Category Archives: Rant

GDP growth driven by corruption? | The Manila Times Online

The reason elections here are so expensive [“election spending always has a big impact on GDP”] is because many candidates buy votes in order to achieve a pork barrel “jackpot,” otherwise why would they be so expensive as to impact GDP? I wonder if the candidates do an economic evaluation of the likelihood and size of the return on the investment in vote buying against the reward of the pork barrel allocation and the other benefits that they get? It can be no wonder that people get shot, and why in a well ordered state would Ms. Naploes be in fear of her life for exposing corruption or 90 percent of the murders of the many Filipino journalists exposing corruption have complete impunity?

The Philippines is over-politicized to a paralyzing extent and political power and the money that goes with it is a much sought after prize, once obtained don’t let it go, hence the dynasties. Political motivation is all about grabbing money and power whatever it takes and not as it should be to selflessly serve the people. To do any form of economic development here requires political patronage and there are usually other politicians and oligarchs pulling in opposite directions because they want it for themselves, thus paralysis. Of course you might say the same about China and other places but the difference here is that there an oversupply of selfishness, there is no sanction on the abuse of power and worse there is not even an appreciation of the need for [or is it the capability to actually implement?] sanctions on such abuse.

The dependence of the Philippine economy on its domestic capital market and “hot money” [which adds nothing to development] is fast becoming absolute and that is a very bad thing indeed. Is it really the nature of Philippines political class to be the “most selfish and culpable in Asia” as I read recently in a new book on economics in the region? I think that would be a tag that the Philippines really would like to dispense with and to do that requires a drastic wholehearted overhaul of the political and economic system. Discretionary funds obviously have to go and a full range of politicians need to be appointed by votes that are not bought and who actually want to serve the people and not themselves. Only then will the Philippines be “open for business.” Oh, and we need a bit of effective anti-trust legislation that is made to work, an executive branch of government that is properly paid and works to implement the law even-handedly rather than spending its time discussing regulatory dots and commas, a proper social security system, an effective rule of law and lots more real decent jobs, and a few more bits and pieces. And this list is not to achieve perfection or some form of ideal society it is just in order to make the Philippines a place that once again appears on investors radar screens as a place where you really can “do business.” Perhaps it’s just too much to ask?

via GDP growth driven by corruption? | The Manila Times Online.

Valdez: TRO issuance is a moral choice

He said that it will be difficult for judges to decide on petitions for a TRO with “moral grounds” as basis. “Moral choice is not an element” in the Courts decision-making process on TROs, he said.

via Valdez: TRO issuance is a moral choice.


To this  I will hide behind some of the giants of the US Supreme Court.  To say that Moral choice is not an element betrays a lack of appreciation of how important the judgement of the Supreme Court is. The reason that the Constitution is a living document is that it assumes that there is an element of statesmanship within the three branches of government but probably foremost in the Supreme Court Justices because of their non elected status.

rePost::Seth’s Blog: Is everyone entitled to their opinion?

I see an epidemic of bloggers who believe they have to have their take.

Yes It’s your right but it is also others rights to filter you out.

When some people say my belief in that is this. That doesn’t automatically mean they have the right to be factored in the conversation. If you don’t matter being the loudest screamer can’t get you anywhere. You are nothing.


The good thing is there is an out to this shithole. Be someone who matters. Create a body of work that in the words of Steve Martin “Be so good they can’t ignore you.” (Aside: Where in the world is my copy of Steve Martin’s Born Standing Up?).


If you matter then people will listen. I’m all fed up with the famous for being famous celebrity. Fuck That Shit.

Is everyone entitled to their opinion?

Perhaps, but that doesn’t mean we need to pay the slightest bit of attention.

There are two things that disqualify someone from being listened to:

1. Lack of Standing. If you are not a customer, a stakeholder or someone with significant leverage in spreading the word, we will ignore you. And we should.

When you walk up to an artist and tell her you don’t like her painting style, you should probably be ignored. If you’ve never purchased expensive original art, don’t own a gallery and don’t write an influential column in ArtNews, then by all means, you must be ignored.

If you’re working in Accounts Payable and you hate the company’s new logo, the people who created it should and must ignore your opinion. It just doesn’t matter to anyone but you.

I’m being deliberately harsh here for a reason. If we’re going to do great work, it means that some people aren’t going to like it. And if the people who don’t like it don’t have an impact on what happens to the work after it’s complete, the only recourse of someone doing great work is to ignore their opinion.

