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Sunday, March 31, 2013

Kris Aquino in politics: First Governor of Tarlac, then the Philippine Presidency!

March 25, 2013
Ths real mission of the Second Aquino Presidency is in full swing as the groundwork for the ascent of the next Aquino to the presidency of the Philippines is now being lain. Family newsletter ABS-CBN News reports the almost unsurprising announcement from presidential sister Kris Aquino of her planned foray into politics…

The Queen of All Media pronounced her plan to run for governor of her home province, Tarlac, before thousands of her town mates Tuesday.
“I feel naman na bilang isang Aquino, whatever political career I hope to have in the future, it has to start in Tarlac,” she said.
Kris, along with her “Dalaw” leading man Diether Ocampo and Pokwang, led the gift giving activity in depressed areas in the province. From Tarlac, they went to 8 barangays in Pasig also to distribute gifts.
She clarified that she is only running in 2016 after Noynoy’s term of office.
It all certainly makes perfect sense. Kris Aquino is, after all, the only one amongst the Aquino brood who inherited her father’s charm, gift-for-gab, and celebrity genes. The others — including The Reluctant One himself, current Philippine President Benigno Simeon “BS” Aquino III — on the other hand, have personalities just a bit more interesting than a doorknob. But why else would a reluctant scion of the powerful Aquino-Cojuangco feudal be made to run for president of the Philippines back in 2009? Perhaps because back then Kris wasn’t quite there yet in terms of readiness for the job — and she wouldn’t be when it mattered, not when the vast Hacienda Luisita teeters on the brink of subjection to the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) which is coming due in 2014.
First the Governor’s seat in Tarlac, next that coveted seat in Malacañang. If the powers-that-be could engineer a national con at a scale that could get a man like BS Aquino elected president, how easy would it be to get Kris’s behind warming the president’s seat within the next couple of decades?
Too easy.
I wrote in a brilliantly prescient piece back in December 2011 why the prospect of a Kris Aquino presidency is very real
The nature of Kris’s popularity it seems is fundamentally different from — and independent of — the engineered “popularity” that Noynoy Aquino surfed upon straight onto his comfy seat in Malacañang. What draws people to Kris Aquino is primal. What draws people to her brother Noynoy, on the other hand, is just plain stupidity.
The “magic” in all this lies in the fundamental character of the Filipino, one once astutely described by a modern-day philosopher as hopelessly starstruck
You are a nation of star-struck ignoramuses. You are easily awed by your movie stars who are usually nothing but uneducated, aquiline-nosed and light-skinned ******** picked up from some gutter somewhere. I have seen what these artistas illusionadas can get away with. They just flash their capped-tooth smiles and policemen let them get away with traffic violations; they bat their false eyelashes and customs officers impose no duty on their suspicious balikbayan boxes.
Worst of all, with the Filipino movie industry taking a nosedive, hordes of actors and show personalities went into politics. It is, as they say, the next best “racket”-there is more money to be made in the politicking business than in show business! (And what is this I hear that in the coming elections, more are jumping into the arena? Mag-hara-kiri na kayo!) How can you expect these comedians and actors, who only know how to take directions from their directors, to direct your nation? For them,politics will just be an “act”. No big surprise here, for they are mere actors with no original scripts to speak, no original visions to share. So what can you expect but a government that is a comedy of errors. Serves you and your star- struck nation right!
In short, there is no magic. Philippine society is basically a con-man’s paradise. Its people are suckers for appeals to emotion, iconic images of “heroes”, no-substance cults of personality, and pedigree politics. It is a perfect environment for breeding the very sorts of politicians that “activists” love to hate. Indeed, in recent times even these very “activists” themselves have started to mirror these politicians; themselves engaging in colourful spectacle, circus freak shows, and publicity stunts to get their “message” across.
We wonder now. Will the forces of “civil society” that supported the ascent of President BS Aquino to power in the 2009-2010 presidential campaign support his sister’s bid to secure her place in the family dynasty? Seeing how even the ranks of the “politically-aware” have themselves overseen the further degeneration of the national “debate”, it is likely that Philippine politics will not get any more intelligent any time soon.
When the money at stake runs in the billions of pesos, no amount of “activist” campaigns to get Filipino politicians to tread the straight-and-narrow path leading to what is right will move anyone of consequence. Hacienda Luisita is certainly a big enough prize.

