Open discussion: It’s the economy always the economy.

[Photo source: trendingph]

By Joe America

A facebook commentary by Coalition Against Darkness and Dictatorship – CADD provides a fascinating perspective on Duterte’s hastily scheduled trip to Japan. The concessions he has allegedly had to make strip him of his revolutionary ambitions, and even national martial law. It’s the economy, sportsfans, the economy.

1. Inflation up to 3.7%.
2. FDIs down 91%.
3. Peso down 16%.
4. Economy on deficit territory.
5. Depleted foreign reserves.
6. An almost fourth world stocks exchange

It seems a good starting point for round three of our open discussions.


198 Responses to “Open discussion: It’s the economy always the economy.”
  1. Wilfredo G. Villanueva says:

    We use economic indicators to measure our leaders. Their demeanor, policies, pronouncements, off-the-cuff, Rorschach-test interviews come into play. Don’t take the President’s speeches literally, Palace spinmasters insist. Maybe some of us locals can give President Duterte the benefit of the doubt, but not hot money, FDIs, subcon hunters. They will sooner than later drop us quicker than you can say EJK. It’s the economy, for sure. But before the effect, the cause. So it’s the President, sweetybunch.

  2. Yes, “follow the money”. I can not keep up with the games that are going on elsewhere. Much talk of investment etc.Maybe it is too early to see any tangible results, may be not? I try and monitor this and see very little as of yet. Starting with the web and cell phone connections, two relatively low hanging fruit, compared with the rest that needs to be done here, I want to see concrete thought through investment proposals. Yes, the balanced use of outside foreign companies.
    But as these economic stats indicate, not very promising as of yet.
    In the immortal words of John Lee Hooker., “walks the walk and talks the talk.”, far too much of the latter at the moment.
    Thanks Mr Joe. More real in depth stuff on this might be good. Rappler throws out the odd bits, but it is very hard making any sense of anything here at the moment, (deliberate maybe?)

    • Thanks, Jonathan. I’m on vacation at the moment, and this article is just a teaser for discussion. I agree, it would be good to have a clear parsing of both the economic and strategic implications of President Duterte’s work.

  3. Abe is the only one who can rein Duterte in.

    His NOT being white is an advantage given Duterte’s known prejudices.

    And of course his mastery of the Asian game of face towards an insecure junior partner.

    • madlanglupa says:

      Looks more like it’s going to be, as Abe is on the rebound, playing the game, maybe now lasting much longer than any of his predecessors.

      • Abe is where Merkel isn’t yet: reelected. Things are still tense over here.

        • NHerrera says:

          Irineo, if you can favor me with a reply — lazy this morning to do some googling. Does that mean that Merkel is still searching for that favorable but illusive Coalition?

            • NHerrera says:

              Thanks for the link, karl. I think you have answered my question. I believe, Irineo is still asleep in Munich.

              • Good morning. There are pretty complex negotiations going on. Point by point, the 3 groups that want a coalition (centrist-conservative, liberal, green) are trying to find compromises on points were they usually say there is no compromise, that are normally matters of principle.

                Only when a coalition agreement is in place and accepted by the four parties involved will the Bundestag proceed to vote Angela Merkel as Chancellor again. For now, she is “acting”.

                The OFFICIAL coalition talks have not even begun. The decision on whether to start with coaltion talks will be taken by the CDU after a closed door meeting on November 17. This is of course classic Merkel, let the others talk and keep her cards close until the very end.

                Each political party has its positive and negative wishes, the preliminary talks taking place now with 30 experts all in all have the goal of finding a consensus. The Greens and the Liberals have met by themselves before. Both were invited to Munich recently by the CSU.

                Broadband internet, improving education, energy and climate, migration and refugees, social security and pension, medical insurance, digitalization.. so many topics. Mid-November the tax experts will have to check the numbers and see where they may have to cut things.


                IF and WHEN the coalition talks start in late November, they might be marathon talks. Points already clarified in principle will be discussed in detail. Finally the coalition agreement will have to ratified by the four parties. Measures in it then become laws/measures in the next 4 years.

                One more thing which has not yet OFFICIALLY been on the table is POSITIONS. Merkel of course forms the government when she is elected, but usually the game of give and take when it comes to party programs also includes which positions which political parties get.


                The goal is to have the official election before Christmas, with Merkel announcing her Cabinet soon after because it is already agreed upon. Failure is NOT really an option, because I don’t think anyone wants elections again. Or a very unstable “tolerated minority government”.

              • Edgar Lores says:

                I like that the preliminary talks encompass a welter of issues that will become the legislative agenda after a coalition is formed. The talks winnow talking points, clarify them and refine the positions of the parties. This is conducive to consensus.

                But the first point of purpose points to the discovery of what things must be done. The second point of refinement points to how things can be done. And the third point of consensus points to eventual productivity.

                As you say, Irineo, this is a mathematical approach to legislation and governance.

                This is so many lightyears ahead of how things are done in our country. Where the legislative agenda is at the whim of the president, and the legislature is every-man-for-himself.

              • NHerrera says:

                GOOD MORNING TO YOU!

                Thanks for obliging, Irineo: I can see the complexity from your note. The nice thing about the German mind, if I may, is its trait of logic and orderliness. Self and Group interests are there, as in other places, tackling that kind of problem, but that trait, I believe, is sure to win the day.

              • NHerrera says:

                Amen to your note above, edgar!

              • @NHerrera – you’re welcome. Actually I found it boring before, see my old article Personalities vs. Politics. Now I find boring a bit better than too much hair-raising excitement.

                @Edgar – my process of politically getting “woke” over here took about a decade or more. Most Filipinos or of Filipino background only care about living well and don’t care how it is organized in the background, hence I also fell for a populist like Schröder in 1998. Found the negotiations for one coalition (I think it was 2005, the first Merkel coalition, I was fed up with Schröder but skeptical about Merkel, as politically astute as most Filipinos back home today) BOORING as they discussed days whether social security should be 18.8 or 19.1 per cent of gross income. Tangina pareho lang iyan! But it was about balancing long term vs. short term.

                SOME growing up has taken place in the Filipino body politic – notice how conspiciously absent everyone else was during Duterte’s Japan visit. People did protest – pera natin iyan. Before it was just the money of the government, miraculously there to spend at will.

                I particularly like PABs post about the economic situation as she breaks it down in a language the common people understand. From the price of fuel to other things. Develop awareness!

                OK, the German discussion has some occasional showbiz. Liberal boss Lindner versus Green co-boss (Greens have two) Özdemir face off sometimes. Probably both want to become Foreign Minister. Knowing Merkel, none of them will. Just guessing.

  4. karlgarcia says:

    The Philippines: former sick man of Asia suffers relapse
    Mark BeesonMay 9, 2016 7.17pm AEST

    Reuters/Romeo Ranoco
    Just when you might have thought the Philippines was on the mend, morbid symptoms of untreated problems re-emerge. It really shouldn’t be this way.
    It may seem hard to believe in retrospect, but in the aftermath of the second world war, many commentators – especially in the US – thought the Philippines would be Asia’s star economic and political performer. How wrong can you be?
    The pundits can be forgiven for their optimism. The Philippines had the distinction of being the US’s only formal imperial possession, and – unlike some of its competitors in the region – it was eventually bequeathed a democratic system of sorts. When combined with a population with high levels of English competence compared to its neighbours, the omens looked positive.
    Unlike some of its authoritarian neighbours in the rest of Asia, however, the Philippines suffered from a number of critical flaws that would see its economy languish while much of the rest of the region took off economically. The Philippine state may have been democratic, but it was hopelessly ineffective, and captured by the nation’s powerful and unreformed landed aristocracy.
    Corruption, “rent-seeking” and predation are not unknown in other parts of the world, but they reached epic proportions in the Philippines – most notoriously under former strongman Ferdinand Marcos. The state became a vehicle for looting both the wealth of the country and the material support provided by the Philippines’ pivotal Cold War ally, the US.
    Alarmingly, many voters in the Philippines now remember the political oppression, corruption and brutality of the Marcos era with fondness. This tells you all you need to know about the current state of the country.
    Not only has the Marcos clan been rehabilitated politically – his son, the unfortunately nicknamed “Bongbong”, is currently running for the vice presidency – but other prospective leaders have taken a leaf out of the Marcos playbook.
    No student of Philippine politics has been more assiduous in this regard than Rodrigo Duterte, the mayor of Davao City. Duterte has made his name and secured political support by brutally cracking down on crime – not least by tolerating flagrant violations of the law, including extra-judicial killings of drug dealers and political opponents.
    Nicknamed “The Punisher”, these policies have proved popular with people who are tired of lawlessness and insecurity. Duterte says he will take the same approach on the national stage, promising to kill 100,000 criminals and feed their bodies to the fish.
    Such rhetoric, along with advocating rape, criticising the pope and threatening conflict with China, is par for the Duterean course. He makes Donald Trump look measured and statesman-like by comparison.
    All of this might be mildly titillating, perhaps, if it wasn’t so important and symptomatic of a more widespread malaise that’s affecting the region and the world. Democracy is in serious trouble just about everywhere, and the Phillipine exemplar isn’t going to help matters – if it survives at all, given Duterte’s threat to abolish congress and install a revolutionary government.
    In reality this is unlikely to happen. The military in the Philippines has launched numerous coups against democratically elected governments over the years, and there are already rumblings about yet another one if a Dutertean regime takes power. While the military has little difficulty supporting despots, Duterte’s pragmatic attitude toward communist insurgents is likely to prove too much for the leadership of the armed forces.
    As in Thailand, the military has never quite come to terms with the principles that are supposed to underpin civil-military relations in a democracy. Consequently, democracy remains fragile – and not terribly effective.
    At least some of the Philippines’ neighbours enjoyed the benefits of rapid state-led economic development while they put up with authoritarianism. The Philippines has suffered the worst of all possible worlds.
    But, there has been a noteworthy uptick in the economic performance of the Philippines during the presidency of the outgoing Benigno Aquino. Even this needs to be put in context, however. More than 10% of the Philippines’ GDP is generated by remittances from the estimated ten million Filipinos who work overseas. If a country’s principal export is its own people, it rather suggests that all is not well.
    People are the one thing that the Philippines is not short of, though. Since Marcos was kicked out in 1986, the population in this very Catholic country has doubled to more than 100 million. The impact on the natural environment and the rapidly disintegrating infrastructure of cities like Manilla is depressingly easy to see.
    Optimists (and economists) will no doubt argue that the Philippines is poised to reap a demographic dividend from its youthful population. If it does, it’s likely to come in the form of increased remittances from overseas. The incentives to leave might be even greater under a Dutertean presidency.