2. No Credibility. An opinion needs to be based on experience and expertise. I know you don’t like cilantro, but whether or not you like it is not extensible to the population at large. On the other hand, if you have a track record of matching the taste sensibility of my target market, then I very much want to hear what you think.

People with a history of bad judgment, people who are quick to jump to conclusions or believe in unicorns or who have limited experience in the market–these people are entitled to opinions, but it’s not clear that the creator of the work needs to hear them. They’ve disqualified themselves because the method they use for forming opinions about how the market will respond is suspect. The scientific method works, and if you’re willing to suspend it at will and just go with your angry gut, we don’t need to hear from you.

via Seth’s Blog: Is everyone entitled to their opinion?.

For language lawyers::Letters of Note: C. S. Lewis on Writing

About amn’t I, aren’t I and am I not, of course there are no right or wrong answers about language in the sense in which there are right and wrong answers in Arithmetic. “Good English” is whatever educated people talk; so that what is good in one place or time would not be so in another. Amn’t I was good 50 years ago in the North of Ireland where I was brought up, but bad in Southern England. Aren’t I would have been hideously bad in Ireland but very good in England. And of course I just don’t know which (if either) is good in modern Florida. Don’t take any notice of teachers and textbooks in such matters. Nor of logic. It is good to say “more than one passenger was hurt,” although more than one equals at least two and therefore logically the verb ought to be plural were not singular was!

What really matters is:–

1. Always try to use the language so as to make quite clear what you mean and make sure your sentence couldn’t mean anything else.

2. Always prefer the plain direct word to the long, vague one. Don’t implement promises, but keep them.

3. Never use abstract nouns when concrete ones will do. If you mean “More people died” don’t say “Mortality rose.”

4. In writing. Don’t use adjectives which merely tell us how you want us to feel about the thing you are describing. I mean, instead of telling us a thing was “terrible,” describe it so that we’ll be terrified. Don’t say it was “delightful”; make us say “delightful” when we’ve read the description. You see, all those words (horrifying, wonderful, hideous, exquisite) are only like saying to your readers, “Please will you do my job for me.”

5. Don’t use words too big for the subject. Don’t say “infinitely” when you mean “very”; otherwise you’ll have no word left when you want to talk about something really infinite.

Thanks for the photos. You and Aslan both look v. well. I hope you’ll like your new home.

With love


C.S. Lewis

via Letters of Note: C. S. Lewis on Writing.

NBI Clearance Guesstimates of Undercapacity

The problem is that the government requires things it cannot give reliably and with the minimum fuss to its citizens.

I recently was required to get a NBI clearance and here is the deal.

According to their website they have 48 centers that handle between 2000 – 500 per day.
Because their main office are the probably the only place where they can handle 2000 people 2000*48 = 96000[1] people they can handle 100k people per day, given that we have
based on government statistics[2] here we have unemployed or roughly 2.9Million[3] and an underemployed people about 7Million[4].

Given that the BIR system for an upper bound can handle roughly 3.5 million people a day [5]
and that to be included in the unemployment statistics you need to be actively searching for a job this gives us about 2.9 million people who needs an nbi clearance for this year plus who ever is still looking for a job of the 7Million people whose nbi clearance has already expired.

Then NBI centers are barely enough to handle the demand.

What this shows is that the government has a systematic undercapacity to for services that it requires for one to get a job/travel/etc.

We need to demand better planning and better services from the government.

PS: Cross posting this to vince.

[1] The satellite office in malls and non big venues handle 500 people per day this makes the estimate very high. I believe a more accurate number could be pegged at 55K based on 1.5 k per regional/district office and 1000 for the satellite office and 500 for the mall offices.
[3] 62,689,000 pool x 64.3 Labor force participation rate x 7.2 unemployment rate. I may be using these numbers incorrectly please correct me if you know better.
[4] 62,689,000 pool x 64.3 Labor force participation ratex 92.8 employment rate x 18.2 underemployment rate
[5] Estimate based on 96k * 365 , too high because 6 day work week and holidays.


I’ve been very productive the past few days. It seems CTC the job is not as productivity draining as I originally imagined.

I’m CTCing because our clients are inflexible, indecisive, stubborn, know it alls, whose word is law.

No matter if they actually know less of the repercussions of their decisions.


If this continues I may have to find a new job.