Managing NIMBY: the good the bad, and the TBD

coal-fired-thermal-power-plant in Calaca Batangas Greenpeace John Novis

Coal fired thermal power plant in Calaca, Batangas. Photo from Greenpeace by John Novis.

Understanding President Duterte #6

TBD means “to be determined”. As in the good, the bad, and the to be determined.

I suspect most of us fall into the common trap of what I will term “the intellectual NIMBY”.

NIMBY means “not in my back yard”. Take electrical power plants. People want them for the everlasting cheap energy, but “not in my back yard”. Trash dumps, loud karaoke bars, prisons . . . NIMBY. A person who is willing to thrust the problems off into someone else’s back yard is a NIMBY.

An intellectual NIMBY to me is someone who won’t accept an argument because it is attached to something they don’t like. So President Duterte may make a good decision, but we will find every reason to reject it because we don’t want it undermining the pile of hostility we hold toward the incoming President because of his language or blunt pronouncements that upset us, or his backing of death squad killings. We don’t want to accept any of his thinking at all, in our intellectual back yard.

This intellectual NIMBY means we never give the guy a break. We make him carry the burdens of criticism even if he does something right.

Rather the way crooks, political opponents, leftists and malcontents treated President Aquino for six years.

We become intellectual NIMBYs wanting the president to carry OUR burdens.

Well, it seems to me that is bad thinking. I mean, it is okay to run a tote board with positives and negatives, and even give the negatives a huge weighting . . . like on character or human rights. But if we are FOR the Philippines, we ought to rise above this personal enmity and look at individual decisions in terms of their benefits to the nation. We ought not shade a good decision badly because we don’t like the decision-maker.

If we do that NIMBY thinking all the time, we end up with . . . well . . . the Philippines, a land of bitterly posturing personalities instead of critical thought, and a nation in which people are almost never happy or uplifted by their government. Everyone is too busy pointing fingers or getting even.

I came to this point because I fall into that natural “anti-” posture. I don’t share incoming President Duterte’s values on human rights or public deportment (I prefer diplomatic speak over blunt trauma shock statements). And I don’t like one of the people he has been associated with lately. But I DO like his decisiveness, his reliance on subordinates for expertise, and some of his more recent statements or deeds. They tend to shake me out of my preconceived hostility shaped largely by press reports or social media . . . um . . . information.

Here are the three cases that made me reflect instead of judge.

Gina Lopez. My original bias against Gina Lopez as Secretary of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) was based on news reports of what appeared to be a purely political appointment, “you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours, ABS-CBN.” Then I read about her credentials as a pro-environment activist and saw mining stocks drop like a rock after her announced appointment. I decided I liked the appointment because it may bring more environmental sensitivity to mining, forestry and the seas, and I would hope end the smuggling and corruption that has been rampant within the agency. Shock therapy. Modern thinking. Good.

West Philippine Sea. My original bias has been that President Duterte may be nuzzling up to China. Yet, when he sat down with the American Ambassador, he wanted to know explicitly whether or not the US would be with the Philippines. The gist of the question was, if the arbitration ruling comes down in favor of the Philippines and the Philippines seeks to occupy the islands and rock outcroppings that are internationally recognized as hers, would the US be there to back the Philippines? It is absolutely the right question for the President to ask. It was not a “roll over to China” moment, it was a Philippine Presidential moment. Nation’s interest first. Smack dab in the major dailies for China’s not-so-discreet agents in and about the Philippines to read. Good. I’d love to see President Duterte get “in your face” with China over their ambitions in Philippine territory.

Manila Traffic. The President seeks special executive authority from Congress to deal with Metro Manila transportation woes. My original bias was “here we go, the dictator is whetting his appetite.” Then I read the details of what is likely to be in the bill. Specific authorizations on bidding, reconfiguring the MMDA to be less bureaucratic, and ways to cut red tape . . . not troops marching into Manila. Ways to cut through the delays and nonsense that prevent this terminally ill patient from recovering. I changed my mind. If the particulars are well crafted, it is exactly what is needed. Good.

Now I know there are arguments to be waged in each area. Legitimate discussion points. But THAT can be good, too. Take DENR, to be headed by a secretary who greatly dislikes coal-fired power plants.

“Where do we get replacement electricity, Joe?” Ponder ponder. How about requiring every home with more than 100 square meters of floor space be solar powered above a specified wattage threshhold? How about building a massive solar panel manufacturing industry in the Philippines?

“But look at the mining industry stock market drop, Joe.” Well, hey, if that is the benefits of corruption and bad environmental work leaving the income stream . . . good riddance. And how are clean energy stocks looking?

