The report of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations on international food prices for October may have allowed some nations to heave a sigh of relief. This is because most quotations of food items, including rice, declined. According to FAO, its food price index dipped by 0.5 percent from September, with the index for dairy products the only one rising.
Online scams have become a global problem. The latest annual study by the Global Anti-Scam Alliance (GASA) and ScamAdviser paints a devastating picture of the worldwide onslaught of scams, highlighting an urgent need for vigilance. The Global State of Scams 2023 Report, which involved 49,459 people from 43 countries, showed a substantial 25.5 percent of citizens around the world lost money to scams or identity theft in the last 12 months, resulting in financial losses estimated at $1.026 trillion.
Education is essential in the country’s economic development because it plays a crucial role in developing human capital. It provides our people with the skills and knowledge needed to participate in the workforce and contribute to economic growth. Investment in quality education pays dividends by improving the efficiency and productivity of our labor force, which impacts the country’s economic development.
Three days after President Marcos said the situation in the South China Sea “has become more dire” as China continues its bullying inside the Philippine exclusive economic zone, the US and the Philippines started conducting joint air and maritime patrols in the South China Sea.
The first quarter of any given year is traditionally a slow period for stores in the Philippines. Demand for foodstuff and other consumer items usually tapers off by this time after the buying frenzy during the Christmas holidays. Because of this, the pace of price hikes in the January-to-March period is usually slower.
During the 1973 Arab-Israeli War, Arab members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries imposed an embargo against the United States in retaliation for the US decision to re-supply arms to the Israeli military. The price of oil per barrel first doubled, then quadrupled, imposing skyrocketing costs on consumers. The embargo brought the economies of oil-importing countries like the Philippines to their knees.
Total Philippine debt has reached P14.15 trillion in June 2023. As the government pays an average interest rate of 5 percent, the country’s outstanding debt is on track to reach an unprecedented P15.8 trillion in 2024. The administration has set aside a staggering amount for debt payments for 2024, with P1.2 trillion for the payment of principal debt and P670.5 billion for interest payments.
The Covid-19 pandemic forced employees that could work from home to do so. With the pandemic officially over, majority of workers around the world are not going back to the office. Remote work has stuck around, with employees citing the benefits of working from home, particularly the flexibility, autonomy, and work-life balance that working from home provides.
Much has already been written about the ills plaguing the agrifood sector, based on past studies and papers. Literature on the sector is replete with analyses about the possible root causes of the problems that bedevil farmers and possible ways forward to hurdle the obstacles that prevent the agrifood sector from meeting domestic demand. The government itself had even prepared roadmaps, which reviewed the production of crops and the industry that rely on them to determine the factors that limit their productivity.
The Philippine military released a video on October 22 showing the bow of a Chinese Coast Guard vessel hitting the rear of a Philippine supply boat near Ayungin Shoal in the Spratly Islands. The head of a Manila-based think tank defended China’s action saying the Chinese Coast Guard “lawfully blocked the Philippine vessels because they were transporting illegal construction materials” to Ayungin.
Pope Francis on Wednesday again urged people to pray for peace as the wars, violence and deaths continue in Ukraine and in the Holy Land. “Let us think about and pray for populations suffering from war,” he said at the end of his weekly general audience. “Do not forget the tormented in Ukraine and think of the Palestinian and Israeli people. May the Lord bring about a just peace.”
The Department of Transportation (DOTr) announced on Monday that the government would no longer pursue Chinese funding for three railway projects amid China’s aggression in the West Philippine Sea. China grossly failed to hold its end of the deal when it promised to fund these railway projects based on executive agreements between Manila and Beijing. As a former cabinet official said, it is best to cancel the deal instead of keeping it in suspended animation.
AS the Panama Canal’s water levels hit historic lows, the Panama Canal Authority has started cutting vessel traffic, which is seen reaching over 40 percent reduction of vessels by February due to an ongoing drought. This is a worrisome development that could lead to higher food prices. Bloomberg reported that trips were limited to 18 per day, a 50-percent cut from a year earlier (See, “Panama Canal traffic is being throttled by climate change impact,” in the BusinessMirror, November 5, 2023).
President Marcos on Friday welcomed Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida to the Philippines and expressed his desire to further strengthen bilateral relations with Japan in the wake of China’s aggressive behavior in the West Philippine Sea. He said that the Filipino people are grateful for the support extended by the Japanese to the Philippines.
