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PHILIPPINES MUST BOOST TIES WITH CHINA --EX-ENVOY ROBERTO ROMULO

OCT 29 ---PHOTO: PH MUST BOOST TIES WITH CHINA -- EX-ENVOY ROBERTO ROMULO -
FORUM KEYNOTE  SPEAKER Former president Fidel V. Ramos answers questions after delivering his keynote address during the business forum sponsored by The Manila Times (above) . Ramos then exchanges views with Richard Cant, regional director of business management consultancy firm Dezan Shira and Associates and Stratfor vice president Rodger Baker (lower). PHOTO BY MELYN ACOSTA MANILA TIMES FORUM - CHINA’s rise to economic superstardom is inevitable, thus it is imperative for the Philippines to rekindle and even strengthen its ties with Beijing which were severed by worsening disputes in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea), former Ambassador Roberto Romulo said on Wednesday.

Romulo, who is now the chairperson of AIG Philippine Insurance Inc., said Philippine leaders should accept China’s preeminence. “Why should we care to bring our relations to normalcy? Because [China’s rise] is a reality that we have to accept. [Thus it follows that] engagement and mutual accommodation is unavoidable,” said Romulo during the Philippines-China Business Forum at the Dusit Thani Hotel in Makati City organized by The Manila Times.
An expert in the field of diplomacy, Romulo noted that China’s fast emergence as a global economic superpower affects the Philippines’ “economic well being.” Although the Philippine government has the right to seek international arbitration, such as the filing of a “memorial” before the United Nations’ International Tribunal on the Laws of the Sea (Itlos) to assert its sovereignty over contested rocks and shoals in the Spratlys, by doing so the country only further dampened the soured relations between the two countries, Romulo said.*READ MORE...

ALSO: FVR pushes dialogue with Beijing 

OCT 29 --MANILA TIMES FORUM: Despite the disputes over some parcel of islands in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea), the Philippines and China should continue to treat one another as “one family” in order to promote peace and stability not only between the two countries but in the entire Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) region, according to former President Fidel V. Ramos. In his keynote address at Wednesday’s Manila Times Business Forum at the Dusit Hotel in Makati City, Ramos underscored the importance of dialogue, not conflict, in settling “misunderstanding and alarming speculations.” “We should agree that our two countries should return to business as usual,” Ramos told the audience, noting that while China has outpaced the growth of other countries to become the second most powerful country in the world, he does not see the possibility of Beijing resorting to war.

Ramos said the Philippines and China should avoid conflict and violence such as what happened in the Middle East where countries are up to now being ravaged by war. “If one strikes, there will be counter strikes until we obliterate the planet and humanity,” he said. “In recent months, relations between our two nations and even with other countries in our Asia Pacific region have been disturbed by misunderstanding and alarmist speculation injurious to the stability not only of China and the Philippines but also the Asia Pacific region,” he noted. The former president, who also served as chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Defense department before becoming president in 1992, said if either of the two countries would resort to conflict, both will lose.* READ MORE...

ALSO: Sea disputes are all about economic dominance - Analyst  

THE MANILA TIMES FORUM: The disputes in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) between China, the Philippines and four other claimant-states are not about oil and minerals but about fishing resources, a senior analyst of US-based think tank Stratfor said during The Manila Times business forum on Wednesday. Rodger Baker, Stratfor senior analyst and vice president for Asia Pacific Affairs, said the disputes in the region boil down to economic rather than political dominance. He added that it is more important for China to secure the West Philippine Sea as a vital trade route and fishing source. “The need for oil and gas has been there for a long time. [But] what is there [West Philippine Sea] is unclear,” Baker said, adding that foreign investors are wary of putting money into exploring the resource-rich region because of the “political risk.”

“Is it worthwhile to come into disputed territory? The likely element of confrontation [among claimant-countries] is fishing,” he said. About 10 percent of the global resources for fishing are in the West Philippine Sea, while 22 percent of Asian’s protein consumption comes from seafood, the analyst pointed out. China needs to protect its fishing interests in the region and make sure that fish will be available for its domestic consumption and for export.
For years, the world has never looked at China as “imperialist” or “colonizers.” Baker said China has kept to itself, mainly focused on providing for its one billion people and sustaining itself through domestic markets.
“But at a certain point in its growth, it [China] can no longer sustain itself,” Baker said. The ancient Silk Road that goes through north of China to Europe suited the Chinese for many years in terms of trading. However, because it is now the second largest economy in the world, next only to the United States, China started to look at the potentials of Southeast and South Asia.* READ MORE...

ALSO: No sea dispute discussion during Aquino’s China trip  

OCT 29 ---President Benigno Aquino III. AP FILE PHOTO. MANILA, Philippines — President Benigno Aquino III will be in Beijing next month but he won’t be talking about the territorial disputes in the West Philippine Sea. Aquino will be attending various Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) conferences in China from November 9 to 11. Foreign Relations Undersecretary Laura del Rosario said the Apec forum does not tackle political issues such as territorial disputes among countries.

“The agenda is shaping the future through Asia Pacific economic partners, so it’s really all economic,” she said of the upcoming event. She denied that the West Philippine Sea dispute will be pushed aside because China will be hosting the summit. “If you noticed, Apec has been here for the past 25 years. They never talked about anything political—never,” Del Rosario told reporters. She said the participants once tackled terrorism only to discuss how trade and goods could be protected and secured. “So aside from that, (there) never was….any political issue ever discussed in Apec,” the undersecretary explained. Del Rosario said that while people are more interested in politics, “economics is more exciting because that’s where the future is.” * READ MORE...

ALSO: Manila transportation 10th most dangerous in the world for women

OCT 30 --PHOTO: Screenshot from Trust.org, the Thomson Reuters Foundation, showing the major capital cities of the world surveyed on safety of transport systems for women. ANILA, Philippines — Of the 16 most populous capitals in the world, Manila ranks 10th in the list of most dangerous transport systems for women. In a study released Thursday commissioned by the Thomson Reuters Foundation and polled by YouGov, the Philippine capital fared better than other Southeast Asian capitals such as Jakarta (fifth) and Kuala Lumpur (seventh) in terms of safety for women. The Colombian capital of Bogota is the world's worst, followed by Mexico City; Lima, Peru and Delhi, India.

New York City's transportation system is ranked the world's best, followed by that of Tokyo, Beijing, London and Seoul. Manila is also ranked seventh worst in the query on whether Filipino women respondents feel safe traveling alone at night. There are more reports of physical harassment, such as groping, in Manila than in six other cities. The capital also landed 11th worst in availability of safe public transport. Verbal harassment against women in transportation, however, is hardly an issue in Manila, ranked third best in the world. It is also ranked second after New York in terms of public response to abuse, with most Filipina respondents saying they are confident someone would come to their assistance if they were being abused in public.THIS IS THE FULL REPORT

(ALSO) SWS: Hunger worsens in Q4  

OCT 30 --Self-rated hunger worsened in the country in the last quarter, with 4.8 million families claiming they have experienced having nothing to eat in the past three months, a recent survey by the Social Weather Stations (SWS) showed. The survey, conducted from Sept. 26 to 29, found 22 percent of respondents or about 4.8 million families claiming to have experienced involuntary hunger at least once in the last three months. The latest hunger rate was 5.7 points higher than the 16.3 percent – equivalent to 3.6 million families – recorded last June. SWS noted this was the highest quarterly national rate recorded since June 2013’s 22.7 percent and 2.5 points more than the 19.5 percent annual average last year. SWS said hunger incidence rose across all areas except in Mindanao.

In Metro Manila, families claiming to have experienced hunger rose from 15.3 percent in June to 22 percent in September. It rose to 24.3 percent in Luzon from 14.7 percent previously. This was the worst since June 2013’s 26 percent and was worse than the 18.3 percent four-quarter average last year, the SWS noted. In also increased from 14.7 percent to 18.7 percent in the Visayas. The latest hunger rate in the Visayas was similarly the worst since June 2013’s 21 percent and was worse than the 16.1 percent average for the region last year, the pollster said. However, in Mindanao, hunger incidence dropped to 20.3 percent in September from 21.3 percent in June. This was better than the 22.1 percent four-quarter average last year, the SWS said. The results of the SWS survey, published in BusinessWorld yesterday, showed that both moderate and severe hunger have been on the rise in the country. *READ MORE...

ALSO Tribune editorial: WB debunks Aquinomics  

The World Bank (WB), in a report on the capability of the country to attract foreign investors, indicated that not much in terms of policies and reforms are being undertaken by the administration of Noynoy despite the claim that good governance had changed the perception of business on the integrity of the government and the ease of dealing with it.

The result of the WB report also gives more credence to the call of business groups for more predictable and coordinated policies, the absence of which is considered a magnet to corrupt practices. The Doing Business 2015: Going Beyond Efficiency report of the WB, showed that the Philippines failed in most factors considered by investors in putting in new investments, with the report citing for instance a decline in trading across borders category as a result of uncoordinated policies between the national and the local governments.

Among 189 countries ranked on ease of doing business, the Philippines placed 95th, nine notches lower from last year’s 86th place. Singapore topped the list as the best place to do business in, followed by New Zealand, Hong Kong, Denmark, South Korea, Norway, the United States, United Kingdom, Finland and Australia. Among Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) peers, the Philippines was ranked fifth ahead of Brunei Darussalam, 101st; Indonesia, 114th; Cambodia, 135th; Lao PDR, 148th; and Myanmar, 177th; but behind Singapore, first; Malaysia, 18th; Thailand, 26th; and Vietnam, 78th.

The Manila truck ban was lifted Sept. 14 on the request of the national government to the Manila City government after the restriction reflected in the economy lagged against government target with a 6.4-percent growth in the second quarter. Based on the WB report, the cost to export one container from the Philippines increased 29.06 percent to $755 from $585 during the review period. The annual WB report showed the Philippines improved its ranking in five areas of doing business while slipping in also five areas. The country posted satisfactory rankings in the areas of getting electricity at 16th place; resolving insolvency at 50th place; and trading across borders at 65th place. * READ MORE...


READ FULL REPORT HERE:

‘PH must boost ties with China’ -- Former Ambassador Romulo


FORUM KEYNOTE SPEAKER Former president Fidel V. Ramos answers questions after delivering his keynote address during the business forum sponsored by The Manila Times (above) . Ramos then exchanges views with Richard Cant, regional director of business management consultancy firm Dezan Shira and Associates and Stratfor vice president Rodger Baker (lower). PHOTO BY MELYN ACOSTA

MANILA, NOVEMBER 3, 2014 (MANILA TIMES) October 29, 2014 10:01 pm, by JOEL M. SY EGCO SENIOR REPORTER,
MANILA TIMES FORUM - CHINA’s rise to economic superstardom is inevitable, thus it is imperative for the Philippines to rekindle and even strengthen its ties with Beijing which were severed by worsening disputes in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea), former Ambassador Roberto Romulo said on Wednesday.

Romulo, who is now the chairperson of AIG Philippine Insurance Inc., said Philippine leaders should accept China’s preeminence.

“Why should we care to bring our relations to normalcy? Because [China’s rise] is a reality that we have to accept. [Thus it follows that] engagement and mutual accommodation is unavoidable,” said Romulo during the Philippines-China Business Forum at the Dusit Thani Hotel in Makati City organized by The Manila Times.

An expert in the field of diplomacy, Romulo noted that China’s fast emergence as a global economic superpower affects the Philippines’ “economic well being.”

Although the Philippine government has the right to seek international arbitration, such as the filing of a “memorial” before the United Nations’ International Tribunal on the Laws of the Sea (Itlos) to assert its sovereignty over contested rocks and shoals in the Spratlys, by doing so the country only further dampened the soured relations between the two countries, Romulo said.

* He said that while business to business and people-to-people relations have continued, he pointed out that whenever the Chinese government has control over business projects with the Philippines—such as those involving tourism and investments of state-owned enterprises—the government acts against the Philippines.

He underscored the need for cooperation, compromise and joint use of the region for the mutual benefits of each country.
“While it is correct to invoke the principles of international law, or condemn the bullying by China, let it not be forgotten that democracy is not about gaining more of victory but rather achieving an outcome that promotes national interests,” Romulo said.

Given China’s importance, he cited the urgent need to “manage tensions, rebuild ties and seek cooperation rather than conflict.”

Already, Romulo observed that since the disputes began in 2012 over ncursions in Scarborough (Panatag) Shoal, the local economy has been affected. Trade between Manila and Beijing has slowed down and huge planned investments were either lost or “forgotten” due to the sanctions China has imposed on the Philippines.

He cited the recent travel advisory by China against its citizens traveling to the Philippines due to the problem of kidnapping.

According to Romulo, there are only about 400,000 Chinese tourists who visited the country annually when Chinese tourist arrivals in neighboring countries reached two to three million a year.

China’s share in the export industry in the Philippines was only about 2 percent, he said.

These disputes somehow slowed the Philippines pace of growth, Romulo added.

“Technology transfer arrangements, virtually ceased . . . poor performance of the Philippines relative to Asean can be attributed to hesitancy in trusting our economic future, our own anemic economic growth. [China has a] huge potential for us but we are not in a position to take advantage of China’s potential,” said Romulo.

The former envoy also warned against violent confrontation or provocative actions against China such as when President Benigno Aquino 3rd sought the backing of the European Union in its position against Beijing’s nine-dash line principle in asserting sovereignty over the claimed islands.

He said China will never separate the sea row from all its other forms of relationship with the Philippines and that it will not back down on its territorial claims. Because of these, he said the arbitration process may take forever because China simply will not budge.

He further explained that China’s hard stance on the territorial issue is not just a “political stand” but a reflection of how the Chinese citizenry look at the issue. He said these viewpoints are taught to every child in China’s schools.

Romulo noted that some are experts on China’s history are convinced that the 1.2 billion Chinese are not familiar with exclusive economic zones and other sea laws, believing that they own the sea lanes and other areas in the Spratlys since the time of the Ching Dynasty.

He said China’s bullying sends a “chilling effect” to other Asian countries and which in the eyes of the Western powers is an emerging “threat that has to be contained,” but it also fires up deep territorial sentiments among the Chinese.

“How do we go about creating an environment for a compromise as possible? First step, clarify issues that are driving competing claims of sovereignty, understanding the dynamics [in China],’ Romulo said.

He said China has two major interests in the WPS— access to energy resources and strategic concerns.

Because of China’s growth, it has become “imperative for China to reach out for oil closer to home,” Romulo pointed out.
On strategic concerns, he explained that China wants unhampered access to the Pacific and Indian oceans, something which the Philippines should sympathize with instead of “stoking high emotions and patriotic fervor” in China.

“[The issue] is driven more by protecting its territorial integrity and fishing grounds, thus, stoking high emotions and patriotic fervor,” Romulo pointed out.

He said the Philippine government’s position on leaning toward the United States for help has only made matters “more complicated.”

“Because of our lack of military wherewithal, we involved the American mantle of protection. We took the US side of freedom of navigation,” said Romulo.

He said that earlier the Chinese have been proposing to shelve the issue of sovereignty and opted for joint use of the sea resources.

Romulo said claimant countries should work this way and work together in terms of maritime cooperation that will maintain peace and stability in the region.

FVR pushes dialogue with Beijing October 29, 2014 9:57 pm by JOEL M. SY EGCO SENIOR REPORTER


FVR

MANILA TIMES FORUM: Despite the disputes over some parcel of islands in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea), the Philippines and China should continue to treat one another as “one family” in order to promote peace and stability not only between the two countries but in the entire Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) region, according to former President Fidel V. Ramos.

In his keynote address at Wednesday’s Manila Times Business Forum at the Dusit Hotel in Makati City, Ramos underscored the importance of dialogue, not conflict, in settling “misunderstanding and alarming speculations.”

“We should agree that our two countries should return to business as usual,” Ramos told the audience, noting that while China has outpaced the growth of other countries to become the second most powerful country in the world, he does not see the possibility of Beijing resorting to war.

Ramos said the Philippines and China should avoid conflict and violence such as what happened in the Middle East where countries are up to now being ravaged by war.

“If one strikes, there will be counter strikes until we obliterate the planet and humanity,” he said.

“In recent months, relations between our two nations and even with other countries in our Asia Pacific region have been disturbed by misunderstanding and alarmist speculation injurious to the stability not only of China and the Philippines but also the Asia Pacific region,” he noted.

The former president, who also served as chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Defense department before becoming president in 1992, said if either of the two countries would resort to conflict, both will lose.

* “We know all too well that without stability, business cannot run; people cannot create wealth; and nations cannot progress,” Ramos stressed.

He noted that the misunderstanding among countries in the disputed sea is “unusual” primarily because the global system itself is at a “turning point.”

“The distribution of power in the world is changing in a very basic way. The very center of global gravity is moving away from the Atlantic—where it had been during the past 150 years—and tilting toward the Asia Pacific region,” Ramos explained.

“For good or ill, China has become a global power and a pillar of international system,” he added.

According to Ramos, nobody thought that China would grow faster than any country in the world except the United States which, he said, Beijing may surpass in the future in terms of gross domestic product (GDP) growth.

“Only the United States is ahead [of China] in GDP terms—and even that may change before 2030,” he pointed out.

Ramos, whose presidency was marked by privatization and liberalization of private enterprise, lamented that the Philippines “missed” becoming the “East Asian miracle” as the World Bank had predicted “because we kept our economy turned inward.”

Over the years, he said Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Singapore, Indonesia and most recently, Vietnam, have transformed their economies dramatically.

“How did our East Asia neighbors do it? Through intelligent industrialization managed by partnerships between strong states and entrepreneurial family conglomerates. In one generation, South Korea, Taiwan and Singapore have all risen from Third World to First World rank,” Ramos emphasized.

He said the Philippines remained in the doldrums, falling steeply by 37 slots to 117th out of 187 countries in terms of human development.

“Is this what we want? I think we are better than that,” the former president said.

Ramos also cited the pronouncements by former Chinese president Hu Jintao in 2008 where he underscored the importance for all the peoples of the world to have “one dream, one world and one family.”

Sea disputes all about economic dominance October 29, 2014 9:55 pm
by BERNICE CAMILLE V. BAUZON REPORTER

THE MANILA TIMES FORUM: The disputes in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) between China, the Philippines and four other claimant-states are not about oil and minerals but about fishing resources, a senior analyst of US-based think tank Stratfor said during The Manila Times business forum on Wednesday.

Rodger Baker, Stratfor senior analyst and vice president for Asia Pacific Affairs, said the disputes in the region boil down to economic rather than political dominance.

He added that it is more important for China to secure the West Philippine Sea as a vital trade route and fishing source.

“The need for oil and gas has been there for a long time. [But] what is there [West Philippine Sea] is unclear,” Baker said, adding that foreign investors are wary of putting money into exploring the resource-rich region because of the “political risk.”

“Is it worthwhile to come into disputed territory? The likely element of confrontation [among claimant-countries] is fishing,” he said.

About 10 percent of the global resources for fishing are in the West Philippine Sea, while 22 percent of Asian’s protein consumption comes from seafood, the analyst pointed out.

China needs to protect its fishing interests in the region and make sure that fish will be available for its domestic consumption and for export.

For years, the world has never looked at China as “imperialist” or “colonizers.” Baker said China has kept to itself, mainly focused on providing for its one billion people and sustaining itself through domestic markets.

“But at a certain point in its growth, it [China] can no longer sustain itself,” Baker said.

The ancient Silk Road that goes through north of China to Europe suited the Chinese for many years in terms of trading.

However, because it is now the second largest economy in the world, next only to the United States, China started to look at the potentials of Southeast and South Asia.

* Baker said there are two conditions China must ensure to be true before it can build the new Maritime Silk Road (MSR) that will go through the West Philippine Sea, the Indian Ocean and the canals of Venice to meet the ancient land-based silk route. One, that the sea route will always be open for trade (that no power will close it). Two, that Beijing must therefore secure the sea routes for its international trade.

While China is not a naval power, Baker said it needed to be if one it wants to take control of the maritime trade routes.

In March this year, China announced an increase in its military budget for 2014 to almost $132 billion, a 12.2 percent rise over last year’s allocation when it surged by 10.7 percent compared to 2012.

Beijing’s military spending is the second largest in the world, behind only the US, as it attempts to be the dominant military power in the Asia Pacific.

Reports have said much of its military budget is being poured into the South Fleet, which is fast becoming China’s most important naval resource because of the Indian Ocean and Southeast Asia.

China’s naval resources are categorized into three: the traditional North Fleet, the Taiwan-focused East Sea Fleet, and the South Fleet.

Baker said there has been a huge shift in China’s naval resources. He explained that from Beijing’s perspective, the US pivot to Asia is aimed at containing its rise.

But the US, Baker said, would not jeopardize its relations with China because of the “economic ties” and “economic integration” between the two powers.

It does not mean, though, that the US wants to see China growing to the point of threatening it, he added.

Although China has strong economic ties with most of the countries in Southeast Asia, it never played an active role in regional security matters because it was too focused on its domestic issues, the analyst said.

Instead, countries like the US, France and the United Kingdom, among others, have been dominating regional security.
That changed when China shifted its focus to building a Maritime Silk Road to ensure the availability of fishing resources in Southeast Asia, and in a bid to be a legitimate global superpower, which is then perceived to be out to topple the US.

“It wants Southeast Asia to recognize the dominance of China . . . for [countries] to base their strategic decisions on the acceptance of China’s predominant [power],” Baker said.

FROM THE INQUIRER

No sea dispute discussion during Aquino’s China trip 5:35 pm | Wednesday, October 29th, 2014


President Benigno Aquino III. AP FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines — President Benigno Aquino III will be in Beijing next month but he won’t be talking about the territorial disputes in the West Philippine Sea.

Aquino will be attending various Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) conferences in China from November 9 to 11.
Foreign Relations Undersecretary Laura del Rosario said the Apec forum does not tackle political issues such as territorial disputes among countries.

“The agenda is shaping the future through Asia Pacific economic partners, so it’s really all economic,” she said of the upcoming event.

She denied that the West Philippine Sea dispute will be pushed aside because China will be hosting the summit.

“If you noticed, Apec has been here for the past 25 years. They never talked about anything political—never,” Del Rosario told reporters.

She said the participants once tackled terrorism only to discuss how trade and goods could be protected and secured.
“So aside from that, (there) never was….any political issue ever discussed in Apec,” the undersecretary explained.

Del Rosario said that while people are more interested in politics, “economics is more exciting because that’s where the future is.”

* Nevertheless, she said the Philippines and the Chinese government remain in good terms.

“I’d like to say that the Chinese government is really looking forward to our participation, and I think we have a very good, strong delegation,” she said.

“We will be holding hands to make sure that all the issues that affect us will be handled smoothly from one host economy to another,” Del Rosario added.

Aquino’s schedule

Del Rosario said Aquino will deliver a talk at the CEO Summit on November 9 about economic reform for competitive growth. He will then meet with the Apec Business Advisory Council to discuss disaster resilience, SMMEs (small, micro-, and medium enterprises), financial inclusion and governance.

The Apec Economic Leaders Meeting on November 11, on the other hand, will focus on advancing regional economic integration and free trade among the Asia Pacific economies.

Del Rosario said the forum will also tackle the Internet economy.

She said Aquino will discuss innovative development, economic reform and growth, and strengthening structural development.

She said Aquino will most likely meet with Latin American leaders though no schedule has been finalized. After the leaders’ meeting, the President will fly to Myanmar for the 25th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) Summit on November 12 to 13.

FROM PHILSTAR

Manila transportation 10th most dangerous in the world for women By Camille Diola (philstar.com) | Updated October 30, 2014 - 1:38pm 3 140 googleplus0 0


Screenshot from Trust.org, the Thomson Reuters Foundation, showing the major capital cities of the world surveyed on safety of transport systems for women.

MANILA, Philippines — Of the 16 most populous capitals in the world, Manila ranks 10th in the list of most dangerous transport systems for women.

In a study released Thursday commissioned by the Thomson Reuters Foundation and polled by YouGov, the Philippine capital fared better than other Southeast Asian capitals such as Jakarta (fifth) and Kuala Lumpur (seventh) in terms of safety for women.

The Colombian capital of Bogota is the world's worst, followed by Mexico City; Lima, Peru and Delhi, India.

New York City's transportation system is ranked the world's best, followed by that of Tokyo, Beijing, London and Seoul.

Manila is also ranked seventh worst in the query on whether Filipino women respondents feel safe traveling alone at night.

There are more reports of physical harassment, such as groping, in Manila than in six other cities.

The capital also landed 11th worst in availability of safe public transport.

Verbal harassment against women in transportation, however, is hardly an issue in Manila, ranked third best in the world.

It is also ranked second after New York in terms of public response to abuse, with most Filipina respondents saying they are confident someone would come to their assistance if they were being abused in public.

SWS: Hunger worsens in Q4 By Helen Flores (The Philippine Star) | Updated October 30, 2014 - 12:00am 0 0 googleplus0 0

MANILA, Philippines - Self-rated hunger worsened in the country in the last quarter, with 4.8 million families claiming they have experienced having nothing to eat in the past three months, a recent survey by the Social Weather Stations (SWS) showed.

The survey, conducted from Sept. 26 to 29, found 22 percent of respondents or about 4.8 million families claiming to have experienced involuntary hunger at least once in the last three months.

The latest hunger rate was 5.7 points higher than the 16.3 percent – equivalent to 3.6 million families – recorded last June.

SWS noted this was the highest quarterly national rate recorded since June 2013’s 22.7 percent and 2.5 points more than the 19.5 percent annual average last year.

SWS said hunger incidence rose across all areas except in Mindanao.

In Metro Manila, families claiming to have experienced hunger rose from 15.3 percent in June to 22 percent in September.

It rose to 24.3 percent in Luzon from 14.7 percent previously. This was the worst since June 2013’s 26 percent and was worse than the 18.3 percent four-quarter average last year, the SWS noted.

In also increased from 14.7 percent to 18.7 percent in the Visayas. The latest hunger rate in the Visayas was similarly the worst since June 2013’s 21 percent and was worse than the 16.1 percent average for the region last year, the pollster said.

However, in Mindanao, hunger incidence dropped to 20.3 percent in September from 21.3 percent in June. This was better than the 22.1 percent four-quarter average last year, the SWS said.

The results of the SWS survey, published in BusinessWorld yesterday, showed that both moderate and severe hunger have been on the rise in the country.

* Those who experienced moderate hunger rose to 17.6 percent (3.8 million families) last quarter from 13.5 percent (three million families) in June. This was also the highest recorded since the August 2012 survey’s 18 percent.

Families claiming to have experienced severe hunger also increased to 4.4 percent (970,000 families) from 2.8 percent (609,000 families) previously. It was the worst since the 5.4 percent recorded in June last year.

DSWD: CCT program helpful

Reacting to the results of the SWS survey, Secretary Corazon Soliman said the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) would continue to plod on with its anti-hunger and anti-poverty programs.

She explained the DSWD’s programs are not quick fixes but long-term strategies to reduce poverty and hunger, so the impact would only be felt after a period of years.

“Responding to poverty and hunger is not achieved overnight. Survey results like that of the SWS are good references but should not hinder us from implementing poverty alleviation programs,” Soliman told journalists yesterday.

She pointed out that the increased incidence of hunger in balance Luzon can be related to the disasters that hit the region like Typhoons Glenda and Mario.

She also said that the results of the survey do not indicate that DSWD programs are not working.

“In fact, without our programs, the survey may have yielded more detrimental results. It is important then to intensify our programs to ensure that the number will not increase anymore,” she added.

Soliman cited the conditional cash transfer (CCT) program, the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program, as one of the big-ticket anti-poverty measures of government.With Rainier Allan Ronda

TRIBUNE EDITORIAL

WB debunks Aquinomics Written by Tribune Editorial Monday, 03 November 2014 00:00

The World Bank (WB), in a report on the capability of the country to attract foreign investors, indicated that not much in terms of policies and reforms are being undertaken by the administration of Noynoy despite the claim that good governance had changed the perception of business on the integrity of the government and the ease of dealing with it.

The result of the WB report also gives more credence to the call of business groups for more predictable and coordinated policies, the absence of which is considered a magnet to corrupt practices.

The Doing Business 2015: Going Beyond Efficiency report of the WB, showed that the Philippines failed in most factors considered by investors in putting in new investments, with the report citing for instance a decline in trading across borders category as a result of uncoordinated policies between the national and the local governments.

Among 189 countries ranked on ease of doing business, the Philippines placed 95th, nine notches lower from last year’s 86th place.

Singapore topped the list as the best place to do business in, followed by New Zealand, Hong Kong, Denmark, South Korea, Norway, the United States, United Kingdom, Finland and Australia.

Among Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) peers, the Philippines was ranked fifth ahead of Brunei Darussalam, 101st; Indonesia, 114th; Cambodia, 135th; Lao PDR, 148th; and Myanmar, 177th; but behind Singapore, first; Malaysia, 18th; Thailand, 26th; and Vietnam, 78th.

The Manila truck ban was lifted Sept. 14 on the request of the national government to the Manila City government after the restriction reflected in the economy lagged against government target with a 6.4-percent growth in the second quarter.

Based on the WB report, the cost to export one container from the Philippines increased 29.06 percent to $755 from $585 during the review period.

The annual WB report showed the Philippines improved its ranking in five areas of doing business while slipping in also five areas.

The country posted satisfactory rankings in the areas of getting electricity at 16th place; resolving insolvency at 50th place; and trading across borders at 65th place.

* The report, however, indicated that a higher grade would have been achieved in the trading across borders indicator if the administration of Noynoy would have introduced policies that would have addressed long-standing issues.

The country received poor rankings on paying taxes at 127th; protecting investors, 154th; and starting a business at 161st.

World Bank Philippines senior program manager Hans Shrader said the government should strive to reduce procedures in business registration and expand reforms in construction permits, getting credit, protecting minority investors and enforcing contracts.

The administration of Noynoy had been appraised by the business sector of the problematic issues since 2010 when he started his term but the focus turned into ephemeral but well-hyped achievements such as the attainment of investment grades from credit rating agencies.

The more substantial goals of strengthening local industries which is the main source of jobs for Filipinos have been set aside for more convenient goals such as the promotion of labor exports and encouraging the business process outsourcing operations that provide jobs only to Filipinos who have a good command of the English language and who are mostly in the middle class of society.

As a result of wrong priorities, the country has been attracting the least in solid investments within the region that contributes to the paradoxical situation where the economy is supposedly posting strong growth while more Filipinos are joining the ranks of the poor mainly as a result of the lack of jobs.

The WB report is further proof that outside the media hype, Noynoy’s inclusive growth and good governance is good economics catchphrases, or collectively known as Aquinomics, are empty to the core.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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