    • Sabtang Basco says:

      Philippine economy is like Philippine presidency … it follows a pattern …
      Good president followed by bad president followed by Good president followed by bad president … the president prior to Duterte was good president then by bad Duterte and the next president will be good then bad …

      … the economy follows the good and the bad and the good … IT WORKS ALL THE TIME …

      • NHerrera says:

        Yes, indeed, the up and down cycle is reflected clearly in the Performance Chart of the Presidents in the following link, starting with Cory Aquino, with Benigno Aquino’s the mildest in the downturn. The term of Estrada was cut short; and that of Duterte is uncompleted. But do we expect Duterte’s Administration to average flat over 6 years? Not if one ponders on the tickler items listed by Joe. If the average trend is flat over 6 years, we will be living in a fantasy or magical world.

      • Miela says:

        Sounds like the Philippines has a bad case of bipolar disorder.

    • NHerrera says:

      karl, a very relevant article relating to the short but timely tickler-blog of Joe. Among the items posted above, I would like to highlight the following paragraphs:

      At least some of the Philippines’ neighbours enjoyed the benefits of rapid state-led economic development while they put up with authoritarianism. The Philippines has suffered the worst of all possible worlds.

      But, there has been a noteworthy uptick in the economic performance of the Philippines during the presidency of the outgoing Benigno Aquino. Even this needs to be put in context, however. More than 10% of the Philippines’ GDP is generated by remittances from the estimated ten million Filipinos who work overseas. If a country’s principal export is its own people, it rather suggests that all is not well.

      Optimists (and economists) will no doubt argue that the Philippines is poised to reap a demographic dividend from its youthful population. If it does, it’s likely to come in the form of increased remittances from overseas. The incentives to leave might be even greater under a Dutertean presidency.

      • In today’s world, Filipinos might be running out of places to go to. What then?

        • sonny says:

          This is so frustrating to witness, Irineo. I need to close my eyes and wish for the leadership of a re-incarnated Ramon Magsaysay, utilising the know-how of a Balisacan or a Winnie Monsod, under watchful eyes of a cadre of Plaridel Garcias and Sonny Trillaneses, infused assists by an Abe and a Merkel maybe, a bureaucracy under Roxas and FPpnoy, an inspired stewardship of Leni Robredo working on segments DE and ABC can follow … If these come true, then no need to wake me up.

      • chemrock says:

        NHERRERA “More than 10% of the Philippines’ GDP is generated by remittances from the estimated ten million FilipinoS”

        There is a great misconception of the role of remittances and its contribution to the economy. On what basis is the 10% derived? If its from the aggregate remittances, which I think most definitely is, than it is missing the woods for the trees. When that happens, policies get misguided.

        I’m squeezing some time to put together another economy blog that runs counter to the admin’s views that the Philippines economy is sailing smoothly, nothing to worry about. The remittance issue is discussed there,

        Been busy with my new endeavours to put food on the table.

  5. Sabtang Basco says:

    INFLATION creeping up but not halloween proportion compared to mid-2014.

    FOREIGN DIRECT INVESTMENT spiked late 2013 yet looking like camel’s back since then up-down-up-down

    STOCK EXCHANGE historic high ever

    USD to PHP EXCHANGE RATE looking rosy for OFWs but not for those earning local money

    STOCK EXCHANGE hit record level ever

    BALANCE OF TRADE historically always in the negative but this time it is in the darkest territory

    IF there is negative balance of trade peso loses value.
    If peso loses value, OFWs happy, more discretionary income
    More discretionary income more money to spend locally
    More money to spend consumer index shoots up
    consumer index shoots up so does stock exchange

    OFWs do not care about FDIs … they are already priming their children to go abroad to troll for jobs nobody wanted.

    Real estate and condominium sales are more geared towards OFWs not for local income-earners.

    Like in the U.S. if there is boom in real estate there is trickle down boom on furnitures and appliances … since Philippines is not a manufacturing country there will be more imports of appliances … since Philippines is not agricultural country there will be more imports of apples, cheeses and luxury items causing Balance of Trade Deficits that cause Peso to drop that inspires parents to send children to work abroad … it is a cycle.

    • Three or more links puts you into moderation. Links should be reference sources for meaningful comments made here, and not form the content of a comment. Imagine that the readers are your boss. You would not hand him a bunch of links and tell him he needs to read them. You’d provide analysis. I’m starting to think links are too easy and allow us to be lazy (not a comment directed to you, but the general audience).

    • NHerrera says:

      Those may be facts, but they have to be put together.

      Meaning, Items B, C, D are good, Item A is bad; but since there are more items that are good does not mean that put together they are net good, cycle notwithstanding.

  6. NHerrera says:

    Joe, thanks for stirring the discussion to what will, to my mind, certainly dominate the Philippine socio-economic-political climate in two years if not sooner. No amount of trolling of Mocha’s army of trolls and sleight-of-hand or pangbabastos of Andanar, Panelo, Roque; and wooing of a wary AFP will help.

    Your short blog today will doubtless stimulate a lot of us here as it has done already. This is a gut issue.

  7. Miela says:

    Does chempo still hangout here? Infeel his economic analysis will be helpful.

  8. popoy says:


    I was four, saw and heard the worst
    with dad pushing cart of sacks of rice
    for distribution to neighborhood.

    Filipinos hungry eating leaves of camote
    children eating binatog in air raid shelters
    old men smoking rolled
    dried leaves of grasses
    heard that soldier invaders say

    Piripino taksan taksan dorobo
    BUT when it was ascertain
    the GIs were coming
    people gathered lined up
    only to be shot by soldiers.

    We were very few then compared to
    hundred millions more now.
    But we survived because
    our reasons for beings having been
    that way: inventive,

    Now we are floating in
    most dangerous stormy sea
    the perfect storm in the horizon
    comes sizzling closing by
    to hurt and crush us.

    In old age I am no longer scared
    Filipinos will survive anything
    even their own dorobos
    except kingdom come.

    • NHerrera says:

      Nice Popoy. But Filipinos demonstrated resilience and ability to survive may relate too to the dog-eat-dog mentality of Alvarez, Aquirre, Andanar, Roque and their kind — of which there are many hereabouts?

      • NHerrera says:

        That is, taksan taksan Andanar, Roque, Aquirre.

      • NHerrera says:

        Closer home to the current blog article, I hope it will not come to requiring taksan taksan or sacks of paper money to buy a few camotes. 🙂

      • Agoncillo did write that WW2 severely damaged the morality of the Filipino.

        For each story of heroism there might have been a story of betrayal, I think.

      • popoy says:

        NHerrera old boy thanks
        old nuggets there’s
        old gold beneath the dust,
        wear old shoes,
        pocket your old watch
        ride in old car
        live in an old house
        be an old grandpa
        stare at your old love
        feel old like a vintage poem
        smell old like a legacy
        smile old like a heritage
        talk old common nonsense
        be old pride of old wisdom
        sleep like old justice
        die old like old wine.

        • popoy says:

          HABOL heh, heh,

          forget old cares like
          people disliking oldies
          because to be old
          got the guts to grow old
          only to be older and
          older than the young
          who have no old things
          like old flame heating
          igniting old libido’s loins
          to be or not to be old
          is to have or have not
          the young power of old.

        • NHerrera says:

          Popoy, I do not have the your poetic touch, but this I can say: notwithstanding what happens around, including our politics, I and my wife — sa edad natin feel content. This is partly because we see our extended family feeling reasonably content too. Hooray for old age like old wine!

  9. methersgate says:

    Inflation is not serious, yet. The peso may well continue to fall, and that will generate higher levels of “imported inflation” over the next year.

    An Administration which threatens to collect taxes by “shakedowns” of businesses is not going to attract FDI; the notorious uncertainty of doing business in the Philippines has grown even worse.

    But inward FDI is only half the picture; what about investment overseas by Filipino corporations and individuals?

    Certainty in the legal regime and in the tax regime are essential for investment.

    We are seeing less certainty in both, and an unfortunate increase in “cronyism”.

    The Administration has made big promises on pay for the Police and for the AFP. It has done nothing about the modernisation of the AFP and we must conclude that it doesn’t have the money to continue the modernisation started by Aquino.

    The price of fuel and the price of food are only going one way…

    Let us imagine that Duterte announces his “revolutionary Government” – what would the effect on the economy be? It would be “Venezuelan”…

    • NHerrera says:

      Granting Duterte has not read Robert Frost because of his life’s preoccupation, I hope that some part in him appreciates Frost’s:

      The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
      But I have promises to keep,
      And miles to go before I sleep,
      And miles to go before I sleep.

    • Sabtang Basco says:

      “An Administration which threatens to collect taxes by “shakedowns” of businesses is not going to attract FDI; the notorious uncertainty of doing business in the Philippines has grown even worse.”

      Here are how shakedown of businesses and uncertainties of doing business in the Philippines:
      1. Torre de Manila. Almost done the shakers swoop in telling Philippine Media Torre de Manila is photobombing Jose Rizal monument. Now, they want it tear down UNLESS … of course … there is always UNLESS.
      2. SM Seaside Mall in Cebu. Everything approved. Mall almost finished. Then the shakers came for the shake: Sidewalks not up to code so are the sewers.
      3. Riprap in Boracay and Palawan. All approved. Owner spent so much. DENR came for a shake down. Rip that riprap for environmental reason.
      4. Bataan Nuclear Plant. Done. Before the switch was installed Philippine geologists said it was sitting on an earthquake fault. Gosh, not their fault. Who approved it anyways?
      5. Americans providing free security to Philippine Sea. Their vessel ran aground. Americans fined for destroying precious coral.

      To name a few … among many.

      Who’d want to FDI in the Philippines? Unless they are kamikaze investors. Absolutely not Duterte’s fault.

      • Torre de Manila was a strange matter for me. In Munich we had a referendum against tall buildings because of some photobombs that traditionalists said destroyed the city look.

        But no projects already under construction were changed because of that. Projects still in a certain stage after the referendum went in favor of a height limit (I voted against) had to be revised for smaller buildings just in case.

        But changing laws/rules retroactively is a no go, in any normal place.


        but I think the Duterte-era shakedowns are:

        Philweb (Ongpin -> Araneta)


        Inquirer (Mile Long and Dante Ang)

        hmm… I think there were a few more.

      • NHerrera says:

        I have the impression that businessmen are so hard-nosed that if there is a certain climate which says 15 percent bribe is the norm, or a shakedown regime as a norm, that is no problem because it is a “known” item and can be factored in. But if there are factors that cannot be factored in, say, great uncertainty in the actions of the Leader, then that is altogether a different banana. The FDI slowdown relates to the latter in no small measure, I believe.

        • Bribes can be factored in, just like taxes, but many international firms now have very strict policies on transparency and non-corruption. The trend towards transparency has been observable since the 1990s. The 1980s and before had way more corrupt EU, US etc.

          Shakedown can mean you lose everything you invested. Even just losses are already bad. Might even mean someone else gets to make money from the factory that you built.

