Lance I found many of your comments to Joe too demandingly personal.. That’s over the line in my view.”

      bill, no worries, me and Joe (and edgar) have a good working relationship… if worst comes to worst, Joe will banish me (but usually with ample warning 😉 ). We usually come together, after taking the scenic route of our minds. 😉

      I agree with you on titling the 2 or 1 should be at the beginning, it is confusing, ie. “1. Understanding…” ; “2. Understanding…” and so on…

  33. karlgarcia says:

    Outgoing DSWD’s sec’s suggestion on how to improve 4Ps
    First, they must improve the delivery of grants. The Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao is the region with the biggest number of beneficiaries, with about 400,000 families.

    “I must admit it’s a very challenging area,” she said. “We always have some delay in payout, specifically in Lanao del Sur and Maguindanao.”

    Beneficiaries access their grants through Land Bank ATMs, but in remote areas, they partner with a conduit such as a rural bank or a remittance facility.

    “In Lanao del Sur and Maguindanao, there are very few who bid for being a conduit,” Soliman said.

    They are now converting the ATM-based system into a debit card-based one.

    “So that we do not need a conduit to pay out. If they have the card, all they need to know is that it is already with money and they can withdraw or they can use it as payment,” she explained.

    Another suggestion she had was to improve the updating of beneficiaries, since people die, move, or switch schools. The DSWD is now doing the updating at the municipal level to reduce errors.

    She noted another gap in the program. “I think we have to take a look and improve the link between sustainable livelihoods and moving families from subsistence to self-sufficiency.”

      • bill in oz says:

        Her comments about working in govrnment are really interesting
        ““I come from the NGO world. When I entered government, I thought I would have a hard time with the bureaucracy because they’re not very intelligent, they come late in the morning, they go home early. That’s the caricature we have of the government, and I’m telling all of you: there are more people in government who work beyond 12 midnight and come in still at 8:00 in the morning. There are people who are very dedicated and have given the best years of their lives to be public servants,” Soliman explained.

        “I’m very humbled to have worked with government, and I have met some of the best and the brightest people in government… and I will treasure that.”

    • Joe America says:

      She is a very smart, pragmatic manager, one of the ‘winners’ who never get the credit deserved, and who are pilloried by incidents that mis-characterize the overall effort (rotting relief food). She also took the hard lessons of Yolanda and built better relief procedures into the response net. Now relief goods are pre-staged, ships are available, and troops on standby at ground zero. Never again will the DILG secretary get stuck moving bodies in order to get an airport open.

  34. karlgarcia says:

    (From bews back when the PE was still campaigning)


    Meanwhile, Duterte’s program to address the housing backlog was explained yesterday by PDP-Laban spokesperson Paola Alvarez. He said that socialized housing for homeless Filipino families will be part of his priority.

    However, Alvarez stressed that Duterte will also push for strong measures that will put an end to illegal activities of land grabbing syndicates which have been foiling government programs to provide houses for the poor.

    Alvarez said Duterte has vowed to dismantle land grabbing syndicates who have targeted properties of overseas Filipino workers.


    “OFWs are the most vulnerable to the nefarious activities of illegal settlers with ties to syndicates, according to reports reaching the office of Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III,” Alvarez said in a press statement.

    “Our OFWs work long years on foreign soil only to find out that the properties they’ve bought with money earned from their blood, sweat and tears had been taken over by illegal settlers,” added Alvarez.

    Read more at http://www.mb.com.ph/duterte-calls-new-fighter-jets-waste-of-money/#blVSqHTC0hRpC0pS.99

    • Joe America says:

      I’d like to hear the President Elect’s definition of sovereignty and whether or not he believes it is ever right to fight for what is yours. Or is the PH a nation that simply bows to the powerful.

      This is in respect to the headlines that say fighter jets are a waste of money. It goes right back to the West PH Sea, and whether he would cut a deal with China rather than fight for places like Panatag Shoal. Or does he just want the Americans to do the dying . . . I’m sensitive about that myself . . .

      • bill in oz says:

        The Philippines is not the only nation feeling the weight of chinese aggression. So are Indonesians.


        • Joe America says:

          The only ASEAN states that are not feeling the weight are the landlocked ones like Cambodia, which China has strong-armed to prevent ASEAN from issuing a joint consensus statement calling for a stop to the provocations from China. India also has problems with China, I believe.

          • bill in oz says:

            Laos.. which has allied with China to protect itself from neighbours Thailand & Viet Nam..
            Plus Cambodia..Premier Hun Sen was originally a pro Chinese Khymer Rouge member back in the 1970’s.

      • karlgarcia says:

        I wanted to talk about that,too.(The text I copied was more in tune with the blog topic though)
        So what if the Chinese has 3000 jets? Wenever intend to match their numbers.
        He wants us to roll over and play dead.

        The ASEAN backing off,is also Not great news.

        • Joe America says:

          Right. ASEAN represents a federalist state in the building with the central (national) component having no power whatsoever. The PH and several other countries took the consensus statement and released it under their own national signature.

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