Thursday, November 16, 2006

Seaching for the Holy Grail

If I were President of the Philippines:

I would go back to school.

Hahhahahahahha. Trully.

My favorite class is American Political and Economic History. Very interesting. It's a great insight if you are from the Philippines. After all, our country is an American experiment on democracy. So, if we want to know where we are going, we have to study and comprehend where we came from. It makes sense now.

I have noticed that every new president we get, their first order of business is to create a slogan for their presidency. Let's see: Cory was definitely an off-shoot of "People Power", Ramos' was "Philippines 2000" (assisted with Flavier's "Let's DOH It!"), Erap was "Erap para sa Mahirap" and Gloria...well...she has quite a few, the most notable one that sticks in my head was the more recent "Million Jobs" campaign with then DA Secretary Luisito Lorenzo. The purpose of all this is ofcourse to grab our [short] attention and garner support to make their presidency THE PRESIDENCY that will bring us to the next [maxhimuhm] level in the economic stage.

Aside from the quintessential slogan, their is an outpour of mga programang pang-gobyerno sprouting out of our ears with each appointment and electoral result. All very good programs I might add, if only we all knew about them. I mean, we do know about them (right?), but do we apply it to ourselves? Do we go out of our way to discover the jobs, assistance, welfare and medicare that is available to us as citizens of the Philippines? Do we know our benefits for simply being a Filipino citizen? [On a different note, do you, as a Filipino even know your rights?]

My memory needs to be refreshed. Have I grown up so jaded with politics that all I can remember people doing was complain about the hardships of living in our country? Of having no job? Of having no money?

Our poverty rate as of a study by AusAid is moving at a fast rate, increasing from 27 million to 31 million people living with less than $1.00/day. According to their reports, we also have the highest level of income inequality in Asia, with the poorest 20% of the population accounting for only 5% of the total income or consumption. The Philippines National Statistics Office reports our unemployment at 8% as of July 2006. Not that bad right? Pretty workable. But what do you do with the UNDERemployed population that comprises 23.5%? Sure they have jobs, but are they getting paid enough to help the economy?

Our Exports are at $4.160Billion as of September 2006. Good for us! We make amazing products, and the world thinks so too. So can you explain why our IMPORTS are at $4.886Billion? You mean we buy more than we sell? What? I admit, economics is still very unchartered territory in my brain, but if I use my logic: I know that I cannot buy more than I sell, right? Oh well, it's economics after all! We have to spend, spend, spend and spend some more if our economy is not doing well.

So let me break down some more, so I will get this. What are we importing exactly? Once again, with the help of the NSO, I find out our top ten imports are:
  • Metalliferous Ores and Metal Scrap
  • Transport Equipment
  • Mineral Fuels, Lubricants and Related Materials
  • Organic and Inorganic Chemicals
  • Electronic Products
  • Plastics in Primary and Non-Primary Forms
  • Cereals and Cereal Preparations (<----i was surprised!!!)
  • Iron and Steel
  • Industrial Machinery and Equipment
  • Textile Yarn, Fabrics, Made-Up Articles and Related Products

And what country do we mostly pay the bill to? The USA takes up 15.3% of our Import bill. We must still be really obsessed with "Imported".

Our balance of trade is in no surprise in the negative ofcourse. I dunno, I'm a normal Indai, is this okay? Man, should we cut down on the Cereal imports? I dunno! Maybe the Organic and Ingorganic Chemicals? Should we slow down on the Industrial Machinery and Equipment? I dunno, you know just in case it might displace workers and our unemployment rates get higher. I dunno, just wondering.

What kind of economic strategy does the Philippines follow anyway? I never knew. Now I want to know. Forgive me for my ignorance and taking so long to get this. Are we a capitalist? Or a socialist? Hahhaha I know we are not communist!?!

All countries they say are run/should be run on the laws of economics. Yes, economics makes our world go round, regardless of what they taught you in grade school. The law of supply and demand is what puts food on our tables, what guarantees our jobs and dictates our life. Sad. Top that with natural forces that surprises us like a punk, what are we mere mortals suppose to do? We have no choice but to put our faith in our governments; in these super mortals who make decisions for the good of all.

If you care to follow my journey in understanding the "why" to know the "how", you can start off with reports such as this and this. This site is also interesting for me as how the Americans dealt with The Great Depression greatly interests me, specially FDR's "The New Deal" solution. An idealistic, socially-conscious plan that is so appealing (with the benefit of already knowing it's weaknesses). How can you go wrong when you implement it along with the motto, "We have nothing to fear, except fear itself." Such hopeful words in such a trying time.

If you know of any other sites that would be help me on my quest, I would really appreciate it.

I choose to not even dive into issues such as graft and corruption or the peace & order situation of my lovely Mindanao. Your Mindanao. OUR Mindanao. Not 'Nao. Maybe later. Hhahahahah

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