Friday, July 29, 2022

Western Visayas population

Western Visayas (Region 6) is among the medium-size regions in the Philippines in terms of population size with 7.9 million people in the May 2020 census of the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA). This is larger than Hong Kong with 7.5 million, Laos with 7.4 million, and Singapore with 5.7 million.

The largest regions are the Calabarzon (Region 4-A) with 16.2 million (Cavite alone has 4.3 million, Laguna 3.4 million, Rizal 3.3 million), National Capital Region (NCR) or Metro Manila with 13.5 million, and Central Luzon (Region 3) with 12.4 million.

Within Region 6, the biggest province is Negros Occidental including Bacolod City with 3.22 million, followed by Iloilo with 2.5 million.

In terms of population growth rate, the fastest growing is Aklan province with 1.4% average annual growth from 2010-2020. Until 2010, Antique has larger population than Aklan but in 2020, Aklan overtook Antique. Fast population growth in the municipalities of Malay (including Boracay island), Nabas and Numancia pulled up Aklan’s overall growth rate and size.

Iloilo province has faster growth rate than Negros Occidental but Bacolod City has faster growth and population size than Iloilo City. Within Iloilo, fastest growth was registered by the municipalities of Pavia with 4.9% and Estancia with 2.2%.

In Negros Occidental, the big cities aside from Bacolod are Kabankalan, Bago and my hometown Cadiz City.

Curious what would be the population size of our region by 2030 or eight years from now, I made my own projection using an assumed population growth in 2020-2030 of about 0.2% lower than 2010-2020 growth rate of 1.1%. The result is a regional size of about 8.8 million by 2030, Negros Occidental will have 3.5 million, Iloilo 2.8 million (see table).

Present and future population of Western Visayas

Sources: Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), author computations

Big population means big number of entrepreneurs, workers, traders and consumers. The biggest economies in the world in terms of GDP size are also the countries with huge population – US, China, India, Japan, Germany and Russia.

We just have to keep improving the skills and productivity of our people in the country and the region and free up their entrepreneurial spirit, and prosperity and kauswagan will be with our children and grandchildren.

Wednesday, July 27, 2022

BWorld 553, State of the world, state of the nation

* My article in BusinessWorld last July 25.

This paper will expand my hypothesis that I mentioned last week — that Europe and North America will deindustrialize in the short- to medium-term and many companies there will migrate to Asia. The Philippines should prepare for this.


I encountered for the first time the concept of Degrowth economics from these articles:

1. “Climate Change Modeling of ‘Degrowth’ Scenarios — Reduction in GDP, Energy and Material Use” by University of Sydney,, May 11, 2021;

2. “1.5°C degrowth scenarios suggest the need for new mitigation pathways” by Lorenz T. Keyßer and Manfred Lenzen,, May 11, 2021;

3. “Degrowth: Universities Push Permanent Poverty as the Solution to Climate Change” by Eric Worrall,, May 13, 2021.

To argue for reduced production of material goods and services to “save the planet” is irresponsible and insane, and the idea comes from the academe.

Then when there were frequent yellow-red alerts in the Philippines in May-June 2021, and electricity prices in Europe started rising due to less windy and more cloudy condition and thin reserves in July 2021 onwards, I started writing about “Blackout economics” in this column in BusinessWorld: “Ten indicators of blackout economics” (June 14, 2021), “Blackout economics, COP26 and Negros’ power prices” (Nov. 15, 2021), “Europe’s blackout economics and the Philippines’ path to brownouts” (Dec. 27, 2021).


Energy is development. Insufficient and unstable energy supply means slow and unsustained growth, higher power and consumer prices. Meanwhile, a high and stable electricity supply means there is a high capacity for power-intensive manufacturing, malls, residential and office condos and villages, hospitals, etc. to keep humming and producing various goods and services 24/7.

The Group of Seven (G7) industrialized countries of the world are in the forefront of “decarbonization” and “net zero” campaigns to fight “man-made” climate change. They do not believe that there is natural and cyclical climate change. The last two decades showed a drastic reduction in power generation of G7, also in two other big European countries with a GDP size of at least $1 trillion, Spain and Netherlands.

East and South Asia, excluding Japan, just paid lip-service to “decarbonization” and went on to make huge increases in power generation, based mainly on fossil fuels, especially China, India, Vietnam, and Indonesia. Russia took the East Asian path, though at a slower pace. Overall global power generation saw continued growth in energy production (Table 1).

The G7 and other European countries have a sustained belief in climate and energy alarmism. This will lead them to a path of deindustrialization.


Industrialized countries by default have low inflation because their technological advancement means they can mass produce many things, and have efficient storage and transportation logistics for a huge volume of goods 24/7. Thus, the average inflation rate from 1990-2010 were: Italy 3.1%, the UK 2.7%, the US 2.6%, Canada 2.1%, Germany 2%, France 1.8%, and Japan 0.4%.

Insufficient power generation and expensive electricity relative to their high industrial and commercial demand contributed to 37- to 49-years of high inflation in G7 countries except Japan. They have had anemic GDP growth over the past two decades, with 2.3% average growth already considered “very high.”

In contrast, East and South Asians that pursued high power generation would consider average growth of 3.3% as “very low” because their growth would range from 4-10% (Table 2).


My view is that North America and Europe will further deteriorate economically, and are likely to experience “stagflation” or stagnant/low growth with high inflation. So, many companies there will start migrating to Asia where growth is fast, where consumers are in the billions, and where energy policies are not held fully hostage by climate alarmism.

The Philippines should continue down the path of lower tax rates and a broader tax base that can lead to stable and high revenues. The Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises (CREATE) Act of 2021 (RA 11534) has reduced the corporate income tax rate from 30% to 25% for big corporations and 20% for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) with net taxable income of P5 million or lower, and total assets of P100 million or lower excluding land. This was a good move by the Duterte administration.

The next challenge would be to reduce the value-added tax (VAT) from 12% to around 10% and reduce the number of exempted sectors to have a broader tax base. We have the highest VAT or gross sales tax (GST) rate in the ASEAN and this is not good for us (Table 3).

The current strategy of Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno of further broadening the tax base is good — I support it. Then there is the improvement in tax administration via digitalization and the taxation of many online transactions to be at par with taxation in malls, shops, and groceries. But no amount of raising revenues will be sufficient to reduce our huge public debt, outstanding and guaranteed debt — only P8.2 trillion in 2019, P12.2 trillion in 2021, and P12.9 trillion in May 2022 — unless there is corresponding fiscal discipline and cuts in expenditures or subsidies. This column will discuss more fiscal policies in future articles.