Indeed, I’d even suggest that issues we have with President Duterte be compartmentalized into issues we can address and perhaps change. Two of mine are:

  • Human rights (dignity for women, extra-judicial murder)
  • Presidential deportment

If we just say I don’t like President Duterte and therefore I don’t accept anything he does, we never drive through to the thoughtful debates and creative solutions. We just argue on the surface.

And the Philippines remains a NIMBY nation.

Playing personalities one against another . . . with us helping out . . . instead of figuring out solutions.


90 Responses to “Managing NIMBY: the good the bad, and the TBD”
  1. karlgarcia says:

    Nimbyism will make renewables impossible,more bridges stopping at the middle because one home owner wont go away,and more like that.

  2. karlgarcia says:

    Senators will support emergency powers as long as the strategy is laid down.

  3. Tem says:

    And I say it again: I keep following you because you make a lot of sense and you say it so clearly. Keep it coming, Joe.

  4. Nadg says:

    Bullseye joe..

  5. Bellesouth says:

    Joe, I listened to his forum yesterday and after saying to the US ambassador “are you with us or not” he followed it with “I will not go to war just because of Scarborough Shoal, Scarborough is not about territorial rights its about exclusivity of use only”.. following up with “China has committed to build us a railway kaya bang tapatan ng America yun?

    • Andres says:

      IMO that is called bargaining.. he is talking with the two of the most powerful countries what do you expect? he weighs his options based on their replies.

    • Joe America says:

      Ah, that puts a very different spin on it. I’m disappointed if that is his position. I don’t like the calculation of trading territorial (economic) rights and sovereign authority for a railroad. I can’t figure why he asked the first question, then.

    • jolly cruz says:

      Haters will continue to hate no matter what. Im glad Mr JOe put everything in perspective. Here’s hoping that this blog doesn’t become like GRP in the previous admin.

        • bill in oz says:

          Joe, I am still a bit allergic to anything “Duterte” so I veered away from reading this…But having now read it, I am pleased.It s a well written balanced blog. Thanks .

          Re power.. the answer for most of the Philippines is geo-thermal..Use the volcanic heat in the ground which is always there.. New Zealand & Iceland both do this.And there is a geo thermal plant in Negros Oriental so there is expertise here already.

          PS : GRP will always be bitter, spiteful and ‘non evidence based’ whenever they are paid to attack someone..After all that is what paid hacks do.

          • Joe America says:

            Yes, I agree there is potential in geo-thermal. We have a project building on Biliran Island with all-in potential north of 250 megawatts. The island itself uses about 7. Maybe we’ll be the PH Dubai in 30 years. That’s what living on an active volcano gets us.


            • bill in oz says:

              Ummmm Geo thermal works here ! Great ! good news.less need for coal or LNG from Oz.

              Just looked at the Enquirer. Page 2 has this headline “It’s 5 month contracts Duterte is Against, explains Dominguez” An interesting article that is well informed and not at all “my way or the highway”.

            • CeeJay says:

              Joe, Leyte already has the second largest wet steam field in the world. Biliran Island is still iffy, still depends on steam quality and whether the wells can reach production pressure.

              That being said, geothermal is every expensive to produce, and once again, we also have to deal with NIMBY problems, especially in development areas where anecdotes reign over data, and bleeding hearts win over hard science. It is always a tough road ahead, but yes, geothermal is PART of the answer.

              PS: Despite being the source of geothermal energy, Leyte electricity rates is still very expensive. Being the source of so much power input into the Leyte-Cebu-Panay-Luzon grid, we should have lower power rates. After all, it is our resource.

              • Joe America says:

                ” . . . where anecdotes reign over data, and bleeding hearts win over hard science.” Wonderfully put.

                Thanks for the briefing on geo-thermal. I was not aware of the expense info. It SEEMS like it ought not be so expensive after the wells are dug . . . but there you go. Simple thinking. That rate subject would be fascinating to investigate. I’m afraid it could become all-consuming, though.

      • Bellesouth says:

        No, I do not hate. I was listening to the radio when the summit in Davao was being broadcasted live.

  6. Oldmaninla says:

    As analyst, I see Duterte down to earth pragmatic common sense problem solver, probenciano leader unlike the other highly sophisticated political leaders, however, his sincere love for the Filipino people shows rightly beyond doubt, no hypocracies, unequal to others politically correct hollow statements.

    His common sense approach solving crime, drugs and corruption as initial target will change much the Filipino life, however there is given inherent high risk he faces.

    Many pundits, analyst will share their views, but the Philippines future is still an illusion….let’s wait, hope he succeeds.

