The soldier in Martial Law

Amelia H. C. Ylagan

He is the namesake of his late father, who was an officer like him, as he, the son, is now as old as his father was then. When did he become so like his father, those who saw him growing up in Fort Bonifacio ask? Men reared in the Courage, Loyalty and Integrity of the Philippine Military Academy, a generation apart but with the same awareness of their solemn pledge as commissioned officers to serve the country and its people. There are many fathers and sons (and now daughters), and close relations who serve or have served in the military, as a family tradition to be honored by passing the baton in patriotic service.

PH awash with cash

Tony Lopez

… It is not for lack of money that the government cannot institute drastic reforms and alleviate poverty. This government and this country are awash with cash. The economy is awash with cash.

Where is that money?  To start with, the savings rate is 30 percent of the value of output of goods and services or GDP.  GDP is P15 trillion.  So 30 percent of that is P4.5 trillion.   With that, we can finance the entire government’s operations for one year and still have P1 trillion of excess money.

We have $27 billion in annual OFW remittances. That’s P1.35 trillion.  It can finance the entire government infrastructure program in 2019.  The P1.35 trillion is 1.6x the infra budget of P847.2 billion this year. This P1.356 trillion is orphan money because nobody marshals it for productive purposes.  The P1.35 trillion thus is marooned inside elegant malls and in forests of condos where a square meter is overpriced at least five times its real value.

In addition, we earn $25 billion from our call centers and business process outsourcing (BPO).  That’s another P1.25 trillion.

Moreover, right at the central bank, private banks have parked P3 trillion of private deposits— money the banks are too lazy or too afraid to lend (because the BSP is a much better borrower and you talk to only one guy).  If the banks were to lend out the P3 trillion, they would have to employ entire bureaucracies—processing loan applications, interviewing loan applicants, visiting or assessing properties used as collateral, and holding so many meetings to approve the loans.

… Additionally, the Philippines has $81.8 billion in foreign reserves—money that can pay for importations for a year.  That’s another P4-trillion money.

So why do your bureaucrats keep courting credit rating agencies to get an investment grade credit rating?  We don’t need to borrow abroad.  We don’t even need foreign investments.

We have so much money locally.  So why does Duterte go around the world panhandling?  The Philippines is capital-surplus.  In fact, the country has been exporting capital, rather than importing, in the past 10 consecutive years.

Duterte has appointed a new central bank governor, Nestor Espenilla, 58.  He is an economist and a 36-year veteran at BSP. Our central bank is supposed to be among the world’s best. Outgoing BSP Governor Amando Tetangco Jr. has been cited world’s best no less than eight times.

So again I ask this:

If the Philippines is awash with so much money and our central bank is that good and (it is among the oldest central banks in Asia), how can you explain the fact that in Asean, with the possible exception of Indonesia, the Philippines has the highest inflation rate, the highest interest rates, the highest unemployment, the highest poverty incidence, and the lowest foreign investment inflow and the lowest ranking in Asean in Human Development Index or a measure of people’s well-being.

How come out of 1,500 towns, 600 towns  do not have a bank branch?  How come more than 60 million Filipinos do not have a bank account?

Amid so much liquidity (the techspeak for so much cash), how come 25 million Filipinos wallow in abject poverty?

Posted in banks, money, poverty

A study in schizophrenia

Manuel L. Quezon III

When Gina Lopez burst on the scene like some sort of environmental berserker, quite a few people applauded her passion and New Age enthusiasm. Keen watchers of the insider game in government viewed it as an interesting example of good cop, bad cop. A zealot can always be neutralized by the bureaucracy, as she quickly found out when the Executive Secretary, in typical bureaucratic style, blandly put the implementation of some of her decisions on hold.

Read on…

reappoint gina!

DITCHAY ROXAS:  I just heard that Gina Lopez was not confirmed this morning. That very slight glimmer of light at the end of this fucking dark tunnel has just been diminished even further. Yes she is not perfect. Yes she is an oligarch and bourgeois as hell. Yes she isn’t technical nor legalistic. Yes she is an imperfect human being like all the rest of us but goddamn it she carries a torch for the country and our people, a torch of hope and light that glows from a distance and brightens the horizon. We live in a world that is crumbling, an environment that is dying, and one of the very few in government who has the guts, the heart and the vision to do something about it gets tossed out like rotten fruit by maggots eating at the flesh of our gangrenous society. May they wallow in their stinking rottenness!!!

c’mon, mr. president!  you promised.  a war on drugs.  and. on. mining.   pinaasa mo kami, sir!

High stakes confirmation hearing

Carol Pagaduan-Araullo

On Wednesday, three progressive Cabinet members — Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Gina Lopez, Social Welfare Secretary Judy Taguiwalo, and Agrarian Reform Secretary Rafael Mariano — will be up for confirmation by the powerful Commission on Appointments (CA).

They have been twice bypassed by the CA and subsequently twice reappointed in the interim by President Rodrigo Duterte. But because the current CA has approved a rule that a Cabinet member may only be bypassed three times after which the CA will have to reject or confirm the concerned official, it appears that Wednesday will be the final showdown.

Read on…

Elitism in the time of Duterte

Katrina S.S.

The upside to having a President like Rodrigo Duterte is that we are finally weeding out the elitists among us. And I don’t mean those who think that Duterte is so bastos, is so not a statesman, is so not President-material because not disente. No, this is beyond just some good ol’ Liberal Party campaign elitism. This is its more evil, less apologetic, more insidious twin. Elitists who even imagine themselves to be pro-poor, because they feel for them and wish to empower them, because they speak of the plight of the poor and the inequality in society.

Read on…

Posted in filipino elite

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