Ten-point plan for a first-world Philippines

By Filipino artist Leeroy New from his Space collection at leeroynew.com. For JoeAm, it symbolizes the will to build . . .

By Joe America

This is The Society of Honor’s ten-point plan that targets raising the Philippines to first-world status in 25 years. It is an imaginary set of steps that is imaginary only because today’s leaders appear to lack the will to implement it, or something like it:

  1. Stop the killings and excessive PNP force; restore due process.
  2. Abandon the divisive State propaganda unit and end vilification programs: aspire to true unity and a proud national identity.
  3. Manage Executive functions the way a business would: goal oriented and focused on highest economic and social returns.
  4. Switch from a debt-fueled to a productivity-fueled economy.
  5. Introduce a massive national work program in place of cash dole-outs; require 2 years of service with skill development for high school graduates not going to college.
  6. Conduct an all-out effort to improve Manila transportation.
  7. Simplify, pursue, and publish peace steps in Mindanao so people understand what is going on; work on getting buy-in from prominent groups and the voting public.
  8. Defend better against natural disasters.
  9. Defend sea resources and deploy these resources to feed and fuel the nation.
  10. Abandon federalism as too impractical for a fractured, impoverished, dynastic nation; evaluate a parliamentary form of democracy.

Refreshing, is it not, to set aside incivility and gameplaying to focus on building?

127 Responses to “Ten-point plan for a first-world Philippines”
  1. edgar lores says:

    11. Get rid of the dynasties, the supermajority in the Lower House, the current majority in the Senate, and the current majority in the Supreme Court.

  2. Ron says:

    I had been thinking of the same question. Your list isn’t specific about how to drastically reduce corruption.

  3. karlgarcia says:

    Unfortunately, the Train was supposed to to fund the infra, but with more debts the budget will have almost ! billion allocated for debt payments.Now it fluctuates from 300 Billion to as high as 600 Billion.(PHP).

    No trickl;e down economics, only drizzle down economics(graft and corruption).
    There is a saying in tagalog. Sana maambunan ako ng mga biyaya nya.( May he share his blessings even by just a droplet of rain)

    Ambon – Drizzle or rain shower.

  4. arlene says:

    Dreaming of a first-world Philippines. Even if it is imaginary, do you think we’ll have responsible leaders in the future and responsible voters who’ll choose them in the next 25 years? Praying on it. Gone are the days when respect for political figures is the norm. Kokonti na lang ang matino sa gobyerno ngayon. Good morning!

  5. karlgarcia says:

    The divisive propaganda must go.
    But I am afraid, it has been going on since the time of Adam and Eve.

    i escaped Military training in High school by jpining the traffic assistance, which ended up as being a door opener to every arriving car.
    I did not escape it in College.
    A son of a military officer, who avoided molitary training at first.

    Before I get lost, my point is I agree in Military service.
    They do it in Singapore, South Korea, and somewhere else.

    one more problem to infras are Right of way and some rhistorical bridges and buildings that can not be demolished without protests.

    Access to cash to micro lending cooperatives,etc,

    But each and every barangay should have more jails, cctv, more street sweepers, estero cleaners,doctors, teachers and more unarmed tanods

    • Excellent points.

      There is a difference between communication/publication and manipulating by way of lies and trolls. Although I agree there are shades of gray (politics is a shade-of-gray profession), the current method is not acceptable to a straightforward, problem-solving government. It is divisive and destructive.

      Glad you are for the service point, although it does not have to be military. It can be roadwork or mangrove protection or many socially valuable undertakings. The ideas is the recruit would be taught skills and upon ‘graduation’ be assigned to an agency or business that would give him a career path. Somehow, hope and opportunity has to be built into the job market so that those without a college diploma can move ‘up and out’, should they choose. So there is a lot of meat to this simple statement that has to be added.

      Agree, right-of-way issues are huge headaches especially in Manila. It will require a special law to give common good more weight than is now the case. Now, nitpicking laws upset or delay everything.

      Access to cash, micro-lending, etc. would be a part of the economic plank.

      Barangay empowerment. Hmmmm, don’t know where to put that one, but it is important for sure. Probably under Executive branch being run like a business, with people seen as a key resource and order/cleanliness paramount.

  6. Wilfredo G. Villanueva says:

    24/7 hearing time especially for suspected plunderers. Jail time, nonbailable. Make justice count. We have bright minds, but impunity takes its toll, puts the nation asunder. Why? Because the usual suspects will simply seek electoral absolution, thereby creating a vicious cycle of plunderers who will plunder more.

    • Agree. In point one, restoring due process, the matter of jailing people would be dealt with, and also the court system and an easier way to get rid of judges who accept bribes or dispense political rulings instead of rulings in law. A lot of help from the bright people will be needed on that one. I think a lot of people who are in jail now could be freed for lack of due process. Clean out and clean up the despicable jailhouse conditions. And lose the TVs and cell phones . . .

      By the way, in my next blog, maybe out Friday, I will deal with vengeance and accountability, and propose a heirarchy of jail terms for certain deeds/positions. It’s kinda like a weighting index. A number of people will be confined until they are completely dead. All strictly imaginary for discussion purposes, of course.

