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.

Wanted 8 votes

In the historic Senate vote on the US bases treaty, 12 senators voted for non-concurrence on September 16, 1991.

Once again, my hats off to the Magnificent 12 – Senators Jovito Salonga, Butz Aquino, Juan Ponce Enrile, Joseph Estrada, Tito Guingona, Sotero Laurel, Ernie Maceda, Orly Mercado, Nene Pimentel, Rene Saguisag, Bobby Tanada, and Victor Ziga.

Today, the country needs at least 8 senators to do the same to uphold our sovereignty and dignity and vote against JPEPA.

I’m pinning my hope on the following:

Senators Joker Arroyo, Pia Cayetano, Chiz Escudero, Greg Honasan, Jamby Madrigal, Kiko Pangilinan, Nene Pimentel, and Antonio Trillanes.

I am so disappointed with Senator Mar Roxas. He can kiss his 2010 ambition goodbye!

In the Senate ratification of the country’s entry to the World Trade Organization (WTO), we were regaled with the same arguments by its proponents – more trade, more investments, the country will not be isolated, there would be more jobs, poverty would be solved, etc.

Ha ha ha! Look what this globalization pact has done to the country during the past decade. It’s a disaster. If not for remittances by our overseas workers, the country would have been as worst as many African nations.

Advantages outweighs disadvantages? I beg to disagree. Why should we commit to a trade deal that will only perpetuate our misery?

7:21 a.m.

Doha Round

A mini-ministerial meeting of the World Trade Organization is taking place starting on July 21 in Geneva in an attempt to revive the failed Doha Development Round.

New draft texts were released last week. Our main trade negotiator, Secretary Peter Favila, has not even read it.

In Hong Kong during the 6th Ministerial in December 2005, we campaigned that “no deal is better than a bad deal.” I maintain the same position emboldened as it was by the recent food crisis. I believe that the crisis is the direct result of failed policies of multilateral agencies like the World Bank, IMF and WTO.

10:09 a.m.

Asean-Japan FTA

From my daily readings of on-line news, I am a bit surprised that none of our Senators who are about to ratify the Japan-Philippine Economic Partnership Agreement (JPEPA) ever talked about the recent signing of the ASEAN-Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (AJCEPA).

The latter was signed last April 14 and is the third free trade agreement of the 10-nation bloc with its northern neighbors. The first two were with China and South Korea.

What are the implications of this multilateral agreement with that of our bilateral JPEPA. This to me is a very crucial consideration.

I believe that the Senate should not rush in acting on the JPEPA until after we study the pros and cons of AJCEPA.

This was one of the major premises that prompted the City Council to pass two Resolutions last Tuesday –  the first calling on the Senate to hold in abeyance its action on the JPEPA, and second, for the Executive Department to recall JPEPA from the Senate for further study and/or renegotiation in the light of AJCEPA.

Our other premises were anchored on the many opposition to the JPEPA, particularly the secrecy of its negotiation, unconstitutional provisions, unequal terms and adverse human and environmental impacts.

In my sponsorship speech, I also raised doubt about the proposal of Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago for a “conditional concurrence” of the treaty.

A conditional ratification only proves that something is wrong with the trade pact. Why not then outrightly reject it or send it back for renegotiation?!!

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.)

Most profitable firms

The combined earnings of firms listed at the stock exchange during the first half of the year skyrocketed to P148.75 billion from last year’s P105.2 billion. That’s a whooping 41.4 percent increase!

How come when lowly workers ask for a raise, companies always claim they are losing? Ha, ha, ha!

Here they are – the ten most profitable firms in the country:

1. PLDT (with Smart) – P17 billion;

2. Ayala Corp – P11.49 billion;

3. San Miguel Corp – P7.87 billion;

4. Globe Telecom (a unit of Ayala) – P6.42 billion;

5. PAL Holdings – P6.32 billion;

6. SM Investment Corp -P5.87 billion;

7. Bank of PI (a unit of Ayala) – P5.71 billion;

8. PNOC-EDC – P4.22 billion;

9. JG Summit – P3.84 billion;

10. Metrobank – P3.695 billion;

Please note of a combined Ayala Corp group’s earnings of over P23 billion in six months making it actually the most profitable business outfit in the land! They’re earning roughly P4 billion a month, topping the Gokongwei’s 6-month profits, or Davao City’s own annual budget of over P3 billion.

(5:43 a.m.)

Business Mirror

My stand on the special economic zone at Mt Apo is the subject of today’s editorial at the national broadsheet Business Mirror –Another haphazardly conceived “incentive.”

(11:31 a.m.)