Tuesday, November 23, 2010


The Game Grown Up Nations Play!

It is not just enough for us to fight against and yell about corruption. It gets old pretty quick. We must do more than just complain about our social, political and economic ills. We have to offer solutions!  As we fight this despicable, backwards and loathsome social disease we need to also look  at our more successful Asian neighbors and beyond , then copy what they have done right to become  successful.  In short, we need not re-invent the wheel.  All we do is copy what has been done successfully , improve on their successes and beat the competition at their game!

Are we up to it as a nation?  Are we truly capable of imitating our financially successful Asian neighbors and perhaps even surpass their achievements?  We will never find out until we dare to play this game that grown up nations play!  As one wise guy said, ‘In order for you to win you have to be in the game!’  And what, you might say, is this game?   Folks, this game is  called the global economy! This is the biggest , most time-relevant , highest-priority , all-important  and exciting game that smart nations  play.  And the Philippines, with the right players at the controls, can truly compete , excel and win in this game of games! 

We are loaded with potential!  Like the Chinese, we have cheaper labor than most. Like the Japanese we are very tech savvy and highly trainable.  As the Taiwanese are industrious and creative, so are we! And when we set our minds on great goals to achieve,  who is going to say that we are less capable and aggressive than the Koreans in going for it? And I would venture out to say that after proper training, we speak the best English ever among the non-English speaking nations of the world!  And I am not pulling anybody’s leg when I say this.   I never stop to be amazed at the great proficiency and polish of our customer service reps at the many call centers of the nation.  These guys are a gem that I am truly proud of. Hats off to these miracle workers! When I talk to them, I hardly detect any accent to tell me I am speaking to a Pinoy or Pinay! Truly amazing!  Well, all of the above are just that, great potential. We have yet to apply these potential to something much bigger than ourselves.   Here is where great management , leadership and teamwork not just by the President but by all of us, come in!

The wise guys have told me that a group is just as good as the leader leading that group. I say that the leader is just as good as the group that he leads!  Try leading a bunch of totally incorrigible morons and see what happens!  So, it looks like both the leader and the people he leads have to be great leaders altogether!  Nothing beats the experience of leading self-leading and self-managing team mates!

Now let us look at our top leadership who are supposed to be at the helm or controls of our nation and ‘the game’.  I am talking about key leadership positions held by our men in Congress, the Senate,  the high courts, positions held by governors, generals , admirals, directors , department heads , financial experts, businessmen, mayors and so forth.   The President has proven his determination and resolve to really lead our nation long  before the last of  his first one hundred days in office were over.   I am all ears and standing by for the first shots from these quarters I mentioned above but one hundred days have passed, everything is still quiet.  I have not heard of nor read about any of these folks yelling and screaming about their ‘much awaited and expected’  all-out support to the Commander-in-Chief in moving this nation financially forward.  I am reminded of a classroomful of delinquent children who have been behaving very badly and the tough and no-nonsense teacher has just walked in .  Everyone is quiet,  watching  and trying to see what is coming down next.  This happens when you are perhaps guilty and you don’t know when your turn will come up to get yanked from your chair and get a royal ass chewing or worse. 

Or perhaps our leadership under the President are simply speechless .  What with the long and many years of practicing corruption and mis-management then all of a sudden you are placed in a position where you are asked to perform in  a way totally opposite to what you are used to doing! Well, that would make a lot of folks speechless indeed!  So, are we in a wait and see situation? Perhaps the President will get exhausted, lose his focus and give up?  Then back to ‘business as usual’? 

We are confident that we are wrong in these assumptions.  But we truly are all ears. We are waiting for our gallant leaders to step up to the plate.  And to give credit to the daring few, those who have started to streamline the economies of their provinces ,cities and towns and preparing to launch their ‘assault’ on the competition,  the fruits we seek are closer than we think.  Indeed the Chinese were on their way to great wealth ten to fifteen years after they embarked on their historic economic transformation by daring to venture into this global game of wealth acquisition.

I believe that our leaders are more than capable of turning this nation around when they decide to jump in and lead.  We as people are truly capable of rising above all this  mediocrity then boldly going for excellence!  The President is waiting. The whole nation is on standby.  The citizens are poised ready to be led and to lead!  It will be a great day in our history when indeed as people we commit to this noble cause, get truly fired up, move as one and join and dominate this  exciting race of races where every single citizen becomes a winner when the whole nation wins!  Again, one wise guy said that when you help somebody win , you too become a winner! 

Help this nation win and the rest are winners!

Joe Joson, USA

Thursday, November 16, 2006


Economic Reforms and Constitutional Amendments

Most of the dust over the People Initiative efforts to amend the Constitution has now settled. Well, at least for round one, it is for the most part, over. The opposing sides on the issue are, however, still voicing out opinions, eternally arguing, the proponents coming up with new efforts to continue the battle while the detractors try to outsmart them by putting out road blocks and killing the effort. Same old stuff, different day. Everyday that passes, the opportunity to address the issue of reform gets buried deeper.