      • https://www.doj.gov.ph/files/ccc/Criminal_Code_September-2014(draft).pdf (DOJ has not YET removed the De Lima draft helped by Bavaria from its webpage… but I have saved it as well)

        It is highly readable and understandable, much like its German equivalent.. and it has a hierarchy of penalties which could be similar to your idea:

        (also it has fines based on average daily income, which is fairer to both rich and poor, this is also the German approach especially for small crimes, not fixed fines like it is now)

        Section 23. Imposable penalties. The penalties which may be imposed under this Code
        are the following:

        Principal Penalty Term

        Life imprisonment Not less than 30 years and not more than 40 years, with or without parole + Fine equivalent to 500 to 1000 times (in multiples of one hundred) the average daily income

        Level 5 More than 20 years to 30 years + Fine equivalent to 100 to 500 times (in multiples of
        one hundred) the average daily income

        Level 4 More than 12 years to 20 years + Fine equivalent to 10 to 100 times (in multiples of
        ten) the average daily income

        Level 3 More than six years to 12 years + Fine equivalent to 10 to 50 times (in multiples of ten) the average daily income

        Level 2 More than one year to six years + Fine equivalent to 10 to 20 times (in multiples of
        five) the average daily income

        Level 1 More than 10 days to one year + Fine equivalent to one to 10 times the average daily income OR Fine only

  7. NHerrera says:

    We’ve thought about it. We’ve planned it. Now let’s dirty our hands with work. GO GO GO PHILIPPINES!

  8. karlgarcia says:


    Even before starting, transport groups even Grab is asking for fair hikes, next will be labor.
    If ecerything will skyrocket.

    I no longer see owner type jeepneys in Metro.
    Threy will make a comeback but we need more Francisco Motors and Sarao Motiors.
    And more of the Pareho SUVs, Conge fiber glass cars.

    If everyone is going lean we need
    Mass production.
    All inventions and innovations must have ways for scaling up, that is what is killing innovation, that scaling up thing.

    Our laws must be recodified to simple english thst can be translated to simple Pilipino.
    That, the congress can do.

    • http://filipinogerman.blogsport.eu/personalities-versus-politics/

      “Gerhard Schröder cut taxes for my income group and I was happy. But raised taxes in all kinds of places so everything became more expensive in the end. Nice, I had more money in my pocket, but could buy less with it than before.”

      BTW electric busses are being piloted in Munich now… just two. They want to test everything in real life before switching an entire line to electric, then most of the fleet. You need practical SOPs for everything including recharging and maintenance,


      “another system in Munich was the subject of complaints. The Munich S-Bahn or suburban train. 150 stations and 434 kilometers into the suburbs of Munich. The trunk line or Stammstrecke (line) was also built for the 1972 Olympics. That was a Build, Build, Build period – without dictatorship. Half of Munich, especially the Marienplatz where U-Bahn and S-Bahn lines converge in a common station under the city hall, was excavated or tunneled then. No space for Japanese to make fotos. But then again, it is mostly the S-Bahn or U-Bahn that brings them there, escalators bring them up.

      Almost yesterday is a decade ago or more. I don’t even remember the exact years when the S-Bahn was catastrophic as I lived outside town then – it only affected me when I went in on weekends. Frequent delays. Often the signalling systems at the Ostbahnhof (Eastern train station) got stuck. Electrical and signalling systems in the trunk line, the busiest train route in Germany they say, had to be renovated step by step as they had aged since the early 1970s. There was a time, I think an entire year, where the S-Bahn trunk line was closed for entire weekends – technical overhaul.”

      • Such lessons would help in Manila where the solution is small steps rather than big. Big are needed.

        • I have observed that TROs are not so prevalent over here, probably because there is a “plan determination phase” where people can register complaints or whatever – after a green light is given to a project things are usually settled and things move forward until completion.

          Major counter-examples exist here as well – the new Munich airport was planned for 1972 and was finished in 1992 due to land issues and court cases. The Berlin-Munich speed train was one of the first German unity projects but got bogged down with environmental issues – there are also bridges to nowhere here, parts of Autobahns started and then stopped. There is the new Berlin airport which is bogged down by unclear responsibilities somewhat like the MRT3, but one point of my article is that there isn’t a big hearing / show trial each time that happens..

      • karlgarcia says:

        Thanks again Irineo, btw I echo all the good things NH has too say about you.

        What you experience there only proces that everything is doable, but, bo shortcuts, and all must be done step by step.

        We must be patient and it is ok to dreambig,but start small.

        I learn thst all from you.

        • Welcome Karl… it is basically about the journey of a thousand miles and a single step..


          “Japanese cars in the 1950s did not amount to much, neither did BMWs from the 1950s. But unlike the Filipino jeepney, they were developed into more. Building the capabilities needed for a truly modern country – which include mindsets such as thinking of maintenance, operation and supplies – takes time. Filipinos can be fast learners. If they want to be – and are not hard-headed.”

          • karlgarcia says:


          • Yep. If they want to be. This article is a wee small puny attempt at instilling such desires.

            • sonny says:

              Hi, Joe! Hello, TSOH!

