© Copyright, 2015 (PHNO)
 http://newsflash.org   | APEC PHL NOVEMBER 18 -19, 2015

BUSINESS HEADLINES THIS PAST WEEK...
(Mini Reads followed by Full Reports below)

SWS: ABOUT 10 MILLION FILIPINOS ARE UNEMPLOYED
[SWS noted that “joblessness has been above 20 percent since November 2010, reaching as high as 34.4 percent in March 2012, except in March 2015 when it fell to 19.1 percent.”]


NOVEMBER 9 -MB FILE – Employment applicants queue up to enter the job fair spearheaded by the Departmenr of Labor and Employment at the Iloilo provincial capitol in Iloilo City, May 1, 2014. (Tara Yap) The unemployment rate has remained over 20 percent in the past three months with about 10 million Filipinos still without a job or looking for a job. Based on the latest Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey results, jobless rate in the third quarter was recorded at 23.7 percent. The survey was conducted among 1,200 respondents last September 2-5, while results were first published in BusinessWorld on Monday (November 9). SWS said the workforce participation rate in the September survey was 69.4 percent or an estimated 42.4 million adults. It was lower than June survey’s 74 percent or an estimated 45.2 million adults. The unemployment rate in June was 23.2 percent or about 10.5 million Filipinos. To further define joblessness, SWS said those who fall under this category are individuals 18 years old and above without a job and also looking for a job. However, those jobless who are not looking for work, such as housewives and retired individuals are excluded from this category. SWS noted that “joblessness has been above 20 percent since November 2010, reaching as high as 34.4 percent in March 2012, except in March 2015 when it fell to 19.1 percent.” THE FULL REPORT.

ALSO: Flights cancelled for APEC hit 1,364


NOVEMBER 11, A postal officer with the newly released Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit stamps. Edd Gumban
A total of 1,125 domestic and 239 international flights before and during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Manila have been cancelled.
Philippine Airlines (PAL), Cebu Pacific (CEB) and Cebgo announced yesterday additional cancelled flights from Nov. 15 to 21. The APEC meetings will be held from Nov. 16 to 20. PAL cancelled another 280 domestic and 78 international flights while CEB cancelled another 365 domestic and 29 international flights, and Cebgo 29 more domestic flights. PAL had cancelled some 115 domestic and 96 international flights, Cebu Pacific some 262 domestic and 26 international flights while Air Asia cancelled 74 domestic and 10 international flights that were announced late last month. PAL and CEB asked for the affected passengers’ understanding. LIST: Domestic, int’l flights canceled for APEC The flights were scrapped amid periodic temporary runway closures at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) for the arrival and departure of heads of state for the APEC meetings. READ MORE...

ALSO: Philippines '97% ready' for APEC 2015


NOVEMBER 12 -In this Nov.12, 2014 photo, world leaders attend the Leaders Retreat during the 22nd APEC Leaders’ Meeting at the Hongyan Hall of the International Conference Center in China. The Philippines will be hosting the APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting this year. Malacañang Photo Bureau/Ryan Lim
The Philippines is ready for hosting the 23rd Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit next week, the National Organizing Council (NOC) said on Thursday. "I think we are 95 to 97 percent ready for APEC. We are just fine-tuning some of the details," NOC Director General Ambassador Marciano Paynor Jr. said in a press briefing. Paynor said the security of the leaders has been the greatest challenge in hosting the APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting this year. A total of 19 heads of state, including President Benigno Aquino III, and two leaders of economies will attend the summit in Manila from November 18 to 19. The Presidential Security Group will take charge in securing the world leaders who will be attending the APEC summit in the country. Over 7,000 delegates are expected to attend the event. Paynor noted that the nature of world security has changed since the "9/11" terrorist attack in the United States back in 2001. The normal police force of the National Capital Region have been stretched for the upcoming meeting of world leaders in the country, Paynor said. "We brought in augmentations from other regions," the ambassador said. Paynor assured that Aquino is "on top of everything" and directed the organizing council to ensure that the country's hosting will be a success from all points of view. Malacañang earlier said that the president wants a “flawless and seamless” APEC summit next week. THE FULL REPORT.