Bottom line ladies and gentlemen, between the two opposing sides’ opinions and desired goals, which one is going to put more money in our pockets and more food on our tables? This in essence, holds the most water above all the arguments and bickerings that are going on. Which side is going to feed us, our children and grandchildren in the days to come?

Former President Ramos who has backed Charter Change for a long time has expressed his disappointment over the Supreme Court’s decision on the fate of the People Initiative.
He said that the SC made their decision on the Initiative based on technicalities and not on its desired merits. He stressed Economic Reforms as one of the biggest reasons why the Constitution needs to be overhauled. One specific economic reform is the removal of most of the restrictions on FOREIGN OWNERSHIP of businesses by foreign investors who want to do business in the Philippines. I cannot argue with this one. He is absolutely right.

The old belief in many quarters of our nation that opening the Philippines to foreign investment and foreign ownership of businesses is detrimental to our own national interest is indeed OLD and BACKWARDS. Yet this same sentiment is still repeated in many discussions and still believed by many as ‘the truth’.

China languished in the third world status for ages until Deng Xiao Peng in 1978 opened the nation to foreign investment. By this , he REMOVED most if not all of the restrictions that the old regime imposed in the past and in its place installed reforms favorable to foreign investors. His was not an original idea. For years before China’s economic rise, Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Malaysia and the rest of the richer Asian countries have all removed or at least modified their policies so that foreign investors felt more assured of their ability to operate freely while running and owning a business in their particular country. In less than 15 years after China ‘opened’ their country to foreign investment, they were well under way to becoming one of the richest nations in the world. Now, almost 30 years later, they are indeed very, very rich.

What about the Philippines? The Philippines is the LAST HOLDOUT on foreign business ownership and this folks is one big obstacle that needs to GO or should have GONE like years ago. As former President Ramos said, all the positive ratings that the world gives us are an indication that we are doing many things right at this time. But these things we are doing right are not going to lead us to more wealth if we do NOT open the door wider for investment to come in and STAY in.
We have done a good job in collecting more taxes through the EVAT and it is paying off. We now have more money to work with. We will be able to spend more money on projects that create more jobs. WE need to continue showing the foreign investors that we want them and their money IN the Philippines . We however cannot keep saying this without taking concrete actions to make investment in the Philippines foreign-investor friendly.

As we speak, foreign businesses are still required to partner up with Philippine companies who will own 60% of the businesses and the foreign company will own 40%. With the Philippines’ track record of corruption in mind, foreign businesses are not too eager to do business with us with only 40% ownership and control of their company. Our Asian neighbors have but removed all these restrictions and allowed the foreign investors a free hand to operate businesses in their countries. Most of our Asian neighbors are wealthy and we are still very, very poor. This observation alone should help us decide which route to take.

Parliamentary versus Presidential? I look at two nations , the United States and England.
Both are wealthy. The former has the Presidential system and the latter, the Parliamentary system. So, is the Philippines better off with a Parliamentary system? As our example above shows, either system works! It is HOW we run these systems that really matter folks! It is HOW we DO things while running our government, parliamentary or presidential.

My observation: Our leadership, all of them, need to learn how to pull together and rally behind what needs to be done first before we can truly move on and accomplish bigger objectives. With the exception of a few, the motivations behind MOST of the maneuverings in our government right now do not have anything to do with any national goals that will benefit all. It has more to do with power struggles, personal ambitions, protecting personal, political and financial interests, greed. When this same leadership (or the absence of it) puts all this selfish reasons for their activities behind them and replaces them with goals that will dramatically push our ECONOMY at the forefront of their priority list, then maybe we can indeed start becoming a wealthy nation. Until then, a new government system will not really help that much.

So, amending the Constitution and overhauling its policies on FOREIGN INVESTMENT is one of the single biggest goal that our leaders should focus on and this is one of the single biggest achievement that they will ever accomplish for our country.

Course of Action for the citizens: As individuals or groups, continue to back our economic reformers. Back the reforms that will bring in FOREIGN MONEY into our homeland. The call centers are a good example of foreign money from foreign investors. These call centers hire local employees who get very decent pay. These employment dollars help raise our economy just as the dollars remitted by the millions of OFW’s help strengthen our economy and raise our living standards. But these call centers and OFW remittances alone are not enough. We need to CONSISTENTLY attract more businesses across the board. Attract investors in all sectors of industry.

I truly do not buy the notion that the leadership behind the People Initiative petition to amend our Constitution had deception in their minds when they initiated the collection of signatures. In many quarters supporting the effort, economic reform to attract foreign investment was at the forefront of most of their discussions. Governor Aumentado of Bohol, who is one of the leaders pushing for People Initiative, is doing a super job in modernizing his province and doing many things to attract new investment. Bohol is following Cebu’s footsteps in creating wealth for itself and its people. It is not a big surprise to see him drum up efforts to radically change the foreign investment atmosphere for the Philippines. When the Philippines finally lifts most of its restrictive trade barriers or laws that are in our present Constitution, he knows that his province and most of the provinces that have prepared well, are lined up to fully benefit from it. Governor Aumentado is an ENTREPRENEUR at heart. We need to watch very closely what he does and perhaps learn from him.

