In your face!

During the many debates on the Japan-Philippine Economic Partnership Agreement (JPEPA), its proponents promised us that the country would be treated well by Japan with this pact. And that we will gain much in trade, aid and investments, among other things.

Ngek!

What is this P1.3 billion loss?

This clearly shows that the Philippines is not a favored nation in spite of the JPEPA as Tokyo cuts its aid to Manila next year.

Time to make those who voted for JPEPA accountable. Remember them on May 10, 2010.

Washington Sycip in Davao

The SGV, the country’s and perhaps Asia’s best accounting and business consulting firm, marked its 50th year in Davao with a lavish dinner last night at the Marco Polo Hotel.

The golden anniversary was complete with songs and dances, tributes to past and present employees, thank yous to all clients and guests, and sumptuous dinner with an open bar.

What was unique about the event was the message of its founder, Washington Sycip, one of the most respected business leaders in the country and in the Asian region.

His words were not about the glory of the firm he built after the war to become was it is today. His speech was a tale of lament and a challenge.

He said the country was seen 50 years ago as the leading country in Asia after Japan. He said being democratic and a Christian nation were seen as the country’s asset for development. But now, he said the country lagged behind our neighbors, and has become a bottom-dweller in almost all categories in Asia. He cited though that the Philippines was No. 1 in corruption!

He expressed worry about the continuing decline in the quality of education, the rising poverty, and the ballooning population.

He said the country is now realizing that being “democratic” and a Christian nation have become instead obstacles to development.

The anniversary may not have been appropriate to promote his passion for certain advocacy such as education and raising the living standards of the Filipinos.

Yet, he said he was concerned about the country that we will leave behind for our children.

It was a message that struck the hearts and minds of most in the audience of accountants, business leaders and government officials.

SGV gave out copies of his new bio “Wash: Only a bookkeeper” as the program closed. I rushed to get mine and had it autographed by this great man, who at 88 was still sharp and witty. His citation of statistics during his speech was admirable.

I told him his speech was great. He just smiled knowing that he has inspired or challenged another human being, a fellow Filipino.

Presidentiables and JPEPA

I was totally surprised that my post on October 9, 2008 on the Senate vote on the Japan-Philippine Economic Partnership Agreement (JPEPA) would attract interest these past few days.

I noticed that this particular post “Only 4 voted ‘no’ on JPEPA” was getting many hits.

Well, in that story, I wrote Senator Noynoy Aquino “a new hero,” Senator Mar Roxas a “wimp,” and in the comments section, I added Senator Manny Villar being “more presidentiable” and Senator Chiz Escudero having “more major league balls.”

You too might want to revisit the story in the light of recent political developments.

Incidentally, it might interest you to know that surveys among so-called presidentiables between December 2007 and December 2008 revealed an interesing fact.

It showed that only two such “presidentiables” lost ground, while a number made more headway.

Who are these two, you might ask?

Believe it or not, the two Ilonggo senators – Miriam Defensor Santiago and Mar Roxas, the main proponents of JPEPA.

Mar has not recovered from this slide. I believe he was punished for his JPEPA stand.

Go check your stats.

Inventors Week

Today starts the celebration of Inventors Week in Davao City. I authored the City Council Resolution declaring such last November to help promote science and technology and local inventors.

The week’s celebration include the opening today of the Mindanao Inventors Competititon & Exhibit at the SM Mall. We expect about 200 inventors and science students to showcase their various inventions and science projects.

Intellectual Property Director General Adrian Cristobal will lead guests at the opening this morning. Science and Technology Secretary Estrella Alabastro will award winning inventions during the closing on Wednesday. She would also inaugurate along with UP President Emerlinda Roman the P20 million Biotech Laboratory at UP Mindanao on Friday.

Makati Mayor Jojo Binay is the guest during the inventors dinner tomorrow.

Aside from the exhibit, product demonstrations and competition, there are science quiz shows and cultural presentations.

Kudos to Sam Abrenilla, Vir Sangutan and Edgar Delibo, the chair, president and vice president, respectively, of the Filipino Inventors Federation, DOST Region XI Director Ed Tesorero, Rene Estremera of UP-Mindanao for spearheading preparations for these activities.

Big bang on May 9

fairtrade

Local fair trade advocates opened a mini-fair at the Matina Town Square yesterday to prepare for the big bang on May 9 to mark the World Fair Trade Day.

Activities for the mini-fair includes a forum, product exhibits and demonstrations and an evening concert.

Thanks to Katakus, an award-winning micro-enterprise NGO and volunteers of the UK-Philippines Global Xchange for organizing the mini-fair.

Join the big bang on May 9 by beating drums against poverty, against the global economic crisis and against climate change.

Finally, Cebu Pacific cuts surcharges

In town today in Davao are the officers of the National Halal Accreditation Board of the Philippines, Inc. They are holding a team building seminar courtesy of the Department of Trade & Industry at the Waterfront Insular Hotel starting today up to Friday.

Also in town is Consul John Rivas from Northern Territory, Australia. Darwin, capital of NT, is hosting the Arafura Games this coming May 9-17. He is set to meet officials of the Philippine Sports Commission and the city government.

Welcome to all our guests.

Thanks to ICT Davao, Inc. for a post-New Year gig last night at Riverview in Maa.

And finally, Cebu Pacific has heeded our call to remove or reduce its fuel surcharges. We have been calling for this move since oil prices started to plummet a few months back.

PAL late again

Thanks, but Philippine Airlines is late again.

Many airlines have been cutting their fuel surcharges as early as two or three months ago as prices of crude oil in the world market started to tumble. I delivered a privilege speech at the City Council September 9 urging local airlines to adjust their fuel surcharges in fairness to their passengers.

PAL is heeding this call only now. Just like big oil players, which have been slow in adjusting fuel prices corresponding to the decline in crude prices by more than 50 percent from a high of $147 to $69 per barrel recently, PAL has been shortchanging its passengers.

To add salt to our financial injury, PAL is lowering its fuel surcharges not today but “early next month.”

Oh well if there is highway robbery, then this one is sky robbery!

The Civil Aviation Board should look into this matter. There ought to be a law that should automatically peg the increase and decrease of fuel surcharges to the rise and fall of crude prices in the world market.

This practice of milking passengers with high fuel surcharges when prices of oil and gas are substantially falling is patently criminal.