‘There are no attempts to overthrow the administration of President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr.,” AFP Spokesperson Col. Medel Aguilar said in a statement on Saturday. “AFP Chief of Staff Gen. Romeo Brawner Jr. was simply misquoted. In his message to the troops during the change of command ceremony of the Western Mindanao Command on Friday, he merely mentioned the reported efforts by certain individuals to upset the peace and stability that the country is enjoying right now under the leadership of President Marcos.”
Jordan’s King Abdullah II delivered an urgent message at the recent Cairo Summit for Peace: “The only path to a safe and secure future for the people of the Middle East and the entire world—for the Jewish people, for Christians, for Muslims alike —starts with the belief that every human life is of equal value and it ends with two states, Palestine and Israel, sharing land and peace from the river to the sea. It is our duty as the international community to do whatever it takes to restart a meaningful political process that can take us to a just and sustainable peace on the basis of the two-state solution.”
The dispute between the Philippines and China over the Ayungin Shoal in the West Philippine Sea has been going on for decades. But starting this year, the Marcos administration has adopted a deliberate policy to shine the spotlight on China’s aggressive and abusive behavior in asserting control over territories within the Philippine exclusive economic zone.
One of the things that make a country memorable to tourists and foreign businessmen is its produce, including local fruits. The homegrown fruits and other food items leave an indelible mark on those who visit the Philippines or those who have sampled our products in foreign trade fairs. The Japanese, for one, are fond of Philippine Cavendish bananas and pineapples and are importing these fruits on a regular basis.
Economic coercion is a threat or actual imposition of economic costs by a state on a target with the objective of extracting a policy concession. US experts said this has become an increasingly prominent instrument of Chinese foreign policy. Chinese economic coercion tactics take on many forms. Some are as blatant and public as unilateral, weaponized use of trade sanctions and embargoes for China’s economic and business advantage.
ChatGPT, which stands for Chat Generative Pre-trained Transformer, is a chatbot developed by OpenAI and launched in November 2022. Apart from its voice and image capabilities, it is being used for automation, education, coding, data-analysis, writing, etc. Experts said that beyond ChatGPT’s entertainment value, it has the power to revolutionize learning, improve skills, and boost work efficiency.
A wise man said the best place to look for reliable cabinet members is among those who have already been good cabinet officials—the experienced ones. President Marcos has a good number of “repeaters” in his cabinet. However, loud whispers have been going around for almost a month now about a looming cabinet revamp, which would affect some of these officials.
Farmers and fishers—two of the poorest basic sectors in the Philippines—have incurred more than a trillion pesos in losses due to typhoons and other disasters. That is according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, which recently published a report that estimated the impact of disasters on agriculture. (See, “Disasters cost farm sector $23-billion damage in 30 years–FAO,” in the BusinessMirror, October 17, 2023).
The Philippines issued a statement on Sunday saying a Chinese Coast Guard ship carried out “dangerous blocking maneuvers” that caused it to collide with a Philippine vessel carrying supplies to troops stationed in Ayungin Shoal. In a statement, the National Task Force for the West Philippine Sea (NTF-WPS) said the “dangerous blocking maneuvers of China Coast Guard vessel 5203 caused it to collide with the Armed Forces of the Philippines-contracted indigenous resupply boat” about 25 kilometers from Ayungin Shoal.
China’s bullying in the South China Sea has been going on for decades. Beijing has been using its discredited territorial claims to justify the strong-arm tactics it uses to encroach on our exclusive economic zone. The Philippines sought to counter Chinese aggression by going to international adjudication.
When Israel ordered more than a million Palestinians to move south as the military prepares for a ground offensive in Gaza, hundreds sought shelter at the Al-Ahli Baptist Hospital thinking the place can protect them from the bombs. On Tuesday, a massive blast rocked the Gaza City hospital packed with wounded patients, killing at least 500 people. Hamas blamed an Israeli airstrike, while the Israeli military blamed a rocket misfired by Palestinian militants.
Social media can be a great place to keep up with relatives and friends. It can also be a great place to ventilate issues affecting the country, particularly when taxpayers’ money is involved. In the Philippines, social media has become a transformative force, giving Filipinos greater freedom of expression without censorship.