Friday, 6 April 2012

Why the Philippines is a big winner with its population

The Economist
See full article and chart here --

Basically, economic growth comes from having more workers, making them more productive or a combination of the two. If a country has fewer workers, productivity has to do all the work, and even then real growth is likely to be slow.

The top five growers are the Philippines, Egypt, Malaysia, Israel and india. Of course, very-rapidly growing population can be a problem, especially if you can't find jobs for young men. But it is better to be in the top half of the table - like Australia, New Zealand and Ireland - than the bottom.

These figures are quite remarkable - not since the Black Death can there have been such a fall in workers - and the implications must surely be very profound. One reason it will be so hard for Europe to grow its way out of the debt crisis is the impact of demography.

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Bad customer service

Business Mirror

THE following is an e-mail exchange between a close friend and business associate and Philippine Long Distance Telephone (PLDT) regarding his application for the P3,000 per month DSL Internet service.
From: Fernando, To:, March 09, ‘12, Subject: myDSL Application-Plan 3000.

First Name: Fernando, Last Name: A., House No.: 1234, Street: Rizal St. Village Name: Gated Village, Bgy. Dela Cruz, Abc City, 1876, E-mail: Fernando@, DSL Plan: XCEL 3000

From:, To: Fernando, 15 Mar ‘12, Subject: RE: PLDT myDSL Application.

For us to verify if Telephone and DSL connection is serviceable in your area, please provide us your complete address. House number, Street Name, Village Name, Barangay Name, City,

This will aid us in processing your application. Respectfully, PLDT Customer Care.

From: Fernando, March 15, ‘12 Subject: RE: PLDT myDSL Application

I’m hoping my application would be facilitated within the week. House number: 1234, Street Name: Rizal St., Village Name: Gated Village, Barangay Name: Dela Cruz, Abc City, 1876.

From:, 16 Mar ‘12, Subject: RE: PLDT myDSL Application

Dear Sir: We need your previous address also.

From: Fernando, March 19, ‘12, Subject: RE: PLDT myDSL Application

Here are my previous addresses: 1. Xyz 2. xyZ.

Is there any problem? This has taken so long.

From:, 20 Mar ‘12, Subject: PLDT myDSL Application

Dear Sir, Thank you for your interest in our PLDT service.

We are in the process of verifying the available cable facilities in your area. Meanwhile, please provide us the following information as required in the creation of your application record: Valid ID Number and copy of ID, Birth Date, and Signed Subscription Certificate. You may send the documents through e-mail as scanned copy, attention: Ms. S.

From: Fernando, attention: Ms. S, March 28, ‘12 Subject: RE: myDSL Application

Here are all the documents you asked for. When will my DSL be installed? Thank you.

From:, 29 Mar ‘12, Subject: RE: DSL Application

Dear Sir, Please be advised that we are currently enhancing our System, thus, we may only take your application details and encode it in our database once our System is up. You may check with us again after two weeks to ensure that a corresponding Account Number has been issued to your phone/DSL application. Thank you.

My friend’s response to that last e-mail is unprintable. It took 20 days for the company to tell the potential customer that in spite of providing all the information they asked for, (in one case, twice) the application for service could not be processed and to check back again in two weeks.

The company loses revenue and customer good will. The customer loses time and effort. The economy loses activity and productivity.

It is either that the person working for the company is not qualified to address the needs of the customer. Or, the company is incapable of addressing those needs in a timely, efficient, and effective manner. This kind of customer service is unacceptable.

The following is a series of updates from the government to the people.

13 November 2011: A government panel crafting a new mining policy is expected to submit its proposals on November 15 for approval by President Aquino before the year ends.

26 January ’12: President Aquino said the Philippine government will have a clear-cut mining policy by next month.

17 February ’12: The Aquino administration is speeding up the review of the country’s mining policy.

5 March ’12: The crafting of a government policy on mining will have to take a little longer, Malacañang said over the weekend. A presidential spokesman said that the government could not give an assurance of when it will come out.

10 March ’12: The government has backtracked on its plan to issue an executive order detailing new mining regulations. Instead, the government will release a policy statement on the mining sector.

29 March ’12: The government may release a series of policies for the regulation of the mining industry instead of just one executive order.

29 March ’12: President Aquino hinted on Thursday that the much-awaited executive order on mining will be out in a month.

30 March ’12: “So it’s still not a finished policy. It’s still a work in progress,” Aquino said. The government has not set a new target date for the release of the new policies for the mining sector.

1 April ’12: President Aquino confirmed yesterday a “policy statement” on mining would be issued to lay down the principles and broad directions it would want to take as regards the sector.

“You may check with us again after two weeks.”

On a personal note, after Holy Week, the PSE will advance to 5,400 or begin to fall to 4,600. Be ready for whatever happens. Go to and Subscribe to the Premium Area.

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Monday, 2 April 2012

‘Demographic window’

Manila Standard Today

Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Governor Amando Tetangco Jr. stirred the interest of his audience when he declared before an investors’ forum last week that the Philippines would soon near the demographic window in which a greater number of the population would drive economic growth.

Tetangco sees 2015 as the demographic “sweet spot” where the Philippine population will have increased its purchasing power and push the economy to grow much faster.

“That concept, the demographic window, is that period in an economy’s history when more people or a prominent portion of the population is of working age. That means these people have the purchasing power, the purchasing capacity, which can drive consumption, investment and therefore [result in] faster economy,” Tetangco said. “The population would be a source of economic growth.”

Tetangco is clearly referring to the demographic transition of the Philippines, when the younger age groups are about to comprise a much larger proportion of the country’s total population, and cited history to prove the concept of demographic dividends. Some economists actually credited the demographic dividends to the rise of Asia’s tiger economies in the 70s and 80s.

“Our average age is 22.2 years. So by 2015, we’ll reach that window. We’ve seen the experience of other countries—Thailand and Indonesia—in the region that have benefited from these demographic dividends,”  Tetangco said. The Philippines, he said, was the last major economy in Asia to enter the so-called sweet spot. “If you’re an investor and you’re looking at the potential of an economy in terms of the size of the market, they will consider these demographic window that the Philippines is about to enter,” Tetangco said.

The over-half-a-million Filipinos working in various business process outsourcing sites in the country could be the precursor of the demographic window concept. The BPO sector, like the migrant Filipino workers, is driving up consumption and supporting the construction industry. Young call center workers, in short, are partly priming the economy.

The Philippines’ growing population will ultimately be the major market for cellphones, automobiles, appliances and the major services. The government, meanwhile, must prepare for the demographic transition and make sure that the momentum of economic growth is sustained instead of derailing it through unresponsive and myopic policies.