Wednesday, October 28, 2020

BWorld 458, Property rights and lockdown lefts

 * My column in BusinessWorld, October 22, 2020.

An important indicator of an economy’s development and maturity is the degree of its protection of private property rights, both physical and intellectual property. And one measurement of such protection is the International Property Rights Index (IPRI) produced yearly by the Property Rights Alliance (PRA, Washington DC).

On Oct. 16 last year, the IPRI 2019 Report was launched globally in Manila at the Fairmont Hotel, Makati. PRA Executive Director Lorenzo Montanari and IPRI 2019 author Dr. Sary Levy-Carciente, an academic economist from the Universidad Central de Venezuela and Fulbright Visiting Scholar at Boston University, Center of Polymer Studies, came to Manila. The local hosts and co-sponsors of PRA in launching the report were the Foundation for Economic Freedom (FEF) and Minimal Government Thinkers. The Keynote Address was given by Department of Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon Lopez, the Opening and Closing Remarks were given by FEF President Calixto Chikiamco and FEF Chairman and former Finance Secretary Roberto de Ocampo, respectively. I presented one study attached to IPRI 2019, “Banning Brand – Economic and Consumer Impact of Plain Packaging.”

After the global launch in Manila, IPRI 2019 was also launched in three ASEAN cities a few days later and Lorenzo had me tag along to present my paper. The first event was in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on Oct. 19 at Intercontinental KL and it was co-sponsored by the Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (IDEAS) then headed by its CEO, Ali Salman. Next it was launched in Singapore on Oct. 22 at the Singapore Management University (SMU) and co-sponsored by the Adam Smith Center (ASC) headed by Bryan Cheang. Then it was launched in Jakarta, Indonesia on Oct. 24, at Paramadina University; the event was co-sponsored by the Center for Indonesian Policy Studies (CIPS) and Paramadina Public Policy Institute. CIPS Executive Director Rainer Heufers gave the opening message.

Because of the pandemic and global lockdowns, there is no IPRI 2020. I review again the results of IPRI 2019 covering 129 countries and economies, and IPRI 2018 Reports covering 125 countries.

I also show here the results of Google’s Community Mobility Reports (GCMR) as measurement of changes in people mobility in certain places compared to baseline days, the median value from the fiveweek period from Jan. 3 to Feb. 6, 2020. The GCMR shows six areas but for brevity purpose, I show only two, Retail and Recreation (restaurants, cafes, malls, museums, etc.) and Transit Stations (train stations, taxi stands, seaports, etc.).


The table shows two important points about the Philippines. One, it has poor performance in IPRI, poor property rights protection, it ranked only 70th/125 in 2018 and 67th/129 in 2019.

And two in GCMR, the country indeed seems to have the longest and strictest lockdown policies in the whole world. Compare the Philippines with no or light lockdown Taiwan, South Korea, and Sweden, even fellow hard lockdown Malaysia and India. Ours is the highest in negative percent changes even until this month. Meaning people’s mobility and economic freedom to work and do business are still highly restricted by the Philippine government.

Now the Metro Manila Mayors have proposed the extension of GCQ until end December while the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) has ruled no Christmas parties to be allowed in December. These are very insensitive policies by both national and local governments. The officials and personnel in charge of these policies and implementation should experience what millions of Filipinos experience — no salaries, no income while the lockdowns are implemented.

There are two important initiatives that do not share the lockdown leftism and alarmism. One, the Great Barrington Declaration (https://gbdeclaration.org/) initiated by three globally prominent academic epidemiologists Dr. Martin Kulldorff (Harvard), Dr. Sunetra Gupta (Oxford), and Dr. Jay Bhattacharya (Stanford) which said that “Current lockdown policies are producing devastating effects on short and long-term public health. The results (to name a few) include lower childhood vaccination rates, worsening cardiovascular disease outcomes, fewer cancer screenings and deteriorating mental health — leading to greater excess mortality in years to come…”

And two, the Concerned Doctors and Citizens of the Philippines (CDC PH, https://www.flattenthefear.ph/) which declared that “the Philippines adopt a national protocol for the prophylaxis and early treatment of COVID-19 that aims to reduce hospitalization and prevent loss of lives… lift all lockdowns to allow our people to begin to rebuild their lives.”

Restricting if not prohibiting the people’s right to work and earn money so they can feed their families, boost their immune system against old and new diseases, is a criminal “cure” that is worse than the disease it purports to solve.

The government should lift the lockdown. By end-October.
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See also:
BWorld 455, No climate emergency, October 05, 2020 
BWorld 456, Flattening the rule of law, October 26, 2020 
BWorld 457, No to free electricity from Meralco, genco, October 27, 2020.

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Covid 19, HCQ, RDV and other politicized treatments

There is continued demonization of a proven effective prophylaxis Hydroxycholoquiene (HCQ), been around for about 65 years in the world to prevent malaria and other infectious diseases, as Covid prophylaxis and early treatment for non-serious infection of the virus to avoid hospitalization. The demonization started when US President Trump announced it as a cheap and readily-available treatment vs Covid, and all the anti-Trump media and politicians demonized HCQ to further prove Trump as a "liar."

The most-proposed treatment by the Philippines' Dept of Health (DOH) and even by the WHO is Remdesivir (RDV), still a clinial trial drug made by Gilead.

Today I discovered this cool article in WUWT, I repost portions of its findings:
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“Remdesivir for COVID-19” Study accidentally proved effectiveness of Hydroxychloroquine 
Guest post by Leo Goldstein   October 26, 2020
https://wattsupwiththat.com/2020/10/26/remdesivir-for-covid-19-study-accidentally-proved-effectiveness-of-hydroxychloroquine/

  • The use of Remdesivir (RDV) for COVID-19 was authorized by the FDA based on a single RCT, conducted by NIAID with the participation of Gilead Sciences, the exclusive manufacturer of Remdesivir. A final report from this study was published on October 8, five months after the drug’s authorization.
  • The final report shows that at least 35% of the patients were treated with Hydroxychloroquine, probably with Azithromycin. The data in the final report suggests that Hydroxychloroquine, not Remdesivir, was the main factor benefitting the patients in this study.
  • Nothing in the study supports the hypothesis that Remdesivir is an effective antiviral for SARS-COV-2.
  • The study’s own numbers show an association between RDV and increased mortality in the most severe patients. It is also possible to conclude that RDV is net harmful for most hospitalized patients.
  • The trial was conducted and reported with multiple defects, including:
    • The study was not double blind, but was reported as such
    • The pre-registered protocol was changed multiple times over the course of the trial
    • The primary outcome was changed in the middle of the trial, apparently because the researchers noticed a lack of effectiveness of their drug as tried
    • The outcome measures were subjective and not reliable
    • The study was marred with conflicts of interest, aggravated by the design giving NIAID and Gilead leverage over the hospitals and physicians treating patients
  • At least three of the study researchers-authors failed to report grants and/or personal fees received from Gilead recently.

No Benefits of RDV were Shown

The average mortality in the RDV arm appeared much lower than in the placebo group only on the first measurement date – 15 days after the start of treatment. The mortality rates reversed after that. By the end of the study (day 29), the total reported mortality was 11% in the RDV group vs 15% in the placebo arm (per table S12)….

RDV Increased Deaths among the Sickest Patients

Even the manipulated data cannot conceal the harm that RDV has inflicted on the sickest patients. Unfortunately, Remdesivir was authorized and recommended for treatment of the sickest patients before the completion of the trial….

Only 46% (486 out of 1062, both arms) of the patients recovered by Day 29 without the use of Hydroxychloroquine. This percentage is much more significant than any Remdesivir percentages.

This table shows median “time to recovery” (MTTR) organized by how soon RDV or placebo was administered after symptom onset. The First Quartile (“Q-I”) of patients were randomized and treated 6 days or less after the onset of symptoms, the Fourth Quartile (“Q-IV”) were randomized and treated 13 days or later. Only patients, who recovered by Day 29 are included. The rest (~30%) are those who died, quit, or not recovered by Day 29.

The Q-III (10 to ≤ 12 Days) had the shortest recovery time – 7 days. If RDV were an effective antiviral for SARS-COV-2, the Q-I would have the quickest recovery because they got it early. The recovery would be significantly longer in the Q-III, when the viral stage is over in most patients. However, the Q-III has the shortest MTTR for RDV. This contradiction alone refutes the hypothesis that RDV is an effective antiviral…
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Then I saw a post by Dr. Edsel Maurice Salvana, a known physician who advocates indefinite lockdown in the country, posted in his FB wall dated October 26 at 8:13 AM:

"Just like antibiotic-resistant bacteria, there are more and more people who are resistant to facts. Antibiotic susceptibilty is grouped into sensitive, intermediate and resistant. Fact resistance can be grouped into logical, intermediate, and fringe….

This phenomenon of an expert in one field crossing over to a field of non-expertise is called epistemic trespassing. Because some of these experts are respected for their work, their word carries weight even in areas that they may not have enough knowledge in. A recent example is hydroxychloroquine for COVID-19. Several well-known doctors and personalities endorsed this and clearly misread the science. This sowed confusion and until now is causing harm to patients and the scientific community…"

I have heard that Dr. Salvana hardly tolerates contrary views, deletes such views and comments when posted in his fb wall. Since he is among the most prominent pro-lockdown, pro-RDV, anti-HCQ doctors in the country, I wanted to test if what I heard is true. So I commented this afternoon in his wall: 

"Hi Dr. Salvana, this is an interesting paper. The author produced a very quantitative paper and declared no COI, no funding, he just wrote this on his own, thank you."
https://wattsupwiththat.com/2020/10/26/remdesivir-for-covid-19-study-accidentally-proved-effectiveness-of-hydroxychloroquine/

After a few minutes I got notification in fb, "Edsel Salvana replied to your comment." When I checked it, my comment is gone and so his reply is also gone. I commented again, "I cannot see my comment earlier? Did you delete it? Thank you." 


I checked few hours later if my second comment is still there or if he deleted it too, nada. I cannot see his profile anymore, he blocked me. Wow. 

I understand that people can decide what goes in their own wall, which comments be allowed and which ones disallowed. I just wanted to check if the claim/allegation that he is intolerant to contrary articles and views is true or not. So now I confirm that it is true. What could be the reason/s? 

Meanwhile, this indefinite lockdown dictatorship should end. More than seven months now since March 15 this year.
-------------- 

See also: 
Covid 16, Philippines having the strictest lockdown policies in the world, July 28, 2020 
Covid 17, Hard lockdown Europe vs no lockdown Sweden, any difference in death trend? August 04, 2020 
Covid 18, Lockdowns don't work, articles from scientists and medical professionals, August 10, 2020.

BWorld 457, No to free electricity from Meralco, genco

 * My article in BusinessWorld, October 15, 2020.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has released the October 2020 update of its World Economic Outlook (WEO) with more macro data like GDP (gross domestic product) size and growth in 2019 onwards which were not available in the April 2020 WEO.

Listed below the top five biggest economies in the world, then the major economies of East Asia. The IMF projects a -8.3% GDP contraction of the Philippines this year, second deepest in Asia after India.

I added electricity generation, data from the BP Statistical Review of World Energy (SRWE) 2020. For the Philippines and many developing or emerging economies, there is indeed a close relationship between GDP growth and power demand. For the Philippines, GDP growth average from 2014 to 2019 ranged from 6% to 6.6% while electricity generation over the same period ranged from 5.8% to 6.1% (see table 1).

As this column has consistently argued, the country’s deep contraction is not caused by the pandemic per se but by public hysteria and government lockdowns. The Concerned Doctors and Citizens of the Philippines (CDC PH) continues its campaign to “Flatten the Fear” not the economy by calling for lifting the lockdown — only the elderly and those with underlying conditions and sickness would be asked to isolate and quarantine.

Last week, a group of NGOs called for “a moratorium on bills incurred during the ECQ period, and online petition called #TigilBayad” and particularly targeted Meralco in their press release which they also presented to Congress and the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC).

Tigil Bayad or Stop Payment, or simply free electricity? This is socialistic thinking based on emotion and not reason. When people go to a public market, they have to pay for even half a kilo of tomatoes or potatoes; nothing is free because farmers, traders, and city vendors have to earn and feed their families too.

And the ERC was pressured in a Congress hearing, a report in BusinessWorld said (“Regulator may extend freeze order vs. power cuts to end of the year,” Oct. 14).

In a monthly media briefing for October by the Independent Electricity Market Operator of the Philippines (IEMOP), officials reiterated that with significant decline in power demand, electricity prices remain low, nearly half of their levels in 2019 both in the customer effective spot settlement price (ESSP) and load-weighted average price (LWAP, see table 2).


 So if electricity spot prices remain low, and the generation charge becomes cheaper, why should the ERC impose an extended no disconnection order for people who do not pay?

ERC Chair Agnes VST Devanadera mentioned Republic Act No. 11494, or the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act, or simply Bayanihan II. I checked the law, Section 4. “COVID-19 Response and Recovery Interventions,” sub-section (vv) has a horrible last sentence,

“… the minimum 30-day-grace period and staggered payment … shall apply to all payments due within the period of the CQ in the entire electric power value chain to include generation companies, the transmission utility, and distribution utilities.”

There are three important things to respond to this provision.

One, it should apply only under ECQ or MECQ periods, so that under a more relaxed GCQ, people should pay, or be disconnected if they do not pay.

Two, if the gencos (power plants), transmission (NGCP) and distribution (DUs, ECs, RES) are not to be paid, then other sectors and charges should also not be paid — universal charge by NPC and PSALM, feed in tariff (FIT) by Transco, local taxes by LGUs, VAT and excise tax by BIR.

Three, prolonged payment waiver creates a “moral hazard” problem. If people cannot be disconnected if they do not pay,  why should they? And time comes that their accumulated bill has become bigger because they did not pay for four or eight months, they can lobby for a mandatory big discount, and all the populist NGOs and legislators driven by the politics of envy will be on their side.

I hope that the ERC and DoE will consider these points. The freeze order on power disconnection until end-December is wrong.
--------------

See also:
BWorld 454, Flatten the fear and hysteria, not the economy, September 28, 2020 
BWorld 455, No climate emergency, October 05, 2020 
BWorld 456, Flattening the rule of law, October 26, 2020.

Monday, October 26, 2020

Pol. Ideology 78, Milton Friedman and China

A good article here, I repost portions of it in italics below. Then my short commentary. This photo of Friedman I got from the web.
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The Visionary Milton Friedman and China
October 25, 2020
by Rainer Zitelmann
https://nationalinterest.org/feature/visionary-milton-friedman-and-china-171156

 In 1980, the situation was still very unclear. Friedman was surprised when he discovered during his stay in China that the works of Friedrich August von Hayek had been translated into Chinese and were quite popular. There were articles about Hayek in Chinese economics journals and Friedman was pleased to discover that some Chinese economists already owned the recently published Japanese edition of his book Free to Choose. He was also delighted by the fact that a Chinese translation of his book was also being prepared….

Friedman visited China for a second time in 1988 at the same time as the libertarian Cato Institute organized a conference in Shanghai—a remarkable event in and of itself. Friedman gave a speech at the conference and did not hide the fact that the transition from a planned economy to a market economy would also involve considerable costs. But, he added: “It is a tribute to the current leaders of China that they are engaged in a serious effort to make the transition…”

Friedman’s optimistic stance was encouraged by a conversation he had with the then-general secretary of the Communist Party, Zhao Ziyang, whom he described as having a “real understanding of what it means to free the market.” In his autobiography, Friedman writes that his two-hour conversation with Zhao Ziyang made a very positive impression: “He displayed a sophisticated understanding of the economic situation and of how a market operated….

During our conversation, Zhang Weiying repeatedly stressed that “China’s economic rise is not because of the state, but in spite of the state.” Friedman would certainly have agreed. The brilliant economist was one of the first to accurately predict China’s future….

…In keeping with Friedman’s teachings, the Chinese economic miracle confirms that greater prosperity for the people can only be achieved by expanding private property rights and promoting the free market.
-----------------

Good article. Among the statements that Milton (RIP) made was his restatement of Adam Smith's "invisible hand" (people pursue their individual interests and led by an invisible hand to provide public interest which is not part of their original intention). Milton restated it as:

"People who intend only to serve public interest are led by an invisible hand to private interest which was no part of their original intention."

In this article, the author, Mr. Zitelmann, did not mention the local NGO or institute that facilitated the Cato conference in 1988. Very likely it's the Unirule Institute of Economics in Beijing, headed by Dr. Mao Yushi, a highly respected economist who's free market leaning. I have met Prof. Mao during the Economic Freedom Network (EFN) Asia Conf in Oct. 2004 in HK, mainly sponsored by the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom (FNF). The conf was supposed to be held in Shanghai but the China commie leaders became suspicious and did not grant a permit to Unirule to host an intl free market conf, so a sudden change in venue about 2-3 months before the event. 

In that conf I have also met Jimmy Lai, the most prominent free marketer businessman in HK, that CN commie govt has sent to jail a few times recently via the HK govt. He's rich he could post bail for his release.
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See also: 
Pol. Ideology 75, Green New Deal and ecological socialism, February 10, 2019 
Pol. Ideology 76, A Nation Of Free Men Or Free Things, July 06, 2019 
Pol Ideology 77, On monopolies, M&A's and virtual government, Nov. 27, 2019.

BWorld 456, Flattening the rule of law

 * My column in BusinessWorld, October 8, 2020.

I just checked the World Justice Project (WJP) Rule of Law Index (RoLI) 2020 Report. I like this annual report because of the subject it covers. I subscribe to Friedrich Hayek and other classical liberals’ definition — rule of law means the law applies equally to unequal people, the law applies to governors and the governed, administrators and the administered. No one is exempted and no one can grant an exemption. Granting exemptions leads to the rule of men.

The WJP did not make this kind of definition. Instead, it developed eight factors and 44 sub-factors particularly related to governance and the justice system. Then it scores and ranks countries based on their performance. The 2020 Report involved more than 130,000 household surveys and 4,000 legal practitioner and expert surveys worldwide from 128 countries and jurisdictions.

I am surprised at the deterioration in Philippines ranking from 51st out of 102 countries in the RoLI 2015 Report, to 91st out of 128 in the RoLI 2020 Report. Our rank is lower than socialist countries China and Vietnam, and military-ruled Thailand. The main factors that pulled the country down were in No. 4 Fundamental Rights and No. 8 Criminal Justice (see Table 1).

Applying this to the current pandemic, the main problems are: One, lockdown policies have been very strict (like no regular public transportation until now, all schools and churches are still closed) and long — it has been seven months now since the March 16 declaration of ECQ (the strictest quarantine level). Two, lots of exemptions have been made by government, like police officials who have held parties, which are banned, without consequences; quarantines that do not apply to many government officials and personnel as they can travel to many provinces anytime while ordinary civilians must present travel passes that require many permits before a pass is granted.

So in a sense, the Philippine government has succeeded in flattening the rule of law, not the level of virus infections. The government has also flattened the economy, not the deaths from the virus.

The Concerned Doctors and Citizens of the Philippines (CDC PH) has consistently been advocating to “Flatten the Fear” and not the economy. Lift or relax the lockdown, protect the oldies and those with underlying conditions, focus on prevention and those with symptoms, give early treatment and stay home and avoid hospitalization whenever possible. Practical, non-expensive advice from doctors and medical professionals who do not agree with the overall narrative of indefinite, no timetable lockdown “while cases remain high.”

I also saw the update on death numbers from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) released on Oct. 2 and, surprisingly, there are fewer deaths this year than in the last two years. Deaths from road accidents and crimes must have significantly gone down due to the lockdown and evening curfew, and the closed bars (see Table 2).

 

This is not to argue that the lockdowns are justified because the economic damage, the job losses, have been wide and extensive and the health and mortality impact will be felt in the coming months and years.

When people are more hungry, more economically and psychologically depressed, they become more susceptible not only to the virus but also to other diseases.

Enough of indefinite lockdown, enough of double standards in implementing strict lockdown policies.

The government must open up the economy by November, whether cases remain high or not.
-------------

See also:
BWorld 453, Coal, growth and carbon tax, September 25, 2020 
BWorld 454, Flatten the fear and hysteria, not the economy, September 28, 2020 
BWorld 455, No climate emergency, October 05, 2020.

Saturday, October 17, 2020

UPSEAA Lecture 7, Dr. Butch Arroyo

Two weeks ago, my intelligent and kind friend, batchmate from UPSE in 1984, Dr. Cristino "Butch" Arroyo gave a lecture at the UPSEAA. Butch is among the big minds of batch 1984, he graduated Magna Cum Laude along with Dr Aleli dela Paz (Prof, UPSE) and Noet Ravalo, when Popo Suanes was Summa Cum Laude, the first Summa of UPSE.

It was my first encounter with the term “Great Cessation”, so what is it?

According to Butch it's a contrast with Great Depression (1930s), Great Recession (2008-09), Great Cessation now, a term used by John Cammack (March 2020), former executive at T. Rowe Price Group.  And “Great Cessation” is shutting down of non-essential shops, restaurants, bars, theaters, having masks, from Todd Buchholz (May 2020).

Butch is an Econometrics, Finance, and Monetary Economics guy, not my field so his lecture was very technical for me. I got lost in a number of his terms and concepts but I also learned new things from his talk.

These two charts among the many he showed. From 1980 this is the 4th recession (at least two quarters consecutive GDP contraction) and this is the deepest. See the big jump in unemployment rate (red line) and big dip in GDP quarter on quarter. 


And this table from the IMF Consultation Report August 2020. Look at the fiscal or budget balance, from -4.6% of GDP in 2019 to -18% this year, huuuge borrowings.
Butch concluded his lecture not with recommendations but with navigating two unknowns: (1) the "Known Unknowns" like When will the vaccine come, Where is the new stimulus, and Whither the unemployment rate. And (2) the "Unknown Unknowns" like the highly contested US Presidential elections, and geo-political economy of a fractured "geo".

Kudos, Butch. You gave me a little headache that afternoon with your technical lecture, hehe.

Butch is very nice to me. I went to Washington DC 3x to attend conferences (2004, 2009, 2019) and 3x I asked him if he could host me for few days in his house after my conf, and 3x he said Yes. Below, July 2019 after I attended the Heartland Institute's 13th Int'l. Conf. on Climate Change (ICCC-13). I stayed in his house in Alexandria, Virginia for two nights. Here at the Old Town Alexandria.


Aerospace Museum, Smithsonian.


That afternoon he brought me to the Amtrak Union station as I would travel to visit another friend in Forest, Virginia. Thanks again, Butch.
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Monday, October 05, 2020

BWorld 455, No climate emergency

 * My article in BusinessWorld, October 01, 2020.

Among the big headlines this week is the report that President Rodrigo Duterte is considering the environmentalists’ lobby to declare a “climate emergency.” Greenpeace in particular lobbies to phase out or kill coal and other fossil fuel power, mining. They want to plunge the country in blackout-friendly intermittent, variable renewable energies (VREs) like wind, solar and biomass.

The endless lobby to demonize fossil fuels, mining, conventional vehicles running on oil, related measures are based on a very opportunistic, corrupt, even brain-dead “analysis” that these commodities cause less rain and more rain, less flood and more flood, less storms and more storms, less cold and more cold. Whatever weather and climate, people should be scared and worried so that the VRE lobby should continue to get rich, so that governments can continue to slap carbon tax, oil tax, carbon cap and trade, create and expand climate bureaucracies.

Climate change is true, global warming and global cooling are true. They have happened since planet Earth was born some 4.6 billion years ago, warming-cooling in natural, endless cycle. Take the current La Niña – the sea surface temperature (SST) anomaly or deviation from the mean temperature is -0.5 C or lower in the Pacific Ocean Niño region 3.4. This region is the widest and center-most part of the Pacific Ocean. Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) weekly monitoring reported on Sept. 6 that Niño region 3.4 has dipped to -0.52 C or La Niña territory already. The latest update on Sept. 27 showed -0.80 C.

I checked El Niño-La Niña cycle, 70 years data from 1950 to early 2020, data from the US National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) under the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Then I added the chart of NOAA forecast, the 40+ models predict a big and deep La Niña from September 2020 to April 2021, the SST anomaly will see a deep -1.5 C in Nov. 2020 to January 2021 (see Figure 1).

This means that in the coming weeks and months we expect more rains and floods, more landslides, more flood/water-related killer diseases like leptospirosis and dengue. And the climate lobby will say that these are proof of “man-made warming/CC,” never proof of transition to natural global cooling.

So if the planet undergoes warming-cooling in natural cycles, like day-night cycle, winter-spring-

summer-fall cycle, El Niño-La Niña cycle, water evaporation-condensation cycle, carbon cycle in plants-animals/humans, where is the “climate emergency”?

The Philippine government has been spending hundreds of billions of pesos yearly on climate adaptation and climate mitigation programs. From 2018 to 2021 budget, the government would have spent some P878 billion or an average of P219 billion/year. This is equivalent to 7.8% of the total budget excluding appropriation for interest payment and allocation to local government units (ALGUs). While the Department of Public World and Highways, Department of Agriculture and Department of a and Natural Resources are the lead departments, other agencies also have substantial climate projects and budgets, like the National Dairy Authority, Philippine Crop Insurance Corp., Philippine Fisheries Development Authority, Philippine Rice Research Institute, and National Irrigation Administration (see Figure 2).

Note also that the budgets by LGUs, from provincial to barangay, for various climate offices, programs and meetings are not included there. Plus the various huge climate loans from the Asian Development Bank, World Bank, Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, other multilaterals.

The President should not heed the opportunistic and corrupt lobby to declare a “climate emergency” because there is none. The President should not impose new carbon tax, higher oil tax, coal tax and vehicle tax, create a carbon cap and trade, kill mining, and so on.

To hasten economic recovery from this pandemic and indefinite lockdowns, we should have cheaper energy and more jobs creation including jobs from the mining sector.
---------------

See also:
BWorld 452, Declining jobs, rising debts, September 19, 2020 
BWorld 453, Coal, growth and carbon tax, September 25, 2020 
BWorld 454, Flatten the fear and hysteria, not the economy, September 28, 2020.

ATR's International Coalition Meetings

The Americans for Tax Reforms (ATR, Washington DC) holds a monthly International Coalition Meeting (ICM) for decades now. ATR was formed in 1985 and headed by the ever-energetic Grover Norquist. The monthly ICM is hosted by my good friend Lorenzo Montanari of ATR (also the Exec. Director of the Property Rights Alliance PRA) and Mr. Alex Chafuen, President of Acton Institute and former President of the Atlas Network.

I have met Alex in 2004 when I Atlas gave me an International Fellowship and travel to the US for a  training and meet free market think tanks in the US and other countries. I also met Grover, Chris Butler of ATR that year.

Last Thursday Oct. 1, I attended the meeting for October. There were a number of high profile speakers like the brave lady leader of the opposition in Venezuela, and a conservative MP of Spain. An official of USAID who is free market leaning also spoke.

Lorenzo was kind enough to include me in the list of speakers that day. I spoke last and I prepared a 3-slides ppt because I would speak only for 2-3 minutes due to time constraints. I spoke about the campaign of the Concerned Doctors and Citizens of the Philippines (CDC PH) to life the strict, long, indefinite lockdown in the country coupled with basic medical protocols.


CDC PH has generated plenty of media engagements because it was speaking a different tune, a contrarian voice to the dominant DOH-WHO-IATF-etc narrative that the strict, indefinite lockdown should continue.


I showed my column the other week, also one of my two radio/fb livestream interviews. Also the DILG/Police backlash against CDC PH.


I hope that other center-right groups and think tanks in the world who watched what I shared would be inspired of the pushback that CDC PH has initiated. Lots of respected and vocal, brave doctors in the group who are not afraid to speak against the official narrative re indefinite lockdown. 

ICM is an off the record, no recording meeting so I show here only what I presented. 
Thanks again, Lorenzo.

* See also: Interview at PSVR, hosted by Cathy Cruz (Sept. 28, 2020)