To summarize, the state of the world is there is generally more economic sanity but it is the rich, industrialized, and influential countries like G7 that lead in economic and energy irrationality. The Philippines should prepare for companies migrating from the west. The government’s economic team, local business, labor, and even civil society sectors should prepare for this.

See also:
BWorld 550, The Bulacan Ecozone veto and Ben Diokno books, July 15, 2022
BWorld 551, The SC on Meralco rate hike, Bidenflation and Peso depreciation, July 20, 2022
BWorld 552, Lucky Me, bureaucracy rightsizing, electricity prices, and MPIC, July 21, 2022.

Tuesday, July 26, 2022

Deindustrialization 1, Europe's sagging energy supply

I am starting a new thread in this blog, about the crawling deindustrialization of the west, especially Europe. The cause of which is high and even rising government intervention and central planning in energy and transportation rationing, climate alarmism. See these previous reports in 2021.

1. European Power Grid Narrowly Misses Widespread Blackout As Frequency Drops Suddenly 
By P Gosselin on 10. January 2021

A European power grid disturbance occurred at around 2 p.m. according to the Austrian Power Grid (APG). The normal frequency for Europe is 50 Hz and on Friday afternoon it dropped sharply to 49.75 Hz.

“A larger supply area must have broken away,” blackout expert Herbert Saurugg told futurezone.

2. Net Zero by 2050   A Roadmap for the Global Energy Sector (224 pages)
May 18, 2021

(On page 20 -- no new coal plants, no new oil and gas fields this year 2021; by 2030 phaseout of all coal power plants in rich countries, by 2040 phaseout of all other coal plants even in poor countries.)

3. Ignored warnings 
Another major fault in the European power supply system 
Herbert Saurugg  July 27, 2021, 6:51 pm

On July 24, 2021 at 4:36 p.m. there was a breakdown of the network in the European network and thus the second major disruption in the last 7 months. But hardly anyone took notice of it, true to the motto "Guat is ganga, nothing is g'scheh'n", even if around 2 million people in France, Spain and Portugal were briefly without electricity Kitty is busy, as only the deadliest catastrophe after World War II could lead to, other warning signs continue to be ignored and we are obviously not learning.

4. Power Grid Expert Warns: “Signs Being Ignored” As Europe’s Grid Teeters On The Brink 
By P Gosselin on 3. August 2021

5. Europe Faces an Energy Shock After Gas and Power Prices Rocket 
By Josefine Fokuhl, John Ainger, and Isis Almeida  August 5, 2021, 1:00 PM GMT+8

The cost of natural gas and electricity has surged across Europe, reaching records in some countries, as businesses re-open and workers return to the office. In Germany, wholesale power prices have risen more than 60% this year, leaving the owner of the Frau Honig cafe in Friedrichshain with no option but to raise prices of everything from cappuccinos to cinnamon rolls.

“The higher power prices were a double whammy after our cafe was forced to close for such a long time, doing only takeaway during the pandemic,” he said. “We just had to pass on the costs to customers.”

6. Britain forced to fire up coal plant amid record power prices and winter squeeze
Two coal facilities taken off standby as the amount of electricity coming from wind farms falls dramatically
By Rachel Millard and Olivia Rudgard, 6 September 2021 • 8:14pm

The UK has turned to a coal-fired power station to help boost its energy supply after global gas and power prices hit new highs and wind farms produced very low levels of electricity.

National Grid ESO, which balances Britain’s electricity supply and demand, asked EDF to fire up two units at its West Burton A power station in Lincolnshire. They had previously been on standby.

7. Ireland freezes power exports to UK as energy costs rocket tenfold 
10 September 2021

A toxic combination of low wind speeds and a severe squeeze on the supply of natural gas sent power costs jumping tenfold on the British mainland on Thursday to as much as £2,300 per megawatt-hour, a new record high.

8. Major UK Fertilizer Plants Shuttered Due To Skyrocketing Natural Gas Prices 

9. Skyrocketing Energy Prices Could Cripple Europe’s Economy 
By Tsvetana Paraskova - Sep 18, 2021, 6:00 PM CDT

CF Industries, a manufacturer of hydrogen and nitrogen products, said this week it was halting operations at both its Billingham and Ince manufacturing complexes in the UK due to high natural gas prices.

Norway-based Yara, one of the world’s top ammonia producers, is curtailing production due to the record-high gas prices.

10. Government races to save businesses as energy prices soar 
Food shortages looming after factory closures hit production
Ashley Armstrong, Retail Editor | Emily Gosden, Energy Editor
Saturday September 18 2021, 12.00pm BST

High energy prices prompted the closure of two fertiliser plants in northern England this week, leaving the food and drink industry facing a shortage of carbon dioxide, which is a byproduct of fertiliser manufacturing. The gas is critical to the production and transport of a range of products, from meat and bread to beer and fizzy drinks. It is also used in hospitals and nuclear power stations.

11. Gas Crunch Threatens UK Energy Industry With Wave Of Bankruptcies
By Irina Slav - Sep 20, 2021, 9:30 AM CDT

Since the start of the year, seven electricity suppliers in the country have gone under, Bloomberg reports, because of failing to hedge against price hikes. This meant that they sold electricity to clients at lower prices than the current ones. They must now buy it expensively and then sell it cheaply, which is the fastest way to bankruptcy.

12. The Dangerous Rally In Natural Gas Prices 
By David Messler - Sep 20, 2021, 7:00 PM CDT

Europe and the UK pay a price for energy “Greening”

One factor is the "greening" of the energy supply around the world, particularly in Europe. Much of the current global environmental impetus culminating in the thinking of Co2 as a harmful gas has its origins on the Continent and has easily spilled over the Channel to the U.K. Over the last decade, European countries have shifted to wind and solar for electricity generation, in pursuit of Paris goals and NetZero carbon in 2050. They have paid a price for this greenness ass you can see in the chart below. By comparison, in much of the U.S. utility rates average around $0.13 per KWH.

13. British Steel warns of up to 50-fold increase in power prices 
Sylvia Pfeifer and Harry Dempsey in London  September 21, 2021

Steelmaking is highly energy-intensive; electricity costs can represent up to 20 per cent of the costs of converting the basic raw materials into steel. UK Steel, the industry association, said last week that some producers were suspending their operations for limited periods at peak times.

British Steel, which is owned by Chinese industrial conglomerate Jingye, said it was now being quoted a maximum price at peak times of “up to £2,500” per megawatt hour, compared with an average rate of £50/MWh in April.

14. Energy price rises: Dozens of firms will be left to collapse 
Households face higher bills after ministers reject bailouts
Steven Swinford, Political Editor | Emily Gosden, Energy Editor
Tuesday September 21 2021, 9.05am BST

Ministers are instead considering underwriting billions of pounds in loans to cover the cost of companies taking customers from those that go bust. Suppliers that take these customers are expected to charge them the maximum allowed under the energy price cap at £1,277 a year for a typical household.

15. Germany: Coal tops wind as primary electricity source 
In the first half of 2021, coal shot up as the biggest contributor to Germany's electric grid, while wind power dropped to its lowest level since 2018. Officials say the weather is partly to blame.
September 13, 2021

In total, conventional energy sources — including coal, natural gas and nuclear energy — comprised 56% of the total electricity fed into Germany's grid in the first half of 2021.
Coal was the leader out of the conventional energy sources, comprising over 27% of Germany's electricity. 

16. Power costs could force metal producers from Europe - Eurometaux
September 27, 2021  7:02 PM PST

"Rising electricity prices have already led to curtailments and could lead to further relocation of our sector outside Europe if not addressed," said the letter from Eurometaux addressed to Kadri Simson, European Commissioner for Energy.

17. UK industry could face shutdowns as wholesale gas price hits record high
Steel, chemicals and fertiliser industries warn of difficult winter unless government takes emergency action
Rob Davies and Joanna Partridge    Wed 6 Oct 2021 19.00 BST

18. European Firms Warn "Unbearably High Energy Costs" May Spark Wave Of Production Shutdowns


19. Germany’s Energy Surrender
Rarely has a country worked so hard to make itself vulnerable.
Bad policy choices contribute to the energy supply crunch.
By The Editorial Board. Dec. 22, 2021 6:52 pm ET

Ten years ago 17 nuclear reactors produced about a quarter of Germany’s electricity, but the 2011 Fukushima accident prompted former Chancellor Angela Merkel to phase out nuclear. Six reactors remain: Three will close this month, with the remaining three ceasing operations next year. It’s hard to think of a more self-defeating policy on economic, climate and geopolitical grounds.

Thursday, July 21, 2022

BWorld 552, Lucky Me, bureaucracy rightsizing, electricity prices, and MPIC

* My column in BusinessWorld last July 18. 

There were five events last week that I want to comment on.


Scrolling through corporate news of BusinessWorld, these two reports caught my attention: “Monde Nissin ends flat after Lucky Me! noodle brand recall” (July 11), and “Monde Nissin says ethylene oxide not added in noodles” (July 8).

Lucky Me! is a famous brand and my family occasionally consumes their pancit canton and other instant noodles, so I read further and found these facts.

One, ethylene oxide (EtO) is a gas used to treat and sterilize spices and other agricultural products to control microbial growth. It leaves traces in practically all food classifications like noodles, bread, tofu, soy sauce, pizza, etc. It is also used to sterilize surgical and medical equipment like personal protective equipment (PPE).

Two, Lucky Me! products manufactured in Thailand have been subject to a recall in some countries of the European Union especially Ireland, Malta, and France over concerns of high level of EtO. The EU limits it to zero parts per million (ppm).

Three, a leftist and socialist-leaning local organization lobbied the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) to “immediately recall the products if it genuinely determined to be contaminated.”

Four, the FDA has released a statement on July 11 saying that EtO “is present in the environment, comes from various sources including plants and the heating of cooking oils… Consumption of foods containing residual EtO does not pose an acute risk to health… The United States, Canada and Singapore have assigned… EtO range 7 ppm to 50 ppm maximum residue limit (MRL). In the Philippines, EtO is allowed for gas sterilization of certain agricultural products.”

Five, Monde Nissin, manufacturer of Lucky Me! is a Philippine-based transnational food and beverages company and exports to the world many market-leading brands like Lucky Me! instant noodles, and SkyFlakes and Fita crackers. They said that EtO is not added in noodles but there are just traces when the agricultural products were treated with this gas.

Here are the respective implications of facts one to five:

One, EtO is a useful gas and should not be considered as a contaminant or pollutant gas, the public should not be scared of it.

Two, by EU standards, the EU should also recall bread, tofu, pepper, etc. with traces of EtO in their grocery shelves and have more food insecurity.

Three, the local socialists would rather see more food insecurity here, perhaps to hurt a big capitalist food manufacturer, and see more political upheavals against the new administration.

Four, the Philippines and other countries should align their MRL with the US and Singapore to help stabilize the food supply.

I checked the BusinessWorld Top 1,000 Corporations 2021 report: Monde Nissin is ranked #32 in 2020 with a gross revenue of P54.2 billion, 6.9% higher than 2019 revenues when the top 1,000 companies’ total gross revenues suffered a decline of 13.2% over 2019 level.

Five, Monde Nissin being a big food manufacturer with rising revenues despite the pandemic and lockdowns means it is a big contributor to local food security, a big job creator, and a big taxpayer.

I also checked some components of the Philippines’ recent inflation rates — it turns out that ready-made food products like noodles have price increases that were nearly one-half of overall inflation (See Table 1). Thus, ample supply of those ready-made foods actually temper and control higher inflation.

The public and government agencies should junk the leftist lobby and ignore the EU’s zero tolerance for EtO. The FDA is starting from a good scientific argument in this case. We should have a better food supply, both of raw and manufactured food. We should have more food security and lower food inflation. And we should have more big Philippines transnational companies exporting more commodities to the world.


On July 13 and 14, I saw two television/radio interviews of Department of Budget and Management (DBM) Secretary Amenah F. Pangandaman where she reiterated the DBM’s plan to “rightsize” the bureaucracy. According to Secretary Pangandaman, rightsizing is to “determine which among the 187 government agencies and government-owned and -controlled corporations (GOCCs) with more or less 2-million personnel, may be streamlined through merging, restructuring, or abolition.”

This is a good move by the Marcos Jr. economic team and I support it. There should be some spending cuts to reduce the need for more debt to pay old debts.

I computed the averages in government spending and GDP level every four years, computed the expenditures/GDP ratio, and compared it with average GDP growth for the same four-year period. The result seems convincing — we have faster economic growth when government spending (and borrowings) decline, and vice versa (Table 2).

Meanwhile, my friend and fellow BusinessWorld columnist Romy Bernardo wrote in his column yesterday, “A first look at the medium-term fiscal program,” that “the government’s 6.5% to 8% growth target through 2028 is rather ambitious… rather the 6-7% of the past decade pre-pandemic.”

Romy has good reasons for arguing his numbers but I think the economic team’s 6.5-8% growth targets are achievable. Partly because I believe that the US, Canada, and Europe will deteriorate economically and deindustrialize in the short and medium term, many companies there will migrate to Asia including the Philippines. It will be a supply-push investment plus demand-pull investment if we do big reforms like faster growth, reduced debt stock without resorting to high taxation, and no threats of blackouts, nor yellow and red alerts.


On July 13, I joined the media briefing of the Independent Electricity Market Operator of the Philippines (IEMOP). Their data show the following: 1.) based on peak power demand for June, the 2022 numbers are much higher than the pre-pandemic 2019 level and implies that economic recovery is indeed occurring; 2.) Customer effective spot settlement price (ESSP) this year declined in April-May and increased only in June; and, 3.) Coal share to total power generation has increased to 60% while the share of Malampaya natural gas has declined to 19%, and the share of solar + wind has shrunk to only 2.2% as the country experienced less-windy and more cloudy conditions recently (Table 3).

If we want fast and sustained economic growth, and attract more foreign investors, we should rely less on unstable, unreliable, intermittent solar-wind and have more thermal fossil fuel plants, plus nuclear power.


The Embassy of Poland in Manila invited me on July 13 to a press conference by Marcin Przydacz, Undersecretary of State in Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Poland’s Ambassador to the Philippines, Jaroslaw Szczepankiewicz, was also there.

Mr. Przydacz’s tour of some ASEAN countries was meant for economic and business diplomacy, but his talk focused more on the invasion of Ukraine and why other countries like the Philippines should push back against Russia. I checked Poland’s inflation rate — it was 15.5% in June 2022, the highest since 1996 or 26 years ago.

I believe that it is the US- and EU-led economic war against Russia that has had an unlimited impact on global energy and commodity prices, and not the shooting war per se which is limited to Russia and Ukraine only. With rampaging inflation in many European economies that penalize their own citizens more and not Russia, I think Poland should focus more on business diplomacy in Asia and less on justifying politicized trade and investments.


Finally, on July 14, Manuel V. Pangilinan (MVP), Chairman and President of Metro Pacific Investments Corp. (MPIC) celebrated his 76th birthday and I saw a short video clip of President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. making a good vibes greeting to him, and a newspaper ad where key officials and business partners of MPIC gave their good wishes.

Miguel G. Belmonte, President and CEO of the PhilStar Media Group that includes BusinessWorld, said that MVP is not only his boss but also his inspiration to always give his best in his work.

Mike Toledo, Head of Government Relations and Public Affairs of MPIC, said that MVP’s commanding and purpose-driven leadership inspired the group to survive and thrive during the pandemic, and no one was left behind.

I think Mr. MVP has done a good job in further developing the Philippines’ toll roads, mining, energy, and media sectors. Consistent with my hypothesis that America and Europe will deindustrialize in the short and medium-term, Philippine conglomerates like MPIC should do more big, highly capital-intensive infrastructure projects to help attract those big companies from the west to the Philippines. Good health and more wealth, Mr. MVP.

See also:
BWorld 549, Inflation, transportation, internet, and outgoing secretaries, July 05, 2022
BWorld 550, The Bulacan Ecozone veto and Ben Diokno books, July 15, 2022
BWorld 551, The SC on Meralco rate hike, Bidenflation and Peso depreciation, July 20, 2022.

Mini-plagiarism by Jake Maderazo

Last July 4 I wrote in my column the paper "The Bulacan Ecozone veto and Ben Diokno books"

"...One, it will increase competition among Ecozones and Freeports. In particular, the Bulacan Ecozone will compete with nearby Clark, Subic, Bataan, and other Ecozones...

Two,... Bureau of Customs, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, and the Department of National Defense). Bulacan Ecozone will operate as a separate customs territory and will have internal security and military forces for national defense.

Three, it promotes provincial economic competition and the principle of subsidiarity (which states that if a local authority can perform a function, it should not be taken by a higher or national authority)."

Then I discovered that on July 5, PDI opinion writer Jake Maderazo wrote in his article, "Stop further delays on the new Bulacan Aerocity and Ecozone",

"...Three reasons, first, it will increase competition among Ecozones and Freeports citing nearby Clark, Subic, Bataan and other Ecozones. Second, it will become a separate territory, out of control from the Bureau of Customs, DENR and DND. And third, it promotes provincial economic competition and the “principle of “subsidiarity” (which states that if a local authority can perform a function, it should not be taken by a higher or national authority)."

He rephrased my reasons one and two, then copy-pasted my reason number three. Plagiarism. Shame on him.

Wednesday, July 20, 2022

BWorld 551, The SC on Meralco rate hike, Bidenflation and Peso depreciation

* My column in BusinessWorld last July 11.

A number of interesting developments happened last week. I will discuss three of them.


On July 4, the Supreme Court (SC) upheld the Meralco rate hike of December 2013 and allowed it to collect a staggered amount of P22.64 billion, and junked the petition by Bayan Muna and the National Association of Electricity Consumers for Reforms (Nasecore) which argued there was lack of due process in the Energy Regulatory Commission’s (ERC) approval of the power rates increase.

In 2013, the ERC approved a staggered increase of P7.67 per kilowatt hour (kWh) for the December 2013 billing of Meralco consumers and ordered an additional P1/kWh increase in the February 2014 billing. These were not implemented after the SC issued an indefinite temporary restraining order (TRO) on April 22, 2014.

The SC was wrong in issuing such a TRO, wrong in doing price control and intervention. Recall that many power plants had planned or scheduled maintenance shutdowns from October to December 2013. The Malampaya gas field had a scheduled maintenance shutdown in mid-2013 but the Department of Energy (DOE) requested that it postpone this to late 2013 due to the May 2013 elections. Then a number of old plants had unplanned or unscheduled extended shutdowns, resulting in a huge power undersupply.

But power demand was high in 2013. GDP growth that year was 6.8%, of which investment growth was 18.4%. Peak demand growth in the Luzon grid was 5.3% that year, and yet the combined power under-generation was 5,000 MW comprising 39% of total installed capacity in Luzon (Table 1).

So Meralco and many other distribution utilities and electric cooperatives in Luzon had to source more power from the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (WESM) at higher prices due to the very tight supply and very thin reserves. Yes, higher power prices are bad, but power blackouts are worse. And if people think that “blackout if power rates do not adjust” was just blackmail in 2013-2014, then consider these recent reports in BusinessWorld this year:

“NGCP declares 2 yellow alerts over Luzon grid” (July 5),

“Power outage leaves Panay, Guimaras in darkness” (July 6),

“Businesses concerned over rising electricity rates” (July 7).

It is already 2022 and the threats of blackouts remain until now. Power supply is tight and reserves thin as demand for power is rising as the economy recovers from two years of lockdown from the COVID-19 pandemic.

It is good that the SC has realized the mistake it made eight years ago and upheld the electricity rate hike. Good decision. And I hope that the SC will avoid the same problem of price intervention in the future, whether in electricity, food, transportation, and other sectors.


There is a continuing narrative that the high inflation in the US, Europe, and rest of the world is “Putin caused” via Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last February. This is not true; this is a dishonest narrative. The truth is that from January 2021 to January 2022, 12 months of US President Joseph R. Biden’s being in power and prior to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the inflation rates in the US and Europe had been rising fast (Table 2).

I arranged the countries into four groups: A is North America, B is Europe, C is North Asia, and D is ASEAN. Other countries do not have June 2022 inflation numbers yet as of this writing.

So, the Philippines’ 6.1% inflation rate in June, a four years-high, was bad — but it was not as bad as other countries, especially in North America and Europe. Bidenflation policies like reducing US fossil fuel production, increased money printing and government spending are the main causes of high global inflation, exacerbated by the Russia-Ukraine war and strong economic sanctions against Russia.


Last Friday, I attended the Foundation for Economic Freedom (FEF) forum, “Is the sky falling? The weakening peso, inflation and the fiscal challenge,” at the Holiday Inn Hotel in Makati.

Three of the four speakers are BusinessWorld columnists: Romy Bernardo, FEF Vice-Chairman and former Finance Undersecretary; Diwa Guinigundo, former Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Deputy Governor; and Raul Fabella, former Dean of the UP School of Economics. The fourth speaker was Vaughn Montes, former Chief Economist of Citibank Philippines.

Romy showed the Mundell Fleming “policy trillema,” also known as the “impossible trinity” — an economy cannot simultaneously maintain these three policies: fixed exchange rate (for predictability of returns), free capital mobility (to finance investments), and autonomous or independent monetary policy (adjust policy interest rates to stabilize inflation). An economy can only maintain two of the three at the same time. Romy also argued that Philippines inflation at this time is more cost push, coming primarily from supply chain bottlenecks and the “Putin war impact.”

I like the chart and explanation that Romy gave. As a free market advocate, I do not support a fixed exchange rate. It has to be market-determined and will lead to quick adjustments by all economic players — exporters, importers, consumers of imported goods like oil, families of OFWs, and so on. I also agree that this is cost-push inflation, not demand-pull inflation.

Diwa discussed, among others, the exchange rate pass through (ERPT) in prices and inflation. He showed a table in which the short-run ERPT from 1990-2002 (before inflation-targeting or IT) was 0.269. But ERPT from 2002-2017 (under IT) was only 0.042. Meaning that for every P1 depreciation, there was 26.9 centavos increase in prices before IT, and only 4.2 centavos increase under IT. So, the “signal value” of peso exchange rate depreciation has been reduced, the consumers and other market players look at exchange rate shocks as merely transitory. I like that point.

Sir Raul (he was my teacher in UPSE undergrad in the 1980s) discussed the “Iron law of progress,” that simple currency depreciation does not change investment behavior. About the Philippine peso weakening to P56/$ last week, he said it was bad but not worrisome — we had experienced that level in December 2004 or 18 years ago and it was temporary, the peso later strengthened and reached P41/$ in January 2008. He also reiterated the need for the rule of law, in particular honoring contracts on big public private partnership (PPP) projects like water rate adjustments to the water concessionaires.

Vaughn also discussed inflation and peso depreciation, and he expanded the discussion to PPP, the essence of which is to transfer significant risk to the private sector and away from government and taxpayers. Then he discussed recent issues in PPP especially the recently revised implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of the Built-Operate-Transfer (BOT) law. Among them: 1.) less definite process for setting user charges, no parametric formula; 2.) restrictive provisions on Material Adverse Government Action that impose more regulatory risk to the private sector; and, 3.) ambiguous definition of reasonable rate of return. These issues can dampen investor interest and reduce competition among bidders of big projects. Good points, Vaughn.

See also:
BWorld 548, Taxes, cement, electricity and land transportation, June 30, 2022
BWorld 549, Inflation, transportation, internet, and outgoing secretaries, July 05, 2022
BWorld 550, The Bulacan Ecozone veto and Ben Diokno books, July 15, 2022.

Macroecon 19, UK and Canada inflation rates, Biden admin's 'expensive gas is beneficial'

Today, UK and Canada released their June 2022 inflation rates. UK's 9.4% is another 40-years high, highest since 1982.


Canada has 8.1%, 39-years high, highest since 1983.

BoJo (Boris Johnson) was forced to resign as UK PM last July 7 on his many personal scandals plus uncontrolled inflation because he wanted so much to "save the planet." 

Canada high inflation not because they have stopped buying cheap Russia oil-gas, Canada is a major oil producer. But partly because PM Trudeau has penalized farming and fertilizer production via nitrogen emission control or cap, "to save the planet",

You cut fertilizer use, you cut agri mass production, 100%, that simple. Organic farming, zero chemical fertilizer is nice and beautiful, see Sri Lanka great example,

In italy, PM Mario Draghi offered to resign last July 14 over his coalition's failure to control high inflation, among others. Italy inflation of 8.0% June 2022 is 36-years high, highest since 1986.

So far 2 leaders knocked down. US and EU sanctions are supposed to impoverish Russia and force Putin to be knocked out of power. Did not happen, the opposite happened, so far, it's 2-0 for Putin.

All European countries with 30, 40-yrs high, even 49-years high inflation rates like Germany (7.6% in June, 7.9% in May, highest since 1973), they reduced or stopped buying Russia oil, gas, coal. 

India inflation is 8-years high (7.0% in June, 7.8% in April, highest since 2014).
China inflation is 2-years high, 2.5% in June, highest since July 2020. These two big countries buy cheap, discounted oil-gas from Russia.

It is important that movement of commodities like energy should be separate from movement of troops and bombs. Free trade should be separate from war.

Last Monday afternoon July 18, there was a BSP-UPSE lecture by Dr Thorsten Beck, Prof. of Financial Stability, European University Institute, France, about "Prospects for financial stability in the new normal."

I was on the road that afternoon, couldn't tune in but I heard from some UPSEAAns that Dr Beck talked about the need for more ESG, agh. And talking about financial stability from financially unstable France -- inflation rate June 2022 5.8%, highest since 1985 or 37 years ago. Maybe they want France inflation to be 40 yrs high like UK and US, or 49 years high like Germany, or perhaps 60 years high, before they realize that ESG means environmental socialist garbage?

Meanwhile, the Biden team and US Dems are the real planet saviors, not the Europeans. Here, US Transport Sec. Pete Buttigieg arguing that expensive gasoline is nice and beneficial, will force more people to ditch their gasoline-powered cars and shift to electric vehicles.

Yes, go go go, Buttigieg and Biden, climate czar John Kerry and energy advisor Amos Hocstein, Commerce Sec Gina Raimondo and Treasury Sec Janet Yellen. What a fantastic team of planet saviors.

Meanwhile in 2021, 80% of US electricity generation came from fossil fuels (61%) and nuclear (19%) and only 20% from renewables (of which 12% from wind+solar),

So anti-fossil fuel US planet saviors will soon force their huge tractors and harvesters, monster backhoes and bulldozers, huge long trucks, to become electric. Very nice.

See also:
Macroecon 16, US inflation classmates in March 2022, April 19, 2022
Macroecon 17, Germany's near half-century inflation rate, May 31, 2022
Macroecon 18, More gobal price instability, June 12, 2022
Free Trade 70, Free trade should be separate from war, July 05, 2022.

Friday, July 15, 2022

BWorld 550, The Bulacan Ecozone veto and Ben Diokno books

* My article in BusinessWorld last July 4. 

A number of important policies and events caught my attention last week. I will discuss three of them.


One big news on day 1 of President Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos, Jr., is his letter to the Senate dated July 1 expressing his veto of House Bill 7575, “An Act Establishing the Bulacan Airport City Special Economic Zone and Freeport” (Bulacan Ecozone).

Among the reasons given are that Bulacan Ecozone “poses substantial fiscal risks and conflict with other agencies’ mandates and authorities… Ecozone Authority has rule-making powers on environmental protection not found in other Ecozones, … [and] close proximity to Clark Special Ecozone.”

I initially saw the logic of those reasons. I also saw the 12-page Memorandum of former Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez to former President Rodrigo R. Duterte why he should veto that bill. To see the bigger picture, I read the 12-page bill (third reading, May 30, 2022, version).

Being an advocate of free trade, more business competition and less government intervention, I actually like that bill. Here are three reasons why:

One, it will increase competition among Ecozones and Freeports. In particular, the Bulacan Ecozone will compete with nearby Clark, Subic, Bataan, and other Ecozones. In the 1990s, the Americans left Clark and Subic with their sprawling infrastructure, including runways and the Subic seaport. And 31 years after, Clark and Subic have improved but they are not as developed as one would expect from real freeports (like those in Hong Kong, Singapore, and Dubai).

Two, it will limit the long interventionist arms of national bureaucracies that affected Clark and Subic from becoming real freeport (these include the Bureau of Customs, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, and the Department of National Defense). Bulacan Ecozone will operate as a separate customs territory and will have internal security and military forces for national defense.

Three, it promotes provincial economic competition and the principle of subsidiarity (which states that if a local authority can perform a function, it should not be taken by a higher or national authority). These are consistent with the federalism philosophy, which Mr. Marcos should adhere to since he ran as the candidate of the Partido Federal ng Pilipinas party.

But the previous leaderships of the Department of Finance, the National Economic and Development Authority, and other agencies did not like more ecozone competition, did not like curtailment of their bureaucratic interventions so they recommended a veto by the previous Duterte administration.

Now that the new Marcos administration has issued the bill’s veto, it has to be refiled in the new Congress. But beyond this, Congress should also amend the charters of existing ecozones so that they will have similar liberal, free trade and subsidiarity policies as the proposed Bulacan Ecozone to equalize powers and responsibilities, privileges and accountability, and empower them toward greater ecozone and freeport competition in the country.

More incentives, more private enterprises, more job generation, broader tax base as national taxation laws like RA 11534 (CREATE law of 2021) will still apply. We need more business competition and innovation.


Also last week I was able to get copies of the four books (published in 2020) of new Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno.

Composed of his past columns in BusinessWorld and Manila Speak from 2012 to 2016, the four books are: (1) Holdap: The truth about pork, (2) State of The Nation: A Retrospective Look into the Macroeconomic Issues of the Philippines, (3) Governance: Analyzing the Economic Performance of the Estrada, Arroyo & Aquino Administrations, and (4) Through the Looking Glass: A Look into the Public Economic Issues in the Philippines.

In one article, “A broad-based, comprehensive tax reform is the only way forward” (BusinessWorld, Sept. 16, 2015), Mr. Diokno argued that “the core elements of a broad-based, comprehensive tax reform program are: lower income and corporate income tax rates, broader corporate tax base by rationalizing fiscal incentives, higher value-added tax rates, and higher real property tax.”

I agree with lower personal income tax (PIT) and corporate income tax (CIT) rates and a broader tax base. But I do not agree with the higher VAT rate. We should instead have a lower VAT rate and fewer or zero VAT exemptions — except raw agriculture and fishery products — to broaden the tax base. And real property tax rate should be lower on lands that have optimal use and generate more jobs and more business transactions per square meter of land.

Mr. Diokno showed the comparative income tax rates in the ASEAN from 2010 to 2013. I use his numbers below and expand it to 2022 data. The good news is that in the Philippines, PIT rates for middle income people have declined under RA 10963 (TRAIN law of 2017) and CIT under RA 11534 has declined. The bad news is that the top marginal rate of PIT has increased for the upper income people to 35% from 32% under RA 10963 (Table 1).

When people are industrious, efficient, and ambitious, and when they save and invest for the future, their income and wealth naturally increase. They should not be penalized with higher PIT for their industriousness.

Mr. Diokno wrote many articles highly critical of the overall budget and infrastructure spending under the administration of President Benigno S.C. Aquino III.

In one of his papers, “From a slow to fast-moving machinery” (Manila Speak, April 24, 2014), he showed a table on infrastructure/GDP ratio from 2011 to 2013. I use his numbers and expand it to 2021 data (Table 2). It is true that infrastructure spending under the Duterte administration has indeed expanded substantially compared to previous administrations.

I do not agree with a number of points raised by Mr. Diokno in his four books but they are worth reading by researchers, writers and observers of economic policies. Having hindsight of the recent past will help formulate sound policies for the present and the future.


Last week, I passed by the Edsa-Ayala bus loading area: it was a horrible sight in the afternoon. The passenger queue was very long and hundreds, maybe thousands, of people had to endure the heat, dust and smoke.

When buses arrive, passengers fill them up quickly and stand shoulder-to-shoulder with little to no social distancing.

There are not enough buses. Not enough aircon vans. Not enough transport network vehicle service (TNVS) cars. Not enough motorcycle taxis (MCT).

The recent leaderships of Department of Transportation (DoTr) and Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) have implemented a pair of bad policies: (1) putting a cap on the number of those who can operate buses, aircon vans, TNVS and MCT, and (2) keeping the low fares of public transportation despite spiraling prices of gasoline, diesel, engine oil, and vehicle parts.

Transportation Secretary Jaime Bautista comes from a private airline company. He knows the importance of having flexibility in the number of units per destination and flexibility in adjusting fares depending on seasonal demand by passengers. He will be a good manager to modernize land, sea, and air transportation in the country.

Passengers need a respite from long queuing just to get a ride to and from work. Driving their cars may not be an option due to the high price of gasoline and the high cost of parking. Driving motorcycles or riding bicycles is not for everyone.

Removing the cap on the number of land transport companies, removing the cap on fares, and transport and fare liberalization are pro-passengers.

The most expensive transportation is one that is not available, not one where fares rise to reflect rising cost of fuel and operational cost. Hopefully, Mr. Bautista and new LTFRB leadership will have more mature views on transportation modernization.

See also:
BWorld 547, Inflation, cement importation, and electricity concerns, June 29, 2022
BWorld 548, Taxes, cement, electricity and land transportation, June 30, 2022
BWorld 549, Inflation, transportation, internet, and outgoing secretaries, July 05, 2022.

Agri Econ 37, Sri Lanka food catastrophe

Ecological socialism and central planning, food rationing are lousy. The case of Sri Lanka. Read on and take lessons. Thank you.

1. Sri Lanka’s Green New Deal Was a Human Disaster
An ill-advised national experiment in organic farming yielded starvation, poverty and political chaos.
By Tunku Varadarajan.  July 14, 2022 6:32 pm ET

Fifty-two years later, Sri Lanka has pulled off a revolution that is “antigreen” in the modern sense, toppling its president, Gotabaya Rajapaksa. In an uprising that has its roots in Mr. Rajapaksa’s imperious decision to impose organic farming on the entire country—which led to widespread hunger after the agricultural economy collapsed

2. Eco-extremism has brought Sri Lanka to its knees
An obsession with organic farming ‘in sync with nature’ triggered an unsustainable but predictable economic crisis
MATT RIDLEY  14 July 2022 • 4:55pm

In April 2021, president Gotabaya Rajapaksa announced that Sri Lanka was banning most pesticides and all synthetic fertiliser to go fully organic. Within months, the volume of tea exports had halved, cutting foreign exchange earnings. Rice yields plummeted leading to an unprecedented requirement to import rice. With the government unable to service its debt, the currency collapsed.

Speciality crop yields like cinnamon and cardamom tanked. Staple foods became infested with pests leading to widespread hunger...

The government promised more manure, but it would take at least five times as much manure as the country produces to replace the “synthetic” nitrogen fixed from the air, and there’s not enough livestock or land to produce that much. In Glasgow for the climate summit last year, Sri Lanka’s president was still boasting that his agricultural policy was “in sync with nature”.

At the time, his organic decision was widely praised by environmentalists. Sri Lanka scored 98 out of 100 on the “ESG” – environmental, social and governance – criteria for investment.

3. Collapse of Sri Lanka Is a Failure of Leftism
By THE EDITORS.  July 12, 2022 6:30 AM

These are the real-world consequences of government central planning.

Sri Lanka, under the leadership of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, decided in April 2021 to become the world’s first all-organic country. The government banned the use of chemical fertilizers and banned their importation....

But after the fertilizer ban went into effect, rice production fell by 20 percent in only six months. The country had to import $450 million worth of rice to make up the difference, and rice prices still went up by 50 percent. Tea exports plummeted, costing the economy $425 million. The government reversed parts of the policy in November 2021, but the damage was already done.

4. Sri Lanka and the global revolt against the laptop elites
From Sri Lanka to the Netherlands, Albania to Canada, the masses are stirring.
Brendan O'Neill.  12th July 2022

The other facet of Sri Lanka’s crisis we must confront is the role played by eco-ideology. It is unquestionable that Sri Lanka’s suffering has been inflamed and exacerbated by its determination to become a Net Zero nation. A nation of fertiliser-free farming. A ‘good’ environmentally responsible nation that will please the green elites in global institutions. Sri Lanka’s severe green policies have had a devastating impact on food production and on its key export industries, worsening its crisis of inflation.

5. Sri Lanka's collapse shows the danger of green dogma and Net Zero
Melanie Phillips: The Times, 12 July 2022

Yet at last year’s UN climate change summit in Glasgow, Rajapaksa boasted of his nation’s commitment to an agricultural revolution “in sync with nature”. Soon afterwards, he fired two government officials for publicly criticising the increasingly dire food situation and fertiliser ban.

6. Going organic might be fashionably green, but it won’t feed the world
BJORN LOMBORG 11 JULY 2022 - 14:13

Sri Lanka’s organic experiment failed fundamentally because of one simple fact: it does not have enough land to replace synthetic nitrogen fertiliser with animal manure. To shift to organics and keep production it would need five to seven times more manure than the total amount of manure available to it today.

Synthetic nitrogen fertilisers, mostly made with natural gas, are a modern miracle, crucial for feeding the world. Largely thanks to this fertiliser, agricultural outputs tripled in the past half-century as the human population doubled. Artificial fertiliser and modern farming inputs are the reason the number of people working on farms has been slashed in every rich country, freeing people for other productive occupations.

7. Sri Lanka Begging Russia and India for Fuel: A Nation Wrecked by Green Agricultural Policies
Eric Worrall. July 7, 2022

8. ‘Complete Collapse’: Here’s How ESG Destroyed One Nation’s Economy
Crisis-hit Sri Lanka shuts schools, urges work from home to save fuel
MICAELA BURROW. July 06, 2022 8:10 PM ET

Environment Minister Mahinda Amaweera declared a government initiative to save the earth from “our own geoengineering misuse, greed and selfishness” in 2020 ahead of a forum on halving nitrogen waste. The move was part of Sri Lanka’s effort to pursue environmental, social and governance (ESG) goals; the country signed onto a green finance taxonomy with the International Finance Corporation in May that included a commitment to organic fertilizers.

9. Speech by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa at the COP 26 Side Event, on 31 Oct 2021, in Glasgow, Scotland, UK
November 1, 2021

... It is in this context that my Government took firm steps to reduce imports of chemical fertilizer, and strongly encourage organic agriculture.
Although this action has been broadly appreciated, it has also met with some criticism and resistance.
In addition to chemical fertilizer lobby groups, this resistance has come from farmers who have grown accustomed to overusing fertilizer as an easy means of increasing yields...

My Government’s policy frameworks emphasizes sustainability.
This is reflected in Sri Lanka’s ambitious updated Nationally Determined Contributions to the UNFCC Mechanism.
These include increasing the contribution of renewable energy sources to 70% of national needs by 2030, achieving carbon neutrality by 2050, and ensuring no more new coal power projects.
Sri Lanka is proud to be a co-lead of the Energy Compact for No New Coal Power.

10. Go Organic, And Starve!
By Paul Homewood MAY 20, 2022


See also:
Agri Econ 34, High corn demand to feed animals and cars, May 04, 2021
Agri Econ 35, High prices of poultry, beef, hogs, palm oil, canola, oat, August 04, 2021
Agri Econ 36, High beef, wheat, coffee, ammonia and fertilizer prices, January 21, 2022.

Tuesday, July 05, 2022

BWorld 549, Inflation, transportation, internet, and outgoing secretaries

* My column in BusinessWorld last June 27.

The developed countries of North America and Europe continue to experience record-high inflation rates and their interest rates follow the upward trend hoping that the measure will help cool down prices. High inflation discourages more household and corporate consumption, which pulls down overall GDP. And this pulls the developed world into a possible situation of stagflation — stagnant growth with high inflation — this year.


The US and UK inflation rates of 8.6% and 9.1% respectively in May were their highest levels in 40 years. Germany’s 7.9%, also this May, was the highest since 1973-74. And US 10-year bonds reached 3.48% two weeks ago, the highest since February 2011. European rates this month are the highest since 2014.

Behind these high inflation rates are high energy and electricity prices, high fertilizer and food prices. The TTF-EU (Title Transfer Facility-EU) gas price was only €10 per megawatt-hour (MWH) on June 30, 2019, and reached €180/MWH on Dec. 21, 2021, and peaked at €227/MWH on March 7 this year. Urea ammonium nitrate (UAN) was only €178/ton on June 30, 2019, and peaked at €860/ton in late March 2022, cooling down to €582/ton last week (see Table 1).

This trend towards high prices of energy, fertilizer, and food in Europe and America is not transitory but for the medium to long-term. There was prolonged, decades-old demonization and under-investment in fossil fuels (oil, gas, coal) and crude oil refineries in the West and it will take at least half a decade of re-investment in fossil fuels to expand output and refineries, especially for diesel, fertilizers, and other petrochemical products.

A big challenge for the Philippines and our ASEAN neighbors is how to attract many American and European companies who will get out of their continents and go to Asia where consumers number in the hundreds of millions, and where inflation rates and electricity prices are not as bad as theirs.

The incoming Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. administration can attract many of these migrating companies from the West — provided we do not do what their governments did: over-taxing and over-regulating fossil fuels, imposing high-priced carbon permits, and under-invest in exploration, extraction and refinery.

In short, avoid or slow down climate-related regulations and taxation. Europe is realizing that now. The threat of power blackouts and high food prices today are much scarier than a hypothetical climate catastrophe 50 or 100 years from now.


A report by News5 TV and Radyo Singko 92.3 News FM on June 10 showed very long lines of commuters in Metro Manila seeking a ride in jeepneys, vans, and buses. Then a friend who owns a van for hire commented that the last time the Department of Transportation (DoTr) and Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) issued a van franchise was 2013, that instead of expanding the number of van franchises, they prefer the supply of legal vans to remain small so that the supply of non-franchised vans will naturally increase because of high passenger demand, then apprehend these “colorum” vans which gives space for corruption because the fine can go up to P200,000.

The same LTFRB also restricts and puts a cap on the number of technology-based ride sharing cars and motorcycles. Instead of expanding the number of motorcycle taxis (MCT) and transport network companies (TNCs), the agency restricted the industry to a few favored players. Vans, TNC cars, and MCTs can bring their passengers right to their office buildings so there is no need for them to drive their cars, add to traffic congestion and enduring expensive oil and parking.

The latest public data from the DoTr Land Transportation Office (LTO) shows that private vehicle registrations in January-March (J-M) this year were almost half of those in the full year of 2020 and about one-third of full year 2019 registrations, but new buses are few (see Table 2). This implies more traffic congestion by cars, SUVs, AUVs and motorcycles, coupled with more commuter woes as they are unable to get faster and comfortable rides.

While the outgoing DoTr leadership can penalize hapless passengers with no vaccination cards in their recent “no vax card, no ride” policy, they cannot control the leadership of the LTFRB, an agency under the DoTr, when it comes to this ongoing practice of restricting the supply of legal vans, TNCs and MCTs.

Good thing that this political class are all leaving by June 30 after inflicting huge damage to the commuting class. I am hoping that the new leaderships of the DoTr, LTFRB, LTO and other agencies will not follow their policies. Transport competition is good for commuters and the country.

More choices, more options in vehicle types, faster mobility at competitive fares. This is what the public needs and I am hoping that the incoming administration will support this public need.


Good thing that there are many internet companies now in the Philippines that offer fiber optic services. We used to have PLDT DSL internet at home until last year and it could be slow at times. Then we tried Globe broadband pre-paid, and saw that it can be fast but load is easily consumed.

A friend referred me to his friends at Red Fiber, and gave them my mobile number and address. Within an hour I got a call, the lady explained Red Fiber’s internet package and promos to me, then I asked her when they can install our internet. To my surprise, she replied in two days.

We got the 50 Mbps with cable Cignal TV package at P2,399/month. One afternoon all four of us were on streaming. My wife was in a Zoom meeting, I was watching Netflix on the TV, our two girls were watching YouTube/TikTok on their laptops, plus our respective mobile phones were active with Messenger and Viber messages. Streaming was continuous, with no interruption. We are happy. Good service, Red Fiber.


The Duterte administration and its Cabinet Secretaries will be leaving this coming June 30. I want to commend two of the business-friendly secretaries.

First, Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi. He resisted the mandatory energy mix, like 30-30-30-10 for coal-natgas-renewables-oil that his two predecessors imposed. The ones who should set the right energy mix should be the consumers, not the Department of Energy (DoE) or Malacañang, not Congress or the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC), not the climate activists or media. He also resisted oil price control and reviving the Oil Price Stabilization Fund (OPSF) scheme.

The second is Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon Lopez. He championed the de-bureaucratization of business registration via the Ease of Doing Business law and related policies. He supported stronger intellectual property rights (IPR) to strengthen consumer awareness of product brands. In 2019, I organized a regional conference in Makati on IPR and health innovation in the ASEAN, then co-organized with the Foundation for Economic Freedom (FEF) the global launching of International Property Rights Index (IPRI) 2019. In both international events, I invited Secretary Mon to be the Keynote Speaker, he agreed and came to grace the two events. Thanks again, Secretary Mon.

See also:
BWorld 546, Demonopolize social security, June 28, 2022 
BWorld 547, Inflation, cement importation, and electricity concerns, June 29, 2022
BWorld 548, Taxes, cement, electricity and land transportation, June 30, 2022.