    • Joe America says:

      Right, good to have the pro-Chinese lobby checking in. Common sense to me doesn’t mean bodies of innocents hitting the pavement as collateral damage and judicial rights tossed aside, along with civility. But, hey, that’s just me.

      • Oldmaninla says:

        Do I seems pro-China? I thought I’m nationalistic patriotic Filipino? I’m an old man, have seen a lot for about 80-85 years, one day at a time. Probenciano na nakarating sa LA. Pero deep inside the heartbeats throbs the Filipino kabutihan goodness… A better Philippines!

        Common sense for nation building will follow collateral damages, search histories of Southeast Asia nations even America. Civility comes after the chaos…….

        Hehe just an observation……….by simple Filipino analyst

    • uht says:

      You would be right in that sense; however, when one has to scale up in an area, their way of thinking has to scale accordingly. Lifeforms increase in volume, not area (cubes, not squares) as they grow in size. Duterte has been thinking on the level of his hometown (it is a large hometown, but still) for over thirty years at this point. Now sixteen million people gave him the power to think for the whole country. Can he scale his thinking accordingly?

      I hope he does. Right now, he still seems to think on a local scale in many ways. People have different styles of governance, of course, but one must still think in terms of the scale they are bound to. Offering bounties does not seem like this to me…..

      • Oldmaninla says:

        I agree in your line of thought, but as I see the nation building, it is not one line approach solution. Seems like an approach to enter a forest to transform into a beautiful park. Dream comes first, then twist and turn are necessary given, then planning comes….let us see what happen next……the 16 millions Filipino had a dream. Change is one of the natural constant..

        My inspiration: Righteousness exalts the nation.

        hope for the best……hehehe……just a centavo opinion.

  7. Bert says:

    I liked most of what he said in the forum. But those were just words spoken for effect to wow the crowd as was his usual/normal ways, I think. I’m optimistic but not taken.

    I’m inclined to wait and see results after July 1. Not words but deeds and result, deeds and results, deeds and results, results, results…..I’m dying to see results.

    After all, the proof of the pudding is in the eating, isn’t that true?

    Would that make me a NIMBY? I doubt it.

  8. NHerrera says:

    On this I agree 101 percent:

    Let the critics of the Incoming Administration NOT do what they have done to President Aquino — a barrel full of NIMBYISM.

  9. josephivo says:

    What a difficult issue. NIMBY’s can be powerful drivers if better alternatives are available. People opposing a road might have better ideas, the government might have been lazy and just took the easiest solution, not the best. People might not be convinced due to a communication deficit. What are the NIMBY arguments? Can we mitigate them? NIMBY’s are warning lights, don’t sweep them under the carpet.

    Intellectually. When to support the good idea of your opponent/enemy? When to fight even his good arguments? Opposing his good argument can enrich the discussion. Not opposing, even his good arguments can strengthen the position of an evil man. How many vigilante killings justify better traffic on EDSA, or is it the other way around? Sometimes there have to be a limit to flexibility.

    Gina Lopez, a cosmetic nomination? Will she have any voice in a macho old men’s club?
    West Philippine Sea. “The” gist of the question is…. or “A” gist of the question is…. We were not present, no transcript available, no confirmation of the ambassador by my knowledge. Different explanations are possible.
    Manila Traffic. Why “special” executive authority? Because the normal process is not performing in a normal situation? Look at traffic problems everywhere. Change the normal process! Maybe with some “emergency” powers while doing so.

    I would strongly support to move the burden of proof a little in favor of the victims, to take a slightly higher risk in incriminating the innocent. But this attitude of “if you don’t agree, I’ll kill you” is difficult to swallow. I would like to hear “if you don’t agree, here are the better arguments” or “if you don’t agree, still follow the laws we democratically laid down” and if everything else fails: “if you don’t agree, I’ll put you in prison”. Crime might ruin lives, killing always ruins a life forever. And it is even more than the killings, it is the dangerous autocratic mind set.

    • Tem says:

      The points you raise are good. However, IMO we have erred too much on the safe side – of always looking at the other possibilities. This has led to paralysis.

      I would fully support intellectual discourse. I do not support what is passed off as legitimate dissent but are actually vested interests hiding behind otherwise “good” values. This has been a bane in our country and it will take strong leadership to correct it.

      BTW, if you suspect that Gina Lopez might be a cosmetic nomination, check out her track record of fights with the mighty powers behind the mining industry. If at all, she could cause paralysis in the industry rather than be a cute cosmetic member of the cabinet.

