THE government’s recent P2 minimum fare hike mainly for jeepneys is grossly unfair to commuters as jeepneys are not improving efficiency in return, in total contrast to the 350,000-strong tricycle NCR Toda Coalition that experimented on finding solutions to modernize demo tricycles and be clean air-compliant with no government support.
SUSTAINED high growth for years is welcome, but the poor remains left behind, unless more teeth are imposed for reforms on fast-tracking cooperative organizing for the poor, thus empowering them to compete in the dog-eat-dog marketplace and share fairly from the benefits of growth.
Jeepney modernization fears are totally unfounded, although major reforms are needed as the government is not yet ready on many fronts as revealed during Sen. Grace Poe’s hearing, which turned more into a grievance session that drowned the unheard voices of a few who welcome modernization.
Solar power is increasingly getting cheaper in the country, thanks to a young entrepreneur, 25-year-old Leandro Leviste, who helped lower solar energy costs to P2.99 per kilowatt- hour (kWh) without batteries, thus raising fears of an imminent encroaching market war with traditional fossil-fuel-dependent power industry, including huge power plants and provincial and island electric cooperatives.
An engineer-turned-sculptor lately has emerged as a promising artist from the quaint towns of Ozamiz and Bonifacio, Misamis Occidental, for producing amazing works worth viewing because of the fascinating stories behind them about the “Lumad Subanen” indigenous people and their struggles for survival while keeping nature’s balance.
It’s high time policy-makers imposed penalties on banks and government financial institutions (GFIs) that abuse “free-market” penalties on small depositors and borrowers, making them even worse than loan sharks.
UNLIKE rich oligarchs, who can afford to hire the best minds to run profitable businesses for them, the poor are left to fend for themselves, even forced to fight each other in the Darwinian “survival of the fittest” free market law of the jungle, which leads us to the need of building an army of “economic cadres” to help empower the poor, not through cash dole-outs, but to develop their capacity to compete fair and square.
Owing to the National Food Authority’s (NFA) inherent inefficiencies causing huge losses and debts, abolishing it may be logical, but leaving everything to Adam Smith’s free market may not be good as Smith’s symbolic “invisible hand” may end up picking people’s pockets.
To solve the horrendous traffic problem in Metro Manila, government can try “congestion pricing” through higher parking fees slapped on private cars. However, this has to be accompanied by innovative but common-sensical strategies.
Due to hikes in fuel excise taxes and surging prices of oil products, jeepney drivers will get fuel subsidies. To ensure that these subsidies will benefit the drivers who are affected
As rice eats up a big chunk of a household’s budget due to inflation, importing cheaper rice slapped with tariffs may be the best instant solution to bring down prices and reduce corruption on rice imports. But the government must not stop here. It has to solve bigger problems like neutralizing cartels and helping farmers.
Coconut farmers are among the poorest farmers due to centuries of what I call “copra-colonization,” but they can be liberated through coconut technological breakthroughs if funds from the much-awaited P105-billion coconut-levy trust fund will be used for this purpose.
Tricycles are the poorest and most marginalized among transport groups, but the sector’s leading organization, NCR Toda Coalition, with over 500,000 members organized under 17 Metro Manila federations of Tricycle Operators and Drivers Associations (Todas), may offer better solutions to lessen the impact of fuel prices, toxic emissions and costs of transport modernization.
High-school reunions are indeed memorable, but our batch from the quaint town of Ozamiz in Northern Mindanao has many secrets to its successful three-day reunions. One secret that explains our close-knit bond is what we call the kwaknit analogy.
Amid the season of monsoon rains and typhoons, resulting in flash floods, horrendous traffic snarls, mounting deaths due to rat-induced Leptospirosis, and a host of other social and environmental problems that are all getting too big, the catch-all solution, perhaps, is to build mini dams or catch basins by the hundreds of thousands all over the country, which can also generate millions of jobs.
Let’s attempt to clear up the smoke on the China-Philippine conflict over territorial waters and atolls in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) by adding more conflicting arguments because it is, ironically, only when we juxtapose opposing sides of an issue that we see the truth.