Easter Sunday: Empty Tomb, Expectant Heart‏

Father Robert Presutti, LC

John 20:1-9

On the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early in the morning while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been removed from the tomb. So she ran off to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and told them, "They have taken the Lord from the tomb, and we don’t know where they put him." So Peter and the other disciple went out and came to the tomb. They both ran, but the other disciple ran faster than Peter, and arrived at the tomb first; he bent down to look in and saw the burial cloths there, but did not go in. When Simon Peter arrived after him, he went into the tomb and saw the burial cloths there, and the cloth that had covered his head, not lying with the burial cloths but rolled up in a separate place. Then the other disciple, who reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; for as yet they did not understand the scripture, that he had to rise from the dead.
Introductory Prayer: Lord, you are the source of all life because you are life itself. Your resurrection gives me the hope of being raised from the dead to rejoice with you forever in heaven. Thank you for your presence in my life. I love you, and I want to follow after you with all my heart. Be with me now, and inspire my prayer.
Petition: Lord Jesus, grant me the joy of seeing my hopes constantly kindled by your power over sin and death. May the strength of your resurrection overcome the weaknesses of my human nature.
1. Confusing Signs: Without faith, realities that should inspire hope and expectation only cause confusion. Jesus’ empty tomb is the sign of the most complete victory, the most extreme love, and the most powerful presence. Mary Magdalene, Peter and John all see the empty tomb. But their limited faith needs time to grow and completely accept the great gift that is offered to them. In approaching the mystery of God, I must stoke up my faith. Otherwise, what should cause hope and courage will only wind up becoming a stumbling block for me. Only a sincere and generous faith in Christ enables me to take the circumstances of life in hope, confidence and security.
2. Running to the Experience of Faith: Running is an integral part of this Gospel. Mary Magdalene runs. Peter runs, and John outruns Peter. Love for the Lord creates a sense of urgency. What they saw at the tomb could have been seen without running at all. But promptness is a sign of love for the Lord. If I wish to experience Christ and the power of his resurrection, I need to have a sense of urgency in my relationship with the Lord. I must strive to meet him and give myself to him in my here and now. I can’t wait for the “ideal” moment. If I don´t give myself to Christ now, under the present conditions, there is no reason to think I ever will.
3. Faith Begins with the Experience of the Senses, but Does Not End There: John, Peter and Mary Magdalene will eventually have an unshakeable conviction in the Resurrection, and become messengers of the Resurrection. But they first need to see the empty tomb and pick up the wrappings. They would also need to see and touch the risen Christ. All this would cause wonderment, reflection, and eventually a growing realization that would induce faith. God works in the same way in my life. First there are the lived experiences of my life: people I meet, circumstances I face, events that occur… Then my wonderment and reflection on what it all means. Then the slow dawning of faith.
“It is clearly evident that Christ´s resurrection is the greatest Event in the history of salvation, and indeed, we can say in the history of humanity, since it gives definitive meaning to the world. The whole world revolves around the Cross, but only in the resurrection does the Cross reach its full significance of salvific Event. The Cross and Resurrection constitute the one paschal mystery in which the history of the world is centered. Therefore Easter is the Church´s greatest Solemnity. Every year she celebrates and renews this Event, fraught with all the prophecies of the Old Testament, beginning with the "Protoevangelium" of the Redemption, and of all the eschatological hopes and expectations projected towards the "fullness of time", which was realized when the Kingdom of God definitively entered human history and the universal order of salvation” (John Paul II, General Audience, March 1, 1989).
Conversation with Christ: Lord Jesus, you know how to prepare your disciples to experience your presence deeply and know you intimately. I ask today for a deepening in my faith in your resurrection. Let all the events of my life point me to the truth that you are alive.
Resolution: I will be prompt in meeting the duties and responsibilities of today, in the truth of the risen Christ.

The Bottomline - Princess Jacel Kiram FULL (Mar 9, 2013)

The claim to Sabah: A historical perspective

Inside Story : Sultanate of Sulu : Pawn or legacy ?

Lahad Datu sultanate sulu in sabah- Nur Misuari said 'We had to fight for it'


Saturday, March 30, 2013



God will complete what He started.

Verse: Luke 18:33

They will flog Him and kill Him; and on the third day He will rise again.

Every year millions of people all over the world honor Good Friday as the day Jesus was crucified.

It was the darkest, most painful, discouraging day of Jesus' life. To most of the people around, it looked as if it was over. It looked as if His enemies had gotten the best of Him. But God had other plans.

Jesus’ enemies put Him in the grave on Friday, celebrating their victory, but Sunday morning was a different story:

      The grave could not hold Him.
      Death could not contain Him.
      The forces of darkness could not stop Him.

On the third day, Jesus came out of the grave and said, "I was dead, but        now I am alive forevermore." !

One principle that the resurrection teaches us is that God will always finish what He started.

No matter how dark it looks, no matter how long it’s been, no matter how many people are trying to push you down; if you will stay in faith, God will always take you from Friday to Sunday.

You will see your day of breakthrough because God will complete what He started.

If you are going through a dark time today, remember that your day of resurrection, your "Sunday," is on the way!

      Keep standing.
      Keep believing.

Soon you will rise up and embrace the victory God has in store for you!

Father, thank You for Your resurrection power that is alive in me. I choose to keep my eyes on You, the Author and Finisher of my faith. Thank You that no matter how dark it looks, my day of breakthrough is on its way in Jesus’ name! Amen!

Looking for Jesus in the Wrong Place

Holy Saturday
Liturgical note: There is no liturgy for Holy Saturday. Christian tradition has the Church waiting at the Lord’s tomb, meditating on his suffering and death. Today’s meditation is taken from the Gospel reading for Easter Sunday at the Easter Vigil.

