Adopt technocracy to reach competence, not federalism to spread incompetence

Using technology to improve productivity. [Photo from]

By JoeAm

A recent blog article on electricity by Chemrock raised the point that government services are only as good as the people managing them. Readers debated privatization versus government ownership of electrical and other utility services but there could be no resolution because the deal killer always is the poor managers who run things in the Philippines. Management thinking in the Philippines is just plain bad. It is politicized, sprinkled with greed and corruption, and the last interest served is typically that of the ordinary Filipino citizen.

Do Filipinos with skilled management and technology capabilities exist? Perhaps a few, or maybe even a lot, but it certainly seems that they are not in government. They are off working at big business making good money or overseas working as professionals . . . some making good money. One can easily look around at all the dilapidation and electrical wires overhead and broken sidewalks and drugs passing through Customs and lousy authoritarian services in government offices and conclude that . . . well, there is not a lot of skill in the management of government agencies in the Philippines.

Why is that?

  • Well, for one thing, there is nowhere for managers to go. The underlings just slog away while the political players rotate in at the top, the cousins and friends and people owed favors. There is no career path for dedicated workers, no need to care that much . . .
  • For another thing, managers are lousy at their profession of managing and lousy at technology. Man, they can’t even manage that technology of the clock properly, to do things quickly, precisely, and on time.
  • Third, the most generous bonus program seems to be cheating, or corruption, or sloth on the job. Quality output is on the minds of absolutely no one, not the President, not the Legislature, not the agency staff, not Filipino citizens.

And the reality is that an existing proposal to change the nation to federalism is the last thing needed. It will only aggravate and spread these problems. It will cure none.

So I would suggest, rather than debate whether privatization is better or worse than government ownership, or rather than waste time with federalism, how about we set out to address the REAL problem?

The Philippine government does not get skilled people . . . technocrats and managers . . . at top agency positions. The salaries are too low. The culture is too toxic.

How about changing this?

I’ve written about it in the past, but now want to crystallize these meandering ideas to focus on a solution: a single law. A law that can do two things:

  1. Cut through incompetence by raising salaries of key government agencies to levels sufficient to attract skilled and technically capable managers. The managers do not have to be Filipino. They do have to be good.
  2. De-link these jobs from politics. Hiring for favor is the single most destructive thing going on in the Philippines, or at least right up there with EJKs and corruption.

Lets call the law “Building National Competence Act of 2019”

Designated agency head positions would be put under an Executive Civil Service Board for hiring based on a rigorous examination of their demonstrated capabilities and knowledge, not titles or political affinity. They could be terminated for non-performance or criminal acts, but not because the Presidency changed. These positions would would be paid according to an international wage scale for senior corporation executives. The first level of deputies would also have global scale wages. Non-citizens could be considered for all positions if skilled Filipinos cannot be found for the jobs.

Agency heads would take guidance from the President and give advice to the President as if he were Chairman of the Board. But he would have no hire/fire rights. The Executive Civil Service Board would include representatives of the President, universities, professional human resources management organizations, or other disciplines that would make sure prospects (technocrats) are capable when hired, and, on the job, are non-political, goal-oriented managers. The Board would make all hire and fire decisions for designated positions.

Two agencies that would clearly benefit from professional technocratic management are the Bureau of Customs and Bureau of Internal Revenue. Also, functions that cross many agencies, such as real estate titling and electricity generation and pricing, would benefit from a single, unified management authority to cut through the webs of conflicting agency interests. Agriculture is another conflicted area that would benefit from professional technocratic oversight.

The stabilizing of agencies around performance rather than politics, with two layers of global salary scales, would also establish career paths for the most competent workers within the agency.

The approach needs to be hammered into shape, but it is not an unproven or half-baked idea. Indeed, we can cite as confirming authority the following:

In the article “Technocrats: Minds Like Machines”, it is stated that Singapore is perhaps the best advertisement for technocracy: the political and expert components of the governing system there seem to have merged completely. This was underlined in a 1993 article in “Wired” by Sandy Sandfort, where he describes the information technology system of the island even at that early date making it effectively intelligent. Wikipedia

The only thing missing is the will to do it.


244 Responses to “Adopt technocracy to reach competence, not federalism to spread incompetence”
  1. chemrock says:

    What you are suggesting is to decouple the politicians from the technocrats. Political appointees be limited to policy making positions such as dept secretaries and asecs. Leave the rest to technocrats managed by apolitical civil service board. Makes a lot of sense and as a matter of fact. Where you find this more entrenched, you find a better performing country.

    In Philippines, it’s as clear as day where the incompetence is as demonstrated by the fact that the 2 best performing agencies in the country are offices which the president cannot touch and interfere — COA Commission of Audit and Bangko Santral central bank.

    • edgar lores says:

      In Oz, the civil service is professionalized. Even the top echelon are not political appointees and they have tenure. So there is not a raft of new appointments and appointees on a change of government. No nepotism, no cronyism, no favoritism. And no utang na loob.

    • Isn’t this all already being done thru DAP , thru this program

      I don’t know much, only that DAP is the closest to say Naval Post-Graduate School, Monterey CA or Army War College, Carlisle Barracks, PA. But its not only military , it covers city gov’t and provincial gov’t personnel too.

      • Fellas, I read up further on the politics of Development Academy of the Philippines, turns out this institution has had some tumultuous leadership changes,

        from Rappler:

        MANILA, Philippines – Employees of the Development Academy of the Philippines (DAP) urged President Rodrigo Duterte to fire their president, Elba Cruz, over “questionable moves” and her alleged lack of “knowledge, temperament, and behavior” necessary to lead a government institution.

        In a petition sent to media on Sunday, December 10, the DAP Personnel Association said Cruz should be replaced by someone “who fully understands the dynamics of governance and has the compassion for the welfare of employee-civil servants.”

        “In the course of her holding on as top executive of the DAP, Cruz has been making many questionable moves to the detriment of both the institution and its employees,” said the group.

        Cruz was first appointed by Duterte as a member of the DAP Board of Trustees back in March. She later replaced Antonio Kalaw Jr, who had held the position since 2006, as president.



        ON the eve of the formal turnover and oathtaking of Antonio Kalaw Jr. as the new president of the Development Academy of the Philippines (DAP), a top-ranking academy official has tendered her resignation in protest of the selection process even as outgoing president Eduardo Gonzalez expressed hurt over a “deeply divided DAP” he is leaving.

        Dr. Grace Gorospe-Jamon, acting dean of the DAP’s Graduate School of Public and Development Management (GSPDM), submitted her letter of resignation effective June 1, 2006 to Gonzalez yesterday. In one of his last official acts as DAP president, Gonzalez accepted Jamon’s resignation on the same day.

        In her letter, Jamon called the manner of Kalaw’s assumption into office “unprofessional and unethical” and “a travesty of the very same values we teach and advocate to uphold not only in the school but also in DAP as a whole.”

        “I can no longer continue to represent the school with the same moral ascendancy after this dark episode in DAP’s life as an independent and respected institution,” said Jamon, an awarded and esteemed associate professor of political science for 28 years with the College of Social Sciences and Philosophy at the University of the Philippines where she teaches and does research in the area of religion and politics.



        regardless of its turnover dramas, DAP still is the only gov’t employee post-grad granting school in the Philippines. They have campuses and offices right now in Tagaytay and in Pasig. Though I’m only familiar w/ Tagaytay as their main campus, where all manner of public sector mid-management and executives to to get advance degrees and/or training.

        To Pablo’s point here:

        “You get good managers from abroad and they will also drown in the swamp.

        You need to fix the boundary conditions first.”

        I do agree that experts from around the world bring a wealth of training and lessons learned and should be consulted.

        I agree with Joe that some fresh blood and fresh eyes are badly needed in the Philippines, but if you just drop them all over the bureaucracy all over Philippines ala 101st Airborne D-Day in the Philippines, one by one, you’ll get nothing, drowned in swamp as Pablo puts it.

        But DAP looks to me like the best place to infuse fresh input. Expand DAP’s programs, open up to foreign know-how. Joe, there’s already an infusion port (medical term) in place, where you can inject your foreign expertise, and it’s DAP.

        edgar: “5. Education-wise, there does not seem to be a dearth of management courses and schools offering bachelor, masters, and doctorate degrees. “

        DAP has been doing this, as to the quality I dunno. the politics in its turn-overs is less than stellar, crab mentality, envy & lack of leadership skillz (what’s new right?). But as an institution, DAP seems to be the only game in town. Why not work with it, and as Joe’s proposed , bring DAP up to speed to international standards, open it up to foreign experts.

        Focus Joe’s great proposal thru DAP.

        I can tell at the city and county levels here, there’s no such institutions , folks have to take courses thru University of Phoenix (some online college) or other schools; nothing also at the state level, they have state-wide conferences, weirdly it’s always in Vegas or Palm Springs.

        At the Federal level though there’s NPS (Monterey, CA); Carlisle Barracks PA (this was Gen. Grant’s target but was accosted by Union generals at Gettysburg); Naval War College in Rhode Island; then the National Defense University in DC; and specific for medicine is the Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences in Bethesda …

        “The mission of the Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences is to educate, train, and comprehensively prepare uniformed services health professionals, scientists, and leaders to support the Military and Public Health Systems, the National Security and National Defense Strategies of the United States, and the readiness of our Uniformed Services.”

        there’s a bunch of smaller schools for Federal public sector post-grad training , which would be agency specific, but the above are the ones most similar to DAP, in the sense that anyone qualified in the Federal level can attend.

        Tagaytay is a great place, clean air, beautiful scenery, and active volcano, but I’d suggest opening up a campus somewhere in Mindanao; Davao would be a perfect place, Marawi too cater to Muslim Filipinos. But ideally you’d want some kind of cross pollination going, ie. get Luzon based managers/executives and send them to the Mindanao campus; vice versa.

      • popoy says:

        LONG LONG LONG AGO, when AIM was aping Harvard Business School Case Study Method of Teaching and DAP was pre-arranged to take over the UP Philippine Executive Academy of UPGSPA, I received an invitation from DAP to be one of its resource persons where in the info sheet I will have to allow DAP to check my background. I threw the invite to the dust bin. I was telling my colleagues lecturer there, DAP is inviting people they have to background check. I refused to lecture or be a part of any DAP Project.

        Now what the hell GOOD this Career Executive Service have done to the honesty, integrity, EFFICIENCY, EFFECTIVENESS and corruption in the Philippine public service bureaucracy. ALL THOSE LONG YEARS?


        • Thanks for the insights. Zero. Zippo. Nada.

          • Ah, thanks, popoy!

            I didn’t know there was a precursor to DAP, but in googling UP Philippine Executive Academy I found none, is this program still in effect now?

            Or has DAP completely taken over?

            In googling UP Philippine Executive Academy , i did find,

            “Under Republic Act 10143 signed almost seven years ago, the PTA “shall develop and implement a curriculum that includes those pertaining to: the technical aspects of tax collection, administration and compliance; and the career orientation and development for civil servants.”

            The law requires all taxmen under the DoF to undergo the re-tooling and enhancement seminars and training programs before they can be hired whether on contractual or permanent status.”

            Also found this:



            The LGA is the premier training and development institution for capacity building towards innovative and effective local governance.

            As we advance toward our vision, we the LGA Family reiterate our commitment to all our stakeholders, namely:

            The Local Officials – To ensure availability of appropriate education and training services.
            The Functionaries – To continuously ensure the availability of appropriate training and development services directed to specific needs.
            The DILG Personnel – To continuously upgrade the capability of the DILG personnel towards excellence in the performance of their functions and responsibilities.
            The Partners – To strengthen networking and collaborative efforts to deliver our commitment to our clients.
            The LGA Personnel – To continuously upgrade and promote the capability of the Academy as a training development institution.


            No doubt there’s more department specific courses and seminars all over the Philippines, which is good, though DAP seems the only one that’s more encompassing.

            I don’t doubt that DAP was probably an upstart when you were around, poppoy, but it seems its no longer there, or at least has become a secret facility?

            But my point is still to funnel foreign experts thru here (whether DAP , or others like it) instead of letting them lose all over the Philippines. You don’t wanna bunch of Peter Wallaces around.

  2. Micha says:

    Highly-paid professionally competent government bureaucrats, yes.

    Outsourcing some positions to foreign nationals, probably not.

  3. NHerrera says:

    The blog essay suggests/ proposes that

    1. Technocracy >> teaches >> competence
    2. Federalism >> spreads >> incompetence

    and the blog proposes that we should adopt Item 1 and not Item 2.

    I believe 2 requires a viewpoint and analysis different from 1. I do not have the competence to discuss Item 2. But this I can say with some competence: Item 1 is unquestionably something I agree with — technocracy is a significant factor that can contribute or teach competence. A simple example of technology as it inspires or is used by managers and technocrats is illustrated by the technology of word processing, spreadsheet, database processing and application, and DNA processing.

    By the way, at the risk of stepping into the editorial domain, Item 2 is important enough to have its own separate blog essay.

  4. NHerrera says:

    Oops that did not come out right. I hope the one below comes out ok.

    The blog essay suggests/ proposes that

    1. Technocracy >> teaches >> competence
    2. Federalism >> spreads >> incompetence

    and the blog proposes that we should adopt Item 1 and not Item 2.

    I believe 2 requires a viewpoint and analysis different from 1. I do not have the competence to discuss Item 2. But this I can say with some competence: Item 1 is unquestionably something I agree with — technocracy is a significant factor that can contribute or teach competence. A simple example of technology as it inspires or is used by managers and technocrats is illustrated by the technology of word processing, spreadsheet, database processing and application, and DNA processing.

    By the way, at the risk of stepping into the editorial domain, Item 2 is important enough to have its own separate blog essay.

    • NHerrera says:

      Let me try if I can use edgar’s unique way of commenting.

      1.0 The Philippines

      1.1 The Private Sector

      1.2 The Government
      1.21 The Executive
      1.21a National Executives
      1.21b Local Executives
      1.22 The Legislative
      1.23 The Judiciary

      1.3 Manpower

      1.31 Private Sector. By the nature of business and competition and its very survival, especially in contemporary times, this Sector uses what it monitors and sees worldwide as good for the enterprise and so technocracy is invariably embedded and used in their thinking and actions — from the top executives, filtering down to the top managers, middle managers and their workers.

      1.32 Government. One cannot deny that some in the government are technocratically aware if not experts. However, the overriding and strong cultural orientation have caused these minds to be drowned by considerations we have almost beaten to death in our blogs and comments. Pockets of competence through technocracy are there nevertheless. NEDA, BSP, PSA and PAGASA are prime examples. PAGASA by its nature of course is not touched by politics. Unfortunately the technocratic fruits or recommendations of NEDA, BSP and PSA are generally ill-used.

      • NHerrera says:

        Sorry, this is tangential but can’t help myself.

        It seems that technocracy is taking a huge backseat in resolving the US Shutdown conundrum with self-proclaimed dealmaker Trump blowing a thick opaque smoke.

        Pilipinas, hindi ka nagiisa! 🙂

        • This motivational video is being viewed repeatedly by the next migrant caravan headin’ this way, NH.

          • NHerrera says:

            Hahaha. Trump forgot tunneling under the wall.

            A border security official reported that some tunneling has been found under the border with an already existing barrier/ fence/ wall.

            Next step then for Trump is to build a concrete barrier below the above ground barrier! And that will require an even deeper barrier than the above ground barrier, because the tunneling can be even deeper. 🙂

        • edgar lores says:

          If Trump is a spoiled brat, ours is a murderous one.

      • edgar lores says:

        I would put it this way:

        1. The Philippines

        1.1. The Private Sector
        1.2. The Government Sector

        2. The Private Sector

        2.1. Nothing wrong here. The managers are professionals and of proven capability. They manage by objectives and are assessed by results. Key performance indicators are well established and metrics are put in place. Merit is recognized and rewarded.

        3. The Government Sector

        3.1. Everything wrong here. The managers are unprofessional and are proven to know somebody in power. They manage their appointing powers and are assessed by the results of how much they can divert from the public purse into private pockets. Key performance indicators are appearance, oiliness, the ability to create chaos, and the knack to dominate. Corruption is recognized and is its own reward.

  5. edgar lores says:

    1. Strange. I am finding it harder to comment on this article than in the previous two blogs, one which included a survey of the dominant philosophical schools of thought through the centuries.

    2. It seems that President Quezon got his wish – a government run like hell by Filipinos.

    3. That Quezon made that wish was both an assessment of the past and a presentiment of the future.

    4. Perhaps, the difficulty in commenting is a denial of the problem, that Filipinos make poor managers, as well as a denial of the solution, that the nation must resort to foreign managers.

    5. Education-wise, there does not seem to be a dearth of management courses and schools offering bachelor, masters, and doctorate degrees. The Asian Institute of Management has (had?) a good reputation and is internally accredited. According to Wikipedia, it was described as the best in the Asia-Pacific region in terms of executive education.

    6. Have all the management graduates gone abroad as OFWs? Not likely. The top 6 OFWs jobs are in healthcare and nursing, construction trades and labor, engineering, administrative workers and clerks, teaching, and shipping.

    6.1. According to 2017 statistics, the manager group makes up for just 1.1% of total workers.

    7. What is it about Filipinos that make them poor managers? Joe Am provides some answers.

    7.1. On a personal note, the best bosses I had were the British. Well, they had the experience of Empire and were born to rule, so to speak. On the other hand, one of the worst bosses I had was a British lady. She was a squeezer, making sure that we were on the job and on the ball. And even on my last day, there was no respite — she squeezed whatever few drops remained.

    7.2. I cannot quite pinpoint the attributes that differentiate good Filipino managers from good foreign managers. Perhaps, it’s the reliance on interpersonal intimacy and, consequently, the lack of performance metrics.

  6. madlanglupa says:

    (Offtopic) This should be great news, as the fake news firm associated with this regime and propagandists has been banned for spamming.

    • NHerrera says:

      Thanks. Every little bit helps.

    • chemrock says:

      To the un-informed, Twinmark Media is the owner of, amongst many other duplicious websites, Trending News Philippines and, the 3 sites that Mocha Uson relied on for all her fake news.

      Whilst it seems there is some legitimate commercial business, the initial start up mission appears questionable. Big investment money going into an online news business by people with no media backgroud, a news outfit organised without foot soldiers – the journalists doing the street beats. It was simply a cut n paste outfit, cut as many outrageous news or fakes and share it out through FB. Apparently, with the successful enticement of a fee million catchment of folloers who enjoy fake n gate news, they set out to use the fan base for other legit business.

      Significantly, Facebook’s actions came shortly following Rappler’s 2 part articles on Twinmark. Rappler is a fact checker for FB. Hmmmmm. Score 1 for the good guys.

      • NHerrera says:

        Not too little bit then. Thanks.

      • madlanglupa says:

        > Big investment money going into an online news business by people with no media backgroud

        I bet this is probably where some of those “intelligence” funds are being funneled into as a means to distract and brainwash the people.

        • chemrock says:

          Ooops TNP = Trending News Portal (typo above)

          My guess is this is quite a big deal. FB just hit a nerve centre of the troll army, whether it’s Marcoses or Duterte’s is not very clear. And coming just prior to the 2019 elections — good timing. Less damage this time. Too bad, Bong Go.

  7. Micha says:

    On the other hand, the dearth of competence in gov’t agencies being targeted for privatization is not incidental but by design. That’s one of two things privatization vultures want to happen with the aid of their conniving agents in gov’t. – willful deliberate staffing of incompetents to sabotage its operation so as to rationalize and make it publicly palatable to privatize.

    The other thing they resort to is to starve those agencies with funding so it cannot effectively fulfill its functions and mandate. Examples of these would be regulating and implementing agencies like NAPOCOR, LWUA, PNCC, NEA and others.

    • Could be, but I don’t think people here even think about such things. They just stumble about looking for honor while blaming others for the sloppy results. I’ve never seen such little pride in ownership of anything.

  8. Pablo says:

    Poor managers? Sure, but I think you are on a wrong track.
    Twice I worked under a brilliant manager, more often the managers were average to poor and some even very poor. But always, the job got done somehow. Sometimes very good, sometimes not so good, but it somehow always panned-out. Even with poor managers, then the staff compensated quite a lot.
    And WHY did this work? Because there was accountability. At various stages in the projects, assessments were made. And if the assessment was not so good, we all had to find a way to make it work because it the next assessment was bad again, asses would be kicked, people would loose their career or ultimately sacked. But the latter hardly happened because we ALL NEEDED to have good marks otherwise our careers would get damaged.
    And exactly the opposite, I found while working in government. I found some very poor managers, I found actually good managers and I found a few people I loved because they were so good, considerate and full of motivation. And still nothing worked. WHY? Because the need to produce results is not there. The Ombudsman? A joke (Sorry, Mr. Ombudsman, I know you try somehow, but you don’t get a lot of convictions, do you? So your performance is also below par). The justice department? Another joke where performance is absent. And so on. So, without accountability, obviously, the priorities change. Getting your family member a nice job is more important than getting drinking water to your town. Sitting in a nice hotel room for a seminar is more important than checking contractors’ performance. And so on, and so on………
    Even with mostly mediocre managers, it should be possible to pull Philippines out of the swamp when managers start to set their priorities correct.
    And how do you do that? Pressure from the top and pressure from above to make the systems work as they were designed.
    A single president who gets his justice department working and his ombudsman in topgear could get things going. Especially in Philippines where the president has so much leeway. And the population knows that. That’s why they elected Duterte, in the hope that he would kick ass. Only……… It backfired… A justice department which is more dysfunctional and the ombudsman toothless.
    Yes Singapore… This single leader with a vision made things happen singlehandedly. Paul Kagame pulled his country out of a very deep well.
    Why does it not happen in Philippines then?
    Because of the second part of my “pressure recipe”: pressure from below. There is none. People do not complain. There is not even a proper mention on TV of the things happening and certainly NO OPINIONS from people who should matter. Only some newspapers are critical (and their journalists get killed at an alarming rate), but most people do not read, just watch Facebook and get there most of their (fake or at least biassed) news.
    In the UK, we have a very tough Brexit discussion. In the US, Trump is getting a lot of pushback, In France, Macron is having a hard time with the yellow jackets. And in Philippines, we wait till we get another EDSA????? Till our life has gotten so rotten that even the most retarded person can see that change is needed???? Till things have gone really down the drain?? Or maybe when Duterte’s Chinese friends have completely taken over and resistance is not possible anymore when the country is economically a vassal of China….
    It is a treat of Philippines that its people are so gentle, so friendly, so flexible. That is what makes life so good for me.
    But sometimes, guys, some fireworks is needed and positive pressure is needed. Not the occasional explosion and the next hour forget everything.

    It is not getting good managers from abroad. I had the experience and worked for a year (free of charge) trying to get a project off the ground, using my specialty. And had to give up because the system is rotten. You get good managers from abroad and they will also drown in the swamp.

    You need to fix the boundary conditions first.

    As I said, the people know, they elected a “strongman” who promised to cleanup but went beserk instead of keeping his promises. Now, where is the man (or woman) who will do what people actually expected? In 4 years time, things could change, but in the mean time, sourcing capable captains for managing a sinking fleet without access to pumps and spares is counterproductive…… You loose good captains which you could need when you have a better situation. And then, they will come back automatically because who would not prefer to work in his home country when the conditions are good?

    You said that the only thing missing is the will to do it. I challenge that, the will is there, the compass flipped and we went in the wrong direction. The trick is to find mr.right and channel the desire for change into the right direction

    Time is running out…..

    • NHerrera says:

      I agree with at least one facet of your note. There are exceptions of course but accountability, which I equate to

      accountability = ease of firing for poor performance or fraud, or ease of being promoted for good performance without patrons

      is a motivating factor in PH private sector employment. Sadly, generally, not so in government employment, unless one is a mere janitor.

      • popoy says:

        ACCOUNTABILITY to have meaning in the Philippine public service is INUTIL unless and except:

        LOSS of job; public shaming, disqualification of descendants from public office; short or long jail term, even death for plunder.

        • edgar lores says:

          Option 3 — the disqualification of descendants from public office — is interesting.

          In history, death has been meted to a handful of rulers and their families — the Romanovs, the Saddam Husseins, Ceaușescu and his wife.

          But of the handful of erring families here — Marcos, Binay, Duterte, Revillas, Ampatuans, Estrada — only the last one mentioned would draw a disqualification. Only Erap has been convicted of corruption. Perhaps, one can belatedly include Imelda.

          I would extend the disqualification not only to descendants but to all members and generations of the family related up to the second degree of consanguinity or by affiliation. So disqualify not only Jinggoy and JV but the whole caboodle.

          The principle would be “the sin of one is the sin of all” (or “burn the nest”) but it is unlikely to be incorporated in jurisprudence.

          Biblical support can be found. The principle would be consistent with God’s justice of visiting the sins of the father upon the sons to the third and fourth generations.

    • This posting makes tons of sense.. thanks!

      1) Filipinos don’t care.. it is very much unlike over here in Germany where the citizens constantly complain – but with the objective of getting things done not to oust Panot or Duts.

      2) no goals set.. yes the Ombudsman is very different from Romania’s Directie Nationala Anticorruptie, 400 full-time prosecutors, that is an institution with teeth – even if Romanian corruption (“spaga”) is deeply rooted, my impression is that it is again about the people – they are fed up with corruption, want the country to move forward, while many Filipinos probably just want “their turn” to steal, to benefit from the plantilla and the cushy contracts.

      3) good people leave – the culture in government is “quo warranto et ab initio” – meaning that it is more important to follow useless details of arcane rulebooks than to bring things forward. Sereno tried to improve things, make courts work faster by computerization, and she was accused of favoring the wrong contractor, of possible corruption, while the old-school forces (similar to reactionary 19th century Chinese mandarins and eunuchs) went all against her.

      The lack of seeing the big picture is therefore at all levels, not just the fools who think that they can benefit by “kapit” (pull) with thieves, even if they pay higher VAT due to TRAIN.

      • NHerrera says:

        I have a son-in-law, a nice fellow both my wife and I agree. He starting working as a financial analyst with a US Masters in Business Management and a PH undergrad in economics. My daughter who is married to him only had a PH undergrad degree in economics. They started at about the same time as financial analysts in different companies.

        My son-in-law with his credentials started with a higher pay. But over a span of about eight years, my daughter zoomed past him in responsibility and salary. Knowing them, I attribute this for the very good performance of my daughter, and I must say again without the constraints put in the way of promotion, such as backers or academic credentials.

        [My daughter and family immigrated and reside abroad. Main reason: they want a better environment for their children.]

    • Thanks for the real-world view. I do believe there are good managers here and there, rather as there are dedicated teachers across the land. But output suggests that is not the dominant part of government work here. There are too many passport appointments lost, drugs gone missing, electrical wires overhead, disgusting sidewalks, arrogant service at agencies (by tired people who are just putting in their time). If the right person can change all this, I hope he or she comes along fast and works in a way that is more visibly productive than the Aquino Administration which, I think, was terrifically productive, but not visibly so. And there were some trouble areas that were not mastered . . . Customs a stark example.

    • “Strong combat leadership is never by committee. Platoon commanders must command, and command in battle isn’t based on consensus. It’s based on consent. Any leader wields only as much authority and influence as is conferred by the consent of those he leads. The Marines allowed me to be their commander, and they could revoke their permission at any time.”
      Nathaniel Fick, One Bullet Away: The Making of a Marine Officer

      Pablo, I’m not sure if you’ve heard of DAP in Tagaytay , sure certifications are good and even post-grad degrees , but leadership is something else all together,

      one can be competent in their work, but without leadership skills (whether thru nature or nurture) its all just talk. I’ve always been a fan of team building experiences thru real life adventures, take turns being leaders in stressful situations.

      Like that Trump speech to a graduating college class it’s all about persevering thru obstacles. You realize weak links in your team, weakness in your own character. Thus evolve.

      If DAP can teach all this, hell employ Aetas for this, and somehow get into & study Duke Ellington’s leadership style and how he was able to encourage and use rivalry to get the sound he was looking for from his band,

      then DAP and Leadership training in the Philippines will have moved forward, not forever in stagnant water like now.

      and for Joe,

      • Pablo says:

        You are right, but probably missed my point. Making good managers is useless if the leadership is immoral, then the managers will become useless as well. Corruption and incompetence flows down the line. Also, the point was that managers will become better if they NEED to become better, if the demand to become better is irrevocable, then they will get the training and competences needed somehow, otherwise they would be sidelined.
        What you suggest is that if you just train good managers, they will change their bosses? Change corrupt systems instead of their bosses? Sure, it could happen theoretically, but it would be like The Mutiny On The Bounty (and there the captain was just ruthless, not even merely corrupt). It won’t happen this way.
        And that is also the way the gut-feel of the Filipino seems to tell them: They need a strong(wo)man to sort things out. That is why they elected current president…….. And somehow, I trust the gut-feel of a gentle people. What we somehow hoped for is that people can also reason well and have a full overview of the history and the consequences.
        A strongman with a violent history and the wrong friends cannot be expected to produce the results we need, it will invariably lead to a disaster. And the present experiences in many countries show this very clearly. People are fed-up of being used as mere cattle and start to demand respect and progress, not austerity nor nationalism. But the people were fooled and they elected the Trupms and Dutertes of this world. While they are in charge, developing good managers is a hopeless task, the good managers get wasted.
        It starts at the top and our only question should be HOW we can find and promote the “next” top-guy who does have a proper moral compass and is strong enough to withstand the enticements of the office and is ruthless enough to fix the top management and demand results.
        Although there is a lot of fun in discussing details of how things can get better (like the electrical problems, Internet, federalism and many more), this all is merely a mind game and actually a waste of energy if the top of the leadership is not right.

      • popoy says:

        What a word of wisdom that Freddie Aguilar or only few Filipino artist can sagely dish out.

  9. Maan Briones says:

    I agree. I was at the LTO 3 days ago to get my drivers license card which I renewed 3 months ago. As usual, the que is long. I was expecting a shorter waiting time since this is a renewal with no correction of personal details. After I submitted my receipt to the counter, I was informed that there will be another picture taking. I was given a number and was instructed for my name to be called. It took about three hours waiting time. The agency only had one printer for the card. I am sorry for us Filipino citizens. These services are paid and not cheap. We are paying computer fee but there is short supply of cards and only one printer. The picture in the card is black and white and looks low quality. A lot of citizens are waiting. I pity the jeepney driver and taxi drivers who lost half day income because of this lousy service. I pity the LTO staff because they can only do so much. The staff are courteous. This agency is mismanaged.

    • NHerrera says:

      For information, when I renewed my Driver’s License in October 2018, I was at the LTO Taguig Extension Office at the FTI Complex (East Side Road SLEX) . I made sure to be early — being there at 7:30 AM with a sandwich and thermos of coffee in tow. By about 11:00 AM I got my card and it is the usual colored one.

      My point: the service of LTO is not standardized. This is a case indeed where a good top manager-technocrat and middle managers should be able to do. But have not. And they are being paid through the DL fees.

      • NHerrera says:

        In a way the problem in LTO is a microcosm of the problem of the Philippines. No rocket science needed there, or am I wrong?

      • popoy says:

        NH are you talking of the way you got renewed your license THIRTY YEARS AGO? That’s being kind to LTO agency? If it was only 3 months ago, I could be Rip Van Winkle.

        • NHerrera says:

          It is precisely how I posted it above popoy, not 30 years ago. That is why I said “My point: the service of LTO is not standardized.” And I am not being kind to LTO in general, only, impliedly, where I got my DL renewed last October — LTO Taguig Extension at the FTI complex.

          Ok, Rip Van Winkle? 🙂

  10. Micha says:

    Somewhat OT but not really because it’s too important to miss :

    China won’t be taking over and there is going to be no China century. Chinese economy is in a slump.

    Xiang Songzuo, “a relatively obscure economics professor at Renmin University in Beijing”, expressed some dire warnings about the Chinese economy in a December 15 speech. He didn’t get much attention, not even in the West. Not overly surprising, since both Beijing and Wall Street have a vested interest in the continuing China growth story.

    But with the arrival of 2019, that attention started slowly seeping through. Former associate professor of business and economics at the Peking University HSBC Business School in Shenzhen, Christopher Balding, left China 6 months ago after losing his job. At the time, he wrote: “China has reached a point where I do not feel safe being a professor and discussing even the economy, business and financial markets..”. And, noting a change that very much seems related to what is coming down the road:

    ”One of my biggest fears living in China has always been that I would be detained. Though I happily pointed out the absurdity of the rapidly encroaching authoritarianism, a fact which continues to elude so many experts not living in China, I tried to make sure I knew where the line was and did not cross it. There is a profound sense of relief to be leaving safely knowing others, Chinese or foreigners, who have had significantly greater difficulties than myself. There are many cases which resulted in significantly more problems for them. I know I am blessed to make it out.”

    A few days ago, Balding wrote this on Twitter:

    “Most experts dismissed the speech by Xiang Songzuo (claiming Chinese GDP growth could be as low as 1.67%) as implausible…”. No, we didn’t. The GS PE guy and the PKU dean have every reason to deny it. Car and mobile phone shipment down 2% and 16% are not a 6.5% growth economy.”

    That certainly sets the tone of the discussion. GDP growth of 1.67% vs the official 6.5%; smartphone shipments down 16%, car sales slumping. Not the kind of numbers you’ll hear from Beijing. And Balding does know China, whether they like it or not. On Monday, Bloomberg, where he was/is a regular contributor, published this from his hand:

    <a href=""China Has a Dangerous Dollar Debt Addiction

    • Micha says:

      Now we know why there are millions of Chinese nationals in Manila competing for work with equally desperate Filipinos.

    • NHerrera says:

      I am glad about the swerve in the comment because of its importance. Thank you for that information.

      • Micha says:

        Here is the Financial Times cover story :

        “A relatively obscure economics professor at Renmin University in Beijing sparked a minor furore last month when he claimed a secret government research group had estimated China’s growth in gross domestic product could be as low as 1.67 per cent in 2018 — far below the officially published rate of 6.7 per cent for the year up to September. 

        Most experts dismissed the speech by Xiang Songzuo as implausible, despite longstanding doubts about the reliability of China’s official GDP data. Yet although discussion of his claims was quickly scrubbed from the Chinese internet, the presentation has been viewed more than 1.2m times on YouTube — an indication of the raw nerve Mr Xiang touched with his doom-laden warnings.

        A decade ago, China played a vital role in rescuing the world economy from the financial crisis by launching an unprecedented Rmb4tn stimulus programme. Today, the fear in markets is the opposite. Already unnerved about rising rates in the US and slowing growth in Europe, many investors now worry that China could lead the global economy into the next recession. 

        A warning from Apple on Wednesday about slowing iPhone sales in China has heightened concerns following a drumbeat of grim economic data, including outright declines in auto sales, home sales and factory profits.”

    • NHerrera says:

      Micha, this reminds of that obscure Patent Office worker in Germany, who on the side dabbled in physics and came out with the Special Theory of Relativity. His name was Albert Einstein.

    • NHerrera says:

      Micha, for the convenience of some TSH readers who can’t open your first link when clicked — as happened to me, here is the link that works:

    • Micha says:

      What this development meant for us is that our pervert of a President has made all his bets on the assumption that China’s economic power will be growing forever. All those concessions and deference over our territories in WPS were made because he is hoping a muscular Beijing will, in turn, assist us in our economic plan.

      Now the mostly Chinese funded Build Build Project is just one of the many Chinese schemes across the globe to unload their own dollar debt and make other countries pay for it.

      • NHerrera says:

        I am somewhat more generous than that. On the economic area, the economic managers (technocrats?) including the BSP — if they were/ are doing their jobs and not so much sidetracked by their own side interests — should have advised very strongly. Or were they doing a simple extrapolations of the past statistics? In any case even the best economies in the West were caught with their pants down on some economic turmoil of the past. I am writing as a layman here — the complexities of economics is still Greek to me.

    • Pablo says:

      A very informative piece of information and maybe this is actually going to work out, you never know how a giant like China is going to move, economics is one aspect, social and political is another one. Like the USSR story where the whole house of cards eventually collapsed. But China is different, it is not such a loose conglomerate of republics, but much more coherent and now much more tightly controlled. But,, like you said, the economics have to work out, otherwise all outward aspirations are bound to fail.
      In that sense, the threat of political dominance through economic pressure by China in Philippines is low.
      But, if we look at the actual situation and we look at the trends on the ground, they show a different story. In the previous blog about the electrical power situation, we saw a brilliant analysis which included the Uy conglomerate. How China, through various means, got a huge finger in the pie of critical businesses in Philippines: Power, Chemical, Telecom and banking. And that is just one picture in the storybook. Well, if you control the critical sectors, you can start the next phase to control politics.
      The current economical situation is subservient to the long-term view and if China sees a need to have access to the deep-seas and Filipino resources, it will require a determined stance to keep them at bay, not kowtowing with such a monster.

  11. chemrock says:

    1. Prof Christopher Balding did not resign but was asked to go by Peking University. As to the reason why he was fired, why, of course it’s P&C and he won’t tell us. The university gave him 6 months. If his employer gave him 6 months to pack up, it seems strange to think they saw a threat in him. Given this background, his long good-bye publication seems more like an outburst from a disgruntled employee. In US, disgruntled employees return with an AR15 to settle scores.

    2. Balding is quite a prolific blogger on financial stuff. Some pretty good ones, some debatable. He dished out some financials on Singapore Inc in the past which on the surface seemed logical for the ‘exposures’ he raised, but on closer scrutiny, betrayed misleading conclusions from erroneous data.

    3. In the case of China, every ‘China expert’ knows that almost all govt data is only for show. Ex VP Li Keqiang himself made this admission to the US ambassador to China. So all China financial analysts need to have their own intelligence to gather the correct info. Balding has no such resources, depending in large, on official govt data.

    4. The China national debt clock showed it’s national debt as of this moment at about $5.2T. We don’t know how much of this is foreign debt. Balding showed the foreign debt is about $2T, but we don’t know how much of this is govt and how much from private corporations.

    5. If there is an economic implosion in China, it won’t be because of the national debt. The era of cheap money has blown the balance sheets of central banks from Japan, Europe, US, and many other countries, including China. Central bank balance sheet buildup is manifested in the over valuation of financial markets in all these countries.l The danger for China is that their balance sheet built up has been extremely massive. How massive is this? We had a peek.

    Last week China’s Central Bank released it’s Financial Stability Report for 2018. Somewhere amidst the piles of charts and figures and literature was this table :

    What this table shows is that China has added almost $50T of assets over the last 4 years. Compared to its GDP of about $13T, this is almost a 400% balloon. What is worse is that almost 70% of this increase is in the shadow market, ie unregulated markets.

    This is like saying the US, which has a GDP of $20T, increases its assets by $60T in junk bonds or subprime mortgages. Imagine how the US economy will fall like a house of cards.

    The Chinese asset build up is unprecedented in world financial history. It will be hard to wriggle out of this. But before we can say good luck to them hahaha…. a bubble this big will hit everybody when it bursts.

    • chemrock says:

      Sorry, the above was a repond to Micha’s comment.
      The chart referred to is this:

    • Micha says:

      ” If there is an economic implosion in China, it won’t be because of the national debt.”

      If Xiang Songzuo is correct, there is already an economic implosion in China and no, it wasn’t necessarily triggered by its external debt of $1.9 trillion according to official Chinese figures. Funny though you’d be saying this in light of your prognostication back in 2015 about the collapse of the US economy within 2 years because of its own gargantuan debt.

      Notice however that those are dollar debt, payable only in dollars, not in yuan or renminbi. And dollars is not something that the Chinese has infinite supply of. Its current dollar reserves only stood at $3.1 trillion. So while $1.9 trillion may not be that much relative to the size of its economy, it is still something to be bothered about because they have to actually earn those dollars; they couldn’t just create dollars ex nihilo like the US could.

      But lest you’d be distracted by this side issue, the big picture here is that China is in a slump and that it has only been massaging its official GDP figure to sustain the illusion of its eternal impressive growth.

      China has hit the wall. Its Belt and Road bullshit initiative is a scheme to export its industrial overcapacity because consumer demand at home is stagnant or has even plummeted, exacerbated by the effects of tariff war with the US.

      • “But lest you’d be distracted by this side issue, the big picture here is that China is in a slump and that it has only been massaging its official GDP figure”

        The infamous Chinese massage, Micha 😉 . No worries, I’m sure the ending will be happy. LOL!

        Seriously though,

        China at this point is too big to fail, Trump will be there to help ’em out. Mark my words. We need China not to implode. We don’t need it to explode either. Just to reach homeostasis.

        • Micha says:

          If China doesn’t become too arrogant to insist on having to create its own international payment system and get out of SWIFT altogether, maybe the west and the US will work to maintain its stability. US strategists however are planning a regime change, an overthrow of the communist politburo itself like what happened in the former Soviet Union.

          One thing the west cannot tolerate is the over-hyped Chinese century under a communist regime.

          • “US strategists however are planning a regime change”

            I don’t doubt that the US will want an American friendly China, than the opposite; but I am sure that we (at least so far as we’re under Trump, and I’m incoming others too, say for a generation or so) we are out of the regime change business, Micha.

            No point to it really. It’s like that movie Source Code. why voluntarily over-extend resources?

            • Micha says:

              Don’t be naive corporal. This is nothing less than an ideological war. And war is a force that gives us meaning.

              • We’ve already won , Micha, China is (for all intents and purposes) capitalist; No doubt we’ve created a monster.

                Are you saying China is still communist? Sure, there’s only one party in town. But do you really think China is communist?

              • Micha says:

                The communist politburo are in charge of political power. Its economy operates on state controlled capitalism. The victory is not complete.

              • Whether it’s incomplete or not is beside the point,

                the point is, it’s not democracy vs. communism anymore. that’s so 60s.

                “Does it have a face and a name? Not really. More like George Orwell’s big brother.”

                Now if you’re talking about globalist vs. nationalist, now I’m with you.

                but if you’re still talking “American” hegemony, that’s so 80s.

                That, Micha, is the new dichotomy. Welcome to 21st Century.

                Let the games begin. 😉

              • edgar lores says:

                For me, the ideological war is more politico-philosophical — humanist vs. anti-humanist — rather than economic.

      • Thanks for the clarity in that last paragraph. The ulterior motive that drives the belt and noose program.

      • chemrock says:

        “Funny though you’d be saying this in light of your prognostication back in 2015 about the collapse of the US economy within 2 years because of its own gargantuan debt.”

        US national debt is $22T, China’s is $5T. Perspective, Micha.
        Actually I like them to pass Trumps request for $5B budget for the Great Wall of Mexican just to see how is the world’s appetite for those US Treasury Bills.
        Pay attention to Powell’s speeches. He is now hinting of his worries about the debt.

        “But lest you’d be distracted by this side issue, the big picture here is that China is in a slump and that it has only been massaging its official GDP figure to sustain the illusion of its eternal impressive growth.”

        YES, agreeable to this.
        China’s monetary management has been ostracised by just about everybody. But for a country that can build a huge bridge in 43 hours (Sanyuan Bridge), don’t be surprised to see China’s ability to pull rabbits out hats.

        Both China and US have their financial problems but in different manners. Just sit back and see how each resolve their problems.

  12. karlgarcia says:

    Re: Customs
    During the time of Ramos, container inspection was outsourced to the SGS.

    During the time of ERAP, SGS was scrapped, but the UNDP introduced ACOS. ( more on bxt comment)

  13. karlgarcia says:

    The OECD is trying to implement EGovernment to its members.

    Mexico was one of their first experiments.

    • Would be an interesting case study. The link within the article seems not to work.

      • karlgarcia says:

        “OECD e-Government Studies: Mexico

        In four years, Mexico prepared, launched, and implemented an e-government strategy that positioned the country among the top performers of online services in the world. The Mexican government is consciously looking at how to integrate e-government in a broader reform agenda that defines e-government as a tool to improve the quality, transparency, and efficiency of government and public services.

        Like other OECD countries caught in the initial enthusiasm of e-government, Mexico began by focusing on the widespread application of ICT, the dissemination of information and the production of as many online services as possible. This contributed to an international recognition of Mexico’s performance and e-government development. But it also led the Government to raise new questions as unexpected and more complex challenges emerged, and other OECD countries also began to change their approach to e-government.

        Mexico completed the initial phase of setting up and delivering e-government services successfully, but the continuing public demands to improve government have made the country realise the importance of refocusing the strategy to find a way of making e-government improve the overall quality of government. This report analyses and assesses these challenges and provides a set of proposals for action to deal with the most actual and pressing questions of e-government in Mexico.

        This review is the first study that undertakes an in-depth analysis of e-government in Mexico from a whole-of-government perspective. It is part of a series of national e-government reviews conducted by the OECD E-Government Project. Other reviews in this cycle cover Finland, Norway and Denmark, with additional reviews under way. The report is based on the OECD synthesis reports The e-Government Imperative (2003) and E-Government for Better Government (2005). The common framework provided by the OECD assists countries in evaluating their e-government policies, ensures international compatibility of findings and systematically builds up a body of empirical evidence regarding good e-government practices.”

  14. karlgarcia says:

    One company I saw handling many government projects (including Customs)through the various administrations is Unisys.

    Maybe my point is we have started many things, but we do not maintain and sustain things we started.
    Customs automation-ningas cugon
    BIR computerization- total mess

  15. madlanglupa says:

    (Offtopic) I don’t know if this is related to technology, but this is beyond appalling, with Locsin in DFA and Honasan in IT.

    • edgar lores says:

      Agree. Beyond appalling is right.

      The passport data should belong to the government and not to the outsourced maker.

      What kind of government does not ensure the data to be kept, made available, and be protected within the nation and in-house?

      What does this say of the security and privacy of passport data? What does this say of the infinite possibilities in identity theft?

      Passports are highly regarded as the basis of identification and for carrying out all kinds of transactions with governmental agencies and business entities in and out of the nation.

      • Listed from smallest to largest in terms of the number of individuals affected, the 10 biggest government data breaches include:

        10. State of Texas: 3.5 Million Affected (April 2011)
        9. South Carolina Department of Revenue: 3.6 Million Affected (October 2012)
        8. Tricare: 4.9 Million Affected (September 2011)
        7. Georgia Secretary of State Office: 6.2 Million Affected (November 2015)
        6. Office of the Texas Attorney General: 6.5 Million Affected (April 2012)
        5. Virginia Department of Health Professions: 8.3 Million Affected (May 2009)
        4. U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM): 21.5 Million (June 2015)
        3. U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs: 26.5 Million Affected (May 2006)
        2. National Archives and Records Administration (NARA): 76 Million Affected (October 2009)
        1. U.S. Voter Database: 191 Million Affected (December 2015)

        over here, i’d say in that top 10 list #4 was probably the worst breach since it was all the folks with security clearances (from the very top to bottom of the heap). whether gov’t safeguards it or private sector, it’ll get hacked. assume someone’s already got your info.

        • Not to minimize the issue here (though it turned out to be a contractual spat than actual data breach),

          BUT as you can see above even in America data breach is common, don’t get me started with private sector.

          My question though is identity theft really a big problem in the Philippines that a potential or actual DFA , or any other gov’t ID data base , such breach actually translate to identity theft?

          I mean even over here, actual identity thefts , considering the amount of data breaches in the news, don’t really occur, I mean actual folks becoming you .

          Much of the problem is actually in credit cards theft whether thru actual thefts, scam card swipes machines, or online purchases credit card numbers stolen.

          I don’t remember the Philippines as having a lot of credit card dependent businesses, its mostly cash based society, with debts still written down on tiny note pads even.

          For us over here, the big online data breaches end up resulting in purchases in Eastern Europe of all places, I guess that ‘s where hackers are and where their customers are as well.

          Like I said that #4 in the above list is an issue because folks with gov’t clearances are listed, so other gov’ts not friendly to the US can actually use that info. That’s a real threat, not a pretend threat imagined just to be mad about.

          Had the DFA’s data actually been compromised, realistically (I’m talking realistically here) what type of identity theft possibilities actually exist in the Philippines?

          Seems to me a tempest in a teapot situation, though I do agree that cyber security should be priority for everyone around the world,

          but for a society who’s biggest problem closest to identity theft is using other folks photos, and catfishing on fb or Twitter, a DFA breach or other such gov’t data seem not that much important , no?

          I’m such asking if the threat posed or imagined truly exists? Knowing what I know of the Philippines I think not. If you want to know someone’s name and address all you have to do is slip what 50 to 100 pesos, don’t need data bases its on paper.

          So what gives?

      • madlanglupa says:

        Such stolen data would be worth thousands or even millions to the right buyer in the underground market, anywhere from hostile nations to crime syndicates.

        This is why with this present crummy government we put up with, we cannot allow the implementation of the National ID system because it would then be subject to either abuse or data theft.

        • edgar lores says:

          Agree on national id.

          • “Such stolen data would be worth thousands or even millions to the right buyer in the underground market, anywhere from hostile nations to crime syndicates.”

            Really though? For Filipino names with Philippine addresses? Most of these gov’t data breaches aren’t really for names and addresses, they’re for something more, ie. actual files, test security, etc.

            As for National ID , what form of ID’s are available in the Philippines, I remember working girls I hung out with had sedulas made of flimsy cardboard from their barangays in the province or a city health card laminated, probably wise to weigh the actual threats of data breaches,


            weigh it against cards of paper with old typewriter writtings sedulas, madlanglupa. Cost benefit wise the Philippines should probably have modern ID cards.

            Over here that National ID argument is more about “I already have my state lic.”, “I don’t wanna have to carry another card”, etc. etc.

            • I’m not sure why you keep challenging edgar. He said some time ago that he does not care to take up discussion with you as you pushed outside his bounds of moral decency. As to the topic, the data include birth certificates and other information useful for establishing fake id’s or issuing fake passports.

              • Well, I’m challenging Micha too, Joe— pretty much everyone when the argument is a good one to be had.

                edgar doesn’t have to answer, but I want the counter point out there for others to read.

                “the data include birth certificates and other information useful for establishing fake id’s or issuing fake passports.”

                Fake passports, Joe? Is that a real problem over there really? As to Fake ID’s , to be used in the Philippines? I think you’re making the threat bigger that what it really is, or could be, to justify some political complaint, edgar & madlanglupa too.

                Security should be weighed logically, low probably, high impact and high probably , low impact.

                This is a low impact scenario, seems to me. And I’m open to be convinced that the Philippines does indeed suffer from rampant identity theft. Which is yours and others’ issue here.

                I’m just asking if identity theft is a real threat in the Philippines inside the Philippines, knowing fully that criminal Filipinos don’t really need stolen IDs to do their thing against non-criminal Filipinos.

                As to this stolen data’s value in the world underground market, my point is who wants to pose as a Filipino citizen? Indonesians/Malaysians? Doesn’t sound realistic.

                My previous point is that the Philippines is still very much a paper bureaucracy, are there folks pissed off at papers dumps in the trash? That’s data rich as well.

                “He said some time ago that he does not care to take up discussion with you as you pushed outside his bounds of moral decency.”

                Yeah, the very same discussion you took me off from moderation, Joe. Balangiga Bells, he wanted an apology because I said Filipinos can visit them in Wyoming.

              • Well, you mischaracterize the conversation in aid of winning the point, but readers who are not so easily swayed by modern arguments of emotion and misrepresentation can go to the article discussion to pick up the full context. As to the loss of passport data, you are babbling nonsense. Of course it is serious.

    • chemrock says:

      Please tell me this is fake news. It can’t be true!!!
      The breach of security is horrific, the way the public is informed by way of a nonchalant tweet by DFA secretary is mag horrific.

      So now they have lost passport data
      they lost Trillanes documents
      they lost Comele voters data

      Still think lack of technology is a problem?

      • Maan B says:

        This is totally not acceptable. Honasan and Locsin incompetent for their posts.

        • Factually speaking, Honasan never took over DICT and had nothing to do with this. Locsin had nothing to do with the loss of data. So your conclusions cannot in any way be correct. Your assignment as atonement for the error is to find out who actually signed the service contract between DFA and the passport service agency. Hahaha

          • chemrock says:

            It was probably signed in Pnoy’s time. The one who signed the contract need not be the party at fault if the procurement process was followed properly.

            I think Locsin mentioned it was the govt’s fault that the outsource contractor reacted by taking the data away illegally.

            This is a perennial problem of the Philippines govt. A succeeding admin will be staffed by new executives who will try to insert their own contractors. One way to do this is to create problems with current providers. Good example – the late LTO Usec Virginia Torres, good friend of Pnoy, how she tried to insert another party, to the extent of having an army of security personnel invade the premises of a service provider. (I was terribly disappointed for the inaction of Pnoy in this particular incident).

            A very long time ago, we had a small family business running retail stationery. We managed to supply to many big accounts, principally banks. We managed to convince a large German bank to procure from us. The guy in charge of purchasing stationery was a lowly office messenger. We were extremely cordial. It’s understood he receive his cut from the previous supplier. In order to dis-incentivise us, he played a game to infuriate us. He will order 1 ball pen. If we delivered black, he will say it’s red that he wanted. These guys have ways and means to drag us down. Go ask the fresh fish salesmen and he can tell tales of how the chefs play them.

    • I think Honasan was not approved for the DICT job (Commission on Appointments?). Seems I read that. Locsin has to deal with it, but did not cause the problem. I think the service contract was faulty. But this indeed is a good example of the lack of precision and rigor in current service affairs.

      • edgar lores says:

        That’s right. There are 2 or 3 different issues here:

        o Comelec was a data breach.
        o Trillanes was data lost or data disposal. Also, the data may have been in analog not digital form. Also, non-recognition of secondary data forms by a blind judge.
        o DFA is data ownership. And before Locsin’s assumption of office. But Locsin is still responsible for trying to retrieve the data and bring it in-house

        • Sup says:

          APO is the passport printer…
          The Philippine passport is printed in Asian Productivity Organization or APO Productions under the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) since 2015.

          Some background about the problem .

          • Interesting that the PCOO article in March (2018?) denies the charges made in the PhilStar article. I also wonder about the hire date for the Asian Productivity Organization (which sounds mighty fishy as a name, I might add; Chinese?). I’m confused as to how that relates to the French firm that Locsin is referring to (hired in 2015), and that apparently felt it was dismissed in violation of its contract. A cynical and imaginative me would conclude that PCOO dumped the French firm in favor of an incompetent Chinese firm and now we have a royal mess. I agree with Senator Hontiveros. We need facts, and we need them directly from Secretary Locsin.

          • karlgarcia says:


            “Fact Sheet
            The APO (Asian Productivity Organization) Production Unit is a government-controlled corporation as defined in Section 3, paragraph (n) of Republic Act No. 10149 signed into law by President Benigno S. Aquino III on June 6, 2011.

            As defined by law, it is one of the “instrumentalities or agencies of the government which are neither corporations nor agencies integrated within the departmental framework, but vested by law with special functions or jurisdiction, endowed with some if not all corporate power, administering special funds, and enjoying operational autonomy usually through a charter…”
            Genesis of the APO Production Unit
            To promote economic development through mutual cooperation in the dissemination of modern productivity ideas and techniques, 8 Asia and Pacific region governments, including the Philippines was organized in Tokyo in 1961. To achieve its purpose, the Asian Productivity Organization Information Unit was established on July 12, 1967.

            On June 30, 1971, the Asian Productivity Organization and the Government of the Philippines signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA), mandating the Philippines to set up the APO Production Unit to take the place of the APO Productivity Organization Information Unit. This new production unit was funded by the United States Agency for International Development and the Government of the Philippines.

            On June 20, 1974 Presidential Letter of Instruction (LOI) 197 was issued to the National Development Authority to represent the Philippine Government in a Memorandum of Agreement stating:

            “In view of the fact that the APO Production Unit in Manila is still, basically, a unit of the Asian Productivity Organization (APO), and the setting up thereof by the Philippine Government was a commitment arising out of the membership of the Government of the Philippines in the Asian Productivity Organization; that the funding received from the United States Agency for International Development (US-AID) and the Philippine Government had phased out and the APO presently finds itself unable to continue with its activities, it is necessary that an arrangement be made for the APO Production Unit to continue to function and operate without imposing additional financial burden on the part of the APO or the Government. Therefore you are hereby directed to make the APO Production Unit a self-sustaining operation. In this connection, the Unit shall be allowed and authorized, as it is hereby authorized, to solicit and accept printing jobs wish other agencies or corporations owned or controlled by, the Government…”
            The present APO Production Unit was set up in June 24, 1974 through a Memorandum of Agreement between the Asian Productivity Organization based in Tokyo, Japan and the Philippine Government represented by the National Development Authority (NEDA). The agreement provided among others that the latter “…shall set up a new operation in the name of the APO Production Unit located in Manila, on a self-sustaining basis in lieu of the APO Regional Information Unit. The APO production Unit was incorporated in 1974 as a non-stock, non-profit corporation…

            LOI No. 107, not having been repealed, has become part of the laws of the land. This is confirmed by Republic Act No. 10149 approved June 6, 2011 entitled “An Act to Promoted Financial Viability and Fiscal Discipline in Government-owned or controlled Corporations and to strengthen the Role of the State in is Governance and Management to Make Them More Responsive to the Needs of Public Interest and For Other Purposes.” Pursuant to LOI No. 197, APO Production Unit was incorporated as a non-stock, non-profit corporation on November 21, 1974, with Securities and Exchange Commission Registration No. 58890.

            On August 11, 2004, Executive Order No. 248, “Creating the Office of the Communications Director to Direct the Operations of Offices in the Public Sector Mass Media and the Public Information System of the Government, transfer and attached both the National Priming Office (NPO) and APO Production Unit to the Philippine Information Agency (PIA)

            On November 7. 2006, EO No. 576, “Abolishing the Government Mass Media Group and for Other Purposes, “attached’ both NPO and APO to the Office of the Press Secretary (OPS).’

            On March 12, 2010, EO No. 869, “Placing the National Printing Office and the Asian Productivity Organization Production Unit under the Philippine Information Agency, yet again put NPO and APO under the PIA.

            On July 30, 2010, EO No. 4, “Reorganizing and Renaming the Office of he Press Secretary as the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO; Creating the Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Offices) and for Other Purposes, placed both NPO and APO under the control and supervision” of the PCOO.

            Mandated by R.A. 10147, Sec. 25 of the Government Appropriations Act (GAA) of 2011, and operating under the guidelines of the Government Procurement Policy Board (GPPB), APO is one of the three recognized government printers that may handle the printing of accountable forms and sensitive high quality/volume printing needs of Philippine government agencies and offices.

            APO has provided and continues to provide quality printing services to the government without funding support from the General Appropriation Act at costs equal to or lower than the costs of other authorized government printing agencies or any private printing organization.
            Company Profile
            The APO Production Unit is a government controlled corporation as defined in Section 3, Paragraph (n) of Republic Act No. 10149 signed into law by His Excellency, President Benigno S. Aquino, III on June 6, 2011.

            Mandated by R.A. 10147, Section 25 of G.A.A. of 2013 as well as R.A. No. 10155, Section 22 of the current G.A.A. of 2012, and operating under the guidelines of the Government Procurement Policy Board (GPPB) pursuant to its Resolution No. 05-2010. APO is one of the three (3) recognized government printers that may handle the printing of accountable forms and sensitive high quality/volume printing jobs of the Philippine government agencies and offices.

            The APO is operating under the control and supervision of the Presidential Communication Operations Office (PCOO) pursuant to Executive Order No. 4 dated July 30, 2010.

            From 1967 to present day, APO continues to provide excellent printing services at competitive prices.”

            • I have also google a bit more but I have stopped, with this question:

              Why does practically every project between Philippine government and private companies, whether MRT, ePassport, NAIA3 or whatever seem to become a clusterfuck after a while?

              • karlgarcia says:

                Another question is after a clusterfuck, how come no corrective measures?
                NBN Broadband senate investigations has not lad to an improved broadband infra;
                Fertilizer scam investigations has not least obeyed agriculture.
                North rail, Southrail,mrt investigations has not lead to better rails.
                Lack,of maintain acne,sustainability, resolve, follow through…. Lots of holes, lots of zeroes as in zero results.

              • Yes, why is that. I suppose because there is no established follow-up routine established by anyone, and the people in charge keep rotating through. There is no memory. No lessons learned. No corrective agenda. Just on to the next CF. I tell you, technocracy and professional management would put a stop to this.

              • karlgarcia says:

                Mistakes are ok, if you do something about it.

            • Ok. So not Chinese. Haha.

  16. edgar lores says:

    Was the service contractor a Chinese firm — mainland, Hong Kong or Macau?

    • “Currently, e-covers which contain the chip are being assembled in Europe, while booklet printing is being done by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas and the personalization by the Department of Foreign Affairs. The BSP had awarded the passport printing project to the French firm Oberthur Technologies.”

      This was written 7/20/2015.

      Further research is needed.

      • Sniffing through Locsin tweets, it seems the French firm has sued the Philippines for breach of contract, and kept the data in their possession. He says it is not a data security problem. It was stupidity of going to another contractor to do the printing, probably for “commissions” (he implies this). The data are not lost, and the French firm is well-respected.

        • Let us create an evil story to scare away the last Western investors to the Philippines.

          “In collusion with Sanofi, Oberthur kept Philippine citizen data to prevent PAO Acosta from properly investigating Dengvaxia and the yellow French connection against Filipinos”.

      • edgar lores says:

        Thanks. The news does not pinpoint where the passport application info is kept. At a guess, it would be with the “personalization by the DFA.”

        Found this: “he World Bank Group announced the debarment for 2.5 years of Oberthur Technologies SA (Oberthur), a French digital security company (now part of a company called Idemia). The sanction relates to corrupt and collusive practices under the Identification System for Enhancing Access to Services Project (IDEA), a project designed to establish a secure, accurate and reliable national ID system in the People’s Republic of Bangladesh.”

  17. karlgarcia says:

    Should we give under-secretary positions to foreigners like Japanese DITC USEC or an Israeli Department of Science USEC.

    Or those who worked for WHO in the Health Department.

    Will it matter? Does something else have to change ?

    • For me, if they have top skills, hire them.

      • I wouldn’t be cool if some German or French held a top gov’t job over here, Joe, so why would Filipinos? There should be some national pride involved here;

        but I think you can have them as consultants or visiting professors/experts, but like I said, don’t stick ’em anywhere in the Philippines route them thru DAP, then

        maybe as part of their course or certifications for Filipino gov’t managers have them utilize foreign expertise for whatever province or department or agency they work in.

        A bunch of NGOs foreign experts are already let loose all over the Philippines and they are for the most part idiots and morons as Teddy Locsin would call them.

        Route them thru DAP.

        • karlgarcia says:

          More in line with Joe’s professional bureaucrats, I guess the new law for continuing development for professionals has implementation problems.

          The givernment has lots of professionals like teachers, nurses,doctors,accountants,engineers,etc.

          • karlgarcia says:

            Here is what is in the link.
            Our professionals do not like the law on continuing professionals because it is not affordable and it is a hassle.

            “I totally sympathize with our professionals as they go through the growing pains of this new Continuing Professional Development (CPD) law,” said Senator Antonio Trillanes IV on Thursday following the number of issues faced by the local professionals when the CPD law was implemented in the country.

            Trillanes said this after user ‘Tanakreshna’ inquired on Reddit, an online forum, about the opposition senator’s opinion on the matter.

            “My office has already conducted 3 public hearings to address some concerns and has been closely working with the PRC to make the CPD programs affordable and accessible to them,” he wrote.

            “We have gained headway in providing free CPD programs for public school teachers and nurses as both the DepEd and DOH are mandated to be CPD providers. We were also able to reduce the required CPD units for certain professions,” Trillanes shared.

            “Moreover, we are pressing the PRC to provide online courses to do away with the costly sit-in programs,” he added.

            Trillanes also cited reasons why the CPD law was passed in the Congress

            “First, it was a requisite for the ASEAN integration. It is to enable cross-employment of professionals within the ASEAN region,” the senator pointed out.

            “If we didn’t pass that, our professionals would be placed [at] disadvantage because the professionals in other member-states can work here while ours cannot work in their countries,” Trillanes added.

            “Second, it is intended to help our professionals meet the global standards and be updated with the latest trends and best practices of their profession,” he said.

            “For example, a nursing graduate in 1980 who didn’t practice her profession and suddenly decided to practice nursing again, may not be abreast with the developments within the nursing profession,” the senator continued.

            “Third, most countries have their own CPD laws or programs for different professions,” Trillanes stated.”

            • karlgarcia says:

              So if ASEAN integrate today, we would not be ready because our professionals have not updated their skills

              • Reads to me like ASEAN bs, karl. If I remember correctly ASEAN too compelled the Philippines to do K-12, so after K-12 ASEAN now wants to put its finger in post-grad schooling in the P.I. ???

                If you look closely, essentially ASEAN saw Filipinos corner the market in professional work, as well as low skilled work. So for ASEAN work force to compete with Filipino work force, read OFWs, they figured, let’s fuck with Filipinos’ education system.

                Slow ’em down a bit.

                Let’s add 2 more years for them, since they, the Filipino college students had 2 years leg up on the rest of ASEAN, the rest of the world.

                so now with CPD , lets ensure they keep going to school. If you travel to the Mid-East , SE Asia (Singapore & HK , especially), the rest of the world, its Filipinos w/ superior skills, while the rest of ASEAN is found wanting,

                your politicians either don’ t have you guys’ best interests in mind, or they just really wanna fuck with you guys, karl. there was absolutely no need for an extra 2 years in high school; just as there’s really no need for this CPD crap.

                Don’t get me wrong , karl, if folks want to go for post-grad degrees go for it, but ASEAN shouldn’t be imposing all this extraneous stuff, exercise some national sovereignty forcrissakes and tell ASEAN to screw off.


                We’ll educate our folks our way, you guys your way, we’re basically like the England’s Indians all over the world making the world turn, where’s the rest of ASEAN? In conclusion, we must be doing something right at least,

                though our managerial skillz might suck, we are the world’s work force, professional & low-skilled! You’ll find us in Russia to South Africa, we are everywhere. We must be doing something right, ASEAN should be asking us for advice.

                Say that.

                now that’s master morality there, karl. Knowing your worth. Making others know your worth.

              • You guys should pull a BREXIT before this whole thing even starts, karl. Just remember Filipinos are already all over the world. If your leaders can somehow leverage that, you guys are golden.

                I don’t know any other people in history, who’ve covered the world so thoroughly as Filipinos; you hear of a bomb go off in Israel, Filipino casualties; Libya, Filipinos; Russia, Filipinos there too; a bridge collapsed in who knows where Italy, yup Filipinos there too,

                I wouldn’t be surprised if something happens in Antarctica and a Filipino or two is mentioned. You guys are everywhere, karl. How many ASEAN nations can claim that? How many nations in the world?

                Nigerians maybe come close, but they can’t go to Russia (you guys for some strange reason have made Russians love Filipinos, those guys are racist as fuck!). Like i said, ASEAN should be asking you guys for advice, not the other way around.

              • One of the challenges I’ve had in keeping a blog discussion going that is respected by Filipinos is that I’ve managed to avoid the infestation of the blog by American and other English speaking know-it-alls stomping through the place with their superior wisdom and preachy pronouncements telling Filipinos how to run their country. Now I have to deal with you.

                I’ve had you in moderation several times, and advised you not to dominate discussions, but the tenor of these two speeches to Karl seem to me to be exactly what I do not want populating the blog discussions because they are neither realistic nor constructive, and they lecture the Philippines and Filipinos as if you were the gift of God, telling us the one and only way to do things.

                I suggest you change your approach or take up your conversations in a different forum because we do not share interests or styles, and you are bad for my blog. If you find you are unable to do that, then you will just go the way of I-7 sharp who would simply not comprehend that I am the blog editor and choose what fills my pages. He doesn’t. I offer plenty of latitude for open discussion, but I prefer earnest conversation, a dash of humility, and sense.

              • Joe, that’s the probably the most pro-Filipino post I’ve penned since being here. And it’s all true.

              • also, Joe, karl copy/pasted the whole link for me, I ‘m assuming to get my take on the subject, my take and that I did (with a little motivational speech to boot, sure. guilty as charge), but I stand by my ASEAN trying to cordon off the Philippines and Filipinos. the pattern is there with K-12 and now CPD.

              • I-7 Sharp would never take my guidance, either. Always argued.

              • These 2 posts I’ll defend fully, Joe.

                This was the most pro-Filipino post i’ve written; whether its realistic or not is beside the point, is technocracy via foreign technorats realistic? Are we now grading? As to constructive, yeah of course it is , i’m calling for some national pride in an educational program that’s sent millions out into the world just fine,

                attacked by the rest of ASEAN.

                Now the reason for Filipinos leaving that’s another discussion, but at least just based on the spread of Filipino ingenuity across the globe, we know for a fact others in ASEAN have not done the same.

              • I’m reminded of my young son who absolutely refused to grasp that he can download his cell phone games early in the morning when the bandwidth pipeline is clear, and so kept spending hours trying to download them in the clogged afternoon hours. Then I forced him to download one in the morning, and it took like 30 seconds, and he was shocked, absolutely shocked with the fast speed.

                I run a blog for Filipinos.

                Yes, I’m grading.

              • Poor guy, buy him a bigger plan forcrissakes, Joe! He’s a son of an American. 😉

              • There is that arrogant American exceptionalism that I detest, combined with the ignorance about the Philippines that is always so prominent. He has the best plan available in our provincial area. -40

              • karlgarcia says:

                Man, I thought I got you in trouble again.
                First your temporary obsession with DAP, when you read about something you exhaust your efforts to sell that new thing that you read about, good thing you get exhausted.

                Next, it is Irineo, not Ireneo.

                About ASEAN integration, I guess China already prevented that from happening, but the trade war might force locators to relocate to ASEAN which they are already doing, I do not think, we should isolate ourselves further from ASEAN by doing a BREXIT.

                Before we have a well managed bureaucracy, our corporate sector must be well managed, we must stop aping Harvard, and convert out MBA schools to Philippine experience and setting.

              • He got himself in trouble for refusing to respect the editorial bounds for the blog that I set out for him. His need to prove some intellectual dominance overpowered his ability to use restraint. He was pushing me, pushing Edgar, and coming across in a way that I can’t countenance, a know-it-all pushy (ugly) American in a blog that strives for Filipino contributors, respect, inclusion, and focus on Filipino topics. He made many good points, no doubt. But the blog needs a certain kind of character to be successful, in my terms, and he showed no capacity to grasp that, or willingness to help out. So we can move on. I’d rather have a small chat amongst a few people who do share a liking for earnest discovery than a large audience of people all trying to prove they can win an argument.

            • Sup says:

              He is also shitting on Joeam in Twitter (7th comment from top)

              • Well, he has found another channel to promote his ideas. It’s okay by me. There are plenty of distortions being fed into the pipeline, and his will just join the stew. Interesting reading who follows him, and whom he follows. National security focus, Maria Ressa (whom it appears he has followed for some time given that the listings are in order of selection), and a hodge podge of mysterious recalcitrants and cerebral folk.

        • chemrock says:

          At one time, British executives were all over the place in Kuwaiti organisations, then they changed to Americans.

          Dubai too brought in lots of foreign management personnel. Today, Emirate Airlines is #1 in the world.

          In Singapore, we welcome top foreign talent with open arms. At one point, we had a foreigner as CEO of one of our Sovereign Wealth Funds. He was an American, something Goodyear. (He came and exit under mysterious circumstances.)

          Only open and confident people take in foreign talents. Of course this is not without risks. So be sure to pick the real talents, not those that come for a free lunch.

          • the British in Oman I remember. Don’t get me wrong, I see the whole 3rd world, 1st world relationship, but I’m just arguing for some national pride here, sure tap into their expertise but use them as tool ; unless of course if you really fall in love with a foreign talent make him Filipino like that Australian Wallace character.

            • It’s a bullshit argument, pride over competence. The goal is to be like Singapore, not say one is like Singapore and then taking pride in the sloppy incompetence that surrounds us as if it were some kind of resilience that will actually feed people.

              • It’s always there, to the extent that even friendly feedback to improve things is ignored at best. Somewhat like I told the UP Concert Chorus to improve the quality of their recordings (they sing great, but the recording they tried to sell to fans when on tour sounded like they were made with a cassette recorder in somebody’s living room) and got laughs at most. The kind of nervous, stupid laugh one can get at a mall telling an employee the aircon’s too cold.

                Criticize the bosses and chances are you get either cold-shouldered or “face and powered”. What I wonder is how Taiwan, Singapore, Japan, South Korea – all Asian cultures with a certain power distance, managed to include feedback and improvement in their system. Maybe they do have a polite channels for feedback/criticism – while Filipinos don’t want it. Aquino was only different from Duterte in the sense that he cold shouldered criticism while Duterte gets mad. Either way, power doesn’t want to know the truth, can’t really handle it.

              • Ireneo, here’s my point…

                Sure with us it’s more , Why would we need to listen to some French dude or a German guy, ie. we kinda had to help ’em out, slap the other around a bit then helped ’em out. There’s a bit of chauvinism involved I’m sure, national pride.

                But why is national pride so bad? I’m NOT wishing that the Philippines is to be run like hell by Filipinos, but going back to slave and master morality, I’m sure if young Filipinos just see a bunch of White dudes or Chinese dudes running their country, that won’t be

                good psychologically, like edgar’s neo-colonialism, or Micha’s neo-liberalism (the bad kind, not Joe’s reading of it).

                I remember in Cebu , weirdly all the girly bars were owned by Scandinavians ; but you cross to Mactan and KTVs were owned by Koreans, also with gambling dens. Then you have folks like Peter Wallace.

                In Singapore, I saw mostly Chinese running the country, while Malays and Indians were its proletariat, but thanks to gov’t jobs the illusion is massaged, egalitarian on the surface. Exactly what I saw when I watched Crazy Rich Asians.

                chemp’s correct about the Arab world, a lot of Brits, thanks Lawrence of Arabia and then a lot of Americans thanks ARAMCO. And the underbelly of that is ugly, though the countries that have money can simply bribe their own people (I know right? the opposite in the Philippines), but same-same just buying time.

                So Joe has a good idea, but he’s not fully thought out the other implications. Hence my call to temper it from institutions like DAP.

              • LCPL_X; of course, giving the management to foreigners may increase the Filipino’s sense of “yes we can’t” – not good. But Filipino managers are often the opposite of empowering. They often have a semi-feudal mentality consisting of these components:

                1) My judgement does not need details, I know what is right
                2) Just get things done, I don’t care about the details
                3) If it has to be fixed or maintained, it was/is shit

                What does that attitude breed? People who don’t dare to go beyond the barest minimum. People who are not forthright with mistakes due to 3). Who will not tell the commanding officer the walkie-talkies don’t work (like in Mamasapano) due to 2) and due to 1).

                Western managers have a more empowering attitude. Probably they will be the first ever to TRUST a Filipino employee with something – or DELEGATE work and not micro-manage.

                a) Duterte is a crass example of 1-3
                b) Aquino had a bit of 1), less of 2-3.
                c) I think Roxas has the least of 1-3. Some Filipinos think such a (Filipino) boss is a fool.

              • I do agree that delegation is key to western style leadership, Ireneo.

          • Thank you for the insights.

        • National pride should be in competence, and the recognition that leaving the good old days of sloppy is good for everyone.

    • chemrock says:

      I don’t think one can use a foreigner for national policy appointments. It simply is’nt justifiable. You can’t get a foreigner to run your country.
      Executive management positions in the agencies should not be a problem. Take MRT. Philippines should go round the world and entice a 2nd level top honcho in countries with a successful MRT to run the place. I suggest check out Taiwan.

  18. karlgarcia says:

    What happened when we hired an anti corruption expert from Hong Kong?

  19. Sup says:

    How about board member MICHAEL J. DALUMPINES appointed by Duterte?

    How about Cayetano?

    MANILA, Philippines — Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. on Saturday vowed to solve the data breach caused by a previous outsourced passport maker after its contract was terminated, adding that he would “autopsy the yellows who did the passport deal alive.”

    In a tweet on Saturday, Locsin said that the problem with the loss of passport applicant’s data started under the administration of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, now House Speaker, and “got worse” under the administration of President Benigno Aquino III.

    The problem started under GMA’s DFA and got worse under PNoy’s DFA. IT WILL BE SOLVED BY PRRD’s DFA under licsin. The yellow crowd who perpetrated the passport fraud are in a panic because we are gonna autopsy their crooked deal. Period.

    “The yellow crowd who perpetrated the passport fraud are in a panic because we are gonna autopsy their crooked deal. Period,” he further said.

    This developed after Locsin disclosed that a former outsourced passport contractor “took all” the data after its contract was terminated.

    Locsin also said that he would “autopsy the yellows who did the passport deal alive.”

    • edgar lores says:

      Locsin has arrived at a conclusion already… even without the benefit of evidence.

    • Joe, I’ve not mischaracterized anything.

      When madlanglupa posted the link , its was “beyond appalling” , how dare DU30 Locsin etc. do this; then awhile later upon further research turned out it was during PNoy ‘s time, everyone’s all like, well mistakes do happen, it’s fine i suppose; now that Locsin’s doing “autopsies on crooked deals”, oh how dare that man be so appalling. We’ve come full circle and its not even past 24 hours yet.

      But I’m not focusing on the funny politicizing of all this. Though it is. The feigned outraged, increase for DU30, decrease for PNoy, then increase again for Locsin. The ebbs and flows of emotions 😉 .

      I’m focused on a completely different aspect of this story. Is identity theft serious over there?

      Identity theft is not a problem for Filipinos, 1). because they are not as fully dependent on the credit card industry as we are here and 2). because why take over a Filipino’s identity in the Philippines.

      I’ve asked if identify theft is a serious problem in the Philippines, other than saying that it is you’ve not outlined why or how (follow your 5 Why’s analysis), so allow me to mansplain,

      “However, the term “identity theft” is used broadly. Of those Americans impacted by identity theft:

      86% experienced the misuse of an existing credit card or bank account. This type of fraud is called “account takeover.”

      Only 4% had their personal information stolen and used to open a new account. This type of fraud is much more dangerous, and is called “identity takeover.”

      The vast majority of fraud relates to account takeover, where a consumer’s liability is limited. So long as you report the fraud immediately, you should experience limited or no financial loss.”

      In conclusion,

      1). account take overs — Most Filipinos don’t even have credit cards much less bank accounts, and for those who do misuse is easily refundable.

      2). identity take over — If most Filipinos already don’t have credit cards and bank accounts, and even only 4% Americans experience this, why assume more Filipinos will , it should be less than 4% (to zero percent),

      rendering this issue less than problematic. Hence the faux outrage, aside from all the vacillating.

  20. NHerrera says:

    To salvage part of my Sunday — a day of rest and relaxation:

    [Concerning the theft of the Passport Data by the terminated e-passport contractor — ] There goes technology as aid to the technocrat.

    As for me, I will stick to my trusty slide-rule and my old engineer’s compass; and walk a few kilometres instead of getting on the SUV which I definitely do not have. 🙂

    • Hahaha, and, in the spirit of things, I shall refrain from climbing into my Mustang which I also don’t have.

      • NHerrera says:


        And to add to the movie thriller like existence in this Pearl of the Orient Seas, Philstar reports that Chinese fishing vessels are manned by their military. Oh, well …

    • sonny says:

      NH, on today’s cerebral R & R I’m afraid that has not come. The Greek meaning of this economics blog has now morphed into almost hopeless intelligibility. Yet I will not give up as yet as long as you are still up to the struggle. 😦

  21. chemrock says:

    Technocracy good, but not all technology good.
    Huawei sales director arrested in Poland for spying.

    Under Chinese law, firms are compelled to “support, co-operate with and collaborate in national intelligence work”.

    NZ Aussie and US banned Huawei from 5G. Canada and UK are wary. Philippines all open arms for Dennis Su and Huawei.

    • True, but compared to today’s chaos and incompetence, even a flawed technocracy would be a huge step up. China is a problem everywhere.

      • NHerrera says:

        chemrock: Under Chinese law, firms are compelled to “support, co-operate with and collaborate in national intelligence work.”

        Joe: China is a problem everywhere.

        When Orwell wrote his classic “1984,” his thoughts may not have included China. But as it has turned out China is indeed The Big Brother — Orwell’s big brother in China and just one rung (?) lower in the World.

        Already, we have a symbol of the potency of China’s prowess in technology — landing a spacecraft on the far side of the moon. China has vowed to be a master (the? master) of cybertechnology.

        And I thought I will relax for the rest of my Sunday, sonny. And yes, I am still game to the “struggle.”

        [N.B. At 1.4B versus the world’s population of 7.7B, China accounts for18% of the world’s population. India is only a little shy of 1.4B. The two countries then account for 36% of the total. Fortunately for the world, India’s political system is such that it cannot count as a Big Brother in the foreseeable future.]

        • English is the world’s language, until China can learn English, that or unseat English as the power language, by definition it cannot be Big Brother.

          “support, co-operate with and collaborate in national intelligence work.” Read stealing secrets, its not to be the world’s NSA. Thus far, China’s the one sending Chinese to learn English;

          not the other way around.

          • though more Americans are learning Chinese, but not so much strategic reasons but more so commerce.

          • NHerrera says:


            I concede China “stole” quite a bit of technology from the US. But I am looking forward. Their technology (whether domestic-borne or stolen) is improving; some in the West are even unabashedly gushing over it. And as I said cybertechnology is a priority.

            I do not concede to being in love with China’s political system and its leaders, although I have Chinese blood running in my now aging veins (fourth generation).

            I am afraid you have lost me on the English factor .

            But here is a true story for you.

            I am wearing a Fitbit watch which can — like so many of those watches these days — tell date and time, heart pulse rate, calories burned, steps taken for the day, number of stair flights for the day, sleeping hours, etc.

            MY first Fitbit watch strap (synthetic leather, I am not sure) was cut when I was doing a bit of carpentry one day. My daughter who sent the watch noted over a video chat, shortly after, that he is not seeing my health numbers [the watch, through an app, automatically shares the data to people you share it with via blue tooth; and you can imagine the good daughter monitoring me.] When I informed her of the demise of the strap, she sent me a better strap — a nicely designed metal strap akin to the normal watch, one her clumsy dad may not easily cut.

            When I looked at the underside of the metal strap package, it is not surprising to see that the metal strap was made in China.

            But here is the thing that my wife and I had a good laugh the day I looked at the underside of the metal-strap package. Here is the note in English:


            1. Contracted design style, with you life contracted and not simple.
            2. Leather strap, become soft, make you more wearing more comfortable.
            3. Pure steel buckle, fine grinding and polishing, long service life.
            4. Geniune leather strap, make sure that when wear neat and submissive.

            • NHerrera says:

              Just so the TSH readers do not complain that I am inventing this, below is a photo of the Product Features.

              Also, in case someone complains to the editor about racism and in fairness, I would like to make this additional note: automatic electronic translation of mandarin to English may have been used. In that case, the electronic translator may need to be improved.

              Hey fellas — there are jobs for human translators to make sense of the results of electronic translations in China.

              • chemrock says:

                Google translator has improved tremendously. I rate it as superb now. So i dont think they use automation. They probably us human. And i think the company is probably is a low end back wayers type. Companies in the big cities they have locals well versed in English by now. The translation you have reminds me of their products 40 years ago. You could have died laughing at their English back then when they used word by word translation with a dictionary, which is actually impossible.

              • NHerrera says:


                Not my intention to belabor the matter. But here is the link and the picture of the bracelet sent to me by my daughter. (Only difference is I got the black bracelet which I preferred instead of the rose gold or silver colored band in the link.) The quality of the metal strap is very good. However, I concede what you said — And i think the company is probably is a low end back wayers type — having no basis to say otherwise. Thanks for your note.


              • “I am afraid you have lost me on the English factor .”

                Just that much of the world’s important conversations are still in English, NH. Numbers , sure China can steal , schematics, formulas, algorithms , etc. But in the end the world turns with English as its spoken language, hence China as Big Brother or NSA is (to date) still unlikely.

                China doesn’t go out to learn others’ languages, we have plenty of Mormons who do and can pay for their own flights and accommodations abroad 😉 .

              • “Also, in case someone complains to the editor about racism and in fairness”

                Offended, thus I demand an apology— why dunno! Lol! LOL!

            • Pablo says:

              Maybe getting old, but I saw the same thing coming from Japan. Originally, Japanese things were low quality copies of Western stuff, then the quality got a lot better and in my previous job, we finally considered Japanese stuff the top of the line. The same is happening with China, they are catching up. Only their speed is mind-boggling and they have the forethought to send loads of bright young people to the top universities in the world, thereby powering their catching-up to dizzying heights. In some area’s, they have overtaken Western countries already and they are hell-bend on being best in class in technology. They have a plan, they have funding and they have the people.
              And in the Western countries, we do not have an answer. Our universities are eager to have foreign students and we not only happily teach anybody our hard-earned knowledge, but we also include foreign students in cutting-edge research in our universities (like quantum computing and laser research etc.). Once China has the edge, they can shield their knowledge off very effectively by using their language barrier, their ever-present surveillance systems, their social structures and their vast country.

              And yes, English is still a weak point, shopping on Banggood is still an experience in detective work, but also that will be solved, it may take a bit longer probably. But, soon we may have to master Chinese because otherwise WE will be marginalised. With a billion eager people, China has advantages which other countries do not have. They make many mistakes, for sure, but their general direction is clear.

              Your anecdotal story is just one of the many examples of how China is pushing ahead in a (for them) new world.

        • LOL, NH!!! Hahahahaha… that’s not the scariest thing! Read below:

          “An interactive map posted on the Internet that shows the whereabouts of people who use fitness devices such as Fitbit also reveals highly sensitive information about the locations and activities of soldiers at U.S. military bases, in what appears to be a major security oversight.

          The Global Heat Map, published by the GPS tracking company Strava, uses satellite information to map the locations and movements of subscribers to the company’s fitness service over a two-year period, by illuminating areas of activity.

          [Latest: U.S. military revising its rules after fitness trackers exposed sensitive data]

          Strava says it has 27 million users around the world, including people who own widely available fitness devices such as Fitbit and Jawbone, as well as people who directly subscribe to its mobile app. The map is not live — rather, it shows a pattern of accumulated activity between 2015 and September 2017.

          Most parts of the United States and Europe, where millions of people use some type of fitness tracker, show up on the map as blazes of light because there is so much activity.”

          here’s the map:

  22. karlgarcia says:

    Was Delima correct in suggesting to reduce the units for credits in renewing professional licences ?
    If the law is implemented properly, our professionals will be at par with its neighbors. (neighboring country, and not next door)

  23. popoy says:

    INDEED, JoeAm, Nothing beats TSoH in courage, in depth, breadth and width and I can only say SAYANG I could not read them comments word by word.

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