Thursday, February 24, 2022

Energy 162, Immediate impact of Russia invasion of Ukraine

Feb. 24, 10 pm, Manila

About 12 hours ago, Russia invaded Ukraine. The impact on energy prices is wild.

WTI and Brent crude oil prices are +8% over yesterday prices.

TTF/EU gas  and UK gas prices are +41% over yesterday. 

Solar index and wind index are -2%, EU carbon permits -9%.

When shit hits the fan, people will embrace fossil fuels and save themselves, survive another day, another month. Fossil fuels sizzling, wind solar melting, carbon permits to "save the planet" proving again as an expensive joke.

Russia gas-dependent Europe have enriched Putin, Gazprom, Surguneftegas, Rosneft, etc for decades. Especially since around June 2021 when gas prices started picking up high until today. UK's BoJo championed wind-solar to save the planet in UN climate meeting last November in Scotland, for show and media mileage but actually he and EU leaders enriching Russia with more oil gas imports at high prices.

W. Europe might face civil unrest over high inflation, especially very high gasoline and electricity prices. Since about January, UK announced that electricity prices will rise 54% starting April 1. They have self inflicted energy and econ problems. Germany for instance has lots of coal reserves, very developed nuke power technology. but they are closing these to "save the planet", then import oil gas from Russia, Qatar etc.

The bad thing for us in poorer countries like the Philippines is that the cost of agri production and transportation -- tractors, harvesters, water pumps, trucks, etc all using oil -- will rise. Food prices will rise. Electricity prices too will rise as Malampaya gas price is pegged at Dubai crude price, also rising. And government and local planet saviors talk about raising carbon tax, meaning even higher oil prices and electricity prices as about 80% of PH power generation are from fossil fuels (coal, gas, oil plants).

See also:
Energy 159, US coal, gas, oil production vs solar, February 03, 2022 
Energy 160, ESG, Net zero, Gas power, and Electric vehicles, February 07, 2022
Energy 161, No Tricks Zone on Europe energy situation, e-cars, Feb. 24, 2022.

BWorld 530, Dredge Laguna de Bay for potable water use

* My column in BusinessWorld last February 21.

Recently, the words “water crisis” in Metro Manila and surrounding provinces have resurfaced, as they did in April-June 2019.

See for instance these recent reports in BusinessWorld:

• “Indigenous peoples seek to overturn Kaliwa Dam deal” (Feb. 3),

• “Metro Manila water shortage projected for April or May” (Feb. 8),

• “Local governments urged to step up in averting water crisis” (Feb. 9),

• “Manila Water, MWSS delay start of new concession deal to March 18” (Feb. 17),

• “MWSS, NIA preparing mitigation programs for potential water shortage” (Feb. 18).


There are short- and medium-term solutions to expand potable water supply as the population in the metropolis expands.

One is the development of dams in the Sierra Madre mountains and diverting some of the water that freely drains into the Pacific Ocean, to Metro Manila and surrounding areas. The Kaliwa Dam is meant for this purpose. But instead of doing the usual Public Private Partnership (PPP), the Duterte administration decided to go back to old-style taxpayers-funded projects via foreign loans, in this case a China loan with China construction companies. See this column’s previous piece, (Nov. 7, 2018).

The second is to respect the water concession agreements and urge the two concessionaires — Maynilad Water Services, Inc. (MWSI) and Manila Water Co., Inc. (MWCI) — to develop other water sources. But President Duterte attacked the two companies and forced a revised concession agreement (RCA) on them.

Third is to further develop Laguna Lake, or Laguna de Bay, as a potable water source. There are other sources but Laguna Lake is the biggest as it is the natural drain of 100 rivers and creeks and 21 major tributaries.


Among the challenges of tapping the lake are: One, the water is murky, heavily silted, and in certain areas is of bad quality — with high levels of biochemical oxygen demand (BOD), dissolved oxygen, and fecal coliform. So, the cost of treatment goes up, which means water prices can go up.

Two is entry of salt water during the dry months when the lake water level is lower than sea level due to evaporation, and dirty water from Manila Bay enters into the lake during high tide. This raises the salinity level and, again, results in a higher cost of treatment.

Three is the huge number of fish pens and fish cages — covering tens of thousands of hectares — which trap some solid waste from flowing out and contribute to siltation and a shallower lake.


One important solution to these three problems is large-scale dredging of the lake. Make it deeper, from the current 2.5 meters average depth to three meters or so, to allow the lake to hold a bigger volume of fresh water. But this will require the demolition of many fish pens and those pens are owned by individuals and businesses with wide political connections.

I want to quantify the potential benefits to households and businesses when there is a big volume of new water supply from the lake.

In a paper “How Much Water Do Households Require?” (by Inocencio, Padilla, and Javier, Philippine Institute for Development Studies, October 1999), they computed that the average requirement in Metro Manila and Pangasinan in 1998 was 54 liters per capita per day (l/c/d) — 23 for bathing, handwashing, teeth brushing; 20 for house cleaning, toilet flushing; five for laundry; four for cooking and dishwashing; and two for drinking.

Today, more households have vehicles that need cleaning too, plus pets, and many residential condos and subdivision clubhouses have swimming pools. It is safe to assume a 20% increase in water demand compared to 1998 or 24 years ago, so the new demand would be 65 l/c/d.

The average household size was five persons per household in 2000, 4.6 in 2010, 4.4 in 2015, and 4.2 in 2020. So (65 l/c/d) x (4.2 capita/household) is 273 liters/household/day (l/h/d), or 0.273 cubic meters/household/day.

From this average daily water need of one household, I computed that if the lake’s average depth of 2.5 meters is made deeper by 100 centimeters or 0.1 meter, there will be 333,000 additional families that can be served with 273 liters/day. If the lake is made even deeper by 0.2 meters, 666,000 additional families will be served.

Another way of looking at this is that many households cut their demand by half due to limited hours of water supply per day — they consume only 136 l/h/d. The new supply from the lake will enable them to reach the 273 l/h/d. Then dredging the lake to make it deeper by 0.1 meter will benefit 660,000 households; make it deeper by 0.2 meter will benefit 1.32 million households (Table 1).


This seems to be a no-brainer question because potable water is life. But individual and corporate fishermen in Laguna Lake will insist on the importance of fishing to people’s lives and livelihood.

The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) has “Water Accounts of the Philippines” data and among the key concepts is water use efficiency (WUE) computed as gross value added (GVA, in P Billion) over water use (in billion cubic meters). Agriculture includes fishery, Industry includes water, electricity, manufacturing. The WUE of industry including water is 30x that of WUE of agriculture and fishery (Table 2).


Currently, MWSI (Maynilad) has two operating water treatment plants in Muntinlupa and harvests 300 million liters per day (mlpd) from the lake, serving around 1.2 million customers in the southern part of its concession area. In 2021 it started the construction of another treatment plan, designed to produce 150 mlpd of potable water to serve more customers in Cavite.

MWCI started tapping water from the lake in 2019 from its Cardona Water Treatment Plant in Rizal, harvesting 100 mlpd.

Potable piped water is very important yet it is very cheap. One cubic meter (cu.m.) is 1,000 liters. One drum of water is 208 liters, so one cu.m. is nearly five drums. At the time when the President was lambasting the two water concessionaires, the water rate was only P6.13/cu.m. and P9.63/cu.m. basic charges per month in Manila Water and Maynilad areas respectively. For consumption of 11 to 20 cu.m. per month, customers pay only P11.13/cu.m. and P16.42/cu.m. for Manila and Maynilad areas, respectively. See this column’s piece at (Dec. 23, 2019).

The two firms have become so efficient in delivering water that despite the low rates charged for household consumers, they were still able to generate huge revenues and net income, reinvested to further improve water delivery efficiency (Table 3).

There. The potential benefits of dredging the lake — which will require demolition of many fish pens and fish cages — have been quantified. The higher efficiency of potable water use than fishery use has been established.

Dredging the lake to increase its fresh water holding capacity, and removing structures that trap solid waste from flowing out, are necessary so that we avoid the seemingly annual threat of a “water crisis.”

See also:
BWorld 527, Cement tariff and the consumers, February 08, 2022
BWorld 528, Electrifying profit and penalties, the case of NGCP, DUs, and ERC, February 17, 2022
BWorld 529, Harm reduction — beer, Diet Coke and vapes, February 23, 2022.

Covid 71, More vax adverse reactions

Reposting this from

From the CDC Ph Huddle Feb. 19, 2022, these are among the comments from the audience:

Jay to Everyone (8:32 PM)
Yung friend ko po, confirmed na raw sa 2nd test yung HIV...Moderna yung vax nya, 2nd vax was Sept. 2021, and Feb 10, positive na. Male, 27 yrs old. ang patient. Aside sa HIV, may Syphilis din...definitely not an STD.

edu f to Everyone (8:41 PM)
There are a lot of people testing positive for HIV but have not developed anything. They called it Long Term Non-Progressors

Feb. 19, 

Meanwhile, I’m posting here some old testimonies in previous CDC Ph Huddles. Late post. Many Huddles I was not able to copy the testimonies.

CDC Ph Huddle Feb 2, 2022

Michael R to Everyone (1:30 PM)
In the US there are reports that Life Insurers are ready to question the unusual increase in death claims are Philippine Life Insurers experiencing the same and what are they doing about it.  The Press may want to question the Philippine Life Insurance Association or PLIA. their Gen. Manager is Mr. George Mina and his email add is

Luigie G to Everyone (2:03 PM)

Ana J to Everyone (2:34 PM)
I know some people who were hospitalized and eventually died ..they were given the option to choose to declare Covid as the cause of death in order to get financial assistance I think with Phil heath and priority in the place of wake.  that is probably why the cases are high.  I was hospitalized in 2021 and in two hospitals, the doctors insisted that I be admitted in the Covid section even when it was clear my condition was not Covid-related

Malu G to Everyone (2:35 PM)
Our family got Covid. Just applied the CDC PH protocol and we all got well without going to the hospital.

Rosanna E to Everyone (3:29 PM)

1.Call to Europe: The Future of Our Children is at Stake” - CHD Europe - Press Conference, Brussels January 23 

2.Warning from Dr Robert Malone, Pioneer of mRNA Technology, on Covid Vaccines 

3. Children under 12 should not risk receiving Pfizer’s COVID vaccine, WHO says  

6. Before You Inject Your Child - Statement from Dr. Robert Malone MD (founder of the mRNA technology)

The risk/benefit analysis is not even close with this vaccine for children.

7. WHO Chief Scientist: "...there’s no evidence right now that healthy children, or healthy adolescents, need boosters. No evidence at all.” 

8. Association of Myocarditis With BNT162b2 Messenger RNA COVID-19 Vaccine in a Case Series of Children   

9. Recurrence of Acute Myocarditis Temporally Associated with Receipt of the mRNA Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Vaccine in a Male Adolescent    

10. Myopericarditis in a previously healthy adolescent male following COVID-19 vaccination: A case report   

11. COVID-19 Vaccination-Associated Myocarditis in Adolescents

Symptomatic Acute Myocarditis in 7 Adolescents After Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccination   

Myopericarditis after the Pfizer mRNA COVID-19 Vaccine in Adolescents

Rosanna E to Everyone (3:31 PM)

1. Perimyocarditis following first dose of the mRNA-1273 SARS-CoV-2 (Moderna) vaccine in a healthy young male: a case report:    

2. Cardiac Imaging of Acute Myocarditis Following COVID-19 mRNA Vaccination 

3. COVID-19 mRNA Vaccine and Myocarditis 

4. Myocarditis after BNT162b2 vaccination in a healthy male   

5. Myopericarditis in young adults presenting to the emergency department after receiving a second COVID-19 mRNA vaccine 

6.Unusual Presentation of Acute Perimyocarditis Following SARS-COV-2 mRNA-1237 Moderna Vaccination

CDC Ph Huddle Oct 16


Atty. Fidel B to Everyone (7:30 PM)
Number of deaths in Taiwan after jabs exceeding covid deaths. What great reporting!

Raquel P to Everyone (7:44 PM)
ang anak ko po nag pa vaccine 1st dose,  after about a month nag positive sa antigen test and sobrang higpit inubo, nawalan panlasa,  n pang amoy,,, ang ibinigay ko po,  redox signaling molecules,,, 1 liter per day,,, in 3 days, 3 lters po,  naging maayos condition nya. n nag self quarantine,  kagabi po nkpasok na sya

Atty. Fidel B to Everyone (7:49 PM)
Pls share far and wide. Yes to Informed Consent. If you have a friend, neighbor or relative who is still deciding on whether to get jabbed or is deciding on whether to have his/her minor children jabbed. Please refer to this Telegram group, since we are not hearing much from DOH about adverse effects.

Toshiba G to Everyone (8:06 PM)
My agent colleague at Batangas almost died after taking Sinovac in his first jab. Talagang feel nya na mamamatay na sya. After that ayaw na nya mag 2nd jab

Aveen G to Everyone (8:06 PM)
doc romy, sa Bukidnon walang nag positive pre-vaxx. pero nung nag bakunahan na, yun nagtutumbahan na

Ching to Everyone (8:06 PM)
Sister ng kaibigan ko sa US fullyvaxed na. Saka pa sya na diagnosed ng breast cancer stage 1.

Toshiba G to Everyone (8:07 PM)
My other friend whose niece died one day after taking the J&J jab

Pastora Rona to Everyone (8:09 PM)
A relative of mine died after getting the J&J jab. A close friend of mine also died. He got jabbed July 30. Two days later he fell seriously ill, August 13 intubated and died. He left two toddkers behind.

RSR to Everyone (8:10 PM)
Had my 2nd dose last Sept 6. The following day I experienced severe headache and it lasted for two weeks.

Ley O to Everyone (8:10 PM)
The fatalities from the military/police and other uniformed services are confirmed po. The info, condolences, funeral services are being posted daily, weekly in the Viber group of alumni of the Philippine Military Academy. I graduated with PMA'88

Eleanor P to Everyone (8:12 PM)
Pls report postvax adverse effects here in this reporting system

Sylvia L to Everyone (8:32 PM)
we have a family friend po whose while household tested + for covid last frIday. 3 members of the household had 1st dose of pfizer on Tuesday. one member got 2nd dose of moderna last Sept. pwede po bang cause ng vax ang +rt-pcr nila? the one with 2nd dose moderna tested negative po pala

Myrel to Everyone (8:37 PM)
That is what is happening in San Vicente,Palawan Sir Nonoy. Altho there are few cases, they go house to house performing antigen test even to the newborn babies. An since they have a huge quarantine facility. They terrorize these less knowledgeable people  by using the police force to take these people in the countryside to the quarantine facility. They even violate the Article 132 of the revise penal code by going to the church to take these people to the quarantine facility making people very scared of them.

JOEY M to Everyone (8:39 PM)
My father-in-law is in hospital for 2 weeks already.  Was pre-tested at home with antigen test before hospitalization, was negative.  At hospital, they tested him with rt-PCR and declared him positive plus pneumonia.  After a week, they tested for antibodies and said he was covid-free already.  Next day, they said he was positive again and returned him to ICU (for other concerns).  He’s been classified as “critical covid case.”  I sense a conspiracy to commit fraud at the possible expense of patient’s life.

Ma. Judea to Everyone (8:46 PM)
Molnupuravir causes mutagenicity

Angeli V to Everyone (8:58 PM)
My friend’s husband was very, very sick with Covid, she begged to give Ivermectin. Docs disagreed, he died, so so sad!

Atty. Fidel B to Everyone (8:59 PM)
A JUdge in QC, hospitalized for covid.Family pleaded that IVM be used. Hospital said NO, the Judge died

Ma Lourdes M to Everyone (9:07 PM)
my HS batchmate who was confined sa Delgado nagtatago pa sa CR para mainom yung IVM nya.. kc baka daw magalit attending MD nya.. omg.. she became serious... natransfer sa PGH.. after one week .. na RIP.. huhuhu

Ching to Everyone (9:10 PM)
Wala kami lockdown ngayon dito sa Indonesia. IVM is part of hospital protocol

Angeli V to Everyone (9:11 PM)
My maid who came back from vacation told me that in Iloilo they don’t want to vaccinate as there are many adverse reactions and even deaths and in barrios you know how gossip can spread in a province! Faster than Covid.

Mariquita D to Everyone (9:13 PM)
In Iligan City , lately there are more fully vaccinated cases than unvaccinated. Like today there are 10 fully vaccinated and only 1 non-vaccinated that got infected.

Download CDC Ph iProtect Protocol: 

CDC Ph iProtect Protocol 3.0 

Donate to CDC Ph: 

Be a Member of CDC Ph: 

Our Viber Group: 


Our Telegram Channel:   YouTube Live:

Facebook Live:

Rumble Live: 

CDC Ph Huddle Nov. 27

Heart Attacks now are occurring to every young vaccinated individual

people are dying from this vax tapos dami nang friends na force magpa vax kasi mawalan ng trabaho.

Ganyan din ung sinabi dun sa pamangkn ng kakilala q may sakit na daw dati sa kidney ngayon kakalibing Lang.. Ang findings multi organ failure saka diabetes ketoasidosis 2

My 12 yo daughter's  classmate had fever all week. post firat vac on Tuesday...

the kids that died, was it reported in MSM???

atty. ako po nagwowork sa supermarket , nagpasa na po ako ng letter of refusal , ang sabi ng hr namin tinrethreaten ko daw po sya.. at sumusunod lang daw po sila sa iatf.  hindi daw po nila ako papasukin khit may letter of refusal at grave coercion ako. weekly daw po ako magpa antigen. patulong po ako pls pls

See also:
Covid 68, Dictatorial mass vaccination of children 5-11 yo, February 06, 2022
Covid 69, CDC Ph reply to DOH-IATF on mass vaccination of 5-11 yo, February 08, 2022
Covid 70, Doc Iggy Agbayani on pedia vaccination, February 23, 2022.

Energy 161, No Tricks Zone on Europe energy situation, e-cars

My favorite blog on Europe energy and international climate studies, NTZ. 
Good work as usual, Pierre Gosselin, thank you.

1. German Household Electricity Prices Reach New Record High In 2021…Share Of Green Electricity Falls!
By P Gosselin on 11. January 2022

The German Association for Energy and Water Management (BDEW) recently presented the latest 2021 Energy Supply Annual Report as a PowerPoint presentation.

2. 650 km Wintertime Trip With VW E-Car Took 13 Hours, 3 Recharges And Lots Of Warm Clothes
By P Gosselin on 18. January 2022

3. New Study: Adding Wind Farms Leads To 1°C Per Decade Nighttime Land Surface Temperature Warming
By Kenneth Richard on 20. January 2022

4. Global Coal Consumption Reaches New Record High In 2021…China, India Consuming Two Thirds
By P Gosselin on 23. January 2022

5. Climate Activists Love Their “Brilliant” Ideas…Until They Actually Have To Live Them. Harmon’s E-Car “Nightmare”

By P Gosselin on 26. January 2022

6. KTM CEO Pierer: “Electric Mobility Is Nonsense Promoted By Politicians With No Technical Knowledge”
By P Gosselin on 30. January 2022

Combustion engines will be around long after 2035, says Austrian KTM CEO…”500-kg battery to substitute 20 liters of fuel” …”a stupid idea” …”phony sustainability”…

7. Green Wrecking Ball: Germany Clearing “Undisturbed” 1000-Year Old Forest, Make Way For Massive Wind Park
By P Gosselin on 4. February 2022

8. Germany Electricity Prices Soar To World Record Highs After Years Of Energy Policy Folly…Expensive, Unreliable
By P Gosselin on 9. February 2022

Today German weekly news magazine FOCUS here reports how Germany’s electricity prices have now reached “record” levels: “Germany is the world champion in electricity prices – no country pays more for electricity. According to new data from the German Association of Energy and Water Industries, German households paid an average of 36.19 cents for a kilowatt hour in January 2022.” 

That’s over 40 US cents per kilowatt-hour!

9. Price Shock: Mercedes Hybrid Driver Stunned After Learning New Battery Costs More Than Value Of Car!
By P Gosselin on 11. February 2022

The price for a new battery was 18,000 pounds – not including the hourly wage of £200. But the Mercedes hybrid at the time was only worth around £12,000, thus making little sense to repair a car that’s only 8 years old. 

10. As Germany’s Green Dream Becomes A Nightmare, Asia And Russia Power Ahead With Nuclear Power
By P Gosselin on 13. February 2022

Asia goes nuclear while Europe goes bust
By Fred F. Mueller

11. Main Reason Behind Europe’s “Energy Price Explosion” Is Green Policy In Europe And Germany
By P Gosselin on 16. February 2022

Nitrogen fertilizer price per tonne in euros. (Die kalte Sonne

12. The “World’s Dumbest Energy Policy” Just Got Dumber…The Frightening Race To Reset By World War
By P Gosselin on 22. February 2022

13. Shocking Surprise At Munich E-Car Charging Stations: Electricity Prices To Surge 81%… “Total Madness!”
By P Gosselin on 23. February 2022

See also:
Energy 158, Europe rolling blackout, Germany's anti-nuke anti-coal policy, December 25, 2021
Energy 159, US coal, gas, oil production vs solar, February 03, 2022 
Energy 160, ESG, Net zero, Gas power, and Electric vehicles, February 07, 2022.

Wednesday, February 23, 2022

BWorld 529, Harm reduction — beer, Diet Coke and vapes

* My article in BusinessWorld, February 14, 2022. 

I wrote a recent paper for the Albert del Rosario Institute (Stratbase-ADRi), “Assessment of the Philippines’ Sin Tax laws: Have they delivered the expected revenues?”

The quick answer is “Yes.” The primary purpose of the sin tax hike is to raise more money for the government, secondarily to reduce consumption of so-called “sin products” like tobacco, alcohol, and sugar-sweetened beverages (SSB). And there is a big question mark if the second objective was really attained.


Tobacco tax revenues doubled from P33 billion in 2012 to P72 billion in 2013, tripled by 2015, quadrupled by 2017, and nearly quintupled by 2019 and 2020. The same trend of persistent increase follows in alcohol tax revenues, but not as fast as tobacco revenues. The P24 billion level in 2012 became double by 2016 and triple by 2019. From one of the tables (Table 15) of the paper, I showed these numbers (Table 1).

As a percentage of total excise tax revenues including collections from petroleum and mining products, tobacco taxes share increased from 45.5% in 2012 to 60% in 2017 while alcohol share decreased from 33% to 29% over the same period. By 2020, tobacco taxes comprised 50% of total excise tax collections, alcohol and SSB comprised 26% and 11%, respectively. The three products brought in a total of P260 billion to the government, big money for the government.

So, high tax rates lead to low smoking and drinking incidence? Likely the answer is “No.” Because the government and NGOs only look at reduced volume of legal tobacco and alcohol but not illegal tobacco and alcohol. I made my own estimates using four scenarios and assumptions. The estimated increase in smoking prevalence ranges from 1.2% to 6.8% of population. Meaning that from 21.4% of population in 2019, actual smoking prevalence can be 22.6% to 28.2% of population. Higher tax rates lead to higher smuggling, cheaper illegal tobacco, and led to more smoking, not less.


Now come two bills from Congress —HB 9007 and SB 2239, the Vaporized Nicotine and Non-Nicotine Products Regulation Act, or simply the vaporized nicotine products (VNP) or vape bill. Its main goal is to encourage smokers to shift from using unhealthier cigarettes to alternative less harmful products like VNP, if they cannot stop smoking.

The bill has many prohibitions — minors below 18 years old cannot have access to these products; no online selling; celebrities cannot endorse these products; they are banned in schools, hospitals, and government offices; distribution is banned within 100 meters from any perimeter of a school or playground; no corporate sponsorships to industry associations or trade events, and so on.

Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph G. Recto, the Chairperson of the Senate contingent to the Bicameral Conference Committee on disagreeing provisions of both bills, made good arguments in his sponsorship speech of Senate Committee Report No. 265 on SB No. 2239 last in May 2021. He said, “VNPs are not safe and not risk-free. Similar to cigarettes, they pose health risks. The absence of combustion does not make it nicotine-free. What VNPs do is that they lessen the emission of other harmful chemical compounds, which are released when tobacco is set on fire.

“For many who have been trying, VNPs have been a good alternative to kick the (smoking) habit. VNPs, as borne by many studies, can scale down consumption… While this paradigm is still contested, it is gaining adherents from the science community as a feasible approach in tobacco control. I will not argue that these products are safe or as pristine as clean mountain air, because there is no debate there.”


Before the vape bill regulating the products, there was a vape tax under RA 11467 (2020). In 2019 during the discussions on potential tax revenues from e-cigarettes and VNPs, the Departments of Health and Finance (DoH and DoF) made bloated and exaggerated projections that incremental revenues would be P3.2 to P4.3 billion a year. Compare this with lower estimates from House Bill (HB) 1026 and the Department of Budget and Management’s Budget of Expenditures and Sources of Financing (BESF). The computed difference from DoH-DoF projection vs. BESF 2022 ranged from P3 to P4 billion a year and the exaggeration is 12x to 19x a year (Table 2).

The DoH-DoF can argue that because of the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdowns, their bloated estimates did not materialize. That is not a plausible explanation because consumption of tobacco products has hardly been affected by the pandemic. For instance, tobacco tax revenues rose from P147.6 billion in 2019 to P149.6 billion in 2020 and P172.3 billion in 2021.

The DoH-DoF just deliberately bloated their estimates with unrealistic assumptions to rush the law, and people quickly shifted to HTPs and salt nicotine, and/or shifted to smuggled products.


Harm reduction is done for many other products. Beer (5-7% alcohol content) and wine (15-17% alcohol content) are considered as harm reduction substitutes for brandy (25-28%) or whisky and vodka (40-45%). Unregulated lambanog (distilled coconut liquor) can have alcohol content of up to 50%. Diet Coke or Coke Zero are considered harm reduction substitutes when it comes to sugar content over the original Coca Cola with 39 grams sugar per 12 oz can. New chocolates with zero sugar or little sugar are harm reduction substitutes for the traditional high sugar chocolates.

Yet these harm-reduction products are not demonized. Probably because anti-vape people are consuming these and there is no funding to attack these products. So, there is double-talk when people attack harm reduction substitutes for tobacco products but not harm reduction in alcohol, soda, chocolate, ice cream and other products.

Instead of double talk, the vape bill should pass. It is an anomaly actually that there is a need for legislation for this. A slippery slope, this may lead to legislation to further regulate use and distribution of those products aside from raising their taxes.

Government concern for public health is also inconsistent. It is less concerned with risky sports like rock climbing and downhill cycling that can cause considerable bodily injury in case of accidents. Or financially addicting activities like online and casino gambling, cockfighting, and many other activities.

Either government should regulate and tax all of these products and activities heavily — which will further increase government corruption — or it should relax regulations and taxation to have consistency in public policy.

See also:
BWorld 526, Economic stagnation, de-industrialization, and lockdown in the Philippines, February 06, 2022
BWorld 527, Cement tariff and the consumers, February 08, 2022
BWorld 528, Electrifying profit and penalties, the case of NGCP, DUs, and ERC, February 17, 2022.

Agenda One News, Part 7

Last week February 14, I was interviewed again by Cito Beltran, Host of daily (Monday-Friday 8-9am) program "Agenda" in One News Ph, Cignal TV. This could be my 7th interview by Cito. The topic was... 

I mentioned during the interview that for six years straight the Office of the Vice President (OVP) budget is between P0.6 to P0.9 B a year, always below P1B/yr budget. The 2022 budget is P5 T, OVP budget is P0.7 B, or 0.0001 of total, or 1% of 1%. So if the total budget is P100, OVP budget is P0.01, not even P1 but 1 centavo. So living within its means, exceeding the performance beyond the budget given to it has been the the cornerstone of the OVP Bec she is able to attract priv donation to a national govt office during the heavy lockdown. This seldom happens.

As of today, it has 29k views, 710 comments, am flattered. Thank you, readers and viewers.

Then it was reported in the news program that same day of One News, and it gathered another 39k views as of today.

Thanks again for the opportunity to share my ideas to your viewers and listeners, Cito. Much appreciated.

See also:
Agenda, One News, Part 4, February 11, 2020 
Agenda One News, Part 5, July 28, 2020
Agenda One News, Part 6, August 31, 2020.

Covid 70, Doc Iggy Agbayani on pedia vaccination

Reposting my blog post yesterday in CDC Ph website,

Today is Doc Benigno “Iggy”Agbayani Jr’s birthday, 2-22-22. He is among the founders of CDC Ph when it was launched in September 2020, then became its first President. Reposting his birthday post below and tweets. Happy birthday doc. 

Iggy Agbayani’s birthday post, 2-22-22:

We have to explain to schools trying to enforce vaccine passports and parents who had their children jabbed without offending them. Telling them the following facts unravels their lack of correct information and adding great risk with little to no benefit: 

1) These vaccines do not prevent transmission. RCT’s did not even try to prove this and many case studies have demonstrated high viral loads even in the vaccinated who got sick and there many who are asymptomatic just like in the unvaccinated 

2)This claimed temporary protection has no significant RCT study (a required level of evidence when claiming efficacy of a new drug for a new variant) and therefore unproven protection for Omicron and future variants. The evidence claimed even for protection against the original Wuhan variant has an absolute relative risk protection based on Pfizers one and only large RCT is not 95% but the more realistic 0.84% and this number is likely to be smaller in the younger and healthier population. 

3)The risk of hospitalization and deaths was demonstrated in extended RCT’s of Pfizer and this was not given emphasis by the study or the media. It is now well established based on large observation case series from the UK just a few months ago that MRNA vaccines increases the risk of myocarditis in young males, a deadly and life changing adverse event, far more compared to getting COVID-19 itself. 

Finally, there is an increasing number of vaccine related severe adverse event in the young. Without robust safety studies these signals are more than enough to stop the use of vaccines especially in children. 

Attached are good reference to read and use: 

1) Clinical Research Deanna Mcleod, 



Doc Iggy’s recent tweets:

Doc Iggy Agbayani

Feb 19

Myocarditis is significantly higher in MRNA vaccines in younger males but there are certainly other adverse events being reported increasingly but still underreported by present voluntary surveillance.

With increasing signals of adverse events and deaths from COVID-19 vaccination and a decreasing number of deaths and hospitalizations from COVID-19, it is now possible to withhold emergency use authorization of these obsolete vaccines especially in children..

An informed consent needs to be fully informed & not forced. Otherwise its a worthless piece of waiver preventing us  from suing them. Tell them about the 1% VAERS Undereporting, the excess deaths since vaccination and the new vaccines coming out next month. Unsafe and obsolete

Feb 18

A 35 year old patient with both ankle swelling consulted me an Ortho. Previously seen by a cardiologist and nephrologist who did tests to find the reason for his symptoms. I asked if he was hypertensive and on amlodipine. Then I will investigate the real cause of his HPN.

Fasting blood sugar will miss a new diabetic when we do fasting past 8 hours. When I screen I use Hba1c. Watch out for vaccine triggered diabetes.

Feb 16

A published scientific paper claimed FDA VAERS reporting is about 1% of actual numbers. Phil. FDA VEARS had 1,671 reported deaths by Jan. Philippine Excess deaths in 2021 coinciding with vaccs rolloiut is about 180,000+ March to Sept. Do the math. This is a massacre. Painful!

About two weeks after getting COVID-19 there is no more need to take any prophylaxis against it because of natural immunity. I don’t even recommend ivermectin prophylaxis or vaccination to healthy children below 50 years old 😊… DepEd not educated about Lockdowns, why so many other countries have opened up F2F schools many months ago & there is no proven or safe experimental COV-19 vaccine. It is clearly unnecessary & the death of a single child from vaccination is unconscionable.

Feb 15

The state should not have any power on its citizens if it can’t be made accountable for a harm it is causing. Remove the immunity from litigation from injury caused by an experimental vaccination and consent induced by force or coercion and incomplete or false information.

At clinic today one young lady developed both ankle pain two weeks after booster and a middle aged man presenting with neck pain and diabetes symptoms a week after booster. I have an Orthopedic clinic and wondering how internist fair when they don’t look for it. Underreporting!

The CDC is promoting misleading data interpretation by comparing vaccinated to unvaccinated deaths and hospitalization. They bias select the vaccinated who are healthy, not bed ridden, able to go the vaccination centers, and survive the deaths caused by vaccination.

I predicted Feb 14 as the time when Philippine COVID cases would be low enough to lift all restrictions. All I had to do was look at South Africa with Omicron. Who needs the overrated OCTA when a non statistician like me could do the same or better.

Some Filipino Doctors trying hard to convince parents to vaccinate their children as if their life depended on it. NOT if they are shielded from liability. Nothing to lose is cowardice. With vaccines this weak on Omicron nothing to gain either. It’s all bull.

“Doc, need to also bring up the matter on “liability shield” this is the most important aspect not to force individuals at any age, gender, etc.

The drug makers, administering doctors, government are all exempted from legal liabilities in case of covax injuries and/or death.”

See also:
Covid 67, CDC Ph Press con on Government Covid response, February 02, 2022
Covid 68, Dictatorial mass vaccination of children 5-11 yo, February 06, 2022
Covid 69, CDC Ph reply to DOH-IATF on mass vaccination of 5-11 yo, February 08, 2022.

Thursday, February 17, 2022

BWorld 528, Electrifying profit and penalties, the case of NGCP, DUs, and ERC

* My column in BusinessWorld, February 7, 2022.

The severe COVID-19 lockdown has pulled down the Philippines’ overall GDP and sales of the big companies in 2020. For instance, the gross revenue (GR) of the top 1,000 corporations was P10.8 trillion in 2020, down from P12.4 trillion in 2019.

We reviewed the financial performance of the major distribution utilities (DUs), retail electricity suppliers (RES), and NGCP. This is a follow up to this column’s piece on Jan. 24 on the financial performance of major power generation companies (gencos) in the Philippines,


In 2016, Manila Electric Co.’s (Meralco) GR was P250.71 billion, its net income (NI) was P20.57 billion; the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines’ (NGCP) GR was P45.54 billion, its NI was P21.24 billion.

The gross profit margin (gross profit over gross revenue) of the NGCP was 66% in 2019 and 68% in 2020, which was huge. Over the same period, Meralco’s profit margin was 17% and decreased to 16%.

What explains the huge profitability of the NGCP? And how do some DUs spend some of their profit? See these recent news reports in BusinessWorld:

1. “NGCP needs about 1,800 MW in firm contracts for full coverage” (Jan. 26),

2. “NGCP invites electricity generators to supply power reserves” (Jan. 28),

3. “Bringing light beyond its franchise: Meralco extends help to typhoon-hit areas” (Jan. 19),

4. “San Miguel unit offers best rate for Meralco’s 170-MW requirement” (Feb. 3),

5. “ERC approves increased subsidized rates for SPUG suppliers” (Feb. 2),

6. “ERC fines generation companies P15.5M for unplanned outages” (Feb. 4).

So, the NGCP is not getting enough firm contracts to provide sufficient reserve requirements to avoid those pesky yellow- and red-alerts that occur yearly. It just accumulates a huge profit, which is good news for its investors (40% State Grid Corp. of China/SGCC, 30% Monte Oro Grid, 30% Calaca High).


Meralco is also earning well, but it uses part of its profit on doing more community services. When Typhoon Rai (local name “Odette”) hit the country last December and destroyed many structures in the Visayas, Meralco sent 140+ linemen and engineers with 33 vehicles and cranes to help restore electricity quickly in Cebu and Bohol.

The BusinessWorld report noted Meralco’s help, “In Cebu, over 80 engineers and linemen, and 21 vehicles have been deployed to help the Visayan Electric Co. (VECO) and Mactan Electric Co. (MECO) restore electricity service in several parts of the province. In Bohol… close to 60 personnel, along with 13 vehicles.”

The yellow- and red-alerts continued even until last January. With high power demand expected due to the campaign period starting this February and the elections this coming May, Meralco cannot rely on stable supply and price from the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (WESM) so it has to get its own short-term contract for 170 MW from Feb. 26 to July 25.


The Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) has made one good policy, protecting consumers in on-grid islands via lowering the cost of the universal charge for missionary electrification (UC-ME), a regular subsidy to consumers in off-grid islands and areas because they rely on gensets running on diesel which can never be cheap.

But the ERC is back to penalizing gencos. It has also penalized a number of DUs and electric cooperatives (ECs). But it seems there were few or no instances where it penalized the NGCP. Like the damage to NGCP’s Negros-Cebu submarine cable last July, caused by a Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) project. Instead of the NGCP going after the DPWH for the huge cost of congestion, the cost was passed on to the Negros ECs, which in turn passed this on to the consumers.


And speaking of congestion, there are a few power plants that are affected until now. Meaning, the NGCP seems not to be investing enough to quickly upgrade the transmission system (Table 2).

So, for the seven projects in Table 2, the additional capacity in Luzon, if congestion is resolved earlier, is 818 MW (668+150). For the Visayas, additional capacity would have been 177 MW. There are also delays in their plant construction but the transmission is more delayed. Then there is the never-ending Mindanao-Visayas interconnection project.

During the Independent Electricity Market Operator of the Philippines (IEMOP) media briefing on Jan. 28, they reported these additional capacities in the Luzon-Visayas grids from January-June 2022: coal 818 MW, solar 125 MW, oil-based 22 MW, geothermal 4 MW, and battery energy storage system (BESS) 180 MW. Note that BESS are not power generators, they are only storage batteries for excess supply on certain hours or days by intermittent wind and solar. I asked the IEMOP if the 180 MW BESS are mainly from SMC, they said “Yes.”

There will be very little additional capacity in Mindanao from January-June 2022 — only 3.6 MW from geothermal; zero from coal, oil-based, solar or wind, but there will be 140 MW from BESS.


In 2020, the Philippines’ power generation was 101.8 terawatt-hours (TWH). This was equivalent to Vietnam’s power generation of 101.5 TWH in 2011, in 2020 Vietnam’s power generation was 234.5 TWH. Malaysia was generating 98.8 TWH in 2005 and 159.6 TWH in 2020. Thailand was generating 101.0 TWH in 2001, and 176.4 TWH in 2020. Indonesia was generating 101.7 TWH in 2001, and 275.2 TWH in 2020.

So, the Philippines’ total power generation of 102 TWH in 2020 was what Vietnam generated in 2011, Malaysia in 2005, and Thailand and Indonesia in 2001. We are so behind in power generation compared to our four neighbors in the ASEAN. We need to do two things to catch up with our neighbors, and serve more households and companies especially now that we have liberalized the Public Service Act, a good job by Congress.

One, we need more stable, reliable, and dispatchable power sources and less intermittent sources. Since the Department of Energy was pressured by the climate activists and ESG (environmental, social, and governance) corporate lobbyists to discontinue new coal plants, we must consider nuclear power. At least the small modular reactors (SMRs).

Two, the transmission system must continue fast upgrades. It will cost big money, but the NGCP is earning big money anyway. The ERC and Congress must push the NGCP to do its job as contained in its legislative franchise. New big power plants must be quickly connected to the grid, and to the consumers.

See also:
BWorld 525, Major power companies, the Indonesia coal export ban, and the PCCI election, February 03, 2022
BWorld 526, Economic stagnation, de-industrialization, and lockdown in the Philippines, February 06, 2022
BWorld 527, Cement tariff and the consumers, February 08, 2022.

Russia top exports, US wars, and US-Russia conflict over Ukraine

Russia's main exports are energy products -- oil and gas, plus coal. Not bombs, missiles or jetfighters.

US recent wars

The US invaded Afghanistan in October 2001 after the terrorist attacks in the US in 9-11. The Afghan war goal was to "fight/defeat terror." After 20 years in 2021, terror was not defeated and the US hastily left leaving huge number of planes, tanks, humvees, etc.

Then in 2003 the US invaded Iraq to remove Saddam's "weapons of mass destruction". No such weapons found but instead of packing away, US stayed, nearly two decades now.

Both wars initiated by George Bush Jr. (US President 2001-2008), sustained by Barrack Obama (US President 2009-2016). Obama also sent US jet fighters and troops in Syria in 2014.

Trump promised during the campaign in 2016 on ending "endless wars", but somehow he was not able to pull out US forces from these two countries. He instead successfully initiated the "Abraham Accord" -- the US-sponsored Israel-Bahrain, Israel-UAE, and Israel-Morocco peace accords, in 2020. Last time there was Israel peace accord with any Middle East country was the Israel-Egypt peace accord in 1979. So after 41 years. Also, no new war under Trump.

US-Russia conflict over Ukraine

With the US losing Afghanistan and Iraq wars, perhaps the US government and military/defense agencies, and US private defense companies (aka "military-industrial complex") just want another war. Why, perhaps to keep their pockets fat again. In Taiwan vs China, and in Ukraine vs Russia. Biden is so concerned about the Ukraine border with Russia but not so concerned with US border with Mexico with million plus illegals successfully crossing the border.

Good pacification moves are done by European mainlanders themselves like France and Germany. The war freaks are outside the mainland, like Australia, UK and US (AUKUS). 

Last year, the US government and allies big media been talking about Russia invasion of Ukraine, fail.

Early February 2022, Pentagon and White House, allies media and analysts set a date of Russia invasion -- Febryary 16, yesterday. Fail. Russia laughing at them. See for instance,

Russia Mocks US, Requests 'Full List Of Ukraine Invasion Dates' For Year Ahead
Tyler Durden  WEDNESDAY, FEB 16, 2022 - 10:50 PM

Meanwhile, where are the Nobel Peace prize awardees? Why not speak up loud vs endless war mongering? Are they being warned by the Nobel Committee to shut up on this?

See also:
Russian economy, Putin and cheap oil, August 11, 2015
Energy 120, US-Russia rivalry in oil-gas dominance, Feb. 04, 2019
Top exports by selected rich countries, April 22, 2019.

Tuesday, February 08, 2022

BWorld 527, Cement tariff and the consumers

* My article in BusinessWorld, January 31, 2022.

“Consumption is the sole end and purpose of all production; and the interest of the producer ought to be attended to, only so far as it may be necessary for promoting that of the consumer.”

                            —  Adam Smith,

                                 The Wealth of Nations (1776),                                     Book IV Chapter VIII, v. ii.

ON Dec. 6, 2021, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) imposed an anti-dumping duty on Philippine cement imports from Vietnam at the following rates: Type 1 cement, $1.02 to $10.53 per metric ton (MT) or 2.7% to 31.9% of the export price; and Type 1P cement, $1.16 to $12.79 per MT or 3.8% to 29.2% of export price. DTI estimated that these provisional duties will add P2.01 to P25.08 per 40 kilo bag of cement to the import cost.

Then on Dec. 9, the Tariff Commission (TC) began a formal investigation after it received a request from the DTI and the complete case records. A preliminary conference was held on Dec. 20.

The policy of imposing anti-dumping duty is based on the complaint and lobby by some local cement manufacturers, especially subsidiaries of big multinationals like Lafarge Holcim (Switzerland), CEMEX (Mexico), and CRH (Ireland) that (a.) cement imports from Vietnam are sold here at artificially low, “dumped” prices, (b.) leading to business injuries to local cement manufacturers.

Do these two allegations have a basis? To analyze (a.), I requested data on Philippine cement imports from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), and to analyze (b.), I checked data from the BusinessWorld Top 1,000 Corporations.

The Philippines’ domestic production of 24 to 26 million metric tons (MMT) of cement yearly is insufficient to supply domestic demand of up to 35 MMT. Hence, the Philippines imports 10 to 11 MMT yearly from many countries, some 5 to 7 MMT of which are from Vietnam, another 1.5-2 MMT from Thailand and Indonesia, another 1.2-1.7 MMT from Japan and South Korea.

In terms of value, the Philippines’ cement imports were $427 million to $513 million yearly, free on board (fob). Some $266-$313 million of which are from Vietnam, another $64-$85 million from Thailand and Indonesia (Table 1).

From these numbers, I computed the percent share of these country sources, then divided the value over quantity to get the average price per kilo. Vietnam’s share is 49% to 68% of total imports, followed by 13% to 18% from Thailand and Indonesia.

On imported prices, here is an interesting revelation: the average price is only 4.37 to 4.67 US cents per kilo. And the cheaper cement did not come from Vietnam but from Thailand, Indonesia, South Korea, Japan, and Taiwan (Table 2).

So, why did the local manufacturers, who lobbied for more expensive cement imports via the imposition of an anti-dumping duty, not complain about the much cheaper cement from these five Asian countries?

These prices are equivalent to P2.14 to P2.38 per kilo at P49 to P51 per $1 exchange rate, or P86 to P95 per 40-kilo bag — really cheap. But this is still free on board (fob) value, so there are additional costs to add — shipping, insurance, docking delays (if any), trucking, storage, others. Plus the importers’ and retailers’ profit margin. Perhaps retail prices of P170 to P190 per bag. If so, then consumers benefit if they can save at least P20/bag.

Next test, (b.) — did domestic cement producers really suffer business injuries due to cheap cement imports?

According to the BusinessWorld Top 1,000 Corporations, all these local manufacturers experienced an increase or flat gross revenues in 2019 compared to 2018 except Holcim. The decline in revenues in 2020 was mainly due to the lockdown and pandemic. Even then, some companies experienced increases in net income — Apo, Northern, Philcement. Eagle and Republic Building Materials, Republic Iligan/Mindanao have no data for 2020 (Table 3).

Usually companies drop out of the Top 1,000 in a given year not because they suffered a huge decline in revenues but because they had not yet submitted their financial statements to the Securities and Exchange Commission at the time that  the BusinessWorld research department was collating the data.

From the above discussions, we can conclude the following:

One, high cement imports from Vietnam imply their products are cheaper than domestic products, but Vietnam prices are more expensive than cement from Thailand, Indonesia, South Korea, Japan, and Taiwan. But imported cement from these countries were not targeted for anti-dumping duties by the local manufacturers, especially the multinationals.

Two, imposing duties against exports of fellow ASEAN country is not good as we are supposed to have a free trade, zero tariff ASEAN Economic Community (AEC). The lobby for expensive cement imports did not include cement from Thailand and Indonesia because it is not good to expand trade disputes.

Three, data on gross revenues and net income show that there are no clear business injuries for the local manufacturers except for Holcim and Republic Cement. One possible reason is that these two companies have high prices and many consumers have shifted to imported cement.

Four, “dumping” is actually pro-consumer. Households, and commercial and government consumers benefit when cement prices are low and supply is large. Domestic production should expand big time and prices should go down to levels similar to those of imported products.

Five, TC and DTI should not consider making the current provisional anti-dumping duty permanent. The duty should go back to zero. As Adam Smith pointed out, the main goal of production (and trade) is to satisfy the customers.

See also this column’s piece on cement tariffs three years ago, (Jan. 24, 2019).

See also:
BWorld 524, The transportation sector and the motorcycle taxi, February 01, 2022
BWorld 525, Major power companies, the Indonesia coal export ban, and the PCCI election, February 03, 2022
BWorld 526, Economic stagnation, de-industrialization, and lockdown in the Philippines, February 06, 2022.

Covid 69, CDC Ph reply to DOH-IATF on mass vaccination of 5-11 yo

This is the DOH-IATF statement.