Wednesday, June 30, 2021

BWorld 494, The economic and energy legacy of PNoy Aquino

* My article in BusinessWorld last June 29.

A beautiful piece here in BusinessWorld about former President Benigno “Noynoy” C. Aquino III (commonly known as PNoy) was written yesterday by my former teacher at UP School of Economics, Dr. Raul Fabella, “PNoy and inclusion.” Sir Raul observed that from 2010 to 2016, “poverty incidence had declined from 26.3% to 21.6%, an almost 5% difference in six years, a remarkable achievement in our neck of the woods and even elsewhere.”

I follow this up with additional data. In the table accompanying this piece, my sources are the following:

1. GDP growth, inflation rate, general government gross debt (GGGD) as percentage of GDP — IMF, World Economic Outlook database April 2021.

2. Installed capacity 2.5 to three years gap (IC3YG) in gigawatts (GW), and electricity generation 2.5 to three years gap (EG3YG) in terawatt-hours (TWH) — BP Statistical Review of World Energy 2020.

3. Installed capacity in GW of Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand — CIA, World FactBook.

I got the annual data from 1980 to 2020 and computed the averages by using these two assumptions:

For No. 1 above, GDP performance, inflation, and gross debt of the last year of a departing administration are credited to it, even if the new administration is inaugurated June 30, because the budget, taxes, deficit, borrowings for the full year were made by the departing administration.

For No. 2, it takes three to five years for big power plants to be constructed. So, a coal or gas plant commissioned and began operation, say, in 2012 (PNoy) was actually approved around 2009 or earlier by the previous Arroyo administration. Some small plants like solar or biomass take only about two years construction. So, a lag of 2.5 to three years is assumed as credit to the previous administration.

For comparison and additional context, I added the Philippines’ three neighbors with big populations — Indonesia, Vietnam, and Thailand.


The numbers in Table 1 show the following:

1. GDP change. The PNoy administration with 6.2% GDP growth was the best performer of the seven administrations. Another remarkable fact is that while Indonesia, Vietnam, and Thailand showed a decline in average growth in the period 2011-2016 vs. 2005-2010, the Philippines under PNoy showed increase in growth over the same period. Fantastic performance.

2. Inflation rate. The PNoy administration with 2.7% again was the best performer in price stability among the seven administrations. Almost half compared with the previous period, 2005-2010, and similar to the performance of Thailand.

3. Government gross debt as percent of GDP. PNoy’s was the second-best performer among the five administrations, next to Duterte’s. But here is the catch: it was 47.6% in 2010 and significantly reduced to only 37.3% in 2016, a 10.3 percentage points reduction in just six years. When the Duterte government came in, it stopped the decline and went on high borrowings, the ratio was flat at 37% from 2017-2019, and back to 47% in 2020.

4. Power installed capacity. PNoy expanded it by 8.2 GW in just six years, the biggest rise compared with five previous administrations. In a sense, PNoy corrected the mistake of his mother, President Cory, who killed the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (620 MW) with no alternative, resulting in large-scale blackouts nationwide in 1991-92.

5. Actual power generation. PNoy expanded power generation by 30 TWH in just six years, the biggest increase compared with the previous five administrations. This further proves that energy is development, more electricity is more growth, more poverty reduction.

Notice though that while the Philippines expanded electricity generation by 30 TWH from 2013 to 2019, Vietnam expanded theirs by 103 TWH, and Indonesia expanded by 63 TWH.

Last week, the Independent Electricity Market Operator of the Philippines (IEMOP) held a media briefing. Among the important data presented was that from May 30 to June 5 (including the blackouts of June 1, and yellow-red alerts days before and after that), the secondary price cap or ERC-imposed price control of P6.24/kwh was imposed 60 times.

Again, the main problem was lack of power supply — many old and ageing power plants, not enough new big reliable plants — the supply margin was only 1,658 MW vs. 3,114 MW from June 6-14. The usual government/ERC solution is price control, which actually discourages and kills investments in peaking plants.

The power generation mix from March to May 2021 was also discussed by IEMOP. I expand Table 2 by going way back to 2019 and it shows that the main workhorse, the backbone of Philippines power generation, is coal, the same power source that is heavily politicized and demonized by many political actors and activists. These groups’ beloved source, wind-solar, contribute an insignificant share of only 2.6% of total generation in 2019 and 2.8% in April-May 2021 (see Table 2).

The best recent energy policies were made by PNoy. They were technology-neutral and power-agnostic policies. Just approve and commission more power plants, have more electricity generation.

The worst recent energy policies were made by the Arroyo and Duterte administrations: Arroyo with the Renewable Energy (RE) Act of 2008 (RA 9513) that institutionalized all types of RE favoritism and cronyism (especially wind-solar) and contributed to expensive electricity; and Duterte’s higher energy taxes under the TRAIN law of 2017 (RA 10863), with an excise tax of an additional P6/liter in diesel and gasoline, a coal tax increase from P10/ton to P150/ton. Then there was the Energy Department’s no more greenfield, new coal plants order issued in October 2020 as the RE lobby, especially wind-solar, continue its blackout-friendly path.

Thank you, PNoy, for your great economic and energy legacy. You clearly showed that less interventionist, less prohibitionist policies are pro-growth, pro-poor. Safe journey.
---------------

See also:
BWorld 491, Vaccination rates and KKK on June 12, June 16, 2021 
BWorld 492, Ten indicators of blackout economics, June 18, 2021 
BWorld 493, 10 trends in lockdowns, COVID deaths, and vaccinations, June 26, 2021.

Macroecon 9, Why we should return to the office

Late post, this is my presentation during the "BusinessWorld Insights" virtual conference last May 26, 2021. The other speakers were Ms. Tracy Ignacio of KMC, Ms. Aileen Aumentado of Mondelez Philippines, and Atty. Alex Cabrera of PWC Philippines. Moderator was Ms. Patricia Mirasol of BusinessWorld.





