Saturday, April 13, 2013

We have our hands full

[A] ‘shadow report’ by Social Watch Philippines called ‘The Other MDG [Millennium Development Goals] Report: Winning the Numbers, Losing the War’ warned that the problem is “much more serious than what the government is prepared to admit . . . [W]hile the government had the conditional cash transfer program to ensure that families continue sending their children to school, the manner of choosing beneficiaries does not seem clear to them. Many of the truly poor are still not reached.” [Left behind, Adelle Chua, Manila Standard Today, 15th Mar 2013]

DOTC Secretary Jun Abaya . . . suggested that the private sector is also to blame for the delays in [major infrastructure] projects . . . I got the impression that Sec. Jun is overwhelmed by the enormity of his tasks and helpless in the face of the inertia of the bureaucracy. For example, I asked him why LTFRB is unable to enforce its franchise rules and cut the number of buses on EDSA by at least half when it is so obvious there are more than needed . . . I think Sec. Jun is overwhelmed by the demands of his DOTC assignment plus his other duties as a top official of the Liberal Party. He also seems pretty much a captive of the DOTC bureaucracy.” [DOTC: Private sector also to blame, Boo Chanco, The Philippine Star, 15th Mar 2013]

To understand why . . . all you really need to do is drive around Metro Manila and you will find proof enough that Filipinos regardless of what tribe, religion, province or economic status they come from, have such a sense of entitlement . . . Some call it arrogance, some call it bad attitude, but it could also pass as being “Filipino”. I’m sure this will piss off some of you, but my intention is just that: to piss off enough people into facing the issue and at least admit to ourselves that we all share this “negative cultural gene.” [Ours is not ‘a beautiful mind’, Cito Beltran, The Philippine Star, 15th Mar 2013]

In the meantime, the world is reading: “Singapore most innovative city in Asia Pacific: study.” [Yahoo News, 11th Mar 2013] “Today, Singapore is bold, fast and successful -- and Singapore Inc will follow the same path. Singapore has no other choice; it must adapt and lead change if it is to remain relevant in the 21st century,” said Damien Duhamel, Solidiance managing partner for Asia Pacific . . . The report suggested that a favorable innovation habitat is best exemplified by the following: (1) Rich availability of educated and skillful human talent, enabled by diversity and life amenity; (2) Knowledge creation produced by the tertiary education institutes, firms, and government; (3) Proper level of city liveability and the tolerance that its society possesses towards deviant norms and failure, along with their ability to sustain culture and value; (4) Technology advancement and innovation ecosystem facilitated by the government; (5) Favorable regulatory framework set by the government to sustain the city system; (6) Global integration and the city’s orientation towards the future, indicated by a high level of the city’s connectivity and environmental sustainability.”

The Republic beat 15 other cities in the region, including second-ranked Sydney and third-ranked Melbourne . . . The study was done to prove if a city has developed an efficient innovation environment. Six main categories -- human talent, knowledge creation, technology, society, government and global integration -- were used to measure the level of innovation per city.”

Consider the above yardsticks and it wouldn’t be surprising that we are underdeveloped – and suffer from widespread poverty? We’re still about rewarding and celebrating hierarchy, oligopoly, and political dynasties – thus our lopsided economy – and clearly out-of-sync with the 21st century? And so neighbors couldn’t help but give us a scolding: “Minister Akio Isomata of the Japanese Embassy’s economic section said the Philippines “cannot afford to be complacent” amid the optimism generated by its standout growth rate of 6.6 percent in 2012 . . . Yes, it’s lagging behind. You cannot afford to be complacent in your current place. Of course, the economy is very strong now. The achievement, performance is admirable in the last two years I think. No doubt about that” . . . He cited a congested logistics infrastructure, including roads and ports, expensive and unstable power supply and the delayed release of tax refunds as major concerns among Japanese investors.” [Tarra Quismundo, Philippine Daily Inquirer, 15th Mar 2013]

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