    • Joe America says:

      Absolutely agree, and what the article warns against is the blanket pre-judgment that never allows the critical arguments to get on the table, for all the posturing and name-calling. Yes, forthright criticism is valuable. So is breaking the character or generalized objections down into their component parts rather than transferring them to an agenda meant to undermine EVERY tough decision the President must make.

  10. LG says:

    Highly positive thinking, transformative with current information. My querry about Gina Lopez in another article was addressed.

  11. Vicara says:

    Other matters that were floated at the Davao conference, including the proposals presented by business to the Duterte adniministration:

    Some good things, on the face of it, a lot of them already floated at previous Mindanao conferences of this sort. But you have to wonder about possible motivations for other proposed actions from government.

    For example: The call from those present at the Davao economic forum to reduce “bottlenecks in the public-private partnership and other infrastructure projects.” Those PPT bottlenecks, which admittedly slowed things down early in the Aquino administration, have already been dealt with, and multilateral agencies this past year have expressed their appreciation for the speed at which PPT projects have been making their way up the pipeline. The Philippines’ PPT procedures and regulations, as they stand today, streamlined and improved, are being considered models for other countries to follow.

    So in the current context, an urgent call to “remove bottlenecks” in PPT might just mean that some quarters may wish to override or dismantle those pesky rules and regulations, regarding procurement and construction standards, especially. Forgive me if I’m wrong about this. I just happen to have a nastily suspicious mind.

    Also: I wonder about that national ID system that businessmen are suddenly so keen about. Do I want all my personal info in the hands of this admin? And possibly its online orc armies, to which the info might fight its way “by accident”? OK, this may just be paranoia on my part; but I’m throwing it out here.

    Also: There are clues as to where the incoming admin will get money—including cutting the conditional cash transfer program, one of the great successes of Aquino that the Duterte camp (pre-election) promised would continue: “The businessmen also called for a review of the conditional cash transfer (CCT) program. They said the CCT is perceived as one that promotes dependency on government. ‘Instead of CCT, the poor should be provided cash-for-work, livelihood and supplemental support,’ they said.” Hmn. Which businessmen made this particular proposal to the incoming president, I wonder? Businessmen generally focus on policies that would help them make more money, not on policies specific to the DE classes.

    So, Mme. Leftist Secretary of the DSWD, what will become of the CCT then? Is this how it is to be “improved” as the incoming administraton said earlier? The World Bank, which has praised the Philippines’ CCT program as one of the best in the world, helping to ensure the well-being of the next generation, was present at the Davao conference. Wish I could be a fly on the wall of THEIR next country meeting.

    I guess that, as a working professional, I should be happy about the call for reviewing our high rate of personal income tax. It’s certain to be a crowd-pleaser among the ABC crowd who voted for Duterte. But if the government cuts personal income tax and corporate taxes, it’ll have to get the money from somewhere else. Oh, I know: Let’s get it from the poorest, by slashing the CCT! Who even if they don’t like the incoming administration, have no say over anything. On Facebook and Twitter, they’re a negligible presence compared to the ABC. So they’re “do-able.” (This is a favorite Mindanao business conference word from of old; watch out for it.)

    But let us be optimistic. It’s just a bunch of businessmen brainstorming here, after all. Let’s await the deeds, after the words, as wise Manong Bert says.

    • Bert says:

      Manong Vicara, I read in the news that the new government will be implementing a daily feeding program for the poor. I can imagine forests of lugaw stands sprouting all over the Philippines from Appari to Jolo.

      In lieu of the CCT, :).

      • Vicara says:

        Sigh. To lighten the sting of CCT being slashed? Let’s see what happens. I don’t want to be a total nimbyist, really I don’t. (By the way: I’m a manang. 🙂 )

        • Bert says:

          I’m sorry about that, Manang, you just woke me up from my stupor ’cause I know about that before only that my brainwave skips sometimes, hehehe.

    • Joe America says:

      Nice round-up of several important issues. Paranoia can be an important driver of good deeds, so keep up with the good work, but take care if any tics or twitches develop. I can’t imagine a leftist Secretary going along with a cut in payouts to the poor, her constituents. It seems to me the appointment may just help mainstream leftist ideology with a pragmatic set of responsibilities and tough choices. I suspect the ever-calculating PE Duterte thinks the left will learn a thing or two about how hard it is to do government. It is not a matter of the government alone learning a thing or two from the left.