Luke 24:1-12
At daybreak on the first day of the week the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb; but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were puzzling over this, behold, two men in dazzling garments appeared to them. They were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground. They said to them, "Why do you seek the living one among the dead? He is not here, but he has been raised. Remember what he said to you while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be handed over to sinners and be crucified, and rise on the third day." And they remembered his words. Then they returned from the tomb and announced all these things to the eleven and to all the others. The women were Mary Magdalene, Joanna, and Mary the mother of James; the others who accompanied them also told this to the apostles, but their story seemed like nonsense and they did not believe them. But Peter got up and ran to the tomb, bent down, and saw the burial cloths alone; then he went home amazed at what had happened.
Introductory Prayer: Heavenly Father, I contemplate the tomb of your Son who has loved us to the end. In the silence of this Holy Saturday, I meditate and prepare myself for the Resurrection. I come to you in quiet, expectant prayer, patiently awaiting the new dawn of Easter, knowing that what seems like defeat is really the victory of life. Help me to grasp the magnitude of your death and resurrection.
Petition: Jesus, grant me the grace to understand in a deeper way the glory of your resurrection.
1.  A Day with Mary: Much has happened in the last few days. The Sabbath dawns serenely, quietly. Today is a day to wait quietly with Mary, to meditate slowly with her, to go to a lonely place and contemplate the Lord’s death while holding her hand. Holy Saturday is a day to take it all in. It is a day of sorrow and of hope. We must not let Holy Saturday pass by as just another day, as just the day in between Good Friday and Easter Sunday. It is a day of quiet contemplation with the Mother of God.
2. The Other Side of the Resurrection: From our vantage point, it’s easy to forget that for the apostles and the disciples of the Lord, all seemed over. Jesus was dead. There was something powerfully definitive about that “It is finished” Jesus had pronounced from the cross. They would no more hear his voice, feel the power of his preaching, or see the marvels of his works. For them there was no resurrection, only passion and death. The women were preparing everything to finish the task of anointing Jesus’ dead body. We must contemplate this day from the other side of the Resurrection.
3. Prayer Gives us the Answers to Life: Only in this silent contemplation will the apostles be able to see how it all fits together. Jesus had told them all that would happen to him, including his resurrection. Jesus had spoken plainly to them, yet their minds were not prepared to understand. It is only in the silence of this day, accompanied by Mary, that they could hope to understand what Jesus had told them. It is the same for us; we must remember Christ’s words with Mary because oftentimes our minds too are closed. Many times we think we know who Jesus is and what he is teaching us, but really it doesn’t enter our heart. We must listen carefully to what he tells us in the Gospels so as to comprehend the deeper meaning of his words. We must do this with Mary and allow her to help us.
Conversation with Christ: Lord Jesus, the silence of this day helps me to ponder in my heart all you have accomplished for me during the past few days. I know that the silence of Holy Saturday is not a silence of despair and hopelessness, but rather a silence of great expectation ready to burst forth in the overwhelming joy of Easter. I will go to the tomb with the holy women, not to anoint your dead body, but to rejoice with the angels as they proclaim, “He is not here. He has risen!”
Resolution: I will try to keep as much prayerful silence as I am able today in order to prepare well for the joy of Easter.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Fitch Ratings upgrade: Will the Philippines’ new ‘investment grade’ status spell good times ahead?

