Thursday, October 23, 2014
Year in and year out, decades upon decades, the cycle is repeated. Most or majority of DENR-implemented reforestation projects are wasteful. One example is the annual reforestation of degraded uplands adjacent to our farm in Bugallon, Pangasinan. Every year, no exception, there are tree planting there, for many years and decades since the 80s or even the 70s. And every year, the scene is the same -- degraded upland with more cogon and other tall grasses than trees. Most of the trees that survive are naturally-growing species and not planted.
Below are the "left-over" seedlings that may no longer be planted in the uplands. The DENR and its contracted cooperative or planters deposited these seedlings in our farm, to be transported and planted in the uplands. I took these photos last Friday, October 18, 2014. It is no longer advisable to do tree planting at this time of the year because the rainy season will end soon. The contracted workers who should carry these potted seedlings up to the hills and mountain simply pulled the black plastic along with the soil in it. They only carried the uprooted seedlings, so they will be lighter to carry. This practice immediately injures the roots of the seedlings and would endanger their survival in the harsh environment in the uplands.
The uprooted seedlings were either planted, or they may have been thrown away, no one knows except the contracted and paid workers. These were mostly acacia auri and kakawate or madre de cacao.
There are several hundreds, possibly a few thousands, of unplanted seedlings there. They will never be planted and even if these will be planted in the uplands, their chance of survival will be very low. The best months to plant would be in June-July as there are plenty of rains, allowing the seedlings to establish stronger roots and body. Assuming of course that the crawling and choking vines and tall grasses around them are cleared regularly.
I do not know how much money was spent by the DENR, or by some foreign aid agencies that give grants or lend money to the PH government to be implemented by the DENR and LGUs, for this project alone.
Despite annual government reforestations and tree planting programs (DENR, LGUs, other agencies) in the uplands of this part of the country for decades, the uplands and public "forest land" remain degraded. Photo below I took April this year, just adjacent to our farm.
Top tree killers in the uplands are (a) choking vines, (b) grass fires occurring almost yearly, and (c) people who steal and cut the trees for charcoal, firewood, lumber and other uses. Below, another part of the "public forest land".
Lots of spending and government borrowings, yes. Lots of new forest, no. Really inefficient and wasteful way to spend taxpayers' money.
Free Market Environmentalism, June 17, 2014
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
In one facebook group about energy, I continue to debate some anti--coal, anti-fossil fuel energy activists. One lady, Ms JL commented that "with coal energy you get all kinds of problems from coal mining to hauling to preparation of coal fired power plant to energy generation to post combustion wastes..."
Such other livelihood and human settlements have to be sacrificed because those wind towers can collapse, or the wind turbines can burn, or the wind blades can fall down. There are many instances abroad that any of these have happened.
Her fear is imaginary. If one will visit places near Sual plant in Pangasinan, Masinloc plant in Zambales, Quezon plant in Mauban, Quezon, Calaca plant in Batangas, etc., one will not see black smoke as often shown by the anti-coal activists. The decision to put windmills in areas where there are no houses, no fishing village, no resorts, etc. is made by the wind power developers themselves, not by the government (DOE or LGUs) or the environmental activists. The wind developers know the real danger of those windmills collapsing. It is also possible that they relocated original poor seaside villagers so that those huge wind towers can be constructed.
Then mining of iron, etc. to produce steel, mining of lime, etc.to produce cement, should concern them too. No wind tower can be built without cement and steel.
Tuesday, October 21, 2014
Two weeks from now, I will participate in a small group meeting-seminar on intellectual property rights (IPR) of independent Asian think tanks to be held in Hong Kong. The event is sponsored by The Policy Workshop, a public affairs firm that helps clients meet public policy challenges and communications, headed by a friend, Cathy Windells.
The criteria seemed to be "tailored" so that the US would be in #1 rank, a comment from a friend. Maybebut it was not the US government that made that report, it was the US Chamber of Commerce.
On IPR abolition 16: Debate with Teddy Boy Locsin, August 24, 2012
On IPR Abolition 17: Copyright by a Government Corporation, September 07, 2013
On IPR Abolition 18: Patent, Copyright and Jeffrey Tucker, May 15, 2013
IPR and Medicines 28: Politicizing Innovation, Rewarding Rent-Seeking, April 06, 2013
Sunday, October 19, 2014
From left: FNF Country Director Jules Maaten, European Chamber of Commerce Past President and convenor I think of Integrity Initiative, Henry Schumacher, Napocor President Gladys Cruz-Sta Rita, Cong. Erin Tanada, and LLDA Gen. Mgr. and former CALD President Neric Acosta.
It was fun in the early morning, with early band performers, warm up exercises, etc.
The marshall though told the 10K runners, me included, to go to the starting line early, and this is far from the stage. So we missed some of the speakers.
Actor Dingdong Dantes was there, he arrived late I think. He joined the 3K runners. Last year, he also joined the Freedom Run, with gf Marianne Rivera.
This one-legged runner, the other leg on prosthetics, impressed me. I took his photo on our way back to the start/finish. Then I briefly ran with him, he said he met an accident, his left leg was amputated.
This is my 4th, straight participation in Freedom Run. The 1st Freedom Run in 2011 held in UP Diliman campus. It was only a 3K and 6K run, many joined it. This photo taken by Jules Maaten.
The 2nd Freedom Run in 2012 was held in Taytay, Rizal, going to a portion of Laguna Lake, and back. I ran the 10K.
Today, I met a friend from Congress Mountaineers, Doming Gonzaga. He also ran the 10K.
Another fun day. Thanks FNF for organizing such a famous running for freedom annual event.
Freedom Run 2011, November 28, 2011
Freedom Run 2011 and 2012, November 03, 2013
Freedom Run 2013, I will Run the 10K, November 09, 2014
Freedom Flame Awards 2013, November 13, 2013
Wednesday, October 15, 2014
Business 360 15: How to Improve Economic Freedom in Asia, January 22, 2014
Rest in Peace, Prof.Leonard P. Liggio, Executive Vice President of Academics at Atlas Economic Research Foundation, Washington DC, USA. He passed away October 14, 2014, he was 81.
Leonard’s career advancing liberty spanned seven decades, during which time he served as the President of the Mont Pelerin Society, the Philadelphia Society, and the Institute for Humane Studies, where he later continued to serve as its Distinguished Senior Scholar. He was a professor at George Mason University, a visiting professor at the Universidad Francisco Marroquín, a board member of the Competitive Enterprise Institute, and a Trustee of Liberty Fund.
Alex Chafuen and the late John Blundell once wrote that, if F.A. Hayek was the great architect of the revival of classical liberalism, then Leonard has been its “great builder, building a worldwide movement… one career at a time.”
Then I met Leonard again in 2005 in Phuket, Thailand, when Atlas and the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom (FNF) sponsored a round-table discussion on "The Constitution of Liberty in Asia" where we discussed for one whole day Friedrich Hayek's book, "The Constitution of Liberty". He moderated the discussion, assisted by Colleen Dyble, then Director for Institute Relations of Atlas. I learned a lot from that forum. A few months before we went to Phuket, Atlas mailed to us participants a copy of Hayek's book. I remember that I had a hard time understanding Hayek's deep political philosophy then, but it was good that I re-read some of the chapters to appreciate the great Austrian economist-philosopher's thoughts.
Our group photo below. Two names I cannot remember now, I put as (?). Standing from left: Leonard, (? from Malaysia), Hiroshi (Japan), Minh Nguyen (Vietnam), Charu Chadha (Nepal), Nambiar (Malaysia), (? from India), Kang Chandararot (Cambodia), Yongqin (China), Chung-ho Kim (S. Korea).
Sitting from left: me, Mr. You (Japan), Paata Sheshelidze (Georgia), Cuoung Nguyen (Vietnam), Khalil Ahmad (Pakistan), Colleen Dyble (USA), Trupti Meetah (India), and Ellen Cain (Philippines). Liu Junning (China) was also there but he went outside when this photo was taken.
I have met again Leonard in 2008 (Atlanta) and 2009 (LA, California) during the annual Atlas Liberty Forum. Jo Kwong looked for extra funding to allow me to travel to the US and attend those events, and met with other free market leaders from other parts of the world. Thanks once again, Jo. I will never your efforts then.
The Institute for Economic Studies-Europe (IES) produced this youtube clip in 2009, also in recognition of Leonard's role in contributing to the liberty movement in Europe. They posted in fb with this note,
Leonard is known more by North and South American and European classical liberal academics and think tank leaders. He may have not traveled much to Asia, so the Atlas-FNF event in Phuket in 2005 was a great way for us Asians to know him more.
Once again, rest in peace Leonard. It was great to meet you.
Jo Kwong rocks, February 09, 2010
EFN Asia 2: Hayek in Asia, September 20, 2010
Tuesday, October 14, 2014
An Indian friend, Barun Mitra, posted this interesting article from Live Mint, October 8, 2014.
Beautiful analysis. Another Indian friend commented,
Why should Asians accept the Western religion of democracy? One place that has reduced wretchedness is not democratic India, but dictatorial China. And HK and Singapore are among the freest places in the world despite not being democratic.
Democracy is not about majority rule, but about recognition of and respect for minority opinions. So that the minority view of today, may enjoy the freedom to peacefully persuade others, and could become a majority opinion of tomorrow....
For democracy to survive in large communities and countries, where only representative democracy is possible and practical, democracy has to be minimal, so that it does not offend or alienate too many people. Secondly, as societies become complex, there is a need to recognise the challenges of centralised government, and devolve greater political authority and autonomy to lower tiers of government and local communities. Because only at such community level, with shared values, can there be a realistic prospect for widest consensus on such complex issues.
The rise of China which threatens democracy is nonsense. However, "one reason why so many democratic experiments have failed recently is that they put too much emphasis on elections and too little on the other essential features of democracy. The power of the state needs to be checked, for instance, and individual rights such as freedom of speech and freedom to organise must be guaranteed. The most successful new democracies have all worked in large part because they avoided the temptation of majoritarianism—the notion that winning an election entitles the majority to do whatever it pleases."
Part 1, September 25, 2014
Hong Kong Democracy vs. China Dictatorship, Part 2, September 29, 2014
Lion Rock 11: Barun Mitra on Democracy, Reading Salon 2013, October 28, 2013
Lion Rock 13: LRI Position on the Hong Kong Protests, October 08, 2014
Sunday, October 12, 2014
Thus, even the most authoritarian governments recognize the value of free trade. But because they are authoritarians, or semi-authoritarian protectionists, they want to limit and restrict trade because they are protecting certain sectors, like the business interests of their friends, families and campaign financiers, or a considerable block of voters.Thus, multilateral trade negotiations towards free trade has become too bureaucratic and time consuming.
source:Richard Baldwin, 'Unilateral Trade Liberalization", Center for Trade and Economic Integration, CTEI 2011-04, http://graduateinstitute.ch/.../working.../CTEI-2011-04.pdf
But since the 1950s...trade theory has pretty-much consistently shown a hierarchy of mechanisms for increasing commerce across borders: unilateral trade liberalization is best, followed by multilateral trade liberalization (although the current WTO round of trade negotiations is dead), and then regional or bilateral agreements.
Ordinary consumers and independent researchers, them who are not corrupted by government and foreign aid money and consulting, should push the logic of unilateral trade liberalization. Ordinary consumers benefit from more choices, more options, where to buy and whom to sell.
Free Trade 35: EU-FNF Forum on 'FDI Engine for Job Growth', May 15, 2014
Free Trade 36: Taxation, Regulations, Trade and Rule of Law in ASEAN, August 05, 2014
Free Trade 37: Multiple Concerns and Regulations in the ASEAN, September 11, 2014
Free Trade 38: Liberalize Rice Imports and Demonopolize NFA, September 28, 2014