And the fear that President Arroyo will continue to sit in power if somehow the Parliamentary system replaces the present system before her term is over in 2010, is understandable but on closer scrutiny does not make sense. The fear is understandable because we lived under martial rule for 20 years and under that government , our nation went from ‘bad to terrible’. No one wants a change in government where a leader who is not performing well continues to rule.

The fear does not make sense for the very reason that in terms of the economy, President Arroyo has accomplished more than most Presidents of the past and continues to display leadership qualities that pull in more economic gains for the country. The fiscal reforms that she has instituted so far have allowed our economic situation to improve, the peso continues to rise, some very favorable ratings have been given to us and even the World Bank has given us its ‘thumbs up’. Even some of her critics recognize that the President has hurdled most of the obstacles that most past Presidents have failed to hurdle.

Try taking over the Presidency of a nation which is BROKE, has Billions of dollars in debt, has a very corrupt bureaucracy and political system, its tax collection a mess, has two or more insurgencies to deal with and see how fast you sink to the bottom. Our fiscal problems will not disappear overnight. But our economy through this President’s leadership is making some inroads in places where others got stuck or went downhill. The longer we block the changes to bring in FOREIGN INVESTMENT into our country, the longer we will stay poor. We need to swing the doors WIDE OPEN and we will see our economy grow faster.

So, if you ask me, unless we have anybody out there who is as equally capable as this President or better in improving our economy, I would choose to have her continue her job any day. As it is, I don’t know of anyone or at least has not observed a soul from the line up of potential successors who can outdo what she is accomplishing for us economically. So, if she sits in the highest seat of office in the Philippines whether it is a Presidential system or Parliamentary past 2010, I simply cannot associate this thought to anything that is dreadful.

The whole effort and responsibility to improve our economy do not lay in her hands alone. It takes everyone rowing together to move this nation forward. The rest just needs to row in the same direction. The direction to national wealth. Her detractors who continue to sow horror stories on what could happen if she stays in power past 2010 do not have a good handle on what the most important issue really is. ‘It’s the ECONOMY…st…d.’

One very popular multimillionaire who came from a very poor and humble beginnings said, “Wealth is a mindset. Until you learn how to think RICH you will continue to be poor, think poor and act poor. The way to riches is first to change your mindset and start thinking RICH. You then follow it up with ‘RICHLY’ actions! And then wealth will follow”. And this is true for our nation. Everyone is preoccupied with many things except things that will make us rich as a nation. Our culture has not learned how to have the mindset of true entrepreneurs. We THINK and ACT poor. If this is not true, look around and see who is the poorest country in the Asian neighborhood. Well, we are. We remain the economic ‘chickens’ of Asia and our economy has started to look good but still stinks as compared to our neighbors’ economy. We don’t dare compete with our Asian neighbors economically instead we compete among ourselves over the most stupid things.

Some of the people who are ‘scared stiff’ of changes like Constitutional amendments or Charter Change are operating from this kind of mindset. Horror stories of what could happen if these changes are brought in are their favorite. The more people they tell of this dreadful story the more they scare themselves to death. So, do us a favor. Knock off the bs, get in line and help push this economy forward. You could then one day congratulate yourself for having made a contribution to helping our economy look good and even smell good.

Joe Joson

For feedback: blackhawk74@yahoo.com or visit my blog at


Sunday, September 10, 2006


People Initiative, Charter Change and the Economy

A 'new kid in the block' is fast becoming the 'talk of the town' lately. This new kid is called People Initiative. The widely perceived opinion that our ‘smart lawmakers’ are failing us, and they are for the most part, to expedetiously deliver the goods on the much publicized Charter Change, has resulted in the citizen-inspired movement which is quickly gathering speed, popularity and momentum.

As the concept of People Initiative-driven reforms spread in the countryside, it is hard to miss the excitement of those that back it up and the equally energetic noise making of those who oppose it.

A short background on the People Initiative: Citizen-inspired, totally legal, extremely popular, a political freight train on steroids. Focus is on the proposed Charter Change. There are over 300 organizations nationwide affiliated with the movement. The movement was spearheaded by a group called Sigaw ng Bayan under the leadership of a very savvy lawyer named Raul Lambino. For more information on the movement please go to www.sigawngbayan.com . There is a provision in the 1987 Constitution that allows for people-initiated constitutional amendment. This group has utilized it to try to bypass the eternal foot dragging of our 'men' in the Senate. Our lawmakers are not too keen on people-initiated changes to our constitution. They are worried sick of a lot of things. Thus the birth of One Voice. This is just one of several groups fighting the People Initiative tooth and nail. One Voice supposedly has a lot of money to spend on full page ads in newspapers, tv informercials and public forums for a few months. Purpose, to shoot down the People Initiative. This amounts to a good chunk of money. And the little guys are wondering just who is footing this huge bill. They think its the special-interest folks whose businesses, wealth, position or power are threatened by the upcoming reforms. I am of the opinion that their suspicion is well grounded.

