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Showing posts from July, 2007

Education and economics

This is my column today. One sentence, the last one, got lost in transmission. I must have sent the wrong file. Anyway, I inserted back the missing (last) sentence in this post.


The buzz during the weekend was that National Economic Development Authority Chairman Romulo Neri is being moved from being the government’s chief economist to being the country’s education czar.

Exactly what government position Neri is assuming remains unclear as of this writing. If we are to believe the scuttlebutt, Neri is going to be named chairman of the Commission on Higher Education.

Neri’s transfer is an interesting development, particularly for those who are concerned with the general decline in the overall competitiveness of our human capital in general, and the gaping mismatch between the output of academic and the needs of industry, in particular. In fact, the mismatch has been cited as a major impetus in Neri’s transfer. At least two papers reported that Neri’s transfer is a tacit admission by govern…

Senate investigation... again?

The senators still have to get started on doing what they are supposed to be doing - which, just in case many among us have forgotten, involve having to legislate laws - and newbie-senator Chiz Escudero has already called for a senate investigation on the government's move to address the impending power crisis. Yup, the first order of the day is an...investigation! A hearing!

Chiz suspects that some anomaly is afoot in the government's emergency purchase of coal to be used by the power plants that generate electricity for Luzon. His vigilance is admirable. But it might be better if he actually checks his sources and validates his suspicions first before opening his mouth on public television. My friends at Mirant Power Corporation in Sual (the plant that has been experiencing shortages in coal supply - since last year actually) told me that the situation is so bad frequent brownouts is not just a possibility but a certainty if the situation continues.

If the whole of Luzon suffe…

Back from blog break

I apologize for taking a break from blogging without leaving an announcement.

Thank you to all those who emailed or texted to express their concern or left comments. I hope to be able to blog more regularly now that a major part of my backlog has been attended to.

Time to get to work

(This post is also ante-dated. I was on blog leave for two weeks)I was at work when President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo delivered her seventh State-of-the-Nation Address before Congress last Monday. I had to content myself with listening to the President’s address on my cellular phone’s built-in radio while going about work.
Apparently, not many people bothered with what the President had to say in her annual address to the nation as well. Based on what I saw on the late night newscast, the number of protesters at Commonwealth Avenue was significantly less this year. Even the media coverage was significantly low key. (Incidentally, I noted a very welcome development this year. For a change, there was hardly any feature on the President’s attire. Not that I find it frivolous; just that an inordinate media attention was focused on this in the past as if the State-of-the-Nation Address was a fashion event.)
Aside from the usual nitpicking and sourgraping from the usual suspects, even the po…

Breaking the silence

(Again, this post is ante-dated).Where were you in 1981? That was the first time the symptoms of what would later be considered diagnostic of AIDS were discovered in the cities of New York and Los Angeles in the United States. I had just entered college then but I still vividly remember how the world reacted with revulsion and panic as the first pictures of people with a rare type of pneumonia (pneumocystis carinii pneumonia) and skin tumors called Kaposis’ sarcoma were shown on media.
The first media projection of HIV/AIDS was so gruesome it struck terror in the hearts of people. It led to stigmatization, particularly of those living with HIV/AIDS and the people who were vulnerable to it. HIV/AIDS became a dreaded disease. It still is.
It took three more years to isolate the virus that eventually got labeled as human immunodeficiency virus or HIV, and then another two more years before an antibody test was developed to detect it.
All throughout the last 35 years, a number of breakthroug…

The real issue

(This post is ante-dated simply for the purpose of organizing the contents of this blog. I was on blog leave for two weeks)

There are a couple of questions I want to throw into the current melee regarding Republic Act 9372 also known as the Human Securities Act of 2007, more commonly referred to as the anti-terror law.
Where were all these people now raising a ruckus when the bill was still being deliberated in the House of Representatives and the Senate?
I know that we were all preoccupied with the mid-term elections, but then again, if we come to think about it, that’s hardly an excuse—the election campaign would have been a perfect opportunity to discuss the issue. It would have been opportune to make lawmakers accountable for the passage of the bill.
It is disconcerting to note that what is being passed off as “debate” (I am highlighting the word debate because I will go back to it later in this piece) over the provisions of the anti-terror law is happening only now—months after the …

