Thursday, June 9, 2016

“We can dream, can’t we?”

That’s a quote. Thanks to Boo Chanco. “The problem I see with Dr. Owata’s Dream Plan is that it depends on a competent bureaucracy and a national leadership with a will to see the dream realized. I also see opposition from the usual vested interests, like those who now have a hold on the Manila port, for example.

“What JICA produced is a roadmap which our government can implement. But as local transport expert Rene Santiago puts it, the Dream plan is not feasible; for example, 300 kilometers of rail lines are needed in 15 years and DOTC is not likely to build even one kilometer of new rail line before 2016. Hopeless! Oh well, we can dream, can’t we?” [JICA expert tired of studies, Boo Chanco, The Philippine Star, 15th Nov 2013]

Boo Chanco came to mind after the writer read: (a) “Study finds strong global potential in five PH industries,” Bernie Magkilat, Manila Bulletin, 3rd Jun 2016; (b) “Gov’t and the Filipino people,” Elfren S. Cruz, BREAKTHROUGH, The Philippine Star, 5th Jun 2016.

Consider: “The NEDA believes that the Philippines can eradicate poverty by 2040 or sooner and that the nation will be a high income country, with a per capita income of $11,000 (present value) by 2040. While this is good news, I believe that the national goal should be to attain the Filipino Vision for Self, Family and Country within the next decade and not wait until 2040.” [Cruz, op. cit.]

Consider too: “The Philippines can compete on its knowledge and expertise in these sectors as there have been new markets for e-vehicle and self-driving vehicle manufacturing, which requires an increasing amount of components in electronics and electricals.

“These two sectors, which employ 345,000 people, is driven by foreign direct investments.

“In the GVC for the automotive sector, the Philippines is the fourth largest exporter of wiring harness. The Philippines exported a total of $4 billion of the $1.4 trillion global exports in 2014.  Exports have been increasing 33 percent over the past decade.

“In fact, Bamber said, the Philippines is only behind China and Mexico in the automotive wiring harness industry. China and India are about to shift also to e-vehicles production.” [Magkilat, op. cit.]

But then again, “Aquino a failure if gauged vs JFC’s Arangkada targets,” Catherine Pillas, Business Mirror, 9th Feb 2016. “IF the Arangkada Philippines blue-print of the Joint Foreign Chambers (JFC)—which set medium-term targets for investments and job generation when it was launched back in 2010—is to be made as basis, the Aquino administration was a resounding failure.

“Consider these: Arangkada’s foreign direct investment (FDI) target was an average of $7.5 billion a year from 2011 to 2015, while President Aquino was only able to deliver an average FDI haul of $3.9 billion.

“John D. Forbes, senior adviser of the American Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (AmCham), knows the reason behind the failure.

‘We targeted an average of $7.5 billion a year for a decade [to 2020] and have a total of about $20 billion for 2011-2015. But everything the JFC recommended to reach the target was not done,’ Forbes said in a text message.

“The Arangkada recommendations—had they been implemented—would have set the enabling environment for the robust growth of the JFC’s so-called seven big winners, sectors that the Philippines have strong potentials.”

Not surprisingly, “The incoming Duterte administration will face a daunting challenge to improve the country’s global competitiveness following the Department of Trade and Industry’s (DTI) pronouncement on Tuesday that the Philippines is seen failing to hit its 2016 target in the global rankings.

“Trade Secretary Adrian S. Cristobal Jr. told reporters that increasing the country’s Ease of Doing Business (EODB) ranking to at least 63rd in 2016 will be challenging. The Philippines is currently ranked at 103rd out of 189 economies in the EODB report. The EODB rankings are produced and released by the International Finance Corp. (IFC), the World Bank’s private sector arm.” [PHL seen failing to hit goal in global rankings, Cai Ordinario, Business Mirror, 7th Jun 2016]

But of course we know the answer and what to do. “Purisima: Asia needs to remodel global economic system,” Patricia Lourdes Viray,, 7th Jun 2016. “Asian leaders and governments need to remodel the global economic system to transform itself into an engine of genuine growth, Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima said.

“In his keynote speech at the 22nd International Conference on the Future of Asia in Tokyo, Japan last May 30, Purisima cited that Asia has a prime opportunity to reforms and transform its economy which lead to inclusive and sustainable growth. ‘This is just the beginning. For Asia to transform itself into an engine of genuine growth, leaders and governments need to embark on a brave new project of reform for a brave new world: remodeling the global economic system to be fairer, more humane, and more sustainable,’ Purisima said.”

And how do we translate words into action? “Dominguez slams construction of new DOF, NEDA buildings,” Chino Leyco, Manila Bulletin, 6th Jun 2016. Under incumbent administration, the DOF earmarked P4.5 billion for the 20-story office building inside the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas complex in Manila. The design contract has already been awarded to the architectural firm of Felino Palafox Jr.

“The DOF targets to complete the project in two years, which also has a multi-year obligational authority (MYOA) from the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) to ensure availability of funds on succeeding budgets of the government.

“Dominguez has also expressed reservations on the construction of another new building for NEDA, which has already been allotted P20 million to cover its design and engineering study.

“A MYOA has also been already issued for the new central office of NEDA. The budget department said the P2.68-billion building will be constructed from 2017 to 2020.

“‘The proposed project [involves] construction of a modern 15-story office building that will house some 999 employees of the NEDA central office as well as attached agencies,’ DBM said in a statement.”

Then it was Aquino now it’s Duterte. What is he about? “Duterte 'boycotts' media, says no interviews until his term ends,”, 6th Jun 2016.

“Asked until when he would stage his ‘boycott,’ Duterte replied: ‘Until the end of my term.’ Pressed why he is adopting such a stance, the once media savvy Duterte answered: ‘Ah basta wala.  ayoko na (I don’t want to be interviewed anymore).’

“‘If there are interviews, there will be many mistakes, there will be many criticisms. So no interview, no criticism, no wrong statements, no nothing,’ the incoming president said. ‘(I’ll) shut up. Ayoko na talaga (I really don’t want it anymore).’”

It must be the wind. Consider: “Yes, A Trump Presidency Would Bring Fascism To America,” Robert Kagan, Forbes, 31st May 2016. “My guide on the subject has been Robert O. Paxton. In his book, The Anatomy of Fascism (2004), Paxton writes, ‘Fascist leaders made no secret of having no program. Mussolini exulted in the absence…. Mussolini liked to declare that he himself was the definition of Fascism. The will and leadership of a Duce was what a modern people needed, not a doctrine…. It was the unquestioning zeal of the faithful that counted, more than his or her reasoned consent.’ Paxton cites Hannah Arendt’s observation, in her book The Origins of Totalitarianism, that Mussolini ‘was probably the first party leader who consciously rejected a formal program and replaced it with inspired leadership and action alone.’

“Contemporary observers of Mussolini saw the same incoherence. The Dartmouth scholar, William Kilbourne Stewart, wrote in 1928 (in the American Political Science Review) of the twists and turns of Italian fascism:

“What was proletarian is now bourgeois. What began as radical has ended as conservative. Sedition has changed into loyalty. Left has turned right. The only constant quantity, the sole continuum, in this bewildering reversal has been Mussolini himself. It is not unnatural that Mussolini has been accused by his adversaries of being the arch-turncoat of history, outdoing all other famous renegades in the vast and devastating effect of his treachery to the cause of popular liberty. And, in plain fact, there is no denying that Mussolini was at one time a socialist, a republican, an atheist, a subverter of the government, and that he is now the opposite of all these things. He who was once against all constituted authority has become Authority incarnate.”

Can we even dream?

“Why independence, if the slaves of today will be the tyrants of tomorrow? And that they will be such is not to be doubted, for he who submits to tyranny loves it.” [We are ruled by Rizal’s ‘tyrants of tomorrow,’ Editorial, The Manila Times, 29th Dec 2015]

“As a major component for the education and reorientation of our people, mainstream media – their reporters, writers, photographers, columnists and editors – have an obligation to this country . . .” [Era of documented irrelevance: Mainstream media, critics and protesters, Homobono A. Adaza, The Manila Times, 25th Nov 2015]

“Development [is informed by a people’s] worldview, cognitive capacity, values, moral development, self-identity, spirituality, and leadership . . .” [Frederic Laloux, Reinventing organizations, Nelson Parker, 2014]

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