March 2011

World's poorest nations fall back in wealth —UN

Most of the world’s poorest countries got richer over the past decade but are falling further back in the global wealth ranks, a UN report said Tuesday.

At least 37 of the world’s poorest 48 nations have put on positive growth in the past decade, said the report by a group of nine “eminent persons,” including former World Bank chief James Wolfensohn and the former Mali president Alpha Oumar Konare.

But it added that the average per capita income in the poorest countries was 18 percent of the world average in 1971, but only 15 percent of that average in 2008.

The so-called Least Developed Countries (LDCs), which range from Afghanistan and Bhutan in Asia to Senegal and Zambia in Africa, now face a widening gap with the low and lower middle income countries which are keeping up with average world income levels.

Read more at Philippine Daily Inquirer

Photo credit: Some rights reserved by dbgg1979

Boost seen for telco sector

BATTLE LINES have been redrawn in the country’s telecommunications sector, analysts yesterday said, with a takeover deal seen as having injected new life into a price-war hit industry.

Shares of the top two players soared after Tuesday’s announcement that Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. (PLDT) was taking over third-ranked Digital Telecommunications Philippines, Inc. (Digitel), essentially leaving the market to the dominant telco and rival Globe Telecom, Inc.

“PLDT killed a competitor in a deal that basically injected new life into the Philippine telecom industry,” said Jose Vistan, research head at AB Capital Securities.

“With less players, we will likely see more pricing power for both PLDT and Globe,” Mr. Vistan said.

Read more at Business World

Ayala Alabang’s famous anti-condom ordinance

One doubts whether any of the 42,000 barangay councils in the country, past or present, can match the speed with which Barangay Ayala Alabang (BAA) passed its now famous/notorious first ordinance (No. 01-2011) entitled “An Ordinance Providing for the Safety and Protection of the Unborn Child Within the Territorial jurisdiction of Barangay Ayala Alabang; Fixing Penalties for Its Violations, and for Other Purposes.” If Manny Valdehuesa, whom I consider to be the country’s expert on barangays, or DILG Secretary Jesse Robredo from any records, can provide similar examples of such alacrity, I would be very much obliged.

The feat is doubly breathtaking, considering that the work was being done at the height of the Christmas season, when as we all know, there is a marked slowdown in the workplace (including all those holidays) except for those engaged in sales.

And it is triply breathtaking because, at least as far as the barangay documents would show, the idea of an ordinance was not even part of the formal development plans of the BAA as presented in the general assembly by the different committees — it only surfaced after the dinner, during the open forum, as in “An open forum followed after dinner. Some of the questions asked which the BAA Council will have to address are the following: … “the following referring to 10 issues, e.g., parking problems, garbage schedules, a senior citizen’s center a website, a shuttle service.” The “Suggestion to pass an ordinance on the Protection of the Unborn Child” was the last of the 10, brought up just before adjournment.

Read more at Business World

Some rights reserved by robertelyov

Pia: 'TV shows should be mindful of children's rights'

Senator Pia S. Cayetano today weighed in on the controversy created by the March 12 episode of ‘Willing Willie’ on TV5 during which a six-year-old boy, known only as ‘Jan-Jan,’ was made to gyrate like a macho dancer during one of the show’s segments.

 

“It is very disturbing that this incident took place,” said Cayetano, who chairs the Senate Committee on Youth, Women and Family Relations. “The producers of shows should be mindful that the rights of the child are respected all the time, on and off the air.”

 

“In this case, the issuance of a public apology by TV5, the producers of ‘Willing Willie’ and Mr. Revillame himself indicates their recognition of the wrongful act that had been committed.”

 

“I hope this unfortunate incident serves as a lesson to all on the importance of respecting the rights of the child and prevents similar occurrences in the future.”

 

Folly of ‘no-new-tax’ policy

Philippine President Benigno S. Aquino III

What should President Aquino do when his “no-new-tax” policy gets in the way of meeting his administration’s goal of achieving sustained. strong, and inclusive growth? What should he do when this inappropriate tax policy gets in the way of creating the fiscal space needed to prepare the country for future crises and disasters? The sensible response is to reconsider — quickly and decisively.

Most knowledgeable analysts agree that the President’s “no-new-tax” policy is getting in the way of his promised 7 to 8% economic growth. His administration simply does not have the resources to deliver on the needed public infrastructure (despite the promise of public-private partnership initiative), on social spending (K+12 basic education, universal health care, expanded cash transfer program, modern armed forces, and others).

The medium-term fiscal outlook is not promising. After a brief gain this year (largely because of a small budget that was asked by the President and approved by Congress), budget deficits are likely to soar in future years, reaching as high as 5 to 6% from 2012 to 2016.

I have done a first-order approximation of how the national government medium-term budget (from 2011 to 2016) would look like under conservative spending assumptions but with unchanged tax structure.

Read more at Business World

Photo credit: Malacañang Photo Bureau

Revisit labor export policy

Juanang Tokyoite

The Palace on Wednesday vowed to break the “chain of victimization” by drug syndicates, and said the government “must be relentless” in its response as it pointed out that the execution of the three overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) convicted of drug trafficking in China were “vivid lessons” on how the illegal drug trade destroy lives.

“We are resolved to ensure that the chain of victimization, as pushers entrap and destroy the lives in pursuit of their trade, will be broken. Those who traffic in illegal drugs respect no laws, no boundaries and have no scruples about destroying lives,” Presidential Spokesman Edwin Lacierda said.

He said the government’s response “must be relentless, with government and the citizenry working together to ensure vigilance and mutual support to prevent our countrymen from being used by drug pushers as sacrificial pawns, whether at home or abroad.”

Executed through lethal injection on Wednesday morning in China were Sally Ordinario-Villanueva, Elizabeth Batain and Ramon Credo

Read more at Business Mirror

Photo credit: Some rights reserved by scion_cho

It is from, “Juanang Tokyoite,” which is “a monologue about a female domestic helper in Tokyo named Juana. While waiting to be connected online with her friends/family, she discusses about the joys and hardships of being an OFW (Overseas Filipino Worker) in Japan.”

Cost a key barrier to climate change steps

HIGH CAPITAL COSTS are a main barrier for Philippine-based businesses “to take sufficient action on climate change,” even as partial results of a survey among 72 respondents showed that more than half were “very concerned” about this phenomenon’s impact.

Partial results of the 2011 Climate Change and Sustainability Survey — as of March 23 — conducted by London-based professional service firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) were discussed by Dan Hamza-Goodacre, climate change and sustainability advisor of PwC Financial Advisors, Inc., before some 180 participants in the Business Climate Action Summit at the Hotel InterContinental Manila last March 29.

The survey started last March 1 and is scheduled to end today.

Specifically, the results showed that 67% of respondents were “very concerned” with the impact of climate change and 27% were “somewhat concerned,” while 67% believed this phenomenon would affect their organization “to a great extent” and 33% said it would do so “to some extent.”

When asked: “What are the key barriers for your organization to take sufficient action on climate change,” high capital costs got 42% of responses when it comes to mitigation and 36% as regards adaptation, while lack of government policies and fiscal incentives got 16% for mitigation and 27% for adaptation.

The other barriers considered, which garnered much less responses, were low return on investments, return on investments “too remote,” lack of internal buy-in, impact of mitigation costs on competitiveness, lack of knowledge/capacity, lack of demand for related goods/services, insufficient expertise on how to take action, and uncertainty in the future environment.

Read more at Business World

Photo credit: Liam Gumley, Space Science and Engineering Center, University of Wisconsin-Madison, NASA, Public Domain