Featured Post

NEVER AGAIN !!!

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Suze Orman warns OFW families: You can't count on remittances forever

27-Feb-12, 10:19 PM | Likha Cuevas-Miel, InterAksyon.com

MANILA, Philippines - Families of overseas Filipino workers must anticipate the day when remittances from their loved ones will stop coming, international personal finance advisor Suze Orman said on Monday in Manila.

Orman, who hosts her own show on CNBC and is a favorite resource person at Oprah, said that families who are dependent on remittances must always think that the money will not flow forever; their loved ones can lose their jobs abroad, get sick, or even die.

"Anything can happen at any time and the problem that is going on out there [abroad] when one person from over there stops sending money in here, you've not only affected one person there but also four, five or six people over here. Then that starts the very dangerous possibility of things going wrong," Orman said in a talk hosted by the Bank of the Philippine Islands.

OFW-dependent families have to understand where that money comes from in order for them to get motivated to fix their household finances, she added.

The Philippine economy is kept afloat by consumer spending that is primarily fueled by OFW remittances. Last year, overseas workers sent $20-billion back home, a record in remittances. According to a survey conducted by Citibank in 2007, however, only one of 10 Filipinos save enough to last their families nine weeks.

Orman said OFW dependents must change their expectation that the funds they receive every month are going to always be there.

"And once we understand it is possible that that check would stop [coming], you would think twice before you go out and buy a flat screen TV or you do things other than saving that money," the financial advisor said.

No money of their own

Orman shared that members of her household staff are Filipinos, so she is familiar with the habits of OFWs, and the culture of sending their entire paycheck back home and leaving nothing for themselves.

"And we always say 'Can't you just save a little money of your own? Can you just keep a little something for yourself?' It goes on for 10, 15, 20 years," she said.

Then Orman observed that in the last two years, her staff stopped coming home to the Philippines for their annual month-long vacation every May. When she asked, they said they wanted to save the plane fare money and open a bank account.

"They are afraid they don't have money themselves and what are they going to do? And their parents can't take care of them, their parents just died or something happened," she said.

That sudden change in their thinking was brought about by the realization that they are getting older and they are not feeling as sprite as they did 10 or 20 years ago.

The personal finance guru noted that this phenomenon is not exclusive to the Philippines but it resonates to economies that are dependent on remittances such as African countries.

Change culture of mendicancy

Orman said that it is important to evaluate the realities that are besetting OFWs and their families. They should also think about whether or not perpetuating the culture of mendicancy among the able-bodied members of the extended family is really helping them and the economy.

"Are we helping those people by sending money to them so they never have to dig deep themselves and reach their own potential because the money is coming into them like clockwork when they haven't made any contingency plan in case that money stops because they don’t think it will ever going to stop? It is possible that we're hurting them rather than helping them/ Because a lot of times they [dependents] are still very young," she said.

The personal financial advisor related that some members of her household staff have dependents that are young, employable people. One of them told Orman that her 23-year old brother "just does not want to work" despite being in perfect health.

"But it's another thing for parents. I believe all children should take care of their parents, I don't care where they are. I take care of my own mother, she's going to be 97. It's an honor to have money to take care of my mama. [But] it's a whole different light if you're talking about brother, sister, friends, or things like that," she said.

Pay debts, save

Once the OFWs and their dependents have evaluated their situation, the next step in achieving financial freedom is to pay off all credit card debts.

After wiping out their high-interest credit card debts, the next step is to start saving for the rainy days before trying to learn to invest in complicated instruments like mutual funds or stocks.

"But nothing feels greater than to have a sum of money in a bank account somewhere. And that what they should be striving for," Orman said.

Tagalismo made "Pilipinos" dumb

Tagalismo made "Pilipinos" dumb. The so-called electorate became no more than stamping pad for crooks in office during the tagalog republic.

Marcos and the tagalist society "ang bagong lipunan" undermined our democratic institutions, our sense of propriety and all the social taboos in pre-marcos society.

We never recovered from this damage to our ethos and our morals.

Civics became just a propaganda tool to better control the functioning illiterates given the so-called "right to vote" without knowing why and what for.

This wasnt the case before. During election time Filipinos often chose what they perceived to be the most educated and the most intelligent.

The mistake was they erroneously thought that all who were intelligent and educated had the best intentions of the country. So they voted in Macoy.

And our nations were cursed ever since because now they chose the most personable and who promised them the moon instead of moral character and competency.

The mentality of "Pilipinos" is that they live in lala land. They are deluded in the perception that it is the government that give jobs to people.

That the government is the one who create jobs instead of the individual and creativity. Such ignorance in civics made us like fallen angels from what once was a promising future.

Today, they think government and the crooks they vote into office will give them food and jobs. They have surrendered everything for dependency.

