Monday, December 07, 2009

Dauphin's Doltish Discussion

In addition to defending his mother's actions, he also wants to flaunt his analysis:

Mikey said the criticisms that came Ms Arroyo’s way after declaring martial law in Maguindanao were typical of her opponents’ obsession to dwell on the negative aspect of every issue facing the administration.

He cited the case of the recent Pulse Asia survey, which claimed that eight out of 10 Filipinos would not vote for the administration-backed candidate.

``Why did they not present it as 20 percent of the Filipinos are still willing to vote for the administration-backed candidate? Apparently, they don’t want to present it that way because it would show that the administration-backed candidate is only two percent shy of Noynoy Aquino’s rating of 22 percent as per Ibon survey results,’’ said Arroyo. `` These people just want to vilify this administration in the furtherance of their political ambition.’’

Ok, why compare the Pulse Asia results versus the Ibon results? Classic apples and oranges... I guess the good thing of his mother running for Congress is him not running anymore, sheesh...

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Liberal Line Limit

The Liberal Party of Noynoy Aquino put itself into a corner when they took in Ralph Recto (for Vilma Santos probably), with the ensuing backlash from Serge Osmena. Before this, Cesar Montano was fielded as Bohol's gubernatorial candidate. Now, Richard Gomez has been fielded and Noynoy is talking to Chiz Escudero to become his campaign manager.

I'd like to think I have a healthy dose of pragmatism when observing political horsedeals like these, but Noynoy is running on the wings of change. Although mlq3 has written about redemption for those Lakas-Kampi people as an option, I have yet to see Cesar Montano, Ralph Recto, and Richard Gomez express not only support for the Liberal Party cause, but also a mea culpa of sorts for serving the current dispensation.

I don't think we're asking for them to air the entire dirty laundry, but to express regret at serving this government and what they could have done, plus what they plan to do to rectify it, hopefully within the scope of the Liberal Party vision.

Unfortunately, my impression is that these former loyalists are just jumping ship because Noynoy's popular; there seems to be no effort to express remorse for what they have done or even alignment towards the party's goals.

I still want to believe. I still want to hope. Is our hope misplaced?

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Confounding Conass

With all the talk of the failure of our representatives to represent us in the recently-held Conass vote, why does there seem to be a wide disconnect between what the survey says (disapproving Charter Change, promoting Reproductive Health, etc.) and what our representatives do (shove Con-ass down our throats)?

On the local level, do we actually know what our congressmen are doing in Congress? Do we really care how our representatives represent us in the national forum?

Or are we just waiting for what he does in his own district, which is to dole out goods & monies (which was actually sourced from my taxes, dammit!)? Are we willing to gloss over our inconsistencies over issues as long as he shows us the money? Are we that hard up that we don't care if he's selling our souls, just so he can shower us with a pittance of a donation, and then we also have to be thankful to him for giving back money (which he got from my taxes, whether income or VAT)??

And for us who feel getting shortchanged, does our number matter to these representatives? Or have most of us who used to feel outrage flown the coop? And for us who are left behind, doesn't it feel tiring that we exert outrage and be laughed at in our faces by these representatives?

Then when the protests come around, why are these actions then hijacked by other politicians and has-beens?

This is where around three months of my salary goes: the pot-holed streets, the crazy u-turn slots, the salaries and humongous allowances of these representatives. And when they can't get enough money, they ask for loans, which I also eventually have to pay, not them.

Not enough of my salary goes to the schools, good roads, government hospitals, or the arts.

But the thing is, how can we get involved with our souls being kept intact? How can we change the system if the system doesn't listen and is too arrogant to listen to us?

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Manny Musing

Not that I don't believe in Manny Pacquiao's talents, but the whole dance gets tiring after a while. Manny fights, he wins, the congressmen get to watch him in Vegas. We cheer for Manny, we boo the congressmen, the congressmen don't care, then we go back to our lives.

I'm just going to wait for the online feeds which will show the round by round account; the feeds come in hours before the first round would be televised.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Disheartening Declaration

It's terribly disheartening to see that Ricky Carandang, who isn't exactly a powerless participant in this republic, is also losing hope in this republic of bananas.