      • Vicara says:

        Right you are about the two-way learning, Joe. And it has crossed my mind that the Left will have to undergo the same growing-up process the MNLF did after it entered the fold in 1996. The revolutionary mindset doesn’t sit naturally with day-to-day administration. Ex-commanders become regular citizens, but still want to go about with an armed entourage as Misuari did, and remain accountable only to their group leader and themselves, not to bureaucratic authorities or the larger body of citizens. The MI witnessed what happened to the MN, and learned from it (one hopes).

        • LG says:

          Now for the first time, some leftists will be in the shoes of the governing right. Will they have a change of heart? How soon? For how long?

          Judy has charged and called Dinky a “hypocrite” for supposedly hiding street kids, may be families, as well, during the Pope’s visit.

    • From what I gathered, though he plans to slash both personal and corporate taxes, it seems that he’ll be compensating the budget by increasing VAT and other excise taxes?

      Slashing income taxes will give people more money for spending, thus increasing market activity. But on the other hand, the other tax increases will provide a counter effect, reducing market activity. So will it result in a gain on budget or not? I really can’t say if it’ll work because the changes seems to just balance out.

      But comparing it to other countries, this is what they seem to be doing already? Low income taxes but high sales tax? Maybe it would work?

      • Vicara says:

        The relatively thin middle class strata, those who are working with retirement still some way off, would be happy over slashed income taxes (personal income tax paid by Filipinos being so high compared to what our neighbors pay). Retirees, those with lower incomes, and the poor will be hard-hit by the higher VAT. Corporations will be happiest under the Duterte tax regime, I daresay.

        • A left president that supports business? Duterte lives up to being a man of contradictions. haha

          But on a serious note, looking at the possibilities, I think the tax reforms would be beneficial? Because though the middle class strata is relatively thin, they actually provide a huge bulk of shares for total income in the country. (32.2% for middle class & 25.1% for lower middle class.)

          Rather than trying to force them to pay high income taxes, the government could lower it encouraging income tax payments. And to make up for the lost income tax revenue, the government can then tax citizen spending. Because since the citizens would have more money with the reduced income tax, spending would also probably increase among that group. The government, in a sense, will be able to generate a ‘bigger’ budget. Bigger in a sense that the possible target budget would be larger because collections would be made much easier as we won’t have to chase after disgruntled overtaxed citizens?

          If this would be the case, slashing CCT probably won’t be necessary. Social welfare programs can even be ramped up with the increased budget, thus uplifting some of the poor to middle class, thus more spending, thus more government income, thus more budget again? And not to mention that these kind of tax reforms are probably business friendly, thus we can probably also expect an improvement in market activity thus also improvement in employment status?

          But do note that these are just quick and dirty assumptions. Don’t take my word for it. =D

          • Vicara says:

            We’ll know soon enough, intuitiveperceiving, whether the CCT will be slashed or not, and who gets the breaks. My guess is that the middle class and the working young, who had been deliberately stoked into anger for election purposes, will get a lot of the breaks. A populist president needs his populace. Business will get the breaks, for the usual reasons. Everything will of course have to be balanced against increased spending in sectors targeted by the incoming administration, i.e. infrastructure. The budget can be balanced, in one way or another. Am not so sure about social equity being improved, or being part of the immediate agenda. As others have pointed out, the PE is of a pragmatic bent. Things that do not require urgent attention will be put on the back burner. “You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me.” (Matthew 26:11).

            But one can be pretty certain that he is not a leftist president; and if one looks back on his track record as mayor, it’s clear he was never a leftist mayor either, although he and his team make use of leftist jargon when it suits. He’s been friendly with anyone of whatever ideological stripe who doesn’t cross him, and who prove themselves… proactive, let’s just say. And those he’s been friendly with, from oligarchs to armchair revolutionaries enjoying the good life in exile, get that.

        • karlgarcia says:

          I am still dreaming for more take home pay by no tax except vat,ala fair tax.It has not been done anywhere,because like all proposals,it is easier said than done.

      • LG says:

        Vat is too high a sales tax, as it is. The poor pays it too, though they may not be regular income tax filers. Kim Henares should have become a senator to craft reformative tax laws. But maybe not. She needs a well deserved rest.

        The highest sales tax in a US city was or still is 10% (NYC). Maybe no longer. Does anyone know?

  12. Bert says:

    Paging karl the Chief Librarian, I need help. Can you please dig up about this rumor that Ms. Gina Lopes was a former radicalized leftist who ‘went up the mountain then came down again’ to live normal life? I tried but failed.

    • karlgarcia says:

      Before my research.Lopez family is into fossil fuels,I see a big disconnect,is blood thicker than DENR.

      • karlgarcia says:

        Still not an answer,how can she wear jewellry and be anti mining, those may have been mined here,it so so happened that she bought it in New York…now on to your question…I will be back.