March 28, 2013
In John Landis’s 1983 hit movie Trading Places, Billy Ray Valentine, a bum and hustler played by Eddie Murphy is picked up from the streets, cleaned up and dressed in an expensive business suit as part of an experiment instigated by wealthy brothers Randolph Duke and Mortimer Duke. The made-over Valentine is then set up in their firm Duke & Duke and introduced to his new colleagues as an up-and-coming hotshot trader.
Ordinary Filipinos are elated by the Fitch Ratings upgrade!
Ordinary Filipinos are elated by the Fitch Ratings upgrade!
As the film unfolds, the success of Valentine’s makeover quickly becomes evident. He starts out looking like a million dollars with his newly-manicured looks and power suit, then proceeds to step up and actually perform like a million dollars.
Fast forward 30 years later. Top-tier rating agency Fitch Ratings recently awarded the Philippines an investment-grade credit rating paving the way for the country’s improved access to a windfall of capital, presumably to fund further economic growth.
“This means much more than lower interest rates on our debt and more investors buying our securities,” Mr. Aquino said in a statement. “This is an institutional affirmation of our good governance agenda: Sound fiscal management and integrity-based leadership has led to a resurgent economy in the face of uncertainties in the global arena. It serves to encourage even greater interest and investments in our country.”
Fitch Ratings cited “improvements in fiscal management” begun under Mr. Aquino’s predecessor, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, as one of the reasons for its decision to lift the Philippines’ rating from junk status, increasing it one notch, to BBB- from BB+. The rating applies to the country’s long-term debt denominated in foreign currency.
What this means is that Philippine businesses now have access to cheaper overseas foreign-currency-denominated loans. And with the peso rapidly appreciating, this is not a bad deal. Low interest rates combined with a depreciating principal means good times ahead.
Or does it?
Access to cheap capital is a double-edged sword. Much like the way sugar- and caffeine-fortified “energy drinks” boost performance over the short run, cheap dollar-denominated loans are notorious for their addictiveness. This is exactly what happened in the 1990s in the lead up to the infamous currency crash of 1997. The Philippines in the early 90s was awash with cash. The stock market was soaring, “blue-chip” IPOs were being hawked to starry-eyed “investors” by every “investment banker” and her dog, ordinary schmoes hit with the “wealth effect” bug were pouring excess highly-leveraged cash into real estate.
Then in 1997, the market tanked.
After Thailand ran out of money to fund the Thai baht’s peg to the US dollar, its Central Bank was forced to float its currency which, as expected, fell in value versus the greenback. The crash of the Thai baht quickly rippled across Asia, but the seeds for what was to become the Asian Currency Crisis of 1997 had already been planted long before. At the time, Thailand had acquired a burden of foreign debt that made the country effectively bankrupt even before the collapse of its currency. As the crisis spread, most of Southeast Asia and Japan saw slumping currencies, devalued stock markets and other asset prices, and a precipitous rise in private debt.
As local currency values plummeted local firms all over southeast Asia holding foreign US-dollar loans effectively saw their debt burden double and even triple. When you are stuck with a business that is earning in pesos while owing in dollars, you’re pretty much toast.
If we think being given a big piggybank full of money to “invest” will necessarily result in sustainable development, we should think again. In 1994, economist Paul Krugman published an article attacking the idea of an “Asian economic miracle”. He argued that East Asia’s economic growth had historically been the result of increasing the level of investment in capital. However, total factor productivity had increased only marginally or not at all. Krugman argued that only growth in total factor productivity, and not capital investment, could lead to long-term prosperity. Krugman himself has admitted that he had not predicted the crisis nor foreseen its depth.
The causes of the debacle are many and disputed. Thailand’s economy developed into a bubble fueled by “hot money”. More and more was required as the size of the bubble grew. The same type of situation happened in Malaysia, and Indonesia, which had the added complication of what was called “crony capitalism”.
Most people will agree that capital allocation in the Philippines is largely controlled by a small clique of wealthy oligarchs. Indeed, the Aquino-Cojuangco feudal clan is not just one such but one of the biggest of them all. So just on that alone, the manner and fairness with which any increased capital inflow into the Philippines will be channeled remains an iffy proposition. Will capital be channeled to the most deserving business proposition? Or will it be funneled into the portfolios of the most well-connected oligarchs?
But less-understood is the fundamental weakness of the capital base of the Philippines. Most “investments” in the Philippines are on highly speculative “assets” that do not contribute to real increased productivity (the ability to increase the efficiency with which we make and maket tangible stuff) that is enabled by a fixed tangible capital base (robust indigenous technological capability, stable manufacturing capacity, and a workforce equipped with the most relevant skills) — which is why despite reports of “healthy” rates of increase in the country’s “gross domestic product” (GDP), employment remains flat (and OFWism continues to gallop ahead), and per capita income remains at wretched levels.
Indeed, the Philippines remains that quintessential society of “educated hard workers” that remains impoverished and utterly vulnerable to economic forces and trends outside of its control.
When a society’s economic house is built on top of a sand dune of me-too approaches to business development, employment hinged upon capital created by entities not inherent or indigenous (in other words, external or foreign) to it, and ephemeral cost-plus commercial transactions, it is difficult to see a bottom in the event of economic collapse. There is no real equity at the core of such a society’s economic house of cards. There is nothing in the Philippines beyond the muscle of its workers that is worth buying. When demand for labour vanishes, Filipinos are left with virtually nothing. No world-class business assets and brands to sell, no safe and pleasant (much less interesting) cities and countrysides to offer to European and Japanese backpackers, no lush forests to pitch to researchers and eco-tourists, no world-class cutting-edge indigenous technology and scientific achievement to fall back to and build upon from scratch if necessary. Nothing.
Rather than build an asset base of people, infrastructure, knowledge and expertise, and culture of enduring value, Filipinos spent the better part of the last half-century harvesting its low-hanging assets and exporting them raw as stop-gap measures to prop up a mediocre economy. Much of what Filipinos take pride for in their country is its natural beauty. But that is rapidly being physically degraded as well as overlooked because of peace-and-order issues in the remaining viriginal parts of the archipelago. That leaves the human achievement component of the intrinsic value of the Philippine Nation. Not surprisingly, while Filipinos get heaps of kudos from their foreign employers (and themselves) for being such hard workers, not much can be said about the collective design and innovation faculties of the society. Unfortunately it is in the furnaces of design and innovation that Capital (with a big “C”) is ultimately forged.
Design-added-value results in creation of enduring value. Even in stillness, a truly valuable painting or literary work, for example, can keep a viewer transfixed, spellbound and reflective; offering a richness and depth that continuously reveals subtle aspects of itself with every additional hour spent exploring it. Its value is inherent and stored. Its value is capitalised — a finite amount of labour input resulting in an immeasurable quantity of value continuously delivered over a timescale that transcends the labours of its creator. On the other hand, labour-added-value is fleeting and volatile. The value it yields over time is dependent on a sustained effort. The need for said effort can easily disappear in one of those turns in fortunes that are notoriously impossible to forecast.
The Philippines’ is a labour-added-value economy. And it is the worst kind — a labour-added-value economy propped up by the remittances of a vast army of overseas workers.
It has no solid core no tangible capital base of consequence to collapse to in the event of that “market correction” that is always around the corner. In good times, the economic value sustained by commercial activity in most economies keeps peoples’ quality of life safely above the absolute poverty line. The inherent risk that is always present in labour-intensive economies becomes apparent in bad times.
Whereas a robust equity base in a well-capitalised economy helps keep its peoples’ heads above water in a depression, there is no such rock bottom in a labour-intensive economy. Like a super-massive star destined to collapse into a dimensionless black hole, economic collapse in a labour-intensive economy can plunge the majority of its population below absolute poverty into wretched levels of existence.
Will the Philippines live up to the new power business suit it’s been given by the world’s “credit rating” agencies the way Billy Ray Valentine did in Trading Places? Or will Filipinos merely rest upon the coming windfall of easy money and delegate their already deficited thinking faculties to the multinational firms that will likely make a beeline to cash in on Filipinos’ new-found perception of prosperity?
As always,
Abangan ang susunod na kabanata.
[NB: Parts of this article were lifted from the Wikipedia.org article “1997 Asian financial crisis” in a manner compliant to the terms stipulated in the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License that governs usage of content made available in this site.]

Philippines Gets Investment-Grade Credit Rating


Benigno S. Aquino III paid off Wednesday, when the country received, for the first time, an investment-grade credit rating from one of the world’s major ratings agencies.
The move, from Fitch Ratings, represented an important vote of confidence for the Southeast Asian island nation, which has been growing at a rapid clip for the past few years but whose per capita income is barely one-quarter that of the United States. The economy remains heavily reliant on money sent home from Filipinos working overseas, called remittances.
“This means much more than lower interest rates on our debt and more investors buying our securities,” Mr. Aquino said in a statement. “This is an institutional affirmation of our good governance agenda: Sound fiscal management and integrity-based leadership has led to a resurgent economy in the face of uncertainties in the global arena. It serves to encourage even greater interest and investments in our country.”
Fitch Ratings cited “improvements in fiscal management” begun under Mr. Aquino’s predecessor, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, as one of the reasons for its decision to lift the Philippines’ rating from junk status, increasing it one notch, to BBB- from BB+. The rating applies to the country’s long-term debt denominated in foreign currency.
The upgrade, Fitch said, reflected a persistent current account surplus, underpinned by remittance inflows, while a “strong policy-making framework” — notably effective inflation management by the central bank — has supported the overall economy in recent years.
Investors cheered the news of the upgrade, sending the main stock market index up 2.74 percent.
The upgrade had been widely expected for some time, helping turn the Philippines into something of an investment darling last year. The Philippine stock market soared more than 30 percent in 2012, one of the best performances in the world, and has risen an additional 17.8 percent so far this year — the third best in Asia after Japan and Vietnam. The Philippine peso has climbed 7 percent against the dollar since the start of 2012.
Foreign direct investment, likewise, rose 8 percent last year to $2 billion, from $1.9 billion in 2011, as investor confidence in the country has solidified since Mr. Aquino took office nearly three years ago.
“This is an upgrade that’s overdue,” said Norio Usui, country economist for the Philippines at the Asian Development Bank, which is based in Manila. “Financial markets have already fully incorporated it. Bold governance reforms under the current administration have changed consumers’ and investors’ sentiment. Prudent macroeconomic management has laid the foundation for the strong growth. This rating will give investors the confidence they need to give the Philippines a much closer look.”
The country’s promising demographics also seem to point toward bright economic prospects. While many Asian nations, including Japan, South Korea and China, are aging rapidly, the Philippine population of 94 million is one of the youngest in the region. About one-third of Filipinos are 14 or younger, according to World Bank data. That compares with 19 percent in China and 13 percent in Japan.
“Should the government implement policy to educate and provide jobs for the burgeoning population, the Philippines could capitalize on its demographic advantages to raise economic output,” economists at HSBC wrote in a research report.
HSBC forecasts that the Philippine economy will expand 5.9 percent this year, slightly less than the 6.6 percent recorded in 2012 but well ahead of the 3.9 percent in 2011. Fitch Ratings on Wednesday estimated growth between 5 percent and 5.5 percent in coming years.
At the same time, the country faces considerable challenges. Infrastructure in much of the country remains poor and corruption widespread, despite progress under Mr. Aquino’s administration. Growth has generated pockets of urban prosperity surrounded by vast areas of grinding poverty and few jobs.
“While we may finally be treading the right path towards inclusive and sustainable development,” Loren Legarda, a Philippine senator, said in reaction to the upgrade, “the challenge remains for us to ensure that there will be overall improvement in the lives of majority of Filipinos.”
Renato M. Reyes Jr., secretary general of the left-leaning social organization Bayan, said the upgrade was “meaningless” as far as the poor were concerned. “It will not necessarily generate jobs and lead to sustainable growth,” he said. “It looks good only on paper and will only benefit big business. Expect Aquino to milk this for the 2013 elections.”
Recent developments in the southern Philippines, moreover, have highlighted the differences between the prosperous and peaceful north and the impoverished and unstable south. In February, gunmen from the southern Philippines caused a major security crisis in Malaysia when they took over an isolated village in the state of Sabah. Mr. Aquino has faced significant domestic criticism of his handling of the crisis.
Richard Foyston, the chairman of Navis Capital, which is based in Kuala Lumpur and has about $3 billion in shares and private equity investments in Southeast Asia, cautioned that the Philippines’ economy remained highly dependent on household spending and on remittances from Filipinos working abroad.
Household spending makes up a big proportion of the Philippines’ economy because spending on infrastructure and industry has for years lagged behind the country’s peers in Southeast Asia. Remittances, meanwhile, rose 6.3 percent to $21.4 billion last year, the equivalent of 8 percent of gross domestic product.
“That fills a gap, but it is a sign of an imbalance,” Mr. Foyston said, referring to the remittances. “The capability and talent and willingness to work and invest, all those things that are good for an economy, have not been put to work at home in the Philippines.”
In May, elections will be held in the two houses of the Philippine legislature. Mr. Aquino, who is not up for re-election, has campaigned aggressively for his legislative allies, who are crucial for continuing his reform agenda.
Floyd Whaley reported from Manila. Neil Gough contributed reporting.