Investigating the investigators

(This post is ante-dated simply for the sake of organizing the contents of this blog. I was on blog leave for sometime)

I knew it was just a matter of time before someone with enough grit and gumption rises to the challenge of taking on certain television shows and their almighty hidden cameras. It took quite sometime, but somebody finally did. And I think it is all for the best.
Last week, the Pasay City regional trial court granted the petition for preliminary injunction filed by Prosecutor John Giselher Imperial against GMA-7’s television show “Imbestigador.” The court stopped the airing of an episode showing the arrest of the prosecutor over an alleged extortion complaint.
According to a news item that was published in this paper last Thursday, the court stopped the airing of the episode in question since “the airing of the video segment that tends to make petitioner liable for the crime with which he is charged, now pending investigation at the Department of Justice, will immediate…

Oversubscription hurts small investors

This is my column today. The update: The Phoenix IPO was listed today at the stock exchange. The offer price was P9.80, and the listing price was P14.50 which automatically gave those who were able to buy shares a yield of P4.70 per share. That's a whopping 52% profit in two weeks' time. I empathize with those whose applications were accepted two weeks ago only to be told last Monday that their applications were rejected. As if it was not enough that the funds were already with Banco de Oro for two weeks, they had the gall to issue crossed checks that they refused to uncross. This means that investors will have to wait another three days before they can get back their money. What a scam!

I was going to write about something else today but something urgent and troubling came up. As of this writing, I have already received six irate calls and eight angry text messages from friends and acquaintances. All of them are in uproar over the unexpected and sudden twist of events…

Mad rush to buy IPOs

"I GIVE up!

A friend threw in the towel last Friday out of exasperation and frustration. Like many other people I know, he has been trying to buy some shares of the three current hot tickets in the Philippine stock market: The initial public offerings of Phoenix Petroleum Philippines Inc., Aboitiz Power Corp., and GMA Network Inc. He called everyone he knew has access to these shares, wheedled and practically begged just to be able to get some shares. He didn’t get any.

Trying to buy shares of these IPOs has been like attempting to get through King Arthur’s proverbial gauntlet.

The problem is that many people, particularly first-time investors in the local stock market, just do not understand how investing in the stock market works, particularly concerning IPOs. Most think that it is as easy as opening a time deposit account in a bank—one walks into a bank, fills out some forms, hands in the money—and presto, one begins counting profits. Unfortunately, it’s not really as easy as it…

And the mudslinging continues

This was my column last Wednesday, July 4. Sorry, late post again. It's a long story. The good news is that am recovering. Thanks to all who expressed concern.

“Cheat.” “Walang delicadeza.” “Loose cannon.” “Immature.”

These are just some of the colorful language disgorged recently by people who are supposed to be exemplars of outstanding citizenship and good manners, people who are supposed to be leaders of national stature.

Senator Antonio Trillanes called Migz Zubiri a “cheat.” Zubiri responded by calling Trillanes a “loose cannon” and “immature.” Senator Aquilino Pimentel called Commission on Elections Chairman Benjamin Abalos “walang delicadeza.” Like I said, these are just a sampling of the more interesting repartee that all of us have been witness to recently.

The exchanges of accusations and denunciations remind one of classic Filipino movies—the ones where the main characters spew dialogs that have been crafted more for cinematic reasons than for anything else. A friend of…

Defrauding HMOs

This was my column yesterday, July 2. Do hospitals deliberately pad the medical bills of patients who avail of hospitalization using their Health Maintenance Organization cards?
I expect a surfeit of righteous indignation and an avalanche of denials from hospitals and medical practitioners. They are welcome to show proof that this is not happening and I would be very happy to be proven wrong. Unfortunately for them, I am speaking from experience. And as we all know, a man with an experience is never ever at the mercy of a man with an argument.
This issue has been whispered about for quite some time now except that as far as we know, no one has come forward to actually make a direct accusation. Most everyone I know who has been hospitalized and who used a health card had a story to tell about how he or she has been charged extra for medicine or medical procedures that were not actually given or performed on him/ her. There’s always an excess vial of drug, an additional bedpan, or whatev…