Moody’s, the poor, and Tubbataha

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Malaya

By: DUCKY PAREDES

26 April 2013

 

‘(O)ne can only hope that the electorate has learned that the PNoy way is the way to go and thus, the voter would prefer another in the same mold in 2016.’

EVEN as Moody’s Investors Service sees the Philippines as a “rising star” in a gloomy world economy that could grow by as much as 8 percent by 2016, there are those who will find whatever good that does as not benefitting the poorest of the poor.

Well, isn’t it somewhere in the Bible that God himself (as man) is quoted as saying that the poor will always be with us?

Philippine economic growth could register between 6.5 percent and 7 percent this year and the next, hitting government targets for both years, according to Moody’s Analytics senior economist Glenn Levine.

“The Philippines has been among the brightest parts of a generally gloomy global picture,” Levine says.

“Some low-hanging fruit has already been picked, but if development and reform continue near their current pace, the Philippines’ potential rate of growth will rise towards 8 percent by 2016,” he explains.

Add to that a low inflation environment. This allows the government – the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) — to borrow at lower interest rates.

The Aquino administration’s “greatest achievement,” however, has been containing the budget deficit which gave us our first-ever investment grade rating from Fitch Ratings.

“The Philippines’ recent performance against a weak global backdrop shows that good governance is far and away the most important driver of growth in emerging markets,” Levine says.

“The crackdown on corruption and (the) encouragement of local and foreign investment, in particular, have worked well.”

Now, one can only hope that the electorate has learned that the PNoy way is the way to go and thus, the voter would prefer another in the same mold as our no-nonsense, daang matuwid leader come 2016. Sometimes, one has doubts that idea of a non-nonsense leader has already set in.

***

Five in 10 Filipino families still consider themselves “mahirap” or poor, according to a recent survey by the Social Weather Stations (SWS). In this survey, the people are asked to rate themselves whether or not they are “mahirap.”

One would expect Pinoys to mostly regard themselves as poor. I have heard billionaires regard themselves publicly as such, without batting an eyelash.

Yet, the survey also showed that self-rated poverty declined from 54 percent (10.9 million families) in December to 52 percent (10.6 million families) in March.

Then, they are also asked whether they are food-poor.

The number of families rating themselves food-poor dropped by five points in March from 44 percent (8.9 million households) to 39 percent (7.9 million families).

This was specially true in Mindanao, where self-rated poverty dropped by 19 points to 53 percent and self-rated food poverty fell by 20 points to 43 percent.

Poverty rose by seven points to 50 percent in balance Luzon, while food poverty rose by two points to 36 percent.

Poverty also rose by three points to 65 percent in the Visayas, while food poverty fell by eight points to 46 percent.

According to a government agency, there has been no improvement in our national poverty levels since 2006. Ok, but at least, going by the SWS findings, the people themselves feel less poor and believe they are eating better.

***

The North Luzon Urban Beltway seems the next investment destination of the country due to its infrastructure developments, pushing manufacturing to Clark Freeport Zone (CFZ) and Subic Bay Freeport Zone (SBPZ) and business process outsourcing in Metro Clark.

This is according to the CBRE Central Luzon Urban report.

The property consultancy firm sees renewed demand for manufacturing, BPO and residential sites in Central Luzon as the economy of the region continues to grow.

The continuous infrastructure developments between Clark and Subic has opened up new areas of investment for the manufacturing industry as these foreign firms realize the country’s high investment potential.

This is good for Tarlac. whose electorate seems bent on re-electing Governor Vic Yap. He is way ahead in the surveys taking for himself as much as 80 percent of the vote. This is actually a good thing for Tarlac since Governor Vic has big plans for his province based on his own observation of investor interest in Central Luzon.

Governor Vic Yap will be selling Tarlac not only to investors but also to tourists in his last term as governor.

***

Apparently, despite all of the furor that has been raised over the compensation (not enough, not cash, etc.) that the US Navy is willing (or unwilling) to pay for its USS Guardian’s plowing into Tubbataha Reef, destroying a potion of the World Heritage Site, Lt. Anthony Falvo, spokesperson of the US Pacific Fleet in Hawaii, says that Manila and Washington haven’t yet reached a final agreement on the extent of the damages on the reef.

The amount of compensation will be determined only after the final agreement has been sealed.

“Once an agreement is reached, an appropriate award will generally be limited to reasonable compensation for the damage or loss only and does not extend to payment of punitive damages, interest, costs, attorneys’ fees, or any other such charges, regardless of whether they are allowed by local laws, standards, or customs.”

So, where did that story come from that the US was not willing to pay in cash but would give us a second-hand warship? The two party-listers whence this story came, objected to the non-existent warship, perhaps not realizing that one such warship such as the USS Guardian is worth much, much more than what we could possibly receive in damages.

Others wanted to see the crew of the Guardian in our jail.

We advise every one to back off.

A joint US-Philippines reef damage survey has been conducted. The results of the survey will determine the amount of damages done to the reef.

The survey team was made up of marine biologists who used “multiple techniques and methods to fully map the affected reef area.”

Before proper compensation is provided, the Philippine government must first file a damage claim under the Foreign Claims Act (FCA).

Let’s leave it at that and wait for things to happen. The American-haters amongst us want to blow up the Tubbataha incident into a virtual Act of War. Let’s not play that game!

Energizer Philippines

Dear Rick,

I’d like to thank you and your team – Joey Radovan and Morgan Mcgilvray in particular, for the assistance given to us during our recent Office Relocation process.
They were very well organized and helpful:

- Our site visits were conducted in a very timely manner and my management committee received clear and useful guidance on various aspects related to site selection –from what to look for in terms of building services, location, etc., as well as guidance on the discussion etiquette they should observe in order to safeguard the confidentiality of issues that could be valuable at the time of final selection and negotiation of the site.

- Both assisted us in the selection of the Office Design and Construction supplier; they were present in all the presentations and gave us objective feedback and opinions that helped my team feel more educated and confident about the decisions they were making.

- We also received guidance with various topics that arouse secondary to our office relocation, such as off-site document storage options just to name one example.

- They continued their liaison and support with the landlord and constructors throughout the process of negotiating and signing the lease, as well as during a very tight construction and relocation schedule during which a lot little (important) issues arise that must be solved swiftly in order to keep the deadlines.

The above is by no means a comprehensive list, and I’d like to extend our thanks to your team who supported Joey and Morgan in giving us such excellent service.

We are now pretty much settled in without any business interruption and with our colleagues quite happy about our new office and location; do come to visit us when you get a chance!

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