Monday, January 30, 2012

RUM 2: SARAH, Drug Dependence

(This is the continuation of my notes on the DOH consultation meeting with consumers and civil society groups on rational use of medicines (RUM), see RUM 1: Reducing Medicine Abuse which I posted last January 25.)

Ms. Marianne Dioso, also of NCPAM, presented the SARAH approach in the PMP:

Safety and effectivity of medicines,
Affordable and accessible,
Rational use of medicines,
Accountability and transparency of health players, and
Healthcare systems that are adequate.

She started with a quote from Dr. Alran Bengzon, a former DOH Secretary, saying that drugs and medicines are the key component of the Philippine healthcare system. Then showed these data:

- P124 billion pharmaceuticals market (2010)
- 40 percent of total health expenditures
- 30 percent of PhilHealth reimbursements
- 10 percent of DOH budget
- 10 to 12 percent of total pharma market accounted for by the public sector
- 70 percent of the P124 is accounted for the MNCs by value, and 60 percent by the national companies (NCs) by volume.

It is true that there is both demand and supply of high medicine use, from both the patients and physicians, but not in all cases. Some patients and physicians emphasize preventive healthcare like having the proper and nutritious diet and non-sedentary lifestyle, to take medicines only when really necessary, like when the disease is spreading fast.

The FDA is monitoring not only good manufacturing practices (GMP), but also good storage (GSP) and good distribution practices (GDP). There is also the "generics only" prescription policy in the public sector, covering physicians in government hospitals and clinics. And FDA will have a "generics fast lane" to fast track the entry of more new generic players.

RUM also covers antimicrobial resistance (AMR) program, truthfulness in medicines promotion, prescription audits, rational prescribing and dispensing guidelines.

Welfarism 14: Hard Work vs. Dependence, the Pacquiao Experience

I saw this photo of Manny Pacquiao in one of my friends' facebook status today, I shared it in my wall and wrote this,
I like this. Hard work, high ambition, sturdy heart, focused mind. Leave the bondying, the cry babies always asking for protection, to mediocrity and poverty.

Some comments from friends:

  • Tata Very true 'noy! Thanks for spreading the inspiration.
    "Our life, our future, is NOT somebody else's decision."

  • Nonoy Oplas Thanks to all who like. I think there is strong recognition that people taking responsibility of their own lives and that of their household is more important, more sustainable than govt nannying and over-taxing other people to "fight poverty".
  • Elizabeth Oh wow! That photo speaks for itself. Take responsibility. Take charge of one's own destiny. Of course, we need helpful people and opportunities along the way, but we have to be ready and claim our victory. :)
  • Vanni Aduentes Fortuna Juvat = Fortune favors the brave, ancient Roman saying.

    • Roy  
      Hindi naman lahat ng tao ay may angking talino sa boksing kagaya ni Manny.

      Meron din diyang boksingero na nag sakripisyo at naghirap kagaya ni Manny pero dahil sa hindi sila kasing galing ni Manny, hindi sila naging kampeon at naka-ahon sa hirap.

      Isang hakbang sa isang maginhawa at mabuting buhay ang pagsisikap, pero hindi porket nagsikap at nagsakripisyo ka ibig sabihin garantisadong magiging maginhawa at matagumpay ang buhay mo.
    • Nonoy Oplas 
      Tama Roy. Kung sa simula nag boksing ka at palagi kang talo, ibig sabihin, hindi boksing ang para sayo. Siguro soccer, or cycling, or chess. Kung di pa rin akma ang sports, siguro sa pagtatayo ng barbeque stand, or barber shop, or bake shop. Pag di pa rin akma, siguro sa construction, or farming, or tramspo (say taxi driver). Pag di pa rin akma, siguro sa pagiging seaman or work abroad.

      Ibig sabihin, walang limit ang potential ng isang tao, basta may ambisyon at masipag. Ngayon pag sinabi mong "kahit anong sipag mo, baka di rin uunlad buhay mo", aba ang solusyon dyan pwedeng pabandying-bandying, painom-inom gabi-gabi, total may educ for the poor, healthcare for the poor, housing for the poor, agrarian reform and tractors for the poor, cash transfer for the poor, etc. O kaya, maging pulisman, o kaya right hand ni Mayor or congressman at tumulong manloko at magnakaw, quick money, konting hirap pa.

Yes, we need friends and honest supporters, but we also need to show them our sincerity and hard work in pursuing our dreams. And external factors like the government, should not unnecessarily intervene too much. Manny Pacquiao is actually among the rare exceptions. Many good Filipino athletes are ruined by too much politics in Philippine sports -- in athletics, cycling, ballgames, etc. One clear proof is that a country of now almost 100 million people has not produced a single gold medalist yet in any Olympics, would rank low in terms of medal standing even in the Asian Games (dominated by China and S. Korea), or the South East Asian (SEA) Games.

And yes, there is no guarantee that hard work and non-dependence will produce economic miracles to one's life. There are always misfortunes coming from different directions. But the absence of 100 percent guarantee, the presence of possible misfortunes, are no excuse for one to stop being ambitious and do hard work, and shift to dependence. Because the probability of becoming poor by being lazy and dependent is much higher than the probability of becoming economically well-off by being industrious and self-reliant.

Here are more photos of the young Pacquiao, taken from the web.

Last week, I posted in facebook my paper, Decentralization 10: Devolution, Federalism and Subsidiarity, here's the latter exchange with a friend, Star:

  • Nonoy Oplas I said govt, national and local, should focus on that very important job of stamping out criminality, then get out of endless regulations, like running after smokers, people who put up a carinderia or ambulant vendors, etc. Entrepreneurship is a productive activity, govt should step back.
  • Star while that is an important job to do, i believe that would be difficult to do until the issue of poverty is addressed.

  • Nonoy Oplas But poverty is mostly self inflicted. People who don't want to work, or work little and complain a lot then resign afterwards, or people who work 6 days a week and drink and party 7 nights a week and have zero savings, and so on. There will be no successful govt programs to fight poverty. But there can be successful govt programs to fight criminality, especially if the criminals or protector of criminals are within its ranks like the police, military and the judges.
  • Star then we should work on values as well. while it is true that offenders should really be punished, i think punishment itself is not a deterrent to hard line criminals
    January 19 at 10:42pm · 

  • Nonoy Oplas For hardened criminals, I wish the government to simply shoot them down. Values are often shaped by government policies. When govt rewards laziness and dependence, many people will become lazy and dependent. Why work hard when govt will provide you unemployment allowance, govt will provide you free educ, free healthcare, free or subsidized housing, etc. That is why I argued that govt, national or local, should step back on its non-core function of promulgating the rule of law, of protecting private property rights and people against criminals like thieves, rapists and killers.

I failed to add here that there are dozens of reasons to be poor. People who may or may not work hard but drink and party harder. When emergencies strike, they have very little or zero savings, they sell off some assets or be indebted deeply. Or lose face and self-respect and become dependent forever on some family members.

Too often, welfarism and protectionism (trade, business) creates more weaklings and dependency among the citizens than sturdy people.

See also:
Weekend fun 1: Pac U, November 21, 2010
Roger Federer, Manny Pacquiao and the free market, June 19, 2011
Boxing and Politics (Or Pacquiao as a Boxer and as a Congressman), November 13, 2011
Political Ideology 8: Diskurso sa Kapitalismo, Sosyalismo at Gobyerno, November 15, 2011

Welfarism 9: Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT), November 12, 2010Welfarism 11: Bureaucratizing Entrepreneurs, April 12, 2011
Welfarism 13: Decriminalize Prostitution, January 20, 2012

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Weekend Fun 28: Men and Women

Stories and jokes on "Men vs. Women" are plenty and endless. Here are some of them.

These images and photos are really cool, I enjoyed them.

This man may have married a shopaholic wife (and daughter/s?). Could be one of those very rare "men's right" rallies.

Not too hard to believe. Very lucky guy, indeed :-)

And look at the truck on the left! The driver may have briefly thought that he's Tiger Woods, on women, not on the golf course.

Ahhh, very creative (male) toilet designers. I'm wondering what the counterpart female toilet looks like.

Happy weekend.

See also:

Weekend fun 18. Gloria Arroyo cartoons, June 11, 2011
Weekend fun 19: Sic o Clock News, June 19, 2011
Weekend fun 20: Taga-UP Diliman ka Kung..., August 20, 2011
Weekend fun 21: Humor in global financial turmoil, August 21, 2011
Weekend fun 22: Functions and equations, September 17, 2011
Weekend fun 23: Economists joke, September 24, 2011

Friday, January 27, 2012

Business Bureaucracy 4: How to Reduce It

Yesterday, a friend working for a big power company here posted in her facebook wall, The Philippine government's attitude towards investments- parang babae na napakasungit sa manliligaw, samantalang hindi naman maganda. (like an ugly woman who is unfriendly to suitors).

To which I replied: And this is supposed to be a liberal government. Liberalism in theory loves free market, dislikes intrusive and bureaucratic govt. Most Filipino liberals do not understand liberalism, only politics and opportunism.

Today, there is this interesting news report,’t-launches-one-stop-shop-for-entrepreneurs

Gov’t  launches one-stop shop for  entrepreneurs


MANILA, Philippines–President Benigno Aquino III on Friday witnessed the launch of the Philippine Business Registry–a one-stop shop for entrepreneurs that need to transact with several government agencies to start their business.
Trade Secretary Gregory Domingo said the PBR is one of the government’s priority projects to make business registration easier by streamlining the process and eliminating red tape.
Through the PBR, applicants no longer need to physically go to each government agency to start doing business.
These agencies include the Department of Trade Industry, Bureau of Internal Revenue, Social Security System, Pag-IBIG fund, Philippine Health and Insurance Corp., and the Securities and Exchange Commission.
The launch is just the first phase of the program as several other regulatory offices and even local governmentunits will connect to the PBR.
At the LGU level, Quezon City is already connected to the PBR. Cities with streamlined business permits and licensing systems such as Caloocan and Mandaluyong are expected to be linked to the system in the coming months.
PBR kiosks will also be put up in selected LGUs nationwide to facilitate registration in far-flung areas.

This is good news but long overdue. In his first State of the Nation Address (SONA) in July 2010, the President declared,
Ang walang-katapusang pabalik-balik sa proseso ng pagrehistro ng pangalan ng kumpanya, na kada dalaw ay umaabot ng apat hanggang walong oras, ibababa na natin sa labinlimang minuto. Ang dating listahan ng tatlumpu't anim na dokumento, ibababa natin sa anim. Ang dating walong pahinang application form, ibababa natin sa isang pahina.
(Translation: "The endless procedures in registering a business name, which takes between four to 8 hours per day, we will reduce it to 15 minutes. The old requirement of 36 documents, we will bring it down to six. The eight pages application form, we will make it one page.")
See The President's SONA, 2010, July 26, 2010.

I hope this one-stop-shop PBR is not only for starting a business, but also for renewing various business permits of existing businesses.

Ultimately, I wish to see that the number of business permits will be reduced to only two:  one for national and one for local. Businesses simply show their transparency to the government, that they are a restaurant and not a beerhouse, that they are a beauty parlor and not a prostitution house, and so on. Local governments should also remove or abolish their multiple business permits -- electrical permit, health and sanitation permit, fire department permit, garbage collection permit, etc. before a Mayor's permit is issued.

Let the liberal leadership of the current administration implement really liberal policies, not bureaucratic and nearly socialistic ones.

Meanwhile, I wrote this last JULY 19, 2010

Unemployment and entrepreneurship

(This is my article for People's Brigada News, July 17, 2010)

Being jobless or unemployed for someone looking for work can be a devastating experience. A person wants to feel “needed” by society for some productive work and yet no one seems to be interested in hiring him/her.

Some people are unemployed because they chose to. Like those with job offers that pay P15,000 per month but they wish to receive at least P20,000 per month, so they reject job offers that pay lower than their expected or “reservation” wage.

An unemployment rate of 2 to 3 percent maybe considered as a “full employment” because those 2 to 3 percent of people who do not have jobs are those that maybe considered as the “voluntarily unemployed”, such as the one described above.

An unemployment rate of 8 percent or higher reflects a problematic economy. Much more for those with 20 percent or higher, like Spain and Latvia in Europe. And if underemployment (those who have jobs already but are looking for additional work) situation is to be added, the situation would look really bad.

Unemployment Rate, in percent, May 2010 (unless specified)

A. Europe
Latvia, 22.5 (April ’10)
Spain, 19.9
Estonia, 19.8 (Q1)
Turkey, 13.7
Ireland, 13.4 (June ’10)
Slovakia, 12.2
Poland, 11.9
Greece, 11.6
Hungary, 11.4
Belgium, 11.3
Portugal, 10.6 (Q1)
France, 9.9
Italy, 8.7
Britain, 7.8
Germany, 7.7 (June ’10)
Russia, 7.3
B. Other rich countries

US, 9.5 (June ‘10)
Canada, 7.9 (June ’10)

New Zealand, 6.0 (Q1)
Australia, 5.1

S. Africa, 25.2 (March ’10)
Israel, 7.2 (Q1)
C. Asia

India, 10.7 (2009)
China, 9.6 (2009)
Philippines, 8.0 (Q2)
Indonesia, 7.4 (Feb. ’10)
Japan, 5.2
Taiwan, 5.2
Hong Kong, 4.6
S. Korea, 3.5 (June ’10)
Malaysia, 3.2 (April ’10)
Singapore, 2.2 (Q1)
Thailand, 1.2 (April ’10)
Source: The Economist, July 15, 2010

This is where entrepreneurs and job creators become really relevant. An economy and its government must strive to encourage more entrepreneurship, not discourage and penalize it with lots of bureaucracies and long business requirement regulations.

For the Philippines in particular with 8.0 percent unemployment rate and 17.8 percent underemployment rate, or one out of four able-bodied Filipinos are either unemployed or underemployed, the call for more entrepreneurship and less politics, less taxes and less bureaucracies, is even more relevant.

 See also:
Business Bureaucracy 1: Avoiding government: Egyptian experience, March 12, 2007
Business Bureaucracy 2: We don't need a new DICT bureaucracy, July 13, 2010
Welfarism 11: Bureaucratizing Entrepreneurs, April 11, 2011
Business Bureaucracy 3: Their Rules and Life,July 15, 2011

Rule of Law 1: Entrepreneurship and Government Permits, September 16, 2008
Rule of Law 7: Property Rights and IPRI 2009 Report, February 27, 2010