              Puny is the right word. First observation coming into the US was how protective people are of their places in line or queue. I learned over time that this little practice was instilled at a very early age by practically everyone – home, school – at play, work until one sees that practiced socially, don’t buck the line. This practice is hard-core culture. It is common-sense, it is courtesy, it is inexpensive, it smooths at the most basic levels almost like breathing air. Yet it is translatable to human right & duty in larger things of human affairs.

              Article is right on the nose as usual, Joe.

    • sonny says:

      Help, Neph! What is TRAIN?

  9. josephivo says:

    Overall. “Chicken and egg”. There is so much more than politics and economics to become first world and it is all so interlinked. Cultural aspects need to be addressed, mendicancy and dealing with utang, healthy individualism, healthy nationalism, critical thinking, a longer time horizon and planning… essential here are education and leading by example. Science and innovation as drivers of progress instead of relying on remittances and sending all driven citizens overseas. A more current religion, past superstition and the reliance on mystical rituals.

    3. “as the business would”, add process oriented: what are the most effective and efficient steps to go from A to B, what are the feedback loops, what variation to be expected, what are control variables, what is noise…

    5. “Dole outs”, essential as they have the form of conditional cash transfers improving the health (and brain development) during the first 1000 days of existence, improving education opportunities.

    6. “Manila transportation”, add control population density, stop unlimited addition of high-rise buildings and the uncontrolled (or political motivated) expansion of squatter areas.
    10. “Abandon federalism”. The opposite, but first define what decisions should be taken at what level to be more efficient. Today too much is decided in imperial Manila.

  10. karlgarcia says:

    @ Lance,

    You might be interested in the blog of a commenter named Lloyd Celeste.

    He discusses about the environment and agriculture.


    Let’s invite him to visit more often.

  11. What? And abandon the gameplan? The dark side is close to achieving total collapse of institutions and sacred tenets! They are close to achieving domination…What makes you think they would give a hoot about any one’s ideas for good governance or nation building? They have gotten away with murder literally…at this point, the sky is the limit for the minions, what more the master.

  12. karlgarcia says:

    The news was five to six years ago, and I bet this is still happening.


    Now they want Federalism, A federal government with more loans to loansharks.
    Did this Uy guy started from lending election csmpaigns?
    He just entered the scene, a few years ago, now, he is a billionaire.

  13. chemrock says:

    Philippines need a total make-over.

    Should it be top-down or bottom-up? Both the tops and the bottoms are the problems why we are what we are.

    For top-down, as you struggle with where to place anti-dynasties, I would add concurrent attnetion to getting rid of fraternities and the huge numbers of combative attorneys in publicservice. Actually I would’nt call it public service, because that’s not what they are in govt for.

  14. Thanks Joe. To flesh out 10 a bit, as I have looked into pros and cons of Federalism/Parliamentary:

    10a. Make the Congress purely party list based, proportional representation based on national votes. No more local reps to break the dynastic hold, no more projects managed by Reps i.e. pork barrel.

    10b. Make the Senate region-based (two per region). As Filipinos want personalities to represent them, give them their folks in the highest and most exposed (hearings) house. But it does have a chance of becoming more representative of regions, as not all will be Presidents-in-waiting like now.

    10c. Have a Prime MInister elected by Congress and President elected for 10 years by the people. The latter more of a figurehead for representation purposes, welcoming diplomats, saying important things to the nation, especially no more right to veto parts of laws like today or to appoint judges.

    To flesh out No. 1 as I have also devoted some articles and thinking to this aspect in the past:

    1a. Revive 2014 Penal Code draft. Simplify even more if necessary. It already has scales of punishment BTW, similar to the German Criminal Code upon which it is based. Translate it into working languages (Tagalog, Ilokano, Cebuano) which was another idea of mine.

    1b. Simple people should have a right to a translator before court so they know what is going on.

    1c. Revise court procedures to make less objections by lawyers possible. Give forensic evidence a higher value and train police in getting it properly (this was one of the things the Bavarian State Police was supposed to be teaching PNP in the old Hanns-Seidel programs), yes I agree with MRP there.

    As for 6, another of my favorite aspects:

    6a. exclusive motorbike lanes on major thoroughfares. Most of Southeast Asia goes by motorbike, it is only Filipino prestige thinking and not wanting to sweat that drives excessive car use.

    6b. Build a BRT line along C6 and up to NAIA instead of the overly expensive Manila subway. First of all it will be finished faster as all you need are lanes, stops and the right bus models, second it is easier to maintain with the means that the Philippines has at the moments. Knowing one’s limits is essential.

    6c. When the C6 BRT is finished, fully overhaul the MRT3 and size it for higher numbers of people like it should have been at the beginning. Possibly create first-class coaches that cost more for the crowd that can afford it – help pay the cost of operation. Seats only of course in the first class coaches.

    As for 8 and 9:

    a. Create bodies similar to Dutch waterschapen or water boards made of several LGUs. This would be a form of decentralization not federalism. Their responsibility would be water resources and flood control, just like the Dutch water boards. Water purity for irrigation and food as well!

    b. Give these water boards or whatever you call them the authority to take care of evac, emergency shelters and the rest of things that have to do with civil protection. And the help from national.

    c. retraining of people without jobs should focus on civil protection and food security first of all.