    • karlgarcia says:

      I have nothing my friend,all I have is Joma Sison sort of endorsing her.

    • Vicara says:

      Haven’t heard about her having gone UG as a leftist revolutionary. But prior to her becoming an environmentalist, she and her then spouse were members of Ananda Marga, and stayed at an affiliate ashram in India. Don’t know if she fully adopted the ascetic lifestyle of a sunnyasi, e.g. daily begging, but one imagines that the experience must have shaped her convictions as an environmentalist, even if she no longer follows Ananda Marga practices.

      • from rigobertotiglao:

        And after Lennon left the guru, young Americans and Europeans—even a Filipina, Gina Lopez of that powerful clan—were backpacking all over India looking for their gurus and joining ashrams. It certainly inspired me to move from book-learned hatha yoga, to a group of kriya yoga practitioners, and then in the mid-1970s, to the extremely controversial Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, or Osho.

        • bill in oz says:

          Giancarlo,the last 2 days we have spent a lot of time in Makati.. And again I wonder how it is maintained in such a clean modern state.. There are no walls or guardians at the gates.. So how come no venders blocking the sidewalks, no beggars, no pedal trikes etc.?

          ps : Ananda marga were the free love yoga sect back in the 1970’s.. But later acquired a reputation for violence in Australia

          • If you go by the areas around the business district around 4-5AM you will see jeepneys picking up the people other people call badjaos.

            They return on the afternoons. I believe it is the heat that gets to them.

            If you call the Brgy police which establishments routinely do they are picked up/ shooed away. this is of course done in such an efficient manner that people who dont live in makati wont notice it.

            Vendors in the CBD are generally inconspicuous they blend with the crowd. This is because if they don’t blend they may well be pushed out of the CBD.

            While walking through Ayala ave you will notice people not smoking but seated or selling cigarettes among office workers smoking. These are cigarette/candy/phone load vendors.

            Sometimes you will notice in space between buildings people with plastic containers. These are the vendors of cheap rice meals that receptionist, security guards etc buy from. This is because the JollyJeep or the food stalls that pay rent to cityhalls tend to be a bit more expensive a few pesos below the fast food equivalent and thus really not for most office workers.

            Lots of example like this. If you have a construction nearby along ayala/salcedo/buendia etc expect a similar lady with notebook selling food on loan although personal observation makes me believe that most are now on cash basis.

            In makati you can have an official stall by talking to the homes in front of the place you want to put your mobile eatery. Get a permit from cityhall for around 300 pesos. Start selling.

            The day time population of 5M really concentrates buying power and thus creates a good eco system of micro business ventures.

            • bill in oz says:

              Thank you Giancarlo.. That fills me in. We also went into a store to get load on a phone.. No ac.. a cut below the big stores with cheap food for those on lower incomes

            • LG says:

              Wow. Illuminating Giancarlo. Best local business practices.

  13. uht says:

    Re on power plants and replacement energy:

    A hard problem with building said massive solar panel manufacturing plants is the large amount of rare earth metals needed to facilitate the construction of said panels. This is not a problem in and of itself, except China controls a large portion of rare earth metal extraction right now. Of course options for mining them can be explored in the Philippines itself, but I imagine this will still need Chinese help. If this option is explored, the NIMBY-management abilities of Gina Lopez will be severely tested.

    On a slightly better note, if Duterte is planning to warm relations with China in the future, help in starting this industry here could be one of the things he could ask for.

    Link for context:

  14. karlgarcia says:

    Re: AFP Modernization scrapping

    I am still at a wait and see.He would not just return the airplanes and Frigates to Korea,or will he?

    I am at a wait and see stance.I am guaging it with his dare to the US ambassador to match the Chinese offer.

    The bright side here is for the DND to finalize their program to be flexible to our ever changing needs,may it be internal or external defense.

    because even our internal defense needs modernization.

  15. As always, good read Mr. Joe. =D

    And with regards to ‘intellectual NIMBY’, it seems to be something along the lines of ‘hugas kamay’ in tagalog?

    I was actually discussing with some friends something similar a few days ago. But rather than just NIMBY that places the burden on Duterte, we were discussing more on about why many non-Duterte supporters are also putting the burden on the 16 million voters that put him there. That how blaming these 16 million people for what may happen with the country is appropriate and just.

    As for the takeaways on the discussion, it seems we’ve arrived to a consensus that playing the blame game really won’t help. If we really want to avoid the possible consequences of the incoming administration, we really should do something about it rather than just point fingers.

    And also, rather than say:

    “This is your fault! Look at what is happening.”

