Thursday, 9 December 2010

The Final Score: PHL Azkals and the power of televised sports

By Mico Halili

Through word of mouth, passed on by animated tweets, built up by excited status messages on Facebook, our football Azkals are suddenly the toast of the town. Two goals, so out-of-this-world, silenced Vietnam's mammoth home-crowd and awakened the patriotic DNA of a nation now curious about soccer. Who are these guys?

As soon as Chris Greatwich's header bounced into the net, past Vietnam's goal-keeper, social networks immediately took notice, like a new continent suddenly popped-up on the map. It was a twisting header, so twisted in so many ways. The television commentator, swathed in disbelief, still uttered a fitting annotation, "That is totally…bizarre." Philippines 1-nil. Welcome to the Twilight Zone.

The goal reverberated across media platforms, sent text messages scurrying back and forth like soccer balls in a passing drill and compelled sports fans, who were home on a Sunday night, to suddenly follow a tournament they, most likely, never heard of. And I immediately thought: this is what we missed when the Asian Games weren't televised. The anxiety. The rapture. The pride. It's wanting to see if we could do what we thought we couldn't do.

Fans scampered to find the cable channel. They saw the score, 1-nil, and asked their footballer friends why this one-point lead meant so much. Even if they didn't know the difference between an off-side and a legit attack (which is really like the never-ending debate between a charging and a blocking foul in basketball - no one's ever really sure), they eventually understood what was going on. They were cheering for an underdog team. It's a concept we've been injected with at birth.

Protect the lead. Hang on. Instant soccer fans pleaded. As the Azkals' defense dodged shot after shot, Vietnam fired what felt like 1,000 attempts, viewers in the Philippines held their breath. The television commentator said our boys defended like Trojans. We agreed 100 percent. How exhilarating it must have been if, in the last Asian Games, we also witnessed how medals were won and lost. There is catharsis in watching effort beyond reason. There is learning in observing performance without preparation. For every inexplicable save by Neil Etheridge, fans threw punches in the air. For every minute that elapsed, fans' belief in our Azkals grew stronger.

By the time Phil Younghusband took his defender to the high school dance and punched in the dagger, the nation's football converts were already numb. 2-nil. Against the home team. Against the defending champions. The television commentators were running out of adjectives. We were running out of breath.

Such is the influence of televised sports. It unites. It reveals. As seconds evaporated, the magnitude of a 2-zero result sunk in. We need to see our athletes on television so a) they can showcase their grit and, just as poignantly, b) corrupt officials who often prevent them from doing so can be exposed. Who are these guys? They're Team Philippines! And they need to be on TV. And it will help if we all watch. - GMANews.TV

Is the Philippines still a Third World country?

John Mangun
Outside the Box
Business Mirror

‘Is the Philippines still a Third World country?” my son asked me the other day.

It is remarkable to me that within the lifetime of our fathers or grandfathers depending on your age, the world was fundamentally divided into nations that were colonies and the colonizing “mother countries.”

It may be hard to believe, but in 1910, the British Empire consisted of more than 100 colonies that now are all independent nations or have joined with other independent nations. France held 20 countries as colonies, with other European nations holding nearly 50 more at the time.

This global colonial structure was founded on a simple but important economic principle. The colonies supplied the raw materials that were shipped back to the Motherland, to be manufactured into value-added goods, providing domestic employment and goods for local consumption and for export. The colonies also provided a ready market for the manufactured products.

The British would bring in cotton from their colonies of Egypt and India to their industrialized textile mills and sell the cloth locally, export to other nations and also back to Egypt and India, for example.

One of the reasons America was never really in the colony business was that it had the ability to produce more cost effectively all the raw materials that it needed. There was no significant economic benefit to the US in having colonies. In fact, the only major war the US fought over the control of raw materials was its civil war between the industrialized north and the agricultural south.

World War II marked the death knell for the colonial empires. One by one, these colonies became independent as it was no longer economically efficient to have a colonial empire. The colonial powers still had access to the raw materials as the ex-colonies still depended on their former colonial rulers for business. “Third World” countries were those that did not have the manufacturing capability, the industrialization to turn their raw materials into value-added products. And they still depended on the “First World” nations for their manufactured goods.

Eventually and, actually, rather quickly, some of these former colonies became “Second World” countries. They now had the ability to manufacture some goods for local consumption and a little export. “Third World” nations were those that appeared unlikely to ever create the capability to produce value-added products in any substantial quantity. Through the 1960s, the idea of the First, Second and Third worlds probably reached its peak.

Into the late 1970s and ’90s, the classification changed a bit to “Developed,” “Developing” and “Underdeveloped,” which was probably just a more pleasant way to say First, Second and Third World (FSTW).

However, this period also saw a change in the global economic model. To a large extent, no longer were many particular countries able to boast of being a major provider of a particular raw material that the world needed. In the 1940s Japan wanted the area that is now Malaysia because it supplied a large portion of the world’s raw material for rubber, for example

The last 40 years have seen a fundamental shift for the global economic system in what is considered vital raw materials for the global and for most all nations’ economies. In 1870, if the textile mills of England had not had access to the raw material of cotton, thousands would have been unemployed, and the finished manufactured goods would simply have not been available. Cotton was a vital raw material and it was needed in dependable quantity and at a comparatively (to the final cost of the cloth) low price.

Now the vital raw materials are oil, labor and creative knowledge.

There are more cell phones in use than there are people on the planet. What are the three raw materials that go into manufacturing your cell phone that are needed in dependable quantity and at a comparatively low price? They are the engineering expertise to design it; the oil to make many of the major components (plastic, fiberglass, phenolic resin, epoxy resin); and the labor to assemble it. The “brains” of your phone, the microchip, is made of sand or silicon, high-tech design and machinery (creative knowledge) and skilled but readily available relatively low-cost labor.

Nearly everything we wear is made from byproducts of oil, those byproducts invented from creative knowledge, and manufactured by dependable and low-cost labor.

The “FSTW” concept also considered the purchasing power of a country. Obviously, the “Firsts” had the ability to buy more stuff. They made more and they bought more. But as nations could no longer control the supply of vital raw materials as the definition changed, the idea of “FSTW” has nearly disappeared. Now there are “developed” nations and “developing” nations.

Most all, nations now have the capability of developing because of that critical raw material, labor, being available every place. In 1993 the first text message was sent. Because labor is the critical raw material of the cell phone, within 10 years, a “Third World” country like the Philippines could become the text-messaging capital of the world. India, a major global producer of cotton for literally 7,000 years, only became a major global textile manufacturer since the early 1990s and not because of their homegrown cotton but because they have an even more important raw material—labor.

Too often we hear the “experts” speak of the Philippine labor force as skilled and how lucky the Philippines is to have the Filipino worker. But underneath is an elitism that says our employment pool is all we have. In fact, the Philippines has one of the most valuable raw materials in the 21st-century world. Without the Filipino worker, the global shipping industry, as well as the health-care sector, would crumble. There would not be any customer service to the English-speaking world. And if your cell phone has a camera, the chip the runs the camera was probably made in the Philippines.

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Band of brothers

Rick Olivares
Business Mirror

NAM DINH, Vietnam—Roel Gener and Ian Araneta both know what it’s like to be on the other side of a beating. That 13-1 loss to Indonesia back in 2002 is something they will never forget. But right now, they are creating new memories—wonderful and electrifying ones.
For the better part of the men’s football team’s nine-day stay in Vietnam for the 2010 Suzuki Cup, this band of football brothers has taken the Asean region by storm with their feats on the pitch.

After their final stretching session around the lake behind the massive statue of General Tran Hung Dao who twice defeated Mongolian conqueror Kublai Khan’s armies, several Vietnamese fans asked to have their pictures taken with the team.

The squad spent its first night at Nam Dinh City that is 90 km southeast of Hanoi where they are to play their final match against Myanmar for the right to move on to the semifinals of the Asean region’s most prestigious football tournament.

Team captain Aly Borromeo, battling a stomach illness in the last few days, promised to give it his all for the match where a win or a draw will send them to the next round. “I’ll find the energy for that,” said the long-time national player. “Everyone’s going to give it a maximum effort.”

Seven of the current squad of 22 have been together for some six years now. Borromeo, Gener, Araneta, Anton del Rosario, Chris Greatwich, Peter Jaugan and Emelio “Chieffy” Caligdong have been with the national team since 2004, back when the Suzuki Cup was called the Tiger Cup. Then nationals played four matches that tournament where they won one and lost three. Caligong scored three goals and became a budding star for the squad.

“We’ve come a long way,” said del Rosario who smiled at the memory of a long journey. “Chad Gould was with our batch. We didn’t have the support system that we have now but those were memorable times.

“I think it’s good na nakita namin ’yung progress ng team,” added Caligdong. “Parang sana kabaliktaran naman ngayon at maganda ’yung mga resulta.”

This tournament is probably the last that Caligdong is going to suit up for. Now in his eighth year with the Philippine Air Force and sixth year with the national team, the Barotac Nuevo native is planning on hanging up his boots and take up coaching. “Tignan natin what happens pero kung di ko subukan mag-coach ngayon baka ma-iwan na ako nito.”

Del Rosario recounted how the nationals have had a hard time against Myanmar in the past. “It was a combination of being young and not having the support structure to constantly train. Now we have a team that can compete. Myanmar of course has many new guys and so do we.”

Team assistant coach Edzel Bracamonte explained that this is the longest this national team (under manager Dan Palami) has been together. “This is the longest they’ve trained and been together—eight months. Dati two months lang and usually before a tournament. ’Yung eight months na magkakasama ’tong team na ’to has really helped this team grow. Sana tuloy tuloy na ’to.”

“Wouldn’t that be great?” summed up Borromeo. “We saw the tough times and now we—the seven of us—have a chance to really see the turnaround. We live to play the sport and to see the kind of attention Philippine football gets now—that is all you ever ask for.”

Hard work pays off, says McMenemy,_says_McMenemy

Nam Dinh: Philippines coach Simon McMenemy beamed with pride as his team sealed a place in the semifinals of the AFF Suzuki Cup for the first time in the country's history.

A 0-0 draw with Myanmar was enough not only to ensure the Philippines progress, but for the previously unheralded side to emerge from the group stage of the tournament with an unbeaten record.

A draw with Singapore in their opening game gave them a solid start before the shock win over Group B hosts Vietnam pushed the Filipinos to the top of the standings after the first two rounds of matches.

And while the draw with Myanmar was not enough for the Philippines to hold on to first place in the group following Vietnam's win over Singapore, the English coach was delighted with his side's against-the-odds showing.

"It's amazing, just amazing because of all of the hard work we have put in," he said.

"The (Filipino fans) expected us to win but I'm just so pleased that the boys are going back to Manila as semi-finalists."

The draw represented Myanmar's first point of the tournament after defeats against both Singapore and Vietnam but McMenemy was quick to stress how difficult a task his team faced.

"Motivation (for this game) was never a problem but if you come to an empty stadium and play against a team everyone tells you that you can beat, then motivation is tough," he said

"They're much better than what their results tell you. They are very organised going forward. They kind of pinned us back. If Myanmar had the same fortune as us, they could have gott a result. They're difficult to defend.

"They did well in first half, they made it difficult for us. We defended with everything we have."

McMenemy refused to single out any player in particular as his side kept their unlikely challenge for the title alive.

"No player stood out, we put up a team performance from goalkeeper to forward," he said. "Their spirit was just excellent."

Myanmar coach Tin Myint Aung was at least able to garner some positives from his team's performance at the end of a tournament that yielded little for his unfortunate side.

"We already knew about their technique and we tried our best," he said. "We tried to win for our country. We played very well and we had some very good chances."

Philippine Team Advances To Semis After Draw With Myanmar

The Philippine football team advanced to the ASEAN Football Federation (AFF) Suzuki Cup semi-final round by having a draw against Myanmar in Hanoi, Vietnam on Wednesday.

The Filipinos' defense proved solid at the Hien Truong Stadium in Nam Dinh as it kept the aggressive Myanmar team goalless throughout the game.

After the half-time break, the Burmese team had at least 3 scoring attempts at the goal. They were initially aggressive but gradually lost steam toward the end.

The Philippines' goalkeeper Neil Etheridge proved dominant throughout the match keeping the Philippine team alive and well for the next round.

They will face Indonesia in the Final 4, while defending champion Vietnam square off with Malaysia for the semi-finals.

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Philippines draws Myanmar, 0:0

Suddenly, football in our hearts

Krip Yuson

Expect a cable channel devoted to sports to enjoy a sudden spike in viewership from all over our islands for the 8:25-to-10:30 p.m. timeslot on Wednesday, December 8, when a suddenly popular Pinoy football team that has fired up our national imagination goes up against Myanmar in the final match of the quarterfinal stage of the Suzuki Cup currently ongoing in Vietnam.

Those of us who were fortunate to have seen our booters live in action last Sunday night on Star Sports will forever hold on to those marvelous images:a resolute defense mounted by an underdog against the swift offensive thrusts of the host Vietnamese urged on by 40,000 hometown fans; our midfielders and backside standing fast against wave after wave of attacks as the defending champions dominated ball possession; then in a rare incursion into Goliath's very turf, the David of the tourney daring to rock the boat, the stadium, the form charts, and region-wide expectations by ASEAN football addicts, never mind the mixed metaphors ...

From a corner kick ensues a cross from Anton del Rosario that finds Fil-Brit Chris Greatwich suddenly rising high inside the penalty area, amidst a tangle of bobbing heads and clashing shoulders, and on the 38th minute, he concocts a header that eludes the Viet goalie to find the corner of the net.

Nicknamed the Azkals, PHL national football team players celebrate their stunning 2-0 win over defending champion and host team Vietnam on Sunday in the Suzuki Cup in Hanoi. AFF Suzuki Cup website

It is but the first half of a miracle, as we are to cheer with relish much later. We cannot believe we are up by a goal over the champs and hosts, and now hope only that we can hold them down to just a single comeback goal in 52 more minutes of play, and then some, to earn yet another heretofore unimaginable draw against a powerhouse.

Our Pinoy 11, labeled as the Azkals after street curs, manage to chew off more than they've bitten, succeed in holding the fort for the rest of the half. So that for the next 15 minutes of real-time respite, we feel good, and warmly excited, and remember to send SMS to all our friends who may have a smidgen of sportslovers' blood in their veins.

Hey, catch up and watch this: we might yet tie Vietnam after our draw with Singapore three days previous. Our football team is going great guns behind half-a-dozen Fil-Euros.

The second half starts and our hopes hold up even as the Vietnamese appear even more fearsome in their determined onslaught: attack after attack being foiled by disciplined stonewall defense, plus some splendid goalkeeping by Neil Etheridge, 6-foot-three, robust, agile and athletic.

Forty minutes to go. 35. Excruciating suspense builds up. Occasionally, a counter-attack, which begins to look increasingly effective for its simplicity of execution, helped along by the overconfidence of the Viet backline that simply trusts in their individual skills even as they move nearly totally forward, thus exposing porous team defense.

There is a moment when the unimaginable almost comes true. A lofted ball sailing across the penalty area is miscalculated by the Viet goalie, giving forward Ian Araneta a great chance to nudge it into a defenseless net. But he hits the goalpost instead, maybe in his excitement. A rueful smile. Just his luck, as in the first half he had also almost opened up scoring but for that corner post.

But minutes later, on the 79th, a similar broken play in erstwhile virgin Viet territory finds Phil Younghusband with the ball, marked by a lone defender in the penalty area. He is calm, even appears slow, yet succeeds with a feint and flicks the ball past one more rushing defender and the diving goalie.

Now we cannot believe our eyes, ears, the pounding in our hearts. 2-0! And it is us, the Pinoy Azkals, that are up over the powerful Vietnamese!

Now, surely, they cannot score two tying goals in 11 more minutes of play, having failed to deliver one in more than sevenfold that time. We text again: Historic Win coming up!

The stadium crowd has turned into a silent ghost, the very specter of disbelief. The quiet minutes go by, with wave after wave of Vietnamese incursions producing nothing — thanks to our luck, Ethelridge's prowess, and team defense carefully calculated by PHL's English coach, Simon McMenemy.

And we do it! We win, unbelievably.

Now more Pinoys have woken up to the beautiful game, and we need as many as we can have to pray to the Immaculate Conception on her very feastday.

All we have to do is draw with Myanmar and we're in, with 5 points. If Singapore wins over Vietnam in their crucial knockout game, also tomorrow at the same time, 7 p.m. in a different stadium, then Singapore and PHL both make it, with the placings decided by points differential.

The worst thing that can happen is for us to lose to Myanmar and Singapore holds Vietnam to a draw, in which case Singapore clears it with 5 points, and we're tied with Vietnam at 4 points, but they have the points differential advantage on account of their trashing of Myanmar, and we fail to make the semis.

That magnificent effort last Sunday might then go to waste. Or would it? Maybe not, as it has fired us up, and that might be enough.

But if luck and pluck stay on our side, and we draw Myanmar to wind up with 5 points, and Singapore beats Vietnam to amass 7 points, then we make it to the semis, but then face the daunting task of upending Indonesia, tops in Group A, to get to the finals. Same thing happens if Vietnam beats Singapore to settle at 6 points.

Best scenario is we beat Myanmar and sail through, then face a beatable Malaysia that may wind up as Group B second-placer. The semis will be a home-and-away affair, to be held about a week before Christmas Day. Will we be ready for this? Will it be at the Rizal Memorial, our home end of it? Likely. And we should then turn up with warm bodies in full force for our home encounter.

And should we make it past Malaysia, why, that would be a veritable apex, and never mind if we lose both matches, or at least draw one, against powerhouse Indonesia, on Dec. 26 and 29.

For now, let's turn up in full force and watch the game live on TV at 7 p.m. Mark the day, Wednesday, December 8. And maybe from Manila and Baguio and Iloilo and Bacolod and Cebu and Davao and Cagayan de Oro and Zamboanga and Puerto Princesa, our collective cheers will push our boys through, all the way to the best-ever finish we can hope for in Southeast Asian football competition.

We deserve to be respected, says Philippines' Gier,_says_Philippines'_Gier

Hanoi: Philippines central defender Rob Gier believes he and his teammates have earned the respect of football fans across South East Asia off the back of their surprise performance at this year's AFF Suzuki Cup.

The previously unheralded Filipinos stand on the cusp of qualifying for the semi-finals of the first time in the tournament's 14-year history after drawing with Singapore and a win over defending champions Vietnam.

Those results have left Simon McMenemy's team on top of Group B with the final round of group matches to be played on Wednesday.

The Philippines face Myanmar in Nam Dinh knowing a draw will be enough to take them into the last four at the expensive of either Vietnam or Singapore, two nations that have won the last title three AFF titles between them.

"We've had two fantastic results and for all the coaching staff and Filipinos back home, it has made everyone in South East Asia stand up and recognise what we are doing in the Philippines with regards to football," said the former Wimbledon centre half.

"Certain circles have been a little bit disrespectful to us in our preparation and we hope these two results prove how good we are and hopefully we get a bit more of the respect that we deserve now."

Gier's performance against Vietnam epitomized the spirit within the Philippine camp, the 29-year-old climbing off his sickbed – as did team mate Phil Younghusband – to start against the Vietnamese.

The pair put in an immense amount of work as they saw off a series of relentless attacks from the defending champions before prevailing in what was one of the biggest shocks in the tournament's history.

"I don't really know how I got through the game to be honest," said Gier. "Up to kick off I was feeling pretty bad.

"The importance of the game and the adrenaline of a full house of 40,000 people inspired me to get through it. It was a massive team effort.

"Phil Younghusband was pretty sick before the game too and it was a massive collective effort to get through the game. We are both feeling better but still not 100 percent.

"We'll take time to rest our bodies and recover and make sure we are ready for the big game in a couple of days' time. It's difficult for the team at the minute."

While Sunday's win at the My Dinh Stadium was played out in front of a packed stadium backing the home team, the Philippines' attempt to complete one of the most dramatic performances seen in recent years moves to the provincial city of Nam Dinh.

There, in a match that kicks off at the same time as Vietnam's encounter with Singapore, Gier and company face a Myanmar side that has only pride left to play for after their disappointing showing at the year's tournament.

Gier, who is currently playing for English non-league side Ascot United, is fully aware of the significance of the upcoming clash.

"The Myanmar game is a massive game, even bigger than the Vietnam game because if we don't perform against them then all the hard work will have been for nothing," he says.

"We're just making sure we're focused on the task at hand, making sure we get all the injuries sorted out, making sure the tactics are right and, God willing, we'll prevail against Myanmar."

President Aquino congratulates football team'_fan_club

The Philippines have won presidential approval for their performances so far in the AFF Suzuki Cup.

Simon McMenemy's side are on the brink of qualifying for the semi-finals after a glorious 2-0 victory over defending champions Vietnam and a 1-1 draw with Singapore in Group B.

Philippine President Benigno Simeon "Noynoy" Aquino III hailed the exploits of the team in an official statement.

"President Aquino conveys his congratulations to the Philippine team's victory (over Vietnam) at the AFF Suzuki Cup in Vietnam," said presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda.

He added that sport in the Philippines was better known for its achievements in boxing, including the successes of Manny Pacquiao, but football was now pushing for recognition.

"These victories (in boxing and the recent Asian Games) affirm yet again the Filipino's drive to excel, noting further that the Philippine team's triumph in the AFF Suzuki Cup signifies an enthusiasm to join the community of nations in the international arena of football," said the presidential spokesman.

"The President has expressed his support for sports endeavors where Filipinos excel and bring pride to our country."

A draw against Myanmar in their final Group B game on Wednesday will see the Philippines progress to the last four for the first time in the AFF Suzuki Cup.

Metro Manila: One of the global best

John Mangun
Business Mirror

What do Los Angeles, London, Tokyo and Berlin have in common with Manila? Nothing. Those cities are not good enough to be ranked in the same category as Manila.

The Metropolitan Policy Program of the Brookings Institute just released a study entitled “Global MetroMonitor.” This is a report detailing an economic overview of 150 global metropolitan areas and their economies during the “Great Recession.”

The purpose of the study was to analyze and compare the 150 global metropolitan areas, including our own National Capital Region (NCR), in terms of their positive impact on their citizens.

GVA looks at income growth and employment growth. How much is employment growing in the metro areas and how much is personal income growing.

For the pre-recession period of 1993 to 2007, the No.1 metro area was Shenzhen, China. Manila was ranked No.34. At the time, Greater Manila had an income-growth rate of 3.4 percent and an employment-growth rate of 2.6 percent. As a comparison, Bangkok, Thailand, was ranked No. 150 with an income-growth rate of negative 1.2 percent and an employment-growth rate of 0.2 percent.

Jump ahead to 2010, and Manila is ranked No. 9, sharing the top rankings with Istanbul, Turkey; Shenzhen, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Beijing in China; Lima, Peru; Santiago, Chile; and Singapore. Manila’s GVA is now 5.3 percent for income growth and 4 percent for employment growth. Bangkok is ranked No. 35 with 3.3-percent income increase and 1.2-percent jobs growth.

Metropolitan areas are responsible for a major portion of a nation’s economic activity. Although only 12 percent of the world’s population lives in these 150 metropolitan areas, these areas account for 46 percent of global gross domestic product. What Brookings measures is what they call economic “Gross Value Added” (GVA). “Metro areas, which are economically integrated collections of cities, suburbs, and often surrounding rural areas, are centers of high-value economic activity in their respective nations and worldwide. Metros form the fundamental bases for national and international economies.”

This is interesting. “Their per-capita measures of Gross Value Added range widely, from under $1,000 in Hyderabad and Kolkata, India, to roughly $70,000 in San Jose, US; and Zurich, Switzerland. What is consistent about these metropolitan areas, however, is their function as locations for high-value economic activity in their respective nations and world regions.” Ultimately, the economic performances of the metro areas determine the economic health and potential future of the country. More important, it does not matter how comparatively poor a metro area is in comparison to others, the metro areas are a nation’s economic driver.

The Global MetroMonitor report makes this conclusion: “The Global MetroMonitor thus portrays a world economy whose continued transition will be driven in large part by the distinct experiences of its powerful network of major metropolitan economies. As metropolitan leaders worldwide confront the challenges and opportunities that accompany continued global economic integration, and many seek new growth models to replace old ones, the shifting metro map points toward an emerging array of productive metro-based economic relationships that could drive regional and national prosperity in the decades to come.”

The Philippines has struggled with two economic questions over the years; how to bring economic growth to the more provincial areas and how to insure that economic growth reaches all sectors of society.

The government as well as private policymakers have faced challenges as to what and where the allocation of resources should be made. For example, should a new branch sales outlet be established in the NCR with its large population or push to an outlying area and hope to build market share. Should infrastructure projects be placed in Metro Manila or be built in the province? Naturally there must be a balance between spending money in the metro areas and spending money in the more rural areas. However, there must eventually be a determination made where the biggest economic bang can be achieved.

The government probably should take its cue from the private sector that in many cases has successfully built its metro and provincial model. The successes that private enterprise has in the metro areas easily can translate to the non-metro areas. Look at Shoemart as the best example. The numerous successful malls in the NCR created its ability and capability to expand to the outlying areas. Only one- third of the SM department stores are in the NCR.

The cost to government for projects in the NCR is much higher than projects in the province. Yet if the economic impact on the country is higher from NCR projects, then that is where the money should be spent until such time that those projects have created excess funds to be used for more rural development.

This study does not address the concerns of metro areas, particularly in Asia, such as congestion and crowding. However, infrastructure projects that help mitigate these two issues also fall within the scope of being economically beneficial. Perhaps solving one problem—crowding—solves another, unemployment.

A balance must be sought and achieved. But to ignore the metro or place it as a lower priority than the provinces is to risk making wrong choices. As the Brookings report states, “National policies must invest in fundamental drivers of metropolitan economies; innovative institutions, infrastructure, and human capital.” But at least for the money, the NCR is one of the global leaders in these two important areas, income and employment, of economic activity.

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Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Coaches laud stunning Filipino win

JAKARTA: The after-effects of the Philippines' stunning 2-0 win over defending champions Vietnam on Sunday are not being felt only in Hanoi. On Monday, the shock result was also a hot topic for officials and journalists gathered in Indonesia for the Group A matches in the AFF Suzuki Cup.

The Filipinos have been one of the tournament's traditional whipping boys and they hold the record for the tournament's heaviest defeat, a 13-1 thrashing by Indonesia in 2002. But having drawn 1-1 with three-time champions Singapore in their tournament opener, they now stand on the brink of the semi-finals after a resolute performance against the Vietnamese.

The general consensus in Jakarta was that their win against the Vietnamese was not undeserved.

Said Thailand coach Brian Robson: "I went to the tournament where the Philippines and Laos qualified for the finals and I was that you can't underestimate any of those teams because they were well organised and they have had very good preparations where they've been together for three to four months.

"When teams are organised, you can't dismiss them and the Philippines showed that last night in their victory against Vietnam."

Having seen his side pegged back to a 2-2 draw by the Philippines in the qualifiers, after holding a two-goal lead, Laos coach David Booth was not surprised by the result.

"I thought that the Philippines were absolutely terrific and I thought that their discipline was absolutely superb," the Englishman said.

For Indonesia coach Wolfgang Pikal, the result is yet another indication that the level of Filipino football is now very close to the top teams in the region.

"I think that the gap is very close," the Austrian said. "The Philippines played very well last night. They have a lot of players playing abroad and they did their homework. I think they're doing a good job because a few years ago, everyone was expecting them to be beaten easily."

And Malaysia coach K. Rajagobal believes that the result is a positive development for the regional football tournament.

"You see that things have turned around in Asean football and I'm not surprised with the result," he said. "The Philippines have got some good players from abroad in their side, just like Singapore, and they are now a very competitive team. Their win yesterday has boosted their standing and they are serious contenders to reach the semi-finals.

"You definitely cannot take any of teams in this tournament lightly anymore. That's good because it make things much more exciting for everyone.

Monday, 6 December 2010

Historic victory leaves McMenemy bewildered

Full article here:

Hanoi: Philippines coach Simon McMenemy was in a state of disbelief after seeing his team hand defending champions Vietnam a stunning 2-0 defeat in Group B of the AFF Suzuki Cup on Sunday evening at the My Dinh Stadium.

Chris Greatwich and Phil Younghusband scored the goals as the Philippines claimed their greatest win in recent history and remarkably moved to the top of the group standings ahead of Singapore on goal difference.

"I'm pinching myself, I'm not sure we have done what we have done," said McMenemy. "I keep thinking I'll wake up in bed in the Sheraton hotel and we'll still have the game to play.

"We knew we could defend, we knew we were disciplined enough but we didn't know if we could go up the other end and score goals. We knew that would be our issue so we worked hard in training on simple things like converting breakaways when we are on the run."

McMenemy hailed his team's performance but admitted to being bewildered by the result.

"I came in here the other day and said I was proud of my boys, but I don't know how we've done that," he said.

"That was an incredible feat considering they are the Philippines and where they have come from. To go and turnover a powerhouse like Vietnam is incredible.

"We rode our luck throughout the game but I said to the guys at halftime: 'You have to keep putting yourself in a position for good things to happen to you and you have to keep working hard'.

"If you keep working hard the luckier you get. We had three chances and scored twice. This won't sink in for quite a while."

Vietnam coach Henrique Calisto was angered by the nature of the Philippines' win and was heavily critical of the style of play used by the Filipinos.

"Football is not this, football is not putting eight players in front of the area with no offensive system," said the Portuguese coach. "They were fighting and I respect the players but if you think this is football then you are wrong.

Philippines 2 Vietnam 0: Vietnam humbled by resolute Philippines

Hanoi: The Philippines recorded the biggest upset in the history of the AFF Suzuki Cup on Sunday evening as Simon McMenemy's side handed defending champions Vietnam a 2-0 defeat in their Group B encounter at My Dinh Stadium.

Chris Greatwich and Phil Younghusband scored a goal in each half to give the unfancied Filipinos the greatest result in the country's recent history and leave them on the verge of qualifying for the semifinals for the first time.

The win follows fast on the heels of a 1-1 draw with Singapore in their opening game and moves the Philippines to the top of the standings with one round of matches remaining.

After a tame start it was the Philippines who went closest to opening the scoring when, the 18th minute, the Vietnamese defence failed to clear Phil Younghusband's corner and the ball fell at the feet of Ian Araneta, but his shot was only good enough to clip the outside of the post.

That scare woke the home side out of their early slumbers but, fortunately for the Filipinos, goalkeeper Neil Etheridge was on hand to keep out Pham Thanh Luong's effort a minute later.

An elementary error by the Fulham goalkeeper, however, almost resulted in disaster for the Philippines moments later when Etheridge handled the ball outside his penalty area and, from the resulting free kick, Nguyen Minh Phuong curled a free kick around the defensive wall that went just wide of goal.

With seven minutes remaining in the half, the Philippines stunned the Vietnamese when Anton del Rosario crossed for Greatwich to claim his second goal of the tournament, a diving header that was somehow miss-read by Duong Hong Son.

Vietnam could find no way through the well-drilled Philippine defence throughout the rest of the half and, as the second period began, Henrique Calisto's team became increasingly desperate.

Nguyen Vu Phuong shot just wide from the edge of the area in the 56th minute while Rob Gier deflected Nguyen Anh Duc's effort wide four minutes later. Substitute Nguyen Trong Hoang, meanwhile, forced a fine save from the imposing Etheridge just two minutes after his introduction.

But, with 11 minutes remaining, the Philippines managed to put the result beyond doubt when, with Vietnam committing men forward, Phil Younghusband led a break that resulted in the former Chelsea trainee stepping inside the home defence and curling a low shot beyond Hong Son.

The goal silenced the 40,000 capacity crowd at My Dinh and, as supporters poured out of the stands and into the streets Pham Thanh Luong hit the woodwork as Vietnam's desperation continued right until the final whistle.