The special-interest families or clans of our nation do not give a hoot about reforms that will be sure tickets to the demise of their many generations of economic strangle hold or monopoly of businesses in our country. Monopolies do not want to let go of that power and money. And this, ladies and gentlemen is one reason that the rich in our country become richer and the poor become poorer. When our nation's economy is finally LIBERATED from the clutches of the powerful few, this is when we will, as a NATION, be able to fully grow and compete in the global arena of wealth acquisition. Our present constitution has a lot of restrictions on foreign ownership. This in itself is a big hindrance to foreign investors. This is one area that I understand will be addressed by the new Charter.

The United States is wide open to any legitimate foreign company to own real estate and businesses in the U.S. The exceptions are businesses from rogue nations or nations that harbor terrorists. China is now enjoying their great newfound wealth because in 1978 they dared to remove the many restrictions that hindered investors' access to ownership and gave them more freedom of movement.

Our special-interest folks dread seeing this competition from the outside. Our more open minded and economically savvy reformers and business owners want the billions of dollars of investment money to come in. I do not have to think twice which side I will support on this.

The good news: The EDSA revolts or People Power have awakened us into some level of awareness and reality. The continued interest and show of concern by more and more citizens, young an old, clamoring for change is indeed an awesome development. The People Initiative if properly nurtured, planned and executed could be just the beginning of many great positive changes that the nation for the first time will ever witness. I have always dreamed of this long-overdue awakening of our people. We have been indifferent and we have slept too long. Now, from the little guys to the town councilors of the nation, baranggay heads, governors, bishops and some proponents of the reform movement in the senate, everyone is sending out a message loud and clear. We are sick and tired of status quo, sick and tired of poverty, sick and tired of inefficiency in government, sick and tired of corruption, sick and tired of being called the 'sick man of Asia' ,sick and tired of taking the back seat in the world economy!

The bad news: I am sure that a lot of us are looking forward and excited to see the first signs of the much needed reforms in our country . The ultimate reward of course is when we start seeing the fruits of these reforms. I will name one reward that we want to see. And this is that quality of life for our citizens start to dramatically improve. China in a few years time moved millions of its citizens from poverty to middle class status. I appreciate the enthusiam of the citizen reformers. Enthusiasm propels, motivates and fires up everything that once were indifferent, lethargic, aimless. But I say it is one thing to get really excited about a great idea but it takes more than just tons of enthusiasm to bring the desired changes to fruition.

And this is the bad news. One thing that is clearly missing is a detailed and precise blueprint that is easily understood by and easiy accessible to the common folk. This wilI achieve a truly people-driven reform. The people have to understand so they can participate and become active contributors on just WHAT the reforms should be, HOW the reforms will be carried out, WHY these reforms are necessary, WHEN these reforms should take effect, WHO the key players should be. I have spent a good many hours looking for the What's and the How's of the proposed Charter Change and I have not come accross a one-stop site that has given me a clear picture of WHAT our citizen Framers/Reformers intend to do and just HOW they intend to carry out these changes. Even the extensive website of Sigaw Ng Bayan has not shown the details of the proposed changes in the Charter Change. This writer will appreciate a lead to this source of information, if it exists.

Attention to Detail: I love Aircraft Carriers and they are truly fascinating. These war machines have hundreds if not a few thousand systems within systems. There are millions of individual components inside each system. It takes a few thousand men with their respective specialties to operate, maintain and repair these systems. In order to achieve and maintain excellence, to run this ship efficiently and carry out its mission, each and every crewmember has to fully pay attention to a lot of details in his respective field of expertise. We should expect nothing less in framing our next Constitution or in running our institutions or businesses. We have to look into the smallest of details. I am still of the opinion that our existing Constitution would have worked fine. It was HOW our government managers ran things that ended us in the ditch. They failed to pay attention to detail in many areas of 'national housekeeping and national book keeping'.

Direction: Okay, so when and if the ship is finally running and it is manned by a fully capable crew, what's next? How about knowing where to sail to? Destination, destination, destination. When we arrive what will we arrive to? And in which direction do we go to get to that destination? When the Constitution is "re framed", we the people should be fully involved. It is not enough to bring about changes. We should have reforms that are targeted and designed to maximize the desired results. This is where attention to detail is an absolute must.

Woudn't it be nice to visit an extensive and regularly updated no-nonsense website for Catanduanes that covers where we have been, where we are and where we want to be? And feature what? How about past, present and future or desired achievements? Infrastructure progress reports that are short and sweet would be truly great to see. Infrastructure dream lists would be cool as well. Economic status, milestones and projections would be awesome. It was great to read about successful entrepreneurs in Virac in one of the Tribune's latest issues. But we have to have a provincial website that anyone from anywhere in the world can look at at any time and get updated on the status of our desired achievements. Why? Take a lesson from the little guys called red blood cells. I heard that these little things know exactly what they are doing and where they are going 24/7! And we would hope so. Our good health depends on their efficiency! I heard that within each red blood cell are dna codes that match the dna codes of our whole body. So the red blood cells could go anywhere in our body and continue to function accurately because it carries all the instructions or blueprint in its memory. Talk about connectivity! No wonder they do their job efficiently! I also heard that inside any organization or corporation, the ones who take the pains to let their folks know what their goals are for the next hour, day, week or year are more successful than those who 'just play it by ear' or simply don't care.