    Why not:

    “Look at what is happening. What can we actually do about it?”

    Because doesn’t the latter line of thinking motivate more action among the people than the former?

    And also, to shed some light on the blame game with regards to the incoming administration, it was brought up in the discussion that some people may be operating on a too much of a consequentialist framework of viewing things. Like there were right votes and wrong votes and a du30 vote is and will always be a wrong vote. And there is probably something wrong with that? Because other than that there is actually still not much stuff to judge Duterte’s action on, people are probably focusing too much on the negatives when there are indeed positives?

    However, I would still like to say that the consequentialist view isn’t actually entirely wrong as we really cannot dismiss the possible consequences of a Du30 administration. These fears can still actually happen. though we could adopt a ‘wait and see’ stance, to be frank, our future with Duterte is actually very uncertain.

    But then again, regarding these possible consequences, can we actually not do anything to minimize it before we become like frogs in boiling water? It is just that from what I can see, if we are talking about the future of this country, the incoming administration has indeed offered a great possibility of change. The catch however is the people will probably surely play a HUGE part on what kind of changes we will be able to achieve. Apparently, the burden is really actually on all of us. And if we won’t do anything about it, likely as a whole nation, lalong walang mangyayari sa atin.

    But that’s probably how it should’ve always been in the first place? However, I think none can actually deny that the adversity that we have now is something that we can surely utilize for legitimate change. Lot’s of discourses everywhere. haha

    • Joe America says:

      Thanks, glad you enjoyed the read, IP. It would be nice to get away from the blame game. I think that is going against the grain of human nature, but there might be a pack of opinion leaders who give it up and start focusing on problem solving. Perhaps it will be catching . . .

  16. Francis says:

    A clear and simple article that manages to strike a balance between being critical of the President and offering support. Nice 🙂

    Exciting times indeed…let us hope that the pluses outweigh the negatives for these coming six years…

  17. Andres III says:

    Nice article, well said and balance. Hope other bloggers will write like you, most of them, either Pro-D or not, are pure bullsh*t.

    • Joe America says:

      There, there, Andres, everybody does their best. The distinction is that we in the Society have only one agenda, what is best for the Philippines, and a goal to be intelligent and civil as we debate what that means. Other blogs do their thing and I only judge one harshly, that GRP mass of twisted sick mental illness. haha (They banned me, not that bothers me, the arrogant pissants.) 🙂 🙂 Someday I’ll do a blog about them saying what I really think.

  18. jeff says:

    His question was designed to undermine the US alliance. That is not how a long time ally should talk. He already said he won’t go to war with China so therefore there is no need to ask that question. Unless, the goal is to undermine the US in the eyes of the Filipino public.

    • Andres III says:

      I am interested what was the answer of the US?

    • karlgarcia says:

      maybe he is just being a copy cat.

    • Joe America says:

      It probably was a question best reserved for private discussions, so maybe there was a bit of posturing there. Only President Elect Duterte knows for sure. In the end, it is totally up to the Philippines whether they want US assets here. The US will protect international sailing and flying rights across the South China and West Philippine Seas even if the Philippines again tosses the US out. Or even if the Philippines becomes a subsidiary state of China. It is interesting, however, that Viet Nam is embracing a warming alliance with the US, as are other ASEAN states . . . while the PH is, what? Giving up? The Philippines will be forever known as the nation that did not know it was winning when it was winning.

      That all presumes PE Duterte ends up being the sole voice speaking for the nation. The Congress, the courts and the people just follow along.

  19. Edgar Lores says:

    1. What is the opposite of a NIMBY?

    2. I have two possible answers:

    o A pragmatist
    o A Buddhist

    2.1. A pragmatist is one who “is practical and focused on reaching a goal.”

    o Duterte is a pragmatist
    o So is JoeAm

    2.2. A Buddhist is one who does not see good and evil as absolutes but as relational. A Buddhist says, “Good? Bad? Who knows?”

    2.3. The difference between a pragmatist and a Buddhist is, I think, the former believes the end justifies the means. A Buddhist thinks and acts not in terms of outcome but in terms of intent. If the intent of the action is virtuous then the result is virtuous. However, the action itself will reap good or bad karma.

    2.4. A key difference between Duterte and a Buddhist is that Duterte is unconditionally willing to do harm. A Buddhist will do no harm. He may conditionally do harm to avoid a greater harm… and he is willing to accept the karmic consequences.

    2.5. I surmise the difference between Duterte and JoeAm is much similar. Both are pragmatists… but certain means are anathema to JoeAm. One might say he is a “buddhistic” pragmatist.

