Saturday, September 20, 2014

UP Hooligans, Part 2

This is a continuation of Emotionalism, Violence and Stupidity: the Attack by UP Student Activists on Sec. Abad  earlier.

From the Inquirer,  Palace, Abad blast UP campus mob, September 19th, 2014,
“Once I began approaching the Stand UP group, however, the protesters—who were around 50 to 60 strong—did not engage me in dialogue. Instead, they surrounded me aggressively as I made my way toward the vehicle. I had objects thrown at me, and one student even attempted to grab me by the collar.”
Abad was also pelted with coins and the collar-grabbing incident happened as he was getting into his car, according to other accounts gathered by the Inquirer. 

The Secretary was still lucky because he was protected by UP's private security guards. Otherwise, he may have been dragged and punched. The event was organized by the UP Student Council (USC) and venue was the UPSE auditorium. The hooligans are reportedly from the Student Alliance for the Advancement of Democratic Rights in UP (STAND UP).

These minority violent activists -- the majority are non-violent, listened to his presentation, asked questions and more questions, and that's it -- maybe they were trained precisely for violence and stupidity.

Again, I am no fan of Sec. Butch Abad and the fiscal irresponsibility of this and past administrations, But these things can be shown and exposed in public fora, peacefully and with civility, no shouting with invectives nor resorting to violence. 

I like this opinion by Atty. Mel Sta. Maria.


A friend, Prof. Bong Mendoza of the UP Political Science Department, tagged me his facebook comment, "Aren't violating the Constitution and hooliganism crimes? And the former is the graver crime? The much graver crime?So why is A Bad Baby crying and complaining?"
 .
I commented that the Secretary was not "crying and complaining." It was the UPSE faculty members who issued the strong statement indirectly saying, "Hooligans, do your thing outside UP, or outside UPSE. He was formally invited, he agreed to come, treat him as a guest like you treat a guest in your house or party."

If one is invited in a forum to speak on his controversial, "politically incorrect" position, and some guys dislike his ideas and start shouting and throwing things at him, drag and punch him if possible, one would not be happy with it.

Two of Bong's friends came to defend the hooligans. I did not ask for their permission to use their comments, so I will not give their names. Nonetheless, I think  their arguments are worth posting so readers can see another side of the coin.

(1) HD said, 

Abad was no ordinary "guest." He is one of the country's most powerful public officials, with apparent control over P3 trillion pesos and a huge say in how the entire apparatus of the state, which has relative monopoly over the legitimate use of violence in the country, is run. More than that, he is responsible for crafting a scheme which the Supreme Court has found unconstitutional and which many people consider undemocratic at best and immoral at worst. He is therefore accountable to the public and to the people wherever he goes.

But to use the inappropriate analogy, is it really true that we should always and everywhere treat guests with respect? Doesn't it depend on the context--on who the guest is and what he has done? Suppose, to use an analogy that is extreme but that drives home the point, Hitler or Stalin or Bin Laden or Marcos were invited to UP? Should we just bow down to them in respect and treat them like "guests"? No, we have every right, even a moral obligation, to make them feel anything but welcome.

As for being invited to a forum and then suddenly being accosted by my audience, does it not again depend on the context: on what you say during the forum or what you've done before it? If, to use another extremely analogy, I suddenly started yelling 'Kill all the Jews" or "Kill all Muslims", or for that matter if I tell outright lies misleading my audience, then I think my audience have every right--even a moral obligation--to be angry at me and denounce me. If, to use a closer analogy, before coming to the forum I orchestrated a scheme that effectively trashed democracy by usurping the power to decide how to spend hundreds of billions of people's money--then got away with it with impunity, should I really expect my audience to be nice to me or to kiss my feet?

(2) RV said,

"Why the sudden regard of UP Econ faculty on courtesy in exchange of ideas in pious solicitude with Sec. Abad? They were dead silent when then President Gloria Arroyo was mobbed by UP activists when she attended a UP workshop. Not a whimper was heard from this group when then AFP Chief of Staff Esperon was shouted out and hit with hard paper balls by UP students. What is bad for Abad is good for those they loath and dislike? Is this not selective vigilance on civility if not plain hypocrisy?"

#1 is garbage. If Sec. Butch Abad forced his way to UP saying, "I will go to UP even uninvited and lecture on those activists and if they misbehave, I have a platoon of soldiers to deal with them" with arrogance, then he deserves to be treated with arrogance.

Suppose we  replace Butch Abad as the invited guest in the UP forum that day, say it was House Speaker Belmonte, or Sen. JP Enrile or Sen. Jinggoy Estrada, or Jaime Ayala or MV Pangilinan or any other known political and business personality in the country. Some student activists do not like him even before he steps in UP grounds. Does this justify the acts of violence?

#2 is misguided. The UPSE faculty members reacted with strong words because the hooliganism occurred on UPSE grounds. If other faculty members from other colleges have tolerance for physical attacks, or they were shy to confront the hooligans when these student goons disrespect guests in their colleges, that is another issue. The SE faculty members said, "No, we cannot tolerate such hooliganism in our grounds."

Now, see this statement justifying the UP hooligans, 

That statement shows that this group Contend-UP are cowards and misguided. In the UPSE statement, the professors gave all their names, they did not say, "Faculty of UPSE" and not a single name was given. In this statement, zero name, no one is brave enough to own up to such lousy statement.

See their sloganeering, and my commments:

Uphold campus freedom! -- Yes, anyone with a brain and willing to stand by his/her statements are welcome to speak in UP.

Uphold the rights of students to protests and assemblies! -- Yes, but their "rights" do not include the right to physically attack people whom they dislike.

No to campus repression! -- Who repress whom? Any government policeman attacked and arrested any of those hooligans?

Secretary Butch Abad resign now! -- Fine, say it. Loudly, 1,000x, 1M x, but such freedom of expression does not include the "freedom" of physical aggression.

Oust President Aquino! -- same as above.
Make all persons and parties involved in DAP and PDAF accountable! -- same as above.

Down with bureaucrat capitalism! -- Is this the CPP above ground speaking? Very likely, yes.

Emotionalism, Violence and Stupidity: the Attack by UP Student Activists on Sec. Abad

I am not exactly a fan of DBM Secretary Butch Abad. If I have the chance to question him face to face, I will come prepared with lots of numbers and data, but will never do or plan any physical harm. Unfortunately, emotionalism, violence and stupidity has ruled the minds of some idiot activists in UP. Shame on you, mga bobo. If you dislike a person or his/her ideas, hit hard on data and logic, never do physical attacks. The use of physical attacks is among the indicators of mentally sick people.

Reposting this. The photos I added myself and not part of the original statement.
--------------

Statement from Faculty Members
of the University of the Philippines
School of Economics

We deplore in the strongest terms the violence perpetrated last Wednesday, September 17, by a group of protesters against Secretary Florencio B. Abad outside the U.P. School of Economics auditorium.
Secretary Abad was leaving a just-concluded forum organized by the University Student Council. His way to a waiting vehicle, however, was blocked several times by protesters, who not only shouted slogans and invectives—par for the course at U.P.—but actually assaulted him by throwing placards and metal coins and physically laying hold of him, grabbing his clothing to prevent him from leaving.

What is worse, some student “leaders” thought nothing of gloating about the incident and celebrating their hooliganism in mainstream and social media, as if it were some kind of victory. This incident is not a victory but a blow to UP’s honor.

By participating in these events the protesters have declared themselves enemies, not of Secretary Abad, but of the University itself. As an invited guest, Secretary Abad was covered by the same blanket of academic freedom and safe passage that the University guarantees to all who set foot on campus. The purpose of that high privilege is to guarantee a free traffic in diverse ideas—and of the diverse people who espouse them—which is the lifeblood of a liberal academic institution. Those who violate that security and privilege by resorting to physical threats and violence sow apprehension and fear among bearers of contrary and unfashionable ideas, who would henceforth shy away from participating in the University, resulting in an impoverishment of intellectual life and a reduction of debate to a monologue among the already-converted.

The acts of Wednesday’s protesters, therefore, not only violated decency and courtesy, they were an assault on the University itself.

To remove this blot on the University’s reputation:

We enjoin those who participated in the dishonorable events of last Wednesday—but who were possibly misled or sincerely unaware of the gravity of their acts—to come forward, own up to their participation, and proffer a public apology to Secretary Abad and to the University.

We call upon the University Student Council and other student organizations responsible for organizing the event to publicly dissociate themselves from the actions of Wednesday’s hooligans;

We enjoin the University authorities to begin an inquiry to identify those ultimately responsible for the violence, and who cynically staged the incident, applying penalties, wherever necessary;

We call on the University authorities henceforth to enhance the security provided to invited visitors of the University to prevent a repeat of the said incident.

Finally, we call for a renewed discussion and clarification among faculty, staff and students, of the University’s unwritten rules of free speech and safe passage, to ensure that the University remains a free and fearless field for ideas, where debates are won not by assault but by argument, not by shouting down but by speaking up.

SIGNED

Prof. Rosa M. Alonso i Terme
Prof. Maria Joy V. Abrenica
Prof. Ruperto P. Alonzo
Prof. Agustin L. Arcenas
Prof. Romeo Matthew T. Balanquit
Prof. Joseph J. Capuno
Prof. Fidelina N. Carlos
Prof. Ramon L. Clarete
Prof. Rolando A. Danao
Prof. Sarah Lynne S. Daway
Prof. Emmanuel S. de Dios
Prof. Emmanuel F. Esguerra
Prof. Raul V. Fabella
Prof. Aleli D. Kraft
Prof. Cielo D. Magno
Prof. Maria Nimfa F. Mendoza
Prof. Solita Collas-Monsod
Prof. Toby Melissa C. Monsod
Prof. Marjorie C. Pajaron
Prof. Stella Luz A. Quimbo
Prof. Majah-Leah V. Ravago
Prof. Renato E. Reside
Prof. Gerardo P. Sicat

Friday, September 19, 2014

Energy Econ 26: Dealing with Power Deficit in 2015

Independent think tank, Stratbase Research Institute (SRI) published yesterday my paper, "Energy and Rice Deficiency: Reform Challenges for the Last Quarter of the Aquino Administration."


I uploaded the paper in my slideshare account, 11 pages, check it there. For this article, I will only discuss the part on power and energy.

President Aquino has officially requested for a Congressional Resolution to deal with projected power deficiency next year, especially on the hot months of March to May 2015, or just six months from now. I believe they have a reason to panic.

Chart 1. Power Supply-Demand in Luzon, 2014-2020, as of June 2014



Source: Department of Energy (DOE).

I highlighted in my paper that when analyzing the above graph.

1. Available or existing capacity (blue curve) does not mean that all power plants will not experience sudden or unscheduled shutdowns. A number of those facilities just conk out anytime, especially among the  older ones. Thus, actual power production on certain period is lower than what the blue line in  the  chart suggests.

2. The same applies for committed power projects (gray curve). In addition, many of these committed are wind and biomass, where actual power generation is very often lower than their rated or promised capacity. 

The National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) issues alert levels in cases of power deficiency.  "Red alert” means the contingency reserve is near zero, if not negative. “Yellow alert” means the total power  reserves is less than the capacity of the largest plant online, which for the Luzon grid is 647 megawatts (MW).

Chart 2. Zoom in to  2014 and 2015 Only


NGCP has issued “Yellow Alert” last April 8, May 9, 14, 20 and 26, 2014. It also issued  “Red Alert” (RA) on the following days this year.

1. RA May 16:  Two unscheduled shutdowns, one unit of Sual coal plant (647 MW) + one unit of Pagbilao coal plant (367 MW).

2. RA June 17:  Malampaya Gas Restriction, Manual load dropped 105 MW.

3. RA June 25: Three unscheduled outages:  Sual 1 (647 MW) + Calaca 1 (300 MW) + Masinloc 2 (315 MW). Plus derated capability of GN power (Mariveles) 1&2.

4. RA September 9: Two unscheduled shutdown on September 8:  GNPower Unit 2 (300 MW) + Ilijan Block A (600 MW). And two scheduled maintenance shutdowns: Sual Unit 2 (647 MW) + Kalayaan Unit 1 (177 MW)

These are huge power plants that conked  out unscheduled: Sual (15 year old), Pagbilao (18 yo), Masinloc (19 yo) and Calaca (30 yo). Metro  Manila and provinces in the Luzon grid are dependent on power facilities listed below.


Check again Chart 1 above, committed power projects. Wind for late 2014 to 2015 is 253.5 MW (Northwind 18, Burgos 87, Caparispisan 81, Pillila 67.5). That looks substantial but wind power is highly unstable and  unreliable in delivering power.

Take the case of Germany, possibly the “wind and solar power giant” in the world today based on  their installed capacity. In the chart below, gray is conventional power (coal, nuclear, gas), yellow is solar, dark blue is wind, light blue is hydro, and green  is biomass. Red is actual German consumption. 

The story is no different for the  US and UK. 



The threat of rotating brownouts next year in Metro Manila and other provinces in Luzon is real. It is not imaginary. But it will not be as bad as the one we experienced in 1990-91 where the whole of Metro Manila would have about 3-5 hours brownout daily on some months. I think it will just be a few hours and not cover the entire metropolis. Something like this: brownout in Malabon 7-8am, in Navotas 8-9am, in northern Quezon City 9-10am, and so on.

To have stable electricity, supply must be generally equal to demand. If supply is limited due to technical problems with some big power plants, parts of electricity demand  should be "killed" via rotating brownouts.

Some policy proposals that I put in the paper:

1. Get more peak-load plants like those mobile diesel power barges. In Luzon, there is only one existing, Therma Mobile (TMO) of Aboitiz Power. It is an old power barge actually, bought from Duracom Power and was idle for about five years until it  was rehabilitated and re-commissioned  in  November 2013 just to prevent rotating brownouts in Metro Manila and other Luzon provinces during the Christmas holiday season.

2. Reduce power demand on peak hours of those hot months by asking the heavy users like big industrial zones, mining firms and cement plants, to have their own power generator sets. The Interruptible Load Program (ILP) seems  to be working, more big companies should volunteer to join the ILP.  But they should be compensated somehow, in the latter  months as these companies would have larger power cost on those periods that they were using their gen sets.

3. The public, households and commercial offices can help reduce power demand by using more energy-efficient lights and appliances.

4. Government agencies  should reduce the bureaucracies and permits they require in building and commissioning new power plants. DOE Sec. Petilla once said that in some projects, some 100 signatures are required to have one big power plant be put up and keep running.

5. Over the medium term, government should  reduce the taxes and royalties in power as these impositions  significantly contribute to high electricity prices. And the public blame the power companies or the distribution utilities (DUs) and even call for “Junk EPIRA, back to government monopoly in power.” 
------------

See also:

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Drug Price Control 41: Exchanges with Joey Ochave at MeTA PH

After my  discussion on CWF Wants Price Dictatorship for Lipitor, Joey Ochave, SVP of Unilab and Vice-Chairman of MeTA Philippines, reacted to it. We have a nice, friendly and civil discourse and mini-debate the past two days. The other members of MeTA PH (80+ people in the email loop) expressed satisfaction reading our exchanges. Copy-pasting them below raw, zero alteration even comma. Later, another friend, Karen Villanueva joined. Karen is from Merck and also MeTA PH member. Both Joey and Karen gave me permission to use their comments for this blog post.

The two tables below are not part of the original exchanges. I made them and inserted them here as additional background info about the price control or mandatory, forcible 50 percent price cut policy in August 2009. This is about 3,200 words,  six pages long including the two tables. Enjoy.
---------

I never thought I would say this – I agree with Nonoy. (Biro lang, Nonoy.) Price control is not the answer. It is not a sustainable policy instrument to address issues relating to access.

If I remember correctly, there was a preliminary study done before on the impact of the 2009 MDRP (or MRP, if one is to follow the text of the Cheaper Medicines Law). It showed that the ones who benefited most from the 50% price reduction were those who were buying the “originator” medicines and not the poor who were its intended beneficiaries. The poor, after all, were getting free medicines from the government or already using generic equivalents. (I do not, however, discount the possibility that there were some poor people who having been prescribed the originator brands never used generics and thus were able to benefit from the MDRP. I would assume though that their numbers were not significant.) Hence, if the policy objective is to provide access to the poor, then price control is not the answer. (I just learned from former UP College of Pharmacy Dean Yollie Robles that  she just completed a similar study. It would be good if she could share it with META.)


Further, the situation now is much different from that in 2009. Competition in the pharma sector has flourished since then. Filipino patients have more choices now than before, with several brands at different price points for every non-patent protected molecule. Since 2009, generic drugstores have thrived due to the successful marketing programs of TGP and Generika. Even Watsons has seen it fit to introduce now its Watsons Generics brand, with all the marketing gloss that one would previously associate only with “branded” medicines. More importantly, the government put in more money for medicines, with the latest figures showing a 40% increase in budget. Many expect this to grow further as Universal Healthcare becomes a reality. After oncology and kidney transplant medicines, I understand that PhilHealth is interested in covering also out-patient medicines for diabetes and hypertension. They have an existing pilot program with a generic drugstore that they might scale up soon. Hence, while access to essential medicines is still an issue, there are already several successful initiatives to address it since 2009.

On Pfizer’s differential pricing scheme, this is nothing new. This is standard practice after patent expiry. Companies will have different prices for different geographical markets. This is why, for example, the price in Thailand for the same product by the same company may be lower than in the US. What is new now is that differential pricing is being done within a single country. In the Philippines, this has been made possible because of the Certificate of Listing of Identical Drug Product (CLIDP) scheme of FDA, which allows a manufacturer to provide several marketing companies a “daughter CPR” from its Principal (“mother”) CPR. This means that two or more marketing companies can source a drug from a single manufacturer, and each one is free to price it depending on its cost structure and intended market.  As anyone in the pharmaceutical sector knows, medicines are priced depending on what the company thinks the “market” will accept. The definition of “market” depends on the population segment the company wants to serve. If SEC (socio-economic class) AB, then one would expect a company to price it higher than another company which wants to serve the SEC D market. Theoretically, a company may choose to cater to both the SEC AB and SEC D using identical products, except for the packaging and the go-to-market strategy. There are many reasons why a company may want to do this – for CSR purposes, to have a flanking brand, to protect its market share, or as a product life cycle management strategy, among others. Each company will have its own reasons.

On the GMAP, it is actually a voluntary price reduction by selected companies in response to the government’s request. There is nothing illegal in it, Nonoy. In truth, almost all molecules (except for one) covered by the Executive Order imposing MDRP are Pfizer products, for reasons all of us know. Atorvastatin (LIPITOR) is one of them. This means that the current LIPITOR price is already 50% lower than its pre-MDRP price. If indeed, Pfizer is supplying Rhea an atorvastatin product that is identical (same manufacturer, same shape and color of tablet) to LIPITOR and it is 40-60% cheaper than the current post-MDRP LIPITOR price, then we should welcome this. Doctors and patients (who continue to prescribe or buy LIPITOR despite the presence of its generic equivalents) may be advised to shift to Rhea Atorvastatin so they can save.  (I bought samples over the weekend, and what James says is true. LIPITOR and Rhea atorvastatin are identical.) Kung ayaw ng RiteMed o Pharex (okay ba, Beau?), then LIPITOR users can shift to Rhea Atorvastatin. Switch and save, sabi nga ng Watsons Generics. Rhea, by the way, is only available in MDC.


I was told that Pfizer is also supplying Rhea Mefenamic Acid. I checked this over the weekend, and it’s true. Totoo nga, parehong-pareho. Same manufacturer, same color and shape of tablet as PONSTAN. The only difference is the price – PhP 3.90 for Rhea Mefenamic Acid and PhP 31.25 for PONSTAN, or almost 10x the Rhea price. This is even bigger than the Rhea atorvastatin savings. Remember Sec. Pagdanganan during the Cheaper Medicines Law campaign? Remember when he was comparing the PONSTAN prices in the Philippines and India and wondered aloud why the big difference? J

While I disagree with James on the price control proposal, we should nevertheless thank him for his continuing advocacy of patients’ right and welfare. C’mon, none of us in this email loop has done more individually for patients than James has. He was an influential voice during the Cheaper Meds campaign and he was instrumental in persuading PhilHealth to cover out-patient oncology medicines, especially for childhood leukemia. At the last META Board meeting, we noted the continuing absence of patient organizations (except the Psoriasis group now) in META. Until now, the access campaign in the Philippines has largely excluded patient groups. Maybe it’s because patients’ hands are already full coping with their condition and they find tiring the endless discussions/arguments that we have. However, if we are to have meaningful changes in the healthcare system, the voices of the patients have to be given primacy. It is a real issue for them, life and death, not a theoretical one as it is to some of us. Kaya James, saludo kami sa iyo. Yes, kindly give the same passion you gave to Cancer Warriors to your advocacy for Lolo and Lola. Sadly, many of us are either compromised or do not have the courage to do that.

Hala, masyado nang mahaba itong email ko. Bottomline, I agree with Nonoy that price control is not the answer. Competition is. The fact that Pfizer is now in the generics arena through Rhea should be a cause for celebration. Now, the LIPITOR and PONSTAN prescribers or users who are not comfortable switching to existing generic brands will have the option of switching to Rhea. Trust me, parehong-pareho sila. This is what competition is all about.

-- Joey Ochave

Thanks Joey. I believe that majority of players and stakeholders in the PH health sector never support or advocate price control or price dictatorship. When the issue became sensationally hot in early to mid-2009, there was never a "health crisis" or emergency, only a political crisis for then Sen. Mar Roxas who was too desperate to raise his low ratings as a Presidential candidate.

Re studies about the impact of price control, it is in the law that the DOH should submit a report to Congress Oversight Committee on RA 9502 at least once a year, and submit a report to the President two times a year. I think this was never done by the DOH, or if ever it did so, those reports were never made publicly available, freely downloadable.

Leonie Ocampo of PPhA, Reiner Gloor of PHAP then, Beau Agana of PCPI, have made several presentations showing that (a) drug prices have been declining even before the 2009 price control because of growing competition among drug manufacturers and distributors, and (b) only the overall revenues of affected innovator companies were affected but volume wise, their sales have not significantly increased. Someone taking Norvasc 1 tablet a day against hypertension does not take 2 tablets a day simply because the price is cut by half. Ma-'undertension" na sya noon :-)

Price differentiation, market segmentation, is a natural thing to do for private enterprises. The prices of a can of Coke in a sari sari store, 7-11, Mini Stop, SM grocery, Rustan,s, Itallianis, Shangrila, Intercon, etc., can vary widely. Same product, same volume, same packaging, same manufacturer, and yet have different prices. Because they cater to different buyers and consumers. The same practice applies to a bottle of C2 or a piece of Toblerone.

A tablet of Norvasc or Biogesic can have different prices in Mercury, Watsons, TGP, Aling  Merced drugstore, etc because they have different cost structures. Aling Merced and other small drugstores rent a small space and pay little on space rental, have no air-con and pay little on electricity, have no full time pharmacist and pay smaller on manpower, etc.

Anti Smoke Belching Racket, Part 6

My friend from UP, Rad Basa, was stopped yesterday by the Anti Smoke Belching Unit (ASBU)  of Pasay City while driving his diesel engine car. As in almost all stories of private motorists, his car "failed" the smoke emission test. The batting average of private vehicles in passing ASBU tests is generally zero, regardless of which city in Metro Manila. No one passes. Below is Rad's story, posted today in facebook. He gave me permission to post and blog this.
------------

It's a miracle!

Yesterday around 1 p.m., I became a victim of an ASBU (Anti Smoke Belching Unit) from the Pasay City LGU at EDSA-Rodriguez.

Profiling

The vehicle that I was operating was a Hyundai Starex with a diesel engine. It was not emitting any visible smoke yet I was pulled over for "testing". This is obviously apprehension without cause. I surmise that the only reason is that the vehicle has a diesel engine.

Improper Testing

I was asked to step out of the driver's seat so that they could conduct their "test". I chose to stand by the driver side door so I could monitor the RPM gauge but I was asked to step away from the vehicle. They revved the engine. It emitted black smoke as all diesel engines do when revved in a certain way and near its redline. Then they showed me the result of the test from their machine. It came out 9.66 way above the 3.5 regulated by law.

I did not believe this because the vehicle had just passed the emission test two months ago for its annual registration. But, there was no point arguing with them. I had no means to refute their claim. I surrendered my driver's license and opted for a ticket and went on my way to do a whole afternoon's worth of errands.

And, no, the buses and jeepneys that passed by that had very visible smoke coming out of their tail pipes did not get pulled over. Just the private diesel vehicles. The buses and jeepneys must have paid up beforehand.


Properly Tested

This morning, I brought the vehicle to an LTO accredited emissions testing center. It passed with a score of 0.83. Way below the regulated standard. There was nothing done to the vehicle. No repairs. No tune ups. No washing of the tail pipe. Jesus Christ's mechanic must have visited the vehicle in the night to fix a 9.66 into a 0.83!

The personnel at the emissions testing center think that the ASBU did not gradually rev and over-revved the engine to produce a high result. The ASBU did not follow the proper way to conduct an emission test.

Extortion

That's what it is. Extortion.
----------

Too bad for Rad, and many other private motorists who drive diesel engine vehicles (cars, vans, AUVs, trucks). He did not know the ASBU guys, only the one who issued him the ticket as these people do not wear IDs, or if they do, they hide it.

These ASBUs only flag down private diesel vehicles even if there are no obvious sights or signs of smoke belching. But they generally allow buses, jeepneys and tricycles that are obviously smoke belchers,  like these, photos I got from the web.


The ASBU in Makati was known  for large scale extortion  too. Last year, after receiving too  many complaints of extortion and improper testing procedures, Makati Mayor Junjun Binay deactivated the unit. But the ASBUs in Pasay, Pasig, Manila, QC, etc., they continue the racket, highway robbery. 

The ASBUs have legal basis for their indiscriminate and arbitrary apprehensions, the Clean Air Act of 1999 (Republic Act 8749). DENR + LGUs are among the implementing agencies. The corrupt and extortionists among LGUs see it as a big opportunity for extortion. The Mayors generally know that it is a tool for extortion but they allow it because these guys are among their political supporters, and somehow the fines from "smoke emission" give additional money to city halls. The fines are P1,000 for the First Offense, Second Offense, P3,000; and Third Offense, P5,000 and attend a seminar on pollution management. So somehow it is a decentralized, deliberate racket.