They destroyed individualism and liberty for a bit of gruel imported from china. Or in this nutrienless day of processed food age, the "instant noodles" of not thinking things through.

This rot continues. And the fictive national language from the macoy tagalist republic is one more legacy from the fascism that did not leave us.

For democracy works only in the assumption that voters will vote the person because that person represent their values. Conversely, the flipside is that often the people get the leaders they deserve.

"Pilipinos" search in every election for the messiah of change that will never come. Politics is just family business these days. And we continue to be deluded because we are scared shitless of fighting for real postive change. Hence we are apathetic.

We carry that stench of dumbness like a drug.

My two cents on a world shaped by fascism.

bangkaw

Who are you voting for?

By James Jimenez / Spox

While the automation of the 2013 elections is an important topic, it would be best not to forget that elections are really all about the voter. No matter how high-tech the election system becomes, it still comes down to the quality of the voter’s participation in the process. So today, we’ll give the Automation Primer a brief rest and talk about how important it is not to take elections for granted.

THERE’S an old movie about a conman who runs for office using the name of the outgoing congressman from his district. The voters, totally oblivious to the fact that the familiar name no longer referred to the man they remembered, trooped to the polls, simply wrote down the name they’d always voted for, and ended up electing the masquerading conman to Congress.

Sure, it’s silly and exaggerated, but it does underscore an essential fact: voters sometimes take elections for granted and, because they didn’t take the time to learn more about the candidates, often end up voting on the basis of name recall. Are you like that?

Do this simple exercise: think of your congressman and list down 10 things you know about him and what he’s done both before he became a member of the House of Representatives and since. Chances are, unless you’re working for him or his opponent, you’ll have a very difficult time listing down even five things.

Yet, despite your lack of knowledge about your congressman, he controls millions of pesos that can be used for the improvement of your district. New schools, for instance, or health centers, even basketball courts to givethe youth something better to do than drugs—these things can be provided by thecongressman some of you might not even be able to name. On the downside, however, he might just take the money and run.

Now consider the mayor of your city or townand list down 10 things that you know about him from before he won elected office. Again,the chances are that you’re not having theeasiest time doing that either. And yet, themayor controls the police forces in your city or municipality and has a direct role to play inthe provision of basic services like schooling for your children, hospital care for theelderly, and even ensuring that your trash gets picked up regularly.

So now the question is, how can you tell if a person can do everything his position requires of him, if all you know about him is that his name sounds familiar? Of what value,therefore, is name recall?

These are the kinds of questions that citizens must be confronted with if we are ever to wean ourselves from our dependence on mere name-recall. Instead of simply going forthe names that sound most familiar, voters must be taught to identify tangible links between things that matter in real life andthe choices they make in the polling booth,and in so doing become more aware of thetrue consequences of their vote. And here is where voter education becomes critical.

Dysfunctional voter practices—vote sellingand thoughtless voting for instance—ultimately stem from a lack of appreciation ofthe true value of the ballot. The voter simply does not see the right of suffrage as being important enough to hold on to. Instead, it is seen either as a marketable commodity or—in the case of people who don’t think aboutthe choices they’re making—a useless trifle that can be discarded without a second thought.

Voter education is supposed to target these kinds of preconceived notions about what it means to live in a representative democracy. Voter education must attack these falsities, break them down, and replace them with a new paradigm. This is especially true of both first-time voters and pre-voters—youth who are not yet of voting age but are already politically aware. It’s not an easy task. For all that people wax lyrical over the idealism of youth, practical experience shows that even children hold a jaundiced view of politics andelections that has been shaped by jaded elders. The tabula rasa is virtually extinct; replaced by cynicism and an overwhelming sense of helplessness. Thus, even with theyouth—or perhaps especially for them—conscious effort must be exerted to combatthe warped perception that the right to vote can be treated so cavalierly.

In the movie, the conman quickly realizes that being an elected official isn’t all aboutthe perks and the power and gets his act together. His constituents were lucky. Despite their carelessness in voting for a charlatan, they still ended up with a decent public servant. But that’s Hollywood. In real life, there is always the chance that we won’t be as fortunate.

Is that a risk we want to take?

James Jimenez blogs at http://james-jimenez.com and tweets as @jab-jimenez on Twitter.

Dangerous calls for People Power

Editorial

AS in the past many years, attendance at the various activities of last Saturday’s 26th Edsa Anniversary was sparse. It was widely publicized that President Benigno Aquino 3rd was going to be the chief celebrant at the activities at the Rizal Park and the Edsa People Power Shrine.

