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FROM MALAYA

EDITORIAL: MONEY LAUNDERING


NOVEMBER 16 -IT’S now the turn of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) and the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) to be at the receiving end of President Rodrigo Duterte’s acerbic language. Warnings have been raised from the usual fiery tongue of the President that the BSP and the AMLC have been remiss in fighting money laundering, specifically the cleaning of oodles of dirty money from the illegal drugs business. Even Filipinos accustomed to President Digong’s hyperbole were quite stunned with his revelation that a group of individuals have succeeded in hiding and laundering P5.2 billion in drug money just for “one family” alone. The Chief Executive said they are on the trail of a huge money laundering scam in which a corporation had been established for the sole purpose of cleaning drug money worth hundreds of millions. Duterte is particularly piqued with the Bangko Sentral, the AMLC, and some particular banks, charging that these institutions have been used to legitimize illegal deals. READ MORE...

ALSO: EDITORIAL - FINALLY, SSS DELIVERS


NOVEMBER 17 -FINALLY, the Social Security System (SSS) has assured that current pensioners will receive a P2,000 increase in their monthly pension. SSS Chairman Amado Valdez told the House of Representatives committee on government enterprises and privatization that the increase in pension will be given on a staggered basis – the first half in January 2017 and the second tranche in 2020. About 2 million SSS pensioners and their families stand to benefit from this welcome announcement. This is the same group of citizens who were saddened and disappointed when former President Noynoy Aquino rejected the approved bill granting the same bonanza. READ MORE...

ALSO: By Nestor Mata - The reawakening of the Philippines
(The Duterte era is a great reawakening – a second People’s Power Movement, if you will.)


NOVEMBER 17 -NESTOR MATA
THIS is a review of what Duterte has done ever since he came to power and about the Philippines by Dr. Dan Steinbeck in a critical analysis as published in The World Financial Review. He is an internationally recognized expert of the nascent multipolar world and has lectured widely in China and recently in the Philippine Foreign Service Institute in Manila. Here are pertinent excerpts from Steinbeck’s article: Internationally, Duterte has been portrayed as a “dangerous populist”. That’s a gross caricature. In the elections, he leaned on the nationalistic, social-democratic PDP-Laban (lit. Philippine Democratic Party-People’s Power). He is a tough pragmatic realist who focuses on actions and results, not talks and formalities. True, Duterte’s macho rhetoric tends to blur the substance of his actions. Sheer authority earns his respect. Allegedly molested by a priest as a boy, he has been vocal for the rights of women, and ethnic minorities, including Muslims. He wants to unleash inclusive growth in the Philippines. He supports the US-Philippine alliance, but would lean more toward China and does not believe Washington would honor its defense obligations. READ MORE...

ALSO: By JB Baylon - The American Duterte


NOVEMBER 14 -JB BAYLON
FOR years my relations in California, led by my late grandmother Liviosa Anonuevo, lived in fear of The Big One. That of course refers to the mega quake that some scientists insist is “inevitable” along the San Andreas Fault, one that would cause California to be detached from the continental United States. Worst case scenarios even have that State slipping into the depths of the Pacific Ocean. The Big One came, finally, last Tuesday, with even greater impact. But it was a political version - with the Republican candidate for president defying the Establishment - the leaders of his party and the Democratic Part and even the media - and pulling a stunning upset almost no one except his inner circle saw coming. Immediately the aftershocks began to be felt: stock markets plunged, central banks like Japan’s called for emergency meetings, and most everybody was asking most everybody else: what just happened here? READ MORE...


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Money laundering

MANILA, NOVEMBER 21, 2016 (MALAYA) November 16, 2016 - IT’S now the turn of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) and the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) to be at the receiving end of President Rodrigo Duterte’s acerbic language.

Warnings have been raised from the usual fiery tongue of the President that the BSP and the AMLC have been remiss in fighting money laundering, specifically the cleaning of oodles of dirty money from the illegal drugs business.

Even Filipinos accustomed to President Digong’s hyperbole were quite stunned with his revelation that a group of individuals have succeeded in hiding and laundering P5.2 billion in drug money just for “one family” alone.

The Chief Executive said they are on the trail of a huge money laundering scam in which a corporation had been established for the sole purpose of cleaning drug money worth hundreds of millions.

Duterte is particularly piqued with the Bangko Sentral, the AMLC, and some particular banks, charging that these institutions have been used to legitimize illegal deals.

READ MORE...

The human in Duterte, though, explains why he is critical of the banks, AMLC and BSP as a sector. He has not forgotten that before the elections, these same financial institutions were somehow used by Digong’s political rivals to peddle the rumor that he has millions of pesos and dollars in the bank.

By Duterte’s own admission, one of the reasons why he dislikes the United States is because an American consul once denied his application for a visa.

The Chief Executive also does not hide his contempt for Sen. Leila de Lima because it was she who had the temerity to investigate him a couple of years ago on the Death Squad activities in Davao City when he was mayor. De Lima was then chairman of the Commission on Human Rights.