Congressman Santiago said it well concerning the potential of the Philippines to tap into the 'outsourcing industry' where India leads and generates huge revenues from. This is a great wealth of information. A great opportunity indeed. If only we can move just a tad closer to how we on the island can jump in on this opportunity. I do not have all the answers on how a call center can be put together on the island. There are quite a few call centers now in Manila and its neighboring cities. How do we attract these companies to set up shop in Catanduanes. A provincial website could have one section covering our economy in addition to other equally vital goals and issues we face on the island. This is where the nuts and bolts of a call center could be published and will be an eye catcher. It could lead to people from all over pitching in with either time, talent, money, sweat and knowledge. It might just happen! But we all got to stay connected and never lose sight of our objective. A well planned provincial website clearly outlining our goals will achieve a lot of things. It will serve to focus our direction and let us all know what the provincial goals and visions are.

So what has the People Initiative got to do with us on the island? What has it got to do with our economy? Plenty!! For starters, the Initiative is a great unifier. The ancient Egyptians rallied around building the pyramids in their quest to guarantee their souls' passage to heaven. Their efforts did not necessarily guarantee their safe passage to heaven but they achieved remarkable engineering feats that had applications other future builders utilized and benefited from. Again they had a goal and they got united in the process of reaching their goals.

Another big plus for the Initiative: If the Constitution gets a good major overhaul and the citizens played a part in the exercise, it could be a major breakthrough for our country. It would have marked the beginning of one of the major requirements of a true democracy in our country. One of the signs of a maturing democracy is seeing the full participation of its citizens in the smallest details of government. People Power was such an exercise but People Power was short lived. As soon as we achieved the short term change we wanted, we were back to the 'hands off' mode that we were in before the uprising. We have to be fully attentive to what our elected officials are doing. We have to be fully aware of the laws and policies of the land and be active participants in their full enforcement. With time, changes will be called for to keep ourselves abreast of the world. With the world in a constant change, those that do not keep up with these changes will be left behind, will stay in a perpetual state of confusion and disarray. That is where the Philippines has been for many years.

We, in my opinion, as a nation is beginning to see some very interesting changes. We need to be on our toes to meet these exciting changes. They say that ‘Success is when Preparation meets Opportunity’. This means that when opportunity rolls in and sits right under your nose and you did not prepare for its coming, forget about success. Let us set ourselves up so when the opportunity is at our doorstep we will be able to grab it.

I have mentioned this in one of my letters a couple of years or so ago and because of its significance it is worth repeating here. California and other states use Initiatives to introduce new measures and/or defeat the same measures that affect state laws and policies. These laws or policies could be about taxes, public schools, immigration, licensing, businesses, infrastructure, real estate and just about anything and everything that affects the citizens' lives. Measures are either passed or rejected by the voters. And yes, measures can be introduced by individuals. The individuals or proponents, with the guidance set by the State, put forth the Proposition or desired change. The Attorney General is the key player in approving a Proposition. Once approved it becomes part of the ballot. They are greatly publicized by their respective proponents. Passing and/or rejection of these measures allow the citizens to have a lot to say about their lives, their destinies. This also puts them in control of a lot of issues instead of just leaving things in the hands of a few politicians.

A true democracy is governed and run by the people. The democracies whose citizens fully participate, stay abreast of government affairs and actively interact with their elected officials, do not just in effect become an integral part of the government but also keep the elected officials on their toes. These democracies do a lot better. When most citizens know what is going on in their city, town, province or country , they are able to fully participate in decision making. For a very DETAILED Initiative guide of the State of California please visit http://www.ss.ca.gov/elections/initiative_guide.htm. California has new Initiatives introduced during elections. These Initiatives or amendments in the State Constitution serve to address issues of the day to better serve the needs of the citizens.

The People Initiative in our country, ladies and gentlemen, could become a budding 'sister' of this system or provision in the California Constitution. Ours is still in the national level. One of these fine days, we will have to have our own provincial Constitution which will be tailored to fit our own unique situation. We will then continue to 'update' this Constitution through Initiatives as described above.

If you are still skeptical about its usefulness, it would be good to remind ourselves that California is the biggest economy of all the States, ranked number 6 among nations in the world economy. The fact that Californians continue to tweak their state policies to consistently address current issues, keeps them ahead of many things and keeps them very wealthy. California’s annual budget is many times bigger than the whole Philippine annual budget.