Estrada gets Manila bid rolling with ‘Happy Easterada’


Protesters turn into flagellants in front of Quiapo Church in Manila on Holy Wednesday to dramatize their opposition to flood control projects which they said would lead to the eviction of urban poor settlers starting mid-May. RICHARD A. REYES
Is Manila ready for a “Happy Easterada”?
With the campaign period for local candidates set to begin on Black Saturday, former President and now Manila mayoral candidate Joseph “Erap” Estrada is all business for his showdown with the incumbent Alfredo Lim, who is seeking a third and final term.
Estrada’s proclamation rally is set the following day at Liwasang Bonifacio, an event he called Happy Easterada.
But whether he would indeed be happy at the end of the race depends on how much the 75-year-old Estrada has left in his political fuel tank.
“Win or lose, this will be my last hurrah,” he told the Inquirer on Wednesday.
Estrada started out as San Juan mayor in 1969, became a Senator in 1987, Vice President in 1992 and then President in 1998. But this peak in his political career also saw his steepest downfall with his ouster from Malacañang on corruption charges in 2001. He was later convicted for plunder and pardoned by his successor Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in 2007.
He ran for president again in 2010 but lost to then Sen. Benigno Aquino III. Estrada placed second in that race and finished ahead of early favorite Sen. Manuel Villar.
Though this comeback performance fell short, the Estrada camp still considered it a moral victory. “Remember that I basically had the same number of votes in 2010 and when I first ran (for President) in 1998,” he said.
In his view, Mr. Aquino owed his victory to the public sympathy over the death of his mother, former President Corazon Aquino, the year before the elections.
The votes he continued to get, he said, “all came from the poor. They never abandoned me.”
The former movie star said he is returning the favor by again running for public office, this time as mayor of what he maintained to be the city of his birth.
“Mamamatay at mabubuhay si Erap, ngunit hinding-hindi makakabayad sa mahihirap (Erap can come and go, but he can never do enough to repay the poor),” he said, mouthing an old campaign mantra.
On his upcoming contest with Lim, Estrada said he looks forward to a good, clean fight and admitted that their earlier verbal skirmishes in public debates had gone below the belt.
Estrada insisted that his ouster in 2001 is a thing of the past and that his new focus is the state of Manila during Lim’s six years in office.
Manila has become “madi-lim” (dark), he said, spicing things up with a pun. “It’s not hard to see how bad Manila’s condition has become. Just look around and tell me if what you see is good.”

15 Tips for Talking to Women And Attracting Them Like Crazy

Many men are never taught how to talk to women. Because of this many guys go through life without the ability to attract a woman. Here are 15 tips to help make sure you aren’t making mistakes with the women you’d like to attract:

1. You should talk about “emotional” topics like childhood memories, future ambitions, or her passions. These conversation topics will open up her emotional floodgates.

2. Women want a guy who is not afraid to lead her. While talking to a woman take control of the conversation. Never wait for her to dictate what you’ll be talking about.

3. Pay attention to the non-verbal cues a woman is giving you. If you’re standing too close to her, accidentally spitting when you talk, or making her feel uncomfortable in any way… she will send you hints. Pay attention to them.

4. Remember this motto “Fun not Funny.” Women are attracted to men who allow them to have fun. Don’t concentrate on having the funniest jokes. Concentrate on showing them the most excitement and enjoyment.

5. Tease women. One of the easiest ways to take a conversation to a fun and flirty level is to begin to tease women. Think back to your time on the playground. In the world of dating… what worked on the playground is effective all over again.

6. Get intimate with her. Women are turned on by men who are not afraid to take a conversation to a personal, intimate level.

7. Use things like “cold reads” to turn women on. Women love to hear opinions about themselves. Tell her what you observe about her.

8. Avoid complimenting a woman too much. Women are turned off by men who come across as “needy.” If you are complimenting a woman too much she will think you’re trying to impress her. Which will have the opposite effect.

