Category: manny villar

homestretch blues

dismaying but interesting.   our minds and communications are on mercury-retrograde mode for the next three, four weeks, right smack in the last three weeks of the presidential campaign, which means that instead of moving on to other important issues we’ll be going back over old ground, which means more of hacienda luisita, alleged psychological incapacity, lack of experience, etc. with regard to noynoy, and more of c-5-at-taga, landgrabbing charges, and the poverty spin with regard to villar.   we will see how low either camp would stoop to discredit the other all the way to election day.  mas madaling magsiraan (hindi mauubusan) kaysa magmagaling (mauubusan).

are we going to see survey kulelats gordon, bro.eddie, jc, perlas, jamby giving up the fight to endorse either noynoy or villar, erap or gibo?   i seriously doubt it just because, if memory serves, it hasn’t happened in recent multiparty history.   to the very end they all think they have a chance, surveys are questionable, anything can happen, never say die, not even when llamadong llamado ang mga kalaban.   a pinoy macho thing, i suspect ;)) but hey i’d love to be disproven on this, just because it could tip the balance one way or another, make for a most definite win for the lucky one.   and then, again, maybe not.

what we ARE likely to see, i’m afraid, even now, are all kinds of glitches with machines, esp. those that have to do with communications and transportation, anything that moves people and ideas around, including the machines for automated counting of votes and conveying of results.   sana hindi.   sana suwertehin tayo, for a change.   but the odds are against us, so dapat ay paghandaan by having plans B and C, just in case.

meanwhile i still don’t have a president.   and i haven’t stopped wishing, how retrograde of me, that it were mar running for president and noynoy for vp.   i disagree with the notion that if noynoy had run for prez later rather than sooner, he could not have counted on the same phenomenal love and energy a la edsa generated by (ninoy’s) cory’s death that birthed the clamor for the unico hijo’s candidacy last august.

i don’t see why not.   i think that noynoy as vp (mar would have won easily, with noynoy behind him) could have used the next six years to clean up his act, do the morally, and politically, correct thing with regard to hacienda luisita, AFTER reading of course ninoy’s testament from a prison cell and other writings that might enlighten him a little about the Left.   if there were no poverty and oppression, there would be no Left;  snubbing and demonizing the Left (instead of finding a way for Left and Right to work together for the good of the whole) would not have been ninoy’s way, is no way to honor ninoy’s legacy, in fact it dishonors ninoy’s legacy.   anyway, if he used the six years wisely andcreatively, maybe also studied the education problem thoroughly — an additional two years of schooling is not the answer —  i have no doubt that the cory-ninoy effect would have kicked in as powerfully, and there would not be so many undecideds in 2016.

for now hindi ko pa mapatawad si noynoy for the hacienda luisita killings and for being so anti-Left, or is it anti-poor.   i guess i’m still hoping to hear him say something reassuring, to the effect that he will prevail upon the cojuangco-aquino clan to follow the law and give up luisita to the farmers, and that he would snub the likes of palparan and get the military to produce jonas burgos atbpang missing activists.

lacking either or both, well, there’s villar, pero kahit kayanin ko siyang patawarin for c-5 at taga and, even, the obscene spending, ay di ko yata kayang patawarin his obdurate stand against reproductive health.   si erap, he got his turn already, and he botched it.   gibo looks good but he reeks of status quo politics.   amboy gordon i considered, but only briefly.   bro.eddie is too fundamentally religious, perlas too green, jc too sophomoric.   jamby at least has not only the best-looking FG (french gentleman), she has the best platform of the lot.   so hmm, if not noynoy, it could be jamby for me, a protest vote, on principle.

cowards all

it’s not only manny villar, who has been called a coward for refusing to answer questions re the c-5 extensions that allegedly benefitted his real estate empire in the millions, billions.   i don’t even think that snubbing the senate is as much a matter of cowardice as of some kinda guilt, or why won’t he take questions in the proper forum?   “is manny villar blameless? is the pope protestant?”

by cowards all i mean all five leading presidential candidates noynoy villar erap gibo and gordon, for not having the audacity, the daring, to think big and brave and to talk the radical changes that are implied in the promise of good governance.

this is not just a failure of the candidates though but a failure too of the electorate for not demanding more of these guys, which in turn is a failure of the media for inadequately informing and inspiring themselves, and the people, to ask demand clamor shout-out for changes beyond an end to corruption.   particularly changes in a system that was designed, in the first place, to benefit the few elite and NOT the manymanymanymanymany poor, as we should all see by now if only we hadn’t become too lazy to read and think and be critical, and  if only we would stop trusting in these candidates’ motherhood statements na kunyari they have the best interests of the poor at heart, because they don’t; rather they’re quite willing to play along with the same forces, inside and outside, that gloria arroyo (not to speak of past administrations, including erap, all the way back to the commonwealth) has been playing along with, to the detriment and degradation of our land and our economy, our people and our sovereignty.