Rad added, 

Sure they have the Clean Air Act behind them but that does not mean they can abuse it and perform illegal apprehensions and perform improper testing.

Flagging diesel vehicles that do not visibly smoke belch to the side of the road just because they run on diesel is similar to flagging down Ferraris running below the speed limit just because they have the capacity to go over the speed limit. And then they perform the emissions test improperly, against the letter of the law. They even have a history of brand new, no plate yet, vehicles that failed.

So they violate the law twice to enforce a law.

More people should blog or make direct complaint against these ASBUs. If they notice, the Mayors included, that they are always on social media, they should be ashamed, hopefully. Like what happened to ASBU Makati. Until now they are still deactivated.
------------

See also:
Anti-Smoke Belching Racket, Part 2, September 15, 2011
Anti-Smoke Belching Racket, Part 3, November 25, 2011
Anti-Smoke Belching Racket, Part 4, September 25, 2012

Anti-Smoke Belching Racket, Part 5, April 02, 2013
MMDA, LGUs and Towing Racket, November 26, 2012

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Climate Tricks 32: Yeb Sano and CCC to Save the Arctic

Melting of ice at the Arctic is among the favorite "proof" by the climate alarmists of  "man-made climate change" (CC). They are joking, or lying, of course. Arctic ice, and Antarctica ice, they melt... and grow. Each year, no exception, year in and year out, the ice melts and grows. For hundreds and thousands of years. It is part of natural and cyclical CC or "nature-made CC".

This data of up-down-up-down of Arctic ice (meaning melt-grow-melt-grow) is from International Arctic Research Center - Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (IARC-JAXA), as of yesterday, September 15, 2014. See original, daily updated chart here,  http://www.ijis.iarc.uaf.edu/seaice/extent/Sea_Ice_Extent_v2_prev_L.png


These two data are from (1) Nansen Environmental and Remote Sensing Center (NERSC) – Arctic Regional Ocean Observing System (ROOS), Norway, and (2) Danish Meteorological Institute (DMI) – Centre for Ocean and Ice, respectively. Both as of September 15, 2014.


These and related data on sea ice including Antarctica ice are available for free, updated daily, see here,  http://wattsupwiththat.com/reference-pages/sea-ice-page/.

The ice extent this year is larger than in previous years. Compared to 2012-2013 for instance, ice this year is up to 2 million sq.km. larger.

Now there is a new drama. Nadareb "Yeb" Sano, a former WWF environmental militant who migrated to become a Philippine government climate bureaucrat, Commissioner at the Climate Change Commission (CCC), went to the Arctic and declared that he and other alarmists can save the Arctic. Save from what? From whom? The Arctic needs a saviour? Seriously.

The above charts, all from official government sources (Japan, US/Alaska, Norway, Denmark) say that Yeb is joking, or outrightly lying. Well, Yeb simply says that we should send them more money and they will junket more and save the Arctic, save the planet. This news from Rappler last September 11.


And from interaksyon last September 12, Yeb said,  "Arctic sea ice is disappearing before our eyes at a much faster rate than even experts predicted.

Ask him for any graph, Arctic ice extent, last 20 years or last 100 years, Yeb will most likely produce zero. The alarmists are not interested in producing hard data. They are only interested in huge climate money and frequent junkets. 


Yeb, CCC Commissioners, Philippine taxpayers' money to finance your frequent junkets are not enough? You want more money from us? Magkano pa? Tens of Billions of pesos more?

Ok, that statement sounds too accusing. But the climate alarmism  movement is not talking about hundreds of millions of dollars of climate money. They are talking about tens of billions of dollars of money transfer, from the taxpayers of rich economies to the people of poor  countries, via the various climate bureaucracies and foreign aid of course. This news from interaksyon on November 2012.


Are these demands for huge climate money to "fight climate change" justified?

More data below. From No Tricks Zone, September 12, 2014. The two charts show (1) Annual Arctic sea ice volume loss (thousands of cubic km) according to PIOMAS (blue) compared with the mean value 1980-2013 (black) and standard deviation (gray), and (2) impact of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC), Heat content south of the polar Atlantic until June 2014 (Diagram from Climate Explorer), respectively. Heat content is plummeting.


Yeb Sano, Tony la Vina, Lucille Sering, Sen. Loren Legarda, Al Gore, UN, etc. say we are about to be scorched soon. That is why we should send them more money so they can save us and the planet.

… or 19 years, according to a key statistical paper.
By Christopher Monckton of Brenchley |


From Dr. Roy Spencer, climatologist  at  the University of Alabama in  Huntsville (UAH). 

"Increasing surface temperatures cause more evaporation which by itself increases the water vapor content of the atmosphere. Water vapor at low altitudes has indeed increased with warming, as I have shown here (over the oceans)"


If we go back hundreds of thousands of years ago, and not just more than a hundred years ago, from 1850s as the UN IPCC likes to limit the discussion in claiming "unprecedented, zero precedent global warming", the data will quickly invalidate the UN conclusion and alarmism. Global warming was true, it did happen and will happen again in the future. But global cooling was also true, it did happen and is happening now.

Temperatures during the last interglacial period ~120,000 years ago [and several other interglacials] were higher than during the present interglacial period.


source: Hockey Schtick, And then they came for The Holocene: New paper suggests "removing the Holocene Epoch from the geologic timescale", September 15, 2014.

