Thursday, 31 March 2011

Coca-Cola's $1-B investment is on track

Bulletin Today

MANILA, Philippines – Coca Cola, the biggest softdrink company in the country, said that its $1 billion five-year investment commitment in the country is on track with the near completion of its bottling plant in Misamis Oriental.

In a statement, Coca-Cola Bottlers Philippines chief executive officer Bill Schultz said the new plant in Villanueva, Misamis Oriental should be operational in a couple of months.

The plant will be one of its largest in the region and is expected to generate significant employment opportunities in the area.

“We remain committed to the Philippines, where we will celebrate 100 years in business in 2012, and uphold our confidence in the Philippine economy and the continued growth of our brands,” Schultz said.

Part of the resources used for the purchase of the 11 hectare property and the construction of the facilities came from the initial investment committed through former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo in 2009. The rest, including the purchase of machineries and equipment, as well as employee training, were taken from the fresh $1B investment committed by Coca-Cola Pacific Group President Glenn Jordan to President Aquino when he attended the UN General Assembly in New York in September last year, the statement said.

The company’s investment in the country was intended to strengthen production, distribution and help develop new products to refresh the Filipino consumers.

In 2010, Coca-Cola Philippines recorded double-digit growth led by its flagship brand Coca-Cola. The Company has also recently expanded a no added preservatives formulation of the Minute Maid Pulpy brand with real pulp and juice.

Coca-Cola Company, which operates 23 plants and 47 sales offices with over 7,000 employees across the country, will focus the rest of the investment on strengthening marketing executions and enhancing system capabilities relating to logistics and deliveries in order to better serve the Company’s expanding customer base, the statement said.

“We also continue to invest in the community. Currently the Coca-Cola Company has built 80 Little Red Schoolhouses in remote areas in the Philippines, benefitting over 40,000 students. Now the Coca-Cola Foundation is working at constructing an additional 20 Little Red Schoolhouses to reach our goal of 100 Little Red Schoolhouses by 2012, the 100th year anniversary of Coca-Cola in the Philippines,” Schultz said.

Coca-Cola also supports several environmental programs in partnership with WWF Philippines. A project between the Departments of Health and Education and Coca-Cola aims at minimizing iron deficiency among schools kids through the distribution of a nutritional juice.

Coca-Cola has been in the Philippines since the beginning of the 20th century and has been locally produced since 1927.

The Philippines received the first non-US national Coca-Cola bottling and distribution franchise. The Philippines bottling operation is among the biggest 10 Coca-Cola bottlers globally.

57 biggest banks report P83.4-b profits, up 31%

by Roderick T. dela Cruz
Manila Standard

Combined profits of the 57 largest banks in the Philippines rose by nearly a third in 2010, spurred by strong economic activities, low borrowing cost and large flows of money last year.

Data from the Bangko Sentral showed that the total income of the 38 universal banks and 19 commercial banks hit P83.364 billion in 2010, up 30.8 percent from P63.722 billion in 2009.

Total deposits in these banks increased 5.1 percent to P4.337 trillion from P4.126 trillion a year ago while total resources went up by 7.5 percent to P5.894 trillion from P5.483 trillion.

Bangko Sentral Governor Amando Tetangco Jr. noted the country’s favorable economic performance, with a gross domestic product growth of 7.3 percent in 2010, the highest in 34 years.

“Domestic liquidity has been robust at 10 percent per annum while bank credit has been rising between 10 and 11 percent,” he said.

He said banks’ balance sheets had been strengthening, with non-performing loan ratios improving to below the pre-1997 crisis level of 4 percent.

“NPL ratio of universal and commercial banks is at a low of 3 percent now while the capital adequacy ratio of banks has been above the regulatory standards. The capital adequacy ratio of universal and commercial banks is now between 15 and 16 percent,” Tetangco said.

The largest banks reported record profit in 2010, on a double-digit growth from a year ago.

Bank of the Philippine Islands, the country’s third largest, said net income surged 33 percent to P11.3 billion in 2010 from P8.5 billion in 2009, on the back of higher loans, deposits and trading gains. BPI was the most profitable bank last year.

BPI president and chief executive Aurelio Montinola III said “2010 proved to be a good year for the banking industry and for BPI in particular.”

A ‘new’ stock market?

Business Mirror

March and the first quarter of 2011 are almost in the books, nearly closed and archived. What a three months it has been. Actually, the last five months have been a time of anxiety for both the business community and stock-market investors.
Granted that the overwhelming majority of Filipinos could not care any less about the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE); in truth, a nation’s stock market is an important barometer of economic activity because of the way it reflects investor sentiment and attitude. You cannot ignore the P3 billion or P4 billion moving in, out and around the stock market every business day.

Stock-market prices have been in what we technical analysts call a Declining Trend Channel since the beginning of November 2010. Prices go up and down but stay bound within a range but always heading down. The PSE index fell from a high of 4,413 on November 5 to a low of 3,602 in February. That is a drop of 811 points, or over 18 percent, and that is a big deal.

Stock-market investors sold during this period because of anxiety about administration policy, concerns as to the policy direction of the Bangko Sentral, and concerns about both past corporate profits and future inflation. Notice that the Middle East unrest and the Japanese disaster are not on the list because the stock market was falling long before you cared about Arab protesters or ever heard of a placed called Sendai, Fukushima. As I have said before, I am convinced that stock-market price action can and often predicts the future three, six, maybe nine months ahead.

The Egyptian stock market doubled in value from early 2009 to May 2010. Between May and July, the market lost more than 20 percent during more than a correction as prices never rebounded to the May 2010 high. Selling then would have been a great idea since the market has fallen another 15 percent since its July 2010 close.

Electric power-generation companies are boring stocks to own since they rarely fluctuate much in price and are bought because they usually pay a good dividend. Tokyo Electric Power (Tepco) is no exception, with the price barely moving between January 2009 and September 2010. Suddenly, the price fell 20 percent in one month last September, long before the earthquake. From ¥2,500, the stock trades now at ¥500.

The New York stock market is not rising on the back of good economic performance. From mid-2007 until February 2009, the market was in free fall, losing 50 percent. Between March and November 2009, the Dow Jones rose from around 7,000 to over 10,000. In March 2009 the US inflation rate was a negative 0.38 percent and in November suddenly jumped +1.84 percent, a huge reversal. The market continues to rise even as economic growth falters because investors are “predicting” continued and increasing higher inflation (stock markets like the beginning of an inflationary period) even as the US government continues to say inflation is very small. The stock market says otherwise.

The local market has reversed its downward trend, subject to confirmation over the next week of trading as the PSE index must now push through 4,100.

Yesterday’s dramatic increase in prices came with the announcement of the buyout by Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. (PLDT) of JG Summit Holding’s ownership of Digitel Telecommunications. This is a great deal for all concerned. While PLDT does pick up an additional 14 million subscribers, it expands the ownership of its company, which includes the Japanese telecom company NTT. JG Summit picks up a valuable asset with its PLDT shares that can be used as a cash-generating asset without increasing debt or selling equity. JG summit can use those PLDT shares to borrow money at low interest rates while keeping its balance sheet looking very favorable.

Now to the cell-phone consumer. The initial reaction from some is that this is a bad deal for consumers because of less competition. I do not buy that argument. While telecom companies’ profit margins are being squeezed because of price competition, one less player is not going to diminish the competition between Globe and PLDT. Both companies know that consumer penetration is very high and may reach a saturation point in the next few years. Each is digging into the lower economic brackets with cheaper phone-usage options. And, more important, as saturation continues, both will dig deeper to pull customers away from each other. As long as PLDT and Globe need to fight each other for more market share, the consumer will not suffer. Just recently, Globe began a vigorous campaign to increase its postpaid business, long the jewel of Smart’s crown. PLDT may become even more aggressive in its price cutting now that it has a much-larger market share over Globe.

Remember that we had a “duopoly” before Sun was formed and that did not keep the Gokongwei group out of the business. San Miguel Corp., which has a substantial stake in Liberty Telecoms, Bell Telecoms and is planning to acquire Express Telecom, is probably ready to take on both PLDT and Globe the same way as Sun did before.

The local stock market looks very good right now. We may have a “new” stock market for the rest of 2011. Many stocks are rising on news stories and plans, including several high-profile corporate buy-ins and partial mergers.

But I would caution you against buying and relying too much on the media hype. Public companies know well how to play the “press release” and “PSE disclosure” game to move their stock price and, often, that price movement ends in sorrow for the average investor. One listed company presented the stock market with a disclosure that is false in nature, if not totally dishonest. Fortunately investors have not bought into the propaganda yet and I hope they do not. The PSE is not obligated to fully validate the complete reliability of corporate disclosures so let the buyer beware.

Buy the PSE. Buy the peso. Buy the Philippines.

E-mail comments to PSE stock market information and technical analysis tools provided by Inc. Coming soon, watch for

Playful Filipino names hard to get used to

By Kate McGeown
BBC News, Manila

Bizarre and often unflattering names are as quintessentially Filipino as the country's Catholic faith, friendly smiles, former US military jeeps known as jeepneys, beautiful beaches and love of karaoke.


Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Chinese-Filipino saves 90,000 OFWs in Taiwan

Ramon Tulfo

When the Taipei government threatened to cancel the work contracts of Filipino workers in Taiwan because of the deportation of 14 Taiwanese crime suspects to Mainland China, President Noy even worsened the rift.

Our President said the Pinoy workers—all 90,000 of them—could work elsewhere.

What P-Noy lacked in diplomacy, a Chinese-Filipino philanthropist, Dr. James Dy, made up for.

Dy, owner of the Chinese General Hospital and Medical Center and chairman emeritus of the Filipino Chinese General Chamber of Commerce, went to Taiwan and saved the day.

In his private capacity, Dy was able to convince the Taiwanese government to lift the suspension of the work contracts of 90,000 Filipino workers.

Their contracts have been renewed, thanks to Dy.

Time for some changes

Business Mirror

Amid the major news stories of the Japanese disaster and the war in Libya, another story broke a little more than a week ago. Knut, the polar bear, died at the Berlin Zoo.

Knut and his brother were born on December 5, 2006. The mother rejected the cubs for some unknown reason, abandoning them on a rock in the polar-bear enclosure. The brother died four days later of an infection. Zookeepers pulled Knut out and he was fed every two hours by his keeper who slept next to the infant polar bear.

Knut created a worldwide sensation, even appearing on the cover of Vanity Fair with actor Leonardo DeCaprio as a poster bear for the Green Movement.

The worldwide attention increased the Berlin Zoo’s attendance to a historic high, as well as historic zoo profits from the image of Knut that they copyrighted. The Neumünster Zoo in northern Germany, which owns Knut’s father, initiated legal action against the Berlin Zoo for the profits from Knut’s success.

On March 19 Knut died at four years old, unusual since polar bears often live 20 to 30 years.

An autopsy has discovered that Knut shared a genetic defect with his father, epilepsy, which caused him to convulse several times and fall into the water, drowning before zookeepers could rescue him.

Perhaps, the mother polar bear had good reason to abandon the two cubs at birth.

Maybe the sensible human reaction to the mother polar bear’s action should have been to “Let nature take its course.”

As humans, we have this inherent need to alter the world and events to suit our desires. The fervently religious might call this a desire to play God. But all of the accomplishments of mankind throughout history have been rooted in a desire to alter the world more to our liking.

While in one sense we want to be very proactive about the environment that we live in, constantly desiring change “for the better,” another part of us actively resists change. Maybe it is part of our collective human consciousness that believes that we are always moving forward, and anything new is most likely an improvement on the old.

Muntinlupa City is spotlighted once again after the “Ban the Condoms” ordinance in Ayala Alabang. Now the city has banned plastic bags. From street venders to rice dealers to the supermalls, plastic is out and paper is in. And we are not adjusting well at all. Rice in a paper bag is not very rugged. And when your favorite fast- food soft drink spills a drop or two walking to the office, the paper bag deteriorates rapidly.

However, it is great ecological idea, should become national law, and should have been done decades ago.

Had plastic been banned previously, the private sector would have planted millions of trees to provide the raw material for paper bags, and the country would be a better place for it. Right now, though, the Muntinlupa ban is a pain in the neck with consumers and business trying to figure out how to cope with the change. Muntinlupa Mayor Aldrin San Pedro really did not sell the idea to his city’s residents. He merely said this is the way it should be, and this is the way it is going to be. I wonder if he is going to be as successful selling his Senate or congressional candidacy the same way. In the meantime, we go with the flow.

And things do seem to flow in a proper progression when we avoid interfering too much. The problem is that our “intelligence” often gets in the way of intelligent thinking. Earth Hour may be the best and most ridiculous example of that. Shutting off your lights in protest of or to further the use of nonfossil-fuel energy sources is just plain dumb. Tens of million of people turn off their electric lights to sit in the warm glow of candles for an hour, candles made from a fossil-fuel crude oil byproduct, paraffin. Burning candles is at least as polluting as the power plants that produce electricity and a much more dangerous pollutant in the confines of a house.

For some reason, “environmental” causes seem to show some of the most absurd examples of not letting nature take its proper course. The foolish in the West are infamous for combining a “Save the Whales” bumper sticker with “Stop Oil Drilling” or “No Coal.”

What really saved the whales from extinction was both coal and crude oil. Whale oil had been used for a variety of purposes, including food, since 3000 B.C. In the 1800s, whale oil was the primary source of light, used in lamps as well for making candles. Whales may well have become extinct, if not for the switch to burning kerosene made from coal in 1846 and then to crude-oil petroleum products in the late 1800s.

I think a political leader’s most important job is to know when to resist change and when to advance change, and to effectively determine when an issue requires one of those actions. Mayor San Pedro is making the right choice on plastic bags. The administration is making the wrong choice with its policy on Laguna de Bay. It is time Laguna is turned into something more productive than fish pens. The same applies to other industries from logging to mining to tourism.

Each and every day reveals new opportunities to make the world a better place, an opportunity to reevaluate what needs to be changed and what does not. Unfortunately, what does not change is policymaking decision-making. Although misattributed to Albert Einstein, Benjamin Franklin and as a Chinese proverb, the phrase from American mystery author Rita Mae Brown in 1983 says it best: “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.”

USAID Philippine Mission: letting it all hang out

By David Morrison

Don't put anything on the World Wide Web that you wouldn't want to see appear in the following day's New York Times . This commonsense axiom is so widely accepted and practiced that the unsuspecting surfer is stunned by the unexpected candor of the U.S. Agency for International Development's Mission to the Philippines' (USAID-PH) website []. After all, how often do government agencies, especially those which operate abroad, freely confirm their mischief?

Although USAID's web network has been expanding, as of this writing the Philippine Mission's site is unique. No other USAID Mission has its own website, much less one as detailed and revealing as that of the Philippines. Whether because of the 'special relationship' the two nations share, or because USAID has made the Philippines a principal target of US 'beneficence,' the site documents an extraordinary amount of US activity in the archipelago — much of it related to population control.

The Mission declares on its Home Page its commitment to “global concerns” such as “environmental degradation, population and the AIDS epidemic,” which it sees as central to its goal of transforming the Philippines into “a model Newly Industrialized Country (NIC) democracy by the year 2000.” These three categories are sufficient to clue an astute web watcher into the anti-people character of USAID-PH programs, but the amount of detail that the Mission goes on to reveal its about activities is simply breathtaking.

For example, informed surfers would certainly suspect that Pathfinder International is present in the Philippines, but would they expect to see it named, along with its local Philippine contacts, on a USAID website? Many other USAID front organizations are also found here, including a fair number of those whose activities have been documented in this and other issues of PRI Review.

The key to understanding how USAID works 'on the ground' in the Philippines can be found on the first page of the site's “population and health” section. There the Mission, which claims to be “building” democracy in the Philippines, details how it uses development money for activities to subvert — no other word will do — majority rule. Justifying this neo-colonialism under the guise of meeting “unmet needs for family planning services,” USAID is targeting local Philippine governments for USAID's “particular attention.”

This works as follows. In conjunction with the Philippine Department of Health, USAID identities certain local governments whose family planning activities are to be “accelerated.” “Yearly performance benchmarks” for family planning acceptors are then set for these areas. If local governments meet these quotas, USAID “'releases” funds through the Philippine government to local governments.

“This [program] has proved to be a highly effective means to reach mutually agreeable objectives,” the Mission site proclaims. No doubt. Monetary grants are an excellent means of inducing people in a developing economy to act against their natural inclinations. The site boasts that 48 local governments were enrolled in this campaign in 1995, and expresses the hope that a “minimum” of 75 governments will be enlisted by 1998.

A second set of USAID-PH activities is centered around the distribution of the contraceptives needed to meet these “benchmarks.” To this end the site claims to have established a “highly effective contraceptive logistics system” throughout the Philippines. This single purpose pipeline carries only contraceptives, not antibiotics, vaccines, rehydration salts or other health supplies for the Philippine people.

As if the undermining of democracy and the warping of the health care delivery system were not enough, the Mission is also corrupting the Philippines free market economy. The Mission's social marketing program is aimed at convincing local pharmaceutical manufacturers and distributors to push contraceptives on unsuspecting Filipinos in exchange for what is euphemistically called “promotional assistance,” that is, free advertising. These advertising campaigns are especially aimed at the poorer classes, for the population controllers always believe that we have too many poor with us.

Would the Filipino people tolerate this kind of blatant interference into their national sovereignty and personal autonomy if they were aware of it? Probably not. Would the majority of US taxpayers support such inherently undemocratic, even ethnocentric programs, once these were brought to their attention? Definitely not. Now that the USAID-PH website has unintentionally revealed the unsavory details of US population control programs in the Philippines, perhaps enough Filipinos and Americans will learn the truth that, by working together, they can call these programs to a halt.

The Philippines Under Fire

Steven W Mosher
Population Research Institute

As I write, there is a battle royal underway in the Philippine Congress. On the one side are the Planned Parenthood types, backed by well-funded international organizations, who are attempting to ram through legislation that would cripple the Filipino birth rate. On the other side stand those who believe that the most precious resource of the Philippines is its people, and who object to the use of what some call “human pesticides” to control the Filipino population.

As you might suspect, the U.S. foreign aid establishment, emboldened by the anti-people mentality of the Obama administration, is on the wrong side of this crucial battle for Life.

The legislation in question is called ”The Responsible Parenthood, Reproductive Health And Population And Development Act Of 2011”—a title which manages the remarkable feat of encapsulating three lies of the abortion/population control movement in the short span of a dozen words.

  • “Responsible Parenthood’ is shorthand for the wrongheaded notion that couples are somehow doing the world a favor by having few or no children. In fact, the opposite is true: Children are the only future a nation has. Those who are willing to provide for the future in the most fundamental way—by providing the future generation—are a national treasure. They should be praised and encouraged, not condemned and sterilized.

  • “Reproductive Health,” another favorite of the anti-life movement, is equally misleading. Such programs are not intended to produce health at all, but sterility. Lest you think I exaggerate, consider how the “reproductive health” of a population is defined: It is the percentage of women of childbearing age who have been sterilized or who are using so-called “modern methods of contraception.” The higher this percentage (of women who have been chemically or surgically sterilized), the greater the supposed “reproductive health” of the population is said to be. This leads to the absolutely bizarre conclusion that a population enjoying perfect “reproductive health” would not be able to reproduce at all! Why? Because every last female reproductive system would have been disabled. We should not be surprised that the same people who define pregnancy as a disease, define “reproductive health” as sterility.

  • Finally, the implication of “Population and Development” is that population growth constitutes an intolerable burden on the economy. But while it is true that growing populations do produce temporary scarcities of goods and services, in a free market entrepreneurs respond by innovating; they devise more efficient means of production, for example, or they find substitutes for scarce materials. At the end of the day a larger population not only produces more goods and services, they do so at a lower price. Economists have a name for this: It’s called economies of scale.

The language of the Philippine Reproductive Health Bill, as it is called for short, is just as dangerous as its name suggests. Section 20, which fixes the “ideal” family size at two children, undermines the God-given right of couples to decide for themselves the number and spacing of their children. It will give further impetus to social engineering projects, already underway in the Philippine Department of Health and other government departments, to reduce family size. In our experience at PRI, any time a government sets population targets of any kind, it leads to human rights abuses.

But this is only the beginning of the mischief. Consider Section 13, which imposes on local government officials the obligation to enforce the provisions of the Act and “give priority to family planning work”. To this China hand, this sounds an awful lot like the PRC, where local officials are under constant pressure to reduce the birth rate, and do so by resorting to forced sterilizations, forced contraceptions and, all too often, forced abortions.

Another provision which could have been taken from Beijing’s playbook is Section 15, which sets up a so-called “Mobile Health Care Service,” and details how it will operate around the country. Apparently, as is the case in China, mobile sterilization teams will be brought in to do the dirty work of population control that local physicians, nearly all Catholic, find morally objectionable.

Incredibly, the proposed law even attempts to stifle dissent by Catholics and others by prohibiting the dissemination of “malicious disinformation about the intent and provisions of this Act.” The “malicious disinformation” that the framers of the bill had in mind would presumably include—aside from my criticisms above—pointing out the simple truth that life begins at conception.

Now I know that you may find this hard to believe, but the “reproductive health” enthusiasts who support the bill deny that a woman who has conceived a child is actually pregnant. It is not until five to seven days after conception, when the developing embryo implants in the lining of the uterus, that they are finally willing to admit its existence.

In claiming that human life does not begin at conception, but at implantation, they violate not only science but common sense. But it is important to understand that they are not fools. They do not engage in this obvious subterfuge lightly, but because they believe that the very success of their population control agenda demands it.

You see, if they admit that life truly does begin at conception, then they would also have to admit that every last one of their hormonal concoctions—from pills and hormonally laced IUDs to implants and injectables—cause early-term abortions. All hormonal contraception works, at least part of the time, by preventing an already conceived baby from implanting in the uterus.

The backers of the Reproductive Health Bill lie about this, too, of course, because they know that few women would take a supposed “contraceptive” knowing that it would actually cause them to abort.

This second lie is especially important to their efforts in the Philippines, where the Constitution, in Article II Section 12, provides that “the State shall equally protect the life of … the unborn from conception.” The Philippine Congress, wanting to leave no doubt about its intentions and no room for misinterpretation, defined the word conception in medical terms, as the fertilization of the ovum. Implantation goes unmentioned

This puts the Reproductive Health Bill, which indiscriminately promotes all types of abortifacient contraceptive devices and services, on a collision course with the Philippine Constitution.

The bill’s backers, supported by foreign “experts” and driven by their anti-people agenda, hotly deny that contraceptives are human pesticides, and that their massive distribution in the Philippines will exterminate large numbers of innocent Filipino babies. But there is little doubt that, if the bill passes, and “reproductive health” becomes the order of the day in the archipelago, that millions will die.

So far, the Philippines has resisted the population control juggernaut that has crushed the populations of other Asian countries like China and Indonesia. Zoe Vidal, a Philippine bioethicist, rightly observes that in this sense the Philippines is “the last country standing.”

Let us pray, for the sake of generations of Filipino babies as yet unborn, that they shall stand fast.

Monday, 28 March 2011

Pacquiao: If my dad used a condom, I wouldn't be here now

Candice Montenegro

A world-class boxing champion, the very epitome of male virility, has found common cause with Catholic bishops who want to keep sex sacred and procreative.

Boxing legend Manny Pacquiao, now a member of the Lower House representing Sarangani province, was among critics of the Reproductive Health (RH) bill who shared testimonies on Friday, in one of the biggest anti-RH bill gatherings at the Quirino Grandstand in Manila’s famed Rizal Park.

Pacquiao, who could not be at the rally, sent a recorded message instead, where he said the RH bill will prevent "blessings" from being born.

"Kung nag-condom po ang aking ama, si Mommy D (Dionesia), wala pong Manny Pacquiao (If my dad and Mommy Dionesia used a condom, there wouldn't be a Manny Pacquiao)," he said.

He also said the RH bill will cause the degradation of the youth's morality.

"Bilang ama, ayoko po na turuan ang aking mga anak ng kalaswaan. Kaya po ako'y nakikiusap na labanan po natin ang RH bill (As a father, I don't want my children to be taught such lewdness. That's why I'm asking you to fight the RH bill)," he said.

"Sa aking paniniwala, labag po ito sa kautusan ng Panginoon. Hindi po ito solusyon para labanan ang kahirapan. Ang solusyon ay labanan ang korupsyon (I believe the bill is against the Lord's teachings. This is not the solution we need to eradicate poverty. The solution for poverty is fighting corruption)," he told a cheering crowd of 40,000 according to police estimates.

Among other notable attendees of the anti-RH bill rally are former Manila mayor Jose “Lito" Atienza, Lanao del Norte Rep. Aliah Dimaporo, leader of the El Shaddai evangelist movement Bro. Mike Velarde, lawyer-broadcaster Jose "Ipaglaban Mo" Sison, and lay evangelist and author Bo Sanchez.

Proposed sex ed ‘too long’

Television host Christine Jacob-Sandejas also attended the rally with her children, aged two, four, seven, ten and eleven.

Jacob-Sandejas, a 1984 Olympics swimmer and SEA Games medalist before her TV career, said that if the RH bill were in effect now, she would not have her three youngest children as the bill would limit the number of children to only two.

She added that she does not want the RH bill teaching her children about sex.

"Ang mga magulang lamang ang dapat magturo sa kanilang mga anak dahil sila lang ang nakakaalam kung kaya na ba ito ng kanilang mga anak (Only parents should teach their children about sex because only they know when the children are ready to understand it)," she said.

Jacob-Sandejas also said that seven years of sex education in schools, from Grade 4 to fourth year in high school, is too much.

"Masyadong OA (over acting) naman 'yun, parang hindi na tama," she said. "Ano kaya ang ituturo nila for seven years na sex ed? Eh kung hindi pumasa, may summer classes pa para lang sa sex ed!"

(That's overkill, it doesn't seem right. What kind of sex ed will they teach for seven years? And if a student does not pass, he’ll have to take summer classes just for sex ed!)

Many Metro Manila reps are anti-RH

Parañaque Rep. Roilo Golez also gave a testimonial, saying he does not believe that the bill will stop the cycle of poverty in the Philippines, where children of poor families will likely end up poor as well.

"Para nilang sinabi na nakakahawa ang pagka-mahirap. Para nilang sinabi na ang mahirap, hindi dapat magka-anak," he said.

(It's like saying that poverty is contagious and that poor people are not allowed to have children.)

He also blasted other lawmakers who claim that the RH bill is not for population management but for maternal and child health.

"Kung hindi totoo na hindi population control ang reproductive health bill, bakit nila nilagay sa Committee on Population? Dapat ang bill na ito ay nasa Committee on Health kung maternal health ang gusto natin," he said.

(If the reproductive health bill is not for population control, then why did they file it under the Committee on Population? It should be under the Committee on Health if it's maternal health that they want.)

Gusto nila gumasta ng P3 bilyon para sa condom, para sa contraceptives, para mapigilan ng pagsilang ng 200,000 na babies. Kung ako ang tatanungin ninyo, yung P3 bilyon na 'yan, ilalagay ko sa training ng 200,000 na mga batang Pinoy nang sa gano'n, lalu silang gumaling," he added.

(They want to spend P3 billion for condoms and contraceptives that will prevent the birth of 200,000 babies. If you were to ask me, I’d use the P3 billion for the training of 200,000 young Filipinos so that they will excel.)

Golez said that among House members representing Metro Manila districts, there are more anti-RH advocates than there are pro-RH.

"Kailangan lamang, ikalat natin ang balitang ito (na marami tayong anti-RH), para sa ganoon, yung iba pang natitira, maging anti-RH na rin para lalung lumakas ang ating laban," he said.

(We just need to spread the word that we who are anti-RH are bigger in number, so that the rest will turn anti-RH as well and reinforce our opposition.)—JV, GMA News

12 Warning Signs of U.S. Hyperinflation

National Inflation Association

One of the most frequently asked questions we receive at the National Inflation Association (NIA) is what warning signs will there be when hyperinflation is imminent. In our opinion, the majority of the warning signs that hyperinflation is imminent are already here today, but most Americans are failing to properly recognize them. NIA believes that there is a serious risk of hyperinflation breaking out as soon as the second half of this calendar year and that hyperinflation is almost guaranteed to occur by the end of this decade.

In our estimation, the most likely time frame for a full-fledged outbreak of hyperinflation is between the years 2013 and 2015. Americans who wait until 2013 to prepare, will most likely see the majority of their purchasing power wiped out. It is essential that all Americans begin preparing for hyperinflation immediately.

Here are NIA's top 12 warning signs that hyperinflation is about to occur:

1) The Federal Reserve is Buying 70% of U.S. Treasuries. The Federal Reserve has been buying 70% of all new U.S. treasury debt. Up until this year, the U.S. has been successful at exporting most of its inflation to the rest of the world, which is hoarding huge amounts of U.S. dollar reserves due to the U.S. dollar's status as the world's reserve currency. In recent months, foreign central bank purchases of U.S. treasuries have declined from 50% down to 30%, and Federal Reserve purchases have increased from 10% up to 70%. This means U.S. government deficit spending is now directly leading to U.S. inflation that will destroy the standard of living for all Americans.

2) The Private Sector Has Stopped Purchasing U.S. Treasuries. The U.S. private sector was previously a buyer of 30% of U.S. government bonds sold. Today, the U.S. private sector has stopped buying U.S. treasuries and is dumping government debt. The Pimco Total Return Fund was recently the single largest private sector owner of U.S. government bonds, but has just reduced its U.S. treasury holdings down to zero. Although during the financial panic of 2008, investors purchased government bonds as a safe haven, during all future panics we believe precious metals will be the new safe haven.

3) China Moving Away from U.S. Dollar as Reserve Currency. The U.S. dollar became the world's reserve currency because it was backed by gold and the U.S. had the world's largest manufacturing base. Today, the U.S. dollar is no longer backed by gold and China has the world's largest manufacturing base. There is no reason for the world to continue to transact products and commodities in U.S. dollars, when most of everything the world consumes is now produced in China. China has been taking steps to position the yuan to be the world's new reserve currency.

The People's Bank of China stated earlier this month, in a story that went largely unreported by the mainstream media, that it would respond to overseas demand for the yuan to be used as a reserve currency and allow the yuan to flow back into China more easily. China hopes to allow all exporters and importers to settle their cross border transactions in yuan by the end of 2011, as part of their plan to increase the yuan's international role. NIA believes if China really wants to become the world's next superpower and see to it that the U.S. simultaneously becomes the world's next Zimbabwe, all China needs to do is use their $1.15 trillion in U.S. dollar reserves to accumulate gold and use that gold to back the yuan.

4) Japan to Begin Dumping U.S. Treasuries. Japan is the second largest holder of U.S. treasury securities with $885.9 billion in U.S. dollar reserves. Although China has reduced their U.S. treasury holdings for three straight months, Japan has increased their U.S. treasury holdings seven months in a row. Japan is the country that has been the most consistent at buying our debt for the past year, but that is about the change. Japan is likely going to have to spend $300 billion over the next year to rebuild parts of their country that were destroyed by the recent earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear disaster, and NIA believes their U.S. dollar reserves will be the most likely source of this funding. This will come at the worst possible time for the U.S., which needs Japan to increase their purchases of U.S. treasuries in order to fund our record budget deficits.

5) The Fed Funds Rate Remains Near Zero. The Federal Reserve has held the Fed Funds Rate at 0.00-0.25% since December 16th, 2008, a period of over 27 months. This is unprecedented and NIA believes the world is now flooded with excess liquidity of U.S. dollars.

When the nuclear reactors in Japan began overheating two weeks ago after their cooling systems failed due to a lack of electricity, TEPCO was forced to open relief valves to release radioactive steam into the air in order to avoid an explosion. The U.S. stock market is currently acting as a relief valve for all of the excess liquidity of U.S. dollars. The U.S. economy for all intents and purposes should currently be in a massive and extremely steep recession, but because of the Fed's money printing, stock prices are rising because people don't know what else to do with their dollars.

NIA believes gold, and especially silver, are much better hedges against inflation than U.S. equities, which is why for the past couple of years we have been predicting large declines in both the Dow/Gold and Gold/Silver ratios. These two ratios have been in free fall exactly like NIA projected.

The Dow/Gold ratio is the single most important chart all investors need to closely follow, but way too few actually do. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) itself is meaningless because it averages together the dollar based movements of 30 U.S. stocks. With just the DJIA, it is impossible to determine whether stocks are rising due to improving fundamentals and real growing investor demand, or if prices are rising simply because the money supply is expanding.

The Dow/Gold ratio illustrates the cyclical nature of the battle between paper assets like stocks and real hard assets like gold. The Dow/Gold ratio trends upward when an economy sees real economic growth and begins to trend downward when the growth phase ends and everybody becomes concerned about preserving wealth. With interest rates at 0%, the U.S. economy is on life support and wealth preservation is the focus of most investors. NIA believes the Dow/Gold ratio will decline to 1 before the hyperinflationary crisis is over and until the Dow/Gold ratio does decline to 1, investors should keep buying precious metals.

6) Year-Over-Year CPI Growth Has Increased 92% in Three Months. In November of 2010, the Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS)'s consumer price index (CPI) grew by 1.1% over November of 2009. In February of 2011, the BLS's CPI grew by 2.11% over February of 2010, above the Fed's informal inflation target of 1.5% to 2%. An increase in year-over-year CPI growth from 1.1% in November of last year to 2.11% in February of this year means that the CPI's growth rate increased by approximately 92% over a period of just three months. Imagine if the year-over-year CPI growth rate continues to increase by 92% every three months. In 9 to 12 months from now we could be looking at a price inflation rate of over 15%. Even if the BLS manages to artificially hold the CPI down around 5% or 6%, NIA believes the real rate of price inflation will still rise into the double-digits within the next year.

7) Mainstream Media Denying Fed's Target Passed. You would think that year-over-year CPI growth rising from 1.1% to 2.11% over a period of three months for an increase of 92% would generate a lot of media attention, especially considering that it has now surpassed the Fed's informal inflation target of 1.5% to 2%. Instead of acknowledging that inflation is beginning to spiral out of control and encouraging Americans to prepare for hyperinflation like NIA has been doing for years, the media decided to conveniently change the way it defines the Fed's informal target.

The media is now claiming that the Fed's informal inflation target of 1.5% to 2% is based off of year-over-year changes in the BLS's core-CPI figures. Core-CPI, as most of you already know, is a meaningless number that excludes food and energy prices. Its sole purpose is to be used to mislead the public in situations like this. We guarantee that if core-CPI had just surpassed 2% and the normal CPI was still below 2%, the media would be focusing on the normal CPI number, claiming that it remains below the Fed's target and therefore inflation is low and not a problem.

The fact of the matter is, food and energy are the two most important things Americans need to live and survive. If the BLS was going to exclude something from the CPI, you would think they would exclude goods that Americans don't consume on a daily basis. The BLS claims food and energy prices are excluded because they are most volatile. However, by excluding food and energy, core-CPI numbers are primarily driven by rents. Considering that we just came out of the largest Real Estate bubble in world history, there is a glut of homes available to rent on the market. NIA has been saying for years that being a landlord will be the worst business to be in during hyperinflation, because it will be impossible for landlords to increase rents at the same rate as overall price inflation. Food and energy prices will always increase at a much faster rate than rents.

8) Record U.S. Budget Deficit in February of $222.5 Billion. The U.S. government just reported a record budget deficit for the month of February of $222.5 billion. February's budget deficit was more than the entire fiscal year of 2007. In fact, February's deficit on an annualized basis was $2.67 trillion. NIA believes this is just a preview of future annual budget deficits, and we will see annual budget deficits surpass $2.67 trillion within the next several years.

9) High Budget Deficit as Percentage of Expenditures. The projected U.S. budget deficit for fiscal year 2011 of $1.645 trillion is 43% of total projected government expenditures in 2011 of $3.819 trillion. That is almost exactly the same level of Brazil's budget deficit as a percentage of expenditures right before they experienced hyperinflation in 1993 and it is higher than Bolivia's budget deficit as a percentage of expenditures right before they experienced hyperinflation in 1985. The only way a country can survive with such a large deficit as a percentage of expenditures and not have hyperinflation, is if foreigners are lending enough money to pay for the bulk of their deficit spending. Hyperinflation broke out in Brazil and Bolivia when foreigners stopped lending and central banks began monetizing the bulk of their deficit spending, and that is exactly what is taking place today in the U.S.

10) Obama Lies About Foreign Policy. President Obama campaigned as an anti-war President who would get our troops out of Iraq. NIA believes that many Libertarian voters actually voted for Obama in 2008 over John McCain because they felt Obama was more likely to end our wars that are adding greatly to our budget deficits and making the U.S. a lot less safe as a result. Obama may have reduced troop levels in Iraq, but he increased troops levels in Afghanistan, and is now sending troops into Libya for no reason.

The U.S. is now beginning to occupy Libya, when Libya didn't do anything to the U.S. and they are no threat to the U.S. Obama has increased our overall overseas troop levels since becoming President and the U.S. is now spending $1 trillion annually on military expenses, which includes the costs to maintain over 700 military bases in 135 countries around the world. There is no way that we can continue on with our overseas military presence without seeing hyperinflation.

11) Obama Changes Definition of Balanced Budget. In the White House's budget projections for the next 10 years, they don't project that the U.S. will ever come close to achieving a real balanced budget. In fact, after projecting declining budget deficits up until the year 2015 (NIA believes we are unlikely to see any major dip in our budget deficits due to rising interest payments on our national debt), the White House projects our budget deficits to begin increasing again up until the year 2021. Obama recently signed an executive order to create the "National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform", with a mission to "propose recommendations designed to balance the budget, excluding interest payments on the debt, by 2015". Obama is redefining a balanced budget to exclude interest payments on our national debt, because he knows interest payments are about to explode and it will be impossible to trul y balance the budget.

12) U.S. Faces Largest Ever Interest Payment Increases. With U.S. inflation beginning to spiral out of control, NIA believes it is 100% guaranteed that we will soon see a large spike in long-term bond yields. Not only that, but within the next couple of years, NIA believes the Federal Reserve will be forced to raise the Fed Funds Rate in a last-ditch effort to prevent hyperinflation. When both short and long-term interest rates start to rise, so will the interest payments on our national debt. With the public portion of our national debt now exceeding $10 trillion, we could see interest payments on our debt reach $500 billion within the next year or two, and over $1 trillion somewhere around mid-decade. When interest payments reach $1 trillion, they will likely be around 30% to 40% of government tax receipts, up from interest payments being only 9% of tax receipts today. No country has ever seen interest payments on their debt reach 40% of tax receipts without hyperinflation occurring in the years to come.

U.S. dollar, usually world’s safe haven, declining despite plenty of global turmoil

Neil Irwin
Washington Post

When the world is in turmoil, investors have usually had one automatic response: Put money into dollars, viewed as the global safe harbor.

But that’s not happening in this tumultuous year. Even with the Middle East in conflict, Japan in disarray after a series of disasters and Europe facing a debt crisis, the dollar has been gradually falling in value against other major currencies. Having fallen relative to the euro, pound and yen in recent months, the dollar is down 7 percent against a basket of six major currencies since Jan. 7 and 14 percent since June.


Sunday, 27 March 2011

Up next: Azkals ‘Dream Team’

Cedelf P Tupas

RANGOON—Promising as it is now, the Philippine football team is only bound to get stronger.

With many key players still yet to strut their wares for the squad, the talk of an Azkals “Dream Team” for the 2014 World Cup qualifiers gathered steam here shortly after they got the job done in the AFC Challenge Cup group qualifying tournament.

“We hope to assemble the Dream Team for the World Cup qualifiers,” said team manager Dan Palami, the man credited for the Azkals’ rise from obscurity. “We just played 60 percent of our potential here. We can build an even better team.”

The Azkals won one match—a 3-0 drubbing of Bangladesh—after drawing with Myanmar and Palestine to secure qualification to the next phase in the company of India, Turkmenistan and Maldives, which have earlier booked their places.

Together with regulars in the squad like Neil Etheridge, Aly Borromeo, Anton del Rosario, Chieffy Caligdong, Ray Jonsson, Rob Gier, Simon Greatwich and Phil and James Younghusband, and newcomers Jerry Lucena and Angel Aldeguer Guirado, the “Dream Team” will include the Filipino-German rightback Stephan Schrock and Filipino-Danish leftback Dennis Cagara.

The first round of qualifying is scheduled in June and July, but the Azkals’ opponents will be known March 30 when the draw is held in the AFC office in Kuala Lumpur.

Palami said the team will be given a one-month break to attend to several commitments.

During their break, the Azkals will also undertake relief operations in Palami’s hometown, Tacloban City, which was hit by heavy rains that caused floods recently.

“The team has been very fortunate to have survived several natural calamities,” said Palami, whose squad was training in Japan when the strong earthquake hit the country and was also in Myanmar when another tremor shook the Southeast Asian country.

“This is our way of giving back for all the blessings we have received. We are thankful that despite all that’s happened, we have been given the chance to make history. I’m encouraging the fans to participate and contribute.”

The Azkals will also use the break to scout for new players in Europe and the United States as well as standouts for the Under-23 squad for the Southeast Asian Games.

Palami said Borromeo, Del Rosario and Chris Greatwich will be holding tryouts in the United States next month, while Gier will be helping out in looking for players in Europe.

Meanwhile, the Philippine Football Federation is working on getting the hosting rights to one of the group qualifying tournaments for the 2014 AFC Challenge Cup.

Philippine Olympic Committee chair Monico Puentevella, who is also part of the PFF advisory council, said he has been assured of support by key AFC officials for the country to host the tournament, which could either be held in Manila or Bacolod in 2013.

“With all due respect to Myanmar, if they can do it, I think we can also do it,” said Puentevella, who watched the Philippines’ first two matches here.