they are cowards all, these leaders who don’t have the courage to stand up to the catholic church on the RH bill and sex education, never mind that 7 out of 10 filipinos want need deserve it.   cowards all who won’t stand up to the U.S. of A. on the chauvinist imperialist VFA and the IMF-WB-imposed “development plans” that over the decades have rendered the country nowhere near “developed”, rather turned us into the basket case of the ASEAN, basket-case meaning no legs of our own to stand on, no arms to work and feed ourselves with, how humiliating, how depressing.

they are cowards all.   afraid, not of going to hell if they defy the church’s stand on RH and sex education, just afraid of losing votes that the church allegedly commands.   cowards all.   afraid of espousing any kind of deep-seated change not because it’s undoable but out of fear and disinclination to defy and displease uncle sam, paano na ang campaign contributions, aray, paano na ang “special” fil-am relations, lol, how colonial the mentality pa rin.

it bears repeating what the journalist tony abaya of manilastandardtoday wrote back in august 2009 in response to rumors that noynoy might run: that what the country needs is a forward-looking president, a truly revolutionary president, someone with the attributes and visions of lee kwan yew, mahathir mohamad and gen. park chung hee:

… it is someone who has the qualities of these three foreign leaders that the Philippines badly needs in order to overcome decades of consistently poor governance, restore our badly battered self esteem, and draw for us a credible vision of what we want our country to be.

We need someone like Lee Kwan Yew who was/is personally incorruptible and at the same time was/is so conversant with economics and international relations that he could speak ex-tempore and defend his policies before an assembly of multinational CEOs and diplomats and made/make solid sense, whether they agreed/agree with him or not.

In addition we need the strong sense of nationalism of Mahathir Mohamad who in the 1980s drew a vision – Malaysia Vision 2020, that sought and seeks to transform Malaysia into a fully industrialized country by the year 2020 – that he was able to convince the multi-ethnic, multi-cultural, and multi-religious people of Malaysia to embrace as worthy of their national loyalty, beyond the narrow appeals of their tribes and ethnic groups. No mean feat, considering the catastrophic demise of equally multi-ethnic, multi-cultural, multi-religious federal Yugoslavia in the 1990s that cost hundreds of thousands of lives.

Mahathir’s nationalism also expressed itself in his readiness to fearlessly fire back at other countries, other world leaders, as well as international agencies whenever he felt they were trampling on the national self-interests of Malaysia.

We also need the single-minded determination of Gen. Park Chung Hee to transform his impoverished, resource-poor and inconsequential Republic of Korea from 1961 to 1979 (when he was assassinated) into a fully industrialized country that is now one of the ten biggest economies in the world.

… this is what the Philippines needs, a leader who can start and lead a revolution, a peaceful one, as much as possible; a violent one, if necessary.

anything less is just not good enough.  hindi na lang ako boboto.

oh and what’s this BS about villar NOT belonging to the elite just because he started out poor, unlike noynoy and gibo?   c’mon, rene azurin, you can do better than that.   by any reckoning, villar and the tsinoy taipans who all started out poor are very much a part of today’s elite, the irresponsible filipino elite, that wittingly or unwittingly collaborates with foreign powers, keeping the masses poor and marginalized.

mar roxas, way to go!

why was i surprised when mar called a press conference to make his important announcement?   certainly not because i wasn’t expecting him to give way if noynoy decided to run.   i guess what i wasn’t expecting was that mar would make the first move, now na!   and that noynoy would quickly follow, bukas na!   aba, biglang nagmamadali, bakit kaya.

not that it’s a bad idea, kung tatakbo din lang.   i won’t bore you with the heavenly signs (as above, so below), but any astrologer would tell you that it is infinitely better to start anything new this week rather than in the next three weeks.   so mar’s timing, wittingly or un-, is perfect, actually, and the decisiveness, as president of the liberalparty, is quite impressive.   kapanipaniwala na inuuna niya ang partido, sige na nga, ang bayan, kaysa sarili.   not bad atall.   he’s suddenly smelling real good.

i still think noynoy would do better if he finished his senate term first and then prepared to run in 2016 but yeah who knows, rising to the challenge now while the clamor is high could be right too, politically and historically.   at least it makes the campaign for 2010 interesting, even exciting.   no doubt we will be reminded of cory’s people-powered campaign in 1986 — no money, no media.    no doubt noynoy’s people will do even better, given access to media and the example of obama’s 2008 campaign.

but first let’s hope that other opposition presidentiables take the cue from mar and drop out too in favor of noynoy.   actually the only one i can’t see giving up, giving way, is manny villar of the nacionalista party.   so maybe at best it’s going to be a three-way race.   noynoy vs. villar vs. gma’s candidate.   puwede na rin.

unless of course villar and gma start running scared and decide to join forces.   that would be fun, and awesome.

economic experts urge: fix rate @ 55php to 1$

now that we know for sure, thanks to the world bank and senator miriam defensor santiago, that corruption is alive and doing very well under gloria macapagal arroyo, lalong nakakatakot at nakakailang all the talk about stimulus funds, a whopping php330 billion, to be spent on infrastructure in aid of generating jobs, raising consumption, and weathering the global recession.  u.p. economics professor, once budget secretary, benjamin diokno is right:

“Big projects take time to implement and a big chunk of the funds are usually lost to corruption,” he told reporters at the sidelines of the Export Development Council forum on Thursday at the Hotel Sofitel.

What the country needs during these difficult times, he said, are easily implementable and quickly felt initiatives.

more than ever, professor diokno’s recommendation that the exchange rate be fixed at 55php to 1$ seems infinitely more sound, if the idea is truly to pump-prime the economy before things get worse.  writes filomeno s. sta. ana of action for economic reforms:

Benjamin Diokno’s proposal to peg the exchange rate at PhP 55 to a US dollar is gaining a broader constituency.The exchange-rate debate is no longer an esoteric one, confined to finance executives, exporters, and academic economists.

Those engaged in the manufacture of import substitutes now recognize that a competitive exchange rate can be a better alternative to tariffs to protect domestic industry and jobs. The tourism industry also sees the importance of the exchange rate, aside from its freedom-to-fly advocacy, for the country to draw in bigger numbers of inbound tourists.The BPO (business processing and outsourcing) industry has seen how a rapidly appreciating peso (in 2007) can sharply cut profit margins. Note that some of the Philippine corporate giants—the Henry Sy family and the Ayalas, for example—have stakes in the tourism or BPO industry.

The largest constituency that has added its voice for a competitive exchange rate is made up of the overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).They are highly organized and politically articulate.… Specifically, undervaluing the peso by fixing the exchange rate at PhP 55.00 to US$ 1.00 from the current PhP 47.00 to US$ 1.00 is a pump-priming tool to boost consumption.Thus, for every US dollar that an overseas Pinoy sends home to her family, the latter obtains an additional PhP8.00.In a manner, that’s a windfall gain of 17 percent based on the present exchange rate.In the aggregate, assuming that the US$15 billion in OFW remittances in 2008 will hold, we can expect an additional PhP 120 billion in the pockets of OFW families in 2009.

meanwhile, instead of spending the 330 billion bucks on the usual infrastructure projects in urban areas most of that stimulus fund could be spent on farm-to-market roads and irrigation systems that would pump-prime the agricultural sector so we can produce our own rice, among other crops, instead of relying on imports.

but of course we’re going to hear objections from the globalists, not least of them the gma camp.  says men sta. ana:

A criticism that the Diokno proposal cannot evade is that a currency undervaluation is improper at a time of a global economic crisis.The deep recession that has hit the advanced economies requires global collective action.Beggar-thy-neighbor practices such as devaluing the currency will undermine the recovery of hard-hit countries that suffer from current account deficits and overvalued currencies.

but really it’s about time we started thinking of ourselves first, what’s best for us, which is what other nations are doing, worrying about themselves first.  sabi nga ni senador manny villar:

“We have to think on our own and come out with an economic model that is suited to the Philippines,” he said.

“It is no longer automatic that what is good for others is good for us. We have the intellectual capacity to decide on the model that we should follow and not depend on other countries,” Villar said.

He said the country has a large pool of economists, both in the government and the private sector, who could be tapped to formulate an economic model for the Philippines.

Villar explained the economic models used by western governments and international organizations have turned out to be ineffective in preventing the housing credit problem in the United States from developing into a global crisis.

“The global financial crisis has crunched or destroyed some conventional economic thinking, particularly the Washington consensus. When we finally get out of this crisis we will find that things will never be the same again,” the senator said.

“First, we have been led to believe that big is good, so we encourage consolidations, mergers, combinations, like in the banking system,” he said. “However, the collapse or near-collapse of the world’s biggest banks – UBS, Citigroup, Bank of America and, of course, Lehman – has shattered this once-held gospel truth,” he pointed out. “Big is not necessarily good because being too big also means being unwieldy,” Villar added.

He also said the crisis has shattered belief that less government intervention is better.

“In reality, we know now that the damage wrought on the global economy would have been far greater if governments did not intervene,” he noted.

a new economic model, one appropriate to our strengths and cognizant of our weaknesses, is exactly what we need to turn things around, and not a copy-cat model based on whatever obama manages to work out with europe, russia, and china.

finally, wise words from a presidentiable.  of course he has yet to comment on diokno’s proposal of a 55-to-1 exchange rate.  if he says yes, he  just might get my vote.