While it looks like the presidential rantings against them are an offshoot of the past election black propaganda, it behooves our financial and monetary officials to shape up, for truth to tell, their sector really needs reforms in the light of the recent Bangladeshi treasury heist.


SSS delivers November 17, 2016

FINALLY, the Social Security System (SSS) has assured that current pensioners will receive a P2,000 increase in their monthly pension.

SSS Chairman Amado Valdez told the House of Representatives committee on government enterprises and privatization that the increase in pension will be given on a staggered basis – the first half in January 2017 and the second tranche in 2020.

About 2 million SSS pensioners and their families stand to benefit from this welcome announcement.

This is the same group of citizens who were saddened and disappointed when former President Noynoy Aquino rejected the approved bill granting the same bonanza.

READ MORE...

Several congressmen have even insisted on passing the proposed bill even after the presidential rejection, through a veto override.

The fact that the SSS is finally taking the pro-poor proves that the past administration’s explanations on why the proposed pension hike need to be scrapped do not hold water.

The tack to be implemented by the present SSS is more prudent investment like public-private partnership agreements, to ensure the trust fund’s financial viability, it was enunciated at the committee hearing.

One congressman also pointed out the need for the state pension fund for private-sector workforce to improve its collection efficiency, which has been pegged at only 40 percent.

We pin our hopes for a better and more service-oriented Social Security System under the leadership of Chairman Valdez and his team.


The reawakening of the Philippines By NESTOR MATA November 17, 2016


NESTOR MATA

THIS is a review of what Duterte has done ever since he came to power and about the Philippines by Dr. Dan Steinbeck in a critical analysis as published in The World Financial Review. He is an internationally recognized expert of the nascent multipolar world and has lectured widely in China and recently in the Philippine Foreign Service Institute in Manila. Here are pertinent excerpts from Steinbeck’s article:

Internationally, Duterte has been portrayed as a “dangerous populist”. That’s a gross caricature. In the elections, he leaned on the nationalistic, social-democratic PDP-Laban (lit. Philippine Democratic Party-People’s Power). He is a tough pragmatic realist who focuses on actions and results, not talks and formalities.

True, Duterte’s macho rhetoric tends to blur the substance of his actions. Sheer authority earns his respect. Allegedly molested by a priest as a boy, he has been vocal for the rights of women, and ethnic minorities, including Muslims. He wants to unleash inclusive growth in the Philippines. He supports the US-Philippine alliance, but would lean more toward China and does not believe Washington would honor its defense obligations.

READ MORE...

With a pace of a whirlwind, Duterte seeks to transform the Philippines for the better – or perish in the process of doing so.

As international media has focused on the Philippine drug war, it has ignored the dramatic rejuvenation of the archipelago nation’s economy that Duterte would like to serve more ordinary Filipinos through a 10-point economic agenda.

The basic idea is to maintain current macroeconomic policies, while instituting progressive tax reform. Budget deficit is likely to increase and he has suggested raising the ceiling to 3 percent of GDP. Unlike stagnating advanced economies, the Philippine economy can manage deficits with future growth.

To attract foreign investment, Duterte also hopes to relax the economic provisions of the constitution to adjust the foreign ownership cap of local companies to 70%; a task in which the previous administration failed.

In the past half a decade, manufacturing has accounted for more than half of FDI applications, which is vital to absorb labor growth as rural workers leave for cities, and to diversify economy away from low-skill services.

These policies have potential to accelerate modernization. Unlike his predecessor, Duterte will promote increasing agricultural productivity and rural tourism. Industrialization has still a long way to go as less than 20% of the population is employed by industry. The urbanization rate is only 50% and behind Indonesia.

Internationally, the growth potential of the economy has been assessed at around 6.5% per annum, the bulk of which comes from services, construction, and manufacturing sectors. The future of IT business services is bright.

CONSUMER CONFIDENCE

Recently, research firm Nielsen found Philippine consumer confidence to be at an all-time high, buoyed by the promise of future reforms. In the second quarter, GDP growth soared on the back of election-year spending to 7.0%, the fastest in Asia. Indeed, structural growth potential of the economy could be closer to 8 percent, if growth would be more inclusive.

Duterte wants growth to improve social protection programs, including the government’s conditional cash transfer program. ...Unlike his predecessors, Duterte supports greater decentralization and autonomy for the south. To him, federalism is the antidote to bureaucratic centralism; a legacy of colonial powers and ruling political dynasties that cultivate corruption and patronage. Moreover, federalism is vital to defuse a long-lasting communist insurgency and Muslim separatism in the south – and the spread of Jihadism in the future.

The starting point is favorable. The Philippine economy has a strong balance sheet and is well positioned to cope with global shocks. An economy of 100 million people is characterized by solid domestic demand, youthful demographics, but low exposure to global trade. Comprising one of the world’s largest Diasporas, 12 million Filipinos live abroad, while their remittances bring in vital foreign exchange.