No respectable fraction was seen of the original men, women, student and religious activists from civil society groups who responded in 1986 to the late Jaime Cardinal Sin’s call for the Filipino people of God to go to Edsa. He had asked them to defend Defense Secretary Juan Ponce Enrile and the Marian-image-bearing Vice Chief of the Armed Forces Fidel Ramos from the tanks and combat-ready battalions of Dictator Ferdinand Marcos and AFP Chief Fabian Ver.

Without those nuns, seminarians, priests, and laity-activists, most of them people who prayed the rosary, Edsa Uno would not have happened.

Signaling the allergy of the government to the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother Mary to millions of Filipinos, there were no activities involving President Aquino at the Mary Queen of Peace Shrine.

Many of those Edsa 1 veterans, who up to now value prayer and Mother Mary as much as they did when they risked their lives to respond to Cardinal Sin’s command, lament the expulsion of faith and spirituality from governance. The see that after the Edsa People Power Revolt, national and local government leaders have shown little true love for the poor. What was seen instead was these leaders’ devotion to their personal, family, business, dynastic and partisan interests.

This is why corruption, infidelity to the Constitution, disregard for the basic tenets of ethics have been hallmarks of Philippine governance.

President Aquino and his Cabinet have had almost two years to remove the corrupt Arroyo-regime people from the government. Aquino allies massively control the House of Representatives. But despite having jailed and charged former president Gloria Arroyo, and despite the President’s incessant reminders that the “Daang Matuwid,” the righteous path, is the road his administration treads, the government departments and offices are until now strangled by corrupt officials.

What happens if C. J. Corona is aquitted?
This must be—it can be the only rational explanation—for Mr. Aquino’s insistent declaration that Chief Justice Renato Corona must be convicted by the Impeachment Court—otherwise he, the President, would not succeed in vanquishing corruption.

These are his own words. He has said these a number of times on separate occasions.

The President has admitted that even if CJ Corona is convicted he would still not be able to win the war against Filipino poverty. But he insists on Mr. Corona’s removal as the Philippine state’s chief magistrate because as long as Corona is in office, the Aquino government’s plans and programs against graft and corruption will never succeed.

That extremely wild claim attributes to Mr. Corona the power of a Mafia don of dons. Yet President Aquino obviously believes it with all his heart and mind.

And that is why he has asked the youth and, on Edsa Day itself, the entire Filipino people to help him. He asked the masses to rise in a People Power action similar to Edsa 1 to kick Chief Justice Corona out.

It’s an extremely dangerous call. Some 70 percent, more than two-thirds, of our adult population love the President so much. They believe that he is doing a great job as president. They could hear his call for People Power as a call to storm the Supreme Court.

What if the masses who adore the President carried out his call, occupied the Supreme Court and dragged the demonized CJ Corona and the other justices by the hair and beat them to a pulp?

This is what Hitler’s mobs did to the Jews and Mao’s Red Guards did to the so-called capitalist roaders.

Would the President stop the police from doing their job of protecting Mr. Corona and the other Supremes?

Is this going to happen—if Mr. Corona is acquitted?

As I Live Each Day...

Birds













Iglesia ni Cristo show of force ‘a strong message’ to Aquino

POWER OF RELIGION Hundreds of thousands of Iglesia ni Cristo members gather at Manila’s Quirino Grandstand for Tuesday’s grand prayer rally. Richard Reyes

In a show of force amid perceived tension with their once staunch ally President Benigno Aquino III, some 600,000 members of the politically influential Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) gathered for a prayer rally Tuesday at Rizal Park in Manila.

Tens of thousands of INC members also assembled in the provinces.

The 1.8-million-strong sect, based on a 2000 government census, is one of a handful of religious groups courted by politicians of all stripes during election campaigns for its massive block vote that gives it huge political clout.

“The INC leadership and most of our members are displeased with how the [administration] is treating some of our brethren,” said the source, who asked not to be named because he was not authorized to speak on behalf of the sect.

“It seems that this [administration] is only interested in exacting revenge against its political opponents [instead of] bringing meaningful reforms for the good of the Filipino people,” he said.

Asked if the INC hierarchy would issue a statement against Mr. Aquino, he said: “Do we really have to say the words? The number of INC members who trooped to the event is enough indication of our position.”

Mr. Aquino’s previously strong ties with the sect appear to have soured since Chief Justice Renato Corona—who has indirect links to INC—was impeached in December, stirring condemnation from the group.

But the President said the sect had assured him the rallies were purely religious events leading up to the 100th anniversary of its founding next year.

“There are others who are saying that there is a political dimension here,” he told reporters.

In an interview on national television, Bienvenido Santiago, INC general evangelist and official spokesperson, said the activities were purely religious.

Corona invited

But an INC insider told the Philippine Daily Inquirer that the gathering was a “show of force to deliver a strong message” to the Aquino administration.

Although he was invited, Corona decided not to attend the prayer rally so as not to “politicize” the gathering, according to Supreme Court spokesperson Midas Marquez.

Midas said Corona and the other justices of the Supreme Court were invited to the rally but the Chief Justice decided to skip the gathering on the advice of his close associates.

“We’ve been receiving a number of comments that he might use [the rally] for political purposes,” Marquez said. “Just the same, he extends his congratulations to the Iglesia ni Cristo. I think all the justices were invited.”

Marquez said the Chief Justice decided to just watch the rally on television.

Support for judiciary

He said the invitation was a show of support for the entire judiciary.

“More than the Chief Justice, it’s the institution which is being supported,” Marquez told reporters before the start of the “Grand Evangelical Mission.”

Led by Eduardo Manalo, grandson of the INC’s late founder Felix Manalo, the sect exerts huge political influence in the Philippines, home to more than 75 million Catholics.

While Mr. Aquino cannot stand for a second six-year term, the sect’s block vote can have an impact on the electoral success of his political allies in next year’s midterm congressional polls.

INC members had been leading rallies backing Corona, who could lose his job if convicted in an ongoing Senate impeachment trial on charges of graft and illegally favoring former President and now Pampanga Representative Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. Arroyo is detained in a government hospital on a charge of electoral sabotage.

Mr. Aquino also fired an INC member, Magtanggol Gatdula, as National Bureau of Investigation chief last month after the official was accused of covering up the abduction of a Japanese woman by his aides.

Marquez at rally

Accompanied by fellow court personnel, Marquez arrived at Manila Hotel more than an hour before the start of the 5 p.m. prayer rally at nearby Quirino Grandstand.

He and his group were met by prominent INC members, among them Gatdula and Ferdinand Topacio, lawyer of former First Gentleman Jose Miguel “Mike” Arroyo.

Also in the group were Abraham Espejo, Gatdula’s lawyer and the law school dean of INC-owned New Era University, former Quezon City Representative Annie Susano and Navotas Representative Toby Tiangco.

Marquez said he went to the event in deference to the personal invitation he received from the INC a few days ago.

Gatdula said his presence at the prayer rally was part of his commitment as a longtime INC member. Asked if he enjoyed the support of INC, Gatdula said: “Yes. I think so.”

Tiangco, who bolted the House majority after he refused to sign the impeachment complaint against Corona, also downplayed allegations that the INC event had a political dimension.

Spin

Except for a 20-year-old man, who allegedly tried to politicize the INC gathering, the sect stuck to its promise of avoiding political discussions.

A few minutes before the rally began, INC spokesperson Santiago told reporters in an interview that “the spin,” if anything, had helped the sect draw people to attend its “grand evangelical mission.”

Santiago himself did not mention Corona’s name or anything politically related during the interview. He said the event was part of the church’s 2012 mission to extensively spread God’s words.

Maceda, Zubiri et al.

Among the politicians in attendance were former Senators Ernesto Maceda and Juan Miguel “Migz” Zubiri, Laguna Governor Emilio Ramon “ER” Ejercito, Rizal Governor Jun Ynares, Quezon City Mayor Herbert Bautista, Pasay City Mayor Antonio Calixto and Pangasinan Representative Gina de Venecia.

Only two key INC figures were allowed to speak in front of the crowd: Reynaldo de los Reyes and Arnel Tumanan, assistant dean of the College of Evangelical Ministry.

‘Libelous’ leaflets

Senior Superintendent Robert Po, Manila Police District (MPD) deputy director for operations, said operatives of the MPD Ermita Station 5 arrested at around 12:30 p.m. Eduardo Villanueva, a computer encoder, of Parañaque City.

He was arrested after he started distributing “libelous” leaflets at the entrance to the INC rally on Roxas Boulevard near the carabao statue.

“His leaflets carried antigovernment sentiments and his views on why (Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato) Corona was being impeached,” Po said.

Po told the Inquirer that the crowd in Rizal Park peaked at 600,000 between 5:30 p.m. and 6 p.m.

“The estimate is already liberal because we included the entire park, not only Quirino Grandstand,” he said.

Po said the MPD crowd estimate at the grandstand, the elevated portion of the 528,833-square-meter park and the parade grounds, was 300,000.

Heavy traffic

Northbound traffic on South Superhighway and southbound traffic on North Luzon Expressway crawled on Tuesday morning as INC members began to gather at Rizal Park in Manila. Traffic was also heavy in other major streets of the metropolis.

In San Pedro, Laguna province, Beth Picart said about 500 members from the local INC church left the province on seven buses and a number of jeepneys at around 8 a.m. to take part in the group’s gathering in Manila.

A shortage of buses stranded INC members on Commonwealth Avenue in Quezon City, Alabang in Muntinlupa, and Calamba City. The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority deployed vehicles to Quezon City and Muntinlupa to fetch the stranded commuters.