Comelec’s recent decision to scuttle the People Initiative with a very weak argument that
there is no ‘enabling law’ approved by Congress to allow them to amend the Constitution despite millions of citizens’ signatures in a petition, is indeed very hollow. If they reflect on the reason why there is a major cry for Constitutional or Charter Change, they will know that it is a majority opinion that the Constitution in its present state is in itself INSUFFICIENT, lacking and missing substance. The missing ‘enabling law’ that Comelec wanted to see is ONE of those INSUFFICIENCIES in the present Constitution. Bottom line ladies and gentlemen, if the Constitution needs changed , let us remove all obstacles so we can change it! Let us not say, this cannot happen because……. Losers!
Let us say, let us find ways on how to expeditiously overhaul this old, inefficient national tool and move on!

In conclusion, whether the Supreme Court rules in favor of the People Initiative or not, we have in effect been successfully introduced to the concept of citizens participating in government policy making which is what a true democracy should be doing. I believe that we are on the road to a government that is truly run by the people. To continue leaving our destinies in the hands of a few politicians and special interest families which historically has not improved our lives does not make sense. It is an economic suicide.
I kid you not!

Joe Joson

For feedback: blackhawk74@yahoo.com

Sunday, March 12, 2006


Nowhere To Go But Up

Just like penny stocks, when things are scraping bottom, they say, there’s no place to go but up!

The Philippine peso looks like an energetic pet dog rearing to go places. Despite many factors trying to beat it back down with things like … the latest ‘qou qou roo qou qou’ in Manila, it has not given up ground and has indeed moved up to higher ground. This can only mean that it no longer wants to be held back or down. I can feel something different and good coming!

Now let us see what is propelling this good old , tired but recently rejuvenated currency. Well, we have heard of a lot of things. One of them is the additional money in the government coffers from the EVAT, the most hated and dreaded tax reform. Well, you and I know that if you run a store and does not have enough capital to absorb operational costs and some losses, you can go broke. EVAT is our much needed capital extension so our economy does not just break even or worse and go bankrupt but instead make profit and more profit. We have also heard of the major peso friend , the millions of dollars from our great OFW’s from all over the world that pour in year in and year out to our beloved families and eventually to our economy. How? When you spend that almighty dollar in the Philippines it has this effect of pushing up the economy. That is one reason why the U. S. President has given back tons of tax dollars to its citizens. The citizens spend that money, then the economy goes up!

We have also heard of some success in efforts to kill that loathsome, despicable and lowlife vermin…called corruption. It is a tough nut to crack but it is getting better! I have not heard much about our fearless Congressmen and Senators asking for more money for their pork barrels. Do not be deceived by this silence. Tell them … NO MAS! No more Mr. Congressman, No more Mr. Senator! Leave the money where they belong and allow them to be used to truly advance this nation’s economy!

You have been doing the same things over and over for years . It has not made the desired change. Now , only fools keep repeating activities that bring the same results over and over. To bring about a new and better change, one has to improve his activities. Your temporary individual and selfish gain, does not bring any gain to our economy at all. Your gain keeps our country and its citizens in an economic rut! And how’s that for leadership!! And yes, I may be just making mention of congressmen and senators, but you know who you are. Governors, mayors , department heads, directors, generals on down to the lowest pawns… who are guilty of corruption. Please allow this nation to thrive! Allow its citizens to see and live a life in a progressive economy! Allow your brothers and sisters to live a decent life that they so deserve!

The recent bullish performance of the Philippine stock market is a very clear sign of confidence from folks in many areas including many who are outside the country. I salute all the responsible leaders of our nation who persevere in their selfless effort to shore up, revive, coax up, mend, push and power up our economy!

And anyone, I repeat, anyone who contributes to or causes this uptrend of our economy to slow down , stagnate or reverse its direction is a complete moron. But if you are one of those who dream of seeing the Philippines finally making it among the ranks of highly successful and competitive economies of the world, you will then be sticking your chest out each time the PESO moves up! So, if we are a smart nation, we would be taking advantage of this economic uptrend, take all the necessary steps , nurse it to higher ground and allow it to soar. And that is, persistenly and consistently!

Other signs that the economy is moving up are recent rating upgrades given to us by Standard & Poor’s and Fitch Rating from negative to stable. Goldman Sachs gave us a positive from stable. Now, we have seen these upgrades before only to melt down later.

The economies that are constantly moving up like China, Taiwan, Singapore, Hong Kong, Korea, Japan and now even Cambodia and Vietnam learned that these numbers and opinions given out by these groups are closely watched by a huge number of investors from all over the world. Above nations paid very close attention and made damn sure that they did everything necessary to keep those investors coming with their investment money. The higher the opinions around the world of who or what we are as an investment nation, the better our chances of getting those investment money! The more businesslike and professional we look and act the more they are interested. China’s exponential growth for the last two decades came from these foreign investors and not from their savings. They worked hard to bring about all those changes or reforms that foreign investors were looking for. So get this straight!

