Category Archives: News

The Philippines in the Asian Century

This was President Benigno S. Aquino III’s remarks at the Asia Society in Sydney on the 25th of October 2012. He talked about the Philippines being a bright spot in the global economy and the reforms his government has enacted to gain investor confidence and improve social equity.

After delivering an eight minute speech, PNoy took questions from the audience.

What was missing from the discussion was an explanation as to why despite the country being one of only a handful in the region that has exhibited robust growth in the first semester of this year has foreign direct investment not returned even when as the president remarked so many attempts at good governance have been made. Instead, it is the stock market that has surged as “hot money” has flowed in helping to drive up the value of Philippine stocks and with it the peso. This in turn has driven down the competitiveness of our exports be they in manufacturing, mining, agriculture or services.

What is needed from the president at this point is a vision for the Philippines, a strategy that would position it well in this, the Asian century, with the rise of China, India and Indonesia. What role will the country play in this century? Will it join these other nations in lifting millions out of poverty? Will it see a rapidly growing middle class earning between $10 and $20 a day (these being the poverty threshold in Brazil and Italy, respectively)?

The president spoke of his mining policy recalibration, at a time when commodity prices globally are declining from their peak prior to the Global Financial Crisis, with the rebalancing of China’s economy driving demand for commodities down, and with global supply about to catch-up with global demand. In Australia the pipeline of investments amounting to around $350 billion has now been cast into doubt as evidenced by BHP Billiton’s suspension in August of projects worth $30 billion in Western and South Australia. In addition, the Mining Resource Rent Tax expected to generate billions for the Federal government raised nothing during the first quarter of its operation due to weaker mining profits.

Now they say, the next big boom will come in agriculture and services as the Asian middle class switches its diet from grains to meat, requiring more agricultural output to supply livestock feed, and as they seek better quality education and travel experiences abroad. As the West deals with its ageing population and demands skilled workers to fill the seats of retiring baby boomers in the next few years, how will the country cope with this race for talent?

Indeed, there are many important questions that need to be considered. The country needs a strategist-in-chief who will demonstrate leadership by tackling these broader long-range issues. Yes, we need honest government, but more than that, we need to know our strategic direction so that our government can navigate through the treacherous terrain our nation faces. There are many things going in our favour: proximity to the world’s fastest growing markets, a large, literate and highly skilled population, and now a government that wants to do things above board.

We need to now harness that latent potential and drive the country forward.

Santiago Files Magna Carta for Philippine Internet Freedom

Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago
Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago, principal sponsor of SBN 3327

(Update 14 Nov 2012: SBN 3327 official PDF from Senate official website embedded below.)

Constitutional rights shall not be diluted in the Information Age.

This is the guarantee sought to be galvanized by Senate Bill 3327, filed on November 12, 2012, by the eminent constitutionalist and international law expert Senator Miriam-Defensor Santiago. In what is a first in Philippine legislative history, the provisions of the bill authored by Senator Santiago draw directly upon the suggestions of Filipino netizens solicited through online “crowdsourcing”. The proposed measure seeks to address not only the protection of  but also the establishment of the rights of Internet users in the Philippines. Also, guided by the expert knowledge of the diverse set of IT and legal specialists who advised on the bill, SBN 3327 seeks to establish a sensible, fact-oriented and balanced environment that defends Filipinos against against cybercrimes and cyberattacks.

Senate Bill 3327 is titled, appropriately enough, “An Act Establishing a Magna Carta for Philippine Internet Freedom, Cybercrime Prevention and Law Enforcement, Cyberdefense and National Cybersecurity.” Also known as the MCPIF to the netizens whose views helped shape the Bill, the Magna Carta for Philippine Internet Freedom is anchored on:

a. Rights
The MCPIF protects the civil and political rights of Filipinos, recognizing and asserting our guaranteed constitutional rights in cyberspace. Economic rights and consumer rights, especially as affected by the use of the Internet and information and communications technology (ICT), are also promoted and upheld.

b. Governance
The MCPIF promotes ICT in governance, translating into an empowered citizenry, a more efficient and responsive government, and more effective use and distribution of resources.

c. Development
The MCPIF provides government agencies with the mandate and the means to harness ICT for national development, thus promoting Philippine economic growth and ensuring Filipinos remain competitive in the information age.

d. Security
The MCPIF prepares Philippine law enforcement agencies and the armed forces for the current and emerging security challenges of the information age. It equips law enforcement with the capability to prevent, detect, and respond to cybercrime. With bolstered national defense and intelligence capabilities made possible through the MCPIF, the Philippines will be able to protect its critical infrastructure, reducing its vulnerability to attacks by cyber-terrorists and rogue or enemy states.

SBN 3327 has been referred to the Committee on Science and Technology for deliberations. It is expected that in the same spirit that animated the crafting of the Magna Carta for Philippine Internet Freedom, legislative deliberations will be enhanced by the active participation of the citizens online, and the other ICT stakeholders. The Internet has facilitated an unexpected next step in participatory democracy, and the forthcoming legislative process will harness that power.

SBN 3327 – An Act Establishing a Magna Carta for Philippine Internet Freedom, Cybercrime Prevention and Law Enforcement, and Cyberdefense and National Cybersecurity

[scribd id=113187011 key=key-yeze4eq6waidnxz1mpa mode=scroll]

(Photo credit: Senate official website, http://www.senate.gov.ph/)

(PDF credit: Senate official website, http://www.senate.gov.ph/)

Whoa. Tyhoon Butchoy projected to be a Category 3 typhoon

Weather Underground projects that Typhoon Guchol (locally known as Typhoon Butchoy) to be a Category 3 storm by Saturday in Manila.

According to PAGASA, the estimated rainfall from Butchoy is 15 to 25 mm per hour, which is heavy, and within 450 kilometer diameter of the Tropical Storm. They are advising fishing boats and other small sea craft not to venture to sea.

Storm signal no. 1 was raised over Eastern Samar.

Good News: BSP says Philippines loaned money to other nations

You know how we always hear that the Philippines is borrowing money? Well, this bit of news will surprise you. The Banko Sentral ng Pilipinas revealed that the Philippines is now a creditor nation. That’s right, the Philippines loaned money to other nations!

GMA News writes,

“With its record-level foreign exchange reserves, the Philippines since 2010 was a lender to Greece, Portugal, Ireland and other troubled economies of Europe to the tune of $251.5 million, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) said Tuesday.

The country also committed to contribute $4.55 billion to the $120-billion Chiang Mai Initiative Multilateralization (CMIM) fund put together by China, Japan, Korea, Hong Kong, and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.”

Last year, the Banko Sentral noted that the Philippines ended with a US$75 billion dollar gross international reserve.

6.7 Earthquake strikes Negros-Cebu Region in Central Philippines (Updated)

The United States Geological Survey reported that a Magnitude 6.8 earthquake struck central Philippines, and this was revised to 6.7.  The epicenter was located 70 kilometers North of Dumagete, Negros, Philippines.

Damage report are still incoming.

Update-1: NDRRMC confirmed that one died in the Earthquake.

Update-2: A wall divider at call center Teletech in Iloilo province collapsed, one agent injured.

Update-3: Tsunami alert level 2 raised.

Update-4: USGS revised Earthquake from 6.8 to 6.7.

Update-5: ABS-CBN News is reporting that the Earthquake has killed 43 in Negros Oriental province.

This is a developing story.

Mr. Corona, prove that you have nothing to hide

Code of Judicial Conduct, Rule 5.08 – A judge shall make full financial disclosure as required by law.

“Malaking kasinungalingan itong ginawa nilang ito. Ang sa atin ay lima po lamang. Lima.” – CJ Corona referring to properties he owns.

Chief Justice Renato Corona is being accused of not truthfully disclosing his assets in his SALN. The prosecution has successfully pointed out that he actually owns 24 properties. How does a Chief Justice amass so many properties if he has no other means save for his and his wife’s government salaries?

The tedium has not been caused by the prosecution. Mr. Corona’s defense lawyers have been delaying the trial through circuitous objections and motions, the latest being strenuous protest against the prosecution’s motion to subpoena their client’s bank records.

The Black and White Movement challenges Mr. Corona to authorize the impeachment court to give the prosecution access to his bank records to avoid being accused of willful non-disclosure. Doing this would not only speed up the pace, it will allow Mr. Corona to live up to his word.

BnW Executive Director Leah Navarro said, “Kung wala siyang tinatago, pabayaan niya ang mga bangko na ilabas ang accounts niya kung meron man. Mr. Corona has claimed that he has nothing to hide. This would be a good time to put his money where his mouth is.”

Editor’s note: republished with permission from Black and White.

Ignacio ‘Iggy’ Arroyo, Clinically Dead

Congressman Igancio ‘Iggy’ Tuason Arroyo, Jr., youngest brother of former First Gentleman Juan Miguel Arroyo passed away. He was 61 clarified that his brother is clinically dead.

The first gentleman announced the passing of his brother over Radyo Inquirer 990AM. Iggy Arroyo was undergoing treatment for liver ailment, the Inquirer wrote when he suffered a cardiac arrest. Congressman Arroyo was in London for treatment.

Congressman Arroyo represented the Fifth District of Negros Occidental from 2004 until he passed on.

This is a developing story.