The future. Prepare for global cooling, not warming. Global warming of the last century has peaked and ended more than a decade ago. We are seeing a transition towards a new cycle of natural CC, global cooling. This news is from WUWT, September 13, 2014


Back to Yeb, From the two reports, it is not clear who paid for his junket at the Arctic -- the Filipino taxpayers or WWF/Greenpeace. The interaksyon report said he was with a team with Greenpeace. One need not go to the Arctic to see ice melt or ice growth as the whole area is covered by satellites daily by the US, Japan, Canada, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, having their own respectively daily tracking of ice extent there, reportled 365 days a year. Unless one is a natural scientist and wants to conduct separate tests to verify data on the ground to complement satellite data.
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See also::
Climate Tricks 31: High Intolerance by the Alarmist Camp, May 14, 2014

Monday, September 15, 2014

Rule of Law 24: Policemen as Violators of Traffic Rules

This photo is circulated in facebook today, should have been taken  recently. Can you count the violations? (1) no helmet, (2) no plate, (3) no side mirrors, what else.


The same three (at least) violations. Pogi at asteg daw kasi pag walang helmet. Basta may baril.


Riding in tandem. :-) No helmets, seems no plate too.


See the two traffic enforcers. Deadma lang, If the violator is a government officer, all violations are waived and allowed.


(1) No helmet, (2) using a mobile phone while driving, (c) no side mirrors, and possibly no plate too?


"Importante itong ka-text ko. Naiwanan ko pa nga helmet ko sa kakamadali."


Good officer, with a helmet. But texting and driving, no side mirrors.


"No left turn" rule applies only to ordinary mortals and motorists.


Of course, not all policemen are law violators. A few are helpful to  civilians and ordinary mortals like us. Like this officer. Hats off, ser.


Not PNP personnel but MMDA guys. Stopping and waiting inside the yellow X.


If the police want to be respected, they themselves should obey the rules. Many of them are law violators. Parking on No Parking signs, making a counter-flow on one-way streets, making a U-turn on No U-turn intersections, and so on.

No wonder some people call it, "PNP: We Serve and Protect (Ourselves and Our Superiors)"

All photos above I got from TOP GEAR fb group.
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See also: 
Rule of Law 20: PNP and Rule of Men, April 21, 2013 

Rule of Law 21: Violating Simple Parking Rules, September 17, 2013

Rule of Law 22: IAF Seminar in GermanyApril 09, 2014

Rule of Law 23: RoL Index 2014 by the World Justice Project, July 02, 2014

Car plates and power trip, March 20, 2010
Car plates and power trip, Part 2, July 06, 2011
My Second Book: Liberalism, Rule of Law and Civil Society, September 02, 2014

Friday, September 12, 2014

Drug Price Control 40: CWF Wants Price Dictatorship for Lipitor

Last Wednesday, an email from James Auste (below), founder and Executive Director of Cancer Warriors Foundation (CWF) was forwarded by email by the Secretary General MeTA Philippines, Ms. Cecile Sison, to members of the Medicines Transparency Alliance (MeTA) PH, Coalition for Health Advocacy and Transparency (CHAT), ETHIKOS and Alternative Budget Initiative (ABI) Health cluster. I am a member of MeTA PH and CHAT so I saw it.

The email therefore was widely circulated to many stakeholders in the PH health sector – government, industry players, NGOs, academe. James is asking for  another round  of drug price dictatorship aka price control. Price dictatorship is the  subject  of my book in 2011, Health Choices and Responsibilities, and it is a policy that I will  always oppose.

James addressed his letter to the President/CEO of Pfizer, but it was distributed to various network in the  health sector, so  it is implicit that he also addressed it to us, hoping that other stakeholders in the health sector will support his call for a new round of drug price control, but targeted to only one medicine, Lipitor.


I posted these comments by email to members of CHAT and MeTA PH early today. Reposting it here.
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James  wrote,

(1) “SABI NG MGA BATA,HINDI KAMI HUMIHINGI NG AMING GAMOT PERO PARA SA AMING MGA LOLO AT LOLANA GUMAGAMIT NG LIPITOR!”

O, this  is new. The children cancer patients are now lobbying part time not to get cheaper cancer medicines for themselves,, but to get cheaper Lipitor for their grandparents. And soon maybe, they will also lobby for cheaper Norvasc for their parents, cheaper Augmentin for their older siblings and relatives?

(2) ANG ANNUAL SALES NG LI[PITOR AY 750MILLION PESOS! NUMBER 1 IN THE MARKET! AT NUMBER 1 PA ATA SA BUONG MUNDO!

Good data, but Pfizer themselves gave this data to James? Or IMS did, or someone who dislikes Pfizer and has access to industry data did?

(3) “PARA general health and well-being of every Filipino ( NA CORE VALUE RIN NG PFIZER) IBABA NATIN SA 14 PESOS ANG 10MG AT 17 PESOS ANG 2OMG!”

O, part 2 of price control. Part 1 was made in August 2009 under the administration of former President Arroyo.  Price control  is price dictatorship. Government regulators – the DOH and DTI in particular, backed up by the Office of the President, Congress, LGUs, etc. – would act as the price dictators. Those who will not obey the dictated price will be harassed and penalized.

Btway, it was former DOH Secretary Duque and DTI Secretary Favila who coined the Gloria Macapagal Arroyo Price (GMAP), aka Government-Mediated Access Price, an illegal term (not in RA 9502, not in the IRR) which until now  is being used, four years after GMA’s term has ended.