Like other promising emerging economies, the Philippines has its downside risks. Thanks to its geographical location, large-scale natural disasters can cause major property loss, population displacement and disrupted food supply in storm-prone nation of 7,000 islands. Internationally, an earlier than anticipated Fed rate hike could hurt the Philippine peso. In turn, weaker-than-expected growth in China could harm exports and erode the current account balance.

DRASTIC TIMES

Duterte’s drug war has claimed more than 1,800 lives... Drastic times call for drastic measures, argue the proponents of the administration. By early August, Duterte had linked more than 150 judges, mayors, lawmakers, police and military personnel to illegal drugs ordering them to surrender. Reportedly, nearly 600,000 people have surrendered to authorities, trying to avoid getting killed. Prisons have turned into overcrowded, sardine-pack nightmares.

As far as critics are concerned, Duterte is undermining human rights, despite his statements against extrajudicial killings. This argument has been directed against Duterte by the United Nations, the United States and the Philippine rights organizations. Yet, he considers the critics naïve.

As far as Duterte is concerned, he feels he is not moving fast enough. .. Duterte’s concern is that Manila has only a few years to curb illegal drugs. Duterte has the support of most Filipinos. In July, his trust rating soared to 91%.

Currently, China and the Philippines have opted for a cooperative stance, which is predicated on Sino-Philippine dialogue that could reduce the weight of geopolitical issues, while supporting mutual gains in economic development. In the long-term, this is the most preferable trajectory to Manila, Beijing, Washington and ASEAN.

Despite significant pressures, Duterte is hedging his bets between US security assurances and Chinese economic cooperation. Intensified bilateral cooperation could increase China’s participation in infrastructure investment and Chinese multinationals in economic zones; financing possibilities vis-à-vis the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank; agreeing on “joint development areas” in South China Sea; possibly even joint potential in anti-corruption and anti-drug activities.

In the past few weeks, international media has “rediscovered” the Philippines, mainly thanks to the drug war, which ensures dramatic footage and great headlines, and are sometimes politically convenient.

The Duterte era is a great reawakening – a second People’s Power Movement, if you will.


The American Duterte By Jose Bayani Baylon November 14, 2016


JB BAYLON

FOR years my relations in California, led by my late grandmother Liviosa Anonuevo, lived in fear of The Big One. That of course refers to the mega quake that some scientists insist is “inevitable” along the San Andreas Fault, one that would cause California to be detached from the continental United States. Worst case scenarios even have that State slipping into the depths of the Pacific Ocean.

The Big One came, finally, last Tuesday, with even greater impact. But it was a political version - with the Republican candidate for president defying the Establishment - the leaders of his party and the Democratic Part and even the media - and pulling a stunning upset almost no one except his inner circle saw coming.

Immediately the aftershocks began to be felt: stock markets plunged, central banks like Japan’s called for emergency meetings, and most everybody was asking most everybody else: what just happened here?

READ MORE...

In many ways the unexpected and surprising victory of the anti-Establishment candidate here in the United States mirrors the unexpected and surprising victory of the anti-Establishment candidate in the Philippines last July.

America, in many respects, now has its own Duterte.

But the former may find it harder to govern, precisely because his victory could very well be simply a protest vote, one attained by triggering in the voter a moment of anger that now, as the dust settles, has to be converted into policy. And this is the tricky part, because both Houses of the US Congress remain under the control of much of the Establishment, even among the ruling Republicans.

'A GRREAT WALL OF THE UNITED STATES"

I cannot imagine a House or a Senate acquiescing to the construction of a “Great WLl of the United States”, one meant to keep Mexicans out. Or the mass deportation of undocumented immigrants. Or forcing NATO allies to pay up first if they wish to continue availing of US protection. Or keeping US firms (including his own) from opening up factories in China and producing their consumer products there.

But these were promises made by the American Duterte on the way to victory, and they are promises his agitated base will now expect him to deliver. If he fails them he may find that today’s cheers will quickly transform into tomorrow’s jeers.

More critically, this most divisive of US presidential campaigns exposed - if not opened up - deep divisions within the American public: the rural from the urban and suburban communities; the highly educated from the less educated; the highly skilled from the less skilled; women from men; whites from non-whites, and so on.

Now that there should be a shift from campaign mode to governance mode, will the American Duterte be able to convince the genies he had unleashed to return to the bottle?

But, who knows what lies ahead? Frankly, after staying up late in my hotel room in Washington DC last Tuesday monitoring State after State as they were being called, I realized that only God could know for sure.

Having noticed the trend by 9 p.m. Eastern Time and having posted on my Facebook page the question “Will Trump be the next president???” I decided to switch channels and contented myself with watching “Oceans 12” just to lull me to sleep.

I couldn’t find my Unisom pills for that specific purpose.

The next day it was a different America that I woke up to. Acclaiming not the first woman ever to be elected President of the United States, but the American Duterte.


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