    3. As for me, I am neither pragmatist nor Buddhist. I remain an agnostic NIMBY. Meaning I will recognize Duterte’s “good” decisions for what they are. But I will never accept that his means justify the ends.

    3.1. He is not a nice man.

    • Joe America says:

      Ah, my. So insightful. Perfectly stated.

    • bill in oz says:

      Edgar, The Buddha was an agnostic and a NIMBY.! Thanks again for the gift of your clarity to all of us.
      In a few months the means he uses & will be responsible for, in pursuing his ends, will be apparent

    • mercedes santos says:

      Thanks Edgar for clearing my head out of its resident rocks. Banzai, my friend.

      • Edgar Lores says:

        Mercedes, my friend,

        Clearing one’s head is to make it empty. Now, some people say that emptiness (vacuity) is ignorance. Again, I turn to Buddhism, from which the concept of emptiness (sunyata) is a central teaching. The concept is so profound that I struggle with it.

        From Thanissaro Bhikku: “Emptiness as a mental state… means a mode of perception in which one neither adds anything to nor takes anything away from what is present, noting simply, ‘There is this.'”

        The closest expression of the idea in the Western world is, I believe, Blake’s the “cleansing of the doors of perception.”

        When one does that, one sees clearly.

        • Joe America says:

          And extremely difficult to do for a species with id, ego and associated emotions clouding the data. And poor memory, haha.

        • josephivo says:

          Thinking in circles, the same thoughts again and again, repeating in your mind thoughts that lead to nowhere. This happened to me often, especially when I’m stressed or too emotional. Luckily, long time ago, the Dutch national radio had slots for religious programs and the Buddhists where allocated one hour a month. I discovered this on a long drive when they were teaching how to control your breathing, very interesting. I stopped on the first parking to follow there instructions, fascinating, how just concentrating on breathing and not allowing any other thoughts can bring your brain to a halt. It was like hitting the restart button of a computer after it had slowed down to an almost standstill, all programs working again. After the exercise I can see the big picture again, see how my previous thoughts were covering only a small part of the problem. But creating this time out is not always easy, I really need some strong motivation, but mostly it works for me.

    • NHerrera says:


      Reading Edgar above, my mind drifts to the concept of dissonance. Man, I believe goes through the day with many dissonant items but has developed a way of handling them without much distress, except for major ones. Now let us talk about the major ones, the subject of the series of Joe’s blogs lately.

      In the case of many contributors here, we are able to handle these conflicting or dissonant items through time, giving due consideration to the factors that surround one dissonant element and likewise to the factors that surround the other element. By so doing and some critical thinking one is able to get out of the distress that those dissonant elements present and sometime come-up with associated soliutions.

      In the case of the PE and his more analytic supporters — giving them the benefit of real concern for the welfare of the populace — it is a case of choosing, in their view, the best element of this dissonance and act “efficiently” to achieve the goal for that chosen element, setting aside the other conflicting element which is important but seem less so because of the pressing current need for the chosen element.

      The procedure seems to be a series of step-wise optimal moves through time . The problem I see is the cost — in both resources and SOCIAL costs — that have to be spent in the process, considering that in moving on to the next element, the previous element has or remains to be tended to. This is so since its resolution was done in an unorthodox culturally-unpalatable way hence resisted. IN SHORT, step-wise optimality over say 5 periods is not optimal for the whole 5 periods — both in resources and social costs. There is the matter of a likely unraveling of efforts and achievements through time. The problem is magnified if the scope is one of a country of 100 million compared to a city or province.

  20. andrewlim8 says:

    If you can get past the headline it is actually a good choice.

    ” Duterte names ex schoolmate Rodolfo Salalima DICT head”

    he he

    • Vicara says:

      Yes, it looks like trapo politics, but sometimes appointees happen to be well-qualified, even if they were chosen because of old school ties. For example, a schoolmate of President Estrada, Domingo Siazon Jr, was Secretary of Foreign Affairs. (He had served earlier in the same post under FVR,) Improbably–given Estrada’s reputation for running with the wrong kind of barkada, even while president–Siazon had a physics degree from Tokyo University and a master’s degree from Harvard’s Kennedy School, and proved himself quite able. So that worked out well. By all accounts, Salalima is a good choice.

      Thing is, the notion of politics and governance driven by personal relationships is reinforced both by such headlines and by such presidential choices. Effort should be made all around to point out that personal ties should not be the primary consideration. Which goes the grain of tradition. Hoping Team Duterte makes the effort.

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  1. […] NIMBY attitude – which was discussed in Joe’s old blog ‘Not in my backyard‘. […]

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