They are victims of a failed economy, as are those left behind who live in slums or in the streets. But the tragic thing is there is not enough concern among the “movers and shakers” of our wounded society, the ruling elite. They sleep the sleep of the smug in fortified communities guarded by private armies and attended by legions of servants, fearing any change in the status quo.
The late US President John F. Kennedy famously said, “To whom much is given, much is required.” In other words, those who are privileged have responsibilities, including lifting those below so they can rise from their knees. If our neighboring countries can emerge from the darkness of poverty to the light of progress, so can we. It is intolerable that we should accept this situation as “normal” and “inevitable.”
It is true that human exports bring in substantial amounts of foreign currency. But according to a study in 2008 by economist Ernesto Pernia, “extreme reliance on money from Filipinos overseas hasn’t helped the country get out of the poverty rut and may even hobble the poor’s income capability.”
This is backed by Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas figures. According to a news report quoting the BSP (Feb. 15, 2013), fund transfers or cash remittances from overseas Filipinos (OF) transacted through bank channels amounted to $21.4 billion in 2012, accounting for only 8.5 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) and 6.5 percent of gross national income (GNI).
Hence, 91.5 percent of GDP and 93.5 percent of GNI are still contributed by 90 percent of left-behind Filipinos, proportionately more than the contributions of the 10 percent of OF. The mainstay of the local economy is still domestic labor.
Most studies by the United Nations and international groups find that the brain and brawn drain benefits the rich host-countries more than the poor countries from which the workers emanate.
The International Labor Organization (ILO) said in a paper in 1997: “Poorer countries invest an average of $50,000 of their painfully scarce resources in every university graduate—only to witness most of them emigrate to richer places. The haves-not thus end up subsidizing the haves by exporting their human capital, the prospective members of their dwindling elites, and the taxes they would have paid had they stayed put. The formation of a middle class is often irreversibly hindered by an all-pervasive brain drain.”
This is understandable because most of our OFWs are from the middle class that is able to send its members to universities. They are in demand by the rich technological societies. On the other hand, the lower class does not have the means to send its children to schools and colleges to obtain the required skills. It may send out drivers, construction workers, and housemaids, but their ability to pay the required recruitment fees is limited. They are also quickly sent back when their contracts expire. It is the educated migrants who normally remain in the host country to enjoy its higher living standards.
The ILO said that “among the countries in Asia and the Pacific, the biggest source of overseas workers is the Philippines, with 730,000 migrants [now estimated at ten million].” Of these, the great majority have a tertiary education. “The second largest stock of migrants is from China (400,000), which is split almost equally between the secondary and tertiary educational groups.” But labor migration from China has dwindled because of worker shortage at home.
Some perceptive statesmen deride labor migration as a global sickness. In a famous interview on state TV, the late Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin described labor migrants as “a fallout of the jaded.” Added the ILO: “But in many impoverished countries, local kleptocracies welcome the brain drain as it also drains the country of potential political adversaries.”
This last sentence is significant. Labor migration became state policy in the mid-’70s when Ferdinand Marcos’ martial rule experienced a serious fiscal crisis in the wake of the global oil crisis that sent the costs of imported fuels spiraling following the outbreak of the Arab-Israeli war.
To pay for our fuel imports, Marcos had the bright idea of sending our workers and technicians to the oil-rich Middle East to earn the needed dollars. The policy expanded to cover America, Europe and industrially emerging Asia, and also other professionals like doctors, lawyers, scientists, engineers and nurses. It also served as an exit for the dissatisfied and disgruntled, who could have swelled the ranks of the communist and secessionist insurgencies.
Diaspora is to the nation as hemorrhage is to a person. If not stopped, it can lead to death. The ancient state of Israel died of this disease. It revived only after reverse migration. We can also revive our country by keeping our manual and intellectual workers on jobs here and recalling those abroad. We can do it, as others have done, through industrialization, modernization and self-reliance.
Manuel F. Almario is a veteran journalist and freelance writer. He is also spokesperson for the Movement of Truth in History (Rizal’s Moth). E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Republic of the Philippines HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES Quezon City
‘ THIRTEENTH CONGRESS
1“ Regular Sessipn
House Bill N0. 2 4 1
Introduced by RODRIGUH D. DADIVAS
The lack of decent and affordable housing facilities remains to be one of the most pervasive sooio-economic problems that our government needs to confront. At present, there are more than 60% of Filipino households belong to the poverty threshold or whose family income is below P14,000.00 a month. These people do not have a home to cali their own not because they don’t need it but the unavailabiiity of affordabie housing units that prevented them from having one. Furthermore, if there are housing programs available, its loan mechanisms are still not proportion insofar as the income of these more than 60% Filipino househoids.
This biii seeks to establish a mechanism that would provide low-cost housing loan restructuring program. It provides ince
Under this bill, all penalties and surcharges will be condoned upon approval of the application, provided, that all accrued interests shall be added to the remaining balance of the principal, the aggregate of which shall be considered as the new principal amount.
There are other pmvisions under this biii that wouid make housing loan facilities avaiiabie jqmhgpoor Fiiipinos.
In lightfof the foregoing approval of this om is eamestly sought.
Republic of the Phiiippines HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES Quezon City
THIRTEENTH CONGRESS 1* Regular Session
HOUSE Bill NO.
Introduced by RODRIGUEZ D. DADIVAS
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TO ESTABLISH A sOc|ALlzEO ANO LOW-COST HOUSING LOAN RI’-:sTRuO1′uRmO PROGRAM, PROVIDING THE MECHANISMS THEREFOR, ANO FOR OTHER PURPOSES
Be .1 enacted by the Senate and the House of Representatives of the Phmppines in Congress assembled:
Section 1. Title. – This Act shall be known as “Socialized and Low-Cost Housing Loan Restructuring Act of2004.”
Sec. 2. Restructuring of Delinquent Socialized and Low-Cost Housing Loan Accounts. — In keeping with the Constitutionai mandate for the State to undertake a continuing program of urban land reform and housing that will make avaiiabie at affordable cost decent housing and basic services, ‘there is hereby established a Socialized and Low-Cost Housing Loan Restructuring Program. Under this program:
a) For three (3) years from the effectivity of this Act, aii socialized housing ioans or loans amounting to Two Hundred Twenty Five Thousand Pesos (P225,000.D0) and beiow, and all low-cost housing loans or ioans amounting to over Two Hundred Twenty Five Thousand Pesos (P225,0D0.00) but not exceeding Five Hundred Thousand Pesos (P500,000.00) with any of the govemment financing institutions and agencies involved in the National Shelter Program (NSP), inciuding but not iimited to, the Government Service insurance System (GSIS), Social Security System (sss), Home Development Mutual Fund (HDMF), National Home Mortgage Finance corporation (NHMFC), Home Guaranty Corporation (HGC), and the National Housing Authority (NHA) that have at ieast a six-month unpaid monthly amortization area hereby declared covered by the benefits of this restructuring program notwithstanding that the same account has availed of the benefits of a previous restructuring or condonation program and even if the annual total family income of the borrower-applicant exceeds Three Hundred Thousand Pesos (30Ei,0O0.00);
b) An applicant for restructuring shall only be charged a processing fee which shall be lower than those charged under previous restructuring or conolonation programs and no down payment shall be required for a borrower to apply for the benefits of this restructuring program;
o) Ail penalties and surcharges shaii be condoned upon approval of the application under this Act: Provided, that aii accmed interests shall be added to the remaining balance of the principal, the aggregate of which shaii be considered as the new prinoipai amount; d) A borrower-appiicant may be aiiowed to use the totai accumulated value of hislher membership contribution or savings with the GSlS, SSS, or HDMF to pay in fuil or in part hismer housing ioan;
e) The term of a housing loan account being appiied for restructuring may be extended for a period longer than its original tenn in order to lower the amount of the monthly amortization to a maximum of One Thousand Five Hundred (P‘l,500.00) for a period of three (3) years from the approval of the application, after which, the monthly amortization will revert back to its original amount. The unservioed portion ensuing from the three~year towered monthly amortization shaii be paid on the last year of the term of the housing loan along with the last monthly amortization. in the event that the borrower fails to pay any amortization during the three-year period, helshe shall voluntarily surrender his-‘her property without need of judicial proceedings;
f) In case of incapacity of a borrower, hisfner heirs and successors-in interest may assume payment of hisiher outstanding housing loan; and
g) Loan restructuring under this Act may be availed only once.
AI! corresponding penalties and surcharges with NHMFC may have to pay its funders as a resuit of the implementation of this Act shalt be automatically adjusted and condoned.
Sac. 3. Exclusion from Coverage. – In no instance shall the following housing loan accounts be covered by this Act:
a) Any account without a single payment since takeout;
b) An account whose housing unit has been abandoned by the borrower
cwner for more than two (2) years;
c) An account whose housing unit has remained unoccupied for a period of
at least two (2) years; d) An account whose housing unit is occupied by a third party other than the
original registered beneficiaiy; and
e) An account that has been foreclosed, the title of which has already been consoiidatedltransferred in the name of the govemment financing institution.
Sec. 4. Declaration of Dividends. – The declaration ofdividends of the funds managed by the GSIS, sss, and HDMF shall be limited to their members who have not avaiied ofthe restructuring program under this Act
Sec. 5. Contribution of Government Financing Institutions to the National Shelter Program. — The contribution of the govemrnent financing institutions to the NSP shall be limited to the net eamings derived from their housing programs.
Sec. S. Incentive for Prompt Payment of Monthly Amortization. — Upon the effectivity of this Act, all accounts whose monthly amorlizations are paid on time shall be entitled to a reasonable discount on loan interest.
Sec. 7. Applicability on Delinquent Accounts Due to Defective Housing Units. – This Act shaii likewise apply to borrowers who faiiecl or refused to pay their monthly amortizations due to structurally defective or substandard housing units andior subdivisions lacking in basic amenities such as water, light, drainage, good roads, and others and as required by iaw.
Sec. 8. implementing Rules and Regulations. – There is hereby created an inter-agency committee headed by the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council and composed of all govemment institutions and agencies enumerated in Section 2 hereof tasked to promulgate the implementing rules and regulations within sixty (60) days from the effectivity of this Act.
Sec. s. Congressional Oversight Committee. – There is hereby created a Congressional Oversight Committee composed of the Chairman of the House Committee on Urban Planning, Housing and Resettlement, five (5) members of the Senate and six (6) members of the House of Representatives. The members from the Senate shall be appointed by the Senate President from among the members of the Senate Committee on Urban Planning, Housing and Resettlement based on the proportional representation of the parties or coalitions therein. The members from the House of Representatives shali be appointed by the Speaker from among the members of the House Committee on Housing and Urban Development based on the proportionai representation of the parties or coalitions therein.
The Oversight Committee shall review and approve the Implementing Rules and Regulations. it shall also review the performance of the gcvemment financing institutions and agencies involved in the implementation of this Act.
Sec. 10. Repealing Clause. Ail laws, executive orders, rules or reguiations, or any part thereof, inconsistent with any provisions of this Act are hereby repealed or modified accordingly.
Sec. 11. Effiectivlty Clause. This Act shail take elfect fifteen (15) days after its complete pubiication in the Officiai Gazette or in at least two (2) national newspapers ofgenerai circulation.
A revolution is coming to America.. Not Just America but the World, people are waking up and finally realising how the world works and that their rights as free human beings are slowly being taken away from them..
The 99% are rising up!
As we gather together in solidarity to express a feeling of mass injustice, we must not lose
sight of what brought us together. We write so that all people who feel wronged by the corporate forces of the world can know that we are your allies. As one people, united, we acknowledge the reality: that the future of the human race requires the cooperation of its members; that our system must protect our rights, and upon
corruption of that system, it is up to the individuals to protect their own rights, and
those of their neighbors; that a democratic government derives its just power from the
people, but corporations do not seek consent to extract wealth from the people and the
Earth; and that no true democracy is attainable when the process is determined by economic
We come to you at a time when corporations, which place profit over people, self-interest
over justice, and oppression over equality, run our governments. We have peaceably assembled
here, as is our right, to let these facts be known.
They have taken our houses through an illegal foreclosure process, despite not having the original mortgage. They have taken bailouts from taxpayers with impunity, and continue to give Executives exorbitant bonuses.
They have perpetuated inequality and discrimination in the workplace based on age, the color of one’s skin, sex, gender identity and sexual orientation.
They have poisoned the food supply through negligence, and undermined the farming system
through monopolization. They have profited off of the torture, confinement,and cruel treatment of countless animals, and actively hide these practices.They have continuously sought to strip employees of the right to negotiate for better pay andsafer working conditions. They have held students hostage with tens
of thousands of dollars of debt on education, which is itself a human right.They have consistently outsourced labor and used that outsourcing as leverage to cut workers’healthcare and pay. They have influenced the courts to achievethe same rights as people, with none of the culpability or responsibility.
They have spent millions of dollars on legal teams that look for ways to get them out of contracts in regards to health insurance. They have sold our privacy as a commodity.They have used the military and police force to prevent freedom of the press. They have deliberately declined to recall faulty products endangering lives in pursuit of profit. They determine economic policy, despite the catastrophic failures their policies have produced and continue to produce. They have donated large sums of money to politicians, who are responsible for regulating them. They continue to block alternate forms of energy to keep us dependent on oil. They continue to block generic forms of medicine that could save people’s lives or provide relief in order to protect investments that have already turned a substantial profit.They have purposely covered up oil spills, accidents, faulty bookkeeping, and inactive ingredients in pursuit of profit.
They purposefully keep people misinformed and fearful through their control of the media. They have accepted private contracts to murder prisoners even when presented with serious doubts about their guilt.They have perpetuated colonialism at home and abroad. They have participated in the torture and murder of innocent civilians overseas.They continue to create weapons of mass destruction in order to receive government contracts. To the people of the world, we, the New York City General Assembly occupying Wall Street in Liberty Square, urge you to assert your power.Exercise your right to peaceably assemble; occupy public space; create a process to address the problems we face, and generate solutions accessible to everyone.
To all communities that take action and form groups in the spirit of direct democracy,we offer support, documentation, and all of the resources at our disposal.
Join us and make your voices heard!
The statement issued from Zuccotti Park, by the general assembly, at Occupy Wall Street.
Whether or not it has any strong hopes of enacting real change, the UN’s report calls states to promote online freedoms in five key ways (paraphrased):
- Protect citizen’s rights to speak anonymously on the internet.
- Refrain from building, using, or enforcing real-name databases that link online activity to user identity (even those used by popular companies like Facebook).
- Acknowledge that national security and anti-terrorism concerns can’t be used to restrict freedom of expression except in the most dire circumstances where there is an imminent and legitimate threat.
- Take meaningful steps to ensure the privacy of personal data.
- Decriminalize defamation.
But is it really true? Are there really more than a billion people going to bed hungry each night? Our research on this question has taken us to rural villages and teeming urban slums around the world, collecting data and speaking with poor people about what they eat and what else they buy, from Morocco to Kenya, Indonesia to India. Weve also tapped into a wealth of insights from our academic colleagues. What weve found is that the story of hunger, and of poverty more broadly, is far more complex than any one statistic or grand theory; it is a world where those without enough to eat may save up to buy a TV instead, where more money doesnt necessarily translate into more food, and where making rice cheaper can sometimes even lead people to buy less rice.
I acknowledge that these measures are draconian, but fuck do they work.
Mayor Lim living in ‘wild, wild west’—De Lima
By Philip Tubeza
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 15:27:00 03/17/2011
Filed Under: Police, Crime, Kidnapping
MANILA, Philippines—He’s living in a different world. This was what Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said of Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim for issuing a shoot-to-kill order against five Manila policemen accused of pocketing P12 million in ransom money a Malaysian businessman paid to his kidnappers.
“He’s still living in a different world—(the) wild, wild west. That is no longer in style and it is against the Constitution, and it is against the law and human rights, for heaven’s sake,” De Lima said in a press conference on Thursday.
Lim gave the shoot-to-kill order on Monday against Senior Inspector Peter Nerviza, Senior Police Office 3 Ernesto Peralta, PO3 Jefferson Britanico, PO3 Mike Ongpauco and PO1 Rommel Ocampo after they walked out of an investigation and went into hiding.
The following day, the policemen surfaced and claimed that their lawyers had advised them against appearing before the police investigation into the disappearance of the ransom money after the kidnappers were arrested.
“He should have allowed it to go through the process. So, maybe he could have given a warning that `If you don’t surrender, we will run after you,’” De Lima said.
“They should have filed a case, and then get a warrant of arrest, but not a shoot-to-kill order,” she added.
Marlon Lopera, the alleged mastermind behind the abduction of Malaysian businessman Eric Chin Sim Tong, had claimed that the ransom money was intact in the bag when the police recovered it.
Tong said he paid P16 million for his ransom but the five policemen reported that the bag had only P4.2 million.—With Tetch Torres, INQUIRER.net
• The City of Madison issued a press release on Saturday thanking protesters for another huge protest with no arrests and no citations. That’s right. In 18 days, nobody has done anything worthy of arrest, or even ticketing. Good work, Wisconsin! In the Upper Midwest, even our “thugs” are well above average.
It has been a little depressing watching how protest in my country are too heated to become a dialogue and not a media whorism stunt. I hope how civil the Wisconsin protest are become the norm and not something that I feel is something worth blogging about.
Hmm the weird thing is that we follow the american model when out heterogeneity as a nation maybe lends itself more towards the British model.
The British standard is “go to a party, down some drinks, make eye contact with a person you fancy, proceed to kissing and often much more, wake up the next morning to find that you have magically become one half of a couple”. It seems like the goal was to avoid any unambiguous declarations of interest, so that at any point either person can end the process without the other losing face.
This isn’t how it usually works in the US, at least in the mainstream. The formality and rituals surrounding courtship feel like something out of a Noh play. The very idea of actually asking a near-stranger for a date, explicitly and with no particular preamble, in the full knowledge that you may be turned down, seems nothing short of revolutionary compared to the system I grew up with.
It has been long and painful to discover that it was just an illusion. When I found that academia was not working for me, I got immediately depressed -my whole worldview was crumbling. Then I remembered that I had a life. I liked my life. I had a billion things that I loved to do. I want to do them again. Quitting and reclaiming back your life is not failing. It is waking up and winning.
A week ago I was with friends, talking about my job, and I found myself comparing science to a drug addiction. Being a scientist, from the brain chemicals point of view, is one week of adrenaline rush when you’re finally on to something and pieces go together -followed by six months (if you are lucky) of pain and suffering, only to get again that adrenaline shot.
Well, noble addiction as it is, it is toxic the same. The next month I’ll be 30. It’s really time to get my life back.