ALSO: INCLUSIVE GROWTH, PH CONTRIBUTION TO APEC MEET


NOVEMBER 13 -The Philippine hosting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) is set to highlight the need for corporations in these economies to practise what is now known as inclusive business (IB), which aims to provide decent, well-paying jobs and high-quality services to poor communities to help realize sustainable and inclusive growth.
Adrian Cristobal Jr., undersecretary of the Department of Trade and Industry, said the Philippines’ contribution to the APEC dialogues this year is to launch and introduce IB, an initiative to be picked up and adopted by Peru, next year’s APEC host. “This is expected to stand out in the Philippines; what started as an idea… inclusiveness will be the Philippines’ contribution to APEC,” said Cristobal. Armin Bauer, economist at the Asian Development Bank, said in a press conference at the APEC High-Level Discussion (HLD)on Inclusive Business at the Manila Peninsula yesterday the Philippines is among the first to move IB in the APEC agenda. Bauer cited the potential for IB in the Philippines where there are a million companies of which 20,000 are social enterprises. He said there are 100 IB models identified and 15 are considered investible. “The inclusive business market has huge potential but the number of cases is very few,” Bauer said. While global businesses have been observing sustainable and fair trade practices in their operations, IB should not be confused to philanthropy or corporate social responsibility, according to Eriko Ishikawa, global head of the Inclusive Business Team of the World Bank-International Finance Corp. “Inclusive business is still business. Pro-poor is pro-business,” Ishikawa said. IB was first introduced early this year at the APEC public-private dialogue in Cebu before it escalated to a high-level dialogue yesterday where corporations from APEC showcased their respective IB models. Cristobal in his speech at the HLD, said IB is one way to help mitigate or reduce the incidence of poverty in APEC member economies. Cristobal cited an Asian Development Bank study which revealed that over 700 million in the Asia-Pacific region -- two-thirds of the world’s poor -- live below the global poverty line of $1.25 per day. These numbers are actual lives and families who face the daily struggle to make ends meet. Even with the Philippines’ robust economic performance over the past years, Cristobal said poverty remains a challenge - with one in four Filipinos still poor, and over 25 million subsisting on incomes below a dollar a day. READ MORE...

ALSO By Ben Kritz: The real cost of APEC
[Will it be worth it? Most people would be hard-pressed to describe the purpose of APEC, let alone identify how this particular supranational grouping has directly benefited their daily lives. Even those of us who understand it—for the layman, APEC is an occasional gathering of Pacific Rim nations, held for the purpose of expressing aspirations about free trade in order to give business and political reporters something to talk about for a few days—are not expecting much better than another one of those pictures of Noynoy Aquino fumbling his pose in the leaders’ end-of-conference family portrait.]


NOVEMBER 9 -Ben D. Kritz (MANILA TIMES)
THE much-anticipated four-day summit of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) group of 21 nations begins here in Manila in exactly a week. Nineteen heads of state have confirmed their attendance – 20, if you count the one who passes for the head of this state – and based on the statements being issued about it on a daily basis by the government, the residents and workers of Metro Manila can expect the event to be a calamity as disruptive as a major typhoon. Major thoroughfares will be closed to traffic and entire sections of the metropolis rendered inaccessible. Communications will be interrupted, financial markets, banks, government offices, and many businesses will be closed, and hundreds of thousands of students and workers will be forced to take an unscheduled vacation – fun, if you’re a kid, but a rather painful kick in the ass for anyone to whom sacrificing 75 percent of a week’s wages for the sake of allowing a drooling idiot the chance to dress up like an adult around his professional and intellectual superiors seems like a bad idea. A couple of weeks ago, PSE president Hans Sicat implored the government to modify its holiday declaration for APEC summit week to allow financial clearing operations on at least two of the four days, out of concern for the negative impact an unusual extended holiday would have on the market and the economy in general. Sicat’s point, which earned a tepid response from the Administration, raised an interesting question: Is it possible to actually quantify the economic cost of the APEC summit? As it turns out, yes it is. In this year’s national budget, P4.6 billion was earmarked for the costs of preparing for and hosting the APEC summit; a couple of sources have said the price tag will actually be much higher when everything is said and done, but having no concrete data on that, we’ll stick with the P4.6 billion figure. While that government spending will be reflected in the fourth quarter’s GDP as a positive, we can consider it an actual ‘cost’ to the economy because without the APEC carnival, it would presumably be spent on something a bit more useful. That is not the only cost, however; the loss of business during the four-day summit must also be taken into account. As of the end of 2014, data from the Philippine Statistics Authority showed that Metro Manila accounts for 36.3 percent of the national GDP. The reduction in economic output during the summit is something that has to be assumed (we will have to wait for the release of Q4 economic data next February to check the assumption), but the consensus among a number of competent observers to whom I posed the question is that economic activity in the NCR will decrease by about 20 percent during the APEC meet. In peso terms, that reduction amounts to just over P10.6 billion; in percentage terms, it represents about 0.08 percent of the national GDP for the year. Add to that the P4.6 billion the government is flushing away to host the event, and we arrive at a total cost to the Philippines of about P15.2 billion, or about $225.82 million at current exchange rates. READ MORE, ALSO READERS RESPONSES...

ALSO By Boo Chnaco: How far will patience get us?


NOEMBER 11 -By Boo Chanco
Patience is supposed to be a virtue. But as far as the Filipino people are concerned, it has long been proven patience is a vice. Patience never got us anywhere through three centuries of Spanish rule, half a century of the Americans and some 60 years with our home grown tyrants.
I am not sure if the pre-Spanish people in these islands that became the Philippines were naturally patient. But I am almost sure the kind of patience we have today has colonial roots. It was nurtured by the Spaniards and later, the Americans and our Ilustrados to subdue our masa for easier exploitation. Religion is partly or largely to blame. And it is not just us. Look at Latin America. We have more in common with Latin Americans, culturally, than with our fellow Southeast Asians. We are a Latin American country that drifted too far from the South American coastline. We share Roman Catholicism with the Latin Americans who taught the masa the holiness of poverty while allowing the ruling elite to amass a disproportionate share of the national wealth. No wonder some of the Latin American clergy, who were more sensitive to poverty came up with Liberation Theology – a concept rejected by mainline Catholic theologians until Pope Francis came along. Look at the appalling poverty in Latin American countries and their dysfunctional political systems and you can see what has happened to our country as well. The common threads are Catholicism and colonial Spain. Like us, they can’t seem to fix a culture where poverty is taken for granted and may even be seen as a punishment for generations of sinners. How much more patience must our people show before a strong drive for change happens? I suspect we will exhibit a lot more patience in the foreseeable future. That’s because if you remove patience and hope, what else will the people have? Our politicians seem to be sure they have time on their side to further exploit and abuse our people before patience runs out. They may be right. The new SWS hunger figures from a September survey found: “Net Personal Optimism at Very High +33; Net Optimism about the Economy at Very High +18; Net Gainers at High +4”). In the country as a whole, 38 percent felt their personal quality of life would improve in the next 12 months, while only five percent felt it would worsen, hence the net personal optimism of +33. Personal optimism has been Very High (i.e., at least +30) for six consecutive quarters. READ MORE...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

SWS: About 10M adult Filipinos are unemployed


MB FILE – Employment applicants queue up to enter the job fair spearheaded by the Departmenr of Labor and Employment at the Iloilo provincial capitol in Iloilo City, May 1, 2014. (Tara Yap) 

MANILA, NOVEMBER 16, 2015 (MANILA BULLETIN)  by Ellalyn De Vera November 9, 2015 - The unemployment rate has remained over 20 percent in the past three months with about 10 million Filipinos still without a job or looking for a job.

Based on the latest Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey results, jobless rate in the third quarter was recorded at 23.7 percent.

The survey was conducted among 1,200 respondents last September 2-5, while results were first published in BusinessWorld on Monday (November 9).

SWS said the workforce participation rate in the September survey was 69.4 percent or an estimated 42.4 million adults. It was lower than June survey’s 74 percent or an estimated 45.2 million adults.

The unemployment rate in June was 23.2 percent or about 10.5 million Filipinos.

To further define joblessness, SWS said those who fall under this category are individuals 18 years old and above without a job and also looking for a job.

However, those jobless who are not looking for work, such as housewives and retired individuals are excluded from this category.

SWS noted that “joblessness has been above 20 percent since November 2010, reaching as high as 34.4 percent in March 2012, except in March 2015 when it fell to 19.1 percent.”


PHILSTAR

Flights cancelled for APEC hit 1,364 By Rudy Santos and Louella Desiderio (The Philippine Star) | Updated November 11, 2015 - 12:00am 4 1179 googleplus0 1


A postal officer with the newly released Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit stamps. Edd Gumban

MANILA, Philippines – A total of 1,125 domestic and 239 international flights before and during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Manila have been cancelled.

Philippine Airlines (PAL), Cebu Pacific (CEB) and Cebgo announced yesterday additional cancelled flights from Nov. 15 to 21. The APEC meetings will be held from Nov. 16 to 20.

PAL cancelled another 280 domestic and 78 international flights while CEB cancelled another 365 domestic and 29 international flights, and Cebgo 29 more domestic flights.

PAL had cancelled some 115 domestic and 96 international flights, Cebu Pacific some 262 domestic and 26 international flights while Air Asia cancelled 74 domestic and 10 international flights that were announced late last month.

PAL and CEB asked for the affected passengers’ understanding.

LIST: Domestic, int’l flights canceled for APEC

The flights were scrapped amid periodic temporary runway closures at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) for the arrival and departure of heads of state for the APEC meetings.

READ MORE...

The carriers are arranging the re-accommodation of affected guests on the soonest available flights.

“PAL and CEB assures affected passengers that their flights will be rescheduled and they will be informed of their new flight timings through e-mail, phone call or text. Passengers also have the option to rebook to the flight date of their choice within 30 days from their original schedule, with rebooking and penalty charges waived. The new flight schedule must fall within the ticket’s validity period. Refunding of tickets is also an option,” said spokesperson Cielo Villaluna of PAL and Michelle Pestanos Fojas of CEB.

For more information on PAL flights, passengers may call the airline’s hotline: 855-8888, log on to www.philippineairlines.com or visit the PAL Facebook page.

Passengers not able to fly on the next available flights may either rebook their tickets within 30 days from the original departure date or opt for full refund or travel fund.


PHILSTAR

Philippines '97% ready' for APEC 2015 By Patricia Lourdes Viray (philstar.com) | Updated November 12, 2015 - 12:49pm 1 8 googleplus0 0


In this Nov.11, 2014 photo, world leaders attend the Leaders Retreat during the 22nd APEC Leaders’ Meeting at the Hongyan Hall of the International Conference Center in China. The Philippines will be hosting the APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting this year. Malacañang Photo Bureau/Ryan Lim

MANILA, Philippines - The Philippines is ready for hosting the 23rd Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit next week, the National Organizing Council (NOC) said on Thursday.

"I think we are 95 to 97 percent ready for APEC. We are just fine-tuning some of the details," NOC Director General Ambassador Marciano Paynor Jr. said in a press briefing.

Paynor said the security of the leaders has been the greatest challenge in hosting the APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting this year.

A total of 19 heads of state, including President Benigno Aquino III, and two leaders of economies will attend the summit in Manila from November 18 to 19.

The Presidential Security Group will take charge in securing the world leaders who will be attending the APEC summit in the country. Over 7,000 delegates are expected to attend the event.

Paynor noted that the nature of world security has changed since the "9/11" terrorist attack in the United States back in 2001.

The normal police force of the National Capital Region have been stretched for the upcoming meeting of world leaders in the country, Paynor said.

"We brought in augmentations from other regions," the ambassador said.

Paynor assured that Aquino is "on top of everything" and directed the organizing council to ensure that the country's hosting will be a success from all points of view.

Malacañang earlier said that the president wants a “flawless and seamless” APEC summit next week.


MALAYA BUSINESS INSIGHT

INCLUSIVE GROWTH, PH CONTRIBUTION TO APEC MEET By Irma Isip November 13, 2015

The Philippine hosting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) is set to highlight the need for corporations in these economies to practise what is now known as inclusive business (IB), which aims to provide decent, well-paying jobs and high-quality services to poor communities to help realize sustainable and inclusive growth.

Adrian Cristobal Jr., undersecretary of the Department of Trade and Industry, said the Philippines’ contribution to the APEC dialogues this year is to launch and introduce IB, an initiative to be picked up and adopted by Peru, next year’s APEC host.

“This is expected to stand out in the Philippines; what started as an idea… inclusiveness will be the Philippines’ contribution to APEC,” said Cristobal.

Armin Bauer, economist at the Asian Development Bank, said in a press conference at the APEC High-Level Discussion (HLD)on Inclusive Business at the Manila Peninsula yesterday the Philippines is among the first to move IB in the APEC agenda.

Bauer cited the potential for IB in the Philippines where there are a million companies of which 20,000 are social enterprises.

He said there are 100 IB models identified and 15 are considered investible.

“The inclusive business market has huge potential but the number of cases is very few,” Bauer said.

While global businesses have been observing sustainable and fair trade practices in their operations, IB should not be confused to philanthropy or corporate social responsibility, according to Eriko Ishikawa, global head of the Inclusive Business Team of the World Bank-International Finance Corp.

“Inclusive business is still business. Pro-poor is pro-business,” Ishikawa said.

IB was first introduced early this year at the APEC public-private dialogue in Cebu before it escalated to a high-level dialogue yesterday where corporations from APEC showcased their respective IB models.

Cristobal in his speech at the HLD, said IB is one way to help mitigate or reduce the incidence of poverty in APEC member economies.

Cristobal cited an Asian Development Bank study which revealed that over 700 million in the Asia-Pacific region -- two-thirds of the world’s poor -- live below the global poverty line of $1.25 per day. These numbers are actual lives and families who face the daily struggle to make ends meet.

Even with the Philippines’ robust economic performance over the past years, Cristobal said poverty remains a challenge - with one in four Filipinos still poor, and over 25 million subsisting on incomes below a dollar a day.

READ MORE...

“Inclusive business are innovative models where companies engage the poor and low-income communities as partners, customers, suppliers, and employees in their supply chains not out of charity, but because it makes good business sense. The integration of these communities into global value chains improves their quality of lives and makes for better business with diversified supply and distribution systems,” Cristobal said.

A number of successful cases of IB can already be found in the Philippines among them is Kennemer Foods (see story on this page).

Cristobal also cited Nestlé’s Nescafe Plan which offers technology, training, and technical support to tens of thousands of Filipino farmers, developing them into long-term direct suppliers for the company.

Through a combination of direct buying and capacity building, Nestlé is hoping to grow local sourcing from 30 percent to 75 percent of total supply, while engaging over 83,000 farmers as suppliers, by 2020.

Locally, the Ayala Group’s Manila Water Company, Inc. had a simple solution to address the losses from non-revenue water while increasing its customer base.Working with barangay leaders where informal settlers live, Manila Water took the risk and waived a requirement for land title for a household to get water connection.

Manila Water’s “Tubig Para sa Barangay” program benefitted more than 2 million households with 24/7 potable water and even effectively lowered the price of water from P150 per cubic meter to P7 per cubic meter for these low-income residents of Manila. The program also improved Manila Water’s network efficiencies, recovering 700 million liters of water per day.

By improving its services, Manila Water also saw an improvement in collection efficiency from 15 percent to 100 percent, solving the problem of illegal connections.

To support such companies, the Board of Investments has integrated IB in its Investment Priorities Plan, and will soon align industry support initiatives to prioritize IB.

“Our focus is on identifying and promoting IB models, encourage more companies to come up with IB solutions of their own, and establish an enabling policy environment where such businesses can thrive and flourish,” Cristobal said.


MANILA TIMES By Ben Kritz

The real cost of APEC November 9, 2015 8:41 pm Ben D. Kritz


Ben D. Kritz (MANILA TIMES

THE much-anticipated four-day summit of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) group of 21 nations begins here in Manila in exactly a week. Nineteen heads of state have confirmed their attendance – 20, if you count the one who passes for the head of this state – and based on the statements being issued about it on a daily basis by the government, the residents and workers of Metro Manila can expect the event to be a calamity as disruptive as a major typhoon.

Major thoroughfares will be closed to traffic and entire sections of the metropolis rendered inaccessible. Communications will be interrupted, financial markets, banks, government offices, and many businesses will be closed, and hundreds of thousands of students and workers will be forced to take an unscheduled vacation – fun, if you’re a kid, but a rather painful kick in the ass for anyone to whom sacrificing 75 percent of a week’s wages for the sake of allowing a drooling idiot the chance to dress up like an adult around his professional and intellectual superiors seems like a bad idea.

A couple of weeks ago, PSE president Hans Sicat implored the government to modify its holiday declaration for APEC summit week to allow financial clearing operations on at least two of the four days, out of concern for the negative impact an unusual extended holiday would have on the market and the economy in general.

Sicat’s point, which earned a tepid response from the Administration, raised an interesting question: Is it possible to actually quantify the economic cost of the APEC summit?

As it turns out, yes it is.

In this year’s national budget, P4.6 billion was earmarked for the costs of preparing for and hosting the APEC summit; a couple of sources have said the price tag will actually be much higher when everything is said and done, but having no concrete data on that, we’ll stick with the P4.6 billion figure. While that government spending will be reflected in the fourth quarter’s GDP as a positive, we can consider it an actual ‘cost’ to the economy because without the APEC carnival, it would presumably be spent on something a bit more useful.

That is not the only cost, however; the loss of business during the four-day summit must also be taken into account. As of the end of 2014, data from the Philippine Statistics Authority showed that Metro Manila accounts for 36.3 percent of the national GDP.

The reduction in economic output during the summit is something that has to be assumed (we will have to wait for the release of Q4 economic data next February to check the assumption), but the consensus among a number of competent observers to whom I posed the question is that economic activity in the NCR will decrease by about 20 percent during the APEC meet.

In peso terms, that reduction amounts to just over P10.6 billion; in percentage terms, it represents about 0.08 percent of the national GDP for the year. Add to that the P4.6 billion the government is flushing away to host the event, and we arrive at a total cost to the Philippines of about P15.2 billion, or about $225.82 million at current exchange rates.

READ MORE...

In September 2009, Metro Manila was pounded by rains from tropical storm Ondoy, suffering widespread flooding as a result. The official estimate of the cost of storm damage was P10.45 billion, which at the exchange rate prevailing at the time, about P48 to $1, was equal to $217.6 million.

It turns out comparing the impact of the APEC summit to a major typhoon is not hyperbole after all. Will it be worth it? Most people would be hard-pressed to describe the purpose of APEC, let alone identify how this particular supranational grouping has directly benefited their daily lives. Even those of us who understand it—for the layman, APEC is an occasional gathering of Pacific Rim nations, held for the purpose of expressing aspirations about free trade in order to give business and political reporters something to talk about for a few days—are not expecting much better than another one of those pictures of Noynoy Aquino fumbling his pose in the leaders’ end-of-conference family portrait.
ben.kritz@manilatimes.net.
3 Responses to The real cost of APEC
Ric Haldane says:
November 10, 2015 at 9:11 am
This will give the Philippines a chance to show off the country’s blazing internet speed. Shutting down Manila for four days will be a great benefit to all workers and businesses.
Reply
Gloria M. Kuizon says:
November 10, 2015 at 6:23 am
Mr. Kritz, you and the other incisive Times columnists shuld study and write about “What good does APEC really bring to the Philippines?”
Reply
Doug Barnert says:
November 10, 2015 at 2:16 am
On the plus side, a boatload of money HS come in from other country participants and not just Manila. For me, getting introduced to Iloilo City, Bacolod, and Cebu was a wonderful experience that I plan to repeat often.


PHILSTAR By Boo Chanco

How far will patience get us? DEMAND AND SUPPLY By Boo Chanco (The Philippine Star) | Updated November 11, 2015 - 12:00am 3 34 googleplus0 0


By Boo Chanco

Patience is supposed to be a virtue. But as far as the Filipino people are concerned, it has long been proven patience is a vice. Patience never got us anywhere through three centuries of Spanish rule, half a century of the Americans and some 60 years with our home grown tyrants.

I am not sure if the pre-Spanish people in these islands that became the Philippines were naturally patient. But I am almost sure the kind of patience we have today has colonial roots. It was nurtured by the Spaniards and later, the Americans and our Ilustrados to subdue our masa for easier exploitation.

Religion is partly or largely to blame. And it is not just us. Look at Latin America. We have more in common with Latin Americans, culturally, than with our fellow Southeast Asians. We are a Latin American country that drifted too far from the South American coastline.

We share Roman Catholicism with the Latin Americans who taught the masa the holiness of poverty while allowing the ruling elite to amass a disproportionate share of the national wealth. No wonder some of the Latin American clergy, who were more sensitive to poverty came up with Liberation Theology – a concept rejected by mainline Catholic theologians until Pope Francis came along.

[PHNO NOTE: Liberation theology could be interpreted as an attempt to return to the gospel of the early church where Christianity is politically and culturally decentralized. Liberation theology proposes to fight poverty by addressing its alleged source: sin. In so doing, it explores the relationship between Christian theology (especially Roman Catholic) and political activism, especially in relation to social justice, poverty, and human rights. The principal methodological innovation is seeing theology from the perspective of the poor and the oppressed. For example, Jon Sobrino, S.J., argues that the poor are a privileged channel of God's grace. Detractors have called it Christianized Marxism. Wikipedia]

Look at the appalling poverty in Latin American countries and their dysfunctional political systems and you can see what has happened to our country as well. The common threads are Catholicism and colonial Spain. Like us, they can’t seem to fix a culture where poverty is taken for granted and may even be seen as a punishment for generations of sinners.

How much more patience must our people show before a strong drive for change happens? I suspect we will exhibit a lot more patience in the foreseeable future. That’s because if you remove patience and hope, what else will the people have?

Our politicians seem to be sure they have time on their side to further exploit and abuse our people before patience runs out. They may be right.

The new SWS hunger figures from a September survey found: “Net Personal Optimism at Very High +33; Net Optimism about the Economy at Very High +18; Net Gainers at High +4”).

In the country as a whole, 38 percent felt their personal quality of life would improve in the next 12 months, while only five percent felt it would worsen, hence the net personal optimism of +33. Personal optimism has been Very High (i.e., at least +30) for six consecutive quarters.

READ MORE...

A special tabulation shows that, in September, net personal optimism was +34 among adults from non-hungry families, +28 among the moderately hungry, and +39 among the severely hungry. There is no sign hunger dampened personal optimism.

The September SWS survey also found: “Families rating themselves as mahirap or poor at 50 percent; Families rating their food as poor at 35 percent”. Compared to June, self-rated poverty (SRP) was down by one point, and self-rated food poverty (SRFP) was down by two points. Compared to the average of 2014, SRP was down by four points, and SRFP was down by six points.

Another tabulation shows that in September, net personal optimism was +47 among adults from non-poor families, versus +30 among those from poor families, using the self-ratings to identify the poor. It was +45 among the non-food-poor, versus +26 among the food-poor, also using the self-ratings.

SWS classifies net personal optimism from +20 to +29 as high. These figures show poverty only reduces personal optimism a bit; it does not destroy it.

So, SWS concludes the current big pictures of both hunger and poverty are encouraging.

Encouraging?

I would like to see more dire results to shock our leaders in and out of government into some action, some sense of urgency. I appreciate incremental improvement in the hunger rate, but if even one family goes to sleep hungry, it is a problem that concerns the rest of us.

Perhaps our poor are resigned to the realities of their miserable existence. They live by the day and are ready to vote for the source of their next meal.

This should be embarrassing to all of us who take pride in being the only Christian nation in our region. But it isn’t. We, too, are resigned to this fact of life. Hunger and poverty are in the realm of background noise for most of us.

I am hoping that with some 10 million Pinoys abroad, there must be an equal number who were formerly OFWs. They have seen how life is in other countries. They have seen how governments are run. They have been to a lot of airports and it is only here where citizens enter an airport with a lot of fear and anxiety of being framed and extorted. Maybe OFWs will be the nucleus for change.

I heard I had been called too impatient in Cabinet circles. But there is a reason for the impatience. Even a minute that a poor Pinoy suffers hunger and poverty is a minute too long. This is specially true in the light of an economy P-Noy and his chorus claim is the best performing in the region.

Patience is probably a good virtue, but impatience will spur development. If there was more impatience around, the ruling elite will have no choice but to share the fruits of new found wealth through better governance, better infrastructure, a more equitable tax system.

Like all things, patience will run out eventually. As more people realize we are being exploited through incompetence and greed, change will come somehow. Better for change to come in the usual course of events rather than for change to come like a volcano exploding with all the violence it entails.

A glass should never be seen as half full. It should always be seen as half empty and spur us to do what we must to fill it quickly to the brim.

Empathy A reader, Jim J, sent this e-mail with his reaction on our column last Monday.

Hi Boo,

If you want Roxas to learn more about empathy, I suggest he goes on sabbatical in the next two months and live among the Lumads in Surigao, the Aetas in Sierra Madre, the farmers in Sumilao and the Sagadas in Benguet. This is what my daughters, who took up nursing and pharmacy did during one of their semesters.

This is called immersion. My daughters were not allowed to bring any cell phones, gadgets, jewelries, and even the clothes they have to wear have to be modest. The only food they were allowed to bring were biscuits and simple canned goods like sardines and local corned beef, no imported canned goods.

The school bus brought my daughters to the immersion site and the parents were not even allowed to visit during the immersion period. They have to eat the food cooked by their adopted families during the two month stay. After this period, my daughters learned to love more of what they have by studying hard and learned why their profession is a blessing to everyone.

You are right, empathy cannot be faked. But this can be learned and can easily be adopted if practiced daily.

Go ask your friends in the BPO companies, empathy training is provided to all agents on their first few days of employment and always emphasized during the rest of their working life in the BPO companies.

Mar should have a private training from the top trainors of IBM or Convergys. These companies will surely provide a free training since he is considered the father of the BPO industry.

Mar can also ask for training on how to arrive at a politically correct answer by using various techniques already perfected by our BPO companies. We cannot be the number 1 Call Center Hub of the world if we did not have a near perfect training program for customer and technical representatives.

But then again, there is a saying “you cannot teach an old dog new tricks.”

Mar should change his belief the presidency is his right because of his pedigree. He should instead think being a president is a privilege to serve a people long suffering from failed leadership since the EDSA revolution.

Dumping P-Noy and his Liberal friends (with friends like these, who needs enemies) and running on his own vision will be a step in the right direction.

 Boo Chanco’s e-mail address is bchanco@gmail.com . Follow him on Twitter @boochanco


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