I am not exactly a great fan of Pfizer. I am more a fan of “boycott medicines”, innovator or generic, whenever possible and have healthy lifestyle instead. But I will  always be an enemy of government  dictatorship including price control, wage control, fare  control, rent  control, income control (via high income taxes).

The call for another round of drug price control or price dictatorship  is lousy James. Better focus your energy on lobbying for cheaper childhood cancer medicines. You are more effective there.
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DEAR SIR/MAM PRESIDENT/CEO OF PFIZER!

HI AT MABUHAY! I AM JAMES AUSTE A BRAIN CANCER WARRIOR! PATIENT ADVOCATE! FOUNDER! EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE CANCER WARRIORS FOUNDATION! SINCE JUNE 2000 WE HAVE SUPPORTED AT LEAST 1000 KIDS WITH  CANCER AND THEIR FAMILIES IN THEIR BATTLE FOR LIFE! RIGHT NOW WE HAVE 400 SCHOLARS UNDER OUR CARE FROM PAMPANGA TO DAVAO!

SABI NG MGA BATA,HINDI KAMI HUMIHINGI NG AMING GAMOT PERO PARA SA AMING MGA LOLO AT LOLANA GUMAGAMIT NG LIPITOR!

SABI RAW NI LOLA AT LOLA NIYA 34 PESOS ATA SA MERCURY! ANG 10MG! 39PESOS ANG 20MG! DAHIL SA MDRP(MAXIMUM DRUG RETAIL PROGRAM) NUNG 2009! ANG DATA NATIN  NA NAHANAP NAKITA AT NABASA NG ATING SENIOR WARRIORS

 ANG ANNUAL SALES NG LI[PITOR AY 750MILLION PESOS! NUMBER 1 IN THE MARKET! AT NUMBER 1 PA ATA SA BUONG MUNDO!

MAM SIR BAKA PASOK NA SA ATING CORE VALUE NA MAXIMIZE REVENUES AND MANAGE COSTS! ANG REVENUE NA ITO
PARA general health and well-being of every Filipino ( NA CORE VALUE RIN NG PFIZER) IBABA NATIN SA 14 PESOS ANG 10MG AT 17 PESOS ANG 2OMG!

BAKIT GANUN KABABA DAHIL SA MASIGASIG NA PANANALIKSIK NG ATING SENIOR WARRIORS MAY BAGO RAW TAYONG GAMOT NA TAWAG AY Rhea GALING DAW SA AMERIKA!
PERO SAME DRUGSTORE MAGBEBENTA--MERCURY DRUG STORE-NUMBER 1 SA PINAS
SAME MANUFACTURER--PFIZER
SAME ADDRESS--KM 1.9 ROAD 689, VEGA BAJA, PUERTO RICO USA
SAME PACKER-PFIZER MANUFACTURING DEUTSCHLAND GMBH, BETRIEBSSATTE, FREIBURG MOOSWALDALLEE1, FREIBURG, GERMANY
SAME IMPORTER-PFIZER,INC- 23RD FL, AYALA LIFE-FGU CENTER, 6811 AYALA AVENUE, MAKATI CITY
SAME SA SUKAT, KULAY, AT PAREHO PA ANG MARKING NA PO156

PAREHO LAHAT PERO ANG PANG PINAG KAIBA AY 20 PESOS SA 10MG! 60% CHEAPER NG LIPITOR! ANG 20MG 55% CHEAPER!

MALIIT SA INYO PERO MALAKI SA MGA MAY SAKIT NG PUSO NA ARAW ARAW ANG GAMIT NG GAMOT NA ITO
MALIIT SA INYO PERO MARAMING MATUTULONG SA ATING SENIORS AT MAY PANG JEEP PEDICAB, O MRT PAPUNTA SA MERCURY!
MALIIT SA INYO PERO MARAMING MABUBUHAY SA BENTE PESOS

SABI NG ATING SENIOR WARRIORS LIPITOR ANG GUSTO NAMIN KESA RHEA KASI BAKA

IBA ANG TAMA SA AMING MGA PUSO
IBA ANG  TAMA SA AMING MGA KATAWAN
IBA ANG AMING PATUTUTUNGUHAN

KAYA ANG AMING PANAWAGAN  SA PAMAHALAAN SIR MAM SANA I SUPPORT NIYO AY PAG ARALAN ANG SECTION 5 EO821 ".... MEDICINES,,, SHALL BE REVIEWED AFTER 3 -6 MONTHS BY THE DOH"KASI 5 YEARS NA PALA ANG MDRP! AT WALANG PANG NAG RE REQUEST NG REVIEW!

PANAHON NA PARA BIGYAN NG PANSIN ANG  ISA PANG HINAING(BUKOD SA CHILDHOOD CANCER) SA ATING LIPUNAN NA WALA PANG PUMAPANSIN ANG HINAING NG ATING MGA LOLO AT LOLA! NA KAILANGAN NG LIPITORFOR LIFE!

                                           KONTING SAKRIPISYO MARAMING MAGBEBENIPISYO!

THANK YOU FOR YOUR TIME!  WILL BE HOPING AND PRAYING FOR A POSITIVE RESPONSE!

INGAT GODBLESS!

JAMES AUSTE
BRAIN CANCER WARRIOR
PATIENT ADVOCATE
FOUNDER ONLY MEMBER OF CANCER WARRIORS SENIORS TEAM!SAMA NA!

**THIS WILL BE THE FIRST PROJECT OF THE CWF SENIORS TEAM!
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See also: