Monday, August 19, 2019

BWorld 360, Rule of law and property rights, Hong Kong vs China

* My column in BusinessWorld on August 15, 2019.

“… the rules must apply to those who lay them down and those who apply — that is, to the government as well as the governed — and that nobody has the power to grant exceptions.”

— Friedrich Hayek, Chapter 10, The Constitution of Liberty (1960)

This is the essence of the “rule of law” — that the law applies equally to unequal people, no one is exempted and no one can grant an exemption. Once exemptions are made, this automatically leads to the rule of men. The powerful and the mob are exempted from penalties for violating certain laws.

The nearly three months of protests and discontent in Hong Kong is centered over a subject related to the rule of law — the proposed Extradition bill, where suspected criminals and dissidents in Hong Kong can be extradited to China. And China, being a one-party communist government, is known for having little respect for the rule of law, little respect for the rights of suspects. It sends shivers down the spines of the people of Hong Kong to contemplate what would happen if some or many of them are extradited to China when Hong Kong has its own courts already.

There is proof behind the statement that China has little respect for the rule of law. In the World Justice Project’s annual “Rule of Law Index” (RoLI), countries and jurisdictions are scored and ranked based on their performance on eight factors and 44 sub-factors. The RoLI 2019 Report involved more than 120,000 household surveys and 3,800 expert surveys in 126 countries and jurisdictions.

China ranks low overall on RoLI, 82nd out of 126 countries; in contrast, Hong Kong ranked 16th. China scored particularly low on Factor 4: Fundamental Rights, like Freedom of opinion and expression, Freedom of belief and religion, Freedom of assembly and association, are effectively guaranteed. It is also low on Factor 8: Criminal Justice, like Criminal system is impartial, is free of improper government influence.

In property rights protection, both physical and intellectual property, again Hong Kong ranked high. We consider the annual study International Property Rights Index (IPRI) by the Property Rights Alliance (PRA), based in Washington, DC. The IPRI 2018 Report showed that Hong Kong ranked 17th while China ranked 52nd out of 126 countries and jurisdictions. In intellectual property rights (IPR) protection, the same pattern is observed (see Table).

The United Kingdom and its former colonies in Asia — Hong Kong, Singapore, and Malaysia — rank high in both RoLI and IPRI. The great minds of British classical liberal thinking like John Locke, Adam Smith, and John Stuart Mill, successfully influenced the legal and economic philosophy and practice of these countries.

Communist China in contrast, is still reeling from the influence and heavy-handed dictatorship of its founder Mao Zedong. Its tolerance for citizens’ freedom of expression is very low. Extended in foreign relations, its tolerance for international rule of law like respect of international waters at the South China Sea/west Philippine Sea is also very low.

I have great respect and admiration for the brave people of Hong Kong, especially its youth. You are fighting the lackey of the biggest dictatorial government for a noble cause.

On a related note, the UK-based Geneva Network and Minimal Government Thinkers (MGT) will launch a report on the “Importance of IPR for ASEAN” in Manila on Sept. 24. This joint report will be co-signed by the Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs in Kuala Lumpur, Paramadina Public Policy Institute in Jakarta, Siam Intelligence Unit in Bangkok, MGT in Manila, and the Viet Nam Economic Policy Research Centre in Hanoi. The Geneva Network is coordinating the study.

The keynote speaker for the event will be Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon Lopez. Mr. Lopez is very explicit in his support for IPR protection being among the cornerstones of technological innovation and economic competitiveness for any country.

IPRI 2019 will also be launched in Manila later this year. MGT and the Foundation for Economic Freedom will be the local partners of PRA in launching this big event.

See also:

Sunday, August 18, 2019

On India's N-East provinces, Kashmir

I've been to India (Mumbai only), Nepal and Bhutan and I just realized why India won't just grant independence to those provinces and regions on the N-East? These areas are isolated from India mainland and much closer to Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, China and Myanmar than to the capital New Delhi.

Also Kashmir, I think India and Pakistan should just leave this area to become an independent nation. Both governments cannot even develop their respective countries, why spend huge money on military and bureaucracies to claim ownership and control of this area?

Two friends do not support giving independence to Kashmir based on two scenarios.

1. A new Kashmir state would be equivalent to another Afghanistan in South Asia, another place for international and regional powers to misuse weaker countries. A political settlement between the two countries is a long lasting solution.

2. A new Kashmir state will be gobbled up by China.

On #1, it can be another Afghanistan, or another Latvia or Georgia or Ukraine or Kazakhstan of former USSR, or another Singapore. SG won't be as prosperous as it is now if it's just one of many states of Malaysia, like Penang or Sabah.

On #2, CN annexing/gobbling Kashmir is more of speculation. If CN does that, automatically it will have 3 enemies -- India, Pakistan and new Kashmir nation. The first two gave Kashmir independence only to be colonized by CN? No way. CN does not want too many enemies, it has lots already in SCS/WPS.

I advocate disintegration of big countries to many, smaller countries. Thus, I think Russia, Canada, USA, Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Nigeria, Philippines, Pakistan, etc should disintegrate.

BWorld 359, Why is Philippines’ GDP growth decelerating?

* My column in BusinessWorld on August 13, 2019.

The Philippines’ GDP growth over the past 18 years has a beautiful and not-so beautiful story. Accelerating from 2001 to 2015, then decelerating lately: 6.9% in 2016, 6.7% in 2017, 6.2% in 2018, 5.6% in 2019’s 1st quarter (Q1), then 5.5% in Q2.


For brevity’s sake, we limit the possible factors to only two — external and internal factors. For external, we compare the Philippines’ growth with Asia’s big economies plus the US. For internal factors, we check the growth rates of GDP’s three components on the demand side: household consumption (C), government consumption (G), and private investments (I).

We can summarize the Table’s numbers for 12 economies as follows:

2001-2015: The global economy was generally good, except for the global financial turmoil in 2008-2009 that started in the US. Surprisingly, only the US and Japan performed badly while the rest managed to grow faster than the period from 2001-2005. The Philippines experienced consistent higher average growth over those 15 years.
2016-2018: The global and external economy seemed to be good. Seven countries have generally rising growth trends (the USA, Japan, Taiwan, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam), three have flat trends (China, South Korea, Indonesia), and two have been declining (India and Philippines). But India’s “low” is still above 7%.

2019 H1: The external environment is bad. All have lower 2019 growth than 2016-18 levels except three countries — Japan, Indonesia, and Malaysia.

So if external factors have not been bad over the past three years yet the Philippines experienced consistent growth deceleration, the internal factors would explain it. The Department of Finance and National Economic and Development Authority pointed to high world oil prices in 2018, then the delayed approval of the 2019 budget as the main reasons for growth deceleration.

But this is not supported by the numbers. In 2017, growth of G was only 6.2% yet GDP grew at 6.7%, while in 2018, growth of G was double — 13.1% — and yet GDP grew only at 6.2%. In 2019 first half (H1), G was growing at 7.4% and GDP grew at 5.6%. G is not a big enough factor to pull overall GDP up or down compared to C and I.

What pulled down GDP growth in 2018 was low growth — only 5.6% — in C which is huge — it makes up about 65% of GDP.

In 2019, the main factor pulling growth down came from investments. Growth of I has been declining, from 25% in 2016, down to 13% in 2018, 8% in 2019 Q1, and a contraction at -8.5% in Q2. I is about 23% of GDP.

What caused the big decline of C in 2018?

The most proximate explanation is high inflation, 5.2% in 2018 from only 2.9% in 2017. This was largely due to higher oil taxes under the TRAIN (Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion) law. High inflation adversely affected consumer confidence and hence, the decline in C.

What caused the big decline of I in 2018 and 2019?

The most proximate candidate is business uncertainty — from the proposed Endo bill (thankfully vetoed by the President in late July) and the TRABAHO (Tax Reform for Attracting Better and Higher Quality Opportunities) bill which was not passed and has been refiled in the present Congress. Many existing companies did not expand and some planned investments did not materialize. Then the reversal from integrated PPP (pubic-private partnership) to hybrid PPP kicked in. Some big infrastructure projects that could have been done by big local companies were instead given to China, Japan, other foreign contractors.

The new Congress should take note of these trends — the decline in C and I. Hence, they should not enact bills that will further erode consumer and investment confidence like higher taxes, higher regulatory fees, higher labor rigidities including higher mandatory minimum wages.

Congress should instead enact tax cut somewhere, reduced regulatory fees, and let companies give realistic labor pay. Expensive but repetitive work can easily be replaced by machines and robots now. Let the unskilled earn something, not zero by being unemployed and unhired.

See also:

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

China Watch 38, China Army to attack HK protesters?

My admiration and respect to the brave people of Hong Kong for protesting the long arm of the China Communist Party over them. It started with the protest vs the CN-inspired extradition bill where suspected criminals and dissidents can be extradited to CN and endure the lack of rule of law there.

Now on 3rd month of protests, the HK police are getting more aggressive and there are reports now showing that CN Army and police are assembling in Shenzhen, just across Hong Kong, and might come anytime to help the HK police stop the protests.

Hong Kong On The Edge: Chinese Troops Gather In Shenzen; 100s Of Flights Cancelled Over Protester "Terrorism"
by Tyler Durden   Mon, 08/12/2019 - 06:00

Global Times Shows Dramatic Video Of Chinese Army Preparing For Hong Kong Invasion
by Tyler Durden   Mon, 08/12/2019 - 10:44

Yesterday, HKIA authorities have cancelled all flights in the afternoon till evening as the airport was swarmed by so many people protesting police violence and Carrie Lam not listening to them. She only listens to Beijing, a puppet.

Other stories below:

All flights cancelled out of Hong Kong as thousands of protesters besiege airport over police violence
12 August 2019 21:20 Kris Cheng

Chinese tanks on the streets of Hong Kong? Beijing keeps its options open, as protests continue
By China correspondent Bill Birtles in Hong Kong
Updated Fri at 6:44am  August 09, 2019

Would China risk another Tiananmen in Hong Kong?
PUBLISHEDAUG 12, 2019, 10:39 AM SGT

UK concerned at latest Hong Kong violence
AUGUST 12, 2019 / 7:11 PM /

Chinese armed police truck convoy rolls into city near Hong Kong
Phoebe Zhang    Published: 7:48pm, 12 Aug, 2019

Communism is evil. One-party dictatorship is murderous.

See also:

BWorld 358, How government restricts energy development

* My column in BusinessWorld on August 08, 2019.

In the first week of August this year, I saw seven energy-related stories in BusinessWorld Economy section alone:

1. “SolGen appeals Supreme Court ruling on power deal competitive selection” (Aug. 1).

2. “Solar Para sa Bayan franchise signed” (Aug. 2).

3. “MinDa added to energy investment council” (Aug. 2).

4. “PCC, ERC agree to cooperate to push competition in power sector” (Aug. 6).

5. “Energy efficiency firms call for new law’s IRR to reflect BoI perks” (Aug. 6).

6. “High court seeks Meralco, ERC comment on bill deposits case” (Aug. 7).

7. “DoE promises to seek other ways to make fuel prices more transparent” (Aug. 7).

The subjects within energy vary but there is one common trend in them — there are government agencies involved in all issues, which implies that electricity and petroleum concerns remain highly politicized until now.

Of those seven stories, the following stand out:

No. 2. What I call Solar para sa Politika. This is a very unique energy company in the Philippines: It is the only power generation company and distributor with a Congressional franchise; it is the only electricity distributor that covers so many provinces and encroaches on the geographical areas of other franchised electric cooperatives; it is the only renewable energy company opposed by almost all other renewable energy developers like Developers of Renewable Energy for AdvanceMent, Inc. (DREAM) because of certain privileges it gets that appear to be un-Constitutional; it is the only energy company whose franchise is questioned or outrightly opposed by other energy industry associations like Philippine Independent Power Producers Association and Philippine Rural Electric Cooperatives Association, major local business associations like Makati Business Club and Management Association of the Philippines, and foreign business groups like the American Chamber of Commerce; and, it is the only energy company whose owner is the son of an influential legislator. The ex-senator headed the Senate Finance Committee, the position alone could terrorize the Department of Energy (DoE) and Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) and their budget if they join the chorus to oppose the franchise. Shameless corporation.

No. 5. Energy efficiency should be done even without legislation but this one sought legislation to target fiscal perks. The Department of Finance is the natural opposition because it wants to reduce perks and exemptions in exchange for lower corporate income tax (CIT). Another precedent, so other energy sub-sectors would also seek legislation to get their own share of perks and tax exemptions.

No. 7. The DoE knows that the “expensive oil is beautiful” policy under the TRAIN law (Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion) is the biggest contributor to recent high oil prices. For diesel the excise tax, P2.50/liter increase in 2018, P2 this year, sub-total P4.50/liter increase plus VAT on excise tax. And another P1.50/liter increase in 2020. Yet the DoE instead turned its eyes on oil companies and imposed an implicit price control, prohibiting them from raising their prices unless they notify the DoE in advance and submit weekly reports about the components of their pricing. All players have trade secrets, like one has cheaper monthly land rent than others. These business secrets should not be divulged to others.

I also read in another newspaper that the leftist Makabayan bloc in Congress attacked Meralco for entertaining the competitive selection process (CSP) bid of its allied firms. Politicians as much as possible should stay away from the market dynamics of players once the government’s general rules have been issued, like the mandatory CSP instead of the regular bilateral power supply agreements with power generating companies.

So in the above stories, various government agencies aside from DoE and ERC — Supreme Court, Solicitor General, the Board of Investments, Philippine Competition Commission, Congress — are involved in various forms of regulations. Not mentioned there are other agencies that are also involved in power bureaucratization like the local government units, National Commission on Indigenous Peoples, Department of Agrarian Reform, Department of Agriculture.

The Philippines has among the lowest, poorest energy availability when compared with its many neighbors. See these numbers from the International Energy Agency (IEA), Key World Energy Statistics (KWES) 2018 report. (See Table).

The various energy regulators and law makers from the Executive, Legislative, and Judiciary should be aware and even be ashamed of this poor condition of Filipinos and Philippine-based businesses. Too much government intervention, regulations and prohibitions are bad for more energy development, more power supply addition, and cheaper electricity prices via more power supply addition and competition.

Private players should also avoid seeking new legislation for whatever bleeding-heart arguments they have and help depoliticize the energy sector. Many existing laws like the RE Act of 2008 (RA 9513) are already distortionary, let us not add any more.

See also:
BWorld 355, No climate crisis, August 03, 2019 

Monday, August 12, 2019

Climate Tricks 84, 97% climate consensus in Sicily

The UN, Al Gore, WWF, etc. repeatedly use the "97% consensus" by scientists of man-made warming. They should refer to themselves, 97-100% of folks like Al Gore, Obama, di Caprio, Prince Harry, Katy Perry, have a consensus, and ALL of them are “scientists.” 

These news reports were published mostly on July 31, 2019.

The UN climacrats would be unhappy. That distinction of gathering self-styled planet saviors arriving on private jets, choppers, SUVs and big limos guzzling on fossil fuels then lambast fossil fuels should be reserved for them.

These planet saviors should have traveled there via solar planes, giant kites, Uber brooms, witch-choppers, anything and everything huge that fly and have zero use of fossil fuels, zero CO2 emission.


Lots of wastes -- taxpayers' funded global climate junkets, climate bureaucracies like CCC, carbon tax like oil tax hike under TRAIN law, subsidies to renewables like feed-in-tariff (FIT), mandatory use of bioethanol, climate loans with WB-ADB, etc. Because there is "97% consensus" by Obama et al.

The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) of the Philippines also joins the fossil fuel junkets. Upon the prodding of Greenpeace, they investigate the "carbon majors" by flying to Paris, NY, London, The Hague, etc. Plus provincial investigations. Fossil fuel is so "evil", even its haters and investigators use it a lot, 

See also:

Saturday, August 10, 2019

BWorld 357, We need further FDI liberalization

* My column in BusinessWorld on August 06, 2019.

Foreign direct investment (FDI) is important because the benefits to the destination economy are not limited to capital infusion but also technology transfer, management systems, sources of more production inputs, and extra access to foreign markets. Thus, Japanese FDIs coming to the Philippines not only bring in Japanese capital and technology, but also additional access to Japan and other export markets.

Since we have not liberalized FDIs enough, and those FDIs from many rich countries are just seeking for more economies that will give them a friendlier environment, other neighbors in the ASEAN have optimized these FDI inflows. Singapore remains the top destination while the Philippines is a relatively late-comer. In the ASEAN-6, five countries — Singapore, Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand, and Malaysia — would get double-digits of billion dollars for at least two years over the last six years. The Philippines experienced that only once, in 2017. That’s the bad news.

The good news is that the Philippines has gotten the momentum since the previous administration and has overtaken Malaysia in attracting FDIs in 2017 and 2018. Perhaps one reason is that Malaysia has become more of FDI source or exporter. (See Table 1.) 

For intra-ASEAN FDI, the favorite destination is Indonesia. Out of its $22 billion in 2018, $11.8 billion came from its ASEAN neighbors. The least favourite is Malaysia as only $0.5 billion came from neighbors last year. And this probably explains how Malaysia is becoming more of a net FDI source or originator than a destination.

The Philippines is also not a favorite FDI destination for its neighbors. Last year, out of $9.8 billion in FDIs, only $1 billion came from our ASEAN neighbors.
In terms of FDI inward stock — the net for inflows minus outflows over the years — Hong Kong, China, and Singapore are the topnotchers. Japan is more of an FDI source or exporter, not a destination.

The expansion of FDI from 1998 to 2018 or over two decades, the average for East Asia is around 8x expansion. The Philippines’ is 7.4x. Mongolia is an outlier with 207.5x because of its very low level in 1998. My data is from the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), World Investment Report (WIR) 2019. (See Table 2).

The continuing challenge for the Philippines is to further deepen and expand its attractiveness to foreign investments. Local investments immediately benefit and expand when FDIs increase because local investors are the partners of these foreigners in equity infusion and as suppliers of materials and services.

Among the important legislative measures needed to further liberalize FDIs in the country are the Public Service Act (PSA) amendment, the Foreign Investment Act amendment, the Lifting foreign equity restrictions, and the Retail Trade Act amendments.
The PSA amendment is important because it will liberalize transportation (land, sea, air) and allow more FDIs in rails, bus lines, shipping lines, and airlines. Also, liberalization in telecoms, although the entry of China Telecom in the third telco has become a source of suspicion and unease among legislators and the public.

Shipping lines and airlines liberalization, in particular, are very important because new foreign players with bigger capitalization and more modern technology will also help market the Philippines as a destination country for their tourists, traders, and investors. The ships bring goods in and out, both production inputs and finished products; the planes bring people and services in and out, both local and foreign.

More competition will also make local players more price-competitive, benefitting Philippine-based businesses and tourists. We should further liberalize the economy in commerce, investments, and tourism, not restrict it with nationalist, populist, even socialist sentiments.

See also:
BWorld 355, No climate crisis, August 03, 2019 

UPSEAA lecture 4, Johanna Chua

Last Thursday, another UP School of Economics Alumni Association (UPSEAA) boardroom lecture given by UPSE '94 Summa cum laude graduate Johanna Chua, now with Citibank.

She delivered a fast, articulate, pure verbal lecture, no ppt. Some data that I got from the web before I discuss her talk.

A recent chart from zero hedge,

Jo recognized the growing trade deficit of the US with China. She differentiated the cultural differences between the two countries, CN being hierarchical, US more flexible in commerce and politics. CN's Xi Jinping leadership is followed down the line, US' Donald Trump leadership is littered with opposition, erratic, "magulo."

I raised this point during the open forum, that CN being a one-party communist dictatorial government needs someone in the US who's "less traditional" and "magulo" to prick their complacency, to create disruption in how things are done in trade, investments and IPR protection.

She replied that the kind of communism in CN is not the traditional view that we know, there is leeway in private businesses to grow. She added that CN has created a community of allied countries and economies (BRI, etc.) even before the tensions with Trump leadership started.

I added that on the contrary, CN has pictured itself as a bully and isolationist, like its militarization of the SCS/WPS that alienated Vietnam, Indonesia, Philippines, aside from its territorial disputes with Japan, problems with "rebel" regions like Taiwan, Tibet, Uighur province, plus the ongoing political protests in HK.

Jo recognized these geopolitical problems of CN and diplomatic steps are undertaken.
There are other things she said that I don't really agree but overall, the lady is very articulate and intelligent to cover many topics with just a short piece of paper as her guide notes.

UPSEAA board members present that night headed by President Jeffrey Ng (to the left of Johanna).

Batches '93 and '94 guys.

Meanwhile, great food and drinks were served by Kuwago's.

Thanks again to Union Bank for allowing UPSEAA to use their cool digital banking place, The Ark.

Next event -- the annual UPSE alumni reunion on September 7, Saturday, 4pm down at UPSE Diliman. Host will be the silver alumni, batch '94.

See also:
UPSEAA lecture 1, Robina Gokongwei-Pe, July 20, 2019
UPSEAA lecture 2, DTI Sec. Mon Lopez, July 21, 2019 

UPSEAA lecture 3, Tito Ortiz, July 22, 2019.

Tuesday, August 06, 2019

IPR and Innovation 45, PH IPR courts, BOI-IPO, GII 2019

Some updates on IPR protection in the Philippines here. Private property is private property, physical or intellectual. They are not social or communal property.

(1) SC asked to designate special courts for IPR cases
August 5, 2019 | 10:41 pm

THE Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL) said it proposed to the Supreme Court the creation of more courts specializing in commercial matters to handle intellectual property rights (IPR) cases.

In a statement, IPOPHL said Director-General Josephine R. Santiago met with Chief Justice Lucas P. Bersamin on July 24, requesting the creation of more special commercial courts (SCCs) with the power to issue search warrants in connection with IPR cases.

“We believe the designation of additional SCCs to be located in the Visayas, Mindanao, and Northern Luzon will further bolster the Philippines’ standing in the areas of rule of law and administration of justice and will be beneficial, as this will serve a greater number of stakeholders,” Ms. Santiago was quoted as saying.

According to IPOPHL, SCCs are only located in Pasig, Makati, Manila, and Quezon cities.

“The request is made amid increased IPR cases over the years, relating particularly to trademark infringement,” IPOPHL said, adding that it will submit a report to the SC showing the effectivity of having courts focusing on IPR cases in other countries help in disposal and declogging of dockets.

It also requested the designation of Regional Trial Courts specializing in IPR cases as the SCCs for all commercial cases.

IPOPHL said Mr. Bersamin responded positively to the proposal, saying the designation of additional SCCs or special IPR courts is possible because Congress has agreed increase the number of trial courts. The chief justice also tasked Associate Justice Diosdado M. Peralta to review the guidelines.

Asked to comment, the SC’s Public Information Office head Brian Keith F. Hosaka said the court will consider the proposals of IPOPHL.

“The proposal of IPOPHL will indeed be seriously taken into consideration by the Supreme Court,” he said.

“However, there must be a formal resolution by the SC en banc before additional commercial courts are designated,” he added. — Vann Marlo M. Villegas

(2) Supreme Court and IPOPHL to work on speeding up disposal of IPR cases
Published on August 5, 2019

The Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL) has paid the Supreme Court (SC) justices a courtesy visit which yielded encouraging discussions on various approaches that can ease crowding dockets and bring faster resolution to pending intellectual property rights (IPR) related cases.

Last July 24, IPOPHL Director-General (DG) Josephine R. Santiago elevated to Chief Justice (CJ) Lucas P. Bersamin the office's request for more special commercial courts (SCCs) with the power to issue search warrants, in relation to IPR cases, that are enforceable nationwide.

(3) BoI, IPOPHL to push commercialization of IP rights
July 30, 2019 | 10:21 pm

THE BOARD of Investments (BoI) and the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL) have agreed to promote the commercial use of registered intellectual properties by linking these to investors.

The two agencies signed a memorandum of agreement (MoA) on July 23, 2019 for the project, which is also in line with the objective of the BoI to attract more innovation-driven investment.

BoI Managing Head Ceferino S. Rodolfo said his office has been setting record investment approvals over more than 50 years.

“While we continue to outperform ourselves in promoting investments, we still need to attract new investments that are considered ‘innovation drivers’ under the 2017-2019 Investments Priorities Plan (IPP),” he said.

Mr. Rodolfo, who is also Trade undersecretary, enumerated these drivers to include research and development (R&D) activities, conduct of clinical trials, the creation of so-called “Centers of Excellence,” innovation centers, business incubation hubs, fabrication laboratories, and co-working spaces, and the commercialization of new and emerging technologies and products of the Department of Science and Technology or government funded R&D.

Through the MoA, the agency will be part of IPOPHL’s Mind2Market Network, which will tap the existing programs of BoI, such as the One Window Network (OWN) and the Trade and Industry Development (TID) Talks, to create stronger linkages between creators/inventors and investors.

BoI said it had also agreed to create communication channels with IPOPHL “to ease technical consultations on matters related to innovation, including on new and emerging technologies that are registrable with the BoI.”

It said the move would also facilitate the resolution of issues that industry stakeholders might face in the registration, recognition and enforcement of intellectual property rights.

The agency quoted IPOPHL Director General Josephine R. Santiago as saying that the partnership “should excite all creators and innovators.”

“This period is the sunrise of our intellectual property, especially now that we have partnered with formidable agencies such as the BoI. I hope that with the national innovation law that was recently passed and the creation of the national innovation council, we hope to put and enhance value to the innovation agenda of the President,” she said.

BoI said the “patent landscape reports” being prepared by IPOPHL would help the investment promotion agency to identify gaps that require foreign investments to bring technologies into the country. — Victor V. Saulon

(4) Expanding innovation-fostering society drives PH's 19-notch leap in 2019 GII ranking
Published on July 27, 2019

The Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL) has expressed delight with the results of the latest Global Innovation Index (GII) report, viewing the Philippines' huge improvement in both ranking and score as the concretising of the country's efforts to put innovation at the center of its economic, socio-cultural, and scientific development….

The 2019 GII report showed that the country is now placed within the top 42% innovative economies, pulling it closer to the frontier as compared to the past four years when it has annually been within the 60% top countries. This, as the Philippines landed 54th from 73rd in the previous report, making the country the most improved among its peers in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

The Philippines also entered for the first time into the group of innovation achievers—economies that outperformed on innovation relative to GDP—for 2019 as it booked above-average scores in all innovation dimensions, with the exception of market sophistication, relative to its lower-middle-income peers….

July 2019

… A wide range of foreign industries are now looking towards Southeast Asia, not just to take advantage of an abundance of cheap labour for production of goods for export, but also to tap into new consumer markets formed from a growing middle class population. But the less developed nature of business-related legislation means the dangers of intellectual property (IP) infringement are often great.

IPR Enforcement in South East Asia

Particularly, the development of IP laws across South-East Asia has been uneven and IP laws in many South-East Asian countries are still being developed and revised to be in alignment with international standards.

This table below provides a summary of the status of accession of South-East Asian countries to key international IP Treaties and Agreements in relation to the ten countries of the ASEAN Economic Community.[2]

The three columns: (1) Accession to Bern Convention, (2) Accession to Paris Convention, (3) Accession to TRIPS:

Brunei                   YES         YES         YES
Cambodia            NO         YES         YES
Indonesia            YES         YES         YES
Laos                       YES         YES         YES
Malaysia              YES         YES         YES
Myanmar            NO         NO         YES
Philippines          YES         YES         YES
Singapore            YES         YES         YES
Thailand               YES         YES         YES
Vietnam               YES         YES         YES

Unlike the EU, which has a unified instrument directing IPR enforcement, South-East Asian countries do not yet share the same level of cooperation, resulting in comparatively fragmented IPR enforcement laws and regulations.  Implementation of IPR laws across South-East Asian countries vary from one another.another , This is mostly due to the diversity of culture, history and laws in the region.  The Association of South-East Asian Nations (“ASEAN”) however has established the ASEAN Working Group on Intellectual Property Cooperation (AWGIPC)[1]which aims to align and streamline IP rights and practices across the region, and more changes should be expected from this collaboration…

See also: 

Monday, August 05, 2019

Climate Tricks 83, On Greenland ice melt alarmism

My lawyer-friend JB Baylon posted in my fb wall the other day this note and news report,

“My friend Nonoy Oplas will say that this is a bunch of cow dung.”

Greenland's ice sheet just lost 11 billion tons of ice -- in one day
By Mark Tutton, CNN
Updated 1310 GMT (2110 HKT) August 2, 2019

I commented that the term "cow dung" is not mine, it's his. It is unfair for cows to be compared with the Clinton News Network (CNN). Cows are not involved in systematic, deliberate fake news production. CNN is. So my term is "CNN dung" or "CNN fake news."

For instance, these sentences from that report are fake news.

1. "the melt season typically begins around the end of May."
Fake. melt season usually starts mid-March.

2. "melt season typically lasting to the end of August"
Partly fake. melt season ends around mid-September. From there, ice will grow, 100%.

"ice growth season will soon start around second half of September, up to mid-March the next year."
True story. And we will not find that in this and other CNN alarmist stories.

The above chart shows that as of August 01, 2019, ice extent was about 6.5 million sq. kms. (msk). It can go down to as low as 4.3 msk (2012 record) by mid-September this year, then grow up to about 14.9 msk by mid-March (also 2012 record).

From Dr. Roy W. Spencer last August 03 fb post:

"Greenland Melting in the news. This is another example of a few activist scientists (and the usual warmmongers) finding a way to get the public stirred up and interested in the Climate Emergency. The few days of reported extra surface melt was just after a few days of extra gain (which wasn't reported on). But it doesn't matter, because the latest study of the Greenland ice sheet mass balance says even decadal time scale changes can see-saw back and forth and are not indicative of long term trends. They estimate 2/3 of the long-term ice loss on Greenland is from increasing discharge from glaciers at the ice sheet periphery. I would bet that increase is the delayed result of extra snow accumulation many years ago (it takes a long time for ice to flow hundreds of miles downhill). It's a complicated problem."

Forty-six years of Greenland Ice Sheet mass balance from 1972 to 2018
Jérémie Mouginot, Eric Rignot, Anders A. Bjørk, Michiel van den Broeke, Romain Millan, Mathieu Morlighem, Brice Noël, Bernd Scheuchl, and Michael Wood
PNAS May 7, 2019 116 (19) 9239-9244; first published April 22, 2019

From the paper’s Abstract:

"Even in years of high SMB, enhanced glacier discharge has remained sufficiently high above equilibrium to maintain an annual mass loss every year since 1998."

Also from Dr. Roy W. Spencer:

"found this plot of reconstructed Greenland temperatures up to 1990 on Wikipedia (History of Greenland). Looks like someone forgot to Hockey Stickify the data... it was no warmer in 1990 than 1,000 years ago."

And from Willis:

Greenland Endures
Willis Eschenbach / August 3, 2019

"So IF the Greenland ice sheet were to lose 103 billion tonnes per year into the indefinite future, it would take about twelve thousand five hundred years to lose half of it …

And even if the loss were to jump to ten times the long-term average, it would still take twelve hundred years to melt half the ice on the Greenland ice sheet. Even my great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great grandchildren won’t live long enough to see that."

Meanwhile, a geologist friend, John Encarnacion, shared this blog,

“… climate denialism is closed minded. It thinks it knows the truth and wants to interpret the evidence to suit that.”

That term “climate denialism” is stupid-idiotic. ALL skeptics that I know recognize climate change (CC). No one denies CC, we've had CC since the past 4.6 B years. What is being questioned is the adjective "anthropogenic" CC. The debate is whether current CC is "man-made"/anthropogenic or "nature-made"/natural, cyclical.

Fake news all around. Here’s a good advice from Dr. Spencer,

“Climate change — it happens, with or without our help.”

Another fake news from Clinton News Network last week,

Record heat waves might have made July the hottest month ever recorded
By Isabelle Gerretsen and Brandon Miller, CNN
Updated 2302 GMT (0702 HKT) August 1, 2019

Well, this is the real and true story, not fake news.

July 2019 Was Not the Warmest on Record
August 2nd, 2019 by Roy W. Spencer, Ph. D.

“July 2019 was probably the 4th warmest of the last 41 years. Global “reanalysis” datasets need to start being used for monitoring of global surface temperatures.”

Meanwhile, the country leader that many people so despise, US President Trump, has the brain and political will to pull the US out of Paris Agreement (2015) and hence, tell the UN, Al Gore, etc that CC is cyclical, warming-cooling, and there is no need to penalize American taxpayers to contribute to $100 B a year, even $500 B a year suggested by other scammers, of climate money.

In contrast, former President Obama gave away $1B to UN climate fund in his last 1-3 months in office, without Congress authorization. UN climacrats were so desperate for more, bigger climate junkets they needed more tax money, Obama gave them the money as if it comes from his own pocket.

The whole UN, Al Gore climate drama is 100% corruption. Less rain or more rain, less cold or more cold, less dogs or more dogs, taxpayers should send more money to them and they will "save the planet".

This is a systematic, large-scale, global project to fool the people around the world so that large scale transfer of money via carbon taxes, endless environmental regulations and prohibitions with big fines and penalties, can be instituted.

This is a 100% political science project that masquerade as climate science. The twisting of facts and science are so raw, so blatant that even an honest elementary biology teacher can protest -- declaring CO2 as pollutant gas. Can people really believe that? The gas that they themselves, their family and friends exhale, the gas that their pets and farm animals, wild animals exhale, is a pollutant? Wow.

See also:

BWorld 356, Infrastructure, mobility and liberty

* My article in BusinessWorld on August 01, 2019.

WASHINGTON, DC — Among the notable views and experiences for people coming from less developed countries like the Philippines who go to rich countries like the USA are their long, wide, extensive, good roads. Even their rural village or barangay level roads are smooth.

I saw these when I visited some suburbs of DC like Alexandria, Virginia, and the rural village of Forest, Virginia. Lots are big, houses are detached, flat or hilly terrain, the rural roads are smooth.

And except for few big cities, spaces are too wide — interstate roads, city roads, housing lots, school and university lots, malls and groceries with wide parking lots, etc. So many cars and trucks traveling at high speed so they can cover long distances in a short period of time.

The Philippines has generally low infrastructure level and quality compared with our neighbors. Take these numbers for instance from the World Economic Forum Global Competitiveness Report 2018 (See table).

Among the possible reforms for the Philippines are the following:
One, encourage more toll roads nationwide, via integrated Public Private Partnerships (PPP) and not hybrid PPP scheme. Toll roads prohibit tricycles, small motorcycles, tractors, and bicycles, and make travel by car, bus, and truck safer and faster.

Two, demonopolize routes. Allow jeepneys and aircon vans to go in areas that are currently tricycle route monopolies; allow buses and aircon vans to go in areas that are currently jeepney route monopolies. Passengers will choose what’s convenient for them and very likely, tricycles and jeepneys will die a natural death in many areas. So these slow and low-passenger vehicles will be out of the roads and mobility will be faster.

Three, business and civil society organizations must make a scorecard of road quality by province, by city and major municipalities. Bad roads, narrow roads due to many unauthorized parking by vehicles will be reported and might shame and wake up lazy governors and mayors.

Four, expand and modernize rail network in major islands like Luzon, Mindanao, and Panay, again via integrated PPP schemes as much as possible.

More mobility means more freedom, more liberty. A developed, modern road and rail system will greatly enhance the mobility of people, their products and services, which reduces the cost of goods and services. Which expands food and other necessities of the population.

See also:

On gun shooting and gun ownership

First off, condolence to the families of people shot and murdered in El Paso, Texas (20 dead) and Dayton, Ohio (9 dead) today. Tragic indeed.

On prohibiting gun ownership to civilians to "stop gun shooting", I support the position taken by a friend, Willis Eschenbach, posted in his fb wall today. Reposting below. The meme here, CTTO.

I've been thinking about the tragedy of the shooting in Texas, and the fact that as a result, people once again are screaming for more gun laws.

It's funny. I grew up on a cattle ranch. When I was a kid, every boy I knew got a rifle when they were 12. My older brother. Me. Kids on other cattle ranches.

And during deer hunting season, something like a quarter of the pickup trucks in our high school parking lot had a rifle in the gun rack. It was not uncommon to see a deer on the way to or from school, and kids wanted to be prepared.

And you know what?

Nobody ever shot anyone at our school.

We had lots of guns, including semi-automatic rifles, available any time during school hours for the entire deer season.

So please, don't try to tell me that the problem is the availability of guns. We had lots of semi-automatic rifles in our high school parking lot, what they now falsely call "assault weapons" although they are nothing of the sort.

We had ammunition, both in the guns and in the glove boxes of most of the trucks.

And nobody got shot.

The problem is not the availability of guns.

The problem is the people. And sadly, tragically, all the gun laws in the world won't cure that.

California has some of the strictest gun laws in the nation. Despite that, some lunatic shot up the Gilroy Garlic Festival last week. Here's how.

He used an illegal gun, with an illegal magazine. He illegally broke into the festival, illegally took his gun into a gun-free zone, and illegally murdered some folks ...

... does anyone truly think that more gun laws would have stopped him? Every single thing he did was illegal—you can tell how much laws of any kind meant to him. Zero. Zip. Nada.

Assuredly this is not an easy problem to solve, but focusing on the guns and the gun laws is a guaranteed way to NOT solve it ... as we used to say in the sixties, "When guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns".

Best regards to you all, hug those you love, life is most uncertain and tomorrow is not guaranteed.

On October 25, 2015, I posted this, On Liberalizing Gun Ownership.
I argued there,

I believe that gun ownership should be liberalized with only one condition -- people should belong to a gun club, a private, civil society organization, that in turn is registered with the government.

The club will provide training and teach responsibility to members.. The club and its officers will assume some accountability if one or some of their members will abuse their gun ownership. Self-policing of members is a must. So when a club member harms or murders another person somewhere, the guys who will primarily haunt him will be his clubmates, not the police. The clubmates know where he lives, works, hangs out often, his other close friends, and so on….