MANILA, JULY 27, 2011 (STAR) BULL MARKET, BULL SHEET By Wilson Lee Flores (- To think is easy. To act is hard. But the hardest thing in the world is to act in accordance with your thinking. Goethe

Congratulations, President Noynoy C. Aquino, on your amazingly consistent anti-corruption crusade, which has so far unearthed many past, shameless government anomalies. Thanks also for repeatedly reaffirming government goals on economic and social development.

• What is the state of cases filed against VIP crooks and their conviction rate?

We the citizenry whom you described as your “boss” in your State of the Nation Address (SONA) last year eagerly await your government’s decisive filing of charges in court and swift punishment of alleged corruption and other fraud cases.

P-Noy: Please support your idealistic Solicitor General Joel Cadiz and other good people so that we can finally be a true democracy where not only the small fry rots in jail for petty theft. Punish big-time crooks like VIP politicos, police and military generals, active or retired!

• What is the state of our innovativeness? Can we create our own Acer, Samsung, Huawei?

Recently on my Twitter account WilsonLeeFlores, the government of Israel tweeted me that their country has jumped nine places to No. 14 in the 2011 Global Innovation Index by the INSEAD business school. Congratulations! Innovation is a driver of economic progress.

What is the rank of the Philippines in this global innovation index out of 125 economies on earth? We are 91!

Our ASEAN neighbors ranked higher, like Singapore at No. 3, Malaysia at 31, Thailand at 48 and even formerly war-ravaged Vietnam is already No. 51! Sorry, I don’t know where Botswana is located, but it ranks higher than us at No. 79. Politicos and private sector leaders, wake up!

I remember PLDT, Smart and TV5 boss Manny V. Pangilinan saying that when he attended the last stunning Asian Games hosted by Guangzhou City in south China, he detoured to the headquarters of Huawei telecom and was impressed with their huge reinvestments of profits into research and development. He said, “That visit was like a religious experience for me; the modernity, the economic transformation … we need to invest a lot in R&D, whether the government or private companies. R&D is needed for innovation and true progress.”

• What is the state of public health nationwide?

P-Noy, do you know that there are only 400 psychiatrists (including trainees) now for the 98 million Philippine population? This is according to Dr. Lourdes Ladrido-Ignacio, Dr. Felicitas Artiaga-Soriano, Dr. Jasmine Vergara and other officers of the World Association for Psychosocial Rehabilitation (WAPR) Philippines, the group hosting the 2nd Asia-Pacific Conference on Psychosocial Rehabilitation from July 28 to 30 at Dusit Thani Hotel in Makati.

The University of the Philippines-Philippine General Hospital Psychiatrists Foundation did a regional survey that “revealed that 32 percent of the population, or one out of three Filipino households, have members suffering from mental health problems.” Dr. Ignacio stressed that mental health problems don’t mean “crazy” but a host of other problems like those suffered by overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) separated from loved ones, call center agents’ stress, domestic violence, liquor abuse, cyber addiction, seafarers’ loneliness, unemployment distress, etc.

Another challenge: I was shocked to hear that most provinces don’t have medical facilities for intensive heart procedures like cardiac catheterization, open-heart surgery, etc., until the HB Calleja National Heart Institutes were opened by private-sector initiatives led by the group of cardiologist Dr. William Chua. These heart centers opened first in Angeles University’s hospital in Pampanga, then at Mary Mediatrix Medical Center in Lipa, Batangas.

By the way, in the early 1980s, Dr. Chua was a trainee who witnessed my cousin, top cardiologist Dr. Dy Bun Yok, performing an angiogram on then political detainee Senator Ninoy Aquino at the Philippine Heart Center before he flew to the US for heart bypass surgery. We have world-class cardiologists like DBY, Dr. Rody Sy and Dr. Jorge Garcia, but why are there so few modern medical facilities in the provinces and affordable prices for rural patients?

• What is the state of our education in English, math and science?

How many government initiatives and reforms are there for better English proficiency, mathematics and the sciences in our schools, so that we can be a globally competitive economy? We have only one-tenth the population of India, but we’ve surpassed them in BPOs and call centers because our Philippine English is still good.

Can P-Noy request Yale-educated Felipe Gozon of GMA-7, Harvard-educated Gabby Lopez of ABS-CBN 2 and Wharton-educated Manny V. Pangilinan of TV5 to have more English newscasts and not to translate Hollywood films or US TV shows into Tagalog?

English is already part of Filipino culture; it is not British, in the same way English is also part of Singapore, Indian and Australian cultures. Former French colony Vietnam is studying English fast, though it’s the lingua franca of their former No. 1 military foe, the USA.

• What is the state of our inflow of investments and tourism?

What is happening in our Department of Tourism? Why is it so seemingly quiet, like a cemetery, in terms of marketing the country’s fantastic tourist destinations?

Let us use diplomacy in this 21st century for Philippine economic gains, and not just for politics or amor propio! Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario used to be in business, not a politico, so I urge our government to also pursue economic diplomacy and not just politics.

It is all right to defend Philippine territorial claims, but let us not burn the bridges of our broader multi-faceted trade, investments, tourism, cultural and other relations with rising economic superpower China, in the same way our sovereign claim to resource-rich Sabah state should never lead us to poison or rile up our win-win multifaceted ties with Malaysia.