The positive reforms need to be in place before the investors come in. And what are these reforms? One, kill corruption at all levels! Two, knock off all these stupid and ignorant power grabs that show absolutely NO direction, NO financial meaning, NO sense. Three, instill more institutional maturity and discipline at all levels of government. Four, bring in more professionalism in business and politics. Other governments and foreign business communities look at our politicians and their pawns and shake their heads in disbelief. Former Presidents jumping in at every commotion created by the eternal oppositionists. Military officers joining civilian demonstrations and taking over buildings. Politicians convening in hotels to oust opponents. These and many others create a sense of complete chaos , absence of order and protocol. Who would want to pour millions of dollars in investment to a nation run by people like those mentioned above? These wealthy investors and nations are professionals. And they surely know who is unprofessional when they see one. Professionals deal with fellow professionals only. You act like a moron and you are kept outside the circle of professionals. Period! And get this one too. This happened right at the time when everyone should be looking at these economic signs and planning, tweaking and laying down blueprints to nurture the positive changes! Five, redirect everyone’s focus from all the insanity above to one that is centered upon a different kind of competition. Instead of competing against each other, trying to show who is the greatest (pasikatan where everyone talks and does a trick or two and no one really listens) and all that garbage, we should fix our sights on China, Japan, Korea, Singapore, Hong Kong and Taiwan. And do what? Compete economically! When the time comes where our Congressmen, Senators, Justices, Generals, Directors, Department Heads, Governors , Mayors and all the rest of the citizens finally put their hearts and minds together and direct this newfound energy towards this GOAL of proudly winning with the great economies of the world, then the Philippines will never be the same ever again. When we start to take pride in the first fruits of our teamwork and see the benefits of an improved economy, when we start to experience a better quality of life, when the cost of food is so low because of higher wages and we can eat just about anything we wish to eat, when our homes are better built and bigger, when roads are decent, when we can go around the world as tourists and businesspeople… , these are just a few of the rewards of an improved economy. This situation is long overdue in our nation. We are seeing signs that we can have it. The choice is ours! And this goal is within our reach in a shorter period of time than we may think. The sooner we face this great challenge the faster we will see our first results. I dare everyone to look at this as an exciting challenge indeed! The Philippines attracting millions of dollars of investment because we have cleaned house and have brought things in order. We no longer act foolish and instead present ourselves as truly responsible and professional. This change or reform should happen across the board and soon. From our leaders on down to the smallest guy.

The President and her administration has been working very hard and encouraging this change. Let us not compete against her and her administration. Let us instead compete against the bigger economies all around us! I see more and more Senators, Congressmen, Governors, Mayors , business groups and other leaders falling in behind her. Let us not choose to stay poor and bicker about things. Let us instead decide to become rich as a nation and then bicker over issues later! There is only one great goal to look at that matters that much at this time for our nation. And this is that we do everything we can with what we have NOW and build up our economy and eventually our country! From the guy who sits at the highest seat of government to the guy who sweeps the streets. I dare each one of you. Everyone has this responsibility to face up to this exciting challenge. Let us step up to the plate!

Joe Joson
Anaheim, California

Thursday, November 03, 2005


EVAT Afterthoughts

EVAT, the tax reform most dreaded by many and yet praised by economists all over is finally here. Hold on, ladies and gentlemen!

WE are sick and tired of promises and the many half-hearted efforts by our leaders past and present. Naturally we do not look forward to more taxes! But keep holding on!

Let us hear what the big guys are saying! And who are the big guys? Well, we can count the World Bank and the IMF. Both agencies have been beating their drums for the full implementation of the EVAT. Brokerages like the Bloomberg and Merryl Lynch have recently given the Philippine economy upgrade ratings. These are all good. The big guys know that long term, the EVAT is one of our best hopes for a better economy! How? It takes tons of money to get one's economy rolling. We happen to be close to being broke so we need additional money to work with and pay off debts with.

So, the recent rise of the Peso against the Dollar will hopefully be sustained for many months if not years to come. How can we help?

We can help by becoming proactive in helping curb or stop corruption at all levels. For what good will additional taxes do if the crooks will steal them? Next, be proactive in the tax collection itself. Go after those businesses who avoid paying taxes.

As we keep getting good ratings and praises from the big guys, WORLD investors with big money continue to watch very closely. As more reforms and house cleaning are done by the honest folks in our government , the more we will look attractive as far as multinational investors from around the world are concerned. And ladies and gentlemen, this is the SINGLE BIGGEST financial shot in the arm that every nation dreams to have. The huge SUSTAINED influx of capital money and investment from around the world. All you have to do is look at China. These guys are using other people's money (OPM)from around the globe to keep propelling their massive economy even higher. The Chinese learned well to create the best investment environment through daring reforms. They provided the needed skill and cheap labor, treated the whole thing with EXCELLENCE in their minds! It did not even matter that a lot of folks still look at them with suspicion having been communists for a long time! They prospered and continue to prosper at a rate never seen before in history.

So here we are, supposed to be a democracy but our people are starving! So, the march is on! Go after corruption ferociously! Go after corrupt officials with passion! Chase this plague out of all government and civilian sectors. Then do all the right things to help propel our economy to higher levels. Your individual participation always counts! Our individual efforts when put together will have a powerful cohesive impact on just about any goals that we try to shoot for.

I say, 'Let us continue to support the positive reforms that the present administration is trying very hard to implement. And let us help quash these idiotic disruptions by the losers! It is time that our country achieves an economic freedom! An economic freedom which will lift you and me, our brothers and sisters from years of depravation! I say, 'Rise above the mediocrity that we have been made to languish in'! And to those who are working hard to turn our nation around, I say,'Look over your shoulders! There are hundreds, thousands and perhaps MILLIONS falling in behind you'!!The march is on!!

Joe Joson

Friday, September 09, 2005


Leave the Politicians Alone

The following is a reader's comments on my last issue:

changnaga said...
Maybe we should just leave politics to the politicians. If anybody want to make political changes, he should enter the political arena and once inside, meaning, once winning the political position, he can make the changes he want and is capable of making.

What the Philippines particularly Catanduanes, need right now, is economic upliftment. We can help by investing our hard-earned money in our province. Better yet, we should convince our friends and associates and would-be foreign investors to visit and see the Philippines and discover for themselves the business opportunities abounding in the country.

More talk, more mistake. Less talk, less mistake.

9:17 AM

Let me mention issues that I fully agree with. What our province needs right now is economic upliftment! Agreed. Convince our foreign friends to invest in the province. Amen to that too.

How do we convince foreign investors to invest in our country? Definitely not by showing them how mismanaged and corrupt our government is. Investors are avoiding us like a plague and this is what our 'bright boys' in the Senate need to fix.

Invest our hard-earned money in the country? Maybe! Just like most foreign investors, we are hesitant in forking in hard earned bucks to the Philippines. There are myriad of reasons why. What with the 'revolutionary tax' levied on successful businesses? Our shaky power supply on the islands. The huge and corrupt bureaucracy. Businessmen and their families being kidnapped for ransom?

The 'potential' for business opportunities abound but business opportunities themselves are not there because we have not learned how to create them. Why do you think investors flock to most Asian countries except our's? The answer is simple. We have not created the business environment that will attract investors.

I am sorry but I have to disagree with the idea of leaving the politicians alone. If they were performing well and looking after our country like they should, sure why not. At the rate they are performing we need to let them know that they are not doing their job. If they are corrupt, they should be placed on the spotlight.

If everyone who wishes for some changes in our government runs for office we will end up with a few million congressmen and senators. As citizens we can make changes by being proactive and concerned. We should quit electing and re-electing bozos who are not helping make things better just because he or she gave us a few goodies during elections or he or she is a 'distant relative' etc etc.

Talking more need not result in more mistakes. Talking less conveys less. And if talking less means saying nothing about all the bs that out politicians are doing, then the comment must have come from a sore politician's follower.

At any rate, I thank the fellow who sent the comments. We can agree to disagree on some of these issues. That is what forums are all about.

Joe Joson

Friday, August 26, 2005


Congress Busy on Everything Except Issues That Matter

Our senators and congressmen continue to look and act busy on a lot of issues except those that need immediate attention. And what issue matters the most and need immediate action? It's the economy. That's what matters the most. It continues to baffle a lot of people why our bright boys in Congress do not seem to get it. Our nation is broke and becoming poorer. Foreign investors like Federal Express and Price Smart recently shut their operations and moved somewhere else because we do not do the things to keep investors there. And yet wonder of wonders, our bright boys are still bickering about stupid things as impeachment. Impeach the President then what?? She is about the only person in the administration who keeps talking about improving the economy! Our foreign debt is huge and its maintenance or interest payments are eating our finances alive. Do you hear any of these bright boys talking about how to fix these problems? No ! A lot of our government owned and controlled corporations are bankrupt or losing money and continue to drain our meager national funds. Do you see these bright boys attacking these issues? NO!!

Then there is the issue of corruption which by far is considered to be the biggest impedement to economic progress. Did any of you see or hear any of our bright boys present any solutions? No and hell NO!! We had to hire someone from Hong Kong to try to fix corruption in the country! Is it because if our bright boys tried to bust corruption in the Philippines they might end up busting themselves? Take a good guess!

Bill O' Reilly of FOX News commenting on why Mexico will not progress despite its huge oil deposits mentioned corruption as the single biggest reason why it will never attain economic independence. Everyone knows corruption kills economies.

I heard about some kind of federation of Philippine associations coming into view. This is good. I have got a major request to make to its leaders. Please include the eradication of corruption in our country in your list of priorities. This being one specific goal for the federation, once it is achieved , it would have solved most of our woes . WE need a strong economy to fix most of our headaches. We need a strong economy before we can offer any meaningful services to our countrymen. We need a lot of money to feed our hungry folks. We need a great economy to give our citizens proper health care. We need a powerful economy to fix all our major national problems. But we need corruption removed before our economy can move forward. That is a fact.

Joe Joson

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