If he feels helpless about the whole seemingly endless downward spiral from his relatively advantageous perspective, what more the less vocal and less influential middle class, and especially the great mass of Filipinos?

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Insistent Initial Impressions due to Investigations

When the news of Ted Failon's wife's incident broke out (before and upon her death), I relied primarily on internet news, since I don't watch primetime local network news anymore (ANC doesn't count and even then I watch that rarely).

So when the news trickled in through the internet that there were inconsistencies in the story, I then formed a hypothesis that it might not have been a suicide, but I'm not sure really whodunit.

However, upon reading the news today that Quezon City's finest has been extraordinarily pressuring the Etongs and the Archetes, and hearing the news not only (expectedly) from ABS-CBN, but also GMA and Inquirer, now I'm not sure if the QCPD has been feeding insinuating news initially to implicate a broadcaster whom isn't exactly a friend of the QCPD.

Of course, mainstream media and other blowhards would make the case of "if the police can do it to a media personality, they can do it to a common person" argument and that may be true. But what I'm thinking is that the majority of us already know that the police operate very arbitrarily (e.g. squatter & vending relocations, traffic arrests, etc.). 

What I'm worried is that the initial impression that we thought that Ted Failon might be a suspect and if you are too busy to read on the follow-up reports that the QCPD may not be objective, then you'll harden that suspect opinion in your head.

Which does not bode well for us who are too busy to survive to make a cry on our situation, once powers that be (the Empress and her minions) start doing their hanky-panky, and we believe the first news that comes out, and do not listen to the objections and only realize it until it is too late.

And this is when first impressions may prove fatal.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Surplus Supply of Staffers

Why does it seem that wages here in this republic are disproportional to the standards of living available? I will dissect the supply and demand aspect of labor.

It seems that comparable to other countries, our standards of living seem to be much higher than what our wages afford us. I came to this conclusion based on mlq3's link on the study looking at a kilo of rice and the wages of a janitor in the Philippines, HK, and Singapore. Basically, it comes out that while a janitor will have to work around 30 minutes to earn a kilo of rice in HK or Singapore, a janitor here will have to work around 60 minutes (twice the amount of labor) just to earn the same kilo of rice. 

We can replace the wages with the relevant occupation one has (accountant, teacher, engineer) and replace the kilo of rice with some other commodity (rice meal, cellphone, car), and it comes out that we have to work harder here just to gain what our counterparts can earn in a much lesser time frame.

Now it seems that the natural inclination of institutions that demand labor (government, corporations, other organizations) would try to pay for the lowest amount of wages for the best amount of service, or get their bang for the buck. But they wouldn’t want it too low, otherwise it would turn off their potential labor force. Institutions also normally don't take into consideration cost of living, since institutions would assume that the labor supply would have an informal fallback position that won't rely entirely on wages (i.e. family or  side jobs/"rackets").

Case in point, when I started looking for a job as an auditor when the empress was about to take her oath at 2001, the offer for honor students would be around P10K per month. This year, I hear an officemate having her younger brother being offered around P10K per month as well, and he's an honor student. Okay, so there was no inflationary effect for more than eight years? At 2001, you could get a cheeseburger value meal at McDonalds for less than P50; nowadays you have to spring almost a P100 for that cheeseburger value meal.

Why do the suppliers of labor put up with this? Because there are so many of us around. Year in and year out, we churn out more and more graduates than these institutions can absorb. Even if the quality of graduates may be fluctuating year on year, one cannot deny that there are more people competing for the limited openings. It's ok if these industries are growing, but they aren't; some are even shrinking. And with our population growth and policy, this surge in labor won't go down in say ten years.

So what we have is a situation where institutions can afford to pay a pittance, since there are more of the supply willing to offer their services at a lower cost. Even a host of us get out of the republic and never come back, there is a much higher replacement rate to keep the wages down. Population growth abroad is declining and even if technologies become more efficient, the human component will still be needed to operate that technology.

Why then don’t the suppliers of labor demand for higher prices for their wages? Because there would always be additional supply of labor that would be willing to work for less than what you earn at the moment. Actually, that 's the same argument why other countries are willing to hire us because we're willing to work for a relative pittance when their own nationals demand a higher wage. 