    As for 4:

    4a. Focus on value-added industries involving local natural resources. Try to move away as much as possible from being just a third world supplier of resources to others. One of my favorites in composite materials from abaca and pineapple fibers, stuff others (Spain and Germany) are doing already.

    4b. Heavily tax mining that delivers straight to abroad. Tax mining less if it delivers to local industry. This would be an incentive for mining firms to help build value-added close to point of extraction.

    ….that is all for now…

    • Addition to 10: put limits on campaign expense. Reimburse proportional to the number of seats in Congress like what is done in Australia and Germany to prevent too much influence-buying.

      Addition to 1: if one removes the power to appoint Supreme Court Judges from the President, other possibilities will have to be looked at. Even the Polish model of giving it to Parliament is cause enough for the EU to open a case against Poland, so we know where things are now…

      Another addition: real tenured civil service like in many countries including Australia or Germany. In Germany only top-level positions are political – Ministers and state secretaries (like USecs) while career state secretaries (like Asecs) are career people. This guarantees continuity, even if there will be inevitable politics in appointments which even corporations have.

    • P.S. “seats only” means no standing in first class coaches. Not to be misinterpreted to mean that second-class coaches should have no seats.

      But one could have walk-through designs that maximize rush-hour standing room there.

    • Absolutely perfect. Wonderful elaborations, ideas. EXACTLY the kind of purposeful solutions needed.

    • Ireneo,

      For #4 can you go more into detail on Germany’s apprenticeship program, from start to finish. I know there’s currently a program in the Philippines (info I believe from karl ) akin to apprenticeship, but more geared towards sending Filipinos out, ie. welding, or culinary, etc.

      So superimpose Germany’s apprenticeship program, which the US (under Trump) is now following closely , with Philippines’ “natural resources” (from talent to Lloyd Celeste’s realm of expertise), I remember talking to

      Mary Grace about her mahogany plantation, and rubber trees, but also of woodworking and blacksmithing , I also remember meeting a bunch of really good woodcarvers and carpenters (grade A quality) there (i’ve already mentioned my appreciation for blacksmiths there).

      • There is K12 TVET under TESDA and there is K-12+ with German backing.

        Not to send people out but on-the-job training locally with option to get in full-time, in the German backed metalworking program it is for a German factory in the Philippines.

        Of course Germany will offer jobs at HQ for the best, but that is part of the game. Leverage the skill sets being created by creating clusters of industries. DOST had/has a program for metalworking including building busses and trains, seed fund local firms that make them..

        • Irineo,I like the idea of the dual education which some people have put in place, mainly Germany, as you certainly know. That is how they educate a highly qualified workforce which puts them ahead of the competition. I think that I heard Germany had helped other countries to implement that system but can nt immediately remember where that was. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dual_education_system

          • karlgarcia says:

            Very interesting.
            The link below is about the other countries that want to import the dual education system


          • Coming from a TVET background, I can attest to its results. Well, before the whole K12 thing. As of present, it just seems bleak. The reasons being:

            – LIttle stakeholder involvement and no transition phase. Schools were not given much time to prepare for equipment, programs, curriculum, etc. Just months.

            – Due to the lack of preparation, equipment and trainers are lacking (It still is.). So in addition to the lack of equipment, you also have teachers with no background in Tech-Voc teaching TVET.

            – Existing TVET schools are also having a hard time due to the huge influx of HS students and the new requirements. (Even our institution whose lifeblood for more than three decades has been TVET is having a very hard time.)

            – The technical part has been heavily compressed [watered down] in favor of GenEd (DepEd) subjects.

            – The OJT period has been reduced from 6-12 months to 1-3 months. And this is really a problem. Because…

            – Little to no coordination with the industry. 1-3 months is a short time for technical training. Given this, many industry partners won’t bother teaching them legit technical skills. Probably just getting them for cheap/free labor. Some do not even bother getting them at all because of it.

            – Lastly, still little progress on ladderizing. (From TVET to College Education)

            To sum it up, DepEd pretty much overshadowed TESDA. To put it simply, the focus is still on getting Diplomas rather than getting Skill. And with TVET, well… It pretty much defeats the purpose.

            • karlgarcia says:

              You are a Bosconian and an Atenean.

              They start them young there
              at Don Bosco.

              • i.p.,

                Would self teaching be possible over there, ie. watching youtube how-to videos, or Googling how-to instructions from blogs to official documents? With so much available online, i’d figure just having a place to work would be sufficient (no need for teachers really), then maybe some peer-to-peer teaching,

                I don’t know if you caught my postings on tool libraries, but just getting stuff like this available, housed in provincial or city buildings,

                And just start getting dirty and making stuff.

                For example those Smithy machines you can get old ones used from swap-meets or garage sales for $500-$1,000 bucks, how about Philippine consulates , or visiting Filipino mayors/councilmen purchase these here , and send them back there, then watch youtube videos to start making stuff.

                Just have venues to make things, have tools available, but more importantly practice preventive maintenance (love and care for these machines/tools).

