Regulatory capture

The Civil Aeronautics Board vehemently denied that it is under “regulatory capture.”

It demanded that the Senate hear its side on the the allegation by Sec. Romy Neri that it is under such state during his recent testimony over the ZTE scandal.

Well, if it is true that it is not in such straight jacket, I dare the CAB to declare its support to the “open skies” regime within 24 hours.

The proposal of Davao City for a pocket open skies has been gathering dust for the past four years at Malacanang due to the inaction and opposition of CAB. The application of Viva Macau to fly to Davao is also sleeping at the CAB for over a year now. About half a dozen other foreign airlines are likewise lining up at the closed doors of CAB waiting developments when they can fly to Davao.

The whole trouble with CAB is it equates the interest of some local carriers as the interest of the nation. It has been said many times that one key reason why Philippine tourism is a laggard is the lack of airline seats and yet CAB does not see this reality. It prefers not to level the playing field in its protectionist game at the expense of consumers, tourists and OFWs in particular.

I agree with Neri that it is a captured agency utilizing its regulatory powers to promote the selfish interest of the few.

(6:05 a.m.)

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OTOP

During the 14th City Council, I authored Davao City’s version of the national government’s One Town One Product (OTOP) campaign. We called it One City Ten Products program.

Davao is such a huge city, one of the largest in the world in terms of land area, that we have 11 political districts that are equivalent to towns. Thus we adopted the following products for the following districts:

Poblacion, Talomo, Agdao – durian product processing, handicrafts, e-services, meat product processing;

Buhangin, Bunawan, Paquibato – wood products, banana chips;

Toril, Tugbok, Calinan, Baguio, Marilog – fresh and processed vegetables, fresh and processed fruits, virgin coconut oil, ornamental plants

I am happy that the Department of Trade & Industry (DTI) is helping us in the implementation of this program. The problem with the local government is the absence of an office doing the task of the DTI.

Whereas almost all national agencies have their local counterparts, e.g. Department of Tourism, we have the City Tourism Operations Office, Department of Agriculture, we have the City Agriculturist Office, etc., we have no office that is the equivalent of DTI.

We have a Business Bureau that is purely regulatory, handling application for business permits. We have a one-stop investment promotion center that is just a mini-Board of Investments.

Thus, for the meantime, we have to depend a lot on DTI in helping us push for the OTOP in the city.

Last September 25-26, we conducted a stakeholders’ consultative meeting with the food industry. Next month, we will meet with the handicrafts and wood industry groups.

I am sure that with this initiative we shall be able to expand our Davao Branding System, which I likewise authored during the previous City Council, with more accredited producers and products among our MSMEs.

(4:20 a.m.)

Golden day

Today is my birthday, my golden day in my golden year. Yup I am 50 years old today!

Glad that this day is devoted as Bloggers Against Abuse Day.

My wish: Stop the abuses and liberty for the people of Myanmar.

Incidentally, today is also the founding anniversary of the National League for Democracy, the party led by Aung San Suu Kyi.

Rising of the seas

I gave a privilege speech at the City Council yesterday on the rising of the seas as a result of climate change. Please read it at my pbwiki.

I closed the speech with: The world leaders are currently doing their jobs in New York; we should do ours here. Now! 

(2:57 a.m.)

$68 million question

I have not read Jarius Bondoc’s column yesterday until this morning.

He wrote “[Secretary Romy Neri] told me on that morning of Apr. 20 and several other times that not only a Comelec official but an influential businessman too was inordinately lobbying for ZTE Corp. The businessman allegedly was responsible for the sudden rise of the ZTE tag price to $330 million days before the signing, when its original offer in Dec. to Feb. was $262 million. What was the $68-million difference for, I asked in subsequent talks. Romy said the businessman was assigned to raise campaign funds for an administration party during the last election.”

Proves my suspicion correct that dirty money from China funded the administration in the last election. I am curious how much of this went to administration candidates in Davao City.

I ran under the opposition Liberal Party and aligned with the local Hugpong-PDP-Laban group of Mayor Rody Duterte. We did not receive campaign funds from the administration party. But some of my colleagues ran under Lakas headed in the city by then Majority Leader Prospero Nograles.

I hope some Senators would raise this issue when Neri appears at the Senate on Wednesday.

(7:14 a.m.)

ZTE and the May polls

The suspension of the national broadband network deal with ZTE proves that something is terribly wrong with it. Suspending it, however, will not actually solve the problem.

Congress and the Supreme Court should all the more probe the anomalous deal.

The bribe money for the transaction was quoted as high as $180 million. I suspect part of this went to the administration’s election kitty last May.

Hence, I propose that legislators pursue the investigation including this angle that foreign money were spent in the last poll campaign contrary to our election laws.

Pro-Malacanang senators elected last May – Ed Angara, Joker Arroyo and Miggy Zubiri – should be concerned that the money “donated” to them by the administration could be dirty and may have come from China.

(6:48 a.m)

Not capital flight?

For the first six months of the year, Pinoy companies invested $1.8 billion abroad, compared with the whole year’s total direct foreign investment targets of $1.7 billion.

For the 2nd quarter alone, the total outflows amounted to $2.46 billion!

In the same quarter last year, there was net inflows of $594 million. In a sense, we lost a total of more than $3 billion in this three-month period alone, characterized as it was by the messy elections.

And yet, monetary authorities do not call this capital flight!

With the ZTE scandal, expect confidence in the country to plummet some more. Even the state insurance firm GSIS is now lining up to invest $1 billion abroad rather than in the super-regions of you-know-who.

(6:54 a.m.)