One of the few times that workers rights actually went up from the labor side was during the time of the Bubonic Plague in Europe during the Dark Ages, where because of the severe population cut down at that time (a third to a half of the population were decimated) that noblemen actually had to bargain with the farmers for relatively more favorable working terms just to keep them working for their lands.

So for as long as industry will have limited growth to a given few here; for as long as the population keeps on growing more than the replacement rate; for as long as the population abroad shrinks; for as long as the wages-cost of living ratio is higher outside than in here, we will continue having these small wages and the exodus of our talents.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Biased against Bargaining

Just came from walking around Shanghai , and one of the things that ticked me off the most was the incessant haggling by the merchants. I don't like haggling as it is back at home; the most I would do would be to ask for the last price and that's it.

But here, they can get pretty aggressive. Once, I was just looking around for a possible passport holder, and then they took me to a secluded area, which effectively gave them more control (my friend was with me, but this took us out of the open). I really just wanted to look, and after them insisting that they buy the stuff and quoting my price, I finally gave in, paying almost twice I would pay at home just so they would stop. Although the price was also 1/3 or 1/4 of the price they were quoting, they were all ranting that I couldn’t make money out of them, blah blah blah. Effectively I felt that I'd been had.

Another time I was walking outside Nanjing Road when I noticed a shoe-shine man. He asked if I wanted to, but I motioned no, waving my hand. The guy kept on following me and asking if he wanted to have a shoe shine! Argh!!! I had to trot back to Nanjing Road to lose him there.

A while ago, I decided to take another friend's advice and buy a real branded item at Nanjing Road. As I was walking out with the bag, another merchant came up to me, offering to sell watches, clothes, much cheaper than what I had. Thing is, even when I said no, she was following me! I went into another store to try to lose her, but when I came out, she still followed. I hate saying no and when it came out, it was rather forceful because I was so exasperated. So she moved along, and in a less than 10 meters, another merchant came up again to offer electronics, iPods, digicam?

If I wanted something, I would approach the store and ask for it. I hate it back at home when salesladies tag along to ask if you want to buy something, but this is worse. If you don’t become forceful, they'll follow you everywhere.

Foreigners' Feelings on La Filipinas

Because of the Shanghai trip, it was inevitable that we would be working with non-Filipinos (duh!). These weren't just the Shanghai Chinese who've been in China all there lives, but also white guys assigned to the company and Chinese how have been to the Philippines a few years back.

Believe me, the things that we rant about online, they also experience it. The white guy, for example, he's been in the Philippines long enough to get ticked off at the corruption under the benevolent gaze of the Empress. And he's not even Filipino! He acknowledges that there are levels of corruption everywhere. For example, back in his native land, there were investigations for suppliers taking out clients for dinner and games. If you were a Filipino reading this, you'd know that this is one of the mildest forms of pay-offs, people do worse things, and nobody gets caught for anything.

As for the Chinese guy who's been here, he recognizes that being Chinese in Manila can make you a target for kidnappings, that the white guys in Manila are usually poor while the Filipino Chinese are either the rich or the very rich. He was also appalled by all the guys carrying guns around, down to the security guns having 12 gauge shotguns. I've noticed here in Shanghai that not even the police carry guns; I have yet to see a member of the PLA, but overall, no guns around here.

It seems like a common occurrence when Filipinos are talking about our country to foreigners, that we tend to highlight all the bad things, like the crime, the poverty, the corruption, the weather, and what have you. I don’t know if it's because they're seeing something better (either through speaking to the foreigner or living in a foreign land or both), but stuff that a Filipino would take for granted at home would suddenly find release as long as an interested foreigner is willing to listen.

It's rather sad that only the foreigners seem to enjoy the republic of bananas, since whatever they have to go through (the traffic, the weather, the occasional harassment, etc.), their exchange rate is more than enough to compensate for their troubles and to actually bypass some of the worse aspects of living here (cramped and expensive homes, poor water, little healthcare). As for the rest of us living on Filipino income, we have to go through the whole experience, so it's pretty hard to enjoy the good life at times.