See the 1+ hour forum here including QnA, 
https://www.facebook.com/watch/live/?v=315960880149529&ref=watch_permalink
--------------

See also:
Macroecon 6, GDP in Q1 2021 of 54 economies, June 01, 2021 
Macroecon 7, On US inflation rate 5%, Central Banks and climate, PH losing 3 years due to strict lockdowns, June 16, 2021 
Macroecon 8, Rising inflation rates, prices of industrial and agri commodities, June 18, 2021.

Sunday, June 27, 2021

Covid 44, Rising vax, rising cases, the Delta variant

As vaccination rates increase in almost all countries, some or many countries experience a spike in Covid cases and deaths. Below for some Asian countries, data as of today evening, Manila time.
Source https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/#countries



Governments should rethink their mass vaccination policy to include the young and healthy.

Related data, US:


Related news reports:

Over a dozen vaccinated doctors dead as Indonesia’s Covid cases surge 
AFP -June 26, 2021 6:30 AM
https://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/world/2021/06/26/over-a-dozen-vaccinated-doctors-dead-as-indonesias-covid-cases-surge/ 

The rise of severe cases in inoculated medical workers has raised questions about the China-produced Sinovac jab, which Indonesia is heavily relying on to vaccinate more than 180 million people by early next year.

This month, more than 300 vaccinated doctors and health care workers in Central Java were found to have been infected with Covid-19, with about a dozen hospitalised.

Half of Adults Infected in Latest COVID-19 Outbreak Were Fully Vaccinated: Israeli Official
BY JACK PHILLIPS June 25, 2021 Updated: June 25, 2021
https://www.theepochtimes.com/mkt_breakingnews/half-of-adults-infected-in-latest-covid-19-outbreak-were-fully-vaccinated-israeli-officials_3874223.html

About 90 percent of new COVID-19 infections in Israel were caused by the CCP virus’s Delta variant, officials said, while adding that about half of the adults infected in the recent outbreak were fully vaccinated.

CDC Holds Emergency Meeting After Apparent COVID Vaccine Side Effect Begins Putting Young People in the Hospital 
Elizabeth Stauffer   June 12, 2021 at 12:20pm
https://www.westernjournal.com/cdc-holds-emergency-meeting-apparent-covid-vaccine-side-effect-begins-putting-young-people-hospital/ 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will hold an emergency meeting next Friday to address the increasing number of reports of heart inflammation, called myocarditis and pericarditis, particularly among young males, following the second dose of mRNA COVID-19 vaccinations. Both the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccinations fall into this category.

Reducing Data on Breakthrough COVID Infections Not in Public Interest 
JoelSHirschhorn  June 24, 2021
https://trialsitenews.com/reducing-data-on-breakthrough-covid-infections-not-in-public-interest/ 

Here are some relevant data. Some 10,262 of the 101 million people who were fully vaccinated as of April 30 caught the virus, according to a recent CDC report. This was from just 46 states and territories. At least 2,298 fully vaccinated people have been hospitalized, and at least 439 people have died from COVID-19, according to the CDC.

Under the new CDC system here are some recent data. As of May 10, 1,359 breakthrough cases that resulted in hospitalization or death have been reported to CDC. At that time, about 115 million people in the United States had been fully vaccinated.

As of June 8, the CDC reported around 3,300 hospitalizations amongst the 140 million people fully vaccinated, a rate of one hospitalization for every 42,000 people. They also report a rate of one death for every 230,000 people. That is about 1,000 more hospitalizations in about five weeks. This could be a significant undercount.

The Safety of COVID-19 Vaccinations—We Should Rethink the Policy 
by Harald Walach 1,2,3,*,Rainer J. Klement 4 andWouter Aukema 5

1 Poznan University of the Medical Sciences, Pediatric Hospital, 60-572 Poznan, Poland
2 Department of Psychology, University of Witten/Herdecke, 58448 Witten, Germany
3 Change Health Science Institute, 10178 Berlin, Germany
4 Department of Radiation Oncology, Leopoldina Hospital, 97422 Schweinfurt, Germany
5 Independent Data and Pattern Scientist, Brinkenbergweg 1, 7351 BD Hoenderloo, The Netherlands

Received: 2 June 2021 / Revised: 19 June 2021 / Accepted: 21 June 2021 / Published: 24 June 2021
https://www.mdpi.com/2076-393X/9/7/693/htm

Abstract

Background: COVID-19 vaccines have had expedited reviews without sufficient safety data. We wanted to compare risks and benefits. Method: We calculated the number needed to vaccinate (NNTV) from a large Israeli field study to prevent one death. We accessed the Adverse Drug Reactions (ADR) database of the European Medicines Agency and of the Dutch National Register (lareb.nl) to extract the number of cases reporting severe side effects and the number of cases with fatal side effects. Result: The NNTV is between 200–700 to prevent one case of COVID-19 for the mRNA vaccine marketed by Pfizer, while the NNTV to prevent one death is between 9000 and 50,000 (95% confidence interval), with 16,000 as a point estimate. The number of cases experiencing adverse reactions has been reported to be 700 per 100,000 vaccinations. Currently, we see 16 serious side effects per 100,000 vaccinations, and the number of fatal side effects is at 4.11/100,000 vaccinations. For three deaths prevented by vaccination we have to accept two inflicted by vaccination.

Conclusions: This lack of clear benefit should cause governments to rethink their vaccination policy.
----------------

See also:
Covid 41, Testimonies on Ivermectin use, support for Cebu Gov. Gwen Garcia, June 16, 2021 
Covid 42, Vaccine budget, injuries, June 17, 2021 
Covid 43, Cebu Gov. GarciCoa, mandatory vax, and new variants, June 24, 2021.

Saturday, June 26, 2021

Energy 148, High oil, gas and coal prices

We should prepare for high inflation in the coming months, energy prices keep rising. See crude oil and biofuel Ethanol the past year.

Source: https://oilprice.com/

Gas prices too.


But the real surprise is huge spike in coal prices. The current $127/ton is closely approaching the $131 on Feb. 1, 2011. Steep increase starting Nov. 2020, after the US election where Biden campaigned among others, on restricting US fossil fuels production including coal.

https://tradingeconomics.com/commodity/coal

Around middle of this month, Russia restricted gas supply to Europe, so many European coal plants are back to work, coal demand increased, prices went up. High world coal prices means higher electricity prices in PH and many other countries soon -- US, DE, CN, IN, ID, KR, JP, VN, TW, MY, etc.

OPEC and Russia oil exporters jumping with joy with high oil prices bec of Biden's save the planet agenda. Russia gas exporters in particular jumping with high gas prices. Bec of Biden's save the planet agenda. Restrict US oil gas output.

Meanwhile some news reports I read recently:

China Tempers Climate Change Efforts After Economic Officials Limit Scope
Authorities have limited the scope of a carbon-trading scheme as driving growth takes priority
By Sha Hua in Hong Kong and Keith Zhai in Singapore
Updated June 9, 2021 5:16 pm ET
https://www.wsj.com/articles/chinas-economic-officials-temper-climate-efforts-11623241401

Decarbonization: It’s the Demand Side, Stupid
By Rupert Darwall  June 12, 2021
https://www.realclearenergy.org/articles/2021/06/12/decarbonization_its_the_demand_side_stupid_781189.html

Net-Zero: the West's Suicide Note
John O'Sullivan • 13 Jun, 2021
https://the-pipeline.org/net-zero-the-wests-suicide-note/

India urges G7 nations to keep their climate finance promise
Prime Minister Modi urges G7 members to set aside $100 billion annually in climate finance
Elizabeth Roche  Updated: 14 Jun 2021, 06:07 AM IST
https://www.livemint.com/news/world/india-asks-g-7-to-fulfill-100-bn-promise-towards-climate-change-11623599833880.html

Global fossil fuel use similar to decade ago in energy mix, report says
Nina Chestney  June 15, 2021  6:29 AM PST 
https://www.reuters.com/business/environment/global-fossil-fuel-use-similar-decade-ago-energy-mix-report-says-2021-06-14/

Gas Is So Scarce in Europe That Coal Is Making a Comeback
By Vanessa Dezem, Jesper Starn, and Isis Almeida  June 15, 2021, 2:00 PM GMT+8 https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-06-15/gas-is-so-scarce-in-europe-that-coal-is-making-a-comeback

Finance department prefers emissions trading scheme over carbon tax 
By Beatrice M. Laforga   June 18, 2021 | 12:33 am 
https://www.bworldonline.com/finance-department-prefers-emissions-trading-scheme-over-carbon-tax/

Coal plant phaseout seen accelerating shift to sustainable energy 
Angelica Y. Yang  June 20, 2021 | 8:06 pm 
https://www.bworldonline.com/coal-plant-phaseout-seen-accelerating-shift-to-sustainable-energy/

California, Facing Power Crisis, Frets Over Electric Car Charging Routines 
BY MEGHAN ROOS ON 6/21/21 AT 5:57 PM EDT 
https://www.newsweek.com/california-facing-power-crisis-frets-over-electric-car-charging-routines-1602755

https://www.zerohedge.com/markets/california-begs-citizens-change-their-ev-charging-routines-amidst-precarious-power-grid

Russian supply curbs exacerbate squeeze on European gas market 
David Sheppard in London, Nastassia Astrasheuskaya in Moscow and Guy Chazan in Berlin
June 24, 2021
https://www.ft.com/content/c023ba5f-4d78-4749-8485-4851baf9ef3a

Russia has exacerbated a shortage of European natural gas supplies that has driven prices to a 13-year high by quietly limiting top-up sales to customers, according to executives and analysts. 

Coal Prices Hit Decade High Despite Efforts to Wean the World Off Carbon
Rebounding electricity usage and scanty rainfall in China have added fuel to the rally
Prices for thermal coal, which power plants burn to boil water into steam, spin turbines and generate electricity, have more than doubled over the past year. 
By Joe Wallace  Updated June 25, 2021 12:38 pm ET
https://www.wsj.com/articles/thermal-coal-prices-hit-decade-high-amid-gas-shortage-11624620773

A shortfall of natural gas, rebounding electricity usage and scanty rainfall in China have lifted demand for thermal coal. Supplies have been crimped by a closed mine in Colombia, flooding in Indonesia and Australia and distorted trade flows caused by a Chinese ban on Australian coal.

Coking coal defies China bid to keep control of commodity costs 
Ban on Australian imports and fall in domestic production lead to price surge for steel mills
Neil Hume, Natural Resources Editor JUNE 24 2021
https://www.ft.com/content/f7762331-9d98-4c40-9b76-d7531911df94

The price of a key raw material for China’s vast steel making industry has soared even as Beijing tries to rein in runaway commodity prices.

Premium quality coking coal delivered to China has risen above $300 a tonne for the first time since 2017, up almost 150 per cent since October, due to a supply squeeze that has left steel mills scrambling and paying a much higher price than international rivals.
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See also:
Energy 145, US oil production, world prices of oil, ethanol, coal and copper, June 10, 2021 
Energy 146, On energy storage, solar-wind subsidies, net zero, June 16, 2021 
Energy 147, Palawan oil plants, Cebu and Iloilo coal plants, June 18, 2021.

BWorld 493, 10 trends in lockdowns, COVID deaths, and vaccinations

* My column in BusinessWorld last June 22. 

As we are approaching 16 months of indefinite lockdown in many countries, what have we learned and not learned (and thus keep repeating the same wrong policies)?

I constructed a table using data from different official sources to come up with the discussions. The sources are:

1.) For GDP growth/contraction, the IMF World Economic Outlook 2021 database (https://www.imf.org/en/publications/weo) for 2020 and Trading Economics (https://tradingeconomics.com/country-list/gdp-annual-growth-rate) for Q1 2021.

2.) For mobility restrictions, I downloaded the long Excel sheets per country from the Google COVID-19 Community Mobility Reports (GCCMR, https://www.google.com/covid19/mobility/), with changes from the baseline period Jan. 3 to Feb. 6, 2020. The GCCMR covers six areas, but for brevity I chose two, Retail and Recreation (R&R, restaurants, cafes, malls, museums, cinemas) and Transit stations (TS, subway/MRT stations, seaports, taxi stands, highway rest stops, car rentals). Only China has no mobility data, very likely since the country does not allow Google to collect and/or publish the data.

3.) For COVID-19 deaths per million population (CDPMP), the data comes from Our World in Data (OWID, https://ourworldindata.org/) and Worldometers (https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/#countries).

4.) For vaccination rates (at least one dose given as percent of population), the data also comes from OWID (https://ourworldindata.org/covid-vaccinations?country).

I choose to include data from the big economies in each continent, especially from East Asia.

Readers, please go through the numbers as you may discover other trends that I fail to discuss below.

The following can be observed from the above numbers.

1. The deep GDP contraction for many economies in 2020 was directly caused by strict lockdowns and mobility restrictions and not the virus per se. The same virus that originated from China has vastly different results in economic performance in other countries.

2. GDP contractions in the first quarter (Q1) of 2021 are mild and would point to the economic recovery of many countries by late 2021 as their lockdowns are more relaxed.

3. The Philippines has the most draconian mobility restrictions probably in the whole world in 2020 and 2021 in TS. It comes second to Argentina in R&R in 2020, and next to UK and France in 2021.

4. The Philippines was the worst performing economy in Asia in 2020 until the first quarter (Q1) of 2021, and was among the worst performers in the whole world. This was so not because of the virus but because of the strict lockdowns. Its CDPMP, or deaths per million population, by the end of 2020 was only 1/20th of Belgium, 1/13th of Spain, UK, and US.

5. There was a near double or more than double increase in CDPMP in the first six months of 2021 compared to the 10 months of the pandemic in 2020 in many countries. See in particular Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, Italy, the UK, France, Germany, the Philippines, India, Malaysia, Indonesia, South Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Israel, and Russia.

6. This further proves that the strict lockdowns of 2020 did not work in controlling new severe infections and deaths in 2021 as the virus naturally mutates.

7. Countries with high vaccination rates of 50% or more of total population showed a higher increase in CDPMP in 2021. See in particular Italy, the UK, France, Germany, and Belgium.

8. Asian countries with low vaccination rates of below 10% of total population showed still low CDPMP. See Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Vietnam. Also, Nigeria, which has Africa’s biggest economy and population.

9. Many doctors including those affiliated with the Concerned Doctors and Citizens of the Philippines (CDC PH) are now getting more COVID-19 patients who are already vaccinated, antibody-dependent enhancement (ADE) cases.

10. With the foregoing discussions, government should never consider mandatory vaccination, direct or indirect. Dr. Rafael Castillo, a famous Filipino cardiologist, member of the PRC Board of Medicine, has argued several times in his column in the Inquirer that “vaccination should be targeted and protective and not mass, injudicious vaccination — or, to put it bluntly, mass and potentially harmful vaccination.”

Viruses mutate, humans mutate too. Natural herd immunity among the young and healthy is as natural as gravity as shown in human survival and expansion despite many pandemic and virulent viruses in the past centuries and decades.

In addition, there are several cheap, generic, off-patent drugs that have been proven for decades to be safe and effective in anti-viral, anti-parasitic, anti-bacterial treatment for people who display symptoms, or as prophylaxis for the elderly and those with comorbidities. These include low-dose Ivermectin (approved since 1981, https://c19ivermectin.com/), or low-dose hydroxychloroquine (HCQ, approved since 1955, https://c19study.com/) plus zinc, vitamins C and D, sunlight, others to avoid hospitalization.

We are on the 16th month of endless mobility restrictions, with business and school closures, depriving children and the healthy elderly from going out to the parks, from eating in malls and enclosed restaurants. The economic and psychological damage to people is piling up with each passing month. It is time to lift the lockdown and business closures and give us back our constitutional rights, our human freedom of mobility and being productive.
-------------

See also:
BWorld 490, Net zero carbon emission and net zero growth, June 08, 2021 
BWorld 491, Vaccination rates and KKK on June 12, June 16, 2021 
BWorld 492, Ten indicators of blackout economics, June 18, 2021.

Thursday, June 24, 2021

Thank you, PNoy Aquino, RIP

RIP, former President Benigno "Noynoy" C. Aquino III, aka "PNoy."

I voted for you in the 2010 elections because when you were a Congressman and Senator, you introduced very few new bills, few new legislation and national coercion.

I have some criticisms of your policies but overall I supported your admin in 2010-2016, you brought down the public debt/GDP ratio big time, 52% in 2009 under Gloria, to 42% by 2016. Because you resisted heavy borrowings (numerator) while encouraging the GDP to expand fast (denominator). You're cool, man. Even if I am no "Yellow", then and now, I remain colorless.

The budget deficit during your term was lowest compared to previous and current administration. You understood fiscal restraint and responsibility.

I also think you performed better than your mother former President Cory Aquino.

In the power sector, Cory (upon the advice of her officials and supporters) killed Bataan Nuclear Power Plant with zero alternative, just candles for the poor and gensets for the rich during horrible blackouts of 1990-91 nationwide.

Under PNoy, installed capacity in 2013 (meaning power plants approved until 2010 first half, Gloria’s term) was only 17,325 MW. By 2019 (power plants approved until 2016 first half, PNoy term) was 25,531 MW, 8,200 MW increase in just 6 years. It was during PNoy term that daily “Earth hours” in Mindanao, many hours blackout per day, ended with many big power plants approved, built, and commissioned in Mindanao.

Hats off, PNoy. The President of more power, more lights.

I like this meme, nice. Former Senator Ninoy Aquino, former President Cory Aquino, hugging their son...

You did well as President, as ex-President.

Thank you, PNoy, peaceful journey.
---------------

See also:
Fat Free Econ 55: The President's 5th SONA and Market-Oriented Reforms, August 01, 2014 
BWorld 13, SONA's liberalism, five years after, July 28, 2015 
BWorld 61, 100 indicators better than GDP, June 03, 2016
Thank you, Former President Aquino, June 30, 2016
Rise in PH public debt stock by administration, October 30, 2018.

Covid 43, Cebu Gov. Garcia, mandatory vax, and new variants

Cebu Governor Gwen Garcia is a very vocal and frank lady on the lockdown issue. Her province has suffered a lot, like many other provinces and cities, and she does not want to prolong the economic agony, so she started relaxing the rules, like no swab test required for Cebu-bound domestic plane passengers, relaxation of face masks, face shields.

Heavy bureaucracy IATF does not like this, so they started pressuring the Governor. The Concerned Doctors and Citizens of the Philippines (CDC PH) issued a statement the other day supporting Gov. Gwen.

https://cdcph.org/f/cdc-ph-supports-gov-gwen-on-her-covid19-safety-measures

This would have been good news:

Breaking News! Duque Allows Use of Ivermectin by Doctors 
Nicanor Perlas  June 22, 2021 
https://covidcalltohumanity.org/2021/06/22/nicanor-perlas-breaking-news-duque-allows-use-of-ivermectin-by-doctors/ 

Doctors can now prescribe Ivermectin. Secretary of Health, Dr. Francisco Duque III, said he had “no problem with doctors who want to use Ivermectin”.[1] Sec. Duque made the statement at a 09 June 2021 public Congressional Hearing on Ivermectin (HR 1711).[2]

Then the DOH issued this statement:

President Duterte, the IATF and implementer NTF enjoyed the strict and draconian lockdowns they have been wielding for 15+ months now. Mandatory closure of schools and many businesses, mandatory swab tests for plane passengers, mandatory closure of provincial borders unless with govt permit. They are itching for mandatory vax.

The other day, a friend took video of PNP's SWAT and EOD in Taft-Edsa harassing, penalizing people who walk without faceshields. There is no law on mandatory faceshield, only verbal order by Duterte that faceshields be worn outside after he heard briefing from some alarmist doctors.

Double talk doctors know that there is zero clinical trial, zero medical study, zero meta analysis, that faceshields in public control infection, yet they push for it, and NTF-PNP implement it. The same doctors want more clinical trials despite the presence of many medical studies already about Ivermectin. See the 60 studies (as of this writing) that involve 18,930 patients and 549 doctors, https://ivmmeta.com/

Now see this. President Duterte threatening people to be vaxxed or he will throw them to jails. There is zero law, not an RA or EO, not even DOH or DILG Admin or Dept Order (AO, DO) on mandatory vaccination. Now the opposition led by VP Leni Robredo is also pro-administration. The opposition should attack this arbitrary issuance of order but instead, the opposition is silent and instead singing "second the motion" on vax pushing.

The government wants little or zero choice. Whether people believe in vax or not, they must get the vax. 

Vax budget for 2021 is P82.5B in GAA 2021, plus P25 B under Bayanihan 3, total P107.5 B. Vax alone, excluding DOH budget, etc.

Office of Vice President (OVP) budget full year 2021 is only P0.9 B. Less than 1% of vax budget alone. That should infuriate the VP but no, instead singing along, "more vax vax vax please". wow.

A friend posted this in one of my Viber groups.

The vax narrative is that mass vaccination is the only way to achieve herd immunity, no natural immunity especially among the young and healthy. This is a dishonest story from many sectors and institutions.

Virus mutate into new variants 100%. Humans too mutate 100% to deal with changes in the natural environment. But many bright boys and girls believe only vax will do one-size-fits-all solution. Now they backpedal, like Israel. Back to quarantine, back to masks, and maybe soon back to lockdown.

Vaccinated Israelis may need to quarantine because of Delta variant 
Dan Williams  Wed, June 23, 2021, 5:54 PM 
https://sports.yahoo.com/vaccinated-israelis-may-quarantine-because-095410443.html

https://www.zerohedge.com/covid-19/fully-vaccinated-israelis-may-be-forced-quarantine-after-exposure-delta-variant

England Set to Drop Face Mask Rules After Huge Economic Impact Revealed
Social distancing measures costing some businesses over 40 per cent of their normal turnover.
Paul Joseph Watson  23 June, 2021
https://summit.news/2021/06/23/england-set-to-drop-face-mask-rules-after-huge-economic-impact-revealed/

CORONAVIRUSWHO Official Says Mask Mandates & Social Distancing Should Continue Indefinitely 
Because there will always be new variants of COVID.
Paul Joseph Watson  23 June, 2021
https://summit.news/2021/06/23/who-official-says-mask-mandates-social-distancing-should-continue-indefinitely/ 
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See also:
Covid 40, Some reported vaccine adverse reactions, PH vax budget, June 06, 2021 
Covid 41, Testimonies on Ivermectin use, support for Cebu Gov. Gwen Garcia, June 16, 2021 
Covid 42, Vaccine budget, injuries, June 17, 2021.

Friday, June 18, 2021

Macroecon 8, Rising inflation rates, prices of industrial and agri commodities

Inflation rates of the top 10 largest economies (GDP size) in the world, Oct 2020 to May 2021. I arranged them from #1 to #10. Even JP deflation is ending soon.

Top 10 largest GDP size 2020, $ billion

Top 5

2020

Next 5

2020

United States

20,932.8

India

2,708.8

China

14,722.8

France

2,598.9

Japan

5,048.7

Italy

1,884.9

Germany

3,803.0

Canada

1,643.4

United Kingdom

2,711.0

Korea

1,630.9

Sources: (1) Inflation, Trading Economics; (2) GDP size, IMF, World Econ Outlook 2021 database.

This inflation trend coincided with significant increase in prices of some industrial and agricultural commodities. Below, prices of copper, iron ore and coal, last five years.

https://tradingeconomics.com/commodities

Prices of poultry, beef and lean hogs, last five years.

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See also: 
Macroecon 5, Inflation rates of many countries, Oct 2020 to April 2021, May 26, 2021 
Macroecon 6, GDP in Q1 2021 of 54 economies, June 01, 2021 
Macroecon 7, On US inflation rate 5%, Central Banks and climate, PH losing 3 years due to strict lockdowns, June 16, 2021.

Energy 147, Palawan oil plants, Cebu and Iloilo coal plants

(This is an old draft last year, posting only now)

Palawan is a big and beautiful island-province with many municipalities and barangays in nearby small islands (Coron, Calauit, etc). Pre-lockdown it was attracting hundreds of thousands of local and foreign visitors yearly so it has many beautiful and boutique hotels, some big malls in the capital, Puerto Princesa City. And one problem in Palawan is low power supply, blackout can be frequent, so the hotels, malls, big restos, shopping centers must have standby generator sets (gensets) running on diesel.

The whole province is served almost 100% by big gensets (by Napocor or private independent power producers) running on diesel or bunker fuel. Total installed capacity is 150.9 MW. DMCI Power Corp. (DPC) is the biggest power producer with four power plants in Puerto Princesa, Aborlan, Brooke’s Point and Quezon, total of 64.7 MW.

Table 1. Oil-fired plants in Palawan

Source: DOE List of Existing Power Plants as of June 2020, Off-grid

DPC proposed a 30 MW coal power plant in Palawan several years ago but the plan was opposed by many environmental groups and individuals because they do not want fossil fuel plant in the island-province. But oil and coal are both fossil fuels so how come people agree with one but not the other?

The main concerns, fear or scare of people against coal power plants are (1) perceived high pollution and adverse impact on people’s health, and (2) impact on “man-made” global warming.

On #1, take two big islands east of Palawan, Panay (composed of four provinces Aklan, Antique, Capiz and Iloilo) and Cebu. These two islands have combined coal plants of almost 1,400 MW or 47x larger than the proposed 30 MW in Palawan. 

Table 2. Coal power plants in Cebu and Panay islands as of June 2020

Sources: DOE List of Power Plants in Visayas Grid, author computations

Coal power in Cebu and Panay comprise 61.6% of their total power capacity including oil-based, hydro-electric, biomass and solar. Are the people of Cebu and Panay sicklier, poorer, less developed than the people of Palawan which does not have a single coal power plant? Likely the answer is No.

Coal power is a lot cheaper than gensets running on diesel or bunker fuel that generate electricity at about P15 to P20/kwh cost while coal plants in Luzon grid would produce power at P4 to P6/kwh. Consumers in off-grid islands like Palawan, Mindoro, Masbate, Camiguin, pay low because they are subsidized, the extra cost are passed to all consumers nationwide via universal charge missionary electrification (UC-ME) in our monthly electricity bill, about P0.16/kwh. 

Coal plants do not cause ill health effects as spread by some anti-coal activists. Ask the people in Cebu and Panay islands if they are sicklier than the people of Palawan. Or ask the people of Luzon that host big coal power plants like the provinces of Quezon (2,195 MW), Pangasinan (1,294 MW), Bataan (1,290 MW), Batangas (1,170 MW), Zambales (674 MW) and Pampanga (166 MW).

I have visited Palawan several times and I remain fascinated by its natural beauty, which attracts more visitors yearly, which create many tourism-related jobs in the province. Having frequent blackouts because of insufficient power, or expensive hotels because these firms must have huge and expensive  gensets nearby, will limit the province’s potentials.

The Department of Energy (DOE) has already ordered last year no more new coal power plants. So Palawan is destined to have frequent blackouts and expensive electricity -- unless the people there accept other power sources like big hydro, many small run-of-river hydro, or modular nuclear plants. If Palawan will get more big wind and solar farms, they must clear more lands and remove thousands of trees. Solar hates shade -- from clouds and tall trees. Wind requires wide land clearing for roads of huge, long trucks. 
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See also:
Energy 144, Shell and oil companies are penalized because consumers and motorists use their products, May 28, 2021 
Energy 145, US oil production, world prices of oil, ethanol, coal and copper, June 10, 2021 
Energy 146, On energy storage, solar-wind subsidies, net zero, June 16, 2021.

BWorld 492, Ten indicators of blackout economics

* My article in BusinessWorld, June 15, 2021.

Blackout economics is not a mainstream concept and so I created my own definition and indicators. Blackout economics is simply the improper allocation of limited resources that will lead to blackouts and power outages.

Metro Manila and surrounding provinces experienced rotating blackouts of one to two hours per area on June 1. It was bad to go back to candles, no aircon or electric fans on a hot afternoon, and it reminded people of the daily blackouts in the whole country in 1990-1991.

Here are the 10 indicators of blackout economics.

1. Frequent use of a price cap or price control. On May 31, this column’s piece “Net zero carbon emission and net zero growth,” noted that “Intervals with secondary price cap — none in March and April this year but in May there were 57 intervals. This is a prelude to blackouts actually. When prices spike too often, that means supply is not sufficient to meet demand.” And, indeed, the next day, there were actual rotating blackouts.

2. Very thin reserves in the days prior to the actual blackout. These reports in BusinessWorld give a snapshot of before and after the blackout of June 1:

“Red alert raised for Luzon grid” (May 31).

“NGCP expects more red alerts on Luzon grid until next week” (June 1).

“DoE says no more brownouts expected, investigating outages” (June 3).

“DoE says grid red alerts still possible if power plant outages continue” (June 4).

“ERC task force to look into plant outages, price spike” (June 8).

“NGCP power reserve compliance inadequate, key legislator claims” (June 9).

“NGCP: Power bills to rise if DoE enforces rules on full reserves” (June 10).

“Meralco rates up in June” (June 11).

3. Regulators are not regulating enough of the national transmission monopoly. Yesterday, fellow UP School of Economics alumnus Romeo Bernardo argued in his column “Red Alert and EPIRA,” here in BusinessWorld, “If we want to avoid the power shortages that we just experienced…. our regulators should focus on regulating the regulated business of transmission of power and consider simplifying the rules for gencos to allow the market to work, to de-risk the environment, and to attract more long-term private capital.”

4. Low electricity generation per capita for decades. Low generation means low supply and low reserves to deal with unscheduled power shutdowns and spikes in demand. The Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA) was enacted in 2001 and at that time, the Philippines had nearly 600 kWh/capita. After 18 years, in 2019, the Philippines had 986 kWh/capita and had been already overtaken by Vietnam, Indonesia, and India.

5. Continued demonization of cheap and stable energy for baseload generation despite already low levels. After endless pressure by the environmental activists, virtue-signaling corporations and government agencies “to save the planet,” the Department of Energy (DoE) last year ordered a halt in new coal power plant development. The Philippines’ 540 kWh/capita of coal generation in 2019 was only 1/11th of Australia’s, 1/10th of Taiwan’s, 1/9th of South Korea’s, 1/6th of China and the US’, 1/5th of Japan’s, a fourth of Malaysia’s and Germany’s, a third of Canada’s, and half of Vietnam’s (see Table 1).

6. Majority of new power plants use intermittent and unstable sources. In a BusinessWorld infographic, https://www.bworldonline.com/profile-of-power-plants-in-the-luzon-grid-as-of-dec-31-2020/, of the top 10 newest power plants in Luzon, five are small biomass (5.4 to 13.5 MW), two are solar (21 and 71 MW), and one runs on river hydro (0.3 MW). Only two are non-intermittent, stable, and big coal plants (352 and 500 MW).

7. Regions with excess power cannot easily send power to regions with power deficits due to transmission congestion. At the Senate Committee on Energy hearing last week, on June 10, DoE Secretary Alfonso Cusi said that there were 2,543 MW of excess power in the Visayas and Mindanao grids that could have augmented the deficiency in the Luzon grid but which could not be delivered.

8. Congestion due to long delays in transmission projects that prevent completed power plants from bringing power to end-users. On average, the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP), the biggest private monopoly in the whole country, has three- to four-year project delays (see Table 2).

9. High demand for ancillary services (AS) but these are uncontracted. In the same Committee hearing, Secretary Cusi said the NGCP has a total uncontracted AS of 1,877 MW — a regulating reserve of 441 MW, a contingency reserve of 712 MW, and a dispatchable reserve of 724 MW. This is like a big hotel or mall that does not have a standby genset even if it knows that the power supply in the grid can be unstable.

10. Regulators are strict on the competitive generation sector but soft on and not strict with the monopoly transmission sector. Still at the same Senate hearing, Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) Chairperson Agnes Devanadera said the ERC has created a task force to investigate the plants that had outages in April to May this year. Fine. But there was no explicit statement to investigate the NGCP on why it has not contracted enough AS, nor built enough transmission lines, nor doing the IPO requirement, among others.

The sound bites on an “energy transition” to decarbonize Philippine power are cute but impractical. Our priority should be power adequacy and affordability first and foremost. Many regulatory obstacles, many agency permits that prevent more power plants from being built (which, if built, would make the generation sector even more competitive) should be removed. And “decarbonize” is a confusing goal when the real goal is to avoid “power vaporized” and blackout economics.
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See also:
BWorld 489, Should we return to the office? May 28, 2021 
BWorld 490, Net zero carbon emission and net zero growth, June 08, 2021 
BWorld 491, Vaccination rates and KKK on June 12, June 16, 2021.

Thursday, June 17, 2021

Covid 42, Vaccine budget, injuries

How much really is the PH government budget for vaccination?

This is from DOF Sec. Sonny Dominguez in a pre-SONA briefing, September 24, 2021.

And from a DOH document.


‘P25 billion additional vaccine budget too much’
Paolo Romero - June 9, 2021 - 12:00am
https://www.philstar.com/headlines/2021/06/09/2104124/p25-billion-additional-vaccine-budget-too-much

Budget Secretary Wendell Avisado earlier said the government needs an additional P25 billion on top of the P82.5 billion allocated for vaccine procurement under the Bayanihan to Recover As One Act or Bayanihan 2.

“Based on the arithmetic I did, the P107.5 billion is way too much for buying the vaccines needed to achieve herd immunity – unless they know something we don’t. But the bottom line is, it is not their money, it’s the public’s. I can only hope the excess amount will not go to corruption,” Sen. Panfilo Lacson said.

‘No sticky fingers’ in vaccine purchase – senators 
Paolo Romero - June 17, 2021 - 12:00am
https://www.philstar.com/headlines/2021/06/17/2106031/no-sticky-fingers-vaccine-purchase-senators 

(Drilon) said the price range of $6.75 to $27.59 per dose of vaccine being procured by the government are within range, based on his own research of worldwide pricing, with the cost of CoronaVac of Sinovac Biotech as the cheapest, and Moderna from the US the most expensive.

The observations came after the Senate committee of the whole held an inquiry on Tuesday to look into the government’s spending of the vaccine budget and hear MalacaƱang’s justification for its request from Congress for at least an additional P85 billion next year to procure more vaccines for young Filipinos and booster shots for adults.

Meanwhile,


Philippine FDA reports 79,166 adverse events, 91 deaths following COVID vaccination 
May 24, 2021
https://covidcalltohumanity.org/2021/05/24/philippine-fda-reports-79166-adverse-events-91-deaths-following-covid-vaccination/

Spike Protein & Immune Escape - Dr Robert Malone (Inventor mRNA Vaccines), PhD
Bret Weinstein &Steve 
Jun 11, 2021  
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aMB1dRJNHe8 (15 minutes) 

Summary :

The immune escape variants issue due to mass vaccination is confirmed with data.

They didn't expect the spike proteins to move from the muscle in the arm and travel to other parts of the body but they did, especially to the ovaries and bone marrow.

The spike proteins in the bone marrow could possibly lead people to developing leukaemia which can take up to 9 years before it surfaces.

The spike proteins can also lead to reactivation of latent viruses within the body eg shingles.

B.1.1.7 and B.1.351 SARS-CoV-2 variants display enhanced Spike-mediated fusion 
Maaran Michael Rajah, Mathieu Hubert, Elodie Bishop, Nell Saunders, Remy Robinot, Ludivine Grzelak,…
https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/2021.06.11.448011v1 

B.1.1.7 and B.1.351 variants remain sensitive to innate immunity components. The mutations present in the two variants globally enhance viral fusogenicity and allow for antibody evasion.

Think Twice Before Giving the COVID Vax to Healthy Kids 
— Based on the data to date, there's no compelling case for it right now
by Martin Makary MD, MPH, Editor-in-Chief, MedPage Today   June 10, 2021
https://www.medpagetoday.com/opinion/marty-makary/93029

But given the case-report level rarity of a healthy child dying of COVID-19, I would not recommend a two-dose vaccine regimen for a healthy child ages 0 to 12 years until we have more data. Each parent will have to assess their own child's individual risk, but in my opinion, the case to vaccinate young healthy kids is not compelling right now.

SHOCKING JUMP in Vaccine Deaths Reported This Week at CDC-Linked VAERS Tracking Website 
By Jim Hoft   June 12, 2021 at 9:17am
https://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2021/06/shocking-jump-vaccine-deaths-reported-week-cdc-linked-vaers-tracking-website/ 

The number of deaths linked to vaccines this year has absolutely skyrocketed. According to the CDC’s own data, in 2021 n the first 3 months, the VAERS website recorded over 1,750 deaths due to vaccines in the US. 
That number is now at 5,997.

CDC claims COVID-19 kills 'healthy young children' as doctors push back on vaccinating kids 
Authorities should worry about worsening vaccine hesitancy by pushing low-risk kids to get jabbed, med school professors warn.
By Greg Piper   Updated: June 13, 2021 - 11:11am 
https://justthenews.com/politics-policy/coronavirus/cdc-claims-covid-19-kills-healthy-young-children-doctors-push-back

"In reviewing the medical literature and news reports, and in talking to pediatricians across the country, I am not aware of a single healthy child in the U.S. who has died of COVID-19 to date," the Johns Hopkins University professor of medicine and public health (Marty Makary) said Thursday.

New Study Determines People Who’ve Had COVID-19 Don’t Need to Get Vaccinated 
https://www.healthline.com/health-news/new-study-determines-people-whove-had-covid-19-dont-need-to-get-vaccinated

Researchers from the Cleveland Clinic say that people who’ve already had COVID-19 may not necessarily benefit from vaccination.

They said that people with prior infection had similar protection to those who were fully vaccinated.

There were 52,238 individuals included in the study. Of the 2,579 people who’d previously had COVID-19, 1,359 were unvaccinated.

The remaining 49,659 individuals hadn’t previously had COVID-19, and 22,777 of them were vaccinated.

The individuals were tracked from December 2020 to May 2021, during which time none of the 2,579 people who’d already had COVID-19 (including the 1,359 who remained unvaccinated) contracted the virus.

According to the findings, vaccination significantly lowers the risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection among people who haven’t already had COVID-19 — but not necessarily among people who have already had it.
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See also:
Covid 39, Call To Action vs Corruption, Lockdowns and COVID-19, May 26, 2021 
Covid 40, Some reported vaccine adverse reactions, PH vax budget, June 06, 2021 
Covid 41, Testimonies on Ivermectin use, support for Cebu Gov. Gwen Garcia, June 16, 2021.

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Macroecon 7, On US inflation rate 5%, Central Banks and climate, PH losing 3 years due to strict lockdowns

In terms of inflation rate last month, the US' 5% is now comparable to poor countries like Bangladesh, Guatemala, Tunisia, Honduras, Egypt.  Other rich countries in Asia and Europe have below 2.6%. Only under Biden.

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Meanwhile, I congratulate the US Fed's Jerome Powell here. 

Powell says climate change is not a main factor in the Fed’s policy decisions
Jeff Cox  FRI, JUN 4 20218:07 AM EDTUPDATED FRI, JUN 4 20218:26 AM EDT
https://www.cnbc.com/2021/06/04/powell-says-climate-change-is-not-a-main-factor-in-the-feds-policy-decisions.html

"KEY POINTS: Fed Chairman Jerome Powell said climate change is not a main consideration for monetary policy.

Powell made clear that the institution’s role in the matter is limited to oversight of banks and the rest of the financial system.

“Our planet is burning, and we central bankers could look on our mandate and pretend that it is for others to act and that we should simply be followers. I don’t think so,” -- Lagarde

Powell, Lagarde split over central bank role in climate policy
By AFP  June 5, 2021
https://www.macaubusiness.com/powell-lagarde-split-over-central-bank-role-in-climate-policy/

Notice that cartoon news network (CNN) has a different twist, see their headline:

Fed chair Powell warns of 'profound challenges' posed by climate change
By Matt Egan, CNN Business  Updated 1155 GMT (1955 HKT) June 4, 2021 https://edition.cnn.com/2021/06/04/economy/powell-climate-change-central-banks/index.html

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The Philippines, GDP size at constant 2018 prices:

Q1 2021 P4.24 Trillion, equivalent to Q1 2018 P4.22 T.

Q4 2020 P4.82 T, equiv to Q4 2017.

Q4 2019 P5.26 T, far out will be attained in Q4 2021, more like Q3 or Q4 2022.

So the PH has "lost" three years of economic output because of this dictatorial indefinite lockdown and business closures.  Many Asian countries have "lost" only 2 years and they can recover the 2019 level by Q3 or Q4 2021. Because their lockdown policies are not as idiotic and draconian as PH. PH lockdown including mandatory faceshields upon the advice of many PH physicians under DOH, PMA and PSMID.
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See also:
Macroecon 4, Q1 2021 GDP of Europe, SE and NE Asia, May 22, 2021 
Macroecon 5, Inflation rates of many countries, Oct 2020 to April 2021, May 26, 2021 
Macroecon 6, GDP in Q1 2021 of 54 economies, June 01, 2021.