Friday, 13 July 2012

CNN: What is driving the Philippines' surprisingly strong growth?

Vanessa Ko "You have an aging population in the West, and you have a young population here in the Philippines that is waiting to do jobs that some people in the West aren't willing to do."

Thursday, 12 July 2012

Mining policy; missing great leadership

Business Mirror

GOOD leaders are common. You see them everywhere. Successful leaders are abundant. That is why most families, businesses and countries progress forward even if slowly and with hesitation at times.
Great leaders are rarer but can easily be identified through their actions and, more significantly, through their words. In fact, if you need to explain and justify why a person is a “good” leader, they are not. Quality leadership is always self-evident. You never had to define all the qualities that great teacher of yours had. That teacher just did the job much better than all the others.

In virtually every case, great political leaders confronted a serious and vital situation with strength and, more important, inspiration. Their actions are embodied by the words they used in leading. Even if people may have disagreed with the policy and decisions, there was no mistake as to who was in charge and what was going to be achieved.

British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher stated her economic policies clearly when she said, “They [socialists] always run out of other people’s money.” She then privatized the wasteful and inefficient government corporations while reducing taxes and welfare.

American President Ronald Reagan called communism “the focus of evil in the modern world.” His clearly stated goal was to bring down global communism. In Berlin at the closed gate between West and East Germany, he said, “Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate. Mr. Gorbachev, Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall.” Two years later, after 30 years, the Wall came down.

Mahatma Gandhi lived his words, “Non-violent non-cooperation with evil means cooperation with all that is good” as he peacefully gained India’s independence.

In the midst of the Great Depression, President Franklin D. Roosevelt said at his inauguration, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself” and then created the far-reaching New Deal polices.

The newly stated policy on mineral development can be briefly summarized as:

1. Tourism areas and agricultural lands must be protected.

2. Environmental laws must be strictly adhered to and enforced, including those for small-scale operations.

3. The rights of and financial benefits to indigenous people for the use of their lands and resources must be strengthened and monitored at every step of mine development.

4. Congress must enact a new and more beneficial tax and revenue-sharing scheme for mining activities.

5. Downstream ore processing must be developed.

6. Mineral and resource development must be a policy determined and controlled by the national government.

So what is the big deal and why did it take18 months to come up with this? The executive order (EO) is a restatement, and yes, a good and necessary clear restatement, of existing policy and law with a few improvements.

All the consultations were a waste of time. Bringing together the people who want to return to the glory days of A.D. 1520 and those who would like to bomb Boracay with nukes looking for gold accomplished nothing. Further, the House and the Senate will do consultations all over again.

Resource and mineral development is economically critical to the Philippines and does affect every Filipino. The $1 trillion in mineral resources and the $300 billion necessary to develop those resources belong to the people, all the people.

After 18 months, the administration should have presented to the people and Congress a comprehensive legislative package to accomplish what is outlined in the EO, not simply a blank piece of paper.

The administration should have taken the time and the care to explain why this was the correct policy that the nation should follow, not issue a challenge to go to court if some group did not like it. Great leadership plots the course, lays the plans, and makes the difficult implementing decisions. The administration missed its chance for great leadership on this one.

Nothing in regard to PHL’s mining policy has drastically changed. Soon again we will invest in mining.

Shakespeare wrote, “It is a tale full of sound and fury signifying nothing.”

E-mail to, web site is, and Twitter @mangunonmarkets. PSE stock-market information and technical analysis tools provided by COL Financial Group Inc.

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

San Miguel, Ayala-MPIC, 23 others eye LRT-1 extension project,-ayala-mpic,-23-others-eye-lrt-1-extension-project

MANILA, Philippines - The country's largest business groups have expressed interest to participate in the bidding for the operations and maintenance (O&M) project of the Light Rail Transit (LRT) line 1 extension, which will connect Cavite and capital Manila.

This P55 billion infrastructure project will be the second project for bidding under the public-private partnership (PPP) scheme of the Aquino government. Transportation Secretary Manuel Roxas described this as the “largest single ticket in [the] infrastructure portfolio of President Benigno Aquino.”


Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Maybe I could be king?

John Mangun
Business Mirror

GIVEN the choice, I would probably choose an absolute monarchy as the best form of government. Of course, that is blasphemy in this age of people empowerment. But this whole idea of “representative government” has gotten way out of hand.

First, the “representatives” are being elected for the most part by people, including me, whom you would never allow to be in control of anything. How can someone who is basically incompetent to be a leader be given the power to choose the leader?

I tend to take my restaurant recommendations from thin people. I figure that people who do not eat a lot probably are more selective in the quality of food they choose when they do eat.

It is like what the famous American comedian Groucho Marx once said: “I don’t care to belong to an exclusive club that accepts people like me as members.”

Second, I think the “representatives” take the “representative” part too literally by trying to please everyone and all the various ideas. I would be really worried if my boss asked the idiot sitting in the cubicle next to me how the company should be managed. “The Boss” is the boss because he or she is supposed to know more than the employees about how to run things. Sure, ask for suggestions but then make the decisions based on knowledge and experience, not by popular vote.

Of course, the problem with a having a king or queen is the job passes down the family line. And like intelligence, stupidity tends to run in the family genes, too. It got so bad in England that they put a distant cousin on the throne that was German, not British.

Over the centuries, though, even the monarchs knew about this bloodline problem. That’s why you had the king of France marrying a Spanish princess. But then no one really wanted to be a part of the Russian royal family and most of their offspring carried the genetic defect for hemophilia.

The ancient Grecians had a partial solution to the problem of incompetent rulers. When an important decision had to be made, they all marched up the hill to visit the Oracle of Delphi. The high priestess was always chosen from among the peasants in the area I guess so she would not be accused of being part of the rich elite ruling class.

The priestess or the Pythia would sit above the smoldering fumes from the volcano, which supposedly held the body of the serpent Python that Apollo killed. After a few centuries, the Pythia was probably inhaling something other than a burning snake. More than likely it was some very powerful ancient Grecian herbs that would be a big hit on the modern nightclub circuit.

The Pythia would go into a trance and babble an answer that was interpreted by other priests. The leaders of Athens would go back down from Delphi, start a war, build a new colony or issue any variety of executive orders with the firm knowledge that they had made the right decision.

Anyone who objected to the EO was referred to the Pythia who was not in the habit of justifying her decisions, as being high from volcano/herb fumes 24/7 limited her ability to care what any mere mortal thought.

But modern “representatives of the people” do not have the benefit of the Pythia. When they make a big decision, they have to go around telling all the varied interest groups that the decision was, well, in everyone’s best interest.

A compromise is defined as a decision that satisfies no one. For modern “representatives,” I suppose the idea is keep all sides from being too angry by not pleasing anyone too much.

I tried that once by intervening in a discussion with my wife and our second son about the girl he wanted to date. I thought I had a reasonable compromise. No one spoke to me for a week.

I think I would make a better king than a “representative.”

E-mail to, Web site is and Twitter @mangunonmarkets. PSE stock market information and technical analysis tools provided by COL Financial Group Inc.