          • NHerrera says:

            Just adding a bit here, Irineo: the antidote to a looming shakedown, gathered from the businessman’s intelligence, is … He gets the shakedown if he is not resilient enough, his business intelligence is poor, or his “resilience” is not enough. Sorry, writing in code here. 🙂

      • chemrock says:

        4. Bataan Nuclear Plant project was not stopped because of retroactive geologist reports. It grinded to a halt because Philippines was defaulting on its loan obligations. Then came the Then came the Three Mile Island disaster and Westinghouse had to put a stop to Bataan project it as it was based on the same design.

        • But it is often true (in any regime in the Philippines) that trials might go similar to this:

          Queen of Hearts: “Rule Forty-two. All persons more than a mile high to leave the court.”

          “It’s the oldest rule in the book”.

          Alice: “Then it ought to be rule number one”.

          Of course the present admin pushes it to the absurdest extremes, even for connoisseurs.

          • karlgarcia says:

            “I imagine that right now you’re feeling a bit like Alice, tumbling down the rabbit hole.”
            “You have the look of a man who accepts what he sees because he is expecting to wake up. Ironically, that’s not far from the truth.”
            “Unfortunately, no one can be told what The Matrix is. You have to see it for yourself.”
            “I’m trying to free your mind, Neo. But I can only show you the door. You’re the one that has to walk through it.”
            “You take the blue pill, the story ends here, you wake up and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill…and I’ll show you just how deep the rabbit hole goes.”
            Insert Queen of hearts in Matrix:
            Off with their heads!

        • NHerrera says:


          I am an engineer who followed the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant Development.

          The 1979 Three Mile Island Incident lead to Marcos suspending the construction of the BNPP and the forming of the Puno Commission to evaluate the safety concerns; conducting also a public hearing. Puno recommended some safety upgrades. After the public hearing, and amendment of NPC contract with Westinghouse to incorporate the upgrade were made, construction suspension was lifted.

          In 1985 Public hearing was conducted for the operational licensing of the plant by the Phil Atomic Energy Commission

          In 1986 the bloodless EDSA Revolution occurred and subsequently the Chernobyl disaster.

          The new Cory Government decided to mothball BNPP some weeks after a Chernobyl. The Cory Government through its own commissioned study cited many defects. (There were politics involved in the mothballing but helped by the occurrence of Chernobyl incident.)

          (The matter of funding, if I understand it correctly was not the cause of the BNPP grinding the construction to a halt. The plant was ready to operate pending the operational license but halted because of the intervening EDSA Rev and Chernobyl. The halt was not due to the matter of defaulting of NPC-Gov on its loan obligations.)

          • karlgarcia says:

            After Pinatubo, people were in a sigh of relief mode, because they thought that it was good that BNPP was not continued, but PNRI head Carlo Arcilla says that the BNPP is not on top of a fault and a volcano and he is willing to debate on it.


            • NHerrera says:

              Interesting about that news item from Philstar, karl. The picture shown was lifted from another plant construction in another country. That is not BNPP under construction. Philstar seemed too lazy and just took a picture of a nuclear plant under construction when there are pictures aplenty of BNPP under constr.

              Karl, chempo: as I have expressed in previous blog for reasons I expressed therein, I am not in favor of the BNPP plant being revived and operated.

              • karlgarcia says:

                Thanks NH.
                Will you give me the Edgar Bullet points on why not?
                Too lazy too. 🙂

              • NHerrera says:


                1. Assuming that BNPP can be brought to present physical-technical viability which Arcilla himself implies, there are positives and negatives.

                2. On the positive: if one is an advocate, assuming the physical risk factor is mitigated, nuclear power cost may be shown to be less costly to operate than the alternative of coal or even oil. Hydro, geothermal, solar, etc are just minimal in the contribution for the base electricity needed, especially when you connect that now with the build-build-build project which when massively implemented will need tons of electricity.

                3. On the negatives, I made the statement: Decommissioning and Radioactive Waste Disposal and our lack of sophistication to handle a nuclear accident of the scale of Fukushima that even the Japanese with their workers practically sacrificing their lives to protect the rest of the nearby residents is something our policy makers should be mindful about.

                4. If I am not mistaken I finally weighed in on the side of conservatism or caution and said I do not favor the revival and operation of BNPP — because of Item 3.

              • karlgarcia says:

                Thanks again. Number three is the deal killer.

              • NHerrera says:

                Right. But I am an engineer. When engineers design items where public safety is involved, one always try to balance things. If a bridge over a good span of water will be built, there is always the element of risk because of the vagaries of nature, but the bridge will be very useful for the ones needing to cross the waters conveniently, besides the economic benefits.

                So if Arcilla of PNRI = PAEC (previous name) can present reasonable arguments re Item 3, I may yet change my mind.

              • karlgarcia says:


                Ben Kritz gives other downsides especially whst happens when it is time to decomission a nuclear power plant.

              • NHerrera says:

                Good points posted by Kritz there — with the end-of-life of the nuclear plant (~ 30 years nominal life) as the focus of his piece.

              • sonny says:

                “3. On the negatives, I made the statement: Decommissioning and Radioactive Waste Disposal and our lack of sophistication to handle a nuclear accident of the scale of Fukushima … “

                To understand the physics & chemistry of radioactivity is the most logical means to appreciate the risks and benefits of nuclear plants. #3 is an extremely sanguine attitude to take regarding nuclear accidents and radioactive waste disposal. Non-nuclear pollution deals only with bad chemical configurations of the planet’s biosphere. Radionuclides on the other hand are the waste products of nuclear power plants. That these pollutants are the game-changers would be understating what is the dark future in store. IMO nuclear waste disposal hurled to deep space is the way to go, unless nuclear fusion comes to the rescue.


              • karlgarcia says:

                I think Lexcorp has the means to send nuke wastes to the sun.
                Now if Elon Musk can turn fiction into reality….

              • NHerrera says:

                Sonny, thanks for posting that link which writes about hurling into deep space the radioactive waste from decommissioned nuclear plants as an alternative. I quickly scanned your link, and there you will see more and very serious negatives. But it is an imaginative alternative, I must say.

              • karlgarcia says:

                @Uncle Sonny,
                Please check your email.
                Irineo sent us a copy of your piece.
                He has some suggestions.

              • sonny says:

                Irineo, Karl, big thanks to your suggestion and attention. I added and rearranged; had similar thoughts. I will do a bit more for your review and submission to Joe.

              • sonny says:

                @ NH

                I was deeply disappointed when the race to space was halted after the Space Shuttle program. A compelling argument would be this objective to banish radioactive waste from the earth. The race for perfect launching of rockets to any point in deep space would help us obtain the good promises of the nuclear age. Shooting for Jupiter will be quite satisfactory if the Sun is not quite feasible yet. 🙂

          • chemrock says:

            All contributing factors you mentioned played a part, matter of a congluence of events. Perhaps it was God’s way to stop Bataan. But the unmentioned underlying fact was funds stopped flowing. On the money side,NHerrera, I was there. Clear as day to me, the project can no longer progress. Bankers were afraid of country risk at that point. We stopped all drawdowns at that point. That was the main cause. I remembered Marcos, or was it Imelda, wanted to proceed, so they can collect their 10%. I thought then it was sheer madness. Fortunately the banking consortium pulled the brakes. And the fat bankers did that not because of the dangers of Bataan, they couldnt care less. They stopped because country risk was flashing red.

            • NHerrera says:


              Please consider: construction was not stopped because of funding or default on the financial side; the plant was already built; what construction was there to stop? — that is my point. Further; the nuclear fuel was already there in the nuclear plant pool; the people were already trained to operate and ready; permit to operate was only awaiting PAEC word as the licensing authority. Then Cory came in and Chernobyl happened.

              That the plant was not operated due to re-assessed safety risk under Cory Government and after Chernobyl — that is not debatable. In sum: construction of the plant was finished; but was stopped from operating — before license was granted by PAEC due to re-assessed safety risk under Cory especially with the climate of Chernobyl hanging.

              If you want to say that it was stopped from operating because of bankers fears communicated to Cory, that is ok by me; I will not debate that; it is a fact. But to say that construction was stopped, that is not correct, chempo; the plant was already built, finished, I was there, too.

              • chemrock says:

                NHerrera it was already built according to the Baron Hermino, but it required substantial reworks that in turn caused huge project overruns that in turn demanded the banking consortium to cough up further.

            • karlgarcia says:

              Referee time.
              Since both of you were there, I declare that the winner is TSoH for being part of your experiences.

              • NHerrera says:

                Thanks for the nice touch.

                If I may, it is not a matter of arguing just to win the argument. I am citing what I know and using what I believe to be reasonable language to bring out my point.

                I have deep respect for chempo, as you can see over a span of many postings in previous blogs as well as this one.

                Chempo, has items which he feels strongly about. I have mine. There will be no more comment from me on the matter after this. I think what we have here is a failure to communicate — due perhaps to problem of semantics and language.

  10. karlgarcia says:

    Samurai bonds, Panda bonds……all foreign debts or sovereign IOUs.

    They say the advantage is diversification of sources of funds.

    But isn’t this like owning many credit cards and more chances of maxing out all of them?

    • NHerrera says:

      Generally, as in a portfolio of stocks, the risk is moderated by diversifying. in case one or a few goes kaput or near kaput.

      • karlgarcia says:

        I understand that is in investment risk (not putting eggs in one basket), but is there really diversification in the higher number of creditors, does that make the borrower less risky to them?

        • NHerrera says:

          You have a point there karl, a kind of question that can be handled well, I am sure by a chempo.

          • karlgarcia says:

            I think Chemrock is still in Singapore with the misis. He shows up once in a while.
            Let’s bookmark this comment. 😉

            • karlgarcia says:

              I made it complicated.
              The bondholders are investors and the bonds are investments, since they ( the bondholders) the usual suspects they hold dollar denominated yen, denominated, euro and remnimbi from bonds offered not only by the philippines. So their risks are spread.

              Maybe that is the answer for the investors side, we pay up no matter what.
              Some say before that we go the Argentina way and default.
              Popoy might sing his don’t cry for me Filipinas, if we do that.

              With this china loans disguised as grants, we must ask Popoy to hire Leah Salonga to prepare for an Opera.

    • chemrock says:

      I have not read up on this so I dont know the details. But generally, the world bond market is tittering on a collapse of stunning scale. It’s happening in China already. Bond market collapse will pull down equities. This happens due to the common investment rule of 60:40 (stocks to bonds) of investment managers. When they chuck bonds, out goes the equities too.

      Basically, the past decade have seen central banks all over the world propping up the equities market with their quantitative easing, That’s why we are puzzled at why all markets are at record highs despite the economic data showing equities are all over-priced.

      Another reason why equities are seeing so much volume in the past decade is due to VIX trading. It’s very difficult to explain here. VIX is a volatility index. Basically playing the vix index requires a certain view of the market and then simply load your portfolios with lots of equities to hedge the vix position. Meaning equities are not added to portfolios as one would when investing in stocks. They are accquired simply to balance out their vix positions. Meaning, more buying in the market creating huge volume turnover thus pushing up prices.

  11. karlgarcia says:

    The tax reform may make the take home pay of minimun wage earners and some below and above their rung in the ladder,
    But it all cancels out once we buy a car(and others)and all those excise tax on top of vat hits our pockets.
    I hope they educate us on tax reform because with out looking at it,all I see is inflation.
    I damn hope that I am very wrong.

  12. karlgarcia says:

    During the early days of Duterte, his supporters say that the reason for a weak peso is a strong dollar, now what?

    • karlgarcia says:

      Anyways I tried reading the reasons for dollar strength, which was very strong from 2014-2016.

    • Sabtang Basco says:

      Strong dollar-weak peso, strong peso-weak dollar is abstract to Duterte’s supporters and most people. It can be explained but the Philippine Media do not if ever they explain it they explain it as if the readers were economic graduates.

      When peso was strong in the days of former President Aquino exporters, OFWs, expats and foreigner-retiree were whining. Strong peso makes Philippine export expensive remittances buy less. Commodities becomes expensive.

      When peso tanks, people blame Duterte while OFWs and exporters happy because the opposite happens.

      Where do they strike a balance where both pro and anti Duterte be happy?

      • chemrock says:

        That’s where economic policies come in and balance out expectations. Sadly, its not happening.

        • karlgarcia says:

          Because like almost all agency heads NEDA changes as the president changes, and their medium term drvelopment plan must attempt to reconcile with campaign promises.

          Again, is a parliamentary system more condusive to a stable civil service?

          • Karl, I really don’t know, but the main thing about the German civil service for example is that most employees have lifetime employment and GSIS-style pensions. Not necessarily the highest salaries, but one is on the safe side until old age if one is a pro and does one’s work.

            In fact ministries have two levels of “state secretaries” under the ministers: one level is political, the level below is career to guarantee continuity of expertise. You might have a mix of appointees from different periods, but finally everyone has to work together professionally.

            The Philippines still is, I think, pikon country, where some in power think it is enough for them to say “I want to do this” without considering the consequences to existing plans and finances. In Germany long-term plans like the Federal Transport Infrastructure Plan are usually adhered to, sometimes parts of it are shelved for a while because of lack of funds, but usually the crap of changing the plans just because someone wants prestige is avoided. Guess Germans are too stingy, hate wasting money by stopping stuff already started. So in the end it gets done.

            • karlgarcia says:

              Thanks Irineo! There is no one size fits all solution to our woes, Joe aid change is slow. I said recently to look at the vanity, rearview, both side mirrors and then the winshield then move forward. But we must not forget to start the engine and shift gears.

  13. Sabtang Basco says:

    If we are to believe the numbers … “The BSP’s latest residential real estate price index (RREPI), which measures the average changes in prices of all types of housing units nationwide, dropped to 116.6 during the April-to-June period from 122.2 a year ago and 116.7 a quarter ago.”

    I believe this … “Colliers has observed that owning a condominium in Cebu City, particularly, is becoming more popular to several factors such as the sustained flow of OFW remittances fueling end-user demand and Cebu being a significant contributor to the total number of Filipino workers deployed from Central Visayas.”

    This I can say, Condominiums are inexpensive. It is built close to everything: Malls, Variety stores, public transportation, schools.

    Why I do not like Condos. It will fall into disrepair like those high-rise residential condos in Hong Kong. Residents not paying association dues. Dues not enough to give fresh coat of paint of the condominium. The usual culprit of inconveniences in condos is elevator not working. Hallways not swept and smell of urine.

    Condos depreciate. Detached residential housing do not, it appreciates.

  14. karlgarcia says:

    I know that his son is taking the lead in this build,build,build, but Manny Villar is trying to convince us that we are not losing,but gaining a lot.
    No losses, but a lot of gain

    In the past few years, the Philippine economy emerged from being a laggard, and is now considered a regional leader when it comes to the pace of economic growth.

    Both the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the World Bank expect the Philippine economy to sustain robust growth with the government’s focus on infrastructure spending and tax reform.

    In its Asian Development Outlook 2017 Update, the ADB retained its Philippine gross domestic product (GDP) growth outlook for this year and 2018 at 6.5 percent and 6.7 percent, respectively, from its Asian Development Outlook 2017 Supplement report in July.

    In its East Asia Pacific Economic Update, which was released last week, the World Bank said it expected the Philippine economy to grow by 6.6 percent this year and by 6.7 percent in 2018.

    The government’s official GDP growth targets are 6.5-7.5 percent for 2017 and 7-8 percent for 2018.

    The boosts for economic growth are coming not only from President Duterte’s focus on infrastructure spending and tax reform, but also from his independent foreign policy. In particular, the revival of friendly ties with China after years of strained relations under the previous administration, as well as closer relationship with Russia, is creating new opportunities for the Philippine economy.

    Tourism is among the first industries that benefited from the President’s new foreign policy. Following the President’s visit to China in October 2016, Beijing lifted its travel advisories against Chinese visits to the Philippines.

    According to the Department of Tourism, improved relations between the two countries resulted in 73,649 Chinese visiting the country in May 2017, a whopping 57.29-percent jump compared to 46,825 Chinese visitors in May last year.

    For the first five months of 2017, China was the third-largest source of international visitors (after Korea and the United States) with 388,896, comprising 13.49 percent of the total 2.52 million arrivals.

    Among the top 10 markets, China and Taiwan posted the highest growths of 36.29 percent and 20.99 percent, respectively.

    This year, the Philippines expects the number of Chinese tourists to reach the one million mark, a 49% increase on the roughly 670,000 visitors in 2016. This will bring the country closer to the tourism department’s full-year target of seven million arrivals, following a 2016 showing of just 5.9 million.

    The size of the Chinese market also presents a huge destination for our agricultural exports.

    In March this year, China signed agreements to buy $1.7 billion worth of bananas and other fruits and agricultural products from the Philippines.

    The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) says the 34-percent increase in exports to China, Hong Kong and Russia contributed to the $4.3-billion increase in Philippine exports during the first five months of 2017. China is the country’s fourth largest export market and the number one source of imports.

    For its part, Russia committed to buy an estimated $2.5-billion worth of Philippine fruits, grains and vegetables. The commitment was made during the first meeting between President Duterte and Russian President Vladimir Putin at the 2016 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meeting in Peru.

    Chinese commitment in financing local infrastructure projects is also expected to accelerate growth of foreign direct investments (FDI). Foreign chambers of commerce and industry say the Philippines has a potential to attract at least $10 billion worth of FDI per year, but only received $7.9 billion in 2016. For the first half of 2017, net FDI inflow totaled $3.6 billion, down 14 percent from $4.2 billion a year ago.

    Among its infrastructure commitments, China has agreed to finance the construction of two bridges that would provide additional crossings on the Pasig River.

    Last June, Public Works and Highways Secretary Mark Villar and Embassy of China in the Philippines Economic and Commercial Counselor Jin Yuan signed the agreement for a full grant from China for the construction of the Binondo-Intramuros Bridge in Manila and Estrella-Pantaleon Bridge in Mandaluyong City. The two bridges, which are the first infrastructure projects with China under the Duterte administration, are estimated to cost more than P700 million.

    China has also committed to provide grants for the construction of the Panay-Guimaras-Negros Link Bridges and Davao City Expressway.

    The Chinese government is also reviewing loan applications for other priority infrastructure projects, including the $3.01-billion south line of the North-South Railway, the $53.6-million Chico River Pump Irrigation Project in Cagayan and Kalinga provinces, and the $374-million New Centennial Water Source-Kaliwa Dam Project in Quezon province.

    We’re getting all these benefits not because we have established special relationships with China or Russia. Some people panicked or were at least worried when President Duterte launched his independent foreign policy.

    But he only established normal ties between the Philippines and other equal sovereign states – China and Russia. And it’s proving to be beneficial to us. And the United States, whose president is coming in November, continues to be a friend of the Philippines.

    We did not give up or lose anything, but we gained a lot.

    • karlgarcia says:

      It seems that the reply of chemrock went with the duplicate post that I asked to be deleted, anyways Chemrock said that Villar mistook loans as grants.

    • Miela says:

      The last time we attempted this, it sent the economy to the pit

    • Sabtang Basco says:

      Philippines has no noticeable manufacturing export except human resources export. They export able-bodied people. This is better than years yonder in Africa where they round-up blacks. Shackle them. Pack them into galleons. Ship them out to the Americas. Plantation owners buy them to the highest bidder as slaves.

      ONLY A TINY PERCENT WENT TO WHAT IS NOW THE U.S. The rest, THE MAJORITY, were sent to the Caribbean and South America plantations to this day lived in harmony with the locals VERY UNLIKE IN THE U.S.

      Condos (vertical) and planned communities (horizontal) in Cebu are more geared towards exported human resources (OFWs). Two years ago AyalaLand went to California up and down the coast from San Diego to San Francisco to promote and sell their communities in the Philippines.

      It is OFWs that created BUILD BUILD BUILD. If it were not for OFWs I just wonder where Philippines would be right now. I am happy where I am at. My homestay still use firewoods. I love the smell of it in the morning while looking over the horizons towards Taiwan.

      (Why can’t these Filipino “journalists” use simple easily digestible phrases. Why do they have to use “vertical” and “horizontal”. Property developers in the U.S. don’t even use these words).

    • karlgarcia says:

      Nothing new, but we have been warned.

      building spree hock Philippines to China?

      THE TITLE may sound familiar, because it was the head of our “Postscript” of May 16 warning five months ago that the $167 billion the administration plans to borrow for its infrastructure program could balloon to $452 billion in 10 years and lead to debt bondage to China.

      The other day, Vice President Leni Robredo raised the same concern that a debt trap may result from the administration’s “Build! Build! Build!” program. She took off from a plan for a Bicol Express rail line between Manila and the Bicol region needing P175 billion from China.

      Asking if there could be better financing schemes, she said: “Our fear is we might get stuck in a debt trap like the one experienced by Sri Lanka.” Easy loans could be tantalizing to emerging economies in a hurry to develop.

      Netizens have noted also that while President Rodrigo Duterte rejected a 250-million-euro GRANT from the European Union, he was snapping up LOANS from China that could burden the next generation of Filipinos and succeeding administrations.

      One question: Why cram within the last three years of Duterte’s term the closing of the infrastructure deficiencies of the past decade using massive loans that could lead to a debt trap?

      But Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez said the infrastructure buildup would be funded mainly by additional revenue from coming tax reforms as well as local borrowings.

      He said: “The government will take advantage of the excess liquidity in the domestic market by borrowing 80 percent from banks and other financial institutions here, while tapping only 20 percent of its loans from overseas lenders.

      “The administration is bent on having its Comprehensive Tax Reform Program approved, so it could raise revenues to help bankroll the plan to modernize the country’s infrastructure backbone.”

      Among other objectives, the CTRP aims to lower personal income tax rates while imposing higher taxes on oil, vehicles, as well as sugar-sweetened drinks.

      Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno said that “whether through borrowings or by paying as you go, we have to raise an additional $7 billion of taxes every year” to increase the share of revenues to GDP to 28 percent by 2022 from 16 percent in 2015.

      Socio-economic Planning Secretary Ernesto M. Pernia has said: “The administration will raise infrastructure spending… build major connectivity networks, spawn new growth centers nationwide, support production value chains reaching deep into rural areas, and better protect local communities from calamities.

      “We plan to pour in up to $170 billion for public infrastructure from 2017 to 2022, making this period ‘the golden age of infrastructure’ in the Philippines. We also plan to complement public spending with private investment through Public-Private Partnerships currently with our robust pipeline of at least 40 major projects amounting to more than $25 billion.”

      • ‘Forbes’ analysis warns of debt trap

      OUR column of May 16 was about an analysis in by political risk analyst Anders Corr, cautioning about possible pitfalls in massive borrowing from China which has been offering concessional loans to President Duterte.

      Last April 18, the administration’s economic managers presented at a “Dutertenomics” forum in Pasay an infrastructure program needing P3.6 trillion from 2018 to 2020 covering transportation, water resources, sewerage and sanitation, flooding, solid waste, maritime, social infrastructure, energy, information communications technology, and other areas.

      Excerpts from the column: “In Phnom Penh (that week), President Duterte told investors at the World Economic Forum on ASEAN that the Dutertenomics program will need some $160 billion aside from the budget funding of ‘Private-Public Partnership’ projects.

      “‘The Philippine people must be forewarned about the dangerous China deal,’ said Corr, who holds a PhD in Government from Harvard, and a BA and MA in International Relations from Yale (summa cum laude). He assumed that the loans are likely to come from China.

      “Corr said: ‘Duterte and his political allies are seeking billions in loans at unknown interest rates from China, whose companies stand to benefit by offloading idle Chinese industrial capacity to build costly infrastructure for which no proper cost-benefit analysis has been done.

      “’(Duterte et al.) could gain hundreds of millions of dollars each in finders’ fees from such loans that the taxpayer will have to pay. This should be considered odious debt if the terms are not transparent to the public in advance, if public cost-benefit analyses are not done for each deal, and if each deal is not approved by Congress.

      “Duterte apologists could dismiss Corr’s comments as just one man’s opinion based on wobbly assumptions, but listen to what he said further:

      “’According to the South China Morning Post on May 12, Secretary of Budget and Management Benjamin Diokno estimated some $167 billion would be spent on infrastructure during Duterte’s six-year term, under the slogan ‘Build! Build! Build!’.

      “’That could increase current Philippine national government debt of approximately $123 billion, to $290 billion. But that does not include interest. High rates of interest that China, the most likely lender, could impose on the new debt could balloon it to over a trillion US dollars in 10 years.

      “’More likely at 10 percent interest the new debt could go to $452 billion, bringing Philippines’ debt-to-GDP ratio to 197 percent, second-to-worst in the world. That understates the burden to the Philippines, as existing national government debt would also accrue interest over that time, and such interest was not included in the analysis.

      “’Dutertenomics, fueled by expensive loans from China, will put the Philippines into virtual debt bondage if allowed to proceed.

      “’Duterte and his influential friends and business associates could each benefit in finders’ fees, of 2-7%, for such deals.’”

      * * *

      • karlgarcia says:

        This is a reaction to the Anders Corr article.

        “Dutertenomics,” by contributor Anders Corr (June) provoked pushback. Hong Kong’s Volatilian posted: “What he’s doing in this article is raising the spectre of Philippine debt which, according to his analysis–apparently based largely on guesstimates of the interest rates on loans–could reach US$450 billion. He also seems to base his ‘analysis’ on the assumption that the US$167 billion which Duterte has pledged to spend to ‘Build! Build! Build!’ over the course of his term is all coming from China. But it won’t be… . This was underscored by Benjamin Diokno, secretary of the Department of Budget and Management: ‘We do not stick to one country. We are not totally dependent on China for development, but we welcome any help.’ ” Wrote Alvin P. Ang in “The Philippines was able to achieve investment-grade status in 2013. Thus, it is unlikely that the rates agreed upon will be higher than the investment-grade rates the Philippines should be getting from the financial markets. The article assumes interest rates not based on investment-grade rating of the Philippines.” Lindsey Lim posted: “Why would the Philippine Department of Finance borrow at 10% when they can borrow from the market for much less? See the rates Japan offered to the Philippines for the rail project.”

      • NHerrera says:


        karl, the numbers at the end of the 10 year period is a shock to me. I read Pascual’s Postcript piece in both the one you linked, posted October 24, and the previous one, May 16.

        Simple calculator punching does bring out $167B ballooning:

        * to $433B for an interest rate of 10% for 10 years which political risk analyst Anders Corr of Forbes, who Pascual used as reference, assumed, quoting Corr, “more likely at 10% interest …”

        * to $272B for an interest rate of 5% for 10 years which the article notes is the nearest lending rate of interest published by the IMF and World Bank for the Philippines.

        Note that in the article the ballooned number is $452B for 10% interest rate, and $275B for 5% interest rate. (But I will not quibble between Corr’s and my calculations; I know I have a better calculator. Hehe.)

        My point: Anders Corr, from the quote above, is assuming 10% as Chinese loan interest rate hence the ballooning to $452B in 10 years and is a shocking number to me. I thought all along — I think I read it but can’t retrieve it; may be karl, you can do me the favor if you have the time — that China’s massive loan to the Philippines is at about 6% interest rate or lower, not 10%.

        I know I am a relatively poor guy here in TSH, but I know the big big difference between a 6% interest rate and 10% interest rate.

        karl, last note: your second link above is most probably right — Anders Corr’s 10% interest rate used on Chinese loan is probably a guesstimate, I hope not done maliciously.

        • karlgarcia says:

          Re: Interest rates of China

          benchmark interest rate in China was last recorded at 4.35 percent. Interest Rate in China averaged 6.17 percent from 1996 until 2017, reaching an all time high of 10.98 percent in June of 1996 and a record low of 4.35 percent in October of 2015.

          China Interest Rate

          In China, interest rates decisions are taken by The Peoples’ Bank of China Monetary Policy Committee. The PBC administers two different benchmark interest rates: one year lending and one year deposit rate. This page provides the latest reported value for – China Interest Rate – plus previous releases, historical high and low, short-term forecast and long-term prediction, economic calendar, survey consensus and news. China Interest Rate – actual data, historical chart and calendar of releases – was last updated on November of 2017.
          My comment.

          Unlwss there would be an economic shock like one caused a nuclear wat, I would not see the interest rates jump to 10 %, and unless they say, “take it or else”.

          The shocking warning of a potential 10 percent rate may be avoided by sourcing from different sources, which answers my concern on diversification of bond offerings (panda bonds,samurai bonds,etc)
          It avoids the 10 percent interest rates from only one source.

          • NHerrera says:

            Thanks for obliging Chief (Librarian). I take it then from your comment that Anders Corr of Forbes is exaggerating in just tacking in 10% as the interest rate to be used on the $167B loan.

            • NHerrera says:

              Also, I believe, and I am again not an expert in this sort of thing, there is what is known as fixed or floating interest rate on loans. Even if the Chinese loan is a floating one, I believe the probability of the interest rate averaging 10% over the 10 year repayment period of the loan is probably on the very high side. Also the interest rate levied depends on the ability to pay by the recipient of the loan?I am not defending China here and PH Administration going all out for such massive loan from China on its infra program. I am just reacting to some numbers that I read such as the one prodded by the link to Pascual article. (My calculator remains functioning in spite of many drops to the floor.)

              • karlgarcia says:

                We always pay that is why we are in good standing. Our budget allocates above 300 Billion for debt payments.

                I am no expert, but I remember Uncle Sonny asked what if Cory used her goodwill and asked for debt forgiveness.
                I forgot my answer, but I am glad we did not ask for condonation because that would be minus pogi points and the 10 percent interest may be very much possible every time we ask for a loan, it may even be 15 percent or more.

                I will google the aftermath of the Argentinian default.

              • karlgarcia says:

                Here is a good link.
                Again, if the left or anyone suggests a debt forgiveness let us throw pandesal at their direction.
                Look how Argentina is doing right now.


              • NHerrera says:

                We always pay, that is why we are in good standing.

                It seems to be the case. Except that privately, among relatives and friends, some Filipinos are notorious — payment of loans is given low priority; they instead spend on other things unnecessarily when there are loans pending. That cultural thing relate to our makeup and need to change along with other traits.

              • karlgarcia says:

                That is one of the rare cases that our culture did not reach Government level.(not paying utang)

              • sonny says:

                Neph, I did mean to suggest, not for forgiveness of the $52+ billion owed by our country, but instead to work out ways and means to restructure the loans. The logic being the Philippine treasury was ’emptied’ by FM just like the country was close to economic obliteration during the immediate aftermath of WW2. I remember Cory addressing the joint session of the US Congress. That would have been the opportune time to have the succeeding government to lay bare the depredation of the ousted dictator. A request of this nature would have hearkened back to memories of a country meriting the help of countries of good will like America did when the country’s economic superstructures were in shambles. Furthermore, Cory had the backing of the whole country’s citizenry making ready to resuscitate the Filipinos working toward a better future on a new lease on democracy.

              • karlgarcia says:

                Thanks for the clarification, Unc.

  15. Sup says:

    I think because the ”low” peso the production went up…Cheaper for foreign companies now, correct?

    MANILA, Philippines — Strengthened demand for Filipino manufactured goods propelled the solid growth of the domestic manufacturing sector in October, the latest reading of the Nikkei Philippines Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index showed.

    The seasonally adjusted Nikkei Philippines Manufacturing PMI registered a sharp increase in October to 53.7 from September’s 50.8.

  16. chemrock says:

    So it is all grants! The Chinese are generous to a fault! There is nothing to repay.
    Without even researching, my money is on Villar mistaking loans for grants.

  17. NHerrera says:

    Off topic


    For the period November 5 to 13 World News will be focused on Trump’s Asian Tour as shown in this link:

    The “elephant in the room,” North Korea, is not part of that tour but will doubtless be in the minds of — although unmentionable except through private tit-a-tit by — the Leaders of the region.

    • NHerrera says:

      Oops, it seems I am dead wrong. McMaster NSA says trump will be trump during his trip. Meaning rhetoric on NK will go on as usual. That is the advertisement. Let’s enjoy the show, with some trepidation?

  18. Francis says:

    I’m just speaking from a non-expert point of view but my gut says that it is too early to tell.

    A single year just isn’t enough. Perhaps, in three years at the very least.

    A random thought bunny, though:

    If federalism does not push through (and with that, government debt on the uptick) then my gut believes that Duterte will most likely—in economic terms, at least—muddle through. No significant gains from Duterte—but no significant regression either.

    Now, if federalism does push through…

    The national state has been relatively becoming more competent over the years. NEDA is becoming a more serious planning agency in its own right, with its 2040 ambitions. The Central Bank has a stellar reputation nowadays (part of the reason for our strong macroeconomic performance) and that’s saying something: I forgot the details, but if I can recall correctly—central banks have had a sketchy history in the Philippines.

    I’m no expert, but I can’t help but fear what the additional burden and layers of federal government will do to our macroeconomic situation; the duplication of services in the short run at least, the cost of jumpstarting entirely new bureaucracies—with regional dynasties lurking around like vultures, the potential weaknesses in coordination of policies. I also fear trapos may treat their state treasuries like credit cards—especially considering, if I’m not mistaken, that their greater autonomy will mean access to much, much more financing.


    • That is I think the wishful thinking that many have – that the already started mechanisms of Philippine growth will see Duterte through, “may pera naman”. A caveat though, a major one:

      I am not the big economic expert, but I have seen countries go through boom-bust very fast in the last 20 years. New buildings, new cars, new roads – then some years later half-empty buildings, cars sold, roads half-finished. The world today is faster and less forgiving.

      If it took Marcos some years to go from boom country (late 1960s, Deutsche Mark/Peso 1:1, Philippines in front of South Korea just behind Japan) to down (early 1980s onward) this happens faster nowadays, and money goes elsewhere. Unless you have significant industry..

      • Francis says:

        That is a fair point.

        But the nice thing about our economic growth during the Aquino era was that it was sustainable; it wasn’t fueled by gov’t debt like Marcos—on the contrary, a part of it can be attributed to our economy steadily becoming government debt-free. It is also not fueled solely by consumption—investment has increasingly been a driver of the recent growth as well; our savings rate is actually hitting the levels reached by our neighbors during their heydays.

        This is robust growth based on sound fundamentals, I think.

        We’re in a state of take-off. And unlike Valenzuela, Duterte is no state socialist and his economic team is smart and aware of the need to maintain continuity at least with regards to the economy.

        And Duterte bothers with nothing save for drugs. So our economic policy is in auto-pilot, or directed at least by steady technocratic hands.

        So I am inclined to think that six years of Duterte won’t significantly set back our economy.

        A Duterte-BBM or…Duterte-Pacquiao combo?


        • Francis says:


          6 years of populism is okay.

          6 years of populism plus federalism is…a bit worrisome.

          12 years of populism plus federalism is…not something to look forward to.

        • NHerrera says:

          This, I subscribe to:

          – We have good economic team which so far is able to do what needs to be done;
          – The world today is faster and less forgiving;
          – This happens faster nowadays, and money goes elsewhere … unless you have significant industry.

          But may I add —

          – How effective the economic team is able to do its thing against the actions of Duterte that counter the team’s work;

          – And with the historical Philippine boom and bust cycle and the socio-cultural aspect remaining or getting worse, will Duterte and his economic managers break that cycle?

          — I have my doubts.

        • Miela says:

          With Tetangco out, I don’t feel confident enough. The inflation is at 3% – not terribly high but can be a concern if the trend continues then there are tax measures the legislative want to pass that will increase inflation and the BSP doesn’t seem to have something in place to balance out the inflation and declining value of peso.

          And with the “build, build, build” being pushed esp by the Villars(the are in real estate and construction)we might be in the red sooner or later.

          • Build, Build, Build alone does NOT make it.

            or else you have the San Juanico bridge replicated – from nowhere to nowhere, economically.

            Estrella-Pantaleon Bridge is a good idea. Move traffic away from EDSA. But how about the connecting roads, will one just let gridlock happen there?

            Metro Manila subway. Yes Japan will pay to build it. Who will pay the maintenance?

            Munich shut down its main line two weekends ago, preventive maintenance. Among other things, they tested the flood control barriers. To make sure just in case.

            That they are now regularly maintaining is after years of neglect, fires due to faulty electrical wiring and plastic in some stations, total breakdown during rush hours, forced shutdown for repairs on weekends for about a year. It is NOT like there were NO lessons to be learned…

            What I also am saying is fix the damn MRT first. Ceterum censeo Carthaginem esse delendam.

    • Miela says:

      Greater autonomy/federalism for Southern Luzon, Central Luzon and NCR will also mean less subsidy for the poorer regions. The CAR may pull it off given that Benguet is actually one of the richest provinces with high HDI and and that the poorer CAR provinces have relatively low population, but I don’t think other poorer regions can pull it off – namely ARMM and Eastern Visayas.

  19. popoy says:

    Yaman din lamang usapan dito ay tungkol sa PANGKABUHAYAN (pang laman sa tiyan at pan gamot sa karamdaman), HETO napakatagal ko na nang sinulat pero parang SOMBIE, puede pang maglakad. Napakahirap bunuin (wrestle) sa Tagalog ang Economics eh. Pero sa history kayang gayahin ng Pinas ang ginawa ng mga Irish at Kano ng sila ay abutin ng saksakan malas. The Irish and truly the Americans have proved and shown the way HOW to vanguish MISFORTUNE. Heto ang LUMANG sanaysay trying hard to write in one’s mother tongue.

    Ibig Sabihin ng Krisis Ekonomiya

    Marami sa mga Filipino ay napanood yung mga sine tungkol sa crisis ekonomiya sa Amerika noong 1929. Pelikulang galing sa panulat ni John Steinbeck tulad ng Grapes of Wrath, East of Eden, at saka Of Mice and Men. Ang nangyari noong 1929 sa Amerika ay naramdaman ng buong mundo tulad ng krisis ngayon. Nakahihindik, karumal-dumal, hindi makatao, hindi kapani-paniwala. Sa LA, siyudad ng Hollywood, kailan lang, isang mag asawa matapos alisputain ng amo ay parehong tinanggal sa trabaho. Ulat sa dyaryo, ang magasawa ay nagpakamatay matapos patayin nila ang kanilang limang anak. Isang hindi kambal, isang kambal na lalaki at isang kambal na babae. isa lang sa maraming biktima ng krisis ekonomiya. “Ayaw kong iwanan ang mga anak ko sa hindi ko kilala,” na iulat na sinabi ng ina bago naganap ang pagpapakamatay ng pamilya.

    Sa Asia, sa bansang na kung saan ako ipinanganak, lumaki at tumanda, ito ang aking pananaw base sa aking nalalaman na galing naman sa aking dunong na ang pinagmulan ay aking pinag aralan at karanasan. Pananaw na binuo ng aking mga nakikita at nararamdaman sa loob ng mahigit na 60 taon.

    Trabaho ang Ugat ng Krisis

    Noon decada 60 bilang isang tindero sa maliit naming sari-sari store, naranasan kong ako’y lapitan hingan ng awa ng ama o ina na nawalan daw ng trabaho, Mga anak daw nila ilang araw ng hindi kumakain. Humihingi kahit kunting bigas o lumang tinapay. Noon madali pang malaman sa kanilang kilos ang taong peke. Lubos at di pekeng tulong puede pang asahan maski sa mga politico at taong gobierno.

    Ang tingin ko sa krisis ganito. Sa mga mahihirap na bansa hindi tulad ng Amerika, Canada at Britanya mas matindi ang dagok ng krisis ekonomiya. Sa bawat tao o indibidwal, maaring ang ramdam ng gutom at uhaw, tindi ng sakit at panghihina mas grabe dahil walang kakayahan at tunay na malasakit ang gobiernong tulungan ang mga walang trabaho. Unang-una maski noon wala pang krisis, dapat bukal sa liderato ng gobierno gamitin ang puso at utak para pasulungin ang buhay ng mahihirap.

    Ang epekto ng krisis sa mayaman at mahirap na bansa ay pareho. Laganap ang tanggalan sa trabaho. Pero ang epekto sa mga karaniwang tao o indibidwal at pamilya ay mas matindi dahil sa maraming anak, walang ari-arian, walang mauutangan, at halos walang kawanggawang matatakbuhan.

    Halimbawa Isang bansang mahirap

    Ang teorya, na simula ng siyensia ay hindi galing sa hangin o panaginip. Kalimitan tunay na pangyayari at karanasan ang basihan. Kung totoo ba o hindi, ang opinyon ng karaniwang taong bayan puedeng paniwalaan. Halimbawa, isang mahirap na bansa sa estadistika opisyal (official statistics) meron tatlongpu’t pito (37) milyong mangagawa. Siete porsiyento (7%) lang ang walang trabaho. Ibig sabihin ng gobierno: Halos tatlong (3) milyon lang walang trabaho, ang natitira, tatlongpu’t apat (34) milyon ay meron trabaho. Ayos at patag ang ekonomiya pag ganito ang sitwasyon sa mga nakatira sa mayaman bansa at kung ang estadistika ay hindi peneke ng gobierno. Puede na, maski sa ordinariong mangagawa, puede nang mabuhay ng isang kahig isang tuka. Hindi mahirap humanap ng trabaho, dahil sa bawat sampung (10) tao tatlo (3) lang ang walang trabaho. Sa isang naghahanap ng trabaho, dalawa lang o kaya kunti lang ang kakompetensiya.

    Sa kultura – sa palagay ko – ng mga mayaman o mga umasensong bansa binuo at lumago ang mga estadistika ng empleyo o ng agham ekonomiya kaya mas akma sa kanilang sitwasyon. Nasa klase ng mangagawa ang magbabadya ng ayos na estadistika. Dalawang klase lang: tunay at pekeng mangagawa ang sukatan ng tindi ng epekto ng krisis. Kapag yung mga halos walang trabaho (peneke sa record) ay ibinilang sa mga mangagawa na ang kinikita ay kayang bumuhay ng pamilya, ang resulta ay pekeng estadistika. Oo nga’t hindi ganyan kadali dahil meron tinatawag na underemployed o kulang sa regular na oras, sa sweldo at pribilihiyo sa regular na trabaho.

    Potensiyal Biktima ng Krisis

    Isipin natin kung ang tatlongpu’t pitong (37) milyong mangagawa ay nahahati sa tatlong klase: tunay, peke at diyables (unemployed).pero para simplihim ang isip, dalawang klase lang: yung meron trabaho at yung wala. Ibig sabihin – ayon sa halimbawang estadistika – tatlongpu’t apat (34) na milyon ang meron trabaho at tatlong (3) milyon lang ang walang trabaho. Dalawa at magkabilang talim ito ng isang punyal. Hindi puedeng sabihing pitik lang sa kamao ang epekto ng krisis sa ganitong estado ng trabaho, dahil sangkatutak ang maaring mawalan ng trabaho. Sa kabilang talim, puedeng sabihin hindi bale, marami man ang mawalan ng trabaho, marami pa rin ang hindi mawawalan. Pero papano kung marami sa kasama sa meron trabaho napakaliit ang sweldo? Kahit saan tignan, pareho rin kaya pag tumarak ang punyal – nagkaron ng krisis – ang hiwa magkabila. Sugat tiyak magdurugo.

    Pero ang masakit – na teoriya – kung ang estado ng meron trabaho (34 milyon) sa bansa ay hahatiin sa tatlong bahagi: isang bahagi (one-third) pekeng trabahador at dalawang bahagi (two-thirds) tunay na trabahador. Lalabas napakarami, dalawangpu’t dalawa (22) milyon meron tunay na trabaho at kunti lang pekeng trabahador, labing isang (11) milyon lang. Parang ganito ang labas ng pekeng estadistika:

    Tunay na trabahador 22 milyon – yung mga regular ang trabaho, mga sapilitan miembro ng seguridad sosyal tulad ng GSIS at SSS. Mga teachers, sundalo, pulis, sikyu, taong gobierno, may ari at regular na empleyado ng kalakalan pribado tulad ng shopping malls at shopping center,mga botika, mga meron 20 taong pwesto sa palenke, mga propisyonal tulad ng abogado, doctor, dentist, nurse, enhinyero, OFWs at iba pa. Sa grupong ito yung mga hindi bossing o may ari ng negosyo ay masasabing isang kahig isang tuka. Sa kabilang banda yung mga bossing sa gobierno at tunay na namumuhunan masasabing kahit hindi kumahig, puedeng tuka ng tuka.

    Pekeng (sa stats lang) trabahador 11 milyon lang ba? – Ito ay mga nagkakariton ng gulay, basura at sirang bakal, nagpipingga ng biik at baboy, mga sidewalk vendors, mga starters ng jeepney at FX taxis, pa extra-extrang FX at jeepney at bus drivers, mga regular at extrang conductor ng bus, regular at extrang tricycle drivers, mga kabataang barbero, mga manicurista ng paa, mga mandurukut sa EDSA, mga Ateng Five-Six sa palengke, regular at extrang padyak drivers, mga self-employed sa Payatas at Montalban dumpsite, mga watch-your car boys, mga fixers sa opisinang gobierno, mga nagrarasyon ng dyaryo, mga barangay tanod, mga extra sa pelikula, mga waiter at waitresses, mga GRO at hostesses, mga puta at call boys, mga kubrador at Cabo ng Jueteng, mga on-call plumber, carpenter, house painter, mga background dancers sa TV. Ang grupong ito. meron panahon walang trabaho ay mabibilang sa limang kahig isang tuka, kahit papano nabubuhay pilit pinagdudugtong ang magkabilang dulo, tanghalian sa Lunes idugtong sa tanghalian sa Martes. Meal to Meal ang problema sabi noon ni Fernando Poe Jr. Pinakamalaki ang kontribusyon at pinakamaraming biktima ang grupong ito sa VAT ng gobierno.

    Epekto ng Krisis

    Sa Teoriya, ang pankalahatang epekto ng krisis: sa mga Diyables (3 milyon) bago mag krisis, TEPOK; sa mga isang kahig-isang tukang (85%) trabahador, GAPANG; sa mga bossing sa gobierno at mayayaman (15%), OKAY LANG, WA EPEK; sa mga pekeng empleyado (11 milyon) na limang kahig isang tuka: NAGBABAGANG PUSO, KUMUKULONG DUGO.

    Para nanamnamin ang init ng krisis at bumaba ang presyon, puede segurong arkilahin yung mga pelikula ni Henry Fonda, James Dean, Gary Sinese at John Malkovich noong panahon ng depresyon sa Amerika. Kahit napanood na magandang ulitin.

    Mantak ninyong isipin ang darating pang epekto ng Krisis na puedeng itulad sa Intensity 8 ng lindol o kaya 8 meters tsunami sa mga dalampasigan ng dagat Pacifico.

    Gaano karami ang matatanggal sa trabaho at mapapasama sa grupong limang kahig isang tuka, epekto’y NAGBABAGANG PUSO, KUMUKULONG DUGO? Ilang milyon sa tatlongpu’t apat (34 ) milyon may trabaho daw ang mawawalan ng trabaho at mapapasama sa tatlong (3) milyon Grupong ang epekto’y TIPOK?

    Hindi dapat ma alarma ang mga bumabasa habang hindi nababasa ang kaalaman sa bituka ng krisis ng mga taong ang silid aralan ay hindi pabrika kundi bangketa o kaya’y squatter area?
    Wakas ng sanaysay.

    Sori medio (talaga yata) mahaba itong eche bucheche na’to.

    • popoy says:

      Sa mga taga Ontario na nagbabasa nitong mga latest BALITA Toronto, SEGURO lang ang inspirasyon ng tatlong parting unang pagsubok kong sumulat ng short story, na-inspired
      ako ng mag anak na nagpakamatay dahil sa economic crisis.

  20. karlgarcia says:


    Can we discuss Toronto’s BRT plan and their cancelled conversion of open pits to garbage dumps.

    We too have stalled BRT plans for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu.
    I read before about your (Toronto’s) BRT plans.

    Here, since open pits remain open and rocks and soil are hard to gather, it was suggested to dump garbage in the open pits.

    Before Chemriockand i discussed using garbage for land reclamation, and he said that it was a bad idea, I ask for your opinion as an expert on soils. ( among your other expertise)

  21. NHerrera says:

    On topic by contrast to PH state of affairs

    If one reads the following link,

    it makes one feel that, economy wise, PH is well-off compared to Venezuela.


    Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro finally admitted his government can’t afford to pay all of its mounting bills.

    Maduro said in a televised speech Thursday that Venezuela and its state-run oil company, PDVSA, will seek to restructure their debt payments.

    The oil company made a $1.1 billion payment on Thursday, he said, a sizable amount for a country with only $10 billion left in the bank. “But after this payment, starting today, I decree a refinancing and a restructuring of the external debt,” Maduro told the country.

    Venezuela is already deep into a humanitarian crisis, with people suffering from food and medical shortages. Many can’t afford to buy basic items because prices are skyrocketing faster than wages.

    Oil is the government’s only significant source of external revenue and therefore its only way to buy food and medicine for its 30 million citizens. Because the government mismanaged vast swaths of farmland, it must import almost all food.

    Maduro’s desire to restructure is not easily done.

    If Maduro’s government can’t reach a new agreement with bondholders over the debt restructuring — which often means trying to pay less money — it will end up defaulting.
    That would trigger a potentially ugly series of events.

    Investors in the U.S. and elsewhere could seize Venezuelan oil as collateral.

    If I understand it correctly, the oil revenues of Venezuela when the oil price was high allowed Maduro to do a lot to please the populace, but then the price tumbled and remained at that level for a long period, as we know.

    There must be a lesson there somewhere.

    • Remember Joseph and his dream of 7 fat cows and 7 lean cows?

      As a Jewish economic adviser, he knew what to tell the Egyptian Pharaoh.

    • karlgarcia says:

      Chinese Triad and Russian mob to the rescue.( joke only of course)
      I hope this won’t be our future, we mess up,but hopefully not as bad as Venezuela.

    • popoy says:

      Iba ang alam ko tungkol sa Venezuela. Though relatively small in land area Venezuela has the largest proven Most beautiful women in the world: biggest number of Miss Universe and most of all the biggest and number one country in ALL world beauty contests. But the most beautiful women in the world still come from Kashmir..

      • karlgarcia says:

        Ang dami nga nikang Miss Universe Popoy.

      • Miela says:

        Uso retoke dun sa mga Miss U nila. I saw a documentary and they credit a very condescending Cuban immigrant who said, there is no such thing as “innee beauty” and it is only said by “ugly people”

      • NHerrera says:

        Popoy, my ka edad: I know now you will have a long life in you, mahaba pa ang pisi mo — you not only have the touch of a poet, but a sharp eye still for the fair gender. I will enjoy touring places with you and see those beauties.

      • sonny says:

        “… But the most beautiful women in the world still come from Kashmir.”

        This then should be the permanent destination of would-be beauty impressarios: 🙂

        • sonny says:

          Srinagar, Kashmir region, in northern India.

          • chemrock says:

            Srinagar is something like the Lake Districts of England. My one regret – it was one item on my bucket list which i failed to do, when it was within reach. Was in New Delhi once and wanted to divert there, but plane tickets were all sold out.

            • sonny says:

              I understand the bucketlist item for Kashmir, chempo. 🙂 Even skipping the legend of Shangri-la, this part of the world is cradle of ancient Asian civilization. They already knew of public waterworks, street grids and plumbing. I like. 🙂

              • popoy says:

                Tales of the Tigulang:

                Here in most little cities of Ontario, many taxi drivers are South Asia Indians with no problem with English language. I yabangly regale them with my stories on Mussorie in the Himalayas (i once joined the future Administrative Class students in the Lal Bahadour Shastri National Academy of Administration), the Ganges in Lucknow (where the Mahatma used to take dips), New Delhi (I used to bike at sunrise around its Ring Road, stayed in Lodi Estate, buy items at the Khan Market, window shopping at Connaught Square); I emphatized with those I have seen in the streets of Old Delhi,

                I went down the bowels of the Taj Mahal of Shar Jahan to visit the tomb of his beloved and honored concubine), traveled overland and some deserts to gawk at real vultures perched on leaveless branches of old trees; upwards to Jaipur to see the inside of the red palace of the Maharajah with hundred very little windows so each concubine can peep and watch unseen the parade in the city square , was invited to join a reception dinner in one of the palace of a favorite concubine. I also visited old temples with the Hindu’s swastika adopted by Hitler to symbolize his Third Reich, and saw also mini sculptures of the different positions of the Kama Sutra. I missed going to Kashmir, went only as far as Dehra Dun to appreciate the hospitality of the Faculty of the All India Military Academy where to have a drink in the Faculty bar, one has to sit in genuine leather Horse saddles.

                In a vote of thanks, I said to the audience I fell in love with India, its culture. I said then India was a sleeping giant. At the new millenium it has awakened without hegemonic intentions with its people spread all over earth spreading little and big contributions to progress. India then (may be even now) has the LARGEST Bollywood movie industry in the world, larger than eche bucheche Hollywood. South Asia Indians shake their heads gently left to right to mean Yeah, or in agreement and in awe. Namaskar, Namaste!

                Like to hear more yabang of clean travel: My bucket list must have been written for me right the moment I was born in my country; Thanks and Praise the Lord.

                Not a cent (not in thousands cents really) had been spent by the Phil government for me to gain education by travel to Hongkong, Kuala Lumpur and Singapore: Tokyo and Chiba Prefecture; England, Wales and Scotland; to Melbourne (Administrative College), Canberra, Cooma Snowy Mountains, Sydney, and Darwin; Port Moresby, Central Province, Oro and Madang Provinces, East and West Sepik Provinces, and may be longer to list down places in US and Canada.

                May be I am already coming very close to the last items in my bucket list. With quite old flesh and brittle bones it is eche bucheche to even think of where they will be. I know, I know others have done more than I did, but I am sure meeting all these people HAD TAUGHT ME that being racist could also mean respect and admiration for others regardless of their whatever.

  22. Sabtang Basco says:

    Sam Clovis soon-to-be former President Donald Trump’s Senior White House adviser to the Department of Agriculture testified before Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller. Trump found out about it in the newspaper (hmmm …. sounds like in the Philippines where cabinet members knew of their arrest warrants thru Philippine newspapers).

    The difference is …

    “The special counsel’s office has been calling witnesses for the last several months …”

    “witnesses” sounds like Philippines but with a huge difference … they got evidences … emails, wiretaps, troves of forensics. Philippine senate investigations is all about witnesses and affidavits … no evidences and the fake analysts in Philippine papers go loco over it. And when these Philippine media reports they very seldom point out emails, evidences … it is all about he-said-she-said.

    With all its sham, racism, anti-immigration, drudgery, and broken dreams in America
    it is still a beautiful country that is why Filipinos go to America despite of.

  23. Sup says:

    “The saddest thing is that because I’m the President of the United States, I am not supposed to be involved with the Justice Department,” Trump said. “I am not supposed to be involved with the FBI.”

    Duterte can NOT say that. Correct Aguirre?

    This is why foreigners don’t like to invest now….

    My 5 peso this morning.

  24. Sabtang Basco says:

    “… DOTr initially calculated the arrears (of PAL) at around P7.3 billion. After a brief negotiation to reconcile and verify the figures, the final amount of P6 billion was reached. The matter was resolved within 10 days.”

    Read more:

    The people of the Philippines lost Php1.3 BILLION + penalty + interest in “brief” 10-day negotiation. PAL won. Filipino loses. How did PAL getaway with Php1.3BILLION+interest+penalties?

    CALLING PHILIPPINE CENTER FOR INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALISM … naaah, never mind … is there anybody out there beyond reproach that can analyze and investigate?

    • Sabtang Basco says:

      So, these “professional” journalists sat there listened to Harry Roque and did not ask question, like:
      1. Sir Harry, what about penalties and interests?
      2. Sir Harry, how many years is the arrears?
      3. Sir Harry, why PAL didn’t pay?
      4. Sir Harry, what took them so long to pay?
      5. Sir Harry, Php1.3BILLION is USD$30.0MILLION
      6. Sir Harry, uhhhmmmm, never mind, Sir Harry, whatever!

      • This needs a Chemrock special. So China makes things and sells them to Europe duty free? Do they employ Chinese workers? What is the gain for the PH for approving Hong Kong East? It needs ecozone research but my internet connection is so bad that it’s hard to do. I gave up on an AFP article that I couldn’t research. Insert grouchy emoticon here. 😖😖😖

        • karlgarcia says:

          I hope you find time.
          Darn the internet speed that made you give up on the AFP article.
          Roque complaining about the internet speed is the most sensical statement from him when he assumed spokesmanship.

      • popoy says:

        Oy meron pa, Dadah from the Tigulang:

        Saturday Nov 4, 11:30am at the Matami Velodrome (a venue of the last
        PANAM GAMES in Canada).

        The Beloved has just finished her two rounds and me my three rounds of walking when a couple who probably heard us talking in Tagalog, approached us. The wife pushing a walker asked: “Filipino po kayo?” Eh taga saan kayo sa atin? Sa Metro Manila kami, kayo po, saan ang probinsiya ninyo? tanong ng Mrs. ko. “Taga Pangasinan kami.”

        “Naku, sabat ko agad, Ang laki ng probinsiya nyo, ang yaman ng probinsiya nyo, ang haba ng mga beach ninyo, pambihira pang bagyuhin. Ang ancestors ng lolo ko taga Villasis, eh. Mahaba pa sana ang kwentuhan pero uwian na kaya naghiwalay na till next time na lang.

        On the way home, parang umilaw na bombilya naisip ko, kung matino lang, ginagamit ang utak (at hindi takaw) ang mga politikong local na biyahe ng biyahe sa mundo, tagal ng asenso ang Pinas. Ang Pangasinan puedeng California, ang Mindanao Puedeng Texas, Ang Zamboanga Peninsula o Palawan puedeng maging Florida; ang Cordillera puedeng maging Colorado. Puedeng puntahan at pagaralan ang sekreto ng mga yan.

        Naisip ko rin sasabihin ng mga katambay noon ko sa kanto, alas onse ng gabi: P’re (Pare) gago ka hindi mo naisip magkakaiba yan mga lugar na yan. Iba ang geography at klema ng Merika sa Pinas.”

        “Tama ka Pare pero mas may utak kung iisipin mo na sa pagkakaiba nanggagaling
        ang plano ng pag asenso.”

        ” Pare, may utak ako, baka ikaw wala. Pikon ka Pare ko.

        Oy, Hoy, tigilan nyo yan, baka magsuntukan pa kayo. Pare pa-fifty naman sa yose mo.”
        “Dalawang hitit lang pare ko, may susunod pa sa iyo.”

        It is so outside the box thinking that California having the sixth largest economy in the world can be replicated by Pangasinan or Batangas in the Philippines. Of course you don’t compare apples with oranges if you are snoozer in the noodle house. Worse if you don’t know that apples and oranges are not stones but mental hollow blocks of . . .

    • popoy says:

      Tales from the Tigulang:

      When future Gen, then Col Ed Abenina was President and Seinfeld (still to be invented in the future) of his CGSC Class, the future generals went on a field study at the Bataan Export Processing Zone. What remains of learning memories as trainor alalay of RHIPs (rank has it privelege) was what I saw in BEPZ agglomeration of modern sweatshops. I feel like I am in a different world of so many young people. In the afternoon after work, the factories disgorge happy, robust young men and pretty young women. I thought these productive youth are really Jose P. Rizal’s economics Hope of his Motherland. What happened later?

      THAT’S THE RUB. Even then, I counter-flowed the promise of most larger development schemes by telling my students: Caveat emptor pilot projects. Because when replicated in many areas pilot projects which no longer have the unbridled logistics support are likely to fail. Pilot projects enjoys less severe thievery. BEPZ legit or bastard offsprings could become economic sink holes.

      NOT with the OFWs which did not need PILOTING. As economic serendipity the OFW phenomenon rose to heroic levels as the respirator and drip dextrose of the sick man in Asia. Sabi ko nga sa mahaba kong dadah sa itaas nito: trabaho ang ugat ng krisis sa ekonomiya.

      And what about these economic zones? As Harry the Roque’s eminent hollow blocks, are we still hitting our hollow economics skulls with lots of it?

  25. NHerrera says:


    US President Trump is going to attend the East Asia Summit in Manila after all, contrary to earlier news. Thus, instead of the original November 12-13 official stay in the Philippines, it will be November 12-14.

    “The White House confirmed that President Trump will be attending the East Asia Summit on Nov. 14,” Department of Foreign Affairs spokesman Robespierre Bolivar told The STAR in a text message.

    President Duterte felt “overwhelmed” by Trump’s decision, said Philippine ambassador to the US Jose Manuel Romualdez.

    Duterte, who had announced his “separation” from the US and pivot to China, was very happy upon receiving news on Friday evening that Trump would extend his stay in Manila, Romualdez said.

    Duterte, he added, was looking forward to his bilateral meeting with Trump.

    Use of words such as “overwhelmed” makes it sound to me like words used by a bride about his bridegroom on wedding day. I hope the second time around will be better — not just a “praise-feast” between the two leaders for the consumption of the US and PH public.

    Will Xi’s coming be a little less overwhelming?

    • NHerrera says:


      Watch for that handshake, President Duterte. It will be good to practice the art of the handshake while there is still time. Check if you can stand a crashing handshake as long as the Trump-Macron handshake. If you can, you are good to go.

      • popoy says:

        A few hours ago, at the family doctor’s clinic, an older (than me) friend asked me about the eche bucheche of media and pundits about whether Trump will visit or not Ph and how will Duterte take it. The friend got a mouthful (mini lecture) with alacrity. I said there’s really nothing more than a waste of saliva and time on the matter. Theres’s nothing of consequential worth that is not the product of the two’s liabilities as national/federal leaders.

        The reason is that the two leaders are really captive and restrained by their acquired skills, knowledge and experience as big city mayor (Duterte) and as corporate business mogul (Trump). Those two heads of state naturally will: viz. city management hocus-pocus is applied to a country of about 112 million people; viz. big corporations uber-management is applied to federated united states of 330 million people. That is the water level of Duterte and Trump which by the law of gravity can not rise any higher. That’s also the reason for their ignorance of deep political correctness. Unless the discussion means some monetary or psychic income or bread for a family I told my friend, it’s a waste of time to go into details.

        Sabi ko, pasensiya na lang kasi pa-flu shot kasi ako. takot sa karayom. Okay lang sabi niya may napupulot naman ako eh.

        • popoy says:

          But what is the POINT para hindi naman bitin Eh?

          Whatever happens to Duterte and Trump’s patintero, if they don’t meet, or if they do, to hug and kiss or shake hands, or sock or spit on each other’s face; Wala Yun, it won’t change anything, tuloy ang ligaya ng mga crooks, gutom naman sa mahihirap sa Pinas, sa US naman cops will shot any felon whom they think are better off dead (palamunin pa sa kulungan) than jailed; Nokor in suicidal euphoria might start WWIII. Ang ASEAN naman tuloy ang pagkakaibigan ng mga magagalang, magaling sa pulung-pulungan. Mga wakarang.

        • Nice way to put it. I am sure your friend recovered just fine. 🙂 🙂 🙂

      • karlgarcia says:

        If Merkel would be around she would repeat her bemusement.

        I can’t cut and paste so if you may just clck.

    • NHerrera says:

      I find the general comments of Meralco as true. However, there are great inaccuracies in some numbers in the ABS-CBN report.

      1. The P15 billion for 7500 megawatts additional capacity is not correct. It is more like US $15 billion or lower.

      2. The quoted numbers for generation costs per kilowatt-hour (kWh) of $9.91, $4.82, $5.33 for the Philippines, Indonesia and Thailand, respectively, are incorrect. They are correct, in order of magnitude, if expressed in Philippine Peso per kilowatt-hour: PHP9.91, PHP4.82, PHP5.33, respectively.

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