The recent layoff of some 7,000 contract workers of the telecommunications giant Philippine Long Distance Telephone (PLDT) Inc. is no valid excuse for the company to blame its long-drawn inefficiencies on the blown-up “labor pain” problems.
The recent ruckus over the mishandling of the “anti-loitering” drive that has forced President Duterte to backpedal and declare that “loitering” is not a crime presents an alternative opportunity for the government to shift tack by going aggressive instead on anti-littering by employing jobless people.
AS we celebrate the 19th anniversary of the Clean Air Act on June 23, it is worth noting its policy declaration giving “focus primarily on pollution prevention”, which is being ignored as most clean air activities and budgets are concentrated on monitoring ambient air pollution or measuring emissions during anti-smoke belching campaigns.
The G-7 super powers bloc is now teetering, which could drastically overhaul the global political alchemy of influence toward China owing to the symbolic ”Trump card” played by US President Donald J. Trump’s insistence on keeping Russia in the G-8 against France’s threats to exclude the United States and Russia for a reduced G-6, while across the globe the China-led bloc held simultaneously the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit in Qundao, as Trump also held a peace summit with Kim Jong Un in Singapore.
THE government’s Jeepney Transport Modernization program remains tied down with several proverbial “Gordian knots” that need to be untied to achieve a smooth, effective and affordable implementation.
Many local businesses are effectively ripping off consumers surreptitiously or even blatantly, which is a manifestation of weak consumerism and poor regulation. These businesses do not realize that building goodwill can actually generate more market patronage and bigger returns.
Due to rising fuel prices, jeepney transport groups are seeking fare hikes, which must be addressed urgently through systematic targeted fuel discounts and a fast-track cooperative-building program for multiple benefits. Otherwise, allowing fare hikes will trigger disastrous consequences like a price spiral on all commodities on top of an existing inflationary situation that could worsen the poverty problem.
The recent outbreak of conflicts between Israel and Palestine over President Donald J. Trump’s decision to move the US Embassy to Jerusalem can escalate and never be resolved, unless both camps recognize their respective histories and learn from the principles of the Treaty of Westphalia of 1648 that brought peace to Europe after almost 150 years of overlapping internecine wars.
AS the world either celebrated or denigrated Karl Marx on his 200th birth anniversary on May 5 for his ideas that shook the world and changed history, the debates on whether he was right or wrong continue to reverberate among Marxist followers and even among his nemesis—free- market capitalists.
AS we joined the world in celebrating May 1 or International Labor Day, it is worth discussing the poor’s bigger problem, which is not low wages or security of tenure but widespread joblessness, and underemployment, resulting in widespread poverty.
For 28 long years now, we’ve been celebrating April 22 as Earth Day since 1990 with much fanfare, but it seems like we keep on repeating the same media-hyped events like the Earth Day concert jam on April 29 at the Quezon City Memorial Circle, but neglecting efforts at research and technology-based genuine solutions to environmental issues, particularly on air pollution, which chokes Planet Earth and kills thousands a year.
The world is teetering dangerously on the verge of a possible escalation anew of clashes over the bombings in Syria and mounting tensions with Russia that could possibly lead to a global nuclear war, while on the other side of the globe, the potentials for a new renaissance led by China’s massive global infrastructure thrust called “Belt and Road” initiative (BRI) are attracting the interest of about 140 countries.
AS world attention is now focused on the April 8 to 11 Boao Forum for Asia in Boao, Hainan, China, it is worth studying “Tianxia,” one of the many ancient Chinese philosophies that offer world unity, which we can lock-in China to this commitment to counter fears its rise to superpower may create a hegemon that could lead to wars as what happened to superpowers and empires in history.
Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol’s proposal to “export” Filipino private sector-led rice-farming systems to Papua New Guinea may have raised condescending eyebrows from economists and agriculture experts, but his novel strategy can perhaps open up vast potentials and unintended opportunities.