9. If you want to know how to talk to women in a way that doesn’t bore them… Avoid asking too many “interview” style questions.  Instead state your opinion about things.

10. Remember: Statements over questions. Instead of saying “where did you grow up?” Say “You don’t look like you grew up around here.” This allows you to make observations about her and express your personality.

11. Don’t hide your identity. Don’t be afraid to talk about whatever you’re passionate about.

12. Never compliment her on her eyes, looks, or body.

Video: “Become Irresistible To Women”

13. Say something that lets her know that you view her in a “sexual” way. If you don’t, you run the risk of winding up in the “friend zone”.

14. Use conversation “games” to keep the mood fun and flirtatious. Games can be anything like “truth or dare” or to less extreme games like the “5 questions game”.

15. Don’t give away your hand so fast. Women like men who are a challenge. If you want to keep a woman’s interest she has to feel like she is slowly winning you over. If she thinks you’re too easy… she’ll lose interest.

The best way to think about how to talk to women is to think about what kind of fun, playful, and sexual conversation you would most enjoy. Talking to a woman doesn’t have to be difficult. You just need to be aware of what they are turned on by and what turns them off. Follow the list above and you’ll do just fine.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

No Ability = Winnability

March 28, 2013

Einstein is often credited with the saying Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Einstein also said we can not solve our problems with the same thinking that created them. Both quotes play in nicely to my topic today boys and girls. Ever notice every single politician running for office promises you improvement. There is not one who will tell you that things will stay the same if you elect them. Yet how come none of them show any originality? Very few of them even show ability. People when they can will anchor their image to an older relative living or dead  even if it has nothing to do with governing and leading. Innovation is a word most of our voters can’t spell let alone look for. Our voters do not value people who can think. They just value the familiar. Dealing with the familiar minimizes evaluations and forecasting. It also minimizes improvement.

Grace Poe does not even try to hide the fact that the FPJ name is her biggest asset. She can’t even accredit her potential to lead and govern to genes. If this was a proper court of law and Grace was accused of being serious about being a viable candidate the case would be thrown out for lack of evidence. What she is really saying (and as Johnny Saint said makes her identical to Nancy Binay) is I have never done anything worth talking about. Nothing. BTW this is my adopted dad. That should solve everything. I wonder where her campaigners got that idea? Let’s see, no record of accomplishment, famous parent(s), running for office ohhh a certain follicle challenged, relationship challenged, tact challenged person comes to mind. It just so happens the same person really has no history of answering challenges.
The Filipino does not value originality. They value attention. Obvious examples come to mind like Manny Pangilinan and Senator Sotto. Let’s take two areas outside of big business and politics. Mars Revalo is beloved by pinoys if prime time shows and Metro Manila Film Festival entries based on his “creations” are an indicator. Mr. Revalo simply ripped off Charles Moulton and Jack Cole. You can even read this rant.
I have no idea why people think Arnel Pineda is a big deal. Those songs that people consider “his hits” were hits with the same people and Steve Perry decades before YouTube was invented. In case you did not know Arnel Pineda was discovered on Youtube. There is a certain ceiling to your street cred if you are just an Elvis impersonator. Arnel Pineda may be the best Steve Perry impersonator in the world but that is all he is. An impersonator. Which oddly rhymes with it’s antonym “innovator”. An impersonator can be defined as somebody who does not bring anything new to the table. They just walk over the path already blazed. My more detailed thoughts here. Emulation is valued in the Philippines not innovation. You see it in comics , you see it in music and you see it in politics.
Noynoy Aquino in fifty years had nothing to hang his hat on. His mother died in 2009 and he took out a surfboard and rode the wave of public sympathy into Malacanang. That is the kind of voting public we are dealing with. No ability = winnability. In this day and age when so much information is available on a smart phone, the local voters demand even less information to make a voting decision. Invoke your parents name or wear similar colors, hair and glasses to a local icon then go run for office.
The argument for Noynoy was always that “he is good”. Excuse me … good at what exactly?? Noynoy can provide the illusion that he is good because he has never really had his uniform dirty one way or the other. The argument that he is good makes as much sense as pointing to the 12th man on your basketball team and saying “He is good! He has no turnovers.” He has no turnovers because he does not have assists either. So to put it bluntly Noynoy when he ran in 2010 could not point to an Isiah Thomas or Bob Cousy type performance on the floor so what does he do to campaign? He poses. He poses as a tough cop. He poses as a faithful son. He tells you what he is going to do but does not point to any kind of highlight film to make his case credible. So to get your mind off the lack of ability he will use motherhood statements like destiny and emulate symbols associated with his mom and dad. Guess what?? Noynoy’s method worked in 2010.  So it paves the way for Grace and Nancy in 2013.
Noynoy Photo Op
So Noynoy Is In The Headlines But Is This Necessarily Work?
I cannot for the life of me comprehend somebody who bought the Noynoy act in 2010  be annoyed by the methods and manner of the Nancy/ Grace campaigns in 2013. Noynoy Aquino, President Cory’s Only Son (PCOS) made all this possible. Postscript on Noynoy’s posing act. Look at the last month, he did horribly in the territorial claim issue where leadership and negotiation skill would have come in handy. On the other hand he seems more at home in the campaign trail and now “The Malacanang Pre Easter AIDS tour. ” where very little can really go wrong for him. There is no metaphorical live ammo. There are photo opportunities and public relations events and then there are duties a true national leader has to perform. AIDS in this context as defined by the Urban Dictionary “As  If Doing Something.”
One adjective you can never put on him is efficient. Because to put it bluntly someone or something has to work first before being described as efficient. More on that here. An important part of leadership is delegation. Back when I was trying to establish a previous business what was instilled in us was as leaders was don’t work in your business, work on your business.  A leader is in charge of the strategic direction of the organization which in this case is the country. Day to day functions like safety inspections should be performed by people hired for that function. It is the job of the president to work on government and the country not to put up some facade that he is working.
Bam you already have the name must you copy the look?
Bam you already have the name must you copy the look?
As far as I know Noynoy Aquino is not the country’s foremost expert in terrorism prevention so that is one strike against him personally inspecting the different terminals. A true leader understands delegation. No word yet on what I believe Noynoy Aquino to be. Another strike is all the baggage he takes with him. Baggage that we tax payers are paying for. You all know of a story that happened in October involving said baggage. Malacanang has not confirmed or denied their involvement. The president’s presence in an upscale restaurant is already obtrusive. The staff allegedly resorted to threats as a result of the president being there. So explain to me why is it a good idea to have Noynoy and his baggage inspect terminals during what amounts to our peak travel times? It is bad enough the president seems inefficient with his time but this decision for a glorified photo opportunity will most likely make the inspected terminals less efficient during a busy time. Does anybody out there think that is a wise allocation of resources? You voted him in ladies and gentlemen.
John McEnroe was once asked why his kids did not excel in tennis like he did and his answer was “affluenza”. He said kids in the UK and the US have it too easy. What he means by that is that trials and hardship fuel your competitive fire. This only proves world class tennis is a much more worthy arena of skill and work ethic compared to pinoy politics. The people who do not value accomplishment and competition are weeded out in sports regardless of their last name. In pinoy politics the practice works in reverse. Nepotism and gaya gaya are prerequisites to running for office.”Oh so I know you dad?, I won’t bother looking at what you have actually done if anything”. There you go, that’s how you get President Noynoy.
Erap was cited in a previous GRP post as providing the template to transition from “acting” to public office. Noynoy Aquino it seems has provided Grace Poe the template to pole vault over a dead parent’s corpse into an elected position. The guy has been dead over eight years. If memory serves, my memory served more than he did. I don’t think he logged in a second of public service. Which begs the question what did FPJ start that Grace is supposed to be continuing? If FPJ did not start anything then is Grace going to perpetuate that nothing if elected?
Take a look at this Grace campaign banner
and this one.
Grace 2
Look at the three faces here. Grace, FPJ and Susan. Does it scream good governance for you? If so why? Neither of the three ever proved anything. I have no idea why more pinoys are not turned off by what is turning into SOP during election time. Exploiting the memory of a dead relative in order to achieve public office.
Here is what inspired it. If you can indeed call it inspiration.
Mama s Boy
In the words of Journey “Some day love will find you”.
The thing is, it worked in 2010 why not in 2013 for Grace? Blank resume? Not articulate? That’s OK, just resort to macabre or morbid epalism. FPJ in 2004 was as allergic to debates as Noynoy was in 2010. That will work in the Philippines. It’s never about the issues or the capacity to tackle the issues. No need to prove your stance on the issues.  It’s always about family. Family values has questionable relevance in this country as far as picking the best qualified political candidate is concerned. If the Grace ploy works in 2013 it is absolute proof we are getting dumber and it will get worse in 2016. I remember the good old days of 2003 when it was first mentioned that FPJ would run for office and on his agenda was to pardon Erap. I remember hearing that and I really thought it was a joke. I soon found out to quote Robin Gibb “but the joke was on me“.
Noynoy, Nancy and Grace. What do they have in common? Pinoys respond to  Inherit instead of earn. The Filipino rarely discerns when it comes to their politicians. That’s why the baduy vote is so important. Capture the baduy vote with bells, whistles, colors, famous dead relatives, vague slogans, corny jingles, artistas. You vote in Nancy, Bam, Jackie and Grace you will just be electing mini Noynoys. Pride, dignity and good judgement just get in the way of a victory in a Filipino election. Proud to be Pinoy!!!!
If there is a common theme in my posts , it’s that I don’t blame Noynoy and Grace entirely. For me it takes two to tango. I know of a Wharton candidate who bought into Cory in the 80s and had that affection carry over into Noynoy. Wharton graduates it seems are not exempt from buying emotionally and trying to defend logically. It was he/ she who gave me the idea for the song Its Noy or Never. The strategists know they are not attracting the Einstein vote. No innovation necessary. Just ride on dead daddy’s coattails. That’s the Filipino voter for you. Proud to be Pinoy!
Aerosmith I hear is coming to Manila in May. I hope they do their song that speaks so loudly to the Filipino expectations, aspirations and condition: Same Old Song and Dance.
Thank you to the Facebook Group Boycott All Showbiz Personalities in the Government for some of the pics.