Also, why are we in the Philippines not using our vaunted closeness with former colonizer USA to woo more investors and tourists here, instead of just buying their second-hand military supplies? Why is it that more big US investors are going to their former enemy, the now still “communist” Vietnam, than to us here in the American-style democracy of the Philippines?

What internal reforms in labor policies, infrastructure, electric power costs, business costs, security and other factors are needed to woo more foreign investors?

Taiwan is geographically nearest to us in the Philippines; we share democratic political systems, but why are there more Taiwanese investors in Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, and even in communist Vietnam than here?

• What is the real state of poverty and income disparity?

One big challenge for government is not only to solve poverty, but also to address the huge income disparity that weakens our democracy. Economic growth without equity is very bad. We need a much bigger and broader middle class, like Taiwan or South Korea!

The only way for the true, dynamic free-enterprise system or capitalism to energize the Philippine economy to its full potential is for government to uphold social justice and economic democracy by giving more social services and better public education to the masses.

Provide more opportunities and jobs, not mere cash dole-outs through the Department of Social Welfare or free houses similar to the TV shows of Willie Revillame or Manny Pacquiao!

• What is the state of bureaucratic red tape for business and the public?

P-Noy should go to the Professional Regulatory Commission (PRC) in Sampaloc, Manila, to see the long lines of future teachers, engineers, nurses and others, and listen to their amazing personal stories many of them are future OFWs. Why such long, long lines and so much red tape for the so-called “heroes” of the Philippines?

Instead of offers by others to assist me in renewing my real estate broker’s license in order to skip the very long lines, I recently chose to line up with everyone (which included lining up at the National Bureau of Investigation for its clearance).

Please modernize all government bureaus with computerization, lessen lines, open provincial branches for institutions like the PRC so that teachers and other professionals from the provinces need not flock here to Manila to wait for hours. I saw so many teachers in long lines.

Please cut down procedures and lessen the red tape for business people in national government offices and city halls down to the barangay level; more businesses equals more jobs!


From L-R) Senate president Juan Ponce Enrile, Philippine president Benigno Simeon Aquino III, Speaker of the House Sonny Belmonte Jr. seen as the State of the Nation Address begins. Photo by Voltaire Domingo NPPA Images.

Aquino boasts of his accomplishments during first year By Thea Alberto-Masakayan | Yahoo Newsroom – 11 hours ago

Editor's Note: Follow Yahoo! Philippines, as it live blogs the State of the Nation Address.

UPDATE: Hinged on his first popular policy "Bawal ang Wangwang," President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III boasted of improving the lives of thousands of Filipinos with better credit rating and more stable economy in his first year as chief executive.

Delivering his second State of the Nation Address (SONA) in the local language, Aquino said his "wang-wang" (siren) policy has changed the face of governance.

“Naging hudyat at sagisag po ito ng pagbabago, hindi lamang sa kalsada, kundi pati na rin sa kaisipan sa lipunan. Sa matagal na panahon, naging simbolo ng pang-aabuso ang wang-wang (This has become the symbol of change, not only in the streets but also in society. Over the years, the use of siren has been a symbol of abuse and corruption),” Aquino said in his speech.

Aquino said that as of June, the rate of hunger in the country has dropped from 20.5 percent to 15.1 percent.

"Kumpara sa unang apat na buwan ng nakaraang taon, mas malaki po ng 23 billion pesos ang natipid nating interest payments mula Enero hanggang Abril ng 2011" - President Benigno Aquino III The country also now enjoys a higher credit rating, a feat that Aquino said the former administration was able to enjoy only once in a span of nine years.

“Kung dati napako na ang bansa sa mababang credit ratings, itinaas ng Moody’s, Standard and Poors, Fitch, at Japan Credit Ratings Agency ang ating ranking, bilang pagkilala sa ating tamang paggugol ng pondo at sa malikhain nating pananalapi. Ang mataas na credit rating, magpapababa ng interes sa perang inuutang natin. Kumpara sa unang apat na buwan ng nakaraang taon, mas malaki po ng 23 billion pesos ang natipid nating interest payments mula Enero hanggang Abril ng 2011,” Aquino said.

Aquino also bared irregularities in the Philippine Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR).

"Isang bilyong piso po ang ginastos ng dating pamunuan ng ahensya para sa kape; sa isandaang piso na lang po kada tasa, lalabas na nakakonsumo sila ng sampung milyong tasa," said Aquino.

Unlike his first SONA, Aquino's bashing on his predecessor was limited.

"At sa mga nasasagasaan po natin sa landas ng katapatan at integridad sa pamamahala, ito naman po ang aking masasabi: Pinili ninyo ang landas kung saan naaapi ang sambayanan. Pinili naman namin ang landas na ipagtanggol ang taumbayan. Nasa tama po kami; nasa mali kayo. Sa inyong magbabalik ng pang-aapi sa sambayan, hindi kayo magtatagumpay," Aquino said.

Aquino also made an appeal to his critics.

"Itigil na po natin ang paghihilahan pababa. Ang dating industriya ng pintasan na hindi natin maitakwil, iwaksi na po natin. Tuldukan na po natin ang pagiging utak-alimango; puwede bang iangat naman natin ang magaganda nating nagawa?" he said.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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