              • @Karl, Not a Bosconian. 🙂

                @Lance, do note that my rant on TVET is in the context of the K12 system. Overall, TVET is actually alive and well and I’ll give credit to how active TESDA was/is in promoting it.

                As for self-teaching using online resources, it is indeed possible. However, it can only get you so far. As you’ve pointed out, one big stumbling block is the tools needed. And your suggestion of a publicly accessible shop area could work. (Something like makerspaces?)

                But then again, in some ways, TESDA has already done something of the sort. What they’ve done (and still do) is they partner with TVET institutions and offer scholarships (TWSP) for various skills. It is actually a regular thing and it is open to anyone**. Even availed of it a number of times in the past few years.

                **(Well, mostly open. There are usually regional constraints. Like you have to be a resident of *insert region here* to avail. But that is very easily bypassed.)

                Going by their statistics: For 2016 alone, there we 2M+ graduates for TVET.
                181k of those are beneficiaries of TWSP (Training for Work Scholarship Program).


                And as for something that many, including myself, have appreciated with TESDA TVET, it is the modular structure.

                Let’s say you want to learn machining. Well, There are actually levels to that (NC I, II, III). Assuming you have no experience, you start with NC I. After finishing the course, you have an option of getting certified (National Certification I) and it is usually acknowledged by many workplaces. Some would even prefer it over BS graduates.

                And if you want to continue learning and upgrade your skills? Well, you can proceed to NC II, and so on. Even the schedule is actually very flexible. As long as there are enough participants and the institution can accommodate it, they’ll happily open a course. No need to wait for semesters or whatnot.

                So yeah, I’m all for TVET. =)

              • karlgarcia says:

                OK just a true Blue Atenean.

    • Francis says:

      @Irineo: Agreed.

      We cannot eliminate dynasties by law—only by making the environment less comfortable for groups like dynasties, and more beneficial for alternative political groups (again: genuinely grassroots political parties) can we start a process where the good (not just political parties, but may also include “effective” dynasties which have adapted to the changed circumstances) are incentivized to thrive and the bad (not just bad and violent dynasties, but also political parties which may not be familial any more, but are still dirty unrepresentative machines) are filtered out.

      In that sense, I like:

      “10a. Make the Congress purely party list based, proportional representation based on national votes. No more local reps to break the dynastic hold, no more projects managed by Reps i.e. pork barrel.”

      Very much.

      But I don’t think Congress will stand for it. I’ll just be happy if they lift the stupid three-seat limit. It’s the three-seat limit that fractures our party-list system into dozens of tiny, miniature parties that are virtually harmless to the system—and easy to co-opt. Removing the limit will lead to reformist parties hitting ten seats or more: a critical mass that may make people finally notice them as a viable alternative to the trapos—as well as a way of making the genuinely representative and truly principled (center-left Akbayan, the horrendously underrepresented* cooperative movement…and yes, the Makabayan Bloc…) drive extinct the make-shift “gawa-gawa” trapo puppets that, by virtue of earning a few hundred thousand votes, garner a seat in the legislature.


      “10b. Make the Senate region-based (two per region). As Filipinos want personalities to represent them, give them their folks in the highest and most exposed (hearings) house. But it does have a chance of becoming more representative of regions, as not all will be Presidents-in-waiting like now.”

      While yes—the Senate did give us Vic Sotto, the national constituency of the Senate (the “Top 12” arrangement) is something that I like to keep, as it gives a (little) crack for alternative/outsiders to have a shot at a having a seat in the upper chamber of the national legislature—with the (equally national in scale) influence and limelight that comes with it. True: celebrities—by sheer star power and name recognition—can waltz in one of the highest offices in the land, and we’ll all grumble about it. But celebrities are getting all the seats at the Senate simply because the alternative political forces in this country are too weak and feeble to get inside the “crack” that that the Senate offers. Take for instance, the case of Bello. While one might dispute his attitudes towards the economy, Bello’s a good guy, but unfortunately the Philippines has historically pretty weak unions (which have only gotten even weaker) and too nascent of a civil society to serve as base.

      Have strong political parties and Senate (in its current form) can be a model legislature. It’s like PR, in the sense that it helps serve as another counterweight against dynastic influence in the House.

      • Thanks, the aspect of doability is something else of course… but I tend to look at what should be done first and then what CAN be done… of course the worst-case is no chance at all..

        BUT Con-Ass gives the possibility of a counter-proposal in terms of small amendments to the 1987 Constitution – if LP or others are smart they might already be preparing them now, as an answer to “known bugs” in the present system which DO exist. And as a counter-strategy.

        If it is refused, go straight and ask the people is the next possible step, but try normal first.

  15. You missed out web and cell phone connections.

  16. Pablo says:

    Most important point was missed:
    Schooling: Change from a mass based schooling to a merit based system developing independent thinking and aim at least one university to be in the top 100.

    • NHerrera says:

      Again — and I may sound like a broken record and just my opinion in any case — that thought may be embedded in the concepts associated with Items 3 and 4 in Joe’s list, I believe.

    • Excellent suggestion. It is consistent with the idea that college does not have to be for everyone, and careers can be built in many ways, Rewarding the best is one way.

  17. Micha says:

    Dreams built on a bamboo scaffolding. Perfecto.

    • I wonder if there are also economists who have artistic souls, and grasp meanings beyond the literal.

      • Micha says:

        Policy proposals are fine if you’re actually in a position of leverage to see some of it through.

        What’s the chance that the pervert in Malacanang and the perverts in congress will consider any of these?

        • What have you done lately to inspire good thinking?

        • distant observer says:

          Happy (belated) new year to the Society of Honor!

          Considering the authoritarian tendencies in rhetoric and policies in 2017, one might have a rather pessimistic outlook on 2018. These tendencies might not stop in 2018. And the preponderance of fake news in Philippine political discourse might not go away quickly. But I can only quote Thomas Jefferson who said:

          “Truth will do well enough if left to shift for herself. She seldom has received much aid from the power of great men to whom she is rarely known & seldom welcome. She has no need of force to procure entrance into the minds of men. Error indeed has often prevailed by the assistance of power or force. Truth is the proper & sufficient antagonist to error.”

          If the truth is really on the side of the Society of Honor, it will find its entrance to the minds of the Filipinos. It will be no quick and easy process of course. Let the powerful nurture the lies they need. In contrast, let’s cultivate this place of thinking and learning, so this place may not be a bane but a forge of knowledge and truth.

          • Right. It is so easy to go negative and so hard to build. If 2014 wasn’t used rightly, that doesn’t mean we should give up in 2018.

          • Micha says:

            Remarkably, Joe America might have some authoritarian tendencies too. He appears to want his place to become an echo chamber of mutual validation.

            No debates or contrary opinions allowed.

            • Lies, trollish lies. What is not allowed are personal aspersions and you seem intent upon making them, holding that I should single handed have guided President Aquino on the path of progressive wisdom the way Micha sees it. I wrote my ass off and was thanked by the President because, in his lowest moments, JoeAm was speaking sense when everyone else had lost it.

              We had elaborate discussions on SSS and other topics here. Progressive. Best in the Philippines.

              Maybe just maybe you are not the target audience for this piece. Maybe just maybe I am writing sense on behalf of a small group of Filipinos who see damn little of it, and maybe just maybe they will see that there is light if we work smart and hard. And not give up. And not get discouraged by trolls and Michas who seem intent upon bitching and moaning . . . some from afar . . . contributing little of uplift or building . . . whilst we deal with the shit here. Real time.

              Go sit with Bill and complain into your beer and let us do what we do without your center of the earth judgmentalness.

              • Micha says:

                Look at the start of this thread Joe. I was referring to the accompanying picture of the article. Where is the personal aspersion in that? It’s your immediate reply which tended to go personal.

              • I spent a lot of time looking for a photo that symbolized building and discovered a wonderful young Filipino artist as a bonus. I tire of negativity, of carping, and your remark struck me as exactly what I get from trolls who are always digging and poking. I block them. I don’t block you because you have a record of contributing in a positive manner when you want to. Try building something here is my suggestion. Time is too short to fill with negativity.

          • edgar lores says:

            There is a spectrum of attitudes one can take to the world which today is in hell’s way. The extremes are pessimism and optimism.

            Pessimism is the attitude that we are doomed.

            Optimism is the attitude that we will be saved.

            Well, perhaps to the left of pessimism is nihilism, which is that nothing matters.

            And perhaps to the right of optimism is blind faith, what is that everything is part of a Divine plan.

            At the very center would be the existentialism of Sisyphus, which is that duty matters, that we must unceasingly roll the boulder up the mountain.

            The attitude of the Society is right of center. Everything is not alright, and certain things can be set right, but it needs work. Yes, we must push boulders up the mountain, not to see them roll back, but to build the celestial city/country.

            Above all, we must not give in to despair.


            Understandably, Micha is currently exhibiting a left of center attitude. The temptation to do so is great. But I do not read despair in her posts, I read anger.


            That Jefferson quote suits the Society. Note that Jefferson lived 100 years ago, and error continues to prevail “by the assistance of power or force.”

            There are many other inspiring quotes about perseverance and the ultimate triumph of good and truth.

            Here’s a short one from Churchill: “If you are going through hell, keep going.”

            The alternative to stay is not acceptable.

            • distant observer says:

              Wonderful elaborations. I too read anger in Micha’s posts. But so do I in some of Joe’s posts for that matter. That’s why I feel understood in this Society; some members are able to express the emotions I have when observing the current developments in the Philippines in a much more eloquent way than I would ever be able to do.

              It’s ok to be angry. The question is how does one translate it into something constructive.

              I love these *** of yours and appreciate everything that comes in between them. Keep it coming in 2018 Edgar!

            • More wise words I have never read.

      • Micha says:

        A good time to go bold on progressive policies was when you still have the ear of President Noynoy.

        If bold progressive policies were actually implemented during President Noynoy’s time then we would be dealing now with a President Roxas instead of a President Maniac.

        • NHerrera says:

          If I may: there is some hindsight thinking there. Even if some aggressive policies were implemented by Pnoy — and of course their were priorities to consider — there were “intervening” factors which may not have reversed the 2016 election results.

          • Micha says:

            I remember the proposal to grant tuition free college education in public universities were opposed hereabouts. Ditto with the proposal to increase the monthly benefits of SSS retirees.

        • I never had the ear of President Aquino, except as he chose to read . . . and have done ‘progressive’ articles. His work was progressive, just not dictatorial. I suggest you remove the burr you are sitting on and either pick up on the positive tenor of the article or go away.

          • Micha says:

            Progressive policies such as those you have in your ten point plan (still wanting but it’s a start) is what would have prevented the election of a fascist maniac.

            President Noynoy did not go bold enough in adopting progressive policies, no, his administration even opposed some progressive policies like the proposal to increase the monthly benefits of SSS retirees.

            Remember that voters who elected Duterte were riding on a populist anti-establishment wave and per your previous article actually now has the support of a large percentage of the population. Now his allies and minions are consolidating to preserve their political momentum and install an Arroyo or a Marcos or even another Duterte to succeed him.

            You might have nothing but good intentions in your ten-point plan but at this point it’s a little too late. The other side owns the populist progressive narrative.

            • NHerrera says:

              My opinion: that kind of behavior becomes Arroyo but not Aquino. And, Micha: sorry to say but your last few posts do not become you. (Joe delete this if this post is not in keeping with blog policies.)

              • Micha says:

                “My opinion: that kind of behavior becomes Arroyo but not Aquino.”

                You mean granting increase in benefits for SSS retirees is more like an Arroyo policy?

              • You said it better than I could have. I was one copy/paste from putting Micha back into moderation. Distant Observer cooled me off with a bit of wisdom.

              • distant observer says:

                Much appreciated Joe. I value most of Micha’s comments, although they tend to sound jaded of disillusion and even frustration lately. But I can relate to that too…

              • chemrock says:

                Micha, if I may join in.

                I think this article is apolitical. Joe is free to say what he feels are the 10 best things to do. There is nothing to challenge him whether he is right or wrong, If anybody thinks Joe’s priorities are wrong, just simply indicate what are better suggestions. I’m sure you have plenty to share.

              • Micha says:


                The article and the proposals have all the elements of politics aimed directly or as a counterweight to the current policies of the fascist Duterte administration.

            • What my intentions are is not the topic of this article and, frankly, is none of your concern.

              • Micha says:

                You discourage further conversation, fine.

                I almost know what you’ll say next. You own this place so take it or leave it.

                So much about this being “a place where people meet to validate or oppose the views expressed in the article”.

    • karlgarcia says:

      Happy 2018.
      Bamboo scaffolfolding have built monuments.

      I attempted to blog about MMT and we had reactions from Charles Englund and Chempo, Englund is an Economics Grad and Chempo, a banker.

      Two to three years later, I am still a slow learner, but still following news about MMT.

      I looked at old entries and found some of your heated exchanges with the late RHiro, a commenter I have been following since the MLQ3/ Ricky Carandang days.

      Most are enlightening, I learned a lot from the two of you.

      You say, these are dreams built on bamboo scaffolfings.

      It is your deam that MMT go mainstream, life is but a dream.

      • Micha says:


        MMT is already mainstream, at least in the US. Remember that it is nothing but actual description of the mechanics of the federal government’s finances. No need to dream about it going mainstream.


        Bamboos are fine, but its organic nature makes it rather quick to decay. If we are to build ideas, at least make it stand the test of time.

      • distant observer says:

        Happy 2018 Karl 🙂
        I too remember Micha’s and RHiro’s exchanges from an economist perspective. I too enjoyed them and learned a lot.

  18. Sabtang Basco says:

    On 8. When Lloyds of London was founded in 1686, 332 years ago, before the internet when Religion ruled and Inquisition was still fresh the STANDARD INSURANCE LANGUAGE excludes coverage to ACTS-OF-GOD. In modern days, the days of free spech and freedom of information, Vatican lobbied “Acts-of-God” should be stricken out because God-is-Merciful. (By the way, Acts-of-God is natural disasters beyond the control of human being.) Lloyds changed Acts-of-God to Force Majeure and Fortuitous Events !!!

    But it is too late! The Acts-of-God is already inculcated in the brains of literate Filipinos (Filipinos happen to have the highest literacy rate in Asia, unfortunately to say the least): Typhoons, earthquakes, flash floods, fire, misfortunes …

    Still the Filipinos knows how to defend better against natural disasters: PRAYERS !

    PRAYERS is asking their God to stop the madness when madness is punishment to them. Yes, Filipinos still believe natural cataclysm is punishment from God.

  19. Sabtang Basco says:

    7. Mindanao was called a LAND OF PROMISE. To this day it is still a promise. Mindanao was never ever pacified from the very beginning of Philippines written history. Something wrong with those people there: Religious War.

  20. Sabtang Basco says:

    6. Traffic Crisis is due to DENR inutility. Traffic should be part of Environment and Natural Resources. When businesses asks for building permit it also go to DENR for approval. Does DENR study traffic impact? People impact? Congestion impact? These are all under my definition of Environment.

    I do not think DENR study these. They approve it because the owners of these proposed buildings are well-connected powerful and ultra-rich and most of all they are mestizos

  21. Sabtang Basco says:

    The rest of the points, in theory, yes, in application is still to be desired that requires re-education indoctrination in concentration camps.

  22. NHerrera says:

    An Addendum to a Thread of Posts above:

    It is measure of the value the TSH attaches to a worthy contributor/ commenter — and here I am referring to Micha — that when the possibility of losing such valued contributor comes, the TSH membership make such interesting, useful and varied ways of expressing such value while bringing out their arguments explicitly or implicitly.

    This is not the only instance but my geriatric mind fails a total recall. I may just take one of those potions that Lance posts here for such failing memory. 🙂

    • Sabtang Basco says:

      Please include attribution to http://www.developinghumanbrain.org with this graphic.

      • ” I may just take one of those potions that Lance posts here for such failing memory.”

        No, what we need NH (as fellow octogenarians 😉 ) is what karl’s having… i’m still in awe at how he simply recalls and retrieves old conversations. I’m using the search window for the blog and it doesn’t even search commentaries, so what’s karl taking ??? (that’s the billion dollar question)


  23. Sabtang Basco says:

    Metro Manila and Metro Cebu are the densest cities in the world. Obviously without further study there is something wrong with their City Planning, unfortunately, that is the best they can do after Harvard, UCLA, Brown, Princeton, NYU and all ivy-schools they studied in.

  24. Go Parliamentary! Woo!

    As a note for constitutional reform:

    // A 25-member Constitutional commission composed of professors, academics, experts from political science, law, economics, industry who will be the only ones given the ability to write and edit the final draft.

    The Congressmen can raise questions, provide information, but they can’t just write new stuff or make changes. They need to relay their requests and suggestions to the 25 member commission who have the right to debate with the ones raising objections or questions or providing suggestions. They have the right to veto suggestions.

    On the other hand, the Congressmen do have the right to communicate the sentiments of their constituents on the ground, like in determining which provinces will be joined together to form regions, the Congressmen from those provinces ought to speak up. //

    As for federalism, probably best to note that provinces would surely not be cut up just because of whim. There is surely a transition period where powers will be slowly decentralized. Probably gonna take years, if not even decades, before a full federal government will be realized.

    As for one proposal, a two-category asymmetric evolving Federalism?

    Lastly, there is probably the view of congress being the biggest hurdle to ConRef. As asked by Kiko Pangilinan, can we actually trust them with that? Nonetheless, as an implication of that, would it mean that we people can’t actually do anything about them? So we’ve already lost before we started? Again, why not grab and maximize the opportunity? Is it really a zero-sum game?

  25. Sabtang Basco says:

    I like Philippines one-banana economy. If I am hungry of banana I walk to my friendly neighborhood variety store and buy one banana. Feel like frying eggs? No problem. I can have three eggs run back to my homestay throw three eggs in the pan. Vinegar? Salt? Aha! ha! ha! I love Philippines.

    In the U.S. I have to buy a hand of banana instead of couple of fingers. A dozen of eggs is only the last option. 750ml Vinegar and can of salt. Cooking oil? No problem, “three ounces of cooking oil, please, dag-dag please naman” I cannot even hang-out and talk to the cashier. In the Philippines I can do all that buy in small portions talk to that beautiful sari-sari girl with a Red Horse in hand.

    I call that one-banana economy. Or call it one-egg economy. I go to our neighboring carenderia if I do not like what they have I can ask them to fry me eggs over corned beef.

    What a beautiful world. You cannot have that in 1stWorld country.

  26. Sabtang Basco says:

    It is 2:00 A.M. I usually wake up around this time because internet runs faster. I was thinking to amuse and entertain myself by checking Philippine News. Checked Inquirer dot net. Here are what I found in their web’s front page which I find funny, of course, I wanted to be amused, here is the link linked up before it gets refreshed: http://www.inquirer.net/home?utm_expid=.Tb9qE7aCRB6nLq3l2ISIkg.1&utm_referrer=

    “COMPROMISE DEAL ON MARCOS WEALTH PUSHED TO PALACE BACK BURNER?” No problem with that that is news because I am in Inquirer News website

    “MELISSA RICKS ON FITNESS JOURNEY: 35 lbs lighter in 2017, losing 20 more in 2018” WoW!

    “Thai penis whitening fac creates frenzy among men” WHAAAT?

    “Woman divorces husband choosing her over mother” JEEEZ !!!!

    “Woman handed wrong lottery ticket wins $5 million anyway” Somewhat kinda sorta of news

    “World’s safest airlines for 2018 named”

    NOW WHEN YOU CLICK these links I was inundated by pop-up commercials ….. I had enough of it I went to ABCNews CBSNews CNN Breitbart WashingtonPost New YorkTimes … etcetera … THESE MEDIA OUTLETS KNOWS WHAT NEWS IS ALL ABOUT …..

  27. methersgate says:

    Picking up litter would be a good start.

  28. Manuel Lozano says:

    May I contribute one? #11 Pass a bill against political dynasty and make it a law.

    • Yes, thank you Manuel, we’d put that one under number 1, “due process”, which includes new laws to make process do better. Dynasties are for sure a big reason for the dumbing down of government.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: