Sunday, June 28, 2015

“Fundamental and unpredictable changes”

“At a time when four powerful forces are disrupting the global economy, upending most of our assumptions, such pronouncements on the future, shaped by intuitions based on the past, are even more likely to be wrong. Each of these four ‘great disruptions’ is transformational on its own, and all are amplifying the effects of the others, producing fundamental and unpredictable changes on a scale the world has never seen -- and that will prove our intuitions wrong.” [The four powerful forces are: (a) the shift of economic activity to emerging-market cities; (b) the acceleration of technological change; © demographic; (d) the world’s increasing interconnectedness, with goods, capital, people and information flowing ever more easily across borders; Managing the age of disruption, Richard Dobbs, James Manyika, and Jonathan Woetzel, are directors of the McKinsey Global Institute, Project Syndicate, Business World, 18th Jun 2015]

Sadly, we Pinoys are stuck in our own little world? “Hijacked justice; delayed justice; selective justice (the Priority Development Assistance Fund and the Disbursement Acceleration Program) and ignored justice (SAF44 and Malampaya) are inimical to our national interest. Reversing this shattering condition calls for a long-term makeover of the system.” [A shattered justice system, Rafael M. Alunan III, To Take A Stand, Business World, 22nd Jun 2015]

“We need to break free if we are to survive in the long run. Reflating patriotic fervor, regaining our ethical and moral moorings; and restoring meritocracy are prescribed solutions to end the battering. We must instill a culture of doing the right things and doing things the right way to bring our ship of state headed in the right direction at full speed.”

“Remember that Salim acquired PLDT in 1998 for $749 million, while Meralco was captured – as these series will explain – with the Indonesian bringing very little new capital into the country . . . So much for the argument that foreign investments bring in much needed funds to a capital-deficit country. In the case of Salim’s operations, it has resulted in capital outflow – $2.7 billion in 14 years or $200 million yearly, or nearly fourth of the average foreign equity inflow over the same period.” [The Indonesian billionaires behind the ‘MVP Group’: UNMASKING AN EMPIRE, RIGOBERTO D. TIGLAO, The Manila Times, 2nd Jun 2015; First of a series]

“And as this series will also explain, Salim’s companies have always used local borrowings for much of its operations and acquisitions, even managing to borrow billions of pesos from government banks such as the Development of the Philippines and the Land Bank.”

We’re neither here nor there? How can a foreign interest be able to walk in like that, if not walk all over us? Yet we lag the region in FDIs! See above re “the world’s increasing interconnectedness, with goods, capital, people and information flowing ever more easily across borders.” But are we still hedging on the imperatives of FDI? Salim may not define its positives for us but that doesn’t change the reality that Lee Kuan Yew, Mahathir Mohamad and Deng Xiaoping were more prescient that we are! How much more do we expect to sink in the abyss of parochialism?

“The proposal to amend the Constitution—despite enjoying the support of the business community and was among the main legislative agenda of the previous administrations—has been rejected repeatedly by no other than President Aquino. The 1987 Constitution was ratified during the term of his mother, the late President Corazon Aquino.” [Another administration, another failure for economic Cha-cha ‘choreographers,’ Catherine N. Pillas & Jovee Marie N. dela Cruz, Business Mirror, 22nd Jun 2015]

“President Aquino asserts that investments are coming in despite existing restrictions limiting ownership by foreign investors in certain sectors. The President also announced his stance against Charter change (Cha-cha) until 2016, saying Congress is wasting time on it . . . Communications Secretary Herminio B. Coloma Jr. said he has yet to see a signal that the President had relented on his firm belief that there is no need to amend the economic provisions of the 1987 Constitution.

“Besides Mr. Aquino, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) is also opposing the proposal changing the so-called highest law of the land. CBCP President Archbishop Socrates Villegas said the proposed amendments should first undergo in-depth analysis.”

“Also, according to the survey by Pulse Asia, about three of five Filipinos do not want the 1987 Constitution amended at this time, though nearly half of them are open to having it amended sometime in the future.”

If we Pinoys think that we can be an island unto ourselves and at the same time fight poverty and have an inclusive economy, aren’t we in fact turning back the hands of time to a different world, even more primitive than that of our ancestors?

“Trade between China and the Philippines probably started centuries before the advent of the Sung Dynasty. The "A Collection of Data in Chinese Classical Books Regarding the Philippines" was published by the Institute of Southeast Asian History of Zhongsan (Sun Yat Sen) University, Guangzhou (1900). It states: “During the T’ang (Thang) dynasty China (in the 7th to the 9th century AD) the two peoples of China and the Philippines already had relatively close relations and material as well as cultural exchanges.

“During the Sung (960-1127 AD), Arab traders brought Philippine goods to southwestern China through the port of Canton. Chinese posts were established in coastal towns of the Philippines with the import of Chinese goods. The trade culminated when Chao Ju-Kua wrote of the barter trade between the Chinese and the natives of Mayi (Mindoro). The Chinese exchanged silk, porcelain, colored glass, beads and iron ware for hemp cloth, tortoise shells, pearls and yellow wax of the Filipinos.” []

And being anachronistic by definition puts us on the wrong side of the rule of law? “In the month in which we celebrate the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta, it is perhaps timely to reflect upon some of the fundamental legal principles that the UK, the Philippines, the United States and many other countries around the world share.” [Why agreements must be kept, Iain Mansfield, Business World, 23rd Jun 2015; he is the director of trade and investment at the British Embassy]

“One of the most important of these is the avoidance of retroactivity. While any government has the right to pass what laws it chooses to, it should not make these laws apply retrospectively. The government may, if it so wishes, pass a law that imposes a tax on me for wearing a purple hat, or for riding on a jeepney, but it is deeply unfair to make that law apply retrospectively and thence to demand 10 years of back taxes. In the Philippines, this fundamental principle is enshrined in the Constitution, where Article III, Section 22 specifically states: ‘No ex post facto law or bill of attainder shall be enacted.’”

“Related to this principle is the equally important maxim of Pacta Sunt Servanda, or ‘agreements must be kept.’ Quite simply, two parties should be free to enter into a binding contract with one another and that this contract will then be as law between them. Once entered into in good faith, such an agreement must be kept.”

Why are we all over the place – “sabog”? This blog has discussed the imperative of developing a sense of purpose as a nation. Can the Church help us to define who we are? We like to invoke Francis who he is so far out in front in governance, being the number one critic of the Curia. Yet recognizes a higher purpose and a higher being?

But we Pinoys have always confused faith and governance? Because of our hierarchical system and structure? Not surprisingly, we lag in innovation and competitiveness when we must be equipping ourselves to thrive in the 21st century – where “fundamental and unpredictable changes” are the constant? Sadly, without a sense of purpose, we will always have vested interests and the elite class pulling us in